Welcome to the land of the Nandi warriors who were famous for their militant opposition to the introduction of British colonial rule in the early years of the last century. Guided by their spiritual leader (orkoiyot) Koitalel Samoei Arap Turgat, they were a thorn in the flesh of the British who had their eyes on the forests and rich agricultural lands of what is now Nandi, Keiyo and Uasin Gishu Districts. Of course, the warriors could not win against bullets from machine guns. But, what really turned the tide was the death of Arap Samoei, who, through deception and trickery, was lured to his assassination just over a hundred years ago. The despicable strategy of the colonialists was undoubtedly successful, though occasional attacks on, and thefts from, the advancing railway (the northern branch of the “Lunatic Express”) continued into later years.
Despite this history, the Nandi have maintained a spirit of independence; and the courage and endurance of their warrior forefathers is still in their blood. It comes out on the athletics track and on the X-country and marathon courses around the world ---- where they make their presence felt, year after year. And it is not only the men, such as the marathoner Robert Cheruiyot or 2008 800m Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei; what about the sensational Pamela Chelimo who is also an Olympic 800m champion ? !!
Their fearsome reputation not withstanding, the Nandi people are very friendly and welcoming to visitors. They would like nothing better than to sit down with you and share a sotet of mursik (sour milk) and stories about life. Milk is an important element in the life of a Nandi household. Whether fresh or sour, it is part of the diet of all from the youngest child to the oldest kogo. Athletes drink a lot of milk and simply cannot run without it. In the olden days the milk was mixed with blood from the neck-vein of a cow and this was the staple food of the warrior age set. Now milk is one of the chief income earners for the community. Another is tea, which is a cash crop found chiefly around Nandi Hills.
The two main towns of Nandi district are Nandi Hills and Kapsabet. The latter, although far larger in size and urban population, is, in accommodation facilities, limited to local and budget establishments.
In this respect, Nandi Hills is much better and has a number of quality guest houses, lodges and hotels. Kapsabet may be less prepared for visitors than it should be because most head for Eldoret, which is only an hour’s drive away. For an out-of-town location, options include: Kip’s Eco Resort, Hotel Jafferus and Tindinyo Falls Resort. They may not have all the mod-cons of the urban establishments, but offer a relaxing environment and tranquil atmosphere that may be exactly what you are looking for.