The highlands of Aberdares are Afro-alpine moorlands. Satima is the highest peak in the Aberdares and is usually climbing in a short walk from the road head on the south side of the mountain. The Northern end of the Aberdares Park is much less frequently visited, but has well developed roads and good camp sites. The hike from the North side is rarely done and is over open moorland with many interesting views and rock features. It is a solid days hike up to the summit and back to the road head on the North side.
Previously, the Shamata gate accepted cash and provided official receipts. We will reconfirm before departure that Smart Cards are not required.
We will plan to camp on Friday in one of the high campsites or at the road head (special permision) on the approach from Shamata Gate. On Saturday morning we will hike up to the summit of Satima and return to camp. Sunday morning is available to visit other interesting spots on the north end of the park (i.e. the Twin Hills or the rock formations called the Dragon’s Teeth) with return to Nairobi in the afternoon.
An alternative descent and return plan is to descend from the summit to the road head on the south side to meet a second car and return to Nairobi from there. Some of the group will probably take this route as it requires less descent to reach the cars.
The meet will leave Nairobi on Friday at no later than noon to drive up and into the park. The most direct route to Shamata gate is through Gilgil to Nyahururu (Thompson Falls). From Nyahururu, the road across the North of the Aberdares in the direction of Nyeri is taken. The right hand turn to the Shamata gate is at a location called 4 miles (or Malonne) and is described as about 4 miles from Nyahururu. The muram road to the Shimata gate is about 39 kms and the gate reports that the turning from the highway and the muram road are all sign posted to the Shamata gate. The drive to Nyahururu takes 3 – 4 hours and 1 hour should be allowed to travel from Nyahururu to the park gate. The park closes at 6 PM. The Shamata gate accepts only cash and provides official receipts. The warden in charge at the gate has confirmed by phone that Smart Cards are not required.
The hike should be a strenuous but well rewarded day. Those wishing to participate will need overnight camping gear. Sharing of tents and cooking stoves and group meals is possible, but each participant will need a sleeping bag and pad that good to the range of 5C. Clothing for a chilly night (including warm hat) and rain is highly advised.
Basic equipment for a day hike is required. Plan to bring sun screen, protective hat, 2-3 liters of water, light pack for lunch and rain gear. On longer day hikes like this in remote areas, t is usually advisable to carry a head lamp and a bit of extra clothing and food in case of emergencies.
Park fees for two days are required and these can be accessed at: www.kws.org/export/sites/kws/misc/downloads/KWS_Park_Entry_Fees_2009.pdf
Two rangers will be necessary and this cost will be shared by the group. The official rate is 1,500 KSH per 6 hours day and we will need to negotiate how many days or program requires on site.
Those interested in the trip should send me an E-mail(email@example.com) to express interest (or reconfirm interest) so we have an up to date list. We will plan to meet at Java, ABC Place, Westlands on Wednesday, June 29th at 7:30 PM to discuss the route, car pool arrangements and other issues.