Ndoto Mountains, Aldera Hill
|Distance from Nairobi||About 500km|
|Starting Point||Lasamu Camp, Ngurunit|
|Ending point||Lasamu Camp, Ngurunit|
|Walking Duration||7 - 9 hours|
|Terrain||Dirt trail with a few river crossings, and some steep rocky sections.|
The Ndoto Mountains on the northern end of Samburu County are an oasis for those adventurous enough to brave the long off-road hot dusty drive through the semi-arid northern frontier plains of Kenya. Insecurity had plagued this region for so long that this gem remained inaccessible to most until recently.
This mountain range spans 40km from its southeastern to northwestern end, with its numerous hills creating a stunning panorama of jagged peaks and valleys, in sharp contrast to the expansive surrounding plains. The 1800m high Aldera, one of these hills, offers a moderately easy day hike from the Ngurunit base at 800m above sea level.
The trail initially goes through settlements on the outskirts of Ngurunit, past a water storage tank supplying piped water to the town. Look out for the eye-catching Desert Rose plants in this area. The trail then follows a permanent mountain stream with crystal clear water trickling downstream, as it skirts round a 400m high cliff face on the left. During the rainy season, natural rock pools fill up on this stream, with water slides in some sections providing an opportunity for a water sport break.
Eventually you get to a bowl in the mountain range encircled by hills on all sides. Here, the route to Aldera veers to the left, goes over low bushes, some open patches over rocky surfaces, and some forested parts of the mountain. As you get higher, you encounter an endemic Cycad and other plant species adapted to higher altitude.
The path then contours past a rock tower with twin peaks before getting to a section where you have to scramble over boulders for about 50m to get to the plateau on Aldera. From here, it’s a short walk to various viewpoints on the hill. This is where stunning vistas of the Ndoto mountains and distant hills and plains unfold before you. Mt Poi, the bread-shaped climbers’ paradise on the Ndoto mountains stands out prominently to one side, surrounded by a myriad of other smaller peaks.
From Nairobi, take Thika Road and drive to Karatina town. A further 12.5km on towards Nyeri, turn right onto the road to Nanyuki, and drive 300km past Nanyuki, Isiolo and Merille (end of tarmac) to Laisamis where you take a left turn. Ngurunit, the village at the base of Ndoto mountains, is about 70km down this dirt road.
Lasamu Camp next to Ngurunit River; facilities include huts built in the Samburu style, pit latrines and a shower. Contact Steven Labarakwe on +254 706 385905, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website lasamucamp.wordpress.com.
Steven at Lasamu Camp can line up a guide for you.
Huts Ksh 1,000 per day, camping with your own tent Ksh 500 per day
Guide 1,500 per day