THE FAMOUS THOMSONS FALLS OF KENYA

The famous Thomsons Falls of Kenya

One of the most renowned tourist attraction sites of Kenya is called the Thomsons Falls which is in Nyahururu town. One of the last settler towns, it is a 240-km drive from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Nyahururu is less cut off now than before ever since the road to Nyeri was completed. But it is still considered to be a frontier town for routes to the desert and Lake Turkana. The most popular ways to reach Nyahururu is from Nyeri, Nakuru, Nanyuki, Naivasha, or Maralal. Nyahururu is the highest town found near the Equator in Laikipia County, sharing much of the character of Nanyuki.

At the very edge of Laikipia and Aberdare Ranges is the beautiful Ewaso Narok River. On this river, just outside the town is the world famous waterfall called the Thomsons Falls. It lies along the Nyahururu-Nyeri Highway, which is around 2-km from Nyahururu town. To get to Thomsons Falls from Nyahururu town, walk a distance of 1 km or board a taxi to the falls. There is a tarmac road that goes out from there to Rumuruti which is where the fun begins.

Beautiful postcard views

Traveling from Nakuru to get to Thomsons Falls, it is a joy to see the vegetation and the changing landscape. Acres and acres of coffee and tea plantations merge with the lush green forests in the horizon. Around every corner, there is a view which makes one want to stop and enjoy the colors of the scenery. Its diversity ranges from the Great Rift Valley to the snow-capped Mt. Kenya to the desert. Thompsons Falls is on patches of indigenous forest on the open savanna lands with plenty of coniferous plantation. The cascades of the Thomsons Falls plunges a 74m down the cliff on the Ewaso Narok River creating a mist that feeds the thick forest below.

Variety of activities

It is possible to view the Thomsons Falls either from above or along the trail that runs down to the bottom of the ravine. The nature trail at the Falls through the gorge is a haven for the baboons, the endangered colobus monkeys, and small animals. Also, one of the highest hippo pools of Kenya, which attracts visitors, are found at the upstream of the Falls. Maps from the curio shops around the Thomsons Falls can be picked up to get guidance on a variety of other activities including picnics and guided walks. The activities focused around the falls provide excellent photographic opportunities as they attract colorful birds. Tourists get a refreshing tour of a very different experience with security guards and expert guides. The domestic population in the country are also frequent visitors to the Falls, especially during special holidays and weekends.

To get access

The entry charges to gain access to the falls varies depending on the nationality of the visitors. For Kenyans, the entrance charge is Shs. 100 which they collect at the gate of Thomsons Falls. For non-Kenyans, non-East Africans, non-residents and foreigners, it is Shs. 200/- per person. And the management also charges 50% of the adult rate for each child who is below the age of twelve.

True Falls story

Joseph Thomson from Scotland, a geologist, and naturalist discovered Thomsons Falls in 1883 when he walked all the way to Lake Victoria from Mombasa. The old European settlers, as well as many other residents and foreigners, nicknamed it T Falls. It was only when the railway branch line came in 1929 that the town of Nyahururu began to emerge.

Rural to urban

The first sign of urbanization in the area was a hut built in the 1920s by the Narok Angling Club to allow its members to fish the newly introduced trout in the Equator and Ewaso Narok rivers. And Nyahururu remains a famous market town in the region, which is well worth a browse. This historical place sprawls out extensively over the district, west of the stadium.

Thomsons Falls Lodge

Then came the Thomsons Falls Lodge, which is on the outskirts of Nanyuki town at the Aberdare range on the Southern corner of Laikipia. Tucked in the countryside of Kenya, it is a place of freedom, solitude, and space in a wild landscape. Acres of gorgeous lawns and shades of olive and cedar trees surround Thomson Falls Lodge. It has rooms with en-suite bathrooms and an open fireplace to keep warm from the cold climate of the ranges. Thomsons Falls Lodge is an overnight stop for travelers moving between the Great Rift Valley and Samburu. This ancient Lodge is also a popular base used by international athletes for high altitude training. Although the railway line has stopped operations now, the Thomsons Falls Lodge and the cottages built around the club by the English settlers in 1931 is still going strong.

Palpitates with vibes

The area surrounding Thomsons Falls palpitates with such vibes as to allow any visitor a unique experience. It is unlike any other place in Kenya. The constant sound of the falls, twittering of the birds, chirping of the monkeys, and the enchanting view would make anyone feel closer to nature than at any other time and place. The hippo pool at the equator never ceases to amaze visitors. As one marvels at the wonders of the environment, it is quite natural to feel overwhelmed. The Thomsons Falls Lodge is an ideal place to bask in the glory of this surrealism as it has a cozy fireplace built in the colonial era architectural style.

Nyahururu is indeed a hidden gem. The tourism industry has also not given it the credit that it truly deserves. Perhaps, that is why it is one of the places in Kenya that is in perfect harmony with nature. It is a site that offers not only calmness but also exclusivity. On second thoughts, let it remain the way it is – chaste and untouched.

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