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Event: Elephant Hill + Kinangop Hike

Event organizers: Xtrym Adventures and Safaris

Photography: Isabel Maingi

Location: Nyandarua County, Kenya

Back in high school and campus I was never interested in outdoor activities or perhaps it was the popular sports that I wasn’t interested in, I hated running, you could not find me in a football pitch neither was I willing to take up hockey. I was the chick who sat behind class and kept to herself. Back then I would have rather been in the comfort of my room reading or watching movies.Things have changed tremendously since then, nowadays I live for the great outdoors, I anxiously await till the next time I’ll get a chance to go out and explore.

One of the activities I have particularly taken a great interest in is hiking. This past weekend I had the opportunity to join an amazing group of hikers courtesy of Xtrym Adventures and Safaris, for a hiking challenge that entailed summiting Elephant hill and Kinangop in a day. I will be covering our experience in a series of three posts.

We all met up on Friday afternoon and headed out to Nyandarua county, we camped overnight and had our hiking gear set up in readiness for the early morning start.

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Trying to get the bonfire going.

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My alarm went off at 4.00 am in the morning, I was meant to help out Dancun, the event organizer, with breakfast but I somehow put my phone on silent without realizing it, needless to say I got up 30 minutes late. The cold air snapped at my skin as I struggled to get ready for the day. I felt unprepared and a bit anxious about the hike. I hadn’t worked out or hiked in a while and I wasn’t very sure about it all but it was too late to back out.

As if the universe was trying to justify my whirlwind spirits a bunch of safari ants crawled up my pants as I got out of the tent. Those tiny things can inflict unbelievable pain and discomfort, I had to undress and get rid of those little monsters. I now completely dreaded our impending hike as I visualized how the route would be full of them.

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My Safari Notebook - nyandarwa county 26At about 6.00 am I met up with the group at the starting point. We trekked for about an hour to the South Kinangop Forest Station to pick up Julius our armed escort for the day.

By the time we got to the forest station my reservations towards the hike had quickly passed. The scenery intrigued my senses, it gave me an enticing change from the sights and sounds of city life. The chirping birds, paths that snaked along green vegetation, the small streams that rippled along in harmony and not forgetting the mountains that formed a beautiful backdrop, all of it gave me the much needed break from city life. I was totally sold!

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My Safari Notebook - nyandarwa county 13Steve and Simon, our guides for the day.

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My Safari Notebook - nyandarwa county 6The forest station provides amazing backdrops.

My Safari Notebook - nyandarwa county 5Elephant hill.

We finally embarked on our first task, summiting elephant hill.

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We finally summited at around 12.30 pm it was fairly easy since most of us had hiked this hill before.The biggest challenge we had was the dramatic weather, the muddy terrain and the safari ants!

We stayed up the peak a little longer as we waited for one of our colleague, in the meanwhile the gang danced, chatted or had a power nap, awaiting the the next challenge, Kinangop Hill.

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My Safari Notebook - nyandarwa county 20Hey Mirna 🙂

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Hiking elephant hill has been one of the most rewarding in terms of work out and the beauty of scenery it offers. This being the second time summiting I found it quite easy as compared to the first time ( I went into more detail about it here),I was more familiar with the route and what to expect.

 My experience up the hill did not disappoint, even though once in a while the fog hid the beauty of the Aberdares it would still clear and we would get a sense of what it felt to be above the world as we watched the clouds form below us.

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