Kenya is among 13 countries in the world where the equator passes through and one of the towns in the country that enjoys this privilege is the interesting town of Nanyuki.
Situated just about 4 KM from the CBD, along the Nanyuki-Nairobi highway, the equator point does not seem like much aside from the large yellow signboard marking its location and a number of souvenir shops plying their trade here.
Yet it is only at this imaginary line that a fascinating phenomenon known as the Coriolis effect occurs. The effect has to do with how water behaves at the equator, depending on which hemisphere you are standing on.
If you are standing to the south of the equator line in the southern hemisphere, the water tends to move in an anti-clockwise manner. When you stand to the north, you will notice the water moving in a clockwise direction. If, on the other hand, you stand at the equator itself, the water shows no movement.
The locals are always eager to set up this experiment for you. If you want, you could even get a certificate of proof of being at the Equator. It will cost you USD 80.00 for both or USD 40.00 for just the demo alone.
Setting up the experiment by yourself is not that difficult though. All you need is a jug with a hole at the bottom, an empty bowl, some water and 2 match sticks, but any small sticks can do.
Move about 3 M (10 F) north of the equator line and pour the water into the jug while you block the hole at the bottom with your finger then allow the sticks to float on the water. Now remove your finger from the bottom of the jug and allow the water to flow into the empty bowl below.
You will notice that the sticks start to rotate in a clockwise direction. Repeat the same exercise to the south of the equator line and notice the sticks moving in an anti-clockwise direction. When the experiment is carried out on the equator line, the sticks do not move at all! This is the Coriolis force at work.
If you need to experience the Coriolis effect in a more classy and stylish environment, you can head over to the world-renowned Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club where you cross the equator just by going from your room to the dining hall.
It is even said that the Club has the only bar in the world where the waiter takes your order of drinks while in the Southern hemisphere and picks them up in the Northern Hemisphere! The Club’s 9-hole golf course is even more interesting. You can tee off in the Southern hemisphere and putt in the Northern!
Next time you are going to Nanyuki, make a point of stopping at the equator point and experiencing the Coriolis effect. It is quite interesting.