Embu County is a small and beautiful county in Kenya’s Mount Kenya region. Embu is one of the few counties in Kenya that has more than one national park, as well as Mount Kenya which is Kenya’s highest peak mountain and Africa’s second-highest which moreover it is shared by five other counties.
Also Read: Top Best Places To Visit In Mombasa County
Best Places To Visit In Embu County
Kiangombe Hill Forest
This is a tourist attraction 34 kilometers east of Embu. The Kiangombe Hill Forest is very important to the locals. It is not only beautiful but also sacred to the Embu people. Their forefathers used it as a shrine, and numerous prayers, including repentance, supplication, and thanksgiving, were offered, as well as sacrifices, to appease the ancestors.
The hill also served as a hideout for cattle rustlers. Being in a strategic position allowed them to spot enemies from afar, giving them enough time to plan their counter-attacks or defenses as needed. The forest’s various nature trails make it an ideal location for nature walks. Walking in the middle of nature is very rejuvenating and will help you unwind. The hills are also ideal for hiking, and the top provides an unrivaled view of Embu and its surroundings, so bring your hiking shoes.
Nthenge Njeru Falls
It’s a double waterfall in Runyenjes, just off the Embu-Runyenjes road. It is a magnificent waterfall surrounded by beautiful vegetation that provides a haven for animals and over 50 bird species.
Camp Ndunda Falls
Camp Ndunda Falls is located on the banks of the Rupingazi River at the foothills of Mount Kenya 8 kilometres from Embu town off Kibugu road. Camp Ndunda Falls is one of Embu County’s, Kenya’s best camping and picnic sites. Camp Ndunda Falls is one of the most stunning places we’ve ever been. It’s not just because of the area’s mild climate and lush, native trees; it’s also because of the many activities offered and the positive energy the area radiates.
The reception area at Camp Ndunda is a traditional grass-thatched hut that showcases the traditional way of life. Ample parking indicates the number of guests who frequently visit the camp. The kitchen, which is located next to the office, is where African delicacies are prepared. It has an open grass-roofed seating area decorated with vibrant African art, where guests may unwind while dining and watching TV on the mounted smart TV.
Adults pay Ksh 350 while Students and Children pay Ksh 250. The entrance fee covers access to the Waterfalls, picnic and camping areas, canopy walk, and the nature trail. Enjoy (canopy walks, nature walks, hiking, picnics, bush trekking, and bird watching among others), Zip lining, Mountain biking, Camping, and Meals. Camp Ndunda is open to team building, camping, conferences, and parties).
Situated in Ena village, off the busy Embu – Meru highway. A day trip to the scenic Karue Hill on the Embu-Runyenjes road is full of picturesque views. Surreal and jagged rocky outcrops dot the incredibly beautiful hill, which is arguably Embu County’s best-kept secret. It is one of the most visited sites by Embu County residents. Driving from Embu Town to Karue Hill takes about 30 minutes. Towering about 1,600 metres above sea level, Karue Hill is a serene site with a captivating landscape.
But these are no ordinary rocks. They appear to be finely chiseled and then piled up, forming “seats” on which nature lovers rest and scan the surrounding area which stretches tens of kilometres. Visitors are likely to find its volcanic hilltop clad in white clouds at any time of the day, especially during the dry and hot seasons.
When the rains come, tourists are cautioned against visiting the site as the rocks are usually very slippery and the surrounding area is misty. Curiously, at the very top of the hill, two tall eucalyptus trees offer the much-required shade for visitors. The challenging terrain becomes more pronounced as one climbs toward the top of the hill on a rocky and narrow path along the edges of the undergrowth. Visitors who love rock climbing and are nature lovers would find this site breathtaking because it offers one of the best picnic sites in the county.
The iconic super-steep and bare mountain rock face is also the preferred habitat of different animal species, including insects, butterflies, snakes, small mammals, geckos, rare birds, and multi-colored lizards. Legend has it that traditionally, Karue was the shrine where the Embu people sought divine intervention. It is not uncommon to find local preachers holding vigil on top of Karue.
The Kirimiri Forest is 29 kilometers from Embu. The forest was crucial to the people of Embu, particularly during the Mau Mau rebellion. It served as a haven for Embu Mau Mau veterans like General Kubu Kubu. Kirimiri Forest is an excellent location for hiking, bird watching, and picnicking. The forest is home to hundreds of birds and grazers such as gazelles and deer, as well as hiking trails. If you’re going on a picnic, avoid setting up your picnic spot deep in the forest.
Iveche Waterfalls is one of Embu’s most popular tourist attractions. It is free to visit the waterfall, which is close to the main road. On hot days, you can cool off at the waterfall’s base. If you want to go on a romantic getaway to Iveche Waterfalls, the afternoon is ideal. You can share stories with your loved one while sitting on the rocks. The evenings are the worst time to visit Iveche waterfalls. It becomes crowded, and there isn’t enough space to properly view the falls.
Mwea National Reserve
The Mwea National Reserve is located in the Makima sub-county of Mwea in the Embu county. Mwea National Reserve Park is an area of approximately 42 square km of a savannah ecosystem. The ecosystem is made up of small hills with bushy vegetation and scattered large trees. The other areas are open grassland and the trees found within the ecosystem are mainly Acacia species and baobab trees. Major wildlife attractions include the Elephant, Rothschild, giraffe, common zebra which are very common in most parks, lesser kudos, buffaloes, water bucks, bush Buck which are very beautiful, impala vervet monkeys, Aradark, yellow baboons which are very interesting to view, grant gazelle, dikdik which are very unpopular and difficult to get because their species are diminishing, the cape hare, warthog, blacked jackal, duikers Sykes monkeys, Genet cat and slender mangoose.
The temperatures in the area are cool and fine. Birds are over 200 species. Mwea is renowned for its water birds and waders. The only protected areas in from the globally threatened and Kenya endemic species, pel’s fishing owl and white-backed high heron. Also, there are a number of hydroelectric power dams which include Kamburu, Kiambere, Masinga, Gitare, and Kindaruma, much of Kenya’s electricity is produced at these dams. Other additional attractions within the park on Tana River that one can see Adamson Falls and Mutonga Grand Falls. There is also a boat ride which is fun and fantastic that is offered by Masinga Resort on the Masinga and Kamburu dams.
The scenic hills are home to bushlands and indigenous trees, which provide habitat for a variety of bird species. It’s also one of the best hiking spots in Embu County. It provides fantastic opportunities for photo shoots and sightseeing of the Seven Forks Dams and other scenic sites in Embu County.
The Thiba River is a significant river in Kenya that flows through the central part of the country. It originates from the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya and travels eastward before joining the Tana River. The Thiba River is an important tributary of the Tana River, which is the longest river in Kenya. The Thiba River serves as a vital water source for irrigation and agriculture in the surrounding areas. It supports the fertile lands of the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, which is one of the largest rice-growing areas in Kenya. The river’s water is used for irrigation purposes to cultivate rice, horticultural crops, and other agricultural products. The river also plays a role in supporting the diverse ecosystems and wildlife habitats along its course.
Mau Mau Caves
The Mau Mau caves in Embu, Kenya, are historical sites associated with the Mau Mau uprising, a significant anti-colonial rebellion in Kenya during the 1950s. The Mau Mau movement, primarily composed of Kikuyu ethnic members, fought for independence and land rights. During the struggle, Mau Mau fighters used the caves in Embu as hiding places, bases, and meeting places. These caves provided the rebels with shelter and protection, allowing them to carry out their resistance activities.
The Mau Mau caves are now recognized as historical landmarks and tourist attractions for visitors interested in learning about Kenya’s independence struggle and the Mau Mau movement. Exploring the caves provides insight into the harsh conditions endured by the freedom fighters as well as the difficulties they encountered during their resistance. Because the caves are historical sites rather than formal tourist destinations, they may not be easily accessible or well-maintained. To ensure a safe and informed visit to the Mau Mau caves in Embu, it is recommended that you go with a knowledgeable guide or seek local assistance. It’s worth noting that the Mau Mau Caves are located in Kirimiri Forest.
Seven Forks Power Plants
Visit the power plants in Embu to see how hydroelectric power is generated. The hydroelectric power plants include; Gitaru, Kamburu, Kindaruma, Kiambere, and Masinga.
Ngurunga Ya Ngai
The ancient caves of Ngurunga ya Ngai are located near the town of Embu. If you decide to visit this location, be prepared to hike. Aside from Ngurunga ya Ngai, Ndaraja ya Ngai is a must-see. The River Nyamindi flows underground for about 100 meters at Ndaraja ya Ngai.
Izaak Walton Inn
Nobody visits Embu without stopping by this popular restaurant. The Izaak Walton Inn is a cutting-edge facility that is easily accessible from the highway. It is a luxurious resort that provides its guests with first-rate accommodations ranging from deluxe rooms to superior and executive rooms. There is an outdoor garden where you can enjoy the scenery and fresh air. The inn has a swimming pool, so if the weather gets too hot, all you have to do is go for a swim. The food here is exceptional, with a wide variety of both local and international cuisines that will leave you wanting more. The inn prides itself in ensuring its guests are well cared for, with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, ample parking, and high-security detail.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya is located in the former Eastern and Central provinces of Kenya, now Meru, Embu, Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, and Tharaka Nithi counties, about 90 kilometers north of the equator, around 150 km north-northeast of the capital Nairobi. Mount Kenya National Park is a protected area that encompasses Mount Kenya, which is the country’s highest mountain and the second-highest peak in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro. The national park covers an area of approximately 715 square kilometers (276 square miles) and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
Mount Kenya National Park is known for its diverse ecosystem, ranging from pristine forests to alpine moorlands and glaciers. It provides a habitat for numerous plant and animal species, including several endemic and rare species. The park is a haven for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts who come to explore its breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife. The mountain itself has several peaks, with Batian being the highest at 5,199 meters (17,057 feet). Lenana, at 4,985 meters (16,355 feet), is the most popular summit for trekkers. Mount Kenya offers various climbing routes of different difficulties, attracting both experienced mountaineers and adventurous beginners.
Within the national park, visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, trekking, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, and camping. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, buffalos, leopards, hyenas, antelopes, and various species of monkeys and birds. However, wildlife sightings can be more challenging compared to other national parks in Kenya due to the dense vegetation and rugged terrain. Access to Mount Kenya National Park is typically through the towns of Nanyuki or Meru. There are several entry gates, including Sirimon, Naro Moru, and Chogoria, each providing access to different parts of the park. It’s important to note that climbing Mount Kenya requires proper planning, permits, and sometimes the assistance of experienced guides.
Mzima Fishing and Camping Site
This is a self-service center in the heart of the county of Embu. If you enjoy fishing, this should be your first stop. The site serves as both a fishing pond and a camping area for relaxing with family and friends. The thrill comes from learning to fish on your own; all you need is a fishing rod. Furthermore, you have the option of cooking your fish to your exact specifications and preferences; wet, dry, fried, etc. After you’ve had your fill of food, take a walk around the area to enjoy the peace and fresh air.
Camping is highly recommended at the site; sleeping in the middle of nature, listening to crickets, and waking up to chirping birds are breathtaking. Bring enough bedding and amenities because the weather can get quite cold, especially at night.
Located near Runyenjes town this grove is very significant in Embu history. Ndega Grove is a protected culture preservation area since is considered to be the homestead of Embu’s ancestral father(Mwenendega).