Thomson Falls - family trip from Nakuru

Thomson Falls: A Perfect Family Day Out in Kenya

Located in Nyahururu, a picturesque town in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, Thomson Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder that attracts visitors from all over the country and beyond. Named after Joseph Thomson, a Scottish geologist and naturalist who explored the region in the late 19th century, Thomson Falls is a stunning waterfall cascading down a cliff face, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of nature’s beauty. With its awe-inspiring scenery, rich biodiversity, and a range of recreational activities, Thomson Falls offers a perfect escape into the lap of nature.

The Magnificence of Thomson Falls

Standing at an impressive height of approximately 74 meters (243 feet), Thomson Falls is a sight to behold. The waterfall is formed by the Ewaso Narok River, which plunges down the escarpment in a powerful display of cascading water. The force of the water hitting the rocks below creates a misty spray, giving the falls an ethereal atmosphere. Visitors can witness the sheer power and beauty of the falls from designated viewpoints, capturing stunning photographs and creating lifelong memories.

Breathtaking Surroundings

Thomson Falls is not just about the waterfall itself; the surrounding landscape adds to its allure. The area is adorned with lush greenery, towering trees, and vibrant flora, creating a picturesque backdrop for the falls. The cliffs and rock formations surrounding the waterfall add to its grandeur, providing a dramatic setting that showcases the raw beauty of nature. Visitors can take leisurely walks along the well-maintained pathways, immersing themselves in the serene ambiance and taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding natural paradise.

Rich Biodiversity:

Thomson Falls is not only a visual delight but also a haven for biodiversity. The surrounding forests and vegetation support a diverse array of flora and fauna. The area is home to various bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Bird enthusiasts can spot numerous avian species, including the colorful malachite sunbird, African fish eagle, and the elusive African crowned eagle. For nature lovers, exploring the trails around Thomson Falls provides an opportunity to encounter indigenous plants, butterflies, and other small wildlife, adding to the immersive experience.

Recreational Activities:

Thomson Falls offers a range of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. The picnic areas near the falls are perfect for enjoying a family outing or a relaxing day with friends. Visitors can spread out their picnic blankets, savor a delicious homemade meal, and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings. For the more adventurous, hiking trails are available, allowing you to explore the surrounding areas and discover hidden gems along the way. The cool mist from the falls provides a refreshing respite from the warm weather, making it an ideal spot to unwind and enjoy nature’s soothing embrace.

Cultural Significance:

Thomson Falls holds cultural significance for the local Maasai community, who consider it a sacred site. The Maasai people hold traditional ceremonies and rituals at the falls, adding a cultural dimension to the natural wonder. Visitors may have the opportunity to witness these cultural events, gaining insights into the rich heritage and traditions of the Maasai people. It is essential to respect the cultural significance of the site and adhere to any guidelines or restrictions set by the local community.

Accessibility and Amenities:

Thomson Falls is easily accessible from various parts of Kenya. Nyahururu town, located nearby, provides accommodation options ranging from budget-friendly lodges to upscale resorts, ensuring a comfortable stay for visitors. The falls have well-maintained pathways and viewpoints, allowing easy access for visitors of all ages and physical abilities. Additionally, there are facilities such as toilets, picnic areas, and designated parking spaces to enhance the visitor experience. Local vendors near the falls offer refreshments and souvenirs, allowing visitors to indulge in local delicacies and take home mementos of their visit.

Responsible Tourism and Conservation Efforts:

As a natural treasure, Thomson Falls requires responsible tourism practices to preserve its beauty for future generations. Visitors are encouraged to follow guidelines and regulations set by the local authorities to ensure the protection of the environment. It is essential to avoid littering, stay on designated paths, and respect the flora and fauna in the area. Additionally, supporting local initiatives and conservation efforts can contribute to the sustainability of the site and its surrounding communities.

Exploring Beyond Thomson Falls

While Thomson Falls is a captivating destination in itself, it is also a gateway to other nearby attractions. Visitors can explore the nearby Lake Ol Bolossat, a haven for birdwatching and a sanctuary for endangered species such as the rare sitatunga antelope. The nearby Aberdare National Park offers opportunities for wildlife spotting and nature trails, adding to the adventure for those seeking a more immersive experience in the region.

How to Get to Thomson Falls

Getting to Thomson Falls is relatively straightforward, and there are various transportation options available depending on your preferences and budget. Here are some common methods of reaching Thomson Falls:

1.      By Road

One of the most convenient ways to reach Thomson Falls is by road. If you are traveling from Nairobi, you can take the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, which is a well-maintained road that connects the two cities. The journey from Nairobi to Thomson Falls takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route you choose.

Alternatively, if you are already in Nakuru, you can take the Nyahururu-Nakuru Road, which will lead you directly to Thomson Falls. The drive from Nakuru to Thomson Falls is relatively shorter, taking around 1-2 hours.

It is advisable to use a reliable GPS navigation system or carry a map to ensure you stay on the correct route. Signposts along the way will also guide you towards Thomson Falls.

2.      By Public Transportation:

For those who prefer public transportation, there are regular bus services that operate between Nairobi and Nyahururu. You can catch a bus from Nairobi’s main bus stations such as the Nairobi River Station or Machakos Bus Station. The journey usually takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.

Once you arrive at Nyahururu, you can hire a taxi or a local matatu (shared minibus) to take you to Thomson Falls. Matatus are a common mode of transportation in Kenya and are often the preferred option for shorter distances. Make sure to confirm with the driver or conductor that they are heading towards Thomson Falls before boarding.

3.      By Private Vehicle:

If you have access to a private vehicle, it provides the flexibility and convenience to explore Thomson Falls at your own pace. You can enjoy the scenic drive and make stops along the way to admire the beautiful landscapes and capture memorable photos.

Ensure that your vehicle is in good condition, and it is advisable to have a full tank of fuel before embarking on the journey. Carry necessary supplies such as water, snacks, and a first aid kit, especially if you plan on making multiple stops or engaging in outdoor activities.

4.      Organized Tours:

Another option to consider is booking an organized tour that includes transportation to Thomson Falls. Many travel agencies and tour operators offer day trips or guided tours to Thomson Falls from various locations, including Nairobi and Nakuru. These tours often provide transportation, guided commentary, and the convenience of an organized itinerary, allowing you to sit back, relax, and fully enjoy the experience.

It is recommended to research and compare different tour options to find one that suits your preferences and budget. Read reviews and check the inclusions and exclusions of the tour package before making a booking.

As always, it is advisable to check the latest travel advisories and road conditions before embarking on your journey. Stay informed about any potential road closures or diversions that may affect your route.

Once you reach Thomson Falls, you can easily access the main viewing area and explore the surrounding trails on foot. The site is well-maintained and visitor-friendly, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

What to carry when going to Thomson Falls

When planning a visit to Thomson Falls, it’s essential to pack the right items to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some items you should consider bringing:

  1. Comfortable Clothing: Wear comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, such as lightweight and breathable fabrics. Layering is advisable as the weather can change throughout the day. Don’t forget a hat or cap to protect yourself from the sun.
  2. Sturdy Footwear: Choose comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots with good traction. The area around Thomson Falls can be uneven, so having proper footwear will make it easier to explore the trails and enjoy the surroundings.
  3. Weather Protection: Carry a lightweight rain jacket or poncho in case of unexpected rain showers. Additionally, sunscreen and sunglasses are essential to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s rays.
  4. Insect Repellent: It’s advisable to bring insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other insects, especially if you plan to spend time near water bodies or in wooded areas.
  5. Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated during your visit by carrying an adequate supply of water. Pack some healthy snacks to keep you energized throughout the day.
  6. Camera and Binoculars: Capture the beautiful scenery and wildlife by bringing a camera or a smartphone with a good camera. Binoculars can also enhance your experience, allowing you to spot birds and other wildlife from a distance.
  7. Cash and Identification: Carry some cash in small denominations for entry fees, parking, or any purchases you might make at the site. It’s also important to have your identification documents with you for any verification purposes.
  8. First Aid Kit: It’s always wise to carry a basic first aid kit that includes items such as band-aids, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
  9. Maps and Guidebooks: Although Thomson Falls is relatively easy to navigate, having a map or guidebook can provide additional information about the area, trails, and points of interest.
  10. Respect for the Environment: Lastly, carry a responsible and respectful attitude towards the environment. Avoid littering and dispose of any waste properly. Leave only footprints and take memorable experiences and photographs with you.

Remember to check the weather forecast before your visit and adapt your packing list accordingly. It’s also a good idea to check any specific requirements or restrictions that may be in place at Thomson Falls, such as park rules or guidelines.

By packing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy your time at Thomson Falls, capture stunning memories, and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

Fees/ Charges

FeeCategoryPrice (in Kenyan Shillings)
Entrance FeeAdults (Residents)70
Adults (Non-Residents)600
Children (Residents)50
Children (Non-Residents)300
Vehicle ParkingCars200
Tour Vans/Buses500


How do I get to Thomson Falls?

Getting to Thomson Falls is easy. It is located in Nyahururu, Kenya, and can be reached by road from major cities like Nairobi or Nakuru. You can either drive yourself or hire a private vehicle for a more convenient trip. There are also public transportation options available, such as buses or matatus.

Is Thomson Falls suitable for a family trip?

Yes, Thomson Falls is an excellent destination for a family trip. The natural beauty of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape offer a captivating experience for both children and adults. However, it’s essential to exercise caution, especially with young children, as the terrain can be slippery and uneven in some areas.

Are there any entry fees or charges to visit Thomson Falls?

Yes, there is an entry fee to visit Thomson Falls. The fee covers maintenance and conservation efforts in the area. The exact fee may vary, so it’s advisable to check with the local authorities or information centers for the most up-to-date pricing. As of June 2023, the fee was Ksh 70 for residence, Ksh 50 for children. Ksh 2000 and 1000 for non-residence adult and children respectively.

Is it safe to swim or get close to the waterfall?

Swimming or getting close to the waterfall at Thomson Falls is not recommended due to safety concerns. The force of the water can be strong, and the rocks can be slippery. It’s best to enjoy the view from a safe distance and follow any guidelines or signs provided by the authorities.