Last updated on December 12th, 2021; Published on April 23rd, 2021
If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway from Nairobi, Nanyuki is a great option to consider. Located only 3 hours away from the city, Nanyuki, a town known as a gateway to Mount Kenya, offers amazing activities to make your weekend trip worthwhile.
Ideally, I’d say that if you have no plans to hike Mount Kenya, you should plan to spend at least 3 days here as this gives you enough time to really enjoy the area. However, if, like us, you’re pressed for time, a weekend trip can suffice and this guide will give you an hourly breakdown of how to spend your 48 hours in Nanyuki.
Things to do in Nanyuki – Day 1: Nairobi to Nanyuki & Ngare Ndare Forest
For your first day, plan to leave Nairobi as early as you can. We left at 6:00 am, which I think is a good time to set out. We decided to combine our trip to see the last 2 northern white rhinos with a trip to the magical Ngare Ndare Forest, located an hour away from the main town.
Ngare Ndare Forest is a protected indigenous forest at the foothills of Mount Kenya. The forest is home to 200 -year-old trees, beautiful waterfalls and pools that have an azure colour during the dry seasons and a number of birds and wildlife species. Elephants are a common sighting in this forest but I have read that there are buffalos, rhinos and the occasional rare leopard sightings as well.
Another attraction of Ngare Nadare is the treetop canopy walkway that meanders across some parts of the forest. This offers a nice vantage point for wildlife viewing and birding activities and at the end of the bridge is a nice wooden deck overlooking the forest.
Visiting Ngare Ndare takes up the entire day but it is absolutely worth it! It takes an hour to get there from Nanyuki town and it is advisable to make a reservation before visiting. I have a post detailing everything you need to know about visiting this forest. You can read all about it here.
Here’s a summary of day 1 activities…
- 06:00 am: Leave Nairobi
- 09:30 am: Arrive in Nanyuki
- 11:30 am: Arrive in Ngare Ndare Forest
- 12:00 pm: Begin Hike
- 12:50 pm: Arrive at Natural Pools
- 13:30 pm: Return to Starting point
- 14:30 pm: Begin Canopy Walkway (Call the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust to see if this walkway has been reopened)
- 15:20 pm: End your visit and return to Nanyuki
- 18:00: Arrive at Accommodation (*we stopped at Cedar Mall to get groceries for dinner)
- 20:00: Dinner
Where to Stay in Nanyuki: Sweetwaters Eco-Farm & Cottages
For our trip, we stayed at Sweetwaters Eco-Farm and Cottages, an Airbnb accommodation close to Ol Pejeta in Nanyuki. It was an hour away from the forest but since Ol Pejeta was our main destination for the weekend, the location was ideal for us. Our host, Anne was also wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed staying at her place.
PS: If you don’t want to stop to buy groceries, you can send your grocery list to Anne and she’ll arrange for the items to be bought. You can also ask about the services of a chef, this will come at an extra cost.
Things to do in Nanyuki – Day 2: Olpejeta & Return Trip to Nairobi
Begin day 2 by waking up early to enjoy the sunrise over Mount Kenya. Then head over to Ol Pejeta for a mini safari before your interaction with the last two northern white rhinos.
Ol Pejeta, in addition to the last northern white rhinos, is home to the big 5. During our safari, we saw only 3 of them but we might have been lucky to see them all if we stayed longer within the conservancy. My favourite animal to see on an African safari is the lion (and now, giraffes) and if you’re like me, you’ll be pleased to know that Ol Pejeta has a lion tracking game drive that guarantees that you would see the king of the jungle. You can find more about this on their website.
Here’s a summary of day 2 activities…
- 06:30: Start the day
- 07:00: Arrive at Ol Pejeta
- 08:30: Meet the Northern White Rhinos
- 09:30: Meet Baraka & More Safari
- 11:00: Breakfast
- 12:00: Head back to Nairobi
- 16:00: Arrive home
A few final recommendations for things to do in Nanyuki…
If you have more time, here are a few other things to do in Nanyuki before heading back to Nairobi on your 48-hour weekend itinerary;
- Have lunch at Trout Tree (since we had a late breakfast at the Airbnb, we decided to skip lunch but I’ve heard good things about this restaurant)
- Visit the Chimpanzee Orphanage at Ol Pejeta (This is a free activity at Ol Pejeta, so why not?)
- Enjoy a longer safari outing at Ol Pejeta (Maybe you’d get to see all of the big 5!)
- Stop for a photo-op at the equator marker
- Hike parts of Mount Kenya
- Visit the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy
Have you visited Nanyuki? If you have, what are some of your favourite things to do and places to visit? Please share with me in the comment section below. I’ll look forward to including them on my next visit.
And if you haven’t visited, do you think this would make it to your Kenyan travel list?