A Guide To Menengai Crater
Menengai Crater is an extinct volcano standing at 2490 meters high. It is the 2nd largest volcanic crater in the world with a surface area of 90 square kilometers. Local people believed that this crater has caves that host devils on motor bikes. However, its flanks are occupied by productive farmlands.
Menengai Crater Destination Guide
Menengai Crater is a massive shield volcano with one of the biggest calderas in the world, located in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya. It is the largest volcano caldera in Kenya and the second largest volcano caldera in Africa. Farmland occupies its flanks.
Menengai Crater is located on the floor of the Rift Valley. The volcano formed about 200,000 years ago and the prominent 12 x 8 km caldera formed about 8000 years ago. The caldera floor is covered with numerous post caldera lava flows.
The Menengai volcano is considered one of the best-preserved Krakatau-style calderas in the world. Menengai Crater has very little sediment in the caldera which is a thick mass of lava boulders and inaccessible ridges. Volcanic activity continues and is used for geothermal power generation.
Menengai is located 10 km (6 mi) north of Nakuru, the fourth – biggest city in Kenya.
Menengai Crater – Where The Devil Rides Motorcycle
A number of strange things are said to happen in Menengai Crater, such as people disappearing without trace, Others losing directions for hours (or even days) only to be found by their relatives wandering around in a trance.
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The local people believe that Menengai Crater is haunted by evil spirits that capture people and animals and hide them in the netherworld. It is said that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, ghosts used to farm on a fertile piece of land on the floor of the crater.
Menengai Crater Demons
According to eye witnesses, the ‘demons‘ used to plough the land with tractors, plant wheat and harvest all within an hour. The locals even claim to have seen the devil riding a motorcycle on a hill called “Kirima Kia ngoma (Devil’s Hill)” situated next to the crater. There is also the widespread allegation of a ‘flying umbrella‘ that normally appears whenever it rains.
But despite the eerie stories about the crater, pilgrims from as far as Kisumu, Kakamega and even Mombasa come to pray and fast at the site for days.
Some even stay in the cave at the south of the crater for months. They say that they feel very close to God when praying in the crater.
There are reports from the locals in the area that they have witnessed the devil riding a motorbike on Kirima Kia ngoma or Devil’s Hill which is next to the crater.
Menengai Crater and the Masai Morans
Menengai Crater Kenya, located just outside the town of Nakuru, is a place of legend. It is here where the Ilaikipiak Moran [also Maasai] were defeated by the Ilpurko Maasai during a fight over grazing land. The defeated were thrown over the edge of the Menengai Crater and the place has been named for the Maa word for ‘the dead’ describing the fumaroles in the crater that are said by locals to be the souls of the dead warriors trying to get heaven.
How to get to Menegai Crater
Menengai Crater is very difficult to get to unless you have your own transport, but once there the rewards are worth the getting there. Hiking through beautiful scenery and spectacular landscapes make it an outing to remember.
Where to stay around Menengai Crater
Accommodation is available in Nakuru town and surrounds.
What to do at Menengai Crater
- Scenic site
- Hot springs and geysers
- Mud pots
- Rotary Club sign post
- Panoramic views
- Picnic site
Menengai Crater contacts
Attraction Type: Scenery & Landscapes
Category: Volcano, Crater
Region: South Rift
City / Town: Nakuru
Road / Street: Off Nyahururu Nakuru Road
Telephone: 254 772 743500
Menengai Crater charges
Entrance Fee: No
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Menengai Crater video
Menengai Crater Review
After hearing lots of curiosity rousing stories about Menengai Crater, I resolved to join a group of friends traveling to the place to see it for myself.
We left Nairobi early and arrived in Nakuru two and a half hours later. We then headed straight to the crater, which is located 10 kilometres North of Nakuru town in the Great Rift Valley.
Slowly, we climbed the walls of the crater via the long stretch of murram road strewn with huge gravel. We ended up at a roadblock manned by several Kenya Forest Service officers.
They informed us that we had to pay Sh250 so as to be allowed to visit the crater. This was a surprise since none of us knew we had to pay. We paid, were issued with receipts and walked in.
Going by the number of cars that were parked, it was clear many visitors, both foreign and local, were visiting the crater. Some were busy sampling curios and others purchasing foodstuffs from mabati stalls on the edge the crater.
At the top, which is 2,300 metres above sea level, there is a tall signpost erected by the Rotary Club showing directions and distances in kilometres to several places in the world such as Rome 5997, Tokyo 10,988, Mombasa 579, Cape Town 4,186, London 6,924, New York 12,360 and Evanstone 13,687.
The sign also reads that area of the crater is 90 square kilometres and maximum depth of 485 metres.
We could see the enormous yawn of the crater as it plunged down from the rim, proffering a wonderful green picturesque view of the floors of the crater. We could see some smoke spiraling from the bottom.
At the top the crater, we caught a breathtaking view of Nakuru town and its environs.
It is here that we met Devore Bryan and his family from USA who were there to see the scenic. “I have read a lot about the crater and while in Kenya, I resolved to visit and see it for myself,” said Mr Bryan.
He is one of thousands of visitors across the world who tour the crater. Local pilgrims across the country visit the crater to pray and fast for several days, saying they feel very close to God when praying in the crater.
Pupils from Pistis academy in Nakuru had come for a retreat and educational trip.
Various birds of rare species and several dik-dik, duiker, hyena, baboons and cats can be spotted at the crater.
Menengai Crater is a large caldera believed to have formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Its name Menengai is said to be a Kikuyu word that means a place for many gods.
A legend claims the crater is home to many demons and ghosts and therefore is referred to as Kirima kia Ngoma, by many locals meaning place of devils.
A number of strange things are said to happen in the crater, such as people disappearing without a trace, while others losing directions for hours or days only to be found by their relatives wandering around in a trance.
There is also widespread allegations of a ‘flying umbrella’ that normally appears whenever it rains.
Still, there are locals who allege that the crater is haunted by evil spirits that capture people and animals and hide them in the netherworld. It is said that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, ghosts used to farm on a fertile piece of land on the floor of the crater.
Indeed, Menengai Crater is one of the most attractive places in the country with its spectacular scenery and promise of activities including hiking, trekking, biking, camping and picnicking at strategic campsites.
Source: Standard newspaper