When it comes to having a small getaway or road trip from Nairobi, most people think of Nanyuki, Nakuru, Naivasha, Kajiado, and the like. Very few think of Machakos county. There are many best places to visit in Machakos County for fun activities and scenery options.
Machakos County covers an area of 6,208 square km with an estimated population of 1,098,584 people. It was also the first British colonial administrative town in Kenya.
The county has various tourist attractions, rich culture, scenic views, and heritage waiting for you to explore. This post will cover the best places you should visit in Machakos county.
Best Places to Visit in Machakos County
Below are some of the best places you should plan to visit in Machakos county. The list follows no particular order.
|Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park||Hiking, bird and wildlife watching, mountain landscape, visiting waterfalls, mountain climbing, scenic view of Mt Kilimanjaro and Kenya, grave view of Lord William McMillan and camping|
|The African Heritage House||Full house tour, swimming and spending a night in the house|
|Lord Macmillan’s Castle||Tour in the castle|
|Masinga Dam||A tour of the facility, climbing to the highest point of the dam and camping|
|Lukenya Hill and Caves||Sightseeing, wildlife viewing and hiking|
|Kyamwilu Magical Corner||Watch as the water flows upwards the hill instead of downwards.|
|Machakos People’s Park||Zip lining, camel and horse riding, boat riding, miniature golf, bike riding, merry-go-round, maze and archery|
|Maanzoni Sanctuary||Walking safaris, Wildlife and bird viewing, swimming, and spending the night in the sanctuary.|
|Iveti Forest Reserve||Bird watching, hiking, and camping|
1. Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
Ol Donyo Sabuk means Mountain of buffaloes, owing to a large number of buffaloes in the park. In addition, the park has more than 45 bird species, leopards, olive baboons, bushbucks, monitor lizards, porcupines, and aardvarks.
The park is dominated by a small mountain covered in a mountain forest. A gravesite (Macmillan grave) is also in this park. The entry fee is Ksh. 250 per adult and Ksh. 200 per child.
From this park, you can also easily access other spectacular landmarks in Kenya-the famous fourteen falls located 3km away. You can camp at any of their three camping sites: Rock Hyrax, Turacco Public Campsite, and Summit campsite.
2. The African Heritage House
The African Heritage House is located next to the AIC Kanisa Church in Mlolongo. It’s a showpiece of African culture and heritage. This historic orange house is a rich collection of books, jewelry, art, and fabrics. In addition, it’s available for conferences, meals, and overnight stays in rooms filled with African art and furnishings.
The house was finished in 1994 using designs influenced by mud architecture from around the world. Since 2014 the African Heritage House has been gazetted as a National Monument.
Its doors draw cues from Zanzibar and Lamu, and Moroccan Culture influences part of the interior courtyard. The African Heritage House is filled from floor to ceiling with luxurious seats, sculptures, paintings, photographs, and vibrant fabrics collected by Allan Donovan during his travel.
The house is a haven of beauty for history, African culture, and art lovers. The fee to access the house is Ksh 1000 per person, which is inclusive of the entire house tour and tea/coffee afterward.
Overnight accommodations are also available from Ksh. 10,000 per night, with meals and access to the swimming pool available to only those staying in the house.
3. Lord Macmillan’s Castle
The late Lord Macmillan was an American explorer who came to Kenya in 1904. He and his wife Lucie boarded the Uganda Railway bound for Kisumu. While on the trip, he engaged in big game hunting, but he was so taken by the Nairobi region that he split off from his hunting team, which went on to Uganda and returned to Nairobi.
Later he built the Castle- a grand single-storied, 32-roomed castle with underground bunkers. The castle has hosted some of the greatest people in history, including former British Prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill and former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.
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4. Masinga Dam
Masinga dam is located around 106 km from Nairobi, straddling the borders of Embu and Machakos counties. The dam is the longest river in the African-Tana River and serves as the main reservoir in the seven folks scheme hydropower complex.
The scenic dam is the largest man-made dam in East and Central Africa, covering an area of 47 km squared and a capacity of 1.56 billion cubic meters of water. You’re given a facility tour at the site and then an insane climb to the highest point of the dam.
There are also campsites near the dams where you can light a fire and stargaze through the night. However, it’s advisable not to visit there during heavy rainy seasons as it floods and overflows.
5. Lukenya Hill and Caves
Lukenya and caves are found near Lukenya school, a 6-minute drive off Mombasa road. The area is an important archaeological site, and the Leakeys started the earliest excavation efforts there in the 1940s.
Lukenya has several climbing routes, including some jamming cracks and face climbs. It features beautiful rocks and a camping site at the top of the hill, so you may carry your camping gear and camp. Lukenya hills are suitable for sightseeing, hiking, and wildlife viewing on the surrounding Athi plains.
The caves hold historical significance for Kenya. During Kenya’s struggle for independence, MauMau exploited them as hiding places.
6. Kyamwilu Magical Corner
It is located along Machakos-Mutituni road. It’s an enigmatic attraction where nature defies gravity. It’s a magic corner where tourists visit to see water flowing up the hill instead of downwards. You can experiment by pouring water on the spot, and you’ll be surprised to see water flowing against gravity.
If you switch off the car and park it at the roadside with nobody inside, it will start to move the hill upwards slowly, and it can go up to past 20 meters.
7. Machakos People’s Park
The park is situated next to Machakos showground, a few kilometers from Machakos town. It’s a one-of-a-kind park with a dancing water fountain, field amphitheater, conference facilities, solar exhibition stands, a children’s play area, restaurants, miniature golf courses, and a man-made lake ideal for speed boat rides.
Machakos People’s Park is among the cleanest parks in Kenya, and it’s well maintained. It’s usually closed From Monday to Wednesday owing to many visitors during weekends and is only open from Thursday to Sunday.
Entry to the park is free though you’ll have to pay for the activities you undertake. Horse and camel riding costs Ksh 200, archery Ksh.200, Boat ride Ksh.200, and zip lining is Ksh. 500.
8. Iveti Forest Reserve
The Reserve is the second highest peak in Machakos County. The reserve’s entrance is near Mumbuni High School, around 15 minutes off Machakos-Kangundo road. Iveti Forest Reserve is abundant with pine trees, cedar trees, scenic views, and a wide range of birdlife.
It’s an ideal destination for hiking and bird-watching lovers. Campsites are also available within the reserve.
9. Maanzoni Sanctuary
Maanzoni Sanctuary is set on a 10,00 acres piece of land in Athi River. The sanctuary features a luxurious lodge-Maanzoni lodge, an ideal leisure destination. It’s also home to many wildlife, including gazelles, giraffes, wildebeest, elands, zebras, and some ostriches.
Entry to the sanctuary is free, and it’s accessible to all. From the lodge, they organize walking safaris for the visitors to experience the beautiful wildlife and scenery. Their rooms cost from Ksh. 9,000 inclusive of bed, breakfast, and access to the swimming pool.
10. Mua Hills
Mua hills are situated near Mua Road junction, off Mombasa road. They are small hills with thorny bushes and vegetation. The hills are ideal for hiking and offer a fairly easy hiking trail suitable for those hiking for the first time.
There are assumptions that the hills may have been once part of a more extensive highland plateau that linked Mbooni and Aberdares hills but were diminished due to extreme weathering over millions of years.
If you’re planning a quick road trip or a getaway, make sure you head down to Machakos County.
The county has ideal destinations for road trips and getaways. Those mentioned above are just a few of the best places you can visit and have fun in Machakos county.