Whenever you look at a safari package offering you an “unforgettable trip” to enchanted lands such as Kenya, there is a very good chance that you will be getting offered the same old beaten-path places.
You know – 3 days, 4 nights stay at a luxury Maasai Mara resort such as the Mara Serena or a day-long dolphin sighting dhow trip at Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve reserve down at the coast”. Now, no one is saying there is anything wrong with such packages.
If anything, these are the kinds of packages that any memorable safari is made of and that every avid traveller should look to take up at least once in their travelling lives.
However, every once in a while, just to spice things up, maybe you could look at trying out the lesser-known destinations? Places that most international tour companies may never know about let alone advertise or include in a safari package.
There is something to be said about interesting and mysterious places that only the locals know and frequent. As a tourist, visiting these places will give you a unique insight into what it feels like to be a local of your current destinations.
Mysteriously fascinating destinations in Kenya
The next time you are in Kenya and have a little time, try your hand out at the road less travelled. Not only will you get to see some of the most fascinatingly weird things on this planet but you will also get to see how the locals really live. That level of authenticity is always colourful, enriching and very much the kind of thing that good travel stories are made of.
That being said, here are six mysteriously fascinating locations you could try visiting for a start:
1. The haunted “Pillar of Mbaraki”
The Kenyan coast has a lot of ancient and historic monuments dating all the way back to when the Arabs settled there. Some of these monuments such as the “Vasco da Gama Pillar” in Malindi are easily explained away as gifts left behind by Sultans as a gesture of gratitude for the hospitality they were shown. Others, such as Fort Jesus have a clear history and story behind them.
The “Pillar of Mbaraki”, however, is a little different. This 50 foot, 300-year old pillar can be found west of the Likoni roundabout and always drawn controversy among archaeologists and historians alike. It seems, no one can agree on why the pillar even exists in the first place.
Some think it was built as an ancient lighthouse of sorts while others believe it might have been a tomb for some important person aeons ago (like the Sheikh of the Changamwe people). The problem with that theory is that the pillar has no burial chamber and isn’t quite as effective as most lighthouses around the world.
Local legend has it that there is an ancient Arabic spirit that resides within the pillar. This is a benevolent spirit that, when pleased, bestows blessings upon those who perform certain rituals for it.
Local women tend to head to the pillar in droves to perform fertility rituals to be blessed with children. Whatever the story behind it, paying this pillar a visit is something you would definitely appreciate especially when accompanied by a local who would share the most amazing stories to prove that the benevolent Arab ghost is real.
2. Get cured at Lake Simbi Nyaima
“The village that sunk”, that’s what Simbi Nyaima means. This otherwise beautiful lake in Kendu Bay, Homabay County is full of life. Its shores are riddled with beautiful birds such as flamingoes, egrets and Egyptian goose. It’s a sight to behold. There is, however, a sinister story behind “The Village that Sunk”.
As local legend would have it, long, long ago, this was a vibrant village full of life. One night, the chief threw a wild and decadent party that the entire village attended. On that very night, a stranger happened upon the village seeking hospitality. Everyone was busy having a good time and no one paid attention to her with some even brushed her aside. Apart from one family.
On the next day, the stranger told the family to seek higher ground as there was a flood coming. Turns out the stranger was the daughter of a rainmaker who didn’t take too kindly to being treated rudely by the village people so she drowned it.
Locals believe that the lake has healing powers and can cure a wide range of diseases.
3. Get turned around at the Menengai Crater
In and of itself, the Menengai Crater is a breathtaking location. This dormant volcanic caldera offers you sweeping views of Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru as well as a host of local wildlife including gazelles, zebras and other stunning herbivores. Hiking this crater is a pastime and challenge for many locals.
However, there is a cave near the crater that is believed to have some unnatural activity. It’s been said that some people have been turned around here and even lost for days only to be found wandering around in a daze. Legend has it, this crater was once the site of a fierce battle between Maasai warriors who refused to recognize the authority of the local Laibon (chief). This battle led to some of the warriors being thrown into the crater and it’s their cry for justice that haunts it to date.
4. The Gedi Ruins
The Gedi Ruins in Kilifi are something of a head-scratcher. For starters, the outlines showcase a town that was well beyond its time even for today’s standards. The problem is that this town seems to have been abandoned overnight and no one can definitively say why?
Paying these ruins a visit will give you a chance to see how what might have been a highly sophisticated 12th-century Swahili society lived. Listening to the local legends and speculations will only add to the fascination.
5. The anti-gravity Hill of Kyamwilu
In Machakos County, there is a hill that defies physics. Known as the Anti-gravity hill, there is a stretch of about 100-meters on Kyamwilu where water flows uphill. Legend has it that there were two Kamba men (Mwilu and Kyalo) who shared a wife and their homes were separated with what was a normal downhill flowing stream.
Each evening, the lucky woman would sit along this stream and decide in whose arms she would spend the night. When the two men died, they were buried uphill. The stream now flows uphill because even in death, they still fight to capture their woman’s attention.
These are some of the most interesting and mysteriously fascinating locations in Kenya. Have you heard of any that we have left off the list? Share it with us in the comment section below.