Ngare Ndare Forest
Lush indigenous forest at the foothills of Mt. Kenya
Ngare Ndare is a lush indigenous forest at the 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 life. The forest is a vital corridor that links the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to Mount Kenya, and one which elephants have been using for centuries. In the 1980’s farmland became more developed on the southern side of the forest, and farmers came into regular clashes with elephants. In an attempt to alleviate fatal human/ wildlife conflict, the forest was fenced off from southern farmland in 1992. Yet the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust wasn’t registered until 2004, and a concession management agreement was finalised with the Kenya Forest Service only as recently as 2009.
Ngare Ndare is the only indigenous forest in Kenya with an expanding canopy cover, and some of the ancient African Olive and Red Cedar trees within it are thought to be around 200 years old. Elephant and buffalo are frequently seen here, as they make their way from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the rich grazing on the hills of Mt. Kenya. The Ngare Ndare River originates from a spring in the forest, and creates paradisiacal blue pools that go on to provide water for the wildlife along its banks and the surrounding communities. The tree nursery set up by the Trust grows 100,000 indigenous seedlings a year, 50,000 of which get re-planted in degraded areas of the forest in an annual tree planting ceremony attended by many of the community members.
This Destination in pictures
Where to find Ngare Ndare Forest
Visiting Ngare Ndare Forest
Ngare Ndare boasts the only canopy walk in East Africa. The one kilometer long boardwalk provides visitors with a monkeys-eye-view of the flora and fauna below, and often black rhino, elephant and buffalo can be sighted from up there too.
There is a number of walking and mountain bike trails that snake through the forest, and guides are available to accompany visitors who wish to explore them. For those who are brave enough to face the chill, the river pools provide a refreshing swim. Two campsites with basic facilities mean visitors can stay overnight, and all camping fees going to the Trust to help with running costs.
The Canopy Walk
The canopy walkway is a 40 ft. high aerial bridge of wiremesh and cables meandering through the tree canopy and extending 450 metres long. The walkway ends at a wooden platform 30ft. high, where you can relax and enjoy a view of the river from this elevated vantage point. Elephants and buffaloes frequently come here to drink and wallow, and one can enjoy a drink or a meal at the lofty leafy deck.