Last Saturday, I hiked Rurimeria Hills, Aberdare Ranges. We were at Kencom before 4.45 am and left Nairobi at 5:00 am. We arrived at Rurimeria around 8:00 am and packed in a nearby school. In total, we were 16 girls in our group, and there happened that another group was hiking Rurimeria as well.
After a few exercises in the school compound, we started our hike. It’s quite a distance from the school to Geta Bush where the hill starts. There is a fence separating the village from the forest with a gate to access the bush. During the walk to that fence, we could feel the altitude slowly affecting our breathing and our collective struggle could be heard as we panted for breath.
Rurimeria hills is a series of 4 ridges, the first being the steepest and the hardest as you gain altitude. Rurimeria hill is 3,860m asl with an altitude of 12,670ft. It’s the third-highest Hill of the Aberdares. The other three are rocky and not as steep. The hardest part of hiking Rurimeria was the high altitude and the change in the weather. I was shaking and grinding my teeth at the second ridge. It’s windy, cold and you can feel your fingers harden.
We saw cows on the hill on our way there. I was amazed because those cows must have some top tier lungs to be grazing at such a high altitude. Talk of high altitude cows.
Heath and Moorland Vegetation
Whatever you do, make sure you get to the heath and moorland vegetation. It can seem far, especially with the never-ending steepness but make it your goal. It’s cold, beautiful and has lots of colourful and mountainous vegetation. I found it very beautiful. It also felt like there was water underneath us. The ground was giving a very spongy vibe, albeit being very stable.
If you wear glasses, you might want to remove them and experience the full beauty. Because my glasses correct artificial and natural light, I almost missed experiencing the beauty of the health and moorland vegetation. After I packed them away, I was able to enjoy the view and appreciate it enough to record this video:
The heath and moorland are expansive and you can get lost here. There were ribbons tied to the shrubs to direct us to the highest point of Rurimeria hill and the east ridge. On our way there, the weather was changing but I managed to summit and descend before the rains.
Throughout my hiking experience, descending has always been such a hustle as I always feel like I’m fighting with gravity, about to topple, fall, and roll. It started raining hailstones as soon as I descended the 4th hill and I had to wade through wet grassy moorland.
At this time, some of the girls in my group were yet to descend. Hiking through muddy terrain is bad. Hiking through it after someone is worse. The good thing was that the soil absorbed water quickly and rarely was it slippery.
Here’s what I wished I carried to the Rurimeria hills hike, in hindsight:
- A change of clothes. I did carry a pair of jeans but I wish I had carried more.
- A pair of crocs and a pair of socks.
- Waterproof pants.
- More snacks. I snacked more than I drank water.
- A pair of gloves.
Apart from the high altitude and the hailstones, it was quite an experience. The highlight of hiking Rurimeria hills for me was the heath and moorland vegetation.
Pictures from Rurimeria Hills Hike
Have you hiked Rurimeria Hills and what was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.