Menengai Crater in Kenya

Menengai Crater
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Menengai Crater is an excellent destination for a day’s hike and for magnificent views of the Great Rift Valley.

The Mysterious Myths of the Menengai Crater

Menengai Crater is an extinct volcano with striking views of Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria as well as the crater itself.  Menengai Crater is a large Caldera, formed by millions of years of volcanic activity. The highest point, at 2,300 m above sea level, has a signpost erected by the Rotary Club that shows the directions and distances to several places of the world.

 The signpost indicates 13,687 miles to Evanston, Indiana while it is 12,360 miles to New York. It also shows that this attraction is 148 miles northwest of Nairobi and 138 miles west of Mt Kenya. Though the volcano is dormant, there are hot spots at the floor of the crater where steam jets sometimes fill it with vapour. In the centre of the caldera there is a small cone rising above surrounding lava, which shows fumarolic activity. It is not clear when Menengai last erupted, although some of the cinder cones on the crater floor still emit smoke

Although previous volcanic activity may be a draw card to some people, most people travel to the crater in order to quench their curiosity.  A number of strange things are said to happen in the crater, such as people disappearing without a trace, others losing directions for hours (or even days) only to be found by their relatives wandering around in a trance.  Historians say the place was a scene of violent battle pitting the Laikipia Maasai, who did not recognise the authority of the Laibon, against Ilpurko Maasai.

 In one battle, it is said, the Ilaikipiak warriors were thrown into the caldera.  Legend has it that the Menengai Crater is home to many demons and ghosts and so the crater is referred to as kirima kia ngoma, which means the place of devils. Despite eerie stories about this crater, pilgrims from as far as Kisumu, Kakamega and even Mombasa come to pray and fast at the site for days.

If the scientific, geological and mythical wonders of the crater are not your cup of tea, the crater still has a lot more to offer. The site offers excellent hiking opportunity, scenic site, hot springs, geysers, mud pots among others. The captivating and magnificent view of Menengai Crater and its warm sunrays beautify the steam jets filling the crater with mist, giving it breathtaking marvel.

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Map of Menengai Crater in Kenya

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