Mau Eburu forest is the easternmost conservancy of the 22 gazetted forest blocks that form the vast 420,000 hectares Mau Forest Complex, within Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Mau Eburu Forest is the largest Kenya safari indigenous montane forest in the whole of East Africa, the forest is one of the Kenya’s water towers, which has some of the highest rainfall rates and the largest drainage basin in Kenya, the forest is located among the folds of ‘’ Mount Ol Donyo Eburu’’ meaning a mountain of steam, assigned by the Maasai people some 300 years ago, Mau Eburu is a geologically active volcanic massif rising 2,855 meters above the sea level, that is some 900 meters above adjacent areas on the Rift Valley. The forest is rich in high resources and activity opportunities.
Mau Eburu forest covers 21,536 acres (87 kilometers square) of pristine indigenous forest and forms part of the Rift Valley conservation and ecology ecosystem stretching from Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Elementeita, Soysambu conservancy, Lake Naivasha, to Longonot and Hell’s Gate National Parks. The forest overlooks Lake Naivasha to the south east, Lake Elementaita to the north, and Lake Nakuru to the north west, the forest covers some extraordinary rugged terrain, rich in dramatic spectacle, staggeringly deep valleys, cut by mountain streams that fall over sheer rock cliffs into narrow gorges adorned with ferns. The forest was gazetted in 1936.
No less spectacular are the forests’ magnificent stands of the tall growing conifers, pencil cedar and podo interspersed, higher up, with thickets of African mountain Bamboo and Giant Heather, a wide belt of closed-canopy broadleaf forest, almost pristine in places covers the tumbling upper slopes of Eburu, many of the plants, wildlife and birds marooned in the forest have western affinities. Mau Eburu forest forms part of the catchments for Lakes Naivasha and Elementaita, with several ground springs, and is the source of Ndabidi River and other small streams.
A precious mountain forest ecosystem the natural features of the Eburu forest that includes its diverse forest types, steep valleys, springs, waterfalls and make it a precious ecosystem, rich in biodiversity. The forest features a broad variety of the indigenous tree species like Prunus Africana (African cherry), Juniperus procera (African pencil cedar) and many others. The Mau Eburu Forest is a home to over 40 mammal species such as the critically endangered mountain bongo antelope of about 12 animals that represents 10% of its population known to exist in the wild, are thought to survive in the forest.
Attractions in Mau Eburu Forest.
The Bongo is a large antelope weighing up to 700 pounds, perfectly camouflaged with a red coat in the case of females, and dark red to almost black in the case of the bulls .They normally have between ten to thirteen white vertical stripes that helps them blend into their bamboo habitat they are browsers and feed on the leaves and also other forest foliage, these are also known as the mountain antelopes that are categorized as critically endangered in the world, unfortunately less than 150 individuals remain globally and the Mau Eburu forest is one of the lucky places to host these rare creatures. Other mammals to be spotted includes the cape buffalo, Mau Guereza monkey, Skye’s monkey, leopard, bushbuck, common duiker, bush baby, tree hyrax, Yellow-backed duiker, giant forest hog, blue duiker, black fronted duiker and many others.
The Mau Eburu Forest sits on the Mount Eburu, the mountain is actually divided into two, the East and West cones. The West Mount Eburu is historically docile but the East Mount Eburu is classified as the geographically active, because of this, you will see random jets of steam shoot into the air. The forest locals have found ways of trapping these waters for their domestic use.
The Ogiek People.
During your hiking safari, you can have a cultural visit to an Ogiek village. The Ogiek are known as the forest dwellers and can be given much credit for the sustenance of the Mau Eburu.
Tourists can get the chance to see how the Ogiek live simply and sustainably with nature as they practice the double restoration of whatever they consume, they are also vid beekeepers, with several beehives perched all over the forest. These hives are not necessary for their domestic but they also use the honey for trading purposes, also any tree with a beehive on it cannot be cut own so it also acts as a way of conservation.
Activities done in Mau Eburu Forest.
Bird watching safari.
The forest is a paradise for the bird watchers while in Kenya Safaris Tours as it has a rich variety of the upland birds, that are over 250 bird species such as Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Yellow-billed Barbet, Black-billed Weaver, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Africa Hill Babbler, and many more the delight walking trail plus the opportunity of having knowledgeable birding guides makes this forests an appealing destination, it is also the home to an extraordinary diversity of butterflies, moths and insects and over 40 species of mammals.
Mau Eburu forest covers does not have tarmacked or marram roads and the most of the paths are only accessible on foot, therefore one of the best safari activities to partake in the forest is the Kenya hiking safari, since there about six mapped trails to follow around the forest which takes you to the different parts of the area, while hiking you will come across a wealthy and healthy array of flora and fauna, and some of the wildlife you spot the different bird species, various types of monkeys.
Walking is allowed to the tourists inside the forest with an armed ranger from Kenya forest service or the community scouts (from Eburu’s Ogiek community who still trades honey, herbal medicine, and other items they collect from the forest).
How to get to Mau Eburu Forest.
Mau Eburu forest has the advantages of being readily accessible and near the Nairobi City , its one and a half hour drive, to get to the forest you use the Nairobi-Nakuru highway past Delamere Farm drive around 5 kilometers look for a junction with signboard on your left for the Great Rift Valley Lodge join the Moi north road which is newly tarmacked.
After about 10 kilometers, turn right once you will see asign for the KenGen Eburu Geothermal Power Station, it is an uphill climb and the road deteriorates considerably from here, drive for 12 kilometers through the settlement of Eburu towards the main gate.