I love nature and the beautiful creations that awe us every time we look at them. I had a quest to visit a crater and ended up in Kenya’s most prominent crater, the Menengai Crater. If you are like me and you love sightseeing and hiking adventure, then you should visit the Menengai Crater in Kenya. Kenya is a country to visit as it is home to numerous scenic tourist attraction sites. I was awed by the countless tourist attraction sites with diverse wildlife, beaches, nature trails, forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, game reserves and parks and more. One magnificent place I visited and will never forget is the beautiful Menengai Crater. So, Where is Menengai Crater? Menengai Crater is located in Kenya, on the outskirts of Nakuru Town, just 10 kilometers north of the city. It takes approximately 15 minutes to drive to the rim of the Crater. If you consider making a walk up, you can spend an hour or less to it. I enjoyed every bit of my journey and experience as the site is a breathtaking and the most intriguing destination that anyone can think. The Menengai crater is a fun and exciting place to explore with a couple of your friends. Menengai Crater is an exciting tourist attraction destination that provides a unique oasis of tranquility. It is a therapeutic adventure that lulls you into a reflective mood away from your busy life. You will find curio shops from the central viewpoint, and you can get beautiful souvenirs’ that will give you a touch of the Kenyan culture and heritage. It is a place you will enjoy, and the price is also affordable. In Menengai crater you will enjoy nature trails and the serenity of the surroundings as you tour the phenomenal site away from the hustle and bustles of the city. Before we delve into exciting facts about the Menengai Crater, let me first take you through its formation. A lot of people wonder how Menengai Crater was formed. Menengai Crater was formed after an eruption around 200,000 that produced more than 70 post-caldera flows of lava on the caldera floor. So, here are 6 of the best tourist attraction features I saw in the Menengai Crater in Nakuru, Kenya.
The Menengai Caldera
Menengai Crater is located in Rift Valley, Kenya and is said to be the second largest caldera in the world. The site is an enormous shield volcano, one of the worlds’ single most massive surviving volcanic craters. It was formed around 200, 000 years ago while about 8000 years ago, the caldera was established. Menengai Crater is the largest volcano caldera in Kenya. Moreover, the post-caldera lava flows cover a big part of the Caldera. The sediment found in the caldera is minimal and is a thick mass of lava boulders and ridges. The volcanic activity continues even in this day and age and is used by the Kenya geothermal power generation to generate energy. The spectacular Menengai Crater caldera draws visitors from all over the world and features large circular rims and plunging cliffs that will take your breath away.
Unique Birds and Animal Species
If you enjoy a walk through nature, then Menengai Crater should be your next stop as you will enjoy the beautiful sceneries of nature. The Menengai Crater, which is within the rich biodiversity of an indigenous Menengai forest, covers an area of about 7000 Hectares. The two tree species that are dominant in the Menengai forest are the eucalyptus and the acacia trees. There are over 169 species of the flowering plants and 17 species of grasses that have been found and recorded in Menengai Forest. They include flowering plants such as leleshwa (Tarchonanthus camphoratus), Euphorbia species and Acacia species. The common grass found in the forest is the geothermal grass (Fimbristylis exilis) and Boma Rhodes grass. There are numerous mammals, birds, and insects in the Menengai forest. The mammal species you will find here are the tree hyrax, rock hyrax, olive baboon, black-faced vervet monkey, mountain reedbuck, Kirk’s dik-dik and the slender mongoose. The bird’s species are many as well and include the Verreaux’s eagle (which are only found in Menengai Forest in Nakuru), Abyssinian ground hornbill, lesser spotted eagle, African marsh harrier, Horus Swift, turn-tailed ravens, red-winged sterling, and others. Other animals include spiders, molluscs, and butterflies.
Viewpoints of both Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria
Menengai Crater is a fantastic vantage point, and you can view the surrounding areas and lakes around Nakuru. The Crater is located 90km2 and 2500m above sea level and is such a peaceful place that offers the tourist a fantastic view of Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria. From the Craters rim, you can behold and marvel at the beauty of the surrounding natural wonders, plantations, estates and the alluring lakes.
Mountain Biking and Hiking
Menengai Crater is a place located 10 kilometers (6 mi) in the northern part of Nakuru. Menengai Crater is found in an elevated area which ranges from 1900–2300 meters above sea level. You can hike or go biking along the nature trail meandering through the Menengai forest in the company of your friends as you enjoy the breeze and chirping birds in the area. The crater is a favorite spot for visitors who want to go hiking, jogging or walking a dog. You can walk and have a local guide to take you down from the Menengai Crater viewpoint and around the crater and walk up back to the same spot. The walk is approximately 6 kilometers from the main gate and hikers can go with a local guide or take a motorbike. The trip which takes about four hours is unforgettable, and no photos can give you a satisfying idea. It is worth to plan to visit and see it for yourself.
There are campsites around, and you can plan to visit the place for camping and other adventures. People visit the crater and caves for picnic and photo sessions. It is a relaxing picnic spot to be in because of its calmness and serenity.
Menengai crater has many caves and on the western side of the Crater are the mau-mau caves. I learnt that some people visit the place to pray and to perform other religious matters. The name Menengai is a Kikuyu name that means a place of many gods. There are many myths that the locals hold about the area. The Menengai Crater is believed to be home to many demons and haunted by ghosts and strange spirits. There is a word that there is a “Kirima Kia Ngoma” which means a place of devils and is that they ride around it. The steam rising is believed to be the souls of the Maasai warriors who were defeated in a war and thrown down the cliff.
I hope this Menengai tourist guide has offered you valuable insights and now you aware of the best tourist features to look for when you visit the beautiful Menengai Crater in Nakuru, Kenya.