Have you heard of Buffalo Mountain in Kenya?
Also known as Killimambogo and located inside Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park. . Getting there isn’t a dramatic journey; the main gate is about 85 Kms from Nairobi on mostly good roads. You will also pass a big shopping centre in Thika called Ananas Mall, a convenient stop for your last minute supplies and a potty break. You will also see a lot of the Delmonte Pineapple plantations which make a pretty interesting photo opportunity as the mountain is visible in the distance. Once you get off the main road and head towards Donyo Town, the road isn’t tarmacked but is still manageable.
Tip: Don’t follow Google maps once you are off the main road, you will waste time circling around. Follow the signage or ask around for specific directions.
On arrival, it is important to note that they do not accept entry fees in cash, only debit/credit card or Mpesa. There is also a BIG sign alerting visitors that bribery is not allowed. Entry fees at the time I visited were; 300 ksh for the vehicle, 300 ksh for adult citizens and 600 ksh for resident (not citizen). The fees for children and non-residents can be found on the official KWS website. Don’t forget your ID or Passport. You will not be allowed into the park without some sort of identification.
The main activity at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is hiking. There are several campsites; the first campsite is called Turacco Public Campsite, the next one located 2kms from the main gate and is called the Rock Hyrax Campsite and the last one is the Summit campsite, right at the top of the mountain. In addition to the camp sites, there is a large self-catering house called the Sabuk Guest house. Located about 2 kms from the park entrance, it is a 4 bedroomed house with a kitchen, dining area and large living room.
The hike from the gate to the summit is about 9.6 Kms and can take up to 4 hours depending on your climbing speed. On the way up there are several spots where you can really admire the beautiful landscape. According to our guide, from different parts of the mountain on a clear day you can see Ngong Hills, Mount Kenya and even Mount Kilimanjaro.
BBQ on the Mountain top
The summit campsite is a large clear area at the top of the mountain. If you are planning on BBQing, you need to remember to carry EVERYTHING, this includes a grill, charcoal and water. There is a large covered area and two toilets on the site (Carry toilet paper).
According to the site attendant, the buffalo on the mountain are significantly large and can be quite frightening if you come across one. They are apparently used to people and if they hear you coming, they will hide and let you pass. While there I didn’t see any animals at all, however, we were the only visitors at the summit and I went for a little solo adventure off one of the tracks from the site. I didn’t go far, but on returning, I found a couple of mounds of FRESH FRESH poop on the path I used, that wasn’t there before…the site attendant ‘joked’ that I probably surprised a buffalo and it hid while I passed.
For More Information visit the KWS website