For decades, the town of Nanyuki has been synonymous with one captivating tale: the “lost map.” The map’s disappearance halted the Lunatic line in its tracks, forever solidifying Nanyuki’s status as the “end of the railway” or, as some say, Mwisho wa Reli. This legend, fueled by whispers of engineers seduced by Nanyuki’s charms and misplaced blueprints, has woven itself into the town’s identity, adding a touch of whimsy and intrigue to its vibrant atmosphere.
But the myth has been debunked in a recent twist worthy of a detective novel! Lands officials in Nanyuki have unearthed a long-lost map that sheds new light on the railway’s intended journey. This 1968 map, far from showcasing a case of map-misplacing merrymaking, clearly lays out the planned railway line extension beyond Nanyuki, snaking through the town itself, crossing the Likii River, and pushing onward towards Meru.
This discovery raises intriguing questions. Why did the railway never reach its intended destination? Was it financial constraints, shifting priorities, or perhaps something else entirely? While the answers remain elusive, the map’s reappearance reignites the possibility of Nanyuki someday abdicating its literal end of the railway moniker. But the plot thickens. A second map resurfaced in 1991! Totally different in every aspect from the original. Finally, the county declared it null and void. Yet its existence only adds to the lunatic intrigues of the lunatic line.
But even without the clang of locomotives echoing through the streets, Nanyuki’s charm as a destination remains undimmed. The town’s allure lies not just in its historical quirks but in its natural splendour. Nestled at the foot of the Aberdare Range, Nanyuki offers breathtaking scenery, from verdant forests and cascading waterfalls to vast plains teeming with wildlife.
For travellers seeking adventure, Nanyuki is a base camp for exploring the Kenyan wilderness. And, of course, the mighty Mount Kenya. Hike through bamboo forests teeming with colobus monkeys, track rhinos across the Laikipia plains, or witness the majesty of elephants at the nearby Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. For those seeking a slower pace, Nanyuki’s colonial-era architecture, bustling markets, and friendly locals offer a glimpse into Kenyan life in a bygone era.
So, whether the whispers of lost maps captivate you or simply draw you to the beauty and warmth of Kenya, Nanyuki welcomes you with open arms. And who knows, maybe someday, with the reintroduction of the Nanyuki-Nairobi train, the clatter of the “Lunatic Line” will extend beyond Mwisho wa reli, finally fulfilling its intended journey and adding a new chapter to the town’s already captivating story.
Thankfully, while the myth of the lost map may be no more, Nanyuki’s magic endures. From its charming history to its breathtaking landscapes, this Kenyan town has something to offer every traveller. So, explore the end of the railway and discover its endless possibilities.