Hiking Ngong Hills

Last weekend we decided to take a short break from Nairobi and go away for the day, just the two of us. We went to hike  Ngong Hills, which are around 25km southwest of Nairobi. Ngong is a Maasai word that means “knuckles.” From a distance the hills resemble the knuckles of a fist rising from the Earth. We have even heard that the Maasai called these hills the “Knuckles of God,” but this could just be rumor. If you have seen the movie Out of Africa you have seen these hills in the background of several scenes. The hike was incredible. The ridgeline rises over 6,000 feet and offers uninhibited views in all directions. From the ridge there are constant views of the Great Rift Valley to the West, the city of Nairobi to the North, and Nairobi Game Reserve to the East. It is a unique experience to be looking at the vast, untouched beauty of the Great Rift Valley on the right, and tall skyscrapers in the distance on the left. It is suggested that you hire a guard when hiking Ngong Hills because thieves tend to hide out and target unsuspecting wazungu (white folk). We debated it but decided that with it only being the two of us, we were better safe than sorry. So we hired a guard, Humphrey, to accompany us. In the end it was a great decision. He was a great guy and he was from the area so he was able to tell us some interesting things about the hills. From one of the peaks he was able to point out 2 guys that were suspiciously looming in the bush below, just off the trail. Humphrey said it was a very common spot for thieves to hide out, waiting to catch hikers off guard to relieve them of their cash and cameras. We would have never spotted these guys on our own. There were several other groups of people on the Hills that day. There were a few tourists, a couple of herders, a group of University students, and a church group spending the day in worship and prayer on the hills. We also saw a few guys training, as it is a popular spot for Kenyan Marathoners to train. We passed through one valley to find (at the very least) 20-25 women napping in the shade on the eastern slope. It seemed like an awesome spot for an afternoon nap, but we couldn’t imagine why you would hike all the way up to nap just to have to hike back down all post-nap groggy. Whatever makes you happy I guess. The day served as yet another reminder of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful place. I mean where else in the world can you spend the day hiking the peaks and valleys of God’s knuckles?

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