By Oroni Tendera
Peacefully nestled in Eastern Kenya, Machakos is a fast growing county crowned by orderliness, hospitality, hilltops, labyrinthine caves and a fairly remarkable urban space. Conveniently located 56 kilometres from Nairobi, Machakos remains the perfect place to begin and end any safari to eastern Kenya.
Here below are 6 gems of Machakos county:
1.Machakos People’s Park
Machakos people’s park is the icon of Machakos county. Only 15 minutes drive from Machakos town, the park offers a wide array of fun-filled activities for adults and children.
Concrete paths snake through the park, offering visitors a breath-taking view of a man-made lake overlooking the park. There is an amphitheatre, dancing fountain, two restaurants and a bar at the park.
Adventurous adults may engage in zip-lining and boat riding at the artificial lake, as children swing in a merry-go-round, ride on horses, have their faces painted and make merry on jumping castles.
The park washrooms are sufficient and spotlessly clean. On top of that, there is a police post right inside
the park. Entry into Machakos People’s park is free for individuals and groups of less than ten people.
- Masinga Dam Reservoir
Masinga dam reservoir is a man-made lake located approximately 160 kilometres from Nairobi city. The dam covers about 120 km2 and has a capacity of holding 1.56 cubic metres of water. Commissioned in 1981, it is a great asset in generating electricity and storing water for irrigation.
Masinga dam reservoir is beautifully sandwiched between Mwea game reserve and blue rolling hills.
Adjacent to the reservoir, is Masinga dam resort that offers its patrons a variety of African and western cuisines as well as boat rides, nature walks, swimming and cycling.
- Macmillan Castle
Visiting the historical Macmillan Castle, 65 kilometres from Nairobi city, means stepping back in time. Approximately covering a ground as large as three basketball courts, the castle was home to lord William Northrop Macmillan born in 1872 in the US.
At the castle, Macmillan rubbed shoulders with mighty and great visitors such as former American president Theodore Roosevelt, British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, the colonial British governor Sir Evelyn, the governor of Italian East Africa among many others. The plan to arrest the late Jomo Kenyatta was also formulated in Macmillan castle.
Currently, the castle is under the custodian of Mukaa Mukuu farmers’ cooperative.
- Kituluni Hill
Kituluni hill, located 12 kilometres East of Machakos town, is the only place on earth where water flows uphill for twenty minutes before changing its course at the peak of the hill. The same mysterious result has been reported on stationery vehicles whose engines have been switched off and parked at the side of the road, next to the hill. The vehicle moves up the hill at a speed of 5kph unaided for a distance of approximately 1 km.
The tarmac road that leads to Kituluni is punctuated with sharp turns and bends. Midway round the hill, irrespective of the driving speed, cars are usually jerked forward and suddenly accelerate without any visible change on the speedometer.
So far, no scientific study has been conducted to explain this rather bizarre phenomenon.
- Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
Located approximately 70 kilometres from Nairobi in Machakos county, the park is home to buffaloes, Columbus monkeys, bushbucks, baboons and over 40 bird species. Ol Donyo Sabuk mountain, a magnanimous tower in the middle of Athi plains, is covered by a dense forest. Lord Northrop Macmillan was the first white man to settle at the park and his grave is located near the peak of the mountain.
Visitors can enjoy hiking at the mountain.
- Lukenya Caves
It is impossible to talk about the Akamba freedom fighters without mentioning Lukenya caves. Only 5 minutes drive from Mombasa road, the caves were hideouts for Maumau freedom fighters during the pre-colonial period.