Exploring the caves in Kenya is an enthralling activity for both local and foreign tourists. The intense feeling of being in a small, dark confinement full of uncertain bat movements is a unique experience that you can find in all caves in Kenya. Zunguka Africa Safaris offers you the best getaway packages to explore the caves in Kenya.
The Fikirini Sister Caves in Tswaka Village
Tswaka village is a significant place in the history of the Digo people at the coastal region in Kenya. The village is known for having three sister caves that played a huge role in the ancient slave trade. The inhabitants used the cave as hideouts, shrines, meal points and water points. The sister caves are located 15 kilometers from the village’s Kenana-Shimoni junction. The caves have varied cultural artifacts that describe the Digo culture.
Mdenyenye is the largest of the three caves. It was a famous hideout for the locals who escaped from slave traders. Inside the cave, there is a wooden staircase used to connect one point of the cave to another.
The Kisimani cave is a critical water point. It has an all seasons freshwater well. Animals come to drink water at this cave. You can easily find bats, monkeys,and baboons. There are about seven bat species in the Kisimani cave including the angle-faced bat, Egyptian fruit bat, tomb bats, common betwing and long fingered bats.
The Pangani cave was a dedicated shrine. It was used as a place to eat and rest as it had several chambers in it. The cave has a six-kilometer tunnel leading to Shimoni. The tunnel was instrumental during the escape from the slave traders.
The Digo people at Fikirini have a community-based organization that manages tourist activities to the three sister caves in Kenya.
Kitum Cave in Kitale
Mount Elgon National Park is a vast free-range animal reserve found in Trans-Nzoia County. The park has rich wildlife including elephants, buffaloes, dik dik, hyenas, bushbuck, monkeys and birds. The national park has a large cave called the Kitum Cave where animals come to lick salt. The sodium-rich cave is 200 meters long. The rocks in the cave are volcanic in nature. Elephants break pieces of the salt-rich rocks on the walls.
Inside the cave, there is an overwhelming stench of bat excrement. There are also deep crevasses that are responsible for the deaths of many baby elephants. It is advisable for tourists to carry flashlights as they navigate inside the cave.
Kitum cave is significant for playing a huge role in the identification of the Marburg virus. A French tourist succumbed to the virus in 1980 after touring the cave. In 1987, a Danish lad named Charles Monet contracted the virus and infected a doctor called Shem Musoke. The two virus strains were documented and thorough research funded by the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease.
A book by Richard Preston was published in 1994. It features the cave’s development in relation to the Marburg virus. It is alleged that the inhalation of powdered guano of the fruit bats may have caused the Marburg Virus Disease.
The Leviathan Cave/Grotte de Leviathan/Kisula/Chyulu Caves in Taita Taveta
Africa’s longest and deepest lava tube is found in Chyulu Hills National Park at the border of Nyiri Desert. Chyulu caves are ranked the longest caves in Kenya. It was discovered in 1975 and currently ranks 11th among long lava tubes in the world. The cave has two main partitions. Upper Leviathan is 408 meters deep and 9152 meters long. Lower Leviathan is 70 meters deep and 2071 meters long. The lava tube that forms the cave is 11.5 kilometers long.
The area is still a potential volcanic site as seen from the seismic volcanic movements. Tourists enjoy the diverse colors on the cave walls and features on the cave roofs. Bats can be found in the darker parts of the cave.
The Mau Mau is a history-rich spot in Nanyuki. The cave is located in Mount Kenya National Park, 199 kilometers North East of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. The Mau Mau freedom fighters found it in 1953 and used it as a hideout during the war against the British colonial government.
The war dubbed the MauMau uprising began in 1952 after the State of Emergency was declared and ended in 1960. The horrific ending of the war resulted from a bombing of the cave by the British colony. The bombing led to the death of 200 Mau Mau freedom fighters.
Njoro River Cave
It is found in the Mau escarpment. Excavation began in 1938 by the Leakey’s. As a significant excavation site, the cave yielded numerous ancient artifacts such as beads, pottery and tools. Mary and Louis Leakey found that the cave was used as a cremation site for the Elmentian pastoralists. In 1950, the cave was used as a pioneer site for radiocarbon dating in Eastern Africa.
Paradise Lost Caves
This cave system was discovered by Joseph Mbai in 1996 in Misarara, Kiambu County. The cave is a historical tourist attraction as it bears obsidian artifacts from an ancient civilization.
The Suswa Caves are found at Mount Suswa in Narok County. The caves are accessible 120 kilometers away from Nairobi. The caves are beautifully decorated with Maasai art. Tourists can also enjoy viewing the famous ‘Baboon Parliament’ and a family of bats.
Oloolua caves in Kenya are found in the Oloolua Forest Reserve. The reserve is a center for the Institute of Primate Research. The caves are accessible after a nature trail, 5 kilometers long. The darkness in the caves provided a sense of security for the Mau Mau freedom fighters who used them as a hideout during the war against the British colonial government.