A road is laid, connecting Kisii to Nyamira county. It winds and turns, rises and falls. Soon it will take me to a misty verdant hill that goes as far as eyes can see. I will be there soon before the gathering clouds weep over the mute hill.
They call it Manga cliff. A local mzee Yabesi Kaburi Sanduti leads me to the cliff. A narrow path winds through cedar and suddenly he stops ‘we must perform a ritual’ he says pointing to a yawning hole. “We must bind the spirits to prevent slips and falls,” he decrees. I hesitate and a sad contour forms on his brow then he asks me to follow his example. He picks some dry cedar twigs and throws them into the three consequent eerie holes of Emanga. I do the same. “The rituals wards off malevolent spirits and ‘protects ‘one from slipping and fatally falling fathoms and fathoms down,” he adds.
“Strange spirits inhabited these holes ages ago. A red cock would be seen roosting here and immediately a ball of fire would flare up. If anyone attempted to approach the cliff the spirits would consume them with flames of fire. This terrified our ancestors so much that try started performing the rituals. We hurl dry twigs into the holes to appease the fire appetite of the spirits. We advise visitors to knot grass to protect themselves from accidents.”
After the ritual, we stood on the icy cold and misty hill. Far off towered the twin Homa hills and soon the setting sun emerged from the sky, like juice-mix splashed over a blue pool of water. The clouds were like a heap of cotton and they sashayed over the Homa hills. Silhouettes of birds flew to their unknown homes across the sky that was now a mauve and yellow colour, the magenta of the sky deepened.
Houses on the cliff looked like gleaming dots. If you stood by the cliff you felt and overwhelming whirl from Manga Cliff which is approximately 300 metres deep. From theat height, Kisii town glitters far away like lanterns of distant kingdom.
Manga hills has chain of cliffs with age old caves known as Ngurumuaga. The cliffs naturally and indisputably divides Kisii and Nyamira Counties. Manga Cliffs are a marvel to visitors and locals alike. Lake Victoria breeze flows and slaps the foot of Manga Bridge before it sways the green shrubbery that luxuriantly thrives uphill. From the green hills one can see Lake Victoria and the Ruby hills of Luo Nyanza afar. The gem, popularly known as Emanga by the Abagusii is a sacred feature which acts as a shrine to appease the ancestral spirits; it also doubles as a picnic site. In the ancient days the Abagusii also used it as an administrative post. Manga cliff phenomenon is 30 minutes’ drive from North of Kisii town.