By Jeremiah Chamakany
Residents of Koibatek sub -county are yet to find an explanation about this bizarre phenomenon; a cattle tracks on top of some rocks at the banks of a stream flowing out from the Mau Complex. It is in Baringo County in the heart of the Great Rift Valley.
Shortly after getting wind of the existing wonder; World Water did not hesitate to go out and find out more about the phenomenon rumored to have baffled many generations around the now Koibatek sub-county.
‘’It has baffled every one’’ said Mr.Julius Mosonik, our guide during this fact finding mission. At least seven ‘ancient ‘foot prints are clearly visible on top of the rocks that now lie within a private land. The footprints resemble those of a bovine, either a cow or its nearest cousin the Buffalo.
Since its discovery sometime during the height of Kenya’s colonial era, no one to date is able to explain how the animals ended up leaving their footprints on top of a hard rock, unless they were literally walking on top of some molten rocks or flowing magma [lava]to be more precise. That could date back to several millions of years ago when volcanic eruptions were the order of the day.
A critical look on top of the rocks indicate that perhaps there was a stampede; like the animals were fleeing away to their safety when all over sudden, the sky around them started to rain red-hot magma. It is quite likely that the animals involved never survived, how really could they have managed when all the ‘rocks were boiling and melting’ all around them. ?
Hypothetically; Maybe it was the Menengai crater in action, the nearest volcano which last erupted in 6050 BC according to Wikipedia.
Local area administrator in charge of Sabatia Location Mr.Jacob Kigen granted Interview. He refused to beat around the bush but went straight to narrate that for the last 45 years he has been in the region, dozens of local tourists have made a stop at Solian to have a look at the strange cattle tracks.
According to the administrator, the cattle tracks on the rocks indicate that perhaps the rocks where very soft during those days.
‘’The whole of this Koibatek sub-county region was Maasai land, they roamed this valley with their cattle in thousands.’’ said the administrator.
According to the information he gathered from the elders of his time, the cattle tracks possibly belong to the Maasai who later moved their herds to the present day Narok ,with some of them spilling towards the Ngorongoro in Tanzania.
The geography of Koibatek in Baringo is that which can stir ewe and curiosity wrapped in one. Maasai names are littered everywhere in the landscape. Esageri ,Ngusero,Lebolos and Eldama Ravine to name but a few;are all Maasai names. Moving down the plains of Koibatek in the regions around the Mogotio which stretch towards Marigat, you are likely to encounter more Maasai names such as Ol baat, ,Lomanira,Logiri,Oldukai Lombogishu and even Muserechi where a remnant of the Ole Tunai family,Narok Govorner lives to date .
Digging further beyond what the administrator said, our team discovered that there could be some truth about Maasai cattle leaving their footprints at Koibatek.
Not far from the scene of the mystery cattle tracks lives the Chairman of the Lembus Council of Elders Mr.Joseph Leboo.He is a Maasai remnant who has since been assimilated into the Lembus culture;but is still very alive and fondly attached to his ancestral roots.
‘’I don’t know much about the cattle tracks but I can tell you that the Maasai once roamed the hills of Koibatek and the plains of Mogotio’’mzee Leboo told World Water.
Our guide made us to learn that the land belongs to an old man Mzee Kimanyim. Fortunately enough, one of his daughters Mrs. Leah Ng’etich was available for a word. She is a teacher at a nearby Mochongoi Primary school in Eldama Ravine constituency, and proved most resourceful after taking part in this interview.
‘’This is my father’s land and I was born here’’ said Mrs. Ng’etich who grew up seeing many people visit the site. She disclosed that site is still unrestricted and because of this fact;some adventurous foreign tourist once visited their home to see the strange cattle tracks. The male tourist was so excited that he offered some Dollars in exchange of the land. Her family however declined to sell the land to him.
With a stream of water bordering the site flowing quietly towards the Lake Baringo, most young people find the scenic site very intriguing and romantic to say the least.
Sitting under the shade of one the many old trees lining the stream,you are likely to bear witness to the most hidden secrets of the wild nature,young plants coiling their tendrils round and round their neighbors, and the smell of moss wafting from under the rocks!! Some young man was present during our visit, and had brought along a lass; perhaps to impress her with the mysteries of Mother Nature; away from the noise and bustle of the modern day civilization. Meanwhile;the cattle tracks will continue remaining a mystery.