Southern Rift Valley

Southern Rift Valley is a region of Kenya, part of the Great Rift Valley which extends through several countries.


Map of Southern Rift Valley

Other destinations[edit]


This is the portion of the Rift Valley in Kenya more or less to the south of the Ewaso N'goro. It includes the capital city of Nairobi and the National Parks between Nairobi and Mombasa.

The rift is home to a wide range of Kenya's peoples including nomadic herding peoples such as the Turkana, Pokot, Samburu and Maasai but also including farmers such as the Kikuyu and even remnant groups of hunter-gatherer peoples such as the Ogiek who live in the remaining forests on the Mau escarpment of the Rift valley.

Get in[edit]

The new higher-speed standard gauge railway, or SGR for short, runs between the coastal city of Mombasa to Nairobi with stops in Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River. Travel time for the full journey is just over five hours. Kenya Railways operates several trains per day in each direction. The SGR line extends westwards towards Suswa as well, this route is useful for reaching Mount Suswa volcano. The old (and much slower!) colonial railway network is under under rehabilitation and trains from Kisumu and Eldoret are expected to return in late 2021. Connections between the two separate networks can either be made in Nairobi or at Naivasha ICD railway station, which the station before Suswa.

Travelling by road, the Matatu is the standard way of getting around. But be warned it can be very cramped, with goods, people and chickens packing into a 7-seater minibus. It is very common for these to go very fast, to be uninsured, and they are often involved in accidents. They drive appallingly and many are not roadworthy especially for long trips up-country or down to the coast as the roads are very badly maintained. They are not often used by tourists for these reasons so beware!

Get around[edit]

Some of the main trunk roads of Kenya pass along the rift valley so travel in this region is relatively straightforward. The Matatu is good for getting from A to B, but if you want some luxury for not much more you can hire a 4x4 taxi.

The SGR railway can be used for trips within the region. However railway stations are often located outside city centers, necessitating a connecting taxi or bus ride. Additionally, there is a slow train between central Nairobi and Nanyuki via Chaka (just outside Nyeri). While the train is slow, it can be a scenic option for travel to Mount Kenya national park.





Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Southern Rift Valley is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!