Paradise Lost

Mbai Caves - Rumathi Caves

Useful Information

Location: Kiambu Road, Nairobi Kenya, Nairobi County.
Near Kiambu Town, 2 km from Kiambu, 20 km from Nairobi's City Centre.
(-1.188409, 36.828459)
Open: All year daily 8-22.
Fee: Gate Entrance Rates: Adults KES 500, Children KES 300.
Cave: Adults KES 200.
Non-residents: Adults USD 20.
Classification: SpeleologyErosional Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=50 m.
Guided tours: self guided, D=10 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Site Office Kiambu, Paradise Lost, PO Box 66653-00800 Nairobi, Cell: +254-0110-022-222, Cell: +254-0110-055-555, Tel: +254-725-885570, Tel: +254-721-980-842. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1950s used by the Mau Mau as a hideout.
1996 Joseph Mbai, the son of the owner, and some farm hands rediscovered the caves.
2015 reopened after renovation.


The caves Paradise Lost were discovered by Joseph Mbai and some of his farmhands in 1996. An exploration and excavation by archeologists from the National Museums of Kenya revealed 8,000 to 12,000 years old human remains. Black pieces of stone were actually obsidian rock artefacts from the Late Stone Age. The caves are shelters, eroded by the water of the nearby Gichi river. They are located behind a 3.5 m wide waterfall. It is one of only two show caves in the country.

The cave was obviously known to people several thousand years ago but then forgotten. It was rediscovered by Joseph Mbai, the farmer who owned this farm, a former coffee plantation, in 1996. The National Museums of Kenya excavated the cave, so they obviously needed trails and light for their work. He somehow got the idea that he could show the cave to others (and earn some money) and he opened the cave as a show cave. The trails and electric light are not great but better than any other cave in the country.

We listed the cave in 2001, which is only 5 years after its discovery, however, we were not able to find out much, as there were no publications. Over the years the site was completed by a playground and toilets, but then fell into disrepair. It was renovated and reopened in 2015, with a big inauguration ceremony. Since then boat rides, archery, horse rides, camel rides, zip line rides, and quad bikes rides were added, quite a bunch of rides. They called it Kenya's Largest Picnic Site. And they introduced rather steep prices and raised them recently, the result were numerous bad reviews on the web. People were quite enraged, that the playground for the children cost extra. The site obviously charges a steep entrance fee or day use fee, and any other activity inside is charged extra, including the cave tour. Nevertheless, the fees might be acceptable for spending a day there, but are quite steep if you just want to visit the cave. And there is a much higher fee for foreigners, which is quite understandable in Third World countries.

They have a website now, which has no address on the contact page, just the sketch how to get there without comments, no phone number or postal address either. And after clicking two or three times the site says There has been a critical error on this website. Learn more about troubleshooting WordPress. The short description of the site is about half a page and contains the word "Kenya" 11 times, some sentences use it twice. We did not learn much about the cave, but now we guess it actually is not in Kenya, probably it's in the Twilight Zone.

They state the caves were used by the Mau Mau as a hideout in the 1960s. They are even called Mau Mau Caves, which is strange because there are actually caves in Kenya which go by this name. And you should definitely know that the Mau Mau uprising was in 1952 and ended in 1960, if you live in Kenya. Nevertheless, the site was reopened by the widow of a famous Mau Mau freedom fighter in 2015.

Due to lack of actual facts we can only speculate about the origins of the cave. We were not able to find any paper about the excavation, which would have shed some light on the situation. Why the situation is so poorly explained despite a cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Ministry of Education and the National Museum of Kenya, is incomprehensible to us. They offer an educational experience to schools, colleges, universities and other institutions, but do not get the basic facts right.