1 Day Gatamaiyu Forest Walking & Hiking Tour from Nairobi
Gatamaiyu Riverine Walk Nairobi Day Tour is an affordable full-day excursion that explores Gatamaiyu forest – a pristine highland wet forest that forms the eastern edge of the great Aberdare Ranges Forest and part of the larger Kereita forest. Gatamaiyu forest is located approximately 55 km from Nairobi and covers an area of 4,720 hectares (47.2km²), it is known as the forest safari that is 75% indigenous forest, 8% is exotic forest and the rest is the scrublands, bamboo, and also the herbaceous croplands.
The main activity is a hiking, waterfall, and birdwatching. Walk or hike in the forest, looking out for the abundance of birds and occasional wildlife. The forest animals include black and white colobus, sykes monkeys, Giant forest Hogs, Common Duikers, Bush-babies, Porcupines, Mongoose, Civets, and Bush Ochre squirrels. Gatamaiyu forest has over 138 species of birds in and around the forest and some include bird species such as the Jackson Francolin, Hunter’s Cisticola, African Green Ibis, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, African Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, etc.
Gatamaiyu Riverline walk is an easy guided day hike tour from Nairobi to Gatamaiyu Forest. Gatamaiyu Forest is part of the larger Kereita Forest and is located 55 km from Nairobi.
Kereita forest covers 42 km² and is an indigenous forest at the southernmost end of the Aberdares range, covering ridges and valleys at an average altitude of about 1800m above sea level. Gatamaiyu forest is only 8 km from Kimende off the Nairobi Naivasha highway.
The Gatamaiyu Riverline walk is very ideal for Kids and beginners raring to have a go at hiking or experienced hikers who love beautiful trails and like keeping it easy sometimes. This is a moderate hike, 16km long through the Gatamaiyu Kereita forest ecosystem.
In some sections, the hike may even be considered a hard one. The route through the forest is not always fixed and this results in a total hiking distance of 16-18km.
The word Kereita in Kikuyu means “a place for warriors” and probably got the name because Kikuyu warriors are said to have once used Kereita forest cover when fighting the Masai warriors. The main activity is a hiking, waterfall, and birdwatching.
The hiking tour begins from the Gatamaiyu gate and takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. The easy walk (ideal for the whole family) takes a trail along a river, under a canopy of indigenous forest with a few muddy patches. Fallen logs lie undisturbed on the forest floor and across the river, providing sanctuary and nourishment to fungi, lichens, and micro-organisms that are part of this rich ecosystem.
The forest is a habitat for a wide range of bird species including the globally threatened Abbot’s starling, African Green Ibis, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, and the bar-tailed trogons among others.
The forest also serves as a habitat for the black and white colobus, sykes monkeys, Giant forest Hogs, Common Duikers, Bush-babies, Porcupines, Mongoose, Civets, and Bush Ochre squirrels. African elephants are occasionally encountered at Gatamaiyu Forest where they normally come for mineral salt lick, wandering from the main Aberdares National Park.
The trail eventually leads to a scenic 18 feet waterfall upstream, plunge pools, and cataracts. On the return journey, we climb out of the valley to a dirt road on the ridge above, from where you’ll take about 1 hour to get back to the start point.
Activities available in the forest include birdwatching, fishing, and hiking. The tour is available on any day of your choice.
Gatamaiyu Riverine Walk Nairobi Day Tour Itinerary
0700 Hours: After breakfast at your hotel/ residence you will depart by road taking the Nairobi/ Naivasha highway on the upper escarpment to Kamende located 47 km away. Once at Kimende we shall pick up our forest guide and proceed 8 km driving through a Nyayo Tea Zone to the Fisheries office at Gatamaiyu.
0830 Hours: The hike begins at the Fisheries office a few meters from Gatamaiyu Forest Gate. Your walk will descend into the river valley before the course of the Gatamaiyu River. The walk along the banks of the river includes bird watching and sightseeing.
Look out for bird species such as Chestnut-throated Apalis, Trumpeter Hornbill, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Fine-banded Woodpecker, White-bellied Tit, Tambourine Dove, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Abbot’s Starling among others. Occasionally you will see Elephant footprints as you walk.
The Kenya Forest Service provides an armed Ranger just in case. The forest has Colobus monkeys amongst other forest animals.
1130 Hours: After about an hour and a half walk, you will arrive at an18 feet waterfall. On the return journey, you will climb out of the valley to a dirt road on the ridge above and walk about 45 minutes to the Fisheries Department. Along the way back you will see butterfly traps and beehives used by the local community-engaged in eco-friendly economic activities.
1300 Hours: We enjoy a Picnic box lunch at the Gatamaiyu Fisheries campsite
1400 Hours: After lunch depart by road back to Nairobi. We make an optional stop to view the Rift Valley.
1700 Hours: Arrive back in Nairobi. Drop off at your hotel/ residence.
Gatamaiyu Riverine Walk Nairobi Day Tour Prices
Gatamaiyu Riverine Walk Nairobi Day Tour Rates Includes:
Picnic Box Lunch + Services of a professional Guide at Gatumaiyu Forest + All park entry fees to the forest, service charge and taxes + Pickup from your hotel in Nairobi and drop-off to your hotel & Professional English speaking guides. All are experts in African wildlife, culture, and tour guiding, many of who speak other European languages
|Dates From||Dates To||Price Per Person||Children Aged 8 to 12 Years|
|1st January 2023||31st December 2023||Request for rates||Request for rates|
* This tour departs on request
Hiking Checklist: Bring on Your Day Hike
* Cameras and binoculars
* Sunhat, Sunscreen, Sunglasses
* Tip for guides, rangers, and crew
* Plenty of drinking water at least 3 liters
* An identification card or passport: Must
* Mornings can be cold so have a warm Jacket
* Day Pack /Small Bag to carry your personal items
* Any personal medication/ Personal first aid items
* Enough Snacks, fruits, sandwiches, and energy bars to last the hike
* Proper Rain Gear, in case it rains. i.e. Rain Coat/Poncho/Rain Trousers if available
* Wear comfortable hiking shoes with a good grip. Long pants/trousers & long-sleeved hiking t-shirt/light jacket recommended
Gatamaiyu Riverine Walk Nairobi Day Tour Does Not Include:
* Tips or gratuity
* Travelers Insurance
* Communication charges
* Minimum of one person required
* Visas, international airfares, and airport taxes; meals
* Sightseeing not included in the package; optional activities
* Personal expenses such as transfers to/ from the airport (supplement airport transfer cost applies for tours starting from the airport)