Maai Mahiu Catholic Church – World’s Smallest Church

World's Smallest Church

Also Known as the Traveller’s Chapel, Maai Mahiu Catholic Church could possibly be the smallest church in the world.  The church was built in 1942 by Italian Prisoners of War, the 12 capacity church lies just past Maai Mahiu Centre on your way to Nairobi.

Maai Mahiu Catholic Church
Inside Maai Mahiu “Traveller’s Chapel” Catholic Church.

The church has four wooden pews each of which can hold four people. In total, the chapel can hold a capacity of twelve worshippers.

The church is not only a stopover for travellers but also one of the tourist attraction sites in Nakuru County.

Hyrax Hill Museum, Nakuru pre-historic site

Hyrax Hill Museum

Hyrax Hill Museum is a pre-historic site 4 km from Nakuru Town and 150 km from Nairobi City. The site lies a walking distance from the Nakuru-Nairobi highway atop Hyrax Hill. Although it was proclaimed a national monument in 1945, it was not until 1965 that it was opened to the public.

The museum was previously home to the late Mrs A. Selfe who ceded the site to the government after a series of archaeological discoveries. The house was put up in the years 1900 – 1910. Currently, it hosts artefacts from the Hyrax Hill site and other sites from Central Rift Valley. The hill takes its name from the numerous hyraxes that live in rock cracks within the area.

The site is popular with hikers and adventurers. It is ideal for nature walks, camping, picnics, photography, and archaeological research and for viewing the quaint Lake Nakuru. The most popular days are weekends and public holidays. From the hill, one also gets a breathtaking view of Nakuru Town.

History has it that thousands of years ago, the hill might have been an Island with Lake Nakuru. Beach sands around the base of the hill are taken as evidence that Lake Nakuru once sprawled there.

Below is a video showing around Hyrax Hill Museum 

On a good day, you would expect to see the hyraxes running around. What you can’t miss are the naughty baboons, baboons and tortoises at the tortoise pit. Some of the tortoises are very old.

The Sirikwas who used to live here used to play games like the bao game. On some of the rocks, indentions will be found where they would play the game to pass time. To recreate the game, the management of the museum has set up places where visitors can play the game.

Hyrax Hill Museum
Bao Game at Hyrax Hill Museum

Gioto Dumpsite – Nakuru’s dumping site since 1972

Gioto Dumpsite

Before 1972, Gioto dumpsite was a quarry. After it was abandoned, residents started dumping their waste here and the county council of Nakuru turned it into the official dumping site for Nakuru Town.

Gioto lies in London estate of Nakuru. It is about 3 km from Nakuru town on the way to Kabarak. The name Gioto is a derivative of a Kikuyu word meaning a place where waste is dumped.

Gioto Dumpsite sits on a 50 hectares piece of land. Waste from homes, offices, industries and even hospitals finds its way here. It is estimated that on a daily basis, Gioto Dumpsite receives about 250 tons of waste. Definitely not a small amount.

The dumping site is always a hive of activity, especially during the day. Tractors and trucks constantly drive in and out of the site. Offloading and scavenging are the main events that get carried out at the site.

Over the years, Gioto has been a source of livelihood for many Nakuru residents especially those that live in London and other surrounding estates. The waste collectors have found numerous ways of recycling different types of waste and making an income out of it.

Due to the toxicity of some of the dumped waste, the Gioto Dumpsite has posed health risks to people in past years. Before the ban of the single-use plastic bags, the site was always an eyesore as the plastic waste was always strewn around especially after being blown by the wind. This was one of the reasons environmental activist James Wakibia started his ban plastics campaign.

Bad odours, physical injuries and the risk from respiratory diseases are some of the health hazards posed by that site. There is also the risk of heavy metals dumped that could be carcinogenic.

As the dumpsite lacks a proper drainage system, surrounding communities are during the rainy season at the risk of having the toxic waters flowing into their residences. Being on a raised ground, a lot of contaminated water finds its way into Lake Nakuru and Ndarugu river.

Nakuru Tourist Attraction Sites

Lord Egerton Castle, Ngata

There are plenty of tourist attraction sites in Nakuru. For any foreign or local tourist coming to Nakuru, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Away from the famous and known attraction sites, there are plenty of other lesser-known tourist attraction sites in Nakuru.

When talking of Nakuru attraction sites, Lake Nakuru National Park comes to mind. This is the most famous tourist destination in Nakuru attracting thousands of foreign and local visitors every year.

Although it’s most famous for flamingos, Lake Nakuru National Park is home to hundreds of other bird species.

It is also home to different wild animals that roam the park. Some of the animals a visitor is likely to see at the park include baboons, white and black rhino, buffalos, giraffes and zebras among many others.

Another popular destination in Nakuru is Menengai crater. The dormant caldera is 99sq KM wide, and 485 meters deep. Currently, it is being used for the production of geothermal power.

Select Nakuru Tourist Attraction Sites

  1. Hyrax Hill prehistoric site and museum
  2. Lord Egerton Castle, Ngata
  3. Subukia Marian shrine
  4. Lake Elementaita
  5. Njoro caves
  6. Kariandusi Museum
  7. Kigio Conservancy
  8. Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha
  9. Kimenderit Hill
  10. Longonot
  11. Sleeping Warrior also colloquially known as Delamare’s Nose due to its distinctive shape
  12. Ceder Lodge (Dundori Falls)

Lake Nakuru National Park, premier tourist site

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru National Park is Nakuru’s premier attraction site. The 188KM2 UNESCO declared World Heritage site lies just 4 KM from Nakuru town and 164 KMs from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi

Lake Nakuru as a national park has been in existence since the 1950s but it was in 1968 that it was gazetted as a National park. Previously it had existed as a bird sanctuary from 1961 and as a conservancy in 1957.

Lake Nakuru National park is an electricity fenced park that lies around the shallow Lake Nakuru whose size fluctuates from between 5 to 45 KM2. The park was previously fenced using chain-link until 1986 when the electric fence was put up to keep poachers outside.

Activities at Lake Nakuru National Park

The expansive Lake Nakuru is a popular foreign and local tourist attraction site. The greatest attraction to the park remains the pink flamingos. Nakuru town is closely associated with the flamingo and many establishments here use the bird as their symbol including the county government of Nakuru. The official colour of Nakuru County is pink due to the pink coloured flamingos.

Activities at Lake Nakuru National Park involve game rides, bird watching, and hiking. There are also awesome picnicking and camping sites within the park. The Baboon cliff that offers visitors a stunning view of Lake Nakuru from the top is the most popular picnic site. Other picnic sites within the park are Lion Hills and Out of Africa viewpoint.

Lake Nakuru National Park also offers splendid photoshoot scenes and is also ideal for shooting films. The popular Hindi film, Vishawatma, has a scene that was shot here. The park is also used for team building activities in addition to accommodation in several hotels within.

Hotels Within Lake Nakuru National Park

The sprawling Lake Nakuru National Park has several Hotels situated within. The Flamingo Hill Camp, Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge, Lakira Camp and Sarova Lion Hill all serve guests within the park. Outside the park are also other hotels that serve visitors to the park.

Guests can also choose to camp at the Makalia Campsite 30 KM from the main gate. Makalia campsite lies near the scenic Makalia Falls which are another sight to behold.

Other campsites within the park include Nyuki Campsite, Njoro Campsite, Naishi and Nyati Campsite.

Animals at Lake Nakuru National Park

Apart from the millions of pink flamingos, Lake Nakuru National Park boasts a wide variety of birds and wild animals. Some of the birds a visitor can see here include but are not limited to; pelicans, ducks, avocets, terns, cormorants, grebes, stilts among other 300 plus species.

The most common animals found here are the baboons, zebras, buffaloes, impalas, rhinos and hyenas. Other animals that live here but are not easily seen are the giraffes, cheetahs, lions, warthogs and waterbucks. A variety of snakes are also to be found in the park with pythons being the most prevalent.

Accessing Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park is open to the public daily between 7 AM and 6 PM. It is reachable through the Main Gate, Lanet Gate or the Nderit Gate. The park is also accessible via chartered aircraft that lands at the Naishi airstrip within the park.

The rates differ depending on age, citizenship and the number of visitors in a group. Kenyan Citizens pay the lowest fee with Kenyan children paying just about $2 and adult Kenyans paying slightly above $8. The rates can be found here.

Kimenderit Hill – Kalenjins Holy Hill in Nakuru

Kimenderit Hill

From a distance, the hill looks like a lump of ugali. The locals call it Kimenderit Hill but to everyone else, it is “Mlima Ugali.”

For generations, the ancestors of the Kalenjin community have met on the hill to pray to God and they believe that any prayer that is held there is answered is bound to be answered.

Martin Gicinga, a Nakuru-based journalist explains how he was once invited to witness a prayer meeting by the elders during a dry spell

“I went to the place wearing just a casual shirt due to the high temperatures but I was shocked to find the elders coming in heavy jackets and even umbrellas. Before we were halfway through, the weather changed and it rained really hard,” says the writer.

Prayers apart, many people who visit the place use it as a picnic site. There are usually several parties hiking to place every weekend and from atop the hill, one is treated to breath-taking panoramic views of Nakuru.

“From the top, you can literally see the whole of Nakuru town and most of the Lake. The view is awesome and worth the walk,” says Racheal Wanjiru a student from Nyeri who is in Nakuru on attachment.

“That is one site I would recommend to any person visiting Nakuru for the first time,” says Racheal.

The hill which is near Barut shopping centre in Barut Ward is considered holy ground by the Myot (Council of Kalenjin elders).

According to the outgoing Member of County Assembly (MCA) for Kapkures ward Hon. Joseph Lang’at, the elders have sent a plea to Deputy President William Ruto to have a shrine put up on Kimenderit Hill for them.

“We held prayers here when the Deputy President HE William Ruto had a case in The Hague and the case was dismissed. Our ancestors have held prayers on top of this hill since time immemorial and we would like to set up a shrine here where we would be offering prayers,” says Hon. Joseph Lang’at.

Meanwhile, take a hike to Mlima Ugali and enjoy the panoramic view from the holy ground.

Nakuru knls Library Offers Life Skills to the Youth

KNLS Nakuru Library

When Nakuru based blogger Joseph Ngugi heard about the free sign language classes being offered at Kenya National Library Nakuru branch, he was among the first to register. Two months down the line, he can comfortably communicate with people with hearing disabilities even as he continues to take the lessons.

“As a blogger, I have always wanted to train others how to do it. Being unable to communicate with the hearing impaired has always been a big letdown as I have a few friends with this disability. However after these lessons am able to share with my friends and I hope I’ll soon be able to hold a blogging workshop specifically for the deaf,” says Ngugi.

Ngugi is among the thousands who continue to benefit from the various programs offered at the ultra-modern library in Nakuru Town. Apart from the sign language classes, he has also attended several practical skills training sessions and workshops at the Library.

For Gad Moseti, now an accountant in Thika town, the Library was his second home and were it not for the facility, he may not have achieved his dream of becoming an accountant.

“I always wanted to study accounts but being a casual worker in Nakuru town, my income was very low and I could not manage to pay for college or buy the books required for the course,” reveals Gad. He however adds that after he registered with KASNEB, the library provided the space for study and most of the reading material he required until he finished his course.

The modern multi storied library was officially opened on 14th May 2014 by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario. The library has since then been attracting a lot of people.

Many people associate the library only with books but there are a lot of other activities and facilities that keep drawing people in.

According to Ms. Purity Kavuri, the Librarian in Charge, the new library has a capacity of 2,500 users. It provides adequate reading space, online information resources, accessibility for persons with disabilities, limited print information resources and a conducive reading environment.

The most popular service is the free internet access through Wi-Fi and high speed computers at the E-Resource Section and at the American Corner (AC) which takes the entire second floor.

Ms. Angella Nyamisi who is the American Corner coordinator says that the AC is fully facilitated by the American Embassy in Nairobi and apart from the computers; they have also provided books, magazines and standalone life scale photos and paintings that depict the American way of life.

“We really appreciate what the US embassy is doing to our library to promote education and empower the local communities,” says Angella. She reveals that the latest program by the Embassy is to sponsor bright but needy students from Nakuru to study in the US.

“The program was initiated last year and several students who were successful have already secured places in the US. Others from the first batch are still awaiting their admission letters and we are now in the process of preparing the second batch of students,” says an excited Angella.

The US embassy also regularly facilitates training of practical skills to youth at the AC. Some of the skills that the youth have benefited from include, beadwork, making shaggy mats, crocheting and such.

The library has also partnered with a Canadian organization and they offer free entrepreneurial and basic ICT courses to form four leavers for free. The Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) has been offering the courses since October 2014 and according to Faith Kemboi a facilitator with DOT, more than 500 young people have so far benefited from the program and some are already earning from the skills learnt.

The friendly library and support staff make everyone’s experience at the library enjoyable. The security guards reassure the users of their security and that of their property and the dedicated cleaning staff keep the premises clean at all times.

For their outreach activities, the library has several activities that see them serve the community surrounding the Library. The staff at the library’s junior section have started book clubs in several primary schools around the library and once per week they take books to the schools and read with the kids.