Kenya has a lot of breathtaking spots for one’s enjoyment, from the wildlife to the people not to mention food and culture. You are literally spoiled for choice on the places to see and things to do. However, there are also places that are steeped in mystery and folklore that are worth exploring. You get to take in the views or marvel at architecture and take home with you stories of how that particular place came to be.
1. Lake Simbi Nyaima
Simbi Nyaima, which means ‘village that sank’, is a crater lake located in Kendu Bay, Homabay County. According to locals, the lake formed as a result of a curse from an old woman who happened to be the daughter of a renown rainmaker. The story goes that one night, the village chief hosted a grand and decadent party. It so happened that on that night, the old woman sought shelter from the villagers but was turned away rudely. Only one of the villagers sympathized with her and offered her food and a place to stay. The following morning, upon leaving the village, she warned the family that had shown her kindness to immediately vacate the village as a great storm was coming that would drown the village to punish them for their cruelty. The family heeded the old woman’s warning and was rescued while the rest of the village drowned.
Locals believe that the water is medicinal and can cure a number of diseases. Apart from the folklore, the beautiful scenery and the bird life (flamingoes, little greb, little egret,Egyptian goose) that surround the lake makes the visit even more worthwhile.
2. Kituluni Hill
Famously known as the anti-gravity hill, there is spot that stretches for about 100 m, where water flows uphill. Legend has it that two men, Kyalo and Mwilu, shared a wife. Their homes were separated by stream that snaked down the hill. Their wife would sit along this stream before deciding in which home she would spend the night. When the men died, they were buried uphill and to this day, they continue to fight for the woman hence the pull towards their graves. The hill has another name, Kyamwilu, which is a portmanteau of the men in the myth.
3. Kit Mikayi
Kit Mikayi translates to ‘stones of the first wife’. It is located about 29 Km from Kisumu town and about 1km from the Kisumu-Bondo Rd. Legend behind it is that eons ago, an old man, Ngeso, developed a deep fascination with the rock. So much so, that he built his wives a home there but the wives dreaded that the huge rock would fall on them and convinced Ngeso to relocate. Moving farther away from the rock did not wane Ngeso’s interest and he continued to visit the rock, often spending entire days at its feet entertaining his friends and selling the herbs that grew there to villagers for a fee. His wife would bring him food and drink at the rock and when asked by the villagers about her frequent afternoon trips, she would often muse that her husband has gone to his first wife hence the name Kit mikayi.
The rock is revered among the locals due to their belief in its healing properties and that if the right sacrifices are made, it can ward off evil or restore prosperity in one’s life in times of hardship. Climbing the rocks gives you a spectacular view of the locale. Definitely worth the visit.
4. The lost city of Gedi
No one knows why this city was abandoned. It was a flourishing and well planned city but one day the residents that picked up and left. The theories for the mass evacuation are that their was a looming invasion, a disease epidemic that forced them out of the city or the water shortage in the city due to the deepening wells. There are no records in history or folklore about the city of Gedi, lending the ruins even more mystery. The ruins are located in Malindi.
5. Lord Egerton Castle
This magnificent castle that is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Lord Egerton harbors a sad story of unrequited love between Lord Maurice Egerton and a young lady he wished to marry. Because of his love interest’s royal lineage, she demanded a grand home that befitted her status before she could settle with Lord Egerton in Kenya. Not wishing to disappoint her, he contracted English architect, Albert Brown to build him a castle. The lady wasn’t impressed and called the place as small as a dog’s kennel. She left to marry another British lord in Australia. Devastated, Lord Egerton nonetheless continued with the construction of the castle. Today, the castle located in Njoro is a popular tourist attraction as visitors marvel at the architecture