Posted in travel

Aberdare’s Season Finale

Activity: Mt. Kipipiri hike
When: 11th September 2021
Service: Alpine Troupe
Charges: Ksh 1,450
Distance: Approximately 20km
Altitude: 3,345m ASL
Duration: 6-7hours

First of all, I’m so proud for having done trails at the Aberdare Ranges. Can we have a round of applause kindly-it was not easy. The Ranges have taught me lessons that no human being could ever do. Interacting with its nature was a top tier feeling; one that pictures can’t tell enough but partaking in wanderlust will reveal the magic within.

Kipipiri being the last strike was so different from the rest. She was so tender, calm and straight forward. I loved that she didn’t take a hiker for a character development class like the rest do where terrains shift abruptly and your consciousness alerts for danger or layering up. Instead, she literally assured one to be friendly, fly and ready to aid one feel high. Yes, she is a beginner friendly trail for one wanting to devour the Aberdare’s.

Maybe it was her demeanor or her gentle touch that made me rate the “butterfly mountain” as the easiest. Pronounced in Maa dialect, we- Central Kenya community, owe an apology to the mountain. All my life I’ve heard us say Kīpīpīrī but when reality sunk in that sunny morning of its proper name, I knew we’ve been defeated to 0-10 real quick. That’s the score. That’s what we get when we try to fit in everything to our liking. However, I’m curious of what the Maasai community were doing up in the Aberdare Ranges back then? Grazing? Migration? Maybe this article will answer those questions👉

Accessed via Ndunyu Njeru, same road used to get to Rurimeria, Table Mountain and 7 Ponds. Distant cousins they are. The hike started at Geta Forest Station gate where rangers and guides are hired. The kick off was welcoming with cypress, cedar and pine trees decorating the path with a mansion drive through vibe. So flat was the terrain that the guides assured us it wouldn’t change for the rest of the 20kms.

What actually changed was the flora when we took a detour after a river into the jungle. Blooming wild flowers, giant heather trees and century old trees that had moss crippling on them. Flock of sheep were the only fauna on this horizon and interestingly there was a white goat amongst them. Black sheep. The dense forest cover had many wrong turns that misled those who weren’t keen on spotting the red ribbons. Staying as a group was crucial.

Lobelia family outdid itself as the only moorland here. No tussock grass, no bog, just giant lobelias and lobelia giberroa that occupied most of the topography accompanied by fog. Two false summits on a rocky patch had us thanking the rain for holding it together. The rocky affair would be dangerous on a wet day. The summit beamed at last offering picturesque views of Lake Olbolosat, the only lake in Central Kenya.

One thing about Kipipiri is that you must finish it whether you like or not. There’s no turning back to the starting point once you summit. Descending follows a trail through the canopy where bamboo trees make a mockery of how everything in this jungle is mixed up. On a real though, bamboo trails should be somewhere in the middle of the ascent, like Elephant hill, right? Well, I’ve got news for you. They are served last here. These ones though don’t honk on each other neither do they have the slippery effect.

The lush forest opens up to more grazing cattle, human interaction and an exit gate at the end of the fenced forest. The route from here shifts to homesteads before coming to where buses are alerted to wait for their adrenaline junkies at Miharati centre. Here Rurimeria, shows off her aura.

Now that I’m done what’s next? Repeating is not my glass of water. Though planning on exploring other routes like Satima via Mweiga and try the famous traverse. Combining 2/3 mountains to test out my limits. Also, taking over Mt.Kenya routes and exploring mountains in other counties that are less travelled.

See you in the next one.

PS: Lost my feather souvenir.


Living my life, exploring it, yearning more of it and learning from it.

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