Kalembwani Day Hike

This hike has a short section and longer section. The first part of the hike traverses over the Kalembwani Hill which is located between Salama and Sultan Hamud towns on the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway. The second optional section crosses the main highway to ascend on to another smaller hill and then back to the first starting point


The hike starts at a small shopping centre called Ngokomi along the Mombasa highway. From the shopping centre, we walk along the main highway for a bit before turning towards the hill and beginning our ascent. Once at the top and back down, those who wish to can continue with the second part of the hike and cover another hill. The total hiking distance is 10-17km and can take between 5 and 7 hours

Full day trip

It can take about 2.5 hours by bus to the starting point of the hike and if we have hikers attempting the full scale of the hike, then we expect the hike to take 7 hours and us to be back in Nairobi by 8pm or so depending on traffic

The route is straightforward and we’ll be using Mombasa highway up to the starting point of the hike which is located between Salama and Sultan Hamud towns. Distance is about 100km


  1. Hiking level – between moderate and hard with many steep and rocky sections. Total hiking distance is 10-17 km. If you attempt the full hike, it changes to 17km and becomes a hard hike. Factors contributing to moderate/hard hiking experience include long hiking distance, steep hill climbs, hot weather and dry environment. The 2nd part over armchair hill also has a very rocky terrain with loose stones and thorny bushes in places


  1. Main attractions – hill climb, rocky terrain, rocky river beds, views of the highway and SGR below


  1. Type of hike – hill hike


  1. Atmospheric conditions – due to the mid low altitude and dry area, the weather tends to be hot and dry.


  1. Slipping hazard – 1st part – small risk at some of the climbing sections but we will be assisted by the guides if needed. 2nd part – medium risk of slipping due to the loose stones


  1. Steepness – This is a hill climb and the terrain quickly becomes steeper. About midway up Kalembwani, it becomes quite steep and care has to be taken. Total elevation change is almost 400m with the highest altitude being 1745m at the top of the first hill and the lowest being 1340m at the starting point


  1. Hiking path condition – dirt paths followed by rocky trails and climbs


  1. Water usage – high – recommend a minimum of 3 litre depending on weather


  1. Route visibility – the trail is generally visible except for a few places where the paths can split


  1. Biodiversity – numerous species of insects, birds and trees

Kalembwani Hill as seen from the main highway


Partway up the hill and the views are already mesmerising


The views keep stretching as we continue with the upward climb


Some of the steepest sections of the climb


Almost at the top and some of the trails become paths passing through farms


Looking down from the top


After we’re done with the top, the run down towards the highway


Notice the hill in the middle? That’s the second leg of the hike and optional


At some point we’ll be going down a dried up river bed – it might have water in the wet months


Near the bottom of the river where boulders have piled up


The river bed becomes flat and sandy


Once we reach the highway, we need to pass under this tunnel and then climb up the highway – a nice place for photos


The view on the other side of the tunnel

Rocky terrain of Armchair hill
Some of the vegetation on the hill
  • Good hiking boots
  • Sun hat – to protect against the sun
  • Water – at least 3 litres
  • Snacks and lunch – since we expect to finish latest by 6pm, we recommend you bring snacks and lunch to eat while relaxing at scenic locations along the route
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Elevation Profile

Trail Map