The incredible Ngong Hills
Exploring the Ngong Hills
The Ngong Hills are located within a stone’s throw of Kenya’s bustling capital city, Nairobi, and this makes them a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Just 22km from the heart of the city, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a different world. The mountain range features grassy peaks, which are ripe for exploration on foot, and there’s a sense of serenity and calm. Many families visit on the weekends for al fresco picnics, and the hills are also a popular base for those wishing to enjoy tranquil reflection or silent prayer.
The Ngong Hills is an excellent place to stretch your legs and enjoy a hike. There are several different routes to explore, and you can choose to amble at your leisure, taking in the surrounding views, or to test your mettle with a more physically-demanding trail. The highest peak on the range lies 2,460 metres above sea level, and it’s no mean feat to reach the top. If you are feeling ambitious and energetic, your exertions will be rewarded with beautiful views of the mountain peaks and the sprawling city streets in the distance.
Hiking in the Ngong Hills
The most popular hiking route in the Ngong Hills is a trail that takes you from Ngong Town to the foothills of the peaks located in the north of the region. The hike should take around 4-5 hours and it’s suitable for those with moderate fitness levels and a head for heights. The first 2 kilometres is fairly gentle, but the impending ascent is more challenging. During the first stage of the trail, you’ll notice wind farms before you start your climb. From the first steep hill, you’ll come across a series of peaks and troughs as you traverse the rolling hills. The views on offer are spectacular, and it’s very easy to see why so many visitors make the effort to scale the hills and put their leg muscles to work. As you head towards the end of the route, keep your eyes peeled for buffalo. In the areas covered by bushes, you’ll often catch a glimpse of these majestic animals plodding around in the undergrowth. As you arrive at the peak in Kona Baridi, you’ll see Nairobi city to the left and the Great Ridge Valley to the right.
It’s very easy to reach the Ngong Hills from the centre of Nairobi and you can use local buses if you don’t want to join an organised tour. There is a small fee payable to the Kenya Forest Service. Guided tours are highly recommended, especially for inexperienced hikers. Your guide can show you the best trails to take, point out local flora and fauna and provide additional security.
If you fancy a day in the great outdoors and a change of pace from life in Nairobi, the Ngong Hills won’t disappoint.