This truly spectacular region is one of Kenya’s best kept secrets. The highlands and escarpment of the North Rift Valley provide some of the country’s most awe-inspiring views, across the broad and beautiful Kerio Valley.
The scenic vistas around the Elgeyo escarpment are truly stunning, especially from the ‘World’s End’ viewpoint at Nyaru. Waterfalls flow down the face of these escapements, and at Chebloch, on the valley floor water runs through a deep and narrow gorge with sheer rock walls.
The highlands are an excellent place to explore, and there is plenty to discover among the many hills and ranges. From the high Tugen Hills, there are excellent views across arid rift valley floor to Lake Baringo. The lush green hills around Kericho are home to Kenya’s tea industry, and the nearby Kisii Community is world renowned for their beautiful soapstone carving.
Unlike most of Kenya’s mountains and ranges, the rolling Cherangani Hills are not volcanic in origin. The hills are centered upon a forested escarpment and surrounded on three sides by sheer cliff faces. They are crisscrossed by walking paths, and ease of direction and undemanding slopes make this excellent country for relaxing hill walking.
The paths cross open farmland, pass through sheltered valleys and wind their way up to forested peaks. This is a birding mecca, and whether you are a serious ornithologist or a hobby birder, you should not miss the Cheranganis. There are excellent bird guides available locally.
Wildlife enthusiasts can also visit the nearby Saiwa Swamp National Park. This is one of the few parks that permits walking, and is an ideal place for a day’s hike. This wild country is home to many and varied species, the best known being the very rare Sitatunga. This semi-amphibious antelope lives in the depths of these swamps. Rimoi National Reserve, in the Kerio Valley, is an important area for elephant migration.
The Western Highlands have become a major draw for sporting tourists. This is the home of many of Kenya’s world famous runners. This is probably the finest place on earth for high altitude athletic training, and many international athletes visit training camps around Iten and Kaptagat.
But the real beauty of these Highlands lies in the solitude, peace, and isolation to be found in the hills.
Getting Around – The central travel hub of this region is Eldoret, which is serviced by both bus and air traffic. Kenya’s third international airport is located in Eldoret, with frequent domestic services. There are several airstrips throughout the region, including a large public air strip at Kericho. Other major towns in this region with good road access include Kericho, Kitale, Kaptagat and Kabaranet. Some trekking companies can organize transfers from Nairobi to the Cherangani Hills. There is a very good road network throughout the entire Western Highlands. There are good bus and matatu connections among most towns and villages.
This is ideal walking, trekking and cycling country (although there are many steep hills), even within Saiwa Swamp National Park. It is possible to take an organized safari into this area.