The 7 Hills of Hard Adventure
As a traveler, there are some places whose memories will always make you shiver with excitement. This blog post is about one of such places, it is about one of the most thrilling and blood rushing experiences I have had so far. It is about a place the Maasai people call “enkong’u emuny” hills or let me just call it Ngong Hills to avoid confusing you.
Ngong hills is one of best hiking places near Nairobi where you can have a panoramic views of nature meeting urbanization in 360 degrees. Standing on the peak of Ngong Hills ( getting up their is what we call HARD adventure) you get to see the whole of Ngong town, Kibera (the largest slum in Kenya), part of the famous Great Rift valley, elephants the size of ants inside Nairobi National Park and some skyscrapers of Nairobi City . Don’t believe me? Let’s continue
Why Ngong Hills Stands Out
Well what can I say? More like where should I begin? Should I start with the restaurant on top of the hill? The panoramic scenery of the great Rift Valley, the flora and fauna? Or should I talk about the windmills? I am very confused! I think I will talk about the windmills fast. Ngong hills happens to be the home of a windmill farm which provides all of Ngong town and most of Kiserian town with electricity. This is one of the oldest and most sustainable way of electrical power production.
The vegetation of Ngong hills forest includes many exotic and indigenous trees these include; pine, cypress (Exotic), sandal wood, Acacia and croton (Indigenous). The forest is home to a variety of animals which include: buffaloes, wild pigs, porcupines, hyenas and dik-diks. Tip! If you want to see these animals, be at Ngong hills at sunrise. However, the hyenas only come out at night hence it is rare to encounter them. It is not uncommon to find local communities grazing their cattle and goat herds here.
How to get there
When using public transport, one should board a matatu no.111 at the railways terminus and alight at Ngong town; this will be the last stage and it is about 2 kilometres from the Ngong entry point. From here you can choose to walk and lose those calories or take a motorbike which will cost about 150KES.
For a different route, corner Baridi entry point, board a matatu no.112 still at the railways bus terminus and alight at Kiserian town which is also 2 kilometres to the corner Baridi entry point. You still have to walk or use a motor bike. So the routes are more like Tometo Tomato, no difference when using public transport.
Should you choose private means, I mean a taxi (uber), prepare to part with KES. 2500 or 3000. Ubers and Taxify is also available for cheaper transportation. However, I recommend car pooling, using a matatu to reduce the amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
You could always travel with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel!
The charges range from 20KES to 600KES depending on age and citizenship. For Kenyan and East African Citizens, the adults pay 200KES per day while the children pay 50 KES per day, if it is a school party it costs 20KES per day. For residents the adults pay 400KES, the child pays 100 while the school party pays 50KES. For the non-residents it is 600KES, 150KES and 150KES respectively. Additional guiding charges apply, KES 1500.
What to wear and carry
One should wear comfortable trainers or sport shoes and loose-fitting clothing recommended for hiking and mountain climbing. For those who will be interested in visiting the power generating site should carry warm clothing as it can get cold and very windy.
Where to eat, shop and stay
For visitors heading to Ngong hills for a tour one can stay in many various hotels in Nairobi City including Radisson blue, which is considered to be the most responsible city hotel in Nairobi. For visitors who are up for more adventure the beautiful Ngong hills also offer camping grounds only at a fee of 1000KES per person. As for meals one can decide to carry their own food and have a picnic atop the third or fourth hills, however, don’t forget to carry everything you came with. Be a responsible traveller! There is also food available at the Kompass restaurant. As for shopping Ngong town is not very far from the hills and so is the Nairobi city centre.
I used a matatu from town and alighted at Ngong town where I got a motorbike. I was a lone wolf and is was my first time at Ngong Hills so I had to hire a guide. The best experiences are those that have interpretation, people to tell you the history of your destination including the weird, funny and crazy. I paid KES. 1500 for the guide. My guides name was Momanyi.
Momanyi, My Guide
Ngong Hills has 7 hills. With my one bottle of water and Momanyi my guide we started the journey of 7 hills. Walking and hiking at the first two hills was almost too easy and we encountered human settlements and many animals enjoying the luxury of green grass.
At Ngong hills the law is broken, the higher you go the cooler it becomes became the opposite. I was hot and sweating. The hard adventure was beginning on our accent of the 3rd hill. The third hill began getting a bit difficult for my first-time hike. Atop here we found the Kompass restaurant that has many activities; including zip lining, mountain biking and archery. Each of these activities at the restaurant cost 1000KES.
As you keep hiking up to the fourth and fifth hill the difficulty shifts from moderate to very difficult. These two hills were very challenging for me. They are extremely steep and even if you are a seasoned hiker you will definitely break a sweat.
The sixth hill welcomed me into into a forested area where plants constantly brush you as if to say hello. Momanyi’s gun was cocked, not to kill me or shoot the plants, but just in case a crazed wild animal was feeling a bit too territorial. I was determined to reach the 7th Hill, the heat, tired legs and maybe danger was not going to stop me. The sight of the 7th Hill almost, nearly stopped me. This 7th Hill was the steepest and extra bushy. I was this close to asking Momanyi to carry me but I made it. I was able to push myself and went all the way to the peak where the wonderful view I have been talking about massaged my eyes. Oh! I almost forgot to say this, seventh hill difficulty (extremely hard).
Momanyi, my guide giving up on me
On top of the 7th Hill I you see a whole different world, both beautiful and chaotic but also calm and peaceful. The emotions can’t be described but can only be felt. Here I was on top of the 7th Hill of “enkong’u emuny” with the whole ‘world or at least Nairobi at my feet. I am wondering how a climb to Mt. Kenya, Africa’s 2nd tallest peak would look like.
Believe me descending the Ngong hills is more difficult than going up the hills because at this point I was already tired and hungry. Finally, after three and a half hours I had hiked all the way to the peak and back to the foot of the hill. I was ready for the next adventure, maybe Mount Longonot before I try Mt. Kenya or maybe a week in bed from my tired muscles.
Let’s rate my experience;
The attraction 9/10.
The landscape, the activities and the resulting happy emotions with some bit of muscle pain made the hard adventure to Ngong Hills worth it . The steep climbs through the forest and the spectacular views is a memorable experience not to be forgotten any time soon. Its a shame I did not do the zip lining and archery, the score would definitely have been a 10.
Responsibility to the local community. 7/10
Ngong Hills is managed by the Kenya Forest Service who protect and conserve the ecosystem. Kenya Forest Service has allowed the pastoral communities the grazing livestock manage the grass. You can also find people from the communities selling snacks and water at the foot of the hill as an income generating activity.
Waste management 5/10
Ngong hills believes in one philosophy on waste management which says, ‘leave with what you came with’, but I was rather disappointed as trash and plastic bottles were thrown around in the picnic area. I blame on irresponsible travelers. Responsibility starts with us.
Momanyi was a great guide. My journey was not boring.
Overall sustainability rating 7.25/10
Are you a person who loves adventure? Do you enjoy pushing your body to the limit? Well the seven hills that make up Ngong hills is just the place for you. This place will push you to the breaking point, it will make you want to quit and turn back home; that is if you manage to climb all the way to the end. It is the best place for team building and if you also like running this place will definitely make you question your fitness. Bring your family, bring your friends Ngong hills is the place to be! I recommend Ngong hills to any traveler who happens to stop by Kenya. You have not seen Kenya yet if you have not been to these hills.
Product watch done by Barbara Michoma
USIU-Africa Tourism Students
23rd September 2018