Attractions in Meru County
11. Kaaga War Memorial
The B6 Embu-Meru Road and C91 Meru-Maua Road junction in Meru Town is the famous Makutano. The nickname, which now refers to many busy junctions around Kenya, originated in the early 1950’s as small shopping centers sprung up at these busy intersections. Kaaga War Memorial is located 2.4 kms north of Meru Town along the C91 Meru-Maua Road in Kaaga Primary School. Granted that this tiny brick house concealed by indigenous trees and set in bush is in a state of much rack and ruin, its importance in preserving the touchy history of colonialism in Kenya far outweighs its lack of appeal on appearance. In all sense of the term quite a small building, partitioned into two equal separate rooms, it is supposed to have been a major military base, constructed during the World Wars for use by colonial military for various purposes. “Unconfirmed tales have it that King George V1 of England was hidden away in this building during the Second World War”. Be that as may it may, it is more associated with the King’s African Rifles, the precursor to todays Kenya Army Calvary Battalion who later used the small building as an armory when Kenya was still a colony. Important to note is that the area around Meru has a long-lived history as a military camp during in the colonial days, as confirmed by a number of colonial era disused munitions found at hand in recent times. The locals of older generation referred this location as ‘gwa kia’, meaning the place of the K.A.R – King’s African Rifles.
12. Kiathandi Hill
Just in case you want to sight the Kierra Valley 200 ms above the surrounding landscape, Kiathandi Hill is one of Meru’s finest viewing ledges, which rarely disappoints. As alluded to earlier, the Kierra Valley is a staggering beautiful no-man’s land in amazing contrast to Mount Kenya and its associated forests. It is especially stupendous when viewed along the 3 kms stretch between Kaaga and Runogone Market where Kaithandu Hill is located. Rising to 1618 ms and 200 ms above the surrounding landscape, the summit of Kiathandi Hill provides an excellent base to take in the landscape of Meru. The amusing unexacting hiking trail eventually gets to the top of this hill which is round and flat with a vegetal profile of a forest patch, shrubs and grass turfs, making it an ideal site to picnic. Kiathandi Hill is found near Runogone Market 2 kms off C91 Meru-Maua Road.
13. Mpogoro Forest
Mpogoro Forest is found in Mikinduri, about 25 kms east of Runogone Market along Runogone-Mikinduri Road. It can also be reached via C91 Road through Mathene. It is an indigenous forest with sundry indigenous species of flora and fauna. It retains unique plant species that include the now rare indigenous tall trees, bushes, thickets and various species of undergrowths. Even so, it is best known for the colossal rock formations. “Mpogoro” translates to the rock forest simply because the hills in which the forest is found are very rocky and a very huge rock is found within the forest. The Runogone-Mikinduri Road traverses just outside the forest offering an easy alternative to snag views of the Mpogoro.
14. Stone Woman at Kieiga Forest
This is a cosmic rock found in the forest and it’s shaped like a woman weaving a basket in Kieiga forest along Meru-Mikinduri Road. The shape of the rock when viewed from some distance appears artistically and skillfully purport a woman weaving a basket, and is the most unique and mysterious feature of the forest which serves to give the forest a mystical and spiritual outlook. The locals refer to the rock as “Muchiere” which in the lingua-franca is a “woman at her prime”.
15. Njuri Ncheke Headquarters at Nchiru
The Njuri-Ncheke Headquarters at Nchiru is one the most important historical and cultural pillars of the Meru Community. For many years their headquarters building, donated in 1985 to the National Museum of Kenya to be held in trust on behalf of the people of Kenya, has served as a great attraction. Njuri Ncheke, or the panel of clan judges, is the indigenous institution of governance in Meru County and which still holds merit in the modern-day Ameru prerogatives. This oval-shaped brick holding with a domed roof built in the 1960’s and referred to as “Nyomba ya Njuri” or the House of Njuru Ncheke offers a rare glimpse of the well-guarded process and sagacity of the supreme governing council of elders and apex of the Meru traditional judicial system. “It’s here that the elders meet to discuss serious matters that involve their community as well as settle serious strife involving the Meru people” – David Muchui. After independence, Njuri Ncheke experienced a lull that saw the shrine abandoned, leading to vandalism and theft of rare hardwood used in its roofing. It is important to note that each of the Meru sub-tribes have their own unique Njuri-Ncheke Shrine. Another easily accessible shrines is Rwerea Shrine located in Mikinduri about 1 km from Mikinduri Center along Mikinduri-Mlango Road, the court of Tigania sub-tribe.