TRAVEL

A trek back in time at Table Mountain

It is a flat rock formation that looks like an office desk

In Summary

It offers a good opportunity for one to push their body and gauge how fit they are

View from Table Mountain
View from Table Mountain
Image: TEVIN MWENDA

In 2020, the plan was to do as many hikes as possible. However, that reggae was quickly stopped with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, in 2021, I am giving it another shot. 

I decided to start with Table Mountain, and no not the one in Cape Town, South Africa, but the one that lies northwest of the Aberdare Ranges in Nyandarua, Kenya. It stands at an elevation of 3,817m.

Though a bit smaller than its well-known counterparts Rurimeria and Elephant Hill, it is equally as challenging. It offers a good opportunity for one to push their body and gauge how fit they are.

The journey to Table Mountain started at around 6am. It is located approximately 155km from Nairobi. One uses the Nairobi-Nakuru route but branches at a place called Flyover towards Njambini. We had to make a stop at the KWS Njeru station, where you pay the entrance fee. We then proceeded to Kwa Matu, where the hike begins.

We arrived at Kwa Matu town at around 10.30am. The journey to Kwa Matu takes about four hours. The sun was already out and the weather was warm by the time we descended on an asphalt road, crossed a nice stream and proceeded to enter the fenced area that indicates the start of the trek.

The first part of the climb is thick forest vegetation. It also happens to be the most difficult part. The forest offered a cool canopy in the blistering heat. After trekking for about an hour through the forest section, we reached our first clearing.

The clearing opens up to the rocky section of the mountain and beautiful views of the Wanjohi Valley below. One finds themselves going back in time to when it was a hotspot for the Happy Valley set, a group of British settlers whose decadence in the 1920s and 1930s is a well-told story.

SURPRISE SIGHTING

At the first clearing, we also encountered some cows. I could not help but wonder how they managed to do such a climb. We took a quick break while taking in the views.

We then proceeded with our trek in the rocky part of the mountain. The rock formations in this part are a sight to behold. They are the kind of rocks you start a conversation with among your colleagues by showing them photos and creating non-existent backstories.

With each step through the rocks, the views only got grander and better. The valley kept on opening itself to us and the beauty it had to offer. The rocks paved the way to moorlands and beautiful wildflowers, the kind you can consider to get your date in the name of standing out and being unique. The moorlands section has a lot of water bogs and tends to be very slippery. We continued through the moorlands, soaking in the magnificence that is Kenya. The altitude starts kicking in at this point. I started feeling irritation on my nose.

After an hour, we came across the peak that is Table Mountain. It is a flat rock formation that looks like an office desk.

The views from Table Mountain are spectacular. The surrounding hills and valleys shimmer an emerald green, contrasting beautifully with the blue sky as it was a clear, sunny day, with only a few cirrus clouds. The top of Table Mountain tends to be very windy. Therefore, I would recommend you have a jacket. After taking a proper rest and enough pictures to prove to everyone we had reached the summit, the time came for us to go down.

The trek down is relatively easy, apart from the hill we started with, which appeared to take forever. We later realised that we had actually taken a wrong turn and, therefore, gotten lost. Thankfully, we were able to get on to the right track.

It took us about 2hr 15 min to hike up the hill and about 1hr 30min to descend. However, the standard time is normally three to four hours to trek up and two to three hours to descend. 

It is definitely worth a weekend plan for those looking for a short adventure outside Nairobi. Further, the more we get out of the house, cities and interact with nature, the more we see why we need to and the urgency to protect what we have.

A special thank you to our expert guide and the amazing friends who came along for the adventure.

Edited by T Jalio