In this post, we will cover Ngare Ndare Forest Entrance Forest activities and charges. Ngare Ndare forest is a lush indigenous forest at the northern foothills of Mt. Kenya. Azure pools glisten at the bottom of waterfalls and 200-year-old trees stretch into the canopy supporting a rich variety of bird and animal species.
Ngare Ndare Forest lies on the border of two of Northern Kenya’s counties – Laikipia and Meru, and on the border of two conservancies – Lewa and Borana. The forest reserve is an elephant corridor that links the Mount Kenya Forest Reserve to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and one which elephants have been using for centuries. The forest was recently included as an extension of the Mount Kenya UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Owing to fatal human-wildlife conflicts, the forest was fenced off in 1992 and in 2009 it was placed under the custody of the Ngare Ndare Trust after a concession with Kenya Forest Service. Ngare Ndare Forest is one of the most beautiful places you will travel to in Kenya. Ngare Ndare, which means “Waterfall of the Gods” in Masai is very rightfully named. This is the closest thing to paradise and by far the most stunning in Kenya, you will be shocked by the untouched beauty of this incredible place. Ngare Ndare forest seems to have been forgotten by tourists, making it one of the best places to visit.
How to Get to Ngare Ndare
Ngare Ndare forest is a lovely getaway, located in a secure spot. However, getting there takes a while, with about four hours of driving from Nairobi and an hour from the nearest city, Nanyuki. Most of the roads leading to Ngare Ndare are in poor condition, so we highly recommend traveling with a car that has a 4-wheel drive.
Ngare Ndare has two gates as entrances. The first is a small hut without any visible signs where you can pay for your entry. M-Pesa is the preferred payment method as cash is no longer accepted. The second gate is where your ticket will be checked, and your guide will be waiting for you.
If you don’t have a 4-wheel drive, you can park your car here. You can hike to the waterfalls or head straight to the canopy walk. To skip most of the hiking, and if your car is capable, you can drive about half an hour through the forest to another parking spot (with room for cars within the bushes) and walk for about 10 minutes to the waterfalls. However, this is only possible if there hasn’t been any rain as the “roads” are just dirt paths that are steep in some areas, very windy, and have two water crossings.
Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve Activities
1. The Canopy Walkway
The Ngare Ndare canopy walk is a remarkable experience that takes you 10 meters above the ground. This hanging walkway stretches 450 meters into the forest, allowing you to walk above and through the canopies of the tallest trees. It’s recommended to go shortly before sunset when the light filters through the branches and leaves, creating a breathtaking natural display. Be on the lookout for black rhinos, elephants, and buffalos, which can often be spotted in the area.
The skywalk board above the canopy is a sight to behold, perched high up and appearing to stretch out towards the clouds. As you walk, you’ll feel like you’re gliding gently under the azure sky. The walkway ends at a wooden platform where you can enjoy a meal, relax, and take in the view of the Ngare Ndare River from a high vantage point. Elephants and buffalos are frequent visitors to the river, where they come to drink and wallow.
2. Ngare Ndare Hiking Trail
Ngare Ndare forest is a great hiking destination that is less challenging than Mount Longonot or Sleeping Warrior. Visitors can take a dip in the main waterfall and pool, provided they are good swimmers. The water is cold as it comes from Mt Kenya. Adventurous hikers can even dive from a cliff, but it is important to note that this activity is only allowed under the supervision of the Forest Guards to ensure everyone’s safety.
3. The Blue Pools and Waterfalls of Ngare Ndare Forest
When visiting Ngare Ndare Forest in Kenya, many tourists consider the blue waters and waterfalls to be the highlight of their trip. The forest is known for its beauty and is a popular destination for Kenya safaris. A small hike of about 45 minutes is required to reach the waterfalls. If you have a 4-wheel drive, there is also the option of driving through some streams and very tiny forest roads for half of the hike to shorten the walking distance.
Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll see a 15-meter-high cliff with water flowing down into a pale blue rock pool. The pool is surrounded by large trees, and you’re welcome to take a refreshing dip. However, be prepared for the cold water, which comes from a mountain spring near Mt Kenya and may cause a “body freeze.” Keep an eye out for elephants, which sometimes roam the area.
The main and largest waterfall is the most popular. On weekends you will probably see many locals visiting and going for swims. However, there is another, more hidden waterfall, known as “The Source” about a 15-minute hike away from the main one. Here you find the most incredible and insanely clear blue water, with only maybe one or two other people there.
4. Mountain Bike Challenge
Ngare Ndare Forest provides a variety of walking and mountain bike trails for visitors to explore, with the option of a guide for those who want assistance. The 10 to 4 Race is an annual event that takes place in the forest and is open to both professional and amateur cyclists, as well as families. The race features different paths and lengths suitable for different skill levels. In addition to being a thrilling event, it serves as a major fundraiser for Mount Kenya Trust conservation NGO. The funds raised go towards supporting projects such as the reforestation of over two million trees in Mount Kenya’s National Reserve, anti-poaching teams, community health initiatives for 40,000 people, elephant corridors, human-wildlife mitigation, and habitat protection.
5. Camp at Ngare Ndare Forest
Camping in Ngare Ndare forest provides an exhilarating and delightful experience. When you stay in the camp, you will also be right next to the canopy walk and a stream. The campsite has basic facilities of a drop-down toilet and a fresh spring water shower. You’re provided with the wood for the fireplace, which means you can do some cooking over the fire.
In the night you will be guarded by an armed ranger, who will make sure no wild animals are interrupting your sleep. The campsite is often visited by herds of elephants so you may hear very interesting noises in the night that will add up to your Ngare Ndare camping adventure. Make sure you pack up warm clothes because at night it gets really cold. During the day out in the sun it can get quite hot, but if you want to escape the heat, just head to the shade for a bit. If you’re not a fan of camping, you can still stay nearby in affordable Sieku Glamping (glamorous camping).
6. Animal Sighting
As you explore, you will be able to admire an array of colorful birds and butterflies. You may also catch sight of elephants, monkeys, and deer. For a chance to see more wildlife, such as zebras, giraffes, warthogs, and even rhinos, consider visiting the Lewa or Borana conservancies nearby.
Over 300 species of birds, including the Gray Wagtail, African Silverbill, Collared Sunbird, Pale White-eye, Red-headed Weaver, African Harrier Hawk, and Scarlet-chested Sunbird, find sanctuary in Ngare Ndare Forest. Birdwatching is a popular activity in the forest, offering a tranquil retreat from the busy routine of everyday life.
8. Ngare Ndare Zip Lining
Unfortunately, there`s no Zip Lining in Ngare Ndare. People tend to confuse Kereita Forest with Ngare Ndare Forest.
Ngare Ndare Entrance and Guide Fees (2023)
To visit Ngare Ndare Forest, adult citizens and residents of Kenya are required to pay Ksh 2,000 per day for access to the forest, pools, and canopy walkway. Non-resident adults, on the other hand, must pay Ksh 4,000. Children aged 10 to 15 pay half of the adult price. It is also important to note that there is a Ksh 1,000 fee for a guide or ranger and a Ksh 500 fee for car entry per group.
If you choose to camp in the forest, residents and citizens pay Ksh 3,000 per person, non-residents pay Ksh 5,000, and an armed ranger costs Ksh 1,000. Children pay half price.
- It is important to book your trip in advance. All payments are made via M-PESA and cash payment is not accepted.
- The management does not allow entry past midday, given the amount of time the activities take. Plus, you do want value for your money.
Best Time to Visit Ngare Ndare Forest
It is recommended to visit Ngare Ndare Forest during the dry seasons which are from June to October and December to March. Keep in mind that climate change may affect your experience. During the dry seasons, the roads leading to the forest are more easily accessible (especially if you do not have a 4×4 vehicle) and the pools maintain a beautiful turquoise-blue color. During the rainy season, they have a brown hue and a 4×4 vehicle is necessary to navigate the roads.
Make sure you call the Trust ahead of your visit to ask about the condition of the road and the weather.
Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve Opening Hours
The visiting hours for Ngare Ndare are Mondays to Saturdays from 8 am to 6 pm.
Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve Contacts