Nyamweya is a journalist currently attached to a leading Kenyan media
A spectacular suspension bridge in Tuala in Kajiado County, approximately 10 kilometers from Ongata Rongai Town is considered to be the scariest in Kenya.
Linking Nani’s Kitengela Glass Workshop, and Maasai Lodge Hotel, the bridge hangs more than 100 meters above a deep river valley.
Nani Croze, the owner of this bridge says that she did not envision that the bridge will be a huge attraction and an appealing site for visitors in Kenya and beyond. Rather, she was innocently building the bridge to enable guests from Maasai Lodge Hotel which overlooks her art gallery to cross over for the experience of her glass making process at her workshop and her visitors who wanted to take a meal at the hotel.
Nanis workshop, famously known as Kitengela Glass Gallery is full of delightful artworks made using broken pieces of glass, ceramic tiles, and old bottles.
“When I built this bridge back in 2007, my goal was to make it easy for people who were visiting my glass gallery to cross over to the hotel when they wanted something to eat or when they wanted to see wild animals. There were also many people who were interested to find out how old glass is recycled into beautiful products and the glass making process and thus this was what prompted me to establish the bridge” she tells city biz.
With the help of a German engineer, the bridge was then build and installed using specially designed cranes from both ends of the terrain.
The actual bridge is built using strong but light materials that swing when one is walking around. The materials include wire, glass, light metals with gaps in the railing.
The city biz crew had a chance to walk through the bridge and indeed, it is a nerve-wrecking experience. One of our members had to turn back when she reached in the middle of the bridge after the bridge sideways started swaying profusely.
One of Nani’s aids tells us that crossing this bridge is not for the faint hearted. Although there has never been serious mischief for visitors, many have dropped off valuables including phones and cameras especially when they try to take photos by themselves to post on social phones.
“Thankfully, we have never had serious negative incidences but there are people who lose their valuables especially if they handle them loosely. Many of such people are those who want to take photos of themselves using their own devices. If they become fearful in the process, they end up dropping them” she says adding that we strongly advice people to be careful with their devices and possibly to give someone else to take your photo instead of doing it yourself”
According to Nani, the bridge was built this way because of the terrain of the local land. It could not allow building of a normal bridge and so an engineer had to be creative.
“The engineer from German had to use his creativity and thankfully, he developed an ingenious way of making the bridge appear fancy, and attractive to passerby”
To cross the bridge, a visitor has to part with sh.200. Though there are no much activities taking place on weekdays, the place is a beehive of activity on a weekend when people are free and want to enjoy themselves.
For the strong ones, a walk on Nani’s precarious bridge will trigger the fun, pleasure, adrenaline and the feeling of walking across a swinging bridge in the air.
Nani says the earnings from the bridge are what sustain the whole Glass Art Project, including paying employees and any other resources needed at her art studio. Herself an internationally recognized artist, Nani has managed to maintain her glass art workshop for many decades.
Earnings from the glass business are not that regular but thanks for this bridge, it has been able to sustain this trust including other bills” Nanis tells city biz.
On weekends, visitors come to this site; some to just enjoy walking through it and others just to have a glimpse of this spectacular site.
According to Nani, the bridge is indeed, a tourist attraction site, with some visitors coming as far as German and many other nations just to have a scary experience.
“Here, we receive many visitors, not only the local ones, but also those from abroad including German. They just want to come and see the “wonder bridge” they have heard about or seen on social media” explains Nani
To guarantee safety, the bridge is regularly maintained and serviced to prevent any danger or risk to visitors
“We what any misfortune will cause to this business and so we are careful to ensure the bridge is well serviced at all times to guarantee its safety” Nani says also assuring us that “be assured that the bridge won’t collapse at any stage you are walking on it”