The small, sleepy town of Molo lies west of Nakuru a five hour drive from Nairobi. Located along the Mau forest, at the foot of the Mau Escarpment, the weather here is cool and the air crisp. It is hard to imagine that this unassuming town was the scene of ethnic clashes, pitting two communities against each other in the early 90s. Kenyan banker turned writer Kinyanjui Kombani spins a compelling tale based on five young boys who lived through these skirmishes in his award-winning book The Last Villains of Molo.
Molo is not your obvious weekend getaway destination in the Rift Valley. Naivasha and Nakuru, popularly referred to as ‘Vasha and Naxvegas respectively have long established themselves as the entertainment capitals in this corner of the country. At the behest of a friend, a couple of us found ourselves driving down the main Nakuru highway and left into road D 316 that heads into Molo on a cold Saturday morning.
Tall conifer trees lines both side of the road as it snakes into the town. At a particularly scenic point, where the trees have banded closely together, we jump off the vehicle to allow the photographers in the group to snap away. The Mau forest is the largest remaining indigenous forest in Kenya, stretching into Kericho, Narok, Nakuru and Bomet counties. Molo lies in the Eastern Mau, which unlike other parts of the Mau, lends itself to nature walks and bird walks, without the risk of encountering predators.
Road 316 leads into what is Molo central business district. The pace here is slow and unhurried for a Saturday, which is highly surprising as Saturday is mostly market day in most towns. The driver slows down to drive over railway viaducts, an indication that Kenya Railways trains once passed through the town. We are informed that the ongoing rehabilitation of railways in the country will see the return of the train to Molo and through to Kisumu. From a vantage spot, the driver points to the Keringet water plant. Keringet, which offers premium bottled water, is one of the oldest in the country.
It is almost lunch time as we drive into the Njau’s residence. The amazing aroma of barbecue meat fills the air and testifies to the main reason why some of us (ME!) made the trip. Molo is renowned for its lamb and every dining establishment of regard in the country has Molo lamb in its menu. It is every bit as juicy, tasty and drool worthy as has been advertised.
As we bid our hosts farewell, Mrs Njau, bless her, presents each of us a hefty bag of potatoes. Molo is the second largest producer of potatoes in the country and has an agricultural college that advises local farmers on best farming practices. As we depart, someone asks where the prestigious St. Andrew’s Turi is located. It turns out that the school can best be accessed when using the Njoro route into or out of Molo.
Looking for a quiet weekend getaway? Consider Molo where you can feast on succulent lamb and spend some outdoorsy time exploring Mau forest on nature walks and bird walks. Molo also acts as a base from where to visit nearby attractions such as the superb Lord Egerton Castle in Njoro and the Menengai Crater.