So the kids are home, and you know they’ve worked hard at school all term and you need to reward them, and bond in a fun environment, plus y’all need a break, right? And yet you don’t have the money or the time to go too far off. Well, how about you cruise outta town South-Eastward for just about 40+ km, to the newest and nicest recreational park in the country… The People’s Park, Machakos County!! Located in the fastest, advancing and trendsetting county, it was opened on Valentine’s Day this year by their well-known visionary Governor, Dr. Alfred Mutua. Yeah, I know people who can’t stand to hear this name (certainly a few governors are, it does get annoying to keep being compared); but you gotta admit, the governor is a dreamer… and so far clearly a doer, too! Anyway, I got a chance to go out and have me-self I look-see, and was pleasantly gratified that it went well beyond my expectations. Though it’s a work in progress, there’s lots to see, do and dream about the near coming future. Set on 40 acres, with several recreational facilities including an Amphitheatre located within, it is said to be the only park of its kind in Africa and is set to rake in 100 million shillings annually in revenue once fully operational…Wow! So let’s explore this amazing family… Escape! J
The People’s Park, Machakos County
Just over two months since it’s opening and the park is bustling with visitors, interestingly enough not just from within the county, but many from Nairobi and other counties too! From the moment you enter (free-of-charge for all), you are awed by the expansive, well manicure grounds of green, dotted only by umbrellas and people. Space is the key word, green, flowers and beauty a few others that describe this here People’s park. So how does one while away their time? Here are just a few suggestions:
- Visualise the near future – Apparently the People’s Park is the beginning of things to come. The Maruba Dam is the initial development of the ‘Central-Park-to-be’, an integral segment of the planned New Machakos City, which will feature, bold, smart buildings that capture the new trend of the times in a well-planned landscape. Some of the most spectacular cities in the world are built around water bodies, and the new city is set to lead the way in the country. See the before-and-after artist impression and you can’t help but feel drawn to the fantasy that is soon to become a reality! The open grounds over yonder (across the dam) in the ‘now’ photo is part of the 2,200 acres set aside for development of the New Machakos City that you can visualise beyond the waters in the ‘coming soon’ image. Even without moving an inch, you can immediately enjoy a virtual experience of flying through the fancy new city at mwakilishi.com.
- Sail away on MV Machakos – The Maruba Dam was built to serve as an important water source for the surrounding population, and though inadequate to serve the entire city, plans are underway to rehabilitate it as well as build other similar dams to meet the growing demands of the entire county. In the meantime the waters provide a refreshing recreational option for park visitors who descend the Boat Marina to experience a calming sail on the 5-seater MV Machakos. There are no crocodiles or similar wildlife to fear so go ahead and enjoy the relaxing effect of a 20-minute cruise and the spectacular view of the park from the lake.
- Eat and drink! – Ofcourse! You have a choice of restaurants and menus to review and sample, usually the first stop for most visitors. C’mon… where’s the joy of an outing if there’s no stuffing yourself with nyama choma or kuku fry, with chips or ugali, and kachumbari or greens, or aaall of that in one sitting? And while you are at it, throw in some soft drinks or the harder type (go easy if you are driving) and then sit back and regret (or not) the excessive indulgence as you watch park reveller’s go by… Alternatively, you could carry your own food, pick a nice spot complete with umbrella, table and benches (there are many but you’ll be lucky to beat the competition) and have yourself a lovely picnic in the park.
- Bond as you watch the sunset – Pick a bench or sit on the cushy grounds and take the opportunity to talk endlessly with your significant other, friend, family or anyone for the matter! It’s a rare chance to enjoy the quiet, serene environment and share your dreams as you watch the sun go down. How often do you stop… and smell the coffee? Well this is it! Smell the flowers at least…
- Let the children play – With an assortment of bouncing castles, slides, swings, mini-boats and a carousel (better known as a merry-go-round) to boot, your kids are spoilt for choice. Plus ofcourse there’s ample room to run around with wild abandon – something they rarely get to do within the confines of our high-rise apartment compounds. And you can join in too – what fun!!
- Marvel at the ‘works-in-progress’ – Not yet fully functional but under continual improvement are the miniature golf grounds, Dancing Water Fountain, Renewal Energy Demo sites (wind, biogas and solar), Open amphitheatre (already tested during the park opening and over Easter weekend by a variety of musicians and mass revellers who thoroughly enjoyed the experience), and much, much more. The park also made model grounds for a Valentine wedding just after it was opened and there are facilities available for conferencing, team-building excursions and entertainment extravaganzas too! The potential for creativity and innovation is endless…
- Take a lazy slow walk along the perimeter wall – An ideal option if you ate too much and if it isn’t too hot! A lovely way to take in the scenery of people and landscape and marvel at the serenity of the environs as you reflect on the amazing resourcefulness of those who created it all.
So there it is, a preview of a nearby getaway that you’ve heard about and wondered. Now you know it’s worth trying out as your next one-day out… Escape! J