The County’s tourist attraction sites remain largely unexploited.
Key among them is the proposed new route to climbing Mt. Kenya through Embu town and Kianjokoma on the western side. The mountain attracts over ten thousand climbers annually especially those who climb Lenana and Batian peaks and at least a quarter of them will be expected to use the new route once opened.
The Kshs. 10 million information centre at Irangi forest being set up to help tourists find their way to the mountain will also boost the County’s tourism fortunes.
Mwenendega is where the Embu trace their origin. Embu mythology claims that the Embu people originated from Mbui Njeru falls in the interior of Embu, close to Runyenjes town. In the mythology, God (Ngai) created Mwenendega and gave him a beautiful wife (Ciurunji) by the famous Mbui Njeru waterfalls. The couple was blessed with wealth, and their descendants populated the rest of Embu. Another falls is Nthenge Njeru waterfalls, also in Runyenjes and Gitwa-Rwarari waterfalls.
The National Museums of Kenya is also planning to build a KES 52 million planetarium at Kianjiru hills in Mbeere South where tourists including amateur astronomers would be able to observe the planets and the stars. The planetarium will be the first on the Equator and is expected to be a huge crowd puller.
The planetarium will come complete with a cultural museum where locals will get an opportunity to showcase their traditional song, dance, story-telling, housing, and dress. At the foot of the hill, there are plans to plant a botanical garden with different species of indigenous and exotic plants. This facility will have a 32-bed lounge where tourists will stay and locals will have an opportunity to put up curio shops.
Mau Mau Cave
The Mau Mau Cave was used as a hide-out by Kenyan Freedom Fighters during the Mau Mau war. It is located approximately 18km south of the equator inside Mount Kenya National Park. It was gazetted in 2003 by the Museums of Kenya and declared a national monument.
It was bombed by British forces in 1959 after the location was obtained from a member of the Land and Freedom Army. Approximately 200 people lost their lives in the cave during the bombardment, and their remains can still be seen amongst the rubble.
Kirimiri hill caves were also significant hideout areas for Mau Mau freedom fighters such as the Kubukubu.
Other attractions include:
- Magnificent hills such as Karue hill, Kirimiri forest hill, Kianjiru as well as Kiangombe hills – a place believed by locals to be a centre for witchcraft practices.
- Kirimiri Forest is an area dominated by tree vegetation in the Mukuuri locality of Runyenjes, Embu, in the country of Kenya. It is recognized as an Ecologically Sensitive Site in Africa by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There is a variety of rare indigenous and medicinal trees that continue to face the threat of deforestation. The Hill is culturally famous as a hideout for Mau Mau fighters including Embu’s most venerated fighter General Kubu Kubu.
- Karue Hill towers high along the Embu/Meru highway.
- Two major waterfalls which join to form the Ena River that meanders to encircle the Karue hill.
- The Embu and Mbeere people cultural practices and traditions
Seven Forks Falls Dams
The Seven Forks Falls is a popular outdoors fun destination for dating couples, families and school trips as well. The Seven Forks falls is one of the exciting destinations because the waters of the Tana River descend the steep cliff in seven separate columns that resemble a fork, hence its name. The adjoining area of the falls forms beautiful scenery and is a favored picnic spot for many people who flock to the park during the weekend. The Seven Forks Falls is best accessed by private transport means.
Mwea National Reserve
The 42 Km2 Animals that can be seen in the reserve include dik dik, cape hare, warthog, tortoise, slender mongoose, dwarf mongoose, duiker, black backed jackal, stripped ground squirrel, crested porcupine, and genet cat.
The 42Km2 Mwea National Reserve is a major attraction site for wild game viewing boat rides at Kamburu dam, hippo point, rare birds watching and a walking circuit. It has over 200 species of birds and is renowned for its water birds and waders. Mwea National Reserve is the only protected area in which the globally threatened and Kenya-endemic Hinde’s babbler is known to occur, the Reserve also shelters two other rare species; the Pel’s fishing owl and the white-backed night heron.
The savannah ecosystem comprises of small hills with bushy vegetation and scattered large trees. Other areas are open grasslands while along the main rivers, large trees with thick undergrowth are found.
Trees mainly found within the ecosystem are the different Acacia species and baobab trees. The ecosystem’s main features are the meeting point of rivers Tana and Thiba, Kamburu and Masinga hydroelectric dams, which harbour variety of biodiversity.
Major wildlife attractions include elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Common zebras, Lesser kudu, Buffalo, Water Buck, Bush buck, Impala, Vervet Monkeys, Aardvark, Yellow baboons, Grants gazelle, Dik dik, Cape hare, Warthog, Black backed jackal, Duiker, Sykes monkeys, Genet cat, Slender mongoose, Striped ground squirrel, Dwarf mongoose, Crested porcupine, Rock Hyrax, Tree Hyrax and tortoise. Hippos and crocodiles are also found in the dams and rivers.
Mwea National Reserve is located within Mbeere, a distance of about 200 Km from Nairobi. The reserve can be accessed by road from Nairobi through the Thika-Matuu-Masinga Dam (160 Km). This route is surfaced until Masinga Dam Bridge – a further 10 Km of dirt road lies between here and Makima Gate. Access is also possible via Embu-Machanga. Masinga airstrip near Masinga lodge offers another alternative by air to reach the reserve.
- Camping Facilities
- Mbogo, Silvester, Mavuria, Kyangosi, HippoPoint, Kanyonga , Githechu
- Game viewing
- Bird Watching