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Situated 3km off the tarmac on a murram road (get in through the Rapids Camp signage after Sagana Bridge on your way to Murang’a. Its like 1km after the Bridge on your left). Alternatively, if you after staying at Nokras Riverine Sagana you just use their guide. They’ll be happy to work out your whole itinerary for the surrounding areas.
The place is private property but accessible to all. A small signage nailed to a tree announces your arrival. Parking is under that very same tree. Not much wahala about the entrance but please use the guide Dan, whose number is very clear on the signage. Or just call him on 0743167721.
So the place has been carved out by mother nature through soil erosion over the years since 1996. Water has created natural Gorges and beautiful architecture commensurate of the colosseum of ancient Rome. Some towers look like animal figurines and over the years, the shapes keep changing.
It spans 5 acres and one has to be careful traversing them since it is partly loose soil. Therefore, please use a guide. You’ll be taken round the street of Jericho, the camel (that’s now only left as a head), the colosseum and much more.
Sand harvesting is done here creating further erosion so that’s tragic. I asked if the erosion could be stopped and I was told it couldn’t. At some point we are shown a spot where a homestead once lay complete with a grave. We were told the bones of whoever was buried there was eventually swept away six years ago.
The place makes for beautiful photography and videography but it comes with the sadness that this is evidence of real climate change.
We were charged 200 shillings per head which you pay to the guide.
Overall Amakove rating: 10/10 for the breathtaking sceneries. 0/10 for the fact that we are all contributing towards climate change and if we don’t mitigate, then we will have many more such gorges.
So Sagana is in Kirinyaga County. So we cheated on Murang’a County.
We popped in here given it is less than 2km from Nokras Riverine Sagana. A government facility established in 1940 and home to 3 government ministries: Agriculture, Marine (which ministry is this under) and I forget the third one. Mommy brain is real. It has over 150 fish ponds! The largest fishery institution in East Africa.
It’s holiday season so we got skeleton staff and very little activity. But we got to see the hatcheries though they were empty, we fed the Koi and gold fish, the tilapia and the mudfish. They have a training school (for both short visits and certification level), a research institution, a commercial centre (focuses on both fingerlings and adult fish), they offer support services to anyone wanting to farm fish or simply keep them in the house. They’ve got acres and acres of beautiful ponds that are great photography scenes. I understand during the active season you can request for a private fishing trip. They also offer classes on fish preparation and cooking. They have conferencing facilities including catering services. Basically, they are your one stop shop for anything ornamental, tilapia and mud fish.
Entry is free if a group less than 5 pax.
Location is right after the train station at Sagana.
Amakove rating: 7/10. I hope to come back when they are fully in session.
Today’s review: Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga, Murang’a County
The cradle of the Agikuyu. First, don’t even bother using Google maps to get you to this place. We spent 2 hours driving around the County as it misled us. We found out the place was barely 26 minutes from Nokras Riverine Sagana where we were staying. Just use the locals though some of those that we used also gave us confusing directions. It is around 3km off the main tarmac at Ha Kamama Boda Boda stage. There is a tricky 500m stretch that may need a high clearance vehicle. Otherwise, the rest is murram.
We found two elderly men who were kind enough to receive us. Initially, they thought I had brought the local MCA whom they were expecting. My troop was dressed in hot pants and crop tops and this was considered an offence to the shrine. The problem was solved when we called some local women to bring traditional Kikuyu attire (much to the shock of the troop).
We got a short history of Gikuyu (first man) and Mumbi (his wife) and how they had ten daughters. The folklore goes that the daughters were 9-full (since the culture frowns on counting one’s children and livestock), 9-full is used instead of saying ten. Each daughter’s name is after their different characters or physical built. They then started the ten clans of the Agikuyu. A ritual was done by Gikuyu who told the 9 daughters (apparently the tenth one wasn’t born by fhen) to lay down a special stick side by side. Then they went into a trance and when they came to, behold, the sticks had converted into nine handsome men who were each promised a daughter on the condition that they set their homesteads in the Gikuyu property. The story goes that the tenth daughter, Wamuyu, never got married but she had daughters outside wedlock and these then became the origin of the Kamba tribe. I captured this in a live video and the old man put it in a more captivating and hilarious way.
Within the compound lies an incomplete building of a resort complete with cottages in the form of hut that are named after the ten daughters. Now age has ensured it is falling apart. Rumour has it that a powerful politician initiated its construction against the wishes of the elders. Construction started in 1986 and in 2003, the contractor apparently abandoned the site. So it stands there all forlorn with dreams of what it could have been. I agree with the elders, a resort right next to the shrine would have not only desecrated it but also brought in noise and environmental pollution.
Once the troop is properly dressed, we get taken round the shrine. Only certain people can access the shrine itself. It is in a circular compound with a couple of huts. Within the whole complex are massive indigenous trees but of importance is the Mukurwe tree and a Mugumo tree. Nyagathanga refers to a certain species of birds that would be called by one of the daughters (the soloist/singer) whenever she sang. I would have loved to know the scientific name of the bird. A certain tree towers half burnt from a ritual gone wrong by one of the religious sects who left some burning embers.
To the back of the shrine are more buildings probably part of the incomplete construction but where pilgrims put up during their spiritual journeys.
Apart from that we were shown one mud hut that is almost falling apart. It depicts the house of Kikuyu wife. Traditionally, the man’s hut would face the West (sunset), a reminder that his time on earth is numbered. While the wife’s hut would face Mt Kenya so that every time she woke up and saw the mountain, she would exclaim, “Ngai!” Which is a colloquial term for shock but also directly translates to God. So she would technically be worshiping every time she woke up…
I believe there is so much history that these old men have about the Kikuyu tribe. The shrine is still in use even amongst politicians. As such, it was an honour to be in the presence of one of our richest cultures and history.
Amakove rating: 9/10. 1 mark lost because of Google maps.
So, I think I’ve covered my daily steps target just touring Nokras Riverine Sagana. Wueh! Opened 6 years ago, this place is absolutely beautiful. If it is not the sound of the rushing river Sagana, it is the trees and flowers and beautiful landscaping. I hope I will do justice to the description.
Set on 15 acres (yes, you read that right) along the beautiful Sagana River, it boasts of over 100 rooms (from cottages to deluxe, executives and family rooms), car parks that can take over 300 cars, over ten conference facilities with two able to host over 1000pax, three swimming pools (with a water slide for children and those of us who are young at heart), a massive outdoor children’s park, an indoor children’s play room (a teen room is coming right up). I counted over 5 bars, three kitchens, a massage parlour, gym, grounds that can host over 3000 pax and so much more.
Activities include but are not limited to: kayaking, white water rafting, archery, swimming, gym, fishing, farm tour etc. I plan to visit neighbouring sites like Caves and a cultural museum in Murang’a Town.
Basically, what I am saying is that we had planned to stay a couple of days but we have requested to extend some more to maximise on the visit.
They’ve got fantastic offers for this season. Remember, it is only 2hr drive or less from Nairobi City. I preferred to use the Murang’a town route (you divert through Kenol) rather than the Sagana route simply because I had never been to Murang’a town. The drive is very scenic.
I’ll keep updating the events as they unfold. For now, I am enjoying my sundowner after that long tour…
Oh, and they use solar energy for heating. They also have a massive generator for back up.
They have 3 other hotels: Nokras Enkare, Nokras Murang’a town and Nokras Embu Town
Government purpots that the Immigration Department is running out of storage space, because 50,000 printed passports are yet to be collected. Who are these 50,000 Kenyans and how come a number of Kenyans who applied for their passports last year and early this year are yet to be attended to?
How are the 50,000 applicants supposed to know their passports are ready, if they are not communicated to?
This feature takes you on a journey of passport woes.