Meru - Feature Articles

Magado Crater

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Magado Crater, from Volcano World

Magado Crater is located at the northeast tip of the Nyambeni range. The circular crater rises 73 meters (250 feet) above the surrounding area. It has an average diameter of 800 meters and an average crater depth below the rim of 140 meters. Debris blasted out during the crater eruption formed a rim 80 to 100 meters thick. To the north of Magado is the Uaso Nyiro river, and to the south is the Nyambeni mountain range.

A small lake on the floor of Magado crater evaporates to form a soda salt crust. The Meru people apparently have been collecting soda in this crater for thousands of years. In recent years the Meru as well as the Borana and Somali people have shared the crater. During the rainy season, the tribes people water their cattle in this natural collecting basin. During the dry season as the full lake recedes, the soda that remains behind is collected.

A local Meru tale says that if a young man could push a donkey loaded with soda packs from the lake to a special band of dark rock, about 100m from the crater floor on the eastern rim, he could choose any girl in the tribe as his wife. The only condition was that he could only use his chest to drive the animal.

At the only entrance to this crater a 10 to 15 feet gully has formed and along the sides live Meru, Borana and Somali people who use the crater for shelter.


Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003

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