I guarantee you the idyllic setting of Sasumua will charm your heart whether you visit for a romantic getaway, picnic with family or spiritual solitude. All you need is a tankful of fuel, refreshments and at least 4 hours on your hands. Come let’s visit Sasumua Dam, Njabini area in Nyandarua County. It’s one hour away from Nairobi.
How to get there
From Nairobi drive 60Kms towards Naivasha using the upper road (not Narok route). Turn left at the flyover, then another left 500 meters in Magumu village. This beautifully tarmacked road cuts through paddocks and small farms with cabbages, carrots, potatoes and maize. 17Kms from Magumu you pass Kinamba town. Take note of the first right turn 700m ahead onto a dirt road and pass it. You could use this road to the dam. But it is easier if you take the next right turn a kilometre further on. This one takes you straight to the dam. By now you are 1Km shy of Njabini town and the Aberdare Ranges are right in your face. After 2Kms through farms and homesteads you’ll cross a small bridge which is your first encounter of the dam. This is a nice place to stop and stretch.
Mama Flo’s best picnic spot
The best place for a picnic is another 2Kms downstream which I like to call ‘Mama Flo’s Sasumua spot’. Just park your car on the roadside and take the time to enjoy a stroll on this quiet country road. Don’t forget to pose with the sheep – they are more placid than goats, taking little notice of you. Turn into any of the small paths on your left that take you through indigenous bushes teaming with flowers and berries. Before you know it you are on the grass framed fringes of the dam. Breathtaking.
On my first visit to this spot I just lay down and enjoyed the spectacular scenery for hours. But this meant I could not proceed to go around the dam. I had no regrets. This spot alone was a destination in its own right. As I went home I couldn’t wait to come back again and complete the drive.
And indeed 5 months later, on a random Sunday afternoon, I decided to go back and accomplish this mission. But Alas! I never made it around the dam yet again. This time I was not short of time. It was just too foggy and only after numerous valleys did I realise I was lost deep in Aberdare forest! I must dedicate a separate story for that unexpected heart pumping escapade – the subject of my next blog.
A visit to the dam wall
6 months after the forest scare, I decided to make a third attempt of going around the dam. This time I drove to Njabini town where I took the first right turn into a dirt road as you go towards the police station (don’t go towards Olkalau). Though this drive was dusty and rather bumpy I still enjoyed spectacular views of Aberdare’s Elephant Hill. Note the steps over the fence below – cute aren’t they? Tells you humans are not the menace here.
Oh no! 8Kms down this road my heart sunk as a barrier with a ‘no unauthorized entry’ sign came to sight. On a Sunday afternoon this could easily mean an abrupt end to my trip. I was so determined to go round the dam this time. I knew if there was a soul in sight I would employ all the charm in the world to get through. I got lucky but it’s advisable to go on a week day to be sure of entry.
Walking and sitting on the dam wall, above, evoked a strange sort of feeling. I am not sure how to describe it. What do you call a mix of solitude and thrill? I was curious about the small house at the end of the pier, below, but I couldn’t get myself to walk all the way. Why the hesitation? Was it a fear of heights, the water, or just being there ‘unauthorized’? I couldn’t tell. It just felt a wee bit eerie.
And guess what? It is not possible to drive around the dam
To my surprise it was not possible to drive or walk around the dam from this side as the wall came to a dead-end dropping into the water spillway meters below. I could also clearly see that the other side of the dam wall, across the spillway, was where I had veered off into the forest. My mission was accomplished – there was no way to drive around the dam from either Kinamba or Njambini approach.
About Sasumua Dam
The dam is owned by Athi River Services Board and operated by the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company. 12% of water supplied to Nairobi is from Sasumua dam. The Aberdare Range is the most important source of water for Nairobi. Hence a national water tower worth all our efforts to protect its forests. I challenged myself to participate in future fundraising efforts, such as the Sasumua Half Marathon and the Rhino Charge, whose proceeds support conservation of this ecosystem.
Mama Flo’s advice on when to go & where to eat
Njambini is arguably one of the coldest places in Kenya especially in our ‘winter months’ of May-August. If you go like I did in July (when I got lost), do take warm clothes and best that you don’t take the kids along. There are no shops around the dam. In case you need something to eat try out Kanyanyaini butchery at Kinamba village for juicy boiled meat and Oasis Cafe in Njabini for a milky cup of tea.The scenery at Sasumua can vary dramatically depending on whether it has rained or not as evidenced in the pictures below.
But whether the dam is full or not ‘Mama Flo’s Sasumua spot’, above, is always a joy to behold. I will be happy to hear your feedback on this story. Grateful if you leave a comment, click the ‘like button’ and share with your friends on social media. Visit Mama Flo’s homepage to subscribe so that you get an email alerting you when I post the next story. If you are using a phone the subscription page is under the ‘sidebar’ button.
I am sure I will visit this beautiful country side once again. Let us know when you do.
Thanks for reading, Florence