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Society & Success

Arboretum That Draws Lovers

Tea-rich Kericho prides in Chagaik Arboretum as one of its main tourist marvels. PHOTO | ANITA CHEPKOECH | NMG
Tea-rich Kericho prides in Chagaik Arboretum as one of its main tourist marvels. PHOTO | ANITA CHEPKOECH | NMG  

At Chagaik Arboretum in Kericho, there are two beautiful families of bamboo trees bearing hundreds of names of people who have visited the enclave before.

Most names appear in twos; male and female, to signify that couples frequent this site. They use sharp objects to engrave the letters on the barks. And when the “wounds” dry, they turn into beautiful whitish letters.

Chagaik Arboretum is one breathtaking scenery that the tea-rich Kericho prides in as one of its main tourist attractions.

The arboretum established after the Second World War is the perfect place to bring back the picnic on their lush gardens with enough play room and a variety of outdoor activities for the children.

Situated about eight kilometres from the town towards Nakuru highway, visitors drive few metres on a rough road, through the orderly tea plantations and through a simple gate that ushers you into the picnic site. There are no charges.

300 visitors

The well-manicured lawn that slopes gently to Chagaik dam is dotted by lush green combination of traditional and exotic trees some shrubs and some towering with curly branches.

The beauty is culminated by large tracts of tea plantations surrounding it.

According to an official manning the site, they receive about 300 visitors during the weekends.

With the excitement of a tropical jungle, one may want to begin savouring the cave-like enclosure made of the tall, live bamboo trees and find a prime place on their barks to inscribe their name.

The bamboos and group of other tropical trees are just at the edge of the Chagaik dam covered with beautiful water lilies.

There are also strands of felled bamboos stretching from the dry area to buoyant grounds where daring adventurers can precariously balance with their arms in the stretched sideways. Only those weighing a few kilogrammes can try this.

Botanical garden

The Kenya Tourism Directory— a government marketing tool run by Kenya Tourism Board— rates it as a scenery and landscape and wildlife attraction type which also has a forest, botanical garden and birding site.

Situated near the Chagaik Arboretum, is Ray’s Guest House which is also surrounded by lots of indigenous and exotic trees.

There are different birds species due to the proximity of the forest and dam that provides food like worms for them.

Other than being an orthonological paradise, it is also home to snakes, insects and  troops of black and white colobus, vervet and red-tailed monkeys jumping from tree to tree enjoying wild fruits and certain leaves and a times interacting with human folk at the garden.

Lovers of botany move around to behold the variety of trees which are named in English and scientific classes. It was established by a foreign tea planter called Tom Grumbley in the 1940s.

From the garden, a gentle roar of machines processing greenleaf at Chagaik Tea Factory up the slope to the North East complements with the chirping birds.

Once satisfied with the tour, you can choose to lie and relax on the lush green grass, under some trees and behold the scenery.

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