KYANZAVI HILLS, KANGUNDO Whenever the word Kilimambogo is mentioned what comes to the minds of many is the late Akamba guitarist Kakai Kilonzo the band leader to the then best Akamba music troupe (Kilimambogo Brothers) that dominated Ukambani between 1960s to 1980s.The story below has its setting at the peak of Kilimambogo hill in Kangundo, Machakos County.
On your way from Nairobi along Thika – Garissa Road just a few kilometers before reaching Thika town you find a mountain, this is Mt. Kilimambogo ( Akamba people refer to the same mountain as Kyanzavi Hill ).The slopes of this Mt. Kyanzavi are dominated by the buffaloes among other translating the hill into a Buffalo Conservancy.Other wild animals are the bushbucks, monitor lizards and poisonous pythons.This mountain serves as the home to Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park.
Inside Ol Donyo Sabuk Park is the old Mini-Fortress the MacMillan Castle, a huge historic house constructed by Lord William Northrop Macmillan (Born 1872 in USA and died in Kenya 1925).The estimated size of this castle is that of three basketball pitches.MacMillan was an American Soldier sent to Kenya (then British East Africa) 1904 by the King of England on shooting expedition.It is reported that Lord MacMillan owned this mountain Ol Donyo Sabuk and extended up his terri to Fourteen Falls.The mansion MacMillan House (Ol Donyo House) was constructed in 1918 by this soldier and served as hospital in World War l and as a prison in World War ll that ended in 1945.
It is said that Sir Macmillan and his wife stayed in each wing of the castle for six months before moving to the other.
Lord MacMillan died in 1925 and was buried at the hill next to the castle.His dog, servant Louise Decker and his wife Lady Lucie were also buried at the peak of Kyanzavi hill.This 32-roomed castle has housed world known people including the former USA president Theodore Roosevelt, the former British PM Winston Churchill, the former Colonial Governor to Kenya Sir Evelyn Baring and Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta and Ewart Grogan.Lady MacMillan constructed the MacMillan Library in Nairobi CBD in the honour of her husband.
The mansion has been the headquarters to Muka Mukuu Cooperative Society.
The castle was officially gazetted in Kenya in 19th December 2008 through the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the docketship of the late Hon. William Ole Ntimama.The plans to convert the castle to a museum are still underway.