A Section of the Nyambene Forest

Giitune is an indigenous forest with many species of flora and fauna. It retains unique plant species, which include tall trees, bushes, thickets and various species of undergrowths. Geographically, Giitune sacred forest straddles the equator and it’s a highland forest falling within the larger Mt. Kenya forest ecosystem. Some of the most common tree species is Mukui (newtonia buchananii), Mwiiria (prunus africanus) and Muringa (cordial Africana).

There are many traditional myths and taboos associated with this forest. As a sacred forest, it is a taboo (kuuna nkuagaya) to cut a tree from it. It was believed if one could cut a tree it would cry and bleed profusely which in turn was tantamount to inviting a curse upon that person and their entire family. Giitune forest was believed to house an enormous serpent. The myth has it that the serpent could encircle whoever trespassed in the forest. Rock pythons, which are common within the Mount Kenya ecosystem, are said to be the serpents that guarded the Giitune sacred forest against intrusion.

Lake Nkunga is found in a volcanic crater within the Imenti forest, which is an extension of Mt. Kenya forest.

Indeginous Trees at Giitune Forest