The little-known waterfall no State official wants to visit

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 00:00 |
A man shows parts of Mururu Waterfall in Kariua village, Gatundu North constituency. Photo/PD/MATHEW NDUNG’U

Mathew Ndung’u

Visitors to Kariua village, Gatundu North sub-county in Kiambu county, take with them memories of a poor, abandoned community.

Residents here engage mainly in subsistence farming, leaving them penniless. They grow maize, potatoes, bananas, tea, avocados, macadamia and beans. 

Despite a thriving agriculture, village life is not easy. Lack of money has left the village grappling with insecurity exacerbated by the fact that many homesteads are not connected to electricity.

In the same village, however, lies Mururu Waterfall, tucked along River Kariminu on the edge of the proposed site for construction of the controversial Sh24 billion Kariminu II Dam. It is located about 5km from Kamwangi shopping centre along Thika-Mang’u-Flyover highway, which connects Thika town to the Rift Valley. 

The little-known geographical feature is 3km from the highway. Nature enthusiasts are forced to traverse bush and to cut through the jungle for a view of the natural phenomenon.

The waterfall and its source, a dam filled with crystal-clear water, is a perfect blend of natural beauty and successful protection of the environment.  The serene environment and scenic views make the waterfall a perfect tourist attraction site.

Unfortunately, the site is almost inaccessible for nature lovers. Only a few, brave visitors from neighbouring villages dare tour the site. The lack of tourists frustrates residents, who say the waterfall is a hidden treasure, offering potential opportunities for local youth. 

Although a few commercial photographers immortalise the captivating scenery through their lenses, many residents here fear going down the hills of Kariminu to enjoy the natural wonder.

For those who dare visit the area, they must be accompanied by local guides be safe.  Here, the serene environment and melodies from numerous birds in the deep woods lure the few visitors to plan a second visit.

According to Vatican Chege, a resident, a view from the bottom of the fall allows visitors to see the water flowing as if straight from heavens. For swimmers, a dip into the cool, refreshing waters upstream adds to the excitement.   

“We enjoy the sites and sounds of smoky water plunging down the giant waterfall to join the wide Kariminu River in never-ending roars,” said Chege.

Francis Kiragu Ndung’u, 50, has been enjoying the tantalising view of the feature from his childhood. “This waterfall is a potential tourism attraction site abandoned by the government. I doubt the State is aware of its existence,” he said. 

He said if proper infrastructure is installed—an access road, safety features and security— the waterfall would attract tourists, create jobs and even offer opportunities for botany studies. “If well fenced, the waterfall has enough space where restaurants can be built and this could be a source of income for many,” said Kiragu.

Another resident, Francis Mwenda, said the enchanting sight has been there since time immemorial but no government officer has ever visited.

Being the joy of their village, the residents are now asking national and county goverment tourism officials to visit the site and consider face-lifting it to a viable tourist attraction site. “This place should be fenced, well-illuminated and a passable route created to absolve the fear that comes from tramping the undergrowth inside the forest,” said Mwenda.

The residents say the giant waterfall can also generate electricity for all Gatundu North residents, saving the country millions of shillings annually on power production.

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