Machakos or Masaku is the inaugural town of the British Protectorate in colonial Kenya of the late 19th century. It was the initial capital of Kenya for the colonialists in 1887, more than a decade prior to the emergence of Nairobi as a rail and administrative depot. Literally, Machakos is a satellite urban center of Nairobi, being less than an hour by bus on its hilly location to the south-east of the capital.
For a critical observer, the cosmopolitanism of Machakos has much to do with its rise as an economical hub in the Eastern administrative jurisdiction of Kenya. Though it subsists mainly on local produce including corn, beans and fruits from the outlying farmyards of the Akamba, the town attracts entrepreneurial Kenyans who transact in second hand attire in popular informal markets.
Despite being only a county headquarters, owing to its proximity to Nairobi, Machakos has attracted major interests in the banking sector including the micro-finance institution, Equity Bank, Barclays and KCB, among other high fliers.
In terms of transport, the town is quite upbeat and even vaunts a pun of its name in Nairobi’s largest upcountry terminus, known as, Machakos Country Bus, which is the travel depot for Western, Rift Valley, Nyanza and Eastern travel. It also holds its own in its home turf by having one of the most developed transportation conduits in Eastern.
Kaloleni-Ngelani and Kyamwilu, a stretch of terrain consisting of a highway that has shocked the geological community for demonstrating that water can flow against gravity. Here one can see Kituluni Hill closely, one of the possible explanations for this reverse gravitation. Anecdotal evidence at this curious place has shown that aqua can flow to a height of the better part of a kilometer. Approach this site with a mysterious aura, for locals claim the presence of ancestral spirits for its being a former sacred site, while the enlightened point out the possibility of minerals in the earth’s crust.
Hilly vicinity: As simple as it sounds, Machakos hills are no butter and bread set up for the hill geek for they are sculpted with abysses and irregular features that often give food for thought to even experienced climbers.
Wamunyu sculpting areas: Here is where you discover the beautiful art of sculpting up-close-and-candid from the land of the Akambas. Indeed, the majority of Kenyan exotic carvings of all sorts emanate from Wamunyu.
Farming marvels: Small-scale farmyards against coffee plantations. In spite of the fact that Machakos lies on a perennially dry belt, it is still quite an ecological attraction vaunting small-scale green turfs, while not far off are full-scale coffee plantations the likes of which stud Central and Rift Valley areas of Kenya.
There are a number of establishments in the town, ranging from tertiary colleges to high schools.
The leading high schools include Lukenya Academy and Machakos Girls, while the college category has some leading lights including Machakos Institute of Technology and the Scott Theological University.
Generally, Machakos combines local pub experience common to lower Eastern and Mount Kenya regions, with cosmopolitan-related entertainment. The latter includes:
Machakos Sports club: This is a course of 9 holes.
Machakos Social Hall: It is inside the famous Kenyatta Stadium where civil gatherings take place including music festivals.
Other worthy visits: Club Wizard, Lysak Haven Park & New Boma.
Machakos teems with hotels in the capacity of accommodation venues and lunching facilities. The major ones include:
Place Demographics: The hotel is along the Mwatu wa Ngoma Rd, and is conveniently next to the existing District Commissioner’s headquarters (which may change upon onset of County System of government). This is the most prestigious accommodation venue though it does not yet have a booking platform on the web.
T Tot Hotel
Place Demographics: Nestling on Ngei Road, T Tot Hotel is a popular spot for standard lunches and cocktail. It also has yet to get a booking platform.
Roof Garden Hotel
Place Demographics: Roof Garden Hotel is on Kimathi Street and offers accommodation together with refreshments.
Place Demographics: This is a major hotel in town located along Mwatu wa Ngoma Rd, though like the rest of the leading accommodation venues it does not yet have a booking platform.
Other worthy hotels: Five Hills Lodge, Safari Lodging
Security in Machakos is strong by any town standards, in Kenya, considering the fact that proper urban planning has helped to diminish black spots in the streets. The presence of police stations, with the aid of community policing also has a stake in the tranquility of the town.
Now make a date with Machakos, a town where gravity has its firsts, and administration has its firsts too!