Live and volunteer in a remote African town in the hills of Machakos. Very few foreigners visit the Machakos area. The town of Machakos and its surrounding hill towns are away from the tourist trails and bustle of Nairobi. Machakos, like the Rift Valley, is one of the best places in Kenya to have an “authentic” experience living and volunteering in a small African village.
Volunteer Programs in Machakos
Location of Machakos
The hill towns of Machakos are located about 40 miles southeast of Nairobi. The drive from Nairobi to Machakos takes about 90 minutes, depending on the traffic leaving Nairobi. The area is home to the Akamba tribe in Kenya who have had extensive contact with the British going back to WWI.
The hill towns, with elevations of approximately 1,100 meters, are a 20-minute drive from the main town of Machakos. Many local people make their living from agriculture; there are terraced farm fields on virtually every hill. The hill towns typically have a medical clinic, schools, churches, food shops, and various retail shops.
Getting Around Machakos
Our local Kenyan Coordinator will accompany you by private car from the airport in Nairobi to your host family in Machakos.
You will do a lot of walking in Machakos! You will be within walking distance of your host family and volunteer job in Machakos. You can also walk to the various shops and restaurants in each hill town. For longer distances, the main modes of transportation are the “matatu” (shared minibus taxis) and regular taxis. To get back to Nairobi, you can catch a large public bus on the main highway.
You can also buy an inexpensive bicycle in Machakos. Beware though — the hills of Machakos are steep!
Climate in Machakos
The climate in Machakos is temperate. The average high is 70 F and average low is 52 F. The rainiest month is August with about 9 inches of rain; otherwise the area gets moderate rainfall.
Free time in Machakos
On weekday evenings, you will spend time at your host family. The town of Machakos is worth visiting often, with its modern banks, cafes, and restaurants. The Machakos outdoor market is a fun walk and chance to interact with Kenyans. There also incredible hiking and camping spots throughout the Machakos hills.
On weekends there are cheap day trip safaris (less then $75) to places like Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park, Olkaria Geothermal Spa, and Lake Nakuru. You can also visit Nairobi National Park which sits right next to Nairobi and has four of the “big five” animals: leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino (there are no elephants).
You can also go to the beach in Mombasa (5 hours by bus from Nairobi). Also consider a 3-4 day trip to Tanzania.