What you need to know:
- According to unconfirmed reports, the caves served as hideouts for German soldiers fighting in Tanzania during the Second World War.
- According to Ms Malenya, this site, at an altitude 2100 metres, was once the training base for the British Army, an appropriate choice.
Chyullu Hills National Park may not be a household name even among wildlife enthusiasts, but its captivating landscape has earned the country global fame for its volcanic features.
The park sits on a massive spread across Makueni and Kajiado counties and supports millions of livelihoods as it replenishes the rivers whose water is used in the neighbouring zones.
And telling from the dense forest of indigenous trees straddling the volcanic landscape, it is hard to believe that the area was once home to thousands of households until 1983, when the government gazetted the wildlife enclosure.
But there is more to the park: It is home to the Kisula Caves, which are touted as the longest and deepest lava caves in Africa.
According to Ms Rose Malenya, the KWS Warden in Charge of Chyullu Hills National Park, the 11 km long Kisula Caves are longest in Africa and the third longest such lava tubes in the world.
“Unfortunately, not many people are aware of these natural masterpieces and few are courageous enough to walk through the entire eleven kilometres,” she said.
According to unconfirmed reports, the caves served as hideouts for German soldiers fighting in Tanzania during the Second World War.
For this reason, according to Ms Malenya, pockets of visitors who are convinced that the German army hid treasures inside the caves have accessed the caves intending to prospect on the same.
“Since such treasures do not exist in Kisula Caves, we advise the visitors to instead use the chance to explore the other promises of Chyullu Hills National Park,” she said.
As one emerges from the eerie caves, the sight of a group of smooth-rounded hilltops on the horizon greets the eye.
Habitually, communities neighbouring the Chyulu Hills start bush fires in the park during the dry months of July, August and September to get rid of the long brown dry grass.
This creates room for the tender new growth that is suitable for grazing cows, for the Maasai. For the hunting Akamba, it is to lure dikdiks, gazelles, antelopes, and Kongoni.
An hour’s drive past grazing gazelles, greater kudu, giraffes, guinea fowls and monkeys in the virgin countryside, takes one to the foot of “Satellite”, the summit of the Chyullu ranges.
According to Ms Malenya, this site, at an altitude 2100 metres, was once the training base for the British Army, an appropriate choice.