Last week I went for a hike on the Oloolua Nature trail with my friend Leonie. What a beautiful spot! We put our babies on our backs (Leonie using a Deuter framed hiking pack, and me using my new Storchenwiege half-buckle mei tai carrier), and headed out for a nice, shady hike.
We first took a walk down to a lovely little waterfall. The water falls about 3 meters down, and collects in a small pool before flowing further downstream. In the distance, you can hear a soft, rhythmic clanking sound, which turned out to be an ancient – though ingenious – water pumping system. We walked on along the stream, past a bamboo thicket, and then up some creaky steps back up to the main trail.
From there, we took the long route around the forest reserve. Along the way, we saw a Paradise Flycatcher, several Sykes monkeys, and lots of beautiful blue-green butterflies. I’m sure if we had taken our time, we would have seen lots more birds, but we were too busy watching our step to really check out the birdlife.
Babywearing with a back carry is really perfect for this kind of hike. Heidi could see everything from her vantage point on my back, and got to enjoy the beautiful shady walk through the trees. She particularly loved looking at the waterfall and the flowing stream. She even took a nice nap, snuggled up on my back, with the hood pulled up over her head for support and shade during the sunny parts of the hike.
I went back to the trail again this weekend with Jesse and Claire, and this hike can easily be done with young kids who can walk themselves. Having taken the long route, we walked for a good 1 hour 40 minutes. The short trail would probably take just over an hour, if you included a walk down to the waterfall. I think a one-parent-one-child ratio is best, just because the steps down to the waterfall are quite wide-spaced and there are some places where you need to scramble up or down some steep terrain. There are plenty of shady spots with benches to take a rest, have a snack, and let the kiddos catch their breath, too.
The entire trail was easily managed with Heidi securely on my back. As we were leaving, we saw another person arrive with their two dogs for a walk, and I’ve heard that some people like to go jogging on the trail as well. (I would surely break my ankle if I tried that!)
I cannot believe such a beautiful hiking spot has been so close to my home all these years, and I never even knew about it! It’s in Karen, past the Karen Blixen Museum, all the way at the end of Karen Road (see the map below). It’s a wonderful alternative to Karura Forest, for those that live in Lavington, Kilimani, or Karen, and a great way to spend the day with the family.
Entry fees range from 200 – 600 KSH for adults, and 100 – 300 KSH for kids, and the trail is open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Camping is also allowed in the reserve, though the fees were surprisingly high (2,000 KSH per person for citizens, more for residents and non-residents).