Abandoned silos now house recreation facility in Nakuru

Cyprus Park

Children enjoy a train ride at Cyprus Park which is a recreational centre in Nakuru City on January 2, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

After lying in a state of disuse for years, 30 silos in Nakuru City’s Industrial Area owned by the National Cereals and Produce Board, NCPB, had become a security and economic burden to the state agency.

The silos were constructed in the 1970s as grain stores but were declared obsolete in the late 1980s due to structural concerns - NCPB was in a dilemma on how to utilise the land, which had become a neglected bushy hideout for criminal gangs.

Go Karts

Children driving Go Karts at Cyprus Park in Nakuru City on January 2, 2023. 

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

As the parastatal mulled over how to fix the problem on its hands, it received a proposal from David Mwangi, an investor seeking to establish an entertainment facility on the piece of land. Today, what started as a simple concept note to salvage the 6.3 acres piece of neglected land is now a park. Cyprus Park is one of Nakuru City’s biggest recreational centres. The facility began operating in April 2022.

Cyprus Park

Judah Mwangi an archery enthusiast at Cyprus Park in Nakuru City on January 2, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

There are various outdoor and indoor activities for the entire family. Children can enjoy rides on the electric train, bumper car races, quad bikes, inflatable pools, electric basketball games and a virtual reality centre. Children can also learn new skills, such as how to ride a bike, and as they interact with other children, nurture their interpersonal skills.

As the children play, adults can relax at the garden restaurant, or enjoy bike rides with their children or even jog on the paved tracks between each dome.

For this, adults pay Sh100 to cycle for one hour while those holding meetings at the facility pay a fee of Sh3, 500.

Like most recreational facilities, the most profitable periods are weekends and public holidays, when the facility can get up to 500 visitors. Nakuru is the newest city in the country, and most meetings outside Nairobi are being held in the Rift Valley capital, a factor that the park owners are keen to capitalise on.

“Most of the meetings are now coming to Nakur,  but the city cannot hold many guests at a go, which is why we’re investing in conference facilities,” says Mwangi, who envisions the park becoming a tourist attraction.

Like all start-ups, the start-up had its fair share of challenges at the beginning. Theirs started with clearing and cleaning up the grounds, an expensive exercise. They also had to beautify the rusty silos, which are now pieces of creative and artistic drawings. on the outside

Cyprus Park

Mr David Mwangi (centre) co-founder of Cyprus Park in Nakuru City shows Judah Mwangi (left) and Ivy Wangechi (right) how to operate the quad bike at the park on January 2, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

“Clearing the grounds was very costly due to years of siltation and blocked drainage - it took eight months to prepare the groundwork. It is also not easy to set up this kind of business. At some point, we almost abandoned the idea because it is capital intensive and not many believed something good would come out of this place.”

Another challenge the park owners are currently grappling with is the wear and tear of the various machines.

“Most of our customers don’t know how to use, say, a gaming machine, and may end up mishandling it, leading to damage over time,” explains Mwangi.

Challenges aside, the businessman is happy that the facility has employed 50 people, majority of them youth. The park's future plan is to construct a modern movie theatre that can accommodate 100 people.

“We want to create an affordable recreational capital that has something for everyone,” concludes Mwangi.