Menengai is one of Kenya’s most intriguing and spectacular scenery.
Menegai Crater is a massive shield volcano with the largest caldera in Kenya.
What exactly is a caldera? .
A caldera is a large volcanic crater usually formed by an enormous volcanic eruption that leads to the collapse of the mouth of the volcano.
Due to the volcano, the soil in the adjacent farmlands can be found to be very rich, therefore leading to beautiful lush vegetation.
Menengai Crater can be found in the Great Rift Valley. The volcano was formed about 200 000 years ago. The caldera, 12km in diameter, was created 8000 years ago.
The volcano is described as someway between extinct or dormant.
However, steam can still be seen rising from the crater floor due to hotspots. Fumarole activity has also been found in the small cinder cones on the bottom of the caldera.
Why Is The Crater a Dark Place?
As the legend goes, the crater was a battleground between the Maasai clans; the fight over land for their animals to graze. According to the story, Ilaikipiak Maasai warriors were killed by being thrown over the edge of the crater.
Because of this legend, the locals believe that the crater is haunted by the spirits of 60 000 Ilaikipiak Maasai warriors. It is also thought that the steam rising from the bottom of the caldera is indeed souls trying to find their way to heaven. Some locals alternatively also believe that the crater has magical healing abilities. People travel from far and wide to put these healing powers to the test. The crater is called ‘Kirma Kia Ngoma,’ which translates to ‘place of devils.’
During the series Josh Gates’ Destination Truth, the team traveled to Menengai Crater and explored the paranormal phenomenon that spooks even the bravest of people. During Season 4, Episode 6, the team found evidence of multiple strange occurrences. Reviewing some field videos yielded evidence of a strange apparition that can be spotted in the grass for merely a second. Their EVP(electronic voice phenomenon) evidence yielded much more unmistakable evidence during the team's investigation in one of the enclosed caves. A woman's singing could be heard with their naked ear. No one was reported to be in or near the cave during that time.
It has been reported that many people visiting the crater have disappeared without a trace. Other people claim to have lost direction for hours or even days, only to be found later wandering around in a trance. There has also been an unsupported and widespread allegation of a ‘flying umbrella’ that appears whenever it rains. Some people have lost their lives due to fatal missteps, and others have committed suicide. There is no barrier to protect people from the deep abyss 485m below.
Some of the accidents at Menengai Crater:
- The most notable suicide was in 2003. Catholic Priest, 31, drove into the crater, ultimately leading to death. The priest had been suspended and asked to leave his Mogotio Parish, ultimately leading to the decision to end his life.
- In 2015 primary school teacher lept to his death upon reaching the crater.
- In 2012 a student was rescued after he slid and fell into the crater.
- In 2019 two adults went missing after Easter prayers. They went for a walk and have never been seen since. After 2 weeks of search effort, law enforcement has found nothing notable.
There are many activities to fill up your day when visiting the crater.
Even though ‘spooky’ curiosity has been the drive for tourists traveling to Menengai Crater, there are still a lot of natural beauty and exciting activities that lure thousands of tourists to the crater. Once you have your Kenya Visa ready, you can start planning your exciting adventure.
Start your day with a hike or bike ride along the magical & tranquil Menengai forest, where you will be exposed to exotic wildlife such as birds, hyenas, and baboons. Additionally, tour guides will be able to take you down from the Menengai crater viewpoint and around the crater. At the top of the hole, you can find a breathtaking view of Nakuru town. Lake Nakuru's spectacular pink and blue colors are a beautiful setting for photos and selfies. End your jammed-packed day with a picnic, marshmallows, or ghost stories around a campfire.
West of the crater, you will also be able to explore Mau Mau cave - a national monument.
The Mau Mau caves can be found deep down in the oasis of trees surrounded by rocks. You will enter the cave by a natural ladder formed by an enormous fig tree. Descending down into the dark and echoing cave can be frightening. Additionally, slogans about God can be found scribbled on the cave walls, intensifying that feeling that someone is constantly watching you.
Mau Mau caves are also known for their historical significance. During 1952 and 1960, the cave was used by Freedom Fighters as a storing place and hideout from colonial forces.
During a bombing of the cave in 1959 by British forces, approximately 200 people lost their lives. Their remains can still be seen in the rubble. In 2003 Mau Mau cave was declared a national monument.
In preparation for your trip to Menengai Crater
You will be charged up to 10 dollars to enter the park. From there you will have access to a lot of local food and souvenir stands.
Kenya has its own set of Visa and Travel requirements - make sure you are up to date with all the relevant information for your travels.
Kenya is a country full of much natural beauty and spectacular monuments. There are also a lot of scary places to visit in Kenya. Whether you are in the mood for awe-inspiring scenery or hair-raising experiences, Kenya offers something special for every tourist.