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Kilimambogo hike — The beginner’s playground

hikers on mt kilimambogo hike

Situated along Thika-Garissa Highway in the Oldonyo Sabuk National Park and rising to an elevation of 2,145m above sea level, Mt. Kilimambogo hike welcomes a hiker to the hot and dry climate that is suitable for a beginner ready to kick off their fitness goals.

“Kilimambogo” is a Maasai-coined name translating to“big mountain.” The “buffalo mountain” is also one of its common names loosely translated from Swahili name ‘Kilima’ for Mountain, and ‘Mbogo’ for Buffalo. Buffalo skulls are symbolic pieces once in the park, as they truly bring into limelight the majestic Kilimambogo hike.

The starting point is at the entrance gate of Ol-Donyo Sabuk National Park. Other activities that wow a hiker here, apart from conquering themselves on the mountain include birding, learning of Lord William Macmillan’s history, camping at the two campsites; Turaco and Look Out Camps, spotting wildlife, and glimpses of panoramic views. According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, the park is home to 45 bird species, duikers, impalas, baboons, colobus monkeys, buffalos, bushbucks, and leopards.

Hiking Kilimambogo

The walk up Mount Kilimambogo takes a hiker approximately two-three hours to get to the peak. Monkeys and baboons welcome you to the first trail as they chatter to mock your trek up what used to be Lord William Macmillan’s property. Two major paths can be used for hiking: one is a 9km open road that simply winds up the mountain, while the other is a 6km footpath through the forest. The former is a dusty affair in the scorching sun, while the latter provides the ambiance needed for a hiker to conquer themselves: fresh air, cool temperatures, birds chirping, numerous trees and plants species providing the desired canopy.

The trail starts on an easy path before ascending to an uphill of rocks with views traversing to dams, hills, and pineapple farms from a distance. It then briefly connects to the main road before taking another detour into the bush. After one conquers this path, the rest of the journey is accessed via the main road. 

Lord William Macmillan wished to be buried on the mountain peak for the love he had for the Buffalo Mountain. Upon his death, his workers tried to fulfill his wish. The Lord William Macmillan gravesite is on the 4.6km stretch to the summit just before you get to the 3.6km signage. Alongside are those of his wife, Lady Lucy, their dog, and that of their worker, Louise. 

Communication boosters belonging to Telkom, Delmonte, KBC, Kenya Police, CID, Airtel, Kenya Power and Royal Media are found at the summit indicating the finishing point of this rich, historic Kilimambogo hike.


Distance: 12km

Maximum Elevation: 2,145m ASL

Maximum Elevation Gain: 720m

Duration: 4-6 hours

Difficulty: Fair to moderate

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