Exploring Maai Mahiu in the Great Rift valley
Are you wondering where to travel, hike, camp or just visit and relax? Maybe you are looking for a place that has favorable weather condition even during the cold season in June and July. You are in luck. Maai Mahiu meaning “hot water” in Kikuyu, one of the native languages in Kenya lies in the Rift Valley Province. It is a town along the Maai Mahiu – Naivasha road. It is located in Naivasha Sub-county in Nakuru County. The beauty of the town begins with a quick stop over at the escarpment viewpoint. I find it aesthetically pleasing view of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment. The viewpoint provides a wide view of the escarpment and a breathtaking view of the sunset. At the viewpoint, you will find curio shops where you can easily acquire African artifacts and souvenirs. Such include the traditional belts, ornaments, African (Masai) cloth perfect for camping, hiking, and picnic activities.
Things to do at Maai Mahiu
Visit the smallest Catholic Church in East AfricaThe journey down the slope leads you to the smallest Catholic Church structure in East Africa. Records show that the Italian Prisoners of War built the church. However, the prisoners were under the supervision of the British colonialists. The church structure is approximately 15 feet by 8 feet and is pentagon-like shaped. Four small wooden pews, an altar, and a pulpit characterize it. Upon entering it, you will identify that the inside walls are covered with Latin words that translate “This is the victory that has won the world by our faith.” Primary sources say that the church was built since the Italians were Catholics whereas the British were Anglicans. Therefore, the Italians had built a place of worship. It also provided a safe haven to the Italians who faced harsh living conditions as well as attacks from the wild animals and diseases. The church is perfect for travelers and tourists who appreciate history and architecture at the same time.
HikingAt Maai Mahiu town, I recommend visiting three tourist destinations namely hiking at Mt Longonot, hiking on the slopes of the escarpment. Mt Longonot, the extinct volcano, rises from the floor of the Great Rift Valley. The name is derived from the Masai word Oloonong’ot which when translated means “mountains of many spurs. Traveling around the park takes roughly four to five hours. Mt Longont is elevated at 2,776m above the sea level. I recommend hiking there as opposed to the along the slopes of the escarpment if you want to have a diverse experience of the African flora and fauna. The crater rim provides a breathtaking scene including Lake Naivasha. The volcanic mountain is characterized by thick forest within the crater. Traveling here will expose you to wildlife attractions including the Grant’s gazelles, giraffes. Common zebra, bush bucks, leopards, lions, elands, and buffaloes. Poaching is highly discouraged. Policies and bodies such as the Kenya Wildlife Service protect the wildlife. You will find the animals enclosed in the park where entrance fees are as seen below:-
- Adult citizens pay 300Ksh while the children and students pay
- The adult Residents pay 600Ksh while children and students pay 300Ksh
- The Non-residents adults pay 26US$ while the children and the students pay 17US$ respectively