Located on the border of West Pokot and Elgeyo, Marakwet is a hill with a fantastic story. The mountain stands on its own as a rebel outside the Cherangani hills. To the locals, the hill resembles the hump of a bull, hence the name Kipteber. At 2,774m (mount Longonot is 2,776m), this rock mountain juts out from the plain (the Uasin Gishu plain), with the side facing West Pokot consisting of a reasonably stiff cliff and the other side sloping gradually towards Elgeyo Marakwet. 

According to local legend, Kipteber (some sources spell it as Kipteberr) originally did not exist but fell from the sky. The elders of the Kalenjin people, including the Marakwet, Pökōōt, and Keiyo, claim that in the 1700s, the mountain (or hill as some consider it) was not there. If you visited the location about 300 years ago, you would not find Mount Kipteber. The narrative of how the mountain came to be is often called ‘What is this bird saying?’ The story goes that a long time ago, two communities living there were having a ceremony. The communities are the Sirikwa and Talai clans. As the celebrations went on, a crow appeared among the revellers and gave a warning for three days, which most of those at the party ignored. 

The crow warned the people to leave the ceremony as a big rock was about to fall from the sky. Some people, however, didn’t listen to the crow’s warning and continued with the party. Only a few, including a pregnant woman, heeded the crow’s warning and left on time. A massive rock, which turned out to be Mount Kipteber, fell from the sky and crushed everyone who was still at the party.

It also alleged that a UFO crashed on Mount Kipteber. Interestingly, a researcher from Marakwet took soil samples from the rock mountain and sent them to NASA for testing. The results were astounding as the samples confirmed debris from a comet. 

Mount Kipteber should be on the bucket list of any nomadic traveller. The hill is ideal for paragliding, hiking, rock climbing, and bird watching. You can access this place by plane, car through Kapenguria, or public transport through Kapenguria. Currently, there are no entrance fees, so the main costs incurred are accommodation fees and transportation. You can book a hotel in the nearby towns, Kapenguria, Eldoret and Kitale. 

Kipteber is also an avifauna hotspot. Bird lovers feast their eyes on raptors and other unique species like the malachite sunbird, southern ground hornbill, and hooded vulture. Once you hike to the top, you experience a spectacular view of Trans Nzoia. 

Kipteber is also an avifauna hotspot. Bird lovers feast their eyes on raptors and other unique species like the malachite sunbird, southern ground hornbill, and hooded vulture.

Kipteber remains unprotected by the government and faces encroachment, overgrazing, and logging risks. One cannot help but wish we could return to the days when certain spots were revered as sacred, protecting this rich ecosystem. Undoubtedly, Kipteber is an underexplored gem that should be preserved. 

Kipteber is not a one-day destination. Three days tops would suffice as it would allow you to enjoy the destination, immerse yourself in the culture, and enjoy typical Kalenjin food such as Mursik, roasted meat, wild honey, and more. The best time to visit Kipteber is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Remember to take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.