Theemwe Trail

Theemwe Trail to Mount Kenya. Commencing at Chuguu in Murungurune of South Imenti, direct and off-beaten route to Lake Ellis, Mt Kenya. The road has been dug.

Theemwe route is a hiking trail in Meru County. It is among the most gentle routes therefore easy to climb Mt. Kenya. The route starts from Chuguu, Murungurune. At the forest edge, about 100m from the tarmac road is the first campsite where you can pitch camp for the overnight. The camp has a viewpoint exposing Mt. Kenya peaks. Be assured of great photos if done in the morning when the sky is clear and no mist in the valleys.

Theemwe campsite is 5km into the forest after a mild ascent. The campsite is found in a natural crater-like basin surrounded by thick forest trees. Two rivers converge at the East end of the crater to form river Kaburia, which then drains to river Mutonga. Mineral-water springs are found at the bottom of the crater oozing directly from volcanic rocks. Livestock use one mineral spring while the other springs are used by human beings for drinking and cooking traditional foods.


At one end of the crater, there is a natural pot-like rock that looks like a Meru traditional beer brewing pot called Kithiri. Locally known as Konguu-ka-Theemwe, literally translated into English as the pot of Theemwe salty springs. Due to the continuous weathering process over the years, this pot-like rock has been shaped naturally. This pot-like rock (Konguu-ka-Theemwe) has a deep pit filled with salty water, which is very cold and feels like is refrigerated.

This place has been held as a shrine. In the olden days, it was mythically believed that if you could keep your hand in the hole of the pot like rock whatever you picked from the bottom is what would follow you as blessings. For example, if one picked a substance similar to cow dung then they would be blessed with a lot of cows while if one picked a substance looking like a goat or sheep dung then they would be great goats and sheep owners. Few meters from the pot look-like rock, there is a giant fossilized footprint, which is termed by locals to have belonged to “God” who created Mt. Kenya.

It has bathrooms, toilets and piped water. While at this camp you can be able to see a far-off river Makobo waterfall if it’s not misty. As you ascend further, you leave the forest zone to reach the bamboo belt. A big natural bald-like clearing area called “Baringo” comes insight. It has short vegetation with a variety of different flowers.

The night will be spent at Iraru camp at the base of Ithangune hill. The Giant Billiard Table Mountains commonly known as “Kiringo” in the Meru language is just 2km away. Soon after crossing river Mutonga, you do bushwack towards Mugi hill. Leave the Mugi hill to the left heading to Ketch tarn. The gradient from this point to lake Ellis is relatively low. You can camp here and go fishing at the lake, which has the rainbow, and brown trout fishery. This is the furthest point where strong four-wheel vehicles can reach.

From Lake Ellis, you proceed to lake Michaelson or Minto’s campsite at the Halls tarn. You can access the point Lenana by either ascending directly or going through the Tooth to Austrian Hut. Once you reach the summit, you have all the descend routes at your disposal. You can opt to use the Naromoru route, Burgureti route, Sirimon route, Timau track, Theemwe route, Chogoria route, Irangi route, Kamweti route, Chehe and Nairobi routes.

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