Nandi County

Attractions in Nandi County

23. North Tinderet Forest

Unmistakably Nandi, the wooded highlands of Tinderet, completely engulfed by the neat-as-a pin tea farms in the southeast region of Nandi County bordering Kericho, has been the subject of many a photographer. In many ways, the iconic portrait of the North Tinderet Forest on the periphery of the tea estates owes its classic invariability to the fact that the 246 km2 dense forest marked by steep gorges is difficult to access. One of the classic features of the Tinderet Forests is the excision of big tracts for tea plantations. This project was conceived in 1986 as a potential way to conserve it, by establishing a buffer territory between the farmlands and the forest. It however led to rampant annexing. Unlike the South and Nandi Forests which have remained intact, the Northern Tinderet Forest has been greatly diminished for its timber, especially podo, and only 50% of the original forest stands. The dense North Tinderet Forest, marching with Nyando Escarpment far south to Mau Summit and Londiani, is widely recognized as a faunal and floral biodiversity hotbed as well as a life-changing water catchment.

Tinderet Tea Estates with Tinderet Mountains in background.  Image Courtesy
Tinderet Tea Estates with Tinderet Mountains in background. Image Courtesy

24. Ngabunat Caves

Loosely translating as “a secret and hidden hideaway”, Ngabunat is truly a gem of unprecedented beauty and mystique. It is almost incomprehensible that this wonder, straight out of a fairytale, is only a lesser-known destination despite its fetching beauty and enthralling cultural chronicles. All in all there are ten caves at Ngabunat Site with the most popular being the uppermost one with a picture perfect waterfall cascading over its mouth. Ngabunat Caves are one of the most culturally-important heritage sites in Nandi County, with a history dating back to the 18th Century. It was here that the legendary ‘Mogobich Battles’ between the Nandi and the Ilwasin Kishu Maasai Tribes were swedged – to separate the men from the boys. Both these tribes wanted to lay claim these caves owing to the protected shelter and limitless salty water for the livestock. Not too far from Ngabunat Caves are spectacular views of Mogobich Valley. Ngabanut Caves are found in tea-growing region of Kapchorua just 10 kms east of Nandi Hills Town.

25. Kipkolok Springs

The strangely delightful Kipkolok Springs, whose saline pool alters colour from an azure blue to emerald green as water recedes and fills up with the seasons, is an avid photographer’s land of clicks. Kipkolok is the native Nandi translates to “water with lime of salt”. A historic communal pool, its saline lime water is used for salt brine and to nourish livestock. It was once run by Maasai in the bygone days when these two communities were entangled in perpetuated brawls. Most akin to Ngabunat Caves, Kipkolok Springs are a living-museum of the riveting history of the Nandi Tribe.  It is found at Kiplolok Village in Songoliet Location.

26. Kapsabet

From Nandi Hills Town it is a quick 20 kms drive north to Kapsabet Town, the largest town in Nandi which sits roughly in the middle of the County. Kapsabet is many things to many people. It is the agricultural hub of Nandi, a magnet for long-distance running, a political center, and an historical landmark. In recent times, the Nandi County has rolled out projects aiming to exploit these unique qualities, to include; construction of an arts and cultural centre with a museum, construction of a hall of fame in honour of its titlist athletes, and identification, restoration and protection of its heritage sites like Kaptumo and Kipture Forts, Menhertzegen House, Kapsabet Bible College and Kapsabet Boys High School. It is salutory to mention that Kapsabet High School is prominent as one of two premier Government high schools in the North Rift Region alongside Chewoyet High School in West Pokot County. It was pioneered and established by Elijah Cheruiyot Chepkwony (a young Nandi working in Eldoret) on March 2, 1925, as a series of mud and wattle huts, making it one of the foremost schools in Kenya.

Spatial Location of Kapsabet Town in Nandi County
Spatial Location of Kapsabet Town in Nandi County

27. Kaptumo and Kipture Forts

The start of the 20th Century was a chapter of radical if not tremendous change for most regions in Kenya, many not envisaged by the foregoing generation. The laying of Kenya-Uganda Railway track had achieved an irreversible momentum, leaving in its wake many thriving towns like Voi, Nairobi and Nakuru, and ergo making access into the hinterland of Kenya easier for settling and development. Construction started at the port city of Mombasa in British East Africa in 1896 and finished at the railhead in Kisumu on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria in 1901. The construction of roads to connect existing centres also increased trade and development especially at Port Florence (the present day Kisumu), Nairobi and many other major centres along the railway line. In 1906 an administrative base for Nandi was set up, first at Kipture, later moved to Kaptumo and finally to Kapsabet – to handle the increased traffic from the new and administrative centre at Kisii, a new port was opened at Kongo (now Kendu Bay) in 1908. By the end of 1910, the main centres in North-Western Region of Kenya included: Kisumu and Kibos in Kisumu District; Yala River, Mumias and Kakamega in North Kavirondo District; Kapsabet and Kaptumo in Nandi District; Kericho in the one time Lumbwa District; and Homa Bay and Rangwe in South Kavirondo.