Tharaka Nithi County

Attractions in Tharaka Nithi County

17. Ikwa Falls

While Kibuka Falls is the larger and more popular waterfalls in Tharaka Nithi County, the lesser-known Ikwa Falls along Kathita River is more aesthetically pleasing. At most times of the year the Ikwa Falls forms a pretty 30 ms-wide cascade, that is quite exemplary soon changes soon after the rain season when the falls extends to about 50 ms-wide. It is made up of about 15 separate falls. Situated deep in the neck of the woods about Marimanti Center, an afternoon walk to Ikwa Falls is a no-frills all thrills simple life return to nature expedition. It is found at Marimanti Village, 31 kms before Ura Gate to Meru National Park.

View of the stunning Ikwa Falls.  Photo Courtesy
View of the stunning Ikwa Falls.  Image Courtesy

18. Mutejwa National Reserve

First established in 1959 as the Mutejwa Forest Reserve in Tharaka Sub-county south and west of Meru National Park, the 13.76 km2 reserve, aligning with the Nithi River, best-known for its variety of wildlife was reestablished as Mutejwa National Reserve in 1895. It was created to protect wildlife in the dispersal area of Meru National Park. The focal point at Mutejwa is the low-lying Mutejwa Hill circled by a navigable network of trails which, for the day-trippers, offers an out of the ordinary game viewing safari to spot wildlife like gazelles, monkeys and ostriches. Also of interest are walking tours along Nithi River, cave exploration, birding and hiking up the Mutejwa Hills; which is the largest hillock in Tharaka Sub-county. It is not a difficult drive to get to Mutejwa National Reserve and for the traveller who has done the sought game parks it makes an interesting new trip. The C92 Kathwana-Marimanti-Ura Road passes just outside its flanks, 50 kms northeast from Kathwana Town. There’s no accommodation at the reserve.

19. Meru National Park

There are two gates into Meru National Park. Via A2 Nanyuki-Meru Road and C91 Meru-Nchiru-Maua Road – entering at Murera Gate – distance from Meru to Murera Gate 67 kms. Via B6 Embu-Meru Road and C92 Embu-Marimanti-Gatunga Road – entering at the Ura River Gate – distance from the B6 Embu-Meru Road to Ura River Gate 61 kms. Famous as where “Elsa the Lioness” was rehabilitated, in one of the prettiest national parks in Kenya, the 870 km2 Meru National Park is also a warm tribute to Peter Jenkins; the warden of that time who converted it from a devastated landscape to one of the best run in Kenya. The park itself is generally a hot low country but extremely well watered, with no less than 9 permanent rivers. One of its main rivers, the Rojewero, roughly divides the park into two contrasting zones. To its north, the country is an open acacia savannah grassland, and in parts combretum bush, under black cotton soil. “To the south of the Rojowero River the country is of the red sandy soil type, cut by innumerable sand luggas, and the vegetation is dense commiphora, wait-a-bit and thron shrub interpersed with baobab trees.” It commences at an altitude 2600 ft (north) at the foothills of Nyambene Range dropping down to 1200 ft (south) at Tana River where it links to Mwingi National Reserve and Kora National Park. It is contiguous with Bisanadi National Reserve along its eastern frontier. Unique to Meru National Park is that it lacks a focal point of a great spectacle. Instead, it manifests itself as a valuable ecological area where wildlife can be spotted in plenty. Moreover, the park is small enough with well laid out roads and there are fully-equipped lodges. It is a peaceful park that is well worth more than one visit. Having such diverese types of habitat wildlife, and the birds in particular, are second to none. There is excellent course fishing in the all the Rivers, and a fishing permit can be obtained from the park’s office.

Map of Meru National Park. All Rights Reserved to Expert Africa
Map of Meru National Park. All Rights Reserved to Expert Africa

20. Ura Gate Festival

Opened in September 2014, Ura Gate to Meru National Park gives access from Tharaka Nithi County to this pretty national park. There are two main accesses into Meru National Park, at Murera and Ura. Ura follows a bitumen road from Chiakariga Town. En-route Ura, trippers can make a quick detour to sight Ura Falls. In August every year Ura Gate hosts the popular 3-days Tharaka Festival which is by and large an extol of cultures in Tharaka Nithi and her neighbours: Somali, Borana, Kamba, Embu, Kikuyu and Maasai. The event aims to sensitize and unyoke campaigns geared towards the conservation of Meru National Park.

Dancers at the Ura Gate Festival in Tharaka Nithi. Image Courtesy
Dancers at the Ura Gate Festival in Tharaka Nithi. Image Courtesy

21. Waterfalls in Tharaka Nithi

The landscape of Tharaka Nithi County is chaperoned by a farrago of spectacle waterfalls, both modest and large, most little-travelled and enticing for unique adventures.  In all, Tharaka Nithi County has about fifteen waterfalls, most sold short, remaining uncovered treasures that serve only as local delights. Some of the noteworthy sites in its index of waterfalls include: Machui Falls along Naka River; Kanda Kame and Enamwamba Falls along Maara River; Ura, Kibuuka, Iruruni, Ikwa, Machi, Ngoki, Mwanyingi, Mwita, Munyiithi, and the Katheruka.

Kithino River Rapids in Tharaka Nithi. Image Courtesy of The Gaia Foundation
Kithino River Rapids in Tharaka Nithi. Image Courtesy of The Gaia Foundation