Ikoo Valley

Ikoo Valley is an extensive scenic site to behold offering a beautiful get away from an otherwise busy town life. It’s located 30kms form Kitui town and 20kms from Mwingi. The valley also forms the origin of River Ikoo which runs Eastwards towards the Mui Basin.

The valley overlooks Kea area to the South, the Mutitu Hills and Zombe area to the Far East. The valley has several viewing points, with three popularly used by locals. The Kaluu viewpoint is at Kaluu sub location at the top of a hill. This viewpoint overlooks the Ikoo River that meanders magnificently at the floor of the valley on its way to Mutitu then to Zombe where it joins Thua River.
Rock climbers will also enjoy because to get to the top of the hill it’s purely rock climbing. As one sweats climbing up there, there is also a refreshing cool breeze that is felt which is very refreshing. Additionally from up there one can see baboons jumping from one tree to another.

Kalundu Dam Eco Park

Semi-arid Kitui county has opened a manmade beach on a manmade lake for boating, kayaking, jet skiing and fun in the sun. The Kalundu Eco Park in Kitui town will also have a floating restaurant.

Launched during Christmas Eve on the 22nd December 2020 by the Kitui County Governor, H.E. Charity Kaluki Ngilu in Kitui Town, Kalundu Dam Eco Park is a man-made beach, the first dry land beach in Kenya. The locals have playfully thanked the governor for bringing the Kenyan coast to Kitui County. The 30.9-acre recreational facility which is only 0.9km away from Hotel San Marino, Kitui includes a nine-acre man-made dam and paved walkways. It is billed as the epitome of Kitui’s tourism attractions.
On completion, the recreational development will include a floating restaurant, kayaking, jet skiing among other amenities.

Nzambani Rock

The mystical Nzambani rock in Kitui County, a tourist destination said to have supernatural powers of changing one’s gender has gotten a new lease of life. This follows a private investor’s initiative to breathe life to the rock by establishing a restaurant and campsite at the foot of the giant rock which is about 15 kilometers from Kitui town.

The land next to the imposing rock, 18 acres of it, is owned by the famous Mwendwa family through an entity called Nzambani Rock Development Company.

The family is, however, quick to clarify that despite a misconceived narrative out in the public, they do not own the rock but have leased it for 99 years, in an agreement that was entered with the defunct Kitui County Council in 2004.

“We thought of coming up with something unique to create a conducive environment for people to fully appreciate the rock without necessarily climbing it. Our long term plan is to establish a five star hotel with fully furnished guest rooms, a swimming pool, a botanical garden for photo shoots and all other recreational facilities,” said Mumo Mwendwa, the overall manager of the facility.
He noted that there was need to mind the welfare of people who go up the rock and come down tired, thirsty and hungry.
During a visit, we found one of the managers Winfred Mwende busy at the campsite inspecting the tents to ensure everything was in order.
“The reception has been good. People like the facility and we are doing everything possible to make their stay here comfortable and memorable,” explained Mwende.

For several months, the investor has been working on making the area around the rock conducive for visitors, most of who visit to climb.
Towards this, a full-fledged restaurant has been put up. Here you can order for nyama choma or even grilled chicken among other foods. A giant tank has been erected to ensure constant supply of water and a high voltage generator installed for power supply.
Next to the tents is an ablution block with fine structured toilets and bathrooms.
“We are now fully open to visitors. This presents a perfect getaway facility for families, couples and other visitors who want to be away from the bustle and hassle of towns,” observed Mwende.
The campsite came in handy during the recent Rugby Sevens event after guest houses in Kitui town were fully booked, forcing visitors to seek accommodation at the tented camps.
Inside the neatly arranged tents are two mattresses and a sleeping bag. Visitors are also provided with lanterns for lighting. A shared tent goes forKSh5,500 per night inclusive of breakfast.

Noting that in the past there was nothing else to do other than climb the rock, Mwende said all they wanted was to add value to those visiting to climb the rock.
A steel ladder has been erected for ease of rock climbers. Francis Nyaa, a foreman said the ladder held by thick bolts drilled inside the rock is stable and safe. The ladder is repaired and painted after every two years, he said.
To climb the rock, one has to part with Sh200. It takes an average of 25 minutes to reach the peak of the 60 feet rock. While at the top one is able to have a scenic view of Kitui and Matuu towns and even Thika town, about 120km away.
However, when the myth surrounding Nzambani rock is told by Mzee Kimanzi Mutunga, 73, visitors and even locals have been left awestruck.

Smiling broadly to expose his partial toothless gums, Mutunga swears that if one goes around the rock seven times, their gender automatically changes.
The old man says he can take a visitor round the rock once then they complete the rest of the rounds on their own.
“There was a girl called Nzamba who came around this place with two friends to fetch firewood,” Mutunga starts his narration and soon his face is enveloped with intimate emotions. “While at it she saw an attractive stone which she collected to take to her father for grinding snuff. But when she placed it on her breast, it stuck to her body and started to grow,” he explains.
According to the tale, when her friends failed to disentangle the stone from her body, they fled, leaving Nzamba alone in the forest. The next day, people were astonished to find a huge stone standing where Nzamba was. To their amazement the stone continued to grow day by day.

“Just at the foot of the rock there is a cave which served as a shrine for Kamba people. During drought, they would bring foodstuffs and slaughter a black goat to appease the gods. Before they could reach home, there would be a heavy downpour,” said Mutunga.
He claimed that in 1970s, a contractor who was tarmacking Machakos-Kitui road attempted to crush the rock into ballast but his workers were beaten thoroughly and chased away by unseen spirits.
Kitui County Executive in charge of Tourism, Sports and Culture Patrick Koki Musau said Nzambani rock is among several tourist sites which have been earmarked for full exploitation to maximize on tourism potential.

“We are encouraging investors to come and invest within those sites. We have plans to establish tented camps, floating restaurants and cabal cars at the expansive Ikoo valley,” Musau said.
He added that the county government had signed an agreement with Kenya Wildlife Service to restock Kanyonyoo Wildlife Conservancy where eco lodges and bandas for wood carvings and traditional artefacts will be established.
Musau noted that the overall aim was to create a tourism circuit stretching from Tsavo East through Kitui South National Game Reserve to Nzambani Rock, Kanyonyoo Conservancy, Ikoo Valley all the way to Mumoni Hills and Mwingi North Game Reserve which connects to Kora National park. A Mumoni Hill is a sanctuary for rare birds.

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