Nyamira County

Attractions in Nyamira County

1. Bonyunyu Dam

Situated in the southwest corner of Nyamira, along the B3 Sotik-Kisii Road, in Gachuba Ward, the planned 35-ms high Bonyunyu Dam crossing Gucha River will be utilized primarily for water reservoir to benefit communities in Nyamira and Kisii County. Work at Bonyunyu began in August 2018 and on completion, which will inevitably modify the native landscape, is also envisioned to amplify touring options in Nyamira as a recreation honeypot. With massive push-backs on the inception, on account of local demonstrations opposing its construction perceived as a steamrolled endeavor with unconvincing benefits, the omens are that Bonyunyu Dam may become for Nyamira what Mwihoti Dam is to Njoro in Nakuru County. Bonyunyu Dam is found about 10 kms north of Keumbu Town.

2. Emanga Ridge

At the crest of the C-shaped road network which loops around Nyamira, close to Kisii Town, is the high-standing Emanga Ridge and the most important cultural landscape in Nyamira and Kisii. Aside from being a magnificent prominence to take in the country, this 100-acres cultural heritage site has withered many eras including the disruptive British Era. It has been widely suggested that Emanga Ridge, separating Kisii and Nyamira counties, was the core of Gusii civilization. A culture that has dominated this region since time immemorial. As it goes, the foremost Abagusii family settled and thrived at Emanga Ridge which is believed to be the ‘ancestral home’ of the Abagusii Community. Consequently, this ridge has always served as a religious shrine. So revered is the Emanga Ridge that the natives of Nyamira (and Kisii) dress to the nines when they call in on it. Visitors to Emanga Ridge in their few hours here can scarcely grasp let alone participate in many of its fascinating interests, yet, on arrival it feels sacred and propitious.

Emanga Ridge in Nyamira County. Image Courtesy of Wiki Commons
Emanga Ridge in Nyamira County. Image Courtesy of Wiki Commons

3. Manga Hills

The lofty 5 kms long Manga Hills, also named Marongo Hills, are a shared asset between Kisii and Nyamira and where the Emanga Ridge is found. These easy-on-the-eye, verdant hills are not only a pleasing roadside attraction but they are culturally important too. The sporadic volcanic steam eruptions sighted in years gone by at the Manga Hills, in the late 1940’s, only added to their ambiguity and magnetism. Some of the highlights around the fetching Manga Hills include the Emanga Ridge, Rigena rie Manga Rocks, Engoro ya Manga (a spectral endless hole locally assumed to have been linked to Lake Victoria), the landscapes of the Southern areas of Kisii with distance views of the lake region, Ngora Mwaga or the ‘invisible’ Lake Okari, the Igena Monto Rocks, and nearby Ufanisi Resort.

Spatial Location of Manga Hills along Nyamira and Kisii Border
Spatial Location of Manga Hills along Nyamira and Kisii Border

4. Kiabonyuru Hill

Situated in northeast region of Nyamira, 12 kms east of Nyamira Town through Kebirigo, Kiabonyoru Hill, rising a tremendous 750 ms above the nearby area to 3,000 ms, is the highest in Nyamira, and the tallest hill around Gusiiland (Kisii and Nyamira). From the higher reaches, Lake Victoria, Homa Hills, Sotik Tea Estate, Kericho, and Keroka Towns can be easily sighted, as well as, the rolling countryside of Nyamira that unfolds in a most spectacular display. For tourism, this hillscape beauty is still largely undeveloped, being only a rough-and-ready hiking destination for travellers with a strong desire to venture in the back of beyond. Of the 10 non-gazetted forests in Nyamira, which collectively cover 256 hectares, Manga Hills (76 hectares) and the Kiabonyoru Hills Catchments (11 hectares) are perhaps the most salient water towers. River Gucha, one of seven primary rivers in Nyamira (along with Sondu, Charachani, Kemera, Nyabomite, Eaka and Menyenya) rises on this Hill. All these rivers drain into Lake Victoria.

5. River Gucha

Rising in the Kiabonyoru Highlands, River Gucha, also known as Kuja River, is the biggest river in Gusiiland, streaming for 160 kms before draining into Lake Victoria. Along its course, Gucha is joined by River Migori at Sango Nyatike in Migori County, from where it flows as the River Gucha-Migori to Lake Victoria. River Migori has its headwaters in Chepalungu Forest found in Bomet County. One of the main highlights of River Gucha in Nyamira County is, of course, the impressive Keera Falls situated about 10 kms north of Nyamira township. The downstream areas of River Gucha have great potential for both riverine tourism and white water sports, especially around Rianyakoora and Ria’nchore regions. There are also immense opportunity for creating aqua parks, sporting fisheries and numerous recreational facilities both along Gucha and Sondu Miriu Rivers.

A Section of the Gucha River. Image Courtesy of Tujipange
A Section of the Gucha River. Image Courtesy of Tujipange

6. Keera Falls

This untravelled falls, well off the beaten path, sits only 4 kms north of Nyamira Town and offers a fine afternoon of walking. The 35 ms Keera Falls with spooky caves at the bottom is unexpectedly pleasant. As with many waterfalls in Kenya, Keera Falls does not fall short of interesting myths and mysteries, not least, that its petrifying caves were historically a rainmakers shrine where they gathered to make their sacrifices. Whenever there was drought, the men (elders) performed traditional dances at Keera Falls, at the entrance of the main cave, accompanied by obligatory sacrifice of bundles of firewood and sometimes animal sacrifices left inside the cave. This, it was believed, appeased their deities, who bestowed rain spells in exchange. “But nobody brings firewood here anymore, those who gather here simply enjoy the scenery and retelling of the stories surrounding the site” – Citizen Digital. Keera Falls is located 4 kms north of Nyamira Town, using C21 Nyamira-Kadongo Road, in Rangenyo Village of Bogochora Location.

Keera Waterfalls in Nyamira County. Published by Isaiah Morara

7. Nkoora Hills

To put right the increasing demand for conservation and perpetuation of both scenic and culturally valued installations, Nyamira has earmaked the 5-hectares landscape about the Nkoora Hills in Nyamaiya, 10 kms north of Nyamira Town (passing Nyamira District Hospital) as a potential location to be developed as a conservancy. Apart from being an important cultural shrine patronized as a site for prayer and meditation, Nkoora Hills are a vitally important floral biosphere, which can be exploited as a sustainable touring site. One of the major issues to address, and there are many, is the need for securing and developing the locale.