Nandi County

Attractions in Nandi County

12. Koitalel Arap Samoei Museum

The Koitalel Museum in Nandi Hills Town honours Koitalel Arap Samoei, the lionized leader who led one of the mettlesome charges against adverse colonial land policies in Kenya (Nandi Resistance) at the height of colonial occupation in Kenya. On October 19, 1905, on the grounds of what is now Nandi Bears Club, Koitalel Arap Samoei was asked to meet Col Richard Meinertzhagen for a truce. Instead, Meinertzhagen killed Koitalel and his entourage in cold blood. Sosten Saina, the grand-nephew of one of Arap Samoei’s bodyguard notes: “There were about 22 of them who went for a meeting with the “mzungu” that day. Koitalel Arap Samoei had been advised not to shake hands because if he did, that would give him away as the leader. But, he extended his hand, and was shot at point-blank range”. At the Koitalel Arap Samoei Museum are two towering, symbolic fig trees, one believed to mark the actual patch where his body was buried. The modest museum gallery displays memorabilia and relics of the venerated leader as well as an assortment of artefacts depicting the ‘way-of-life’ in Nandi Culture.

Koitalel Arap Samoei Museum . Image Courtesy of Kenya Geographic

At the close of 19th century, the Orkoiyot (or divine leader from the Talai Clan) took an almost executive role when Koitalel Arap Samoei led the Nandi Community to resist colonial rule, for 11 years, opposing alienation from their ancestral land. He had a strong military and he was feared. After his defeat the British briefly attempted to harness his Talai clansmen to the system of colonial rule – promoting them as chiefs. This was based upon a misunderstanding of the status of Orkoiyot, whose powers often stood in direct conflict with the authority, yet, highly lionized by the locals.

13. Samiitui Historical Site

The chronicles of Koitalel Arap Samoei are an exceptional excerpt from an era now almost lost to us. Samiitui Historical Site ought to be a touring attraction in its own right, notwithstanding the fact that a museum in honour of the Nandi legend has been in existence for years. This is where the Nandi leader Kipnyolei Arap Kurgat, father to Koitalel Samoei, lived. His leadership tools were hidden since 1885 till 2006. Still and all, there’s no information available about the site.

14. Nandi Bears Club

Whilst the Nandi Bears Club dates back to 1928, teeing-off at this sans-pareil 9-hole 70-par golf course did not get underway until 1935, then a preserve for the rich tea farmers. Adulated as one of the grueling golf courses in Western Kenya, Nandi Bears Club has grown in popularity as one of the prestigious courses in Kenya, hosting top tournaments including Gill Trophy and Kenya Breweries’ Festival of Golf. Its particular name was originated from the old-wives tales of folkloric bears associated with the thick forests at hand. The Nandi bear, locally known as “kerit”, was a mysterious beast, believed to have lived near where the Nandi Bears Club sits, eons ago, before facing extinction – Nation Media. Nandi Bear Club is located next to Koitalel Arap Samoei Museum in Nandi Hills Town.

5th Green, Nandi Bears Club. Image Courtesy of Kemeli Mutai
5th Green, Nandi Bears Club. Image Courtesy of Kemeli Mutai

15. Ketbarak Viewpoint

Any arrangement that takes in Kapsimotwa Gardens or the Kips Eco Lodge can combine, with little trouble, a stopover at Ketbarak Viewpoint (also known as the Ketbarak Hill) 5 kms southwest of Nandi Hills Town along the Nandi Hills-Ketbarak Road. It overlooks Nandi Bears Club, the picturesque tea country and the precipitous landscape of Nandi which when viewed from this perspective, in pleasant weather, is a worthwhile experience. Plans are underway by the Nandi County to set up infrastructure around the Ketbarak Viewpoint to make it easier and comfortable for motorists to the site to appreciate the beauty of this region.

16. Kip’s Eco-Resort

Formerly dubbed Ketbarak Cottages, the 9-rooms Kip’s Eco-Resort, snuggled in the rolling countryside of Nandi Hills with pleasing panoramic vistas of the tea estates, is an accomplished dream by the Kip’s and Kipkurgat Families to build a cozy and sustainable lodge that renders an authentic ‘Nandi’ experience. Kip’s Eco-Resort is unrelentingly eco-friendly. 100% of staff are from the community. 80% of their supplies are sourced locally and their cottages are built using only local material. Energy for the resort is 100% clean and renewable. What’s more, the adventures at Kip’s Eco-Resort are centered around wellness and nature, to include: tea-picking, walking to Ketbarak Viewpoint (0.5 kms away) and Nandi Hills (2 kms away). From here, visitors can tour Kapsimotwa Gardens, Koitalel Arap Samoei Museum, Morobi Hill and Karebe Gold Mines. It is found 3.6 kms from Nandi Hills along the Koitalel Samoei and Nandi Hills-Kapsimotwo Road.

17. Kapsimotwa Gardens

Established in 1955 by Australian settler Roy Meyer in part to break the mono-culture of tea and provide a community leisure area, Kapsimotwa Gardens has, over the decades, befittingly established itself as a must-see attraction in Nandi County. Its variegated gardens, planted with upward of 100 varieties of flowers, carefully plotted trees and hedges, well-kept lawns, capacious pathways, a lake, ponds, streams and delightful rest areas, are set on a beautifully-appointed land within a tea estate with fetching views of the lovely Nandi Hills. It annotates the difference between a good garden and a beautiful one. Almost everywhere you look there is real care and pre-commission demonstrated to piece together this mellow garth. It has some witty twists too, like the Africa and Australia-shaped ponds and traditional-inspired grass thatched garden houses. It is also a birding paradise too. There’s plenty to enjoy within Kapsimotwa Gardens notably of the knockout views at the edge of Nyando Escarpment and sweeps of tea farms. It’s found 11 kms from Nandi Hills Town along C37 Nandi Hills-Kapsimotwa Road.

Section of the Kapsimotwa Gardens.  Image Courtesy of Wesley Limo
Section of the Kapsimotwa Gardens. Image Courtesy of Wesley Limo