Tharaka Nithi County


Attractions in Tharaka Nithi County

12. Mumoni Hill Forest Reserve

This is located in the northwest edge of Kitui County and reached 64 kms north of Mwingi Town along the C93 Mwingi-Kathwana Road, at Katse. Mumoni Hill, emerging as a wooded inselberg, rises to 1811 ms (6000 ft) and 700 ms from the surrounding arid scrub land plains. To the north, Mumoni Hill is separated from Kijegge Forest Reserve in Tharaka Nithi by a broad valley cut through by Tana River, which lower in the south is dammed to carve out Kiambere Dam – completed in 1987 along the border between Embu and Kitui Counties as part of the Seven Forks Dam Project. Mumoni Hill forms the larger parts of the 104 km2 Mumoni Forest Reserve alongside Muvoria Hill Forest Reserve set in its immediate south. Both these hillscapes were gazetted in 1993 as a forest reserve owing to their importance as a water tower for the densely populated Mwingi North region. For tourism, Mumoni Hill Forest Reserve is a walkers and bird-watchers wild-escape, where colourful birds like raptors, hindes babbler, palied harrier, Somali biome and martial eagles have been regularly spotted. Although still underdeveloped, the reserve is crisscrossed by a vast network of pathways from which nature-lovers can appreciate its rich floral and avi-faunal beauty as well as its fetching mountain scenery. 375 plant species were identified in 2006.

A Section of the Mumoni Hill Forest Reserve
A Section of the Mumoni Hill Forest Reserve

13. Mwingi National Reserve

Formerly known as Kitui-North National Reserve and oft-times dubbed as the Mwingi North National Reserve and more proper as Mwingi National Reserve, this occupies about 70 km2 of the southwest edge of Tharaka Nithi. It is one of four protected and contiguous areas that comprise the larger 4,400 km2 Meru Conversation Zone in company with the Meru National Park (north), Bisanadi National Reserve (northeast) and Kora National Reserve (east). As a result, this reserve is a designated as a “wilderness zone” by Kenya Wildlife Service that allows for fly camping, camel and horseback safari. The reserve is flanked on the northern frontier by the River Tana. Due to the fact that Mwingi National Reserve is bordered by other reserves, it is frequently visited by various game from the neighboring parks. Animals that are found in Mwingi Reserve include caracals, elephants, hippos, leopards, lions and several antelope species among others. Traditional game viewing is still extremely limited and there is no accommodation. Travellers aiming for the reserve must have a strong wish to venture off the grid. It can be accessed via C93 Mwingi-Kathwana Road turning off at Kamuwongo Centre and through Kyuso Village or via Meru National Park.

Aerial View Over Mwingi National Reserve. Image Courtesy of KWS
Aerial View Over Mwingi National Reserve. Image Courtesy of KWS

14. Kibuuka Falls

There are numerous rapids and low falls along all the main streams in Tharaka Nithi County. The more prominent falls, however, of which there are many over one hundred feet in height, occur around Mount Kenya and which were all were doubtless carved out during the lower Pleistocene. One of the most notable falls in Tharaka Nithi County is the Kibuuka or Grand Falls with a height of almost sixty feet situated east of Kijegge Range on the Tana River. It occurs just a short distance from the confluence of Rivers Kathita and Tana and is, with Kijegge in the background, one of the best kept secret destinations of this county. Aside from being scenically-splendid, Kibuuka Falls is also a culturally important area not least because it’s here, locals say, that the Tharaka and Nithi tribes split and dispersed.  Kibuuka Falls is also the proposed site for the planned High Grand Dam which on completion will be the second biggest dam in Africa, second only to Aswan Dam in Egpyt. “The proposed 165 square kilometer High Grand Falls Dam, which will cost Shs 150 billion, is expected to hold almost 5.6 billion cubic meters of water that will be used to irrigate over 250,000 hectares of land and produce 700MW of electricity” – TARDA. It is located 14 kms east of Kathwana.

Video of Kibuuka Falls. Published by Tharaka Nithi County

15. Kajuki Eco Lodge

Found along the Kathwana-Kareni-Chuka Road and within reach of Embu and Chuka Towns, Kajuki Eco Lodge, uniquely framed by the fine background of the Kijegge, Muuguni, Kierra and Ntugu forested hilltops, serves as a strategic stop over for hikers aiming for the Chogoria Route up Mount Kenya National Park and as a layover for trippers to Tharaka Nithi.  Some of the highlights at Kajuki Eco Lodge include its stocked-bar and the roomy outdoor garden with well-kept lawns and day-trips to Kibuuka Falls.  It’s found 5 kms west of Kathwana Town.

A View Inside the Kajuki Eco Lodge in Tharaka Nithi County
A View Inside the Kajuki Eco Lodge in Tharaka Nithi County

16. Marimanti Bamboo Lodge

Surrounded by thickets, woodies and an unblemished backcountry, Marimanti Bamboo Lodge, set up on 7-acres, is all about escape, relaxing and repairing the soul. It is conveniently situated just 100 ms off C92 Kathwana-Marimanti-Ura Road, making this an agreeable and useful jumping-off place to Meru National Park, through the Ura Gate, 30 kms away. The lodge is comprised of 7 detached stone-built cottages with private verandas. The rooms have a standard double-bed size and hot-water. More room layouts can be arranged. Other amenities include: an outdoor rest areas shaded beneath mature trees, a swimming pool, restaurant and a well-stocked watering hole. By night the lodge is a beyond-money lookout to appreciate the enliven African night-sky.  By day, it is a great starting-point to range over the sights, sounds and cultures of Tharaka Nithi County including a trip of the impressive Ikwa Falls and to Meru National Park.

Spatial Location of Marimanti Baobab Lodge in Tharaka Nithi County
Spatial Location of Marimanti Baobab Lodge in Tharaka Nithi County