What you need to know:
- Due to its strategic location overlooking the lake, as well as its undulating topography, residents who have enjoyed unfettered access to the field have been using it for different purposes, including grazing and as a playing ground.
- However, since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the field has found new use.
- After the government placed a ban on pubs and bars in a bid to minimise social contact and contain the spread of the virus, some Kenyans found other ways to beat the guidelines, far from the eyes of authorities.
About seven kilometres from Nakuru town on the way to Nairobi is a vast, open piece of land between Free Area and Mwariki estates.
The more than 100 acres of land on the foot of Lion hill, extending from Lake Nakuru National Park, is an archaeological site known as the Lanet prehistoric site.
It consists of many hollows and exceptionally high mounds believed to have been the habitation of Sirikwa people.
The site, an extension of Hyrax Hill Museum, was discovered by Dr Merrick Posnansky in 1957. He uncovered extensive evidence of Middle Iron Age occupation by the Sirikwa people.
Due to its strategic location overlooking the lake as well as its undulating topography, residents who have enjoyed unfettered access to the field have been using it for different purposes, including grazing and as a playing ground.
However, since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the field has found new use.
After the government placed a ban on pubs and bars in a bid to minimise social contact and contain the spread of the virus, some Kenyans found other ways to beat the guidelines, far from the eyes of authorities.
They have converted the field into a location for all the activities they engaged in at nightclubs before the age of the coronavirus.
For four months now, people have been trooping to the field in cars for merrymaking.
On weekends, one might think a VIP event is underway as hundreds of vehicles are usually parked there.
Men and women usually have tumblers and liquor bottles and dance to music from cars which are usually left open.
With this as the new normal in the area, displaced residents watch in shock from a distance, the common feeling being that their quiet neighbourhood is being defiled.
Mr Humphrey Kariuki, a resident of Murogi Estate who grazes his cattle on the field, said he was bothered and concerned.
In an interview with the Nation, the 65-year-old said residents are unhappy with how the field is now being used.
“Men come here with young women. Once they get drunk, they start dancing erotically and kissing while playing loud music. Others even engage in sexual intercourse inside the vehicles without caring that we have children who are watching them,” lamented Mr Kariuki.
At one time, a couple police caught having sex in a vehicle in broad daylight had to bribe their way out of trouble.
“Such behaviour is not good, especially since children see them. The government should do something to contain the situation,” he said.
Another resident, Mr Eliud Macharia, expressed concerns that the Ministry of Health's guidelines on Covid-19 prevention are not being adhered to.
“We have lived here for a long time and have enjoyed using this field. However, due to what is happening, the government may decide to restrict access to it. We should not allow the situation to get to that point,” said Mr Macharia.
Mr Joseph Kipo, a football coach who uses the field to train young players, said they get distracted by the happenings.
Mr James Mokua said he visited the field to relax and watch the sun set, but that he can no longer do that.
“The ground is becoming unfavourable for family outings. You now see hawkers everywhere, bottles of liquor, some which are broken, plastic and even used condoms. This is not good. It will be better to implement some controls,” he said.
Museum Curator Lilian Anwanda said they have received numerous complaints on inappropriate use of the field, key among them being increased prostitution, drinking and pollution of the environment.
Ms Amwanda said the management allowed the public to use the area on condition that there would no inference with the land or the environment.
She regretted that they have been forced to seal it off to restore order.
“It is unfortunate that most people do not know the site's history. With the complaints we received we had to take action to prohibit movement into the field,” said Ms Amwanda.
She added that people found engaging in bad behaviour and flouting Covid-19 guidelines have been arrested.