Kirinyaga County is home to Mt. Kenya and lies between 1,158M in the South and 5,199M above sea level at the peak of Mt. Kenya. Towering at 5,199M above sea level, Mount Kenya is a breathtaking view with its white snowcapped peaks, hanging and V-shaped valleys and a well-endowed thick, indigenous forest with unique species of trees that ring it. The Forest covers 350.7 Km2 and is inhabited by a variety of wildlife including elephants, buffaloes, monkeys, bushbucks and colourful birds while the lower parts of the forest zone provides grazing land for livestock.
The rich flora and fauna within the forest coupled with mountain climbing and camping are common tourist activities. The county has four major tourist hotels with The Castle hotel situated deep in the forest leading the pack.
Kirinyaga County: From where Kenya was named
Johann Ludwig Krapf was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer, linguist, and traveller. In his expedition from Mombasa inwards, Krapf explored the inland through Ukambani. One of his guides was a celebrated Kamba trader, Chief Kivoi from Kitui. Kivoi had informed Krapf of the presence of a huge mountain in Kikuyu land known as Kiima Kiinya. This was the Kamba language pronunciation of the mountain’s Kikuyu traditional name, Kirima Kiri Nyaga.
The mountain, from afar, appeared black on side and white on its snow-capped glaciers and thus they name Kirinyaga (the place of the male ostrich) However, others believe the Kikuyu named it Kiri Nyaga from the Agikuyu meaning of the place Mwene Nyaga (God for Agikuyu) resides.
It was pronounced as Kii nyaa by the Kamba.
When Kivoi told Krapf that the mountain was called Kii Nyaa, Krapf would record this as Kenya. The mountain came to be known as Mt. Kenya.
When the British got the share of what is now Kenya as their colony, they named it British East Africa Protectorate, or British East Africa. Our country remained as British East Africa Protectorate until 1929 when it was renamed Kenya. The name Kenya came from the imposing Mountain in the Central region, Mt. Kenya.
Ndaraca Ya Ngai (Bridge of God)
This is a natural bridge that straddles River Nyamindi hidden amidst the scenic view of Mt. Kenya. It is just a drive away from the Nairobi – Embu highway at a place called Mururi.
The caves were a safe hideout for Mau Mau fighters during the struggle for independence. The area also served as a shrine where elders sought divine intercession.
Thingira Cultural Village
Built on an 18 hectares piece of land, Thingira village teaches about the origin of Kikuyu, Meru, Kamba and Embu. It is located within a semi arid area of rocky indigenous acacia thicket along the Nairobi – Embu highway across the Tana River Bridge near Makutano junction at the intersection of four counties Muranga County Embu County and Machakos County but within Kirinyaga County.
It has four traditional homesteads that demonstrate the traditional and modern lifestyles of Mount Kenya people. It is a good stopover for:
- Cultural experience.
- Tour to the village
- Crocodile Park
- Traditional dance
- Traditional cuisine
- Accommodation in a hut
- Education tour for students
- Nature walk
- Rock climbing
- Bonfire and storytelling at night
For more visit: https://thingiraculturalvillage.com/
Mwomboko Kenya Dancers
This is a dancing troupe was formed in the 1940’s. The group resides from Mukuura, Ndia – in Kirinyaga county. The name comes from the Kikuyu traditional dance known as Mwomboko. The group educates the public on the kikuyu culture through dance and music.