Friday, 23 November 2018

Hiking Up, Down & Around The Breezy Hills Of Ngong’

In every small neighbourhood, is a hidden gem, that locals take for granted, but tourists travel far to experience.

This is the case, or rather relationship, I always had with the famous Ngong Hills.
Their picturesque backdrop is inarguably the first thing that caught my eye six years ago, when I moved here.  And my vow,

I’ll have to hike those hills over the weekend.’

The weekend never came.  I kept postponing and postponing and that first weekend turned to month, then months, and later years.

The closest I came to fulfilling my self made promise came when a bunch of us took the afternoon off work to go hiking.  Interestingly, we spend over an hour driving around the hills, trying to find the entry point.

Next were the nagging voices of some of our colleagues.  One questioned why we couldn't drive all the way up and down the hills.  After a few minutes walk, she got tired and went back to the car to relax after an exhausting hike.

Another gave up before we got to the second hill, and as soon as she found a tree, she asked to be left behind and that we pick her on our way back.

When another made a similar complaint minutes later, we gave up.  Turns out, a lot of people go to Ngong Hills for picnicking, not hiking.

Years later, I got together with a serious crew and this time round, EVERYONE was all in.  No one was to be left behind.  We’d be dropped off at the entry point and were to meet up on the other side at Kona Baridi, 4 peaks away, or 7, if you believe that every peak, no matter how small, counts.
Usually, hiking the Ngong' Hills takes 2-5 hours, covering a distance or roughly 12km, with the highest peak at 2,460 metres above sea level.

…with lots of mbuzi choma waiting for us on the other side; at Ole Polos Country Club, everyone was geared up.

So what makes the Ngong Hills’ so special?

To start with, the trail is pretty okay making it accommodative for all, including first time hikers and kids.

From up there you get to see the amazing views of the great Rift Valley below, maasai villages, and the not so far away city of Nairobi.
However, you ought to be ready for the intense breeze that could easily block your airways and make your eyes watery.  In that case, don’t wear caps - for they’ll be blown off.

Also, if you look closely enough, you may come across these beautiful creatures of the desert like I did.  Some people will lie that you will come across some wild animals but, that’s never the case, not since the 90’s.

The BAD and the UGLY of this is the Kenya Forest Service who manage the area, so you have to pay an entry fee that range between KSh. 200-600, though clearly, they do Absolutely Nothing other than collect money and be rude.  For example, the place is really littered up and several people especially ones that hike in small groups have been mugged.

And, the top of all reasons has to do with KenGen's windmills.  They have  more than messed up the scenery.  Nowadays, all you see are dozens of windmills scattered all over the place.  Nothing scenic any more.
All in all, Ngong Hills still is an excellent place to go hiking.

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