|Starting Point||Mai Mahiu – Longonot road|
|Walking Duration||9-10 hours|
|Terrain||Grass, human tracks and motorable road|
The objective of the hiker on the Kijabe hill – Nathan hill hiking trail is to traverse the section between Mai-Mahiu town and Magina town. It involves reaching the peak of Kijabe hill (2400masl), traversing the old-Kijabe town saddle, then scaling the Nathan hill.
The hike, a combination of Kijabe hill trail and Nathan hill trail, starts 9km from Mai Mahiu, almost halfway to Longonot town. The starting altitude is 2010m a.s.l. and you set off in a northerly direction walking up a gentle incline. The first one hour is silence inducing as hikers figure out their pace up till the railway line where you wheel right and continue north east to the peak of Kijabe hill at 2659m a.s.l. The total walking distance is about 3.2 km and takes 3 to four hours.
A brief rest as you soak in the beauty of the surrounding terrain and reflect on the wonders that created the IDP camp down below. You then walk eastwards down the hill for an hour and stop for lunch under the shades of some giant euphorbia tress.
After lunch you proceed eastwards, cross the railway and approach the sleepy, desolate and almost abandoned old-Kijabe town. The shops at this once vibrant town provide a good place to replenish your water.
Thereafter the trail is mostly flat for almost an hour. Some sections of the hiking trail will be on the road but mostly others will be through forest passing many thickets that are inviting as picnic sites. The trail changes to a gentle climb through thick forest as you approach the Kijabe mission town until you get into it through some back gates near the mission hospital.
The Eastern escarpment of the Great Rift valley starts to get serious steep and as you exit Kijabe town at the Wathing’ito bridge. You trek throughhuman settlements, learn a bit of local stuff, take many right-angle corners until you think you are lost. Like many a hike the final stretch is the most demanding. Nathan hill is a steep incline about 200 metres a long that at first looks easy to scale until your start. You walk and walk and the hill never seems to come to an end.
Weather allowing you will be treated to a spectacular sunset on the escarpment before heading to Magina for goat engine soup and Mutura.