An Oasis in Machakos
A Saturday finds me at my best friend's house in Embu. Four of us had gathered to celebrate the birthday of one of our own. We had the cake and the only thing that was missing was a venue to cut the cake. No one was buying into the idea of having the cake inside the house-And these guys believing that I know every place in Kenya were looking to me to come up with a destination that we could drive to. My mind was on overdrive. The map of Embu County and the whole of upper Eastern Kenya started to play out in my mind. Those who know me already understand that I do not like back tracking, therefore, there was no way I was going to suggest a destination I have already been to.
Luckily, I remembered a place I have always wanted to go. I have been going there in my mind since 2013. Although it is in Machakos County, it is not far from Embu Town. They were still staring at me expecting good news. "Let's go to Masinga Dam!" I said happily, and it became a unanimous decision to go there. Since, no one knew the way there, we consulted Google Maps.
We took the Embu -Siakago Road, which we later branched off while heading towards Machakos. It was a very scenic ride.
We passed through Kiritiri (a town characterised by miraa markets), Kivaa, Kamburu Dam and Kaewa Towns. The landscape on this road truly highlights Kenya’s beauty. A few kilometers from Kaewa, we branched right and Masinga Dam was a short distance from the junction. The sun was hot and unforgiving.
We arrived at Masinga Dam Resort a few minutes past 3.00pm.
Masinga Dam Resort (MDR) is located adjacent to the Masinga Reservoir in Machakos District, located approximately 160km from Nairobi. The Masinga Reservoir developed and commissioned by TARDA in 1981, is a multipurpose man-made lake meant for irrigation, electricity generation and tourism development. The magnificent water body covers 120 km², has a height of 55m-crest length of 2100m and impounds a reservoir of 1560 million m3. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains of boundless beauty and has the sprawling Mwea Game Reserve on the boundary of its eastern fringes.
We proceeded to the reception and without wasting time, were shown the available rooms. The standard rooms are in one block and made of stone. They are normal rooms with options of double and twin beds. Then there were executive tents. These looked just like the ones you find in tented camps. They are spacious, self contained, with basic amenities and are close to the gate. The other category of accommodation is the executive rooms. They are located on the upper side of the resort and next to the swimming pool. Everyone settled for the executive tents.
We checked in, freshened up and spared a little time for a swim.
At 6.00pm, we decided to take a walk to the dam. Our aim was to enjoy a sunset boat ride (and pretend it's a sunset cruise). Unfortunately, the boat guy was not available. Apparently, if you want a boat ride, you will be required to book in advance to allow for prior arrangement with the boat guy. He doesn't live at Masinga Dam.
The view at the dam is beautiful and picturesque. It offered a magnificent and amazing sunset moment. We enjoyed the sunset until it disappeared and finally it was dark.
We then got back to the resort and proceeded to the lounge. It was spacious with a bar, pool table, comfortable couches, Dstv, and an incredible ambiance. We played pool while each of us had our favourite drink.
Dinner was served at 8.00pm. It was presented a little differently from what we were used to. Menu items came separately in dishes big enough for the four of us from which we served ourselves. Most hotels serve in either a buffet setting or a la carte, but this was different. After enjoying our dinner, we went back to the lounge and played pool until it was time to call it a night.
The next morning, I was up as early, as usual. I went to the highest point of the resort to catch the breathtaking view of the sunrise.
Before going for breakfast, we remembered that we had brought with us a birthday cake. Without thinking about any logistics or ‘cake-cutting etiquette’, we cut it right where the car was and didn’t waste any time to enjoy it.
Masinga Dam Resort still has old structures which are well maintained. It is an oasis in the middle of a dry area. It offers a cool environment and green compound, different from its surroundings. The rates start from KSh. 4000 per person on full board. Let's visit Masinga Dam and explore what Machakos County has to offer.
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Eliud Ndungu, a part-time adventure travel blogger who’s been exploring his motherland-Kenya for over 4 years