In the vicinity of Kikuyu town lies an oval-shaped swamp; The Ondiri. Our trip to this central Kenya town that is only 20 kilometres from Nairobi through several outskirt suburbs of the city lends us to quite a busy town. From the bus park that is a beehive of activities, to the busy streets, it is evident that Kikuyu town contributes a substantial amount of income to its people. The swamp is located one kilometre from the main town.
Undiri as the lake is referred to by the locals is a corrupted word from the word Old Lake as they Kikuyu’s could not pronounce the word Old Lake thus they called it O-ndi-ri.
The swamp is ideal for day trips. We arrive at the Mount Pleasant Old Lake Inn, a small cosy hotel that is located at the front of the swamp late afternoon. The sight of the swamp below, the sun rays, reflecting from the greenhouse, and farms around the swamp is a lovely reflection of green vegetation. On the left, on a good day, one can see Ngong Hills and her towering wind power mills. The hotel management has built stairs leading the swamp. Our guide tells us of how farming and deforestation has affected the spongy swamp.
It is said that in the early years, the swamp was an open water lake. However, due to lots of farming and the extensive deforestation, it has led to the swamp being covered by vegetation.
Stepping on the lake it feels springy. The scenery around the lake gives one a feel of the countryside, coupled with indigenous trees, a view of Ngong hills in the East while enjoying refreshment the restaurant.
One can also enjoy bird watching from the surrounding.
Getting There: Turn off from the southern bypass into Kikuyu and turn right and drive about half a kilometre in before getting into a dusty road that leads you to the swamp. We did get lost several times but got the help of a local, do not hesitate to ask if you feel lost the people are quite friendly.
Read all about Ondiri here