|Starting Point||Mai Mahiu – Longonot road|
|Ending point||Mai Mahiu – Longonot road|
|Walking Duration||5 hours|
|Terrain||Grassy uphill and motorable road|
|Elevation gain||650m over 3km|
1Kijabe Hill seen from the Mahi Mahiu Naivasha Highway
Kijabe hill is the second most salient feature north of Mai-Mahiu (Maĩ mahiũ) – means hot water. (It is important to get it right because a change of vowels can give the word completely different meanting). The objective of the hiker is to get to the top of the hill and over the other side then return to the Mai-Mahiu-Naivasha road. The distance to the peak is about 3.2 km, which should take the novice hiker between three and four hours.
The hike starts 9km from Mai Mahiu a point that is almost halfway to Longonot town. The starting altitude is 2010masl and hikers take a northerly direction on a trail that climbs straight and steady until the railway line. This maybe a good place to pause and take stalk of where you have come from as you sip some water and energise. The trail then changes direction north east and the gradient increases somewhat. The hiker is advised to stick to the path charted by the guide as gullies, from erosion and tectonic earth movement, are deep and treacherous. The thorn bushes do get quite shot but arrogant after this point attacking the ankles and lower legs mercilessly. But it is not all gloom because while it does not save you the cost of a tattoo, it means you are too busy evading the pricks to notice the tedious climb. As such you barely notice time pass as you get to the rocky part where the gradient ratchets a notch higher, hiding the true peak and thus making one believe that over those rocks is the peak.
After this false peak the climb is steady to the true peak, at 2659masl.
A brief rest is well earned. Unfortunately up that hill there is nowhere to hind from the vagaries of the weather, be it the chill of July, the windy March or the sun. However you are well rewarded by the view all around you as you soak in the beauty of the surrounding country. But what catches the eye of the hiker is the hiking opportunities displayed all around:
There is Suswa to the South, Longonot to the West, Elephant hill to east and the ridges of the Eastern Escarpment of the Great Rift Valley Kinare, Kiharu, Nathan’s, and William’s hill)
As you enjoy the peace up there and the apparent calm below you cannot help but marvel at the IDP camps down below and the resilience their gallant dwellers. Theirs is an island of green tall trees in the middle of stunted grass all round.
The return journey is quick two hours downhill. You the walk eastwards down the hill, cross the railway line, and trudge on to the abandoned old Kijabe town. From here, walk another one hour west along a motorable road until you get two the highway about four kilometres from where you stared.
If you are using private means, the vehicle will be waiting here. Otherwise, you should easily hail down a Matatu to Mai Mahiu for late lunch.