Queens Cave

Useful Information

Location: Aberdare National Park.
(-0.487000, 36.709348)
Open: All year daily 6-18.
Fee: Foreigners: Adults USD 52, Children USD 26.
Residents: Adults KSH 300, Children KSH 215.
Citizens: Adults KSH 300, Children KSH 215.
Classification: SpeleologyErosional Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Queens Cave.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1953 visited by Princess Elizabeth.


Queens Cave or Queen's Cave is a huge but rather low cavern located behind the Queen’s Cave Waterfall. It was formed by the retrograde erosion of the river, which eroded a layer of rather soft volcanic tufa at the bottom of the Magura Waterfall. The cave is quite spacious and completely filled with water of the river. There is a short branch road from the main road to a small parking lot. A short trail leads to the waterfall. A staircase with a platform allows a view if the waterfall and the cave. Actually entering the cave requires wading. The platform built by the British army is in bad shape and needs urgent repairs.

The cave was named after Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the cave in 1953. This was actually while she was still Princess Elizabeth, the older of the king’s two daughters and next in line to succeed him. When her father died she was in Kenya, returned to Great Britain and was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on 02-JUN-1953 at the age of 25. She visited the cave for her last dinner before leaving. The cave was named after her and the place was consecrated for the royal family. Tourists were not allowed to go near the waterfall. This has changed recently.

However, in October 1952 the Mau Mau uprising had started, and it ended with the independence of Kenya in 1960. The freedom fighters needed hideouts for their guerrilla tactics, and as caves are rare, literally any of them was used as a hideout, including this one. It seems strange to name such a site after the opponent, the Queen of the oppressor and occupier. Some Mau Mau veterans were actually not very happy, they would prefer to name the cave after freedom fighters. On the other site the name was used to attract tourists, which is a good thing for the locals today. And actually, the whole story ended 60 years ago. At some point its best for all to stop holding grudges indefinitely.