Lake Nkunga

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The Lake Protected by Dragon.

About 12 kilometres from Meru Town, off the Meru-Nanyuki highway sits crater Lake Nkunga, once a sacred site for the Ameru.

Tucked inside Imenti Forest, the lake was a no-go zone for locals, with only select elders and spiritual leaders visiting the site to offer sacrifices to appease the gods when calamity struck.

It was named Nkunga after a giant dragon that was believed to inhabit the waters.

Ameru legend has it that a giant dragon fell from the sky and created the diverse landscape of valleys and hills in Meru.

It was believed that its eyes were at Lake Nkunga, its huge body on the Nyambene Hills, and its long tail straddled the Tharaka plains.

The myths and oral narratives warned against venturing into the lake because the dragon would swallow anyone.Besides its sacred place among the community, Lake Nkunga is also a key resource for hundreds of elephants that roam Imenti Forest.

According to Mr Jack Rutere of Nkunga village, sacrifices conducted at the lake produced instant results.

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Timothy Omondi