Every thrill-seeking adventurer would definitely rank Kenya as one of the best places for hiking in the world. Hiking in Kenya may not be the main tourist attraction but it is a guaranteed way of exercising while experiencing the blissful and splendid touch of nature.
Hiking in Kenya
The country is naturally endowed with abundant lows and highs and spectacular sceneries for all kinds of hiking adventures. The hiking trails in Kenya are safe, some are marked out and have local guides readily available. If you are looking for the best places for hiking in Kenya then here are some of the finest destinations for you to try out.
Best Places for Hiking in Kenya
Here is a listing of the best places for hiking in Kenya based on our personal experiences and independent research.
1.Hells Gate National Park – Hiking along the Rift Valley
Hells Gate tops many lists as the most scenic hiking place in the Rift Valley. It lies south of the amazing Lake Naivasha and offers an array of trails for you to conquer. Named so due to its eerie rock formations and intense geothermal activity, it presents a challenge for any adventurer that wants to hike in a spectacular environment.
It is an expansive park as it covers almost a quarter of the Kenyan Rift Valley with its rich savannah grassland, red colored rock cliffs, layered gorges, and deep meandering gives the destination a unique travel beauty. It comes as no surprise that the classic Lion King scenes such as wildebeest stampede valley and the lion buff were inspired by this scenic environment.
The cliffs at the park are quite high with plenty of abseiling and climbing opportunities. By the Elsa gate, there is a professional rock climbing guide to guide you climb the Fischer’s Tower, the largest volcanic pillar in the park. Besides the park has several animals where you can freely enjoy the watch on foot, by bike or vehicles. Check out the full details of a Hells Gate tour and enjoy this amazing place.
2. Kijabe Hill – Cool Hiking Place in Kenya
This is one of the most unique hiking trails in Kenya located at Kikuyu escarpment at the west side of Nairobi. What makes it an attractive site is the fact that it is located a few minutes from the Nairobi CBD. You can, therefore, go there even on short notice and enjoy a full day of hiking.
Hiking groups in Kenya prefer to start the hike at the escarpment foot and climb steeply through the forest’s thick vegetation. The route trails along Kijabe River which has a series of scenic waterfalls. For beginners and Mt Kenya pre hikers, Kijabe Kenya hiking is an ideal place for you to trek.
3.Lake Elementaita Trekking – Top Place for Hiking in Kenya
With a long time plan for trekking in Kenya, this is a paradise to visit. Lake Elementaita is a salt water lake at the heart of the Great Rift Valley. It is surrounded by wonderful breath taking sceneries including beautiful acacia trees, the sleeping warrior and ugali hills. The lake itself is turquoise-colored with beaches full of black rocks.
Trekking around Lake Elementaita guarantees an exceptional feeling of adventure. The lake is globally known specifically for its high concentration of Lake Elementaita flamingos among other 400 bird species including the pelicans, Marabou storks, crested grebes and East African eagles. If bird watching is your thing, then Lake Elementaita is your destination.
On the Northern side of the Lake Elementaita hot springs which is a natural spa where you can freely enjoy a rejuvenating hot foot bath that will get you ready for the next phase of the hike. You can also choose the longer trail to Mlima Ugali hill and the Sleeping Warrior’s hills. This may take you about 6 hours to reach the crater and requires good hiking shoes and fit climbers. In both trails, you will pass by the Lord Cole monument, constructed 49 years ago and offers a fantastic view of the lake.
These are just some of the Lake Elementaita activities, there are so much more to be combined with trekking and hiking including camping at Duara Flamingo Camp by the shores of the lake. You can book an Elementeita trekking, hiking, swimming, and camping getaway with us HERE.
4.Ngong Hills Hike – Has a Picnic Site
Out of all the hiking places in Nairobi, Ngong hills have been marked out as one of the most thrilling and fun-filled nature trails in Kenya. This destination is specifically ideal for all hiking beginners. The Ngong Kenya hiking is spiced up with a unique game watch and activities including the Kenyan marathoner’s training among others.
Climbing Gong Hills gives you pleasure to love the art of hiking even more. Observing from a distance, the four main summits of the hill resemble the projections of a giant. According to Maasai legends, they were formed at the site where the giant fell after being slain by brave Maasai warriors.
Upon reaching the top of the Ngong hills picnic site reward you with a killer view of Rift Valley many other surrounding features. For those who have watched the movie Out of Africa, then these hills must be very familiar to you since the biggest part of the movie is based here. The recently installed wind turbines give it an additional amazing scenery. If you are looking for the best places for hiking in Kenya then, Ngong hills is one of the places to consider.
5.Loroghi Hills – Meet the Samburu People
Wild and isolated, Loroghi Hills appears in the list of the best regions for group hiking in Kenya. The hills offer you stunning views of the entire Rift valley including the deep forested valleys. The trek starts to go up the Lesiolo escarpment to a height of about 2580m at the Porter Peak.
But the most exceptional thing in this region is the opportunity to meet the Samburu people and learn about their culture. Hiking with a Samburu guide makes the trek more exciting and variable as they expound about their unique heritage making the trek more than just a walk.
And if you are social enough, you can spend a night at their manyatta’s and carry home some of their attires as a commemoration of the Loroghi hike. That would definitely be a walk worth remembering!
6. Karura Forest- Nature Walk and Hiking Near Nairobi
Located in the outskirts of Nairobi city, Karura forest is one of the best hiking places in Nairobi. The forest is surrounded by an electric fence and covers an area of 564 Ha. This is one of the nature trails in Nairobi and it takes just 20 mins from the CBD to the forest in a car.
It is deeply forested with indigenous trees that offers you a cool and natural relaxing atmosphere to walk and hike towards the waterfalls and caves at Karura River. These were the caves used by the local communities as hideouts and religious shrines by the Mau Mau freedom fighters during the Independence in Kenya.
Adjacent to the caves you will find Karura falls which are 50ft high with water falling over 3 shelve rocks before settling back to its gentle flow. Any time you are in Nairobi for a business or corporate forum and you have extra 3-4 hours don’t miss to visit the place. It is simply the best place for hiking, jogging, walking your dog, and bike riding.
You can join our Nairobi hiking club by registering your details HERE.
7. Mt Elgon Hiking and Trekking
Located at the Western side of Kenya, Mt Elgon is another hotspot for hiking in Kenya as well as trekking. The Mountain has a fine-looking series of craggy peaks surrounding the caldera. However, a more heartwarming experience is exploring through the geothermal springs, cave, and the forest.
Despite being at the equator, the mountain is considerably cold with frequent rains and thence the trekkers should be well prepared with sturdy footwear and warm clothing.
At the lower end of the mountain, there is Sudek and Elgon cliffs whose outlook gives the impression that they were naturally designed for rock climbing. With ample time in the country, Mt Elgon is one of the best hiking places in Kenya, away from the crazy city life. An added bonus is you get to enjoy a remarkable road trip across the scenic Rift Valley on your way there.
8. Mount Kenya Hike – Plus Mountain Climbing
Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa after Mt Kilimanjaro. It is perhaps the most challenging mountain to climb not only in Kenya but also in Africa. The Mountain is an all-time attraction to millions of experienced climbers across the world. When climbing Mt Kenya, it may take you around 5 days to reach Lenana- the highest peak.
You will need both hiking gear and expert guiding. The park has about 30 routes to reach the Summit although Chogoria route is the most popular. Any fit trekker can make it to the Lenana, summit ascent however it is crested by two other icy peaks, Nelion and Batian.
The mount Kenya national park hiking is best suited between the months July to October. However, only the experienced and prepared hiking groups in Kenya are encouraged to undertake the challenge. For 1 day Mt Kenya hikes, Naro moru gate is the most famous entry to the park.
It usually takes about 5-7 hours to reach the moorland vegetation and back depending on your energy and expertise. The Mount Kenya national park hiking is a big-time goal every hiker should strive to achieve.
Lets go to Mount Kenya, BOOK a hike with our group.
9. Aberdare National Park – Hiking in the Forest
This is a seamless home for adventurous nature trek seekers. In the Aberdare forest, the hiking groups in Kenya usually enjoy the natural flora and fauna. What makes this a particularly delightful destination for thrill seekers is its expanse and a huge variety of sceneries.
It has the most number of waterfalls among all destinations on the list. This includes the amazing Karuru falls, which at 237m is the highest waterfall in East & Central Africa!
I would highly recommend the Aberdare Elephant hills hike as a start to any hiking groups in Kenya planning to climb big mountains like Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya with ease. It is probably one of the most challenging hiking places in Kenya and calls for experience and endurance to go up the steep terrain through the incredible thickets and bamboo forest.
At the peak, there is an excellent view of the snowcapped Mt Kenya Peak, Murang’a, Thika town, and Nairobi with the help of a high-level focus binoculars. On a good rainy season, like July and August, be sure to enjoy an equally challenging downhill trek with numerous but rather amusing slides and falls despite your effort to create stability.
For the Camping Trekkers, there are basic huts and campsites available however for you the place is extremely cold at night thus you should be heavily dressed. The park is populated with a good number of KWS rangers who guarantee you of your security and can take you to all the places where you can view the diverse wildlife. These include two of the Big Five, elephants and buffalo.
Our hiking group is always doing hike in the Aberdares, BOOK yourself a slot by filling in your details HERE.
10. Mount Longonot Hike
The Longonot crater provides an excellent hike. It is preferred by most of the hiking groups in Kenya for its moderate climbing difficulty. Going up the 2100m hill and taking the seven and a half km round circuit trek is one of the most fun ways to spend a free day. The view from the top of the crater across Aberdares, Lake Naivasha and the crater thin the hill as well gives you a sensational experience.
The climb up is moderately easy if taken slowly and any average climber can reach the top in less than two hours and one more hour walking round the crater rim. The adventurous trekkers, the crater has an interesting chance of abseiling although you may be needed to carry your own equipment and assistance from a local guide.
11. Menengai Crater Hike
Still on the list of the most popular hiking places in Kenya is the enormous Menengai crater located at the outskirts of Nakuru town. The crater is known worldwide as the largest volcano caldera. The crater has tumbling hills, caldera walls and a circular rim raising about 500 m from the ground and 2278 m above the seas level.
The Menengai hike is moderately tough and takes you about 8 hours trekking up bushy trails to the Summit. Upon reaching the Summit, there is an impressive view of Lake Nakuru and the surrounding. Kenya is simply a paradise for all types of hikers from the beginners to the experienced. Her rich cultural diversity and wild animals make hiking in Kenya more than just the physical exercise.
You get to meet and make friends from other hiking groups along the trails. You never know you might meet that life-long friend or trekking buddy on one of these trips. Hiking is more fun when done as a team, and we have strong Hiking groups in Kenya which organize these timely hikes and treks. Sign up to our hiking groups HERE and lets go hiking.
Things to Carry During a Hike
- Suitable footwear
- Rain gear and extra clothes
- Hiking watch
- Map and compass/GPS
- Safari Hat
- Adequate drinking water
- Extra food
- Rain gear
- Safety items: whistle, light, and fire
- Knife or multi-purpose tool
- First aid kit
- Rain gear
- Sun glasses and Sun screen
- Trash Bag