Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site

Southern Rift Valley

This archaeological site, 4km outside Nakuru, is a great spot for a peaceful amble away from the rhinos and tourists. It contains a museum and the remains of three settlements excavated between 1937 and the late 1980s, the oldest being possibly 3000 years old, the most recent 200 to 300 years old. You’re free to wander the site, but it’s rather cryptic and a guide is useful – a tip of KSh200 is plenty.

The North-East Village, which is believed to be about 400 years old, sits closest to the museum and once housed 13 enclosures. Only the 1965 excavation of Pit D remains open. It was here that a great number of pottery fragments were found, some of which have been pieced together into complete jars and are displayed in the museum.

From Pit D the trail climbs to the scant remains of the stone-walled hill-fort near the top of Hyrax Hill itself. You can continue to the peak, from where there’s a fine view of Lake Nakuru in the distance. Looking down the other side of the hill, you’ll see two ‘C’-shaped Iron Age stone hut foundations at the base. Just north of the foundations, a series of Iron Age burial pits containing 19 skeletons was found. The majority were male and lots of them had been decapitated, so a number of colourful explanations have been offered.

Nearby, two Neolithic burial mounds and several other Iron Age burial pits were also discovered. The large collection of items found in these pits included a real puzzle – six Indian coins, one of them 500 years old, and two others dating from 1918 and 1919.

On a more lively note, there’s a bao (traditional game that’s played throughout East Africa) board carved into a rock outcrop between the Iron Age settlements and the museum.

Local matatus to Naivasha or Nairobi will take you past the turn-off (about 1km from the site), just south of Nakuru.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southern Rift Valley attractions

1. Murals

2.39 MILES

Lining the western side of the road on the approach to Lake Nakuru if you're coming from town, these eye-catching murals depict everyone from George and…

2. Lake Nakuru National Park

2.98 MILES

Just two hours' drive from Nairobi, Lake Nakuru is among Kenya's finest national parks. Flanked by rocky escarpments, pockets of forest and at least one…

3. Menengai Crater

3.62 MILES

With transport and 15 minutes to play with, you can be out of the grimy streets of Nakuru and standing on the rim of Menengai Crater, a 485m-high natural…

4. Baboon Cliffs

6.45 MILES

This popular viewpoint and one-time lunch spot has superlative views out over the lake, with some fine aerial vistas down onto the flooded lake shore…

5. Out of Africa Lookout

9.28 MILES

To get the best view that takes in much of the park, head up to the rocky Out of Africa Lookout. Less frequented by tour groups than the lower Baboon…

6. Egerton Castle

9.49 MILES

If you want to muse on lost love and where it goes, visit Egerton Castle on the outskirts of Njoro. A replica of Tatton Hall in England, the castle was…

7. Lake Elmenteita

13.53 MILES

Serene and framed by shaggy hills, Elmenteita is quieter and prettier than the lakes to its south, although its relatively open surrounds ensure that it…

8. Kenana Knitters

14.31 MILES

What began as a hobby for three ladies knitting under a tree now employs more than 1200 local people and exports all over the world. The knitters use…