Nyeri lies in the Central Highlands, 150 km North of Nairobi, straddling two mountain massifs -the western slopes of Mount Kenya and the eastern base of the Aberdare (Nyandarua) Range which forms part of the eastern end of the Great Rift Valley.
The colonial town of Nyeri was the centre of the Happy Valley settlers, a group of British aristocrats and adventurers who became famous for their infamous decadent lifestyles and exploits in the first half of the 20th century. The town retained little of an English village where the cool air and morning mists once attracted the Happy Valley settlers. The major industry in the county is farming due to its fertile soils. The area is one of the most densely populated in Kenya.
MAIN ATTRACTION IN NYERI COUNTY
Mt. Kenya National Park
Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the 5,199 m mountain is the highest in Kenya and the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. It is 25 km from Nyeri town and 175 km from Nairobi. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian (5,199 m (17,057 ft)), Nelion (5,188 m (17,021 ft)) and Point Lenana (4,985 m (16,355 ft)).
Mountain climbers must train and be acclimatized before climbing to reduce risk of high altitude sickness.
Best months to climb: January, February, August and September for the stunning views of the landscape.
What To Look For
Unique montane and alpine vegetation with 11 species of endemic plants, lakes, tarns and glaciers. Tree hyrax, bongo, white tailed mongoose, suni, black fronted duiker, giant forest hog, mole rat, bushbucks, water bucks and elands.
Rare forest birds.
Where to stay
KWS Self-Catering Accommodation at Batian Guest-house and Sirimon Bandas
Camping Facilities: Kinondoni, Road Head, Mintos Hut & Campsite, Naro Moru Gate, Met Station, Mackinders
Campsite, Austrian Hut, Sirimon, Judmaier, Shipton, Liki North Hut 7, Solo and Major public campsites
Common activities: hiking, bird watching, camping, sport fishing.
How to get there
From Nairobi to Nyeri approx. 150 km
- Nanyuki – lsiolo road via Sirimon track.
- Nyeri — Nanyuki road via Naro Moru.
- Chogoria via Embu – Meru Road.
- Mweiga Airstrip — 15 km from Nyeri town.
- Nanyuki Airstrip — 25 km from Nyeri town.
Aberdare Ranges and National Park
Established in May 1950, the Aberdare National Park covers an area of 766 kml on the Aberdare Mountain Range between 7,000 ft (2,100 m) to 14,000 ft (4,300 m) above sea level. The park has stunning landscapes – from the mountain peaks to deep valleys with streams, rivers, and waterfalls. The mountains have moorland, bamboo and rainforests.
The two highest peaks are OI Donyo Lesatima (13,120 ft) and Kinangop at 12,816 ft. The park is 100 km north of Nairobi.
The Aberdare Range was named by J. J. Thomson in 1884 in honour of Lord Aberdare, who at that time was President of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Historical Society.
The Rhino Charge is an annual fund raiser to cater for fencing the Aberdare National Park as a means of protecting East Africa’s largest indigenous forest from destruction.
Karuru Falls which are Kenya’s tallest waterfalls, Gura Falls, the Queen’s cave pavilion where in 1959, Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband, Prince Philip had a picnic, the 2nd largest population of black Rhino, freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi’s hideout, the famous Kimathi post office in the fig (mugumo) tree and the Mau Mau freedom fighters caves.
Animals to look out for Black rhino, Colobus monkey, elusive forest antelopes like the bongo, 250 species of rare birds.
Picnics and camping in the moorlands, hiking in the forest, mountain climbing, sport fishing in the rivers.
Hotels, Lodges and accommodation in Nyeri county
Lodges in Nyeri County
Modeled on Noah’s ark, it offers superb 24-hour game viewing like the rhino coming to the salient in front of the lodge to lick salt and drink water.
The Aberdare Country Club
This beautiful country house hotel offers luxury accommodation. It is the base hotel for The Ark.
The Treetops Hotel
The Treetops Hotel is a world famous Hotel where a young woman ascended the stairs as a princess on 6th February 1952 and the following day, descended as Queen Elizabeth ll upon the death of her father King George IV.
KWS self catering accommodation
Fishing Lodge has two log cabins each with three bedrooms and two bathrooms to accommodate seven guests. Tusk Camp Banda has two bandas to sleep eight guests. Sapper Hut (wooden cabin) has two beds and an external bathroom. Kiandongoro Fishing Lodge.
In Park Accommodation
Treetops, The Ark and Aberdares Country Club.
Reedbuck — offers communal mess hut, pit latrine and shower.
Ruhuruini — offers pit latrines.
Wandare — no facilities.
Shamata — no facilities.
Other places close to Nyeri to stay
- The luxurious Mt Kenya Safari Club.
- Naro Moru River Lodge (The base for climbing Mt. Kenya).
- Mountain Lodge Serena.
- Outspan Hotel.
- Sandal Homestay and Cottages.
- Colobus Cottages.
Paxtu House is a small museum standing on Outspan Hotel grounds. The house was built for Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the scouts’ movement in the world. Room 45 of the hotel was his bedroom and has been converted into a scout’s museum.
Lord Baden Powell’s grave site is a national monument.
Events in Nyeri County
- Mwea classic marathon
- Founders day -Scouts event February 22
Facts about Nyeri County
Nyeri County is located in Central Kenya, it borders the following counties; Laikipia to the North, Meru to the North East, Kirinyaga to the East, Muranga to the South, and Nyandarua to the West.
Area (Km 2): 3,337.1Km 2
Climate/Weather: Temperatures range from a mean annual minimum of 12°C to a mean maximum of 27°C, with rainfall amounts of between 550mm and 1,500mm per annum.
Road Network: Bitumen Surface (297.3 Km), Gravel Surface (323.4 Km), Earth Surface (434.7 Km)
Key National Monument(s): Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kenya National Park, Aberdare National Park
Population of Nyeri County
Population: 693,558 (Male – 49 %, Female – 51 %)
Population Density: 208 people per Km 2
National Percentage: 1.8 %
Annual Growth Rate: 0.8 %
Age Distribution: 0-14 years (33.8 %), 15-64 years (59.7 %), 65+ years (6.5%)
Number of Households: 201,703
Government of Nyeri County
County Capital: Nyeri Town (Proposed)
Number of Constituencies (2010): 6 (Tetu, Kieni, Mathira, Othaya, Mukurweini and Nyeri Town)
Registered Voters: 346,374
National percentage: 2.7 %
Number of Districts (2009): 6 (Kieni East, Kieni West, Mukurweini, Nyeri East, Central and Nyeri South)
Number of Local Authorities (2010): 4 (Nyeri County Council, Othaya Town Council, and Municipal Councils of Nyeri and Karatina)
Economy of Nyeri County
Poverty Level: 32.7 %
Age Dependency Ratio: 100:68
Resources: Forest, Wildlife, Minerals (Stone, Sand, Kaolin), Livestock, Pasture, Water, Medicinal Plants
Tourist Attractions: Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kenya National Park, Aberdare National Park
Financial Services: 10 Commercial Banks, 3 Micro-Finance Institutions
Main Economic Activities/industries: Tea, Coffee, Dairy Farming, Milk Processing Firms, Maize Millers
Agricultural products: Maize, Beans, Peas, Potatoes, Vegetables, Dairy Products.
Education of Nyeri County
Number of Institutions (2007): Primary (584), Secondary (194)
Primary: Enrolment (145,906)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:35 (Public Schools)
Secondary: Enrolment (47,524)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:25 (Public Schools)
Tertiary: 2 Universities, 3 Satellite Campuses, 2 Medical Training Colleges, 2 Teacher Training Colleges, Several Youth Polytechnics and more than 18 Commercial Colleges
Adult Literacy Classes: Enrolment (Over 6,500 – Central Province)
Health in Nyeri County
Health Facilities: 340 – Provincial General Hospital (1), District Hospital (1), Sub-District Hospitals (3), Dispensaries (109), Health Centres (13), Medical Clinics (182), Nursing Homes (3), Maternity Homes (2), Radiology Units (3), Dental Clinics (7), Eye Centre (1), Other (15)
Doctor to Population Ratio: 1:29.000
Infant Mortality Rates: 27/1000
Under Five Mortality Rates: 34/1000
Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, Urinary Tract Infections, Skin Diseases
Notable Hospitals: Nyeri Provincial General Hospital and Karatina District Hospital