In this article, I’ll share the best waterfalls in Kenya. They include spectacular ones such as Karuru Falls in Aberdare National Park and the enchanting Sheldrick Falls near Diani.
Kenya is famous for its wildlife safaris, white sand beaches, world-class resorts, and diverse culture. It’s also a perfect destination for hikers and nature lovers thanks to its fantastic hiking trails and waterfalls. So, if you’re searching for the best waterfalls in Kenya to see during your trip, walk with me.
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My passion for adventure travel and hiking has led me to some of the best places in my home country, Kenya. These places are usually dotted with hills, forests, and mountains, and are home to the most beautiful waterfalls.
I’ve chased several of these Kenya waterfalls and always find them breathtaking. Their bickering sounds, inviting nature, charm, and beauty are both calming and sure to leave you with lifetime memories.
To give you an idea of where to go, let’s dive into waterfalls in Kenya worth a visit.
Here’s a list of 10 awesome waterfalls in Kenya. It includes hidden gems, those close to Nairobi, the tallest ones, and waterfalls for swimming in Kenya.
Karuru Falls is located deep in the Aberdare National Park. It’s the tallest waterfall in Kenya, rising about 273 meters high. Although it’s a three-tier waterfall (117 meters, 26 meters, and 130 meters), only the first part can be seen clearly.
If you love hiking, join a local group tour to the Aberdare National Park and visit this spectacular waterfall. Most tour groups use the Matubio West Gate to the falls. Make sure you wear proper hiking gear and carry enough water if you intend to trek beyond the observation point.
You can also drive to a nearby public parking lot to get a fantastic view of the waterfall and surrounding landscapes. All in all, Karuru is a waterfall worth seeing – it’s definitely one of my favorites in Kenya.
Visitors to Karuru Falls can stay in Nyeri or Nairobi since the waterfall is only a few hours away. Check out the Aberdare Fishing Lodge, the iconic Ark Lodge, or these hotels in Nairobi.
Location: 📍Karuru Falls, Aberdare National Park
Ngare Ndare is a lush forest and a hidden gem situated in the northern region of Kenya. Besides hosting several beautiful waterfalls, the forest features many indigenous trees, a hiking trail, a canopy walk, and plenty of wildlife.
I’ve visited most of the waterfalls in Kenya, but these falls are my favorite. The blue waters that originate from Mount Kenya drop from rock cliffs to form spectacular pools that are ideal for swimming.
In addition to chasing the waterfalls and swimming, visitors to Ngare Ndare can hike, track elephants, jump into the pools from cliffs, or enjoy a serene walk along the forest’s 500-meter canopy walkway.
Ngare Ndare Forest is easily accessible from Nanyuki town by taxi. If self-driving, follow the Nanyuki-Isiolo road and branch off to the left after Timau town. From there, follow the dirt road to the forest gate, where you’ll find guides who can accompany you to the waterfalls.
While visiting Ngare Ndare Forest, you can stay and eat at Olepangi Farm or Sieku Glamping.
Location: 📍Ngare Ndare Forest, Timau
Thomson Falls is a stunning 74-meter waterfall located a few minutes from Nyahururu town. It’s one of the best waterfalls in Kenya and is popular among locals and international travelers.
If you’re looking for a waterfall in Kenya where you can walk to the base, stop at Thomson Falls. There’s also a platform where you can admire its scenic beauty.
While there, make sure you pose for a photo with Kikuyu traditional dancers and learn about the community’s culture and heritage from them directly. You can also shop for souvenirs at the nearby gift market.
My favorite accommodation facility near Thompson Falls is The Panari Resort Nyahururu. It overlooks the waterfall and features spacious cottages, two restaurants, a bar, a fitness center, and a heated indoor swimming pool.
Location: 📍Thomson Falls, Nyahururu
In addition to visiting coffee and tea farms, hiking along forest trails, and climbing Mount Kenya, there are many things to do in Nyeri County. One such thing is visiting the magical Zaina Falls.
The waterfall is located at the edge of the Aberdare Forest and offers travelers a fantastic off-the-beaten-path experience. I’ve visited Zania Falls many times and find it one of Kenya’s most beautiful and less-explored waterfalls. It drops around 30 meters below, and it’s possible to swim during the dry season.
If you’re visiting Zaina Falls and wondering where to eat and sleep, check out The Trout Valley which is situated less than 3 kilometers away. You can enjoy delicious meals like fried trout with ugali (a traditional type of stiff porridge) at their restaurant and camp the night at their calm riverside grounds.
There’s also a nice campsite near the waterfall. It’s managed by the Kenya Forest Service wardens, who also offer guide services to the falls.
Location: 📍Zaina Falls, Aberdare National Park, Nyeri
Gura Falls is also situated in the Aberdare National Park, around 1 Km from the beautiful Karuru Falls. The waterfall is hidden deep in the forest but can be viewed from the Karuru Falls observation point.
For an extended adventure, hikers can trek along the Gura River to the waterfall’s base and experience the breathtaking natural attraction.
Like most waterfalls in Kenya, Gura Falls is situated away from accommodation facilities and restaurants. However, the waterfall can be reached on a day trip from Nairobi, which has thousands of places to stay and eat.
The best way to access Gura Falls is to join a hiking trip from Nairobi. Several local groups like Hikemaniak offer trips to the falls and can also create customized tours to meet your specific needs.
Location: 📍Gura Falls, Aberdare National Park
Shimba Hills National Reserve is home to forest areas, grasslands, and abundant wildlife including elephants and the sable antelope. It also hosts a spectacular waterfall about 21 meters high – Sheldrick Falls.
The magnificent Sheldricks Falls is the only waterfall in Kenya’s coastal region; making it a significant tourist attraction for both locals and international travelers.
To visit the waterfall, head to Shimba Hills National Reserve and take a pleasant 2-hour walk in the forest. Although the path is clearly marked, a Kenya Wildlife Service warden is recommended to accompany you as you’re likely to encounter elephants along the track.
You can also join this exciting tour from Diani or Mombasa.
Shimba Hills National Reserve can be enjoyed as a day trip from Diani Beach. Visitors to Sheldrick Falls can stay at Diani’s top-rated accommodation facilities, such as The Sands At Nomad and Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa. Some of the best nearby places to eat include Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant and Asha Bistro.
Location: 📍Sheldrick Falls, Shimba Hills National Reserve
Oloolua Nature Trail is one of Kenya’s best places for picnicking, walking, camping, and hiking. It features a peaceful trail under tall indigenous trees, a cave, and a stream that feeds one of the best waterfalls near Nairobi.
If you love nature and serene environments, be sure to head to Oloolua Nature Trail. You can take a walk, jog, hike, or simply relax next to the beautiful waterfall.
To get to the falls from Nairobi city center, take a bus or drive towards Karen Shopping Center and then to Oloolua Nature Trail (via Karen Road).
Karen suburb is home to many unique places to stay which include vacation rentals, eco camps, and hotels. There are also many restaurants close to the nature trails, including Talisman in Karen – a personal favorite.
Location: 📍Oloolua Falls, Off Karen Road, Nairobi
A moderate hike along the Ragia Forest trail leads you to Ragia Falls, the most beautiful waterfall in Kenya. This magnificent waterfall is easily accessible and ideal for swimming.
Besides the waterfalls (there’s another one in the forest), Ragia is a true hiker’s paradise. It comprises beautiful sceneries, thick bamboo forests, elephant trails, and a cave used by the Mau Mau freedom fighters during the war for independence.
The best way to visit Ragia Falls is by joining a day tour organized by local hiking companies like Let’s Drift and Hikemaniak.
Location: 📍Ragia Falls, Ragia Forest, Lari
Chania Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Kenya. Its proximity to Nairobi makes it a convenient attraction for travelers seeking a short escape from the city.
The waterfall is located off the A2 just after Thika town, around an hour from Nairobi. It has a height of about 20 meters and is best viewed from the iconic Blue Post Hotel.
There are many hotels and resorts in Thika and it’s a great place to stay if you’re also keen to check out places to stay in Nairobi as it’s less than an hour away.
One of the best restaurants near Chania Falls is the Spoon Zoom Restaurant. Its menu includes delicious meals such as wet-fried fish served with ugali and kachumbari (a fresh tomato and onion salad).
Location: 📍Chania Falls, Thika
The magnificent Fourteen Falls is a series of 14 waterfalls along the width of the Athi River. The waterfall’s height is 27 meters, offering visitors a spectacular sight. The 14 consecutive falls merge during the rainy season, creating a breathtaking and roaring waterfall.
The scenic waterfall is located near Kilimambogo town, approximately 65 Km from Nairobi, off Thika-Garissa road. If you love hiking, I highly recommend combining a trip to the Fourteen Falls with a hike up the nearby Mount Kilimbambogo trail.
Location: 📍Fourteen Falls, Thika
In addition to the ones listed above, there are other waterfalls in Kenya worth visiting. While most aren’t particularly tall, they offer travelers an opportunity to enjoy nature’s beauty and fresh air.
The below waterfalls are located in different parts of the country and include the following:
Karuru Falls in the Aberdare National Park is the best and is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kenya. One of my favorites is Ragia Falls.
The best time to visit Kenya for waterfalls is during the high season, between June and October. This period also coincides with the great migration at Masai Mara National Reserve.
The Aberdare National Park has the best waterfalls in Kenya. These include Karuru Falls, Gura Falls, and Zaina Falls.
The Oloolua Nature Trail Falls is perfect for couples and solo travelers looking for a beautiful waterfall near Nairobi, Kenya.
At a height of 273 meters, Karuru Falls in the Aberdare National Park is the tallest and highest waterfall in Kenya.
If you’re looking for an off-track waterfall in Kenya, visit Ngare Ndare Falls, Gura Falls, Ragia Falls, or Karuru Falls.
Oloolua Nature Trail Falls and Karura Falls are the best waterfalls close to Nairobi.
The Aberdare National Park has the best waterfalls in Kenya. They include Karuru Falls, Gura Falls, and Zaina Falls.
The waterfalls at Ngare Ndare Forest boast the clearest water. They are also perfect spots for swimming and cliff jumping.
It’s safe to visit all the waterfalls in Kenya. However, travelers are advised to seek the company of experienced guides to most waterfalls since they are located in remote places.
While many travelers spend their time in Kenya on wildlife safaris, beaches, and historical sites, there are also several waterfalls that are absolutely worth exploring.
I recommend visiting Ragia Falls, Karuru Falls, and Oloolua Nature Trail Falls. If you’ve more time, take a trip to Nanyuki and explore the waterfalls at Ngare Ndare Forest. Sheldrick Falls at Shimba Hills National Reserve is a magnificent waterfall to see if you’re in Diani.
Whichever waterfall you choose to chase, make sure to enjoy the experience and connect with nature.
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