Attractions in Nyeri County
6. Serena Mountain Lodge
500 ms beyond the Karatina-Mukurwe-ini turnoff (left) E599 Unjiru-Kiamariga Road turnoff (right) is reached, along which in 31 kms terminates on the edge of Mount Kenya National Park at one of Kenya’s beautifully-appointed tree lodges. Reminiscent of the resplendent Treetops Tree Lodge at Aberdare National Park, Serena Mountain Lodge offers the romantic beauty of Mount Kenya. One of the establishment’s biggest trump-cards is the self-indulgent, open-air, sun awning roof deck from where visitors gaze down at the waterhole backdropped by the dense rainforest draping the slopes of Mount Kenya. The vista, bustling at most times of the day with herds of elephant and buffalo, is an ever-changing gallery and one of consuming interest, apt to occupy and transfix the guests for hours on end. As well, there are wake up calls to view prized game at the waterhole on request. The general design of the three-storeyed tree lodge takes full advantage of the lovely serenity, tranquility and solitude with each of its 41-rooms having private balconies overlooking the rainforest canopy. Guided forest walks, trout fishing, mountain climbs and trekking are some of the liked activities. To top it all off, guests can enjoy tip-top views at the gallery dining room at tree top level.
7. Kayaba Scouts Centre
Set up on a 3-acres property atop a hill with memorable views of Mount Kenya and Aberdare Range, Kayaba Scout’s Centre, suitably accommodating up to 100 campers, is among of the sought budget camping locations in Nyeri. Owned by Kenya Scouts Association and managed by Nyeri Scouts Camp, this offers near-endless opportunities for week-long backpacking trips. Scouting Movement is the largest youth movement in Kenya, with over 1,000,000 boy and girl Scouts and a support troupe of almost 40,000 Scout Leaders. Scouting in Kenya was established in 1910. It is located along the Ruthagati-Kaburuini Road (that also takes to Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls) about 810 ms from Karatina-Nyeri Road.
8. Tumu Tumu Hill
Keen hikers who decide to drive up to Tumu Tumu Hill, making a left turn just after the turnoff to Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls, travel on a good tarmac all the way, through an area lovely for its bucolic setting. The region north and west of Karatina forms an area of higher ground marked by a belt of broken steep-sided hills, often flat-topped, like Tumu Tumu, Kiamucheru and Niana. Also known as Karatina Hill, Tumu Tumu Hill noted as more than a pleasurable hiking trail is perhaps best known for its time-hallowed mission history – becoming a base for early settlers and ground-zero for mission work in Nyeri and which, in part, demystified the fallacy of modern schools making rational colonized subjects. The history of Tumu Tumu Mission dates back to 1918, when the Assembly of the Church of Scotland formed of a Church government and inaugurated Parish Canons for the Congregations of Kikuyu, Tumu Tumu and St. Andrew’s. Rolled out as the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), now the most widespread denomination in Nyeri County, it was instituted to exercise jurisdiction over the congregations. The appeal of PCEA was its resolve to ordinate a native clergy to lead. Now listed as a National Monument, PCEA Tumu Tumu offers a glimpse into this fundamental shift and inflection point in religion of this region. Also of interest nearby are the Kiamachimbii Mau-Mau Graves and a meet-and-greet with locals who are happy to detail memoirs of the Church and Mau-Mau Wars.
9. Nyeri War Cemetery
8 kms from Marua Junction along the A2 Nairobi-Nanyuki-Moyale Road on the right hand side (as indicated by the directional sign) sits the orderly Nyeri War Cemetery. Sometimes known as Kiganjo War Memorial thanks to its location in Kiganjo and abutting with Kagumo High School, “it holds 368 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the Second World War. Four of the burials are unidentified and one soldier is commemorated by a special memorial. Kiganjo Cemetery also contains two non-war burials and one French war grave. Nine Italian graves have since been removed” – CWGC. After the Second World War, three major general hospitals were built at Nyeri but only two were used; one by the military authorities and the other for the Italian refugees and prisoners of war held in the area. The burials at Nyeri War Cemetery were made from these three hospitals. It is open – Monday to Friday – between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.
10. Kahiga Homestay
On the whole, Nyeri County offers a splendid mix of accommodation options. In point of fact, it was one the pioneers of the ‘homestay’ model in the region, long before the concept was made accessible by the global online marketplaces and hospitality giants like Airbnb. One of the earliest and still popular homestays in Nyeri, Kahiga Homestay is a spacious 5-bedrooms holiday home modelled on the ethos of providing ‘a home away from home’. Originally raised as a family retirement home, it now offers a relaxed and family-oriented option, away from the conventional hotel living. Travellers rent it on a self-catering basis, with the additional option for camping on the sprawling lawns. Other highlights include its stocked bar, a billiard table, gazebo, farm, cozy fireplace and, of course, the tranquil rural hush. It is located in Kiganjo close to Kiganjo Police College via Karatina-Nyeri Road (turning off at Marua) and Marua-Kiganjo-Nanyuki Road.
11. Thego Fishing Camp
Shortly before arriving at Kiganjo Town, the Kenya Police College (renamed as National Police College, Kiganjo Campus) and the turnoff to B5 Nyeri Road is passed. From its humble beginnings between 1887-1902, tracing its foundation to the Imperial British East Africa Company and the businessman Sir William McKinnon, who in the interest of his businesses found it necessary to provide some form of protection for his stores in the Coast Region of Kenya, this is now Kenya’s central college for police training. At Chaka, the next-door centre, the nature-lover may be interested in visiting the calming waters of Thego River, a long-standing fishing camp. From this camp the avid angler can fish the Thego itself; the Sagana, Nairobi, Chania and Gura Rivers, and Naro Moru, Burguret, Liki and Nanyuki Rivers are within an hour’s drive. At the camp, there are two basic self-catering rondavels, both fitted with wood burning stoves. Aside from being a great fishing spot, its scenic trail which follows a ridge looking over the river makes for a pleasant walking adventure. Thego Fishing Camp is located off the Chaka-Sagana State Lodge Road – approximately 6 kms from Chaka Centre.