Kenya Follows Iceland in Opening a $286,200 Geothermal Spa

In a months’ time, Kenya’s geothermal power plant Olkaria in Nakuru County will open one of Africa’s biggest natural health spas.

‘‘We are now certain about the date of commissioning of the facility. The spa is complete and open to the public.”  Peketsa Mangi

‘‘We are now certain about the date of commissioning of the facility. The spa is complete and open to the public.” Peketsa Mangi

Measuring 70 metres long and 40 metres wide, the Olkaria spa is larger than an Olympic size swimming pool. It has a smaller one 10 metres long for children.

The opening of the spa adds to the delights of Hell’s Gate National Park in which it is located, and which already attracts many local and foreign tourists annually. The spa is located west of the Olkaria II power plant.

The project, initiated in 2010, is behind schedule. It was set to open during Easter this year.

Peketsa Mangi, the chief consultancy and research officer at the Olkaria Geothermal Project says all is set for the October inauguration.

“We are now certain about the date of commissioning of the facility. The spa is complete and open to the public for free at the moment. We are finishing the administration block, which will have changing rooms, washrooms, conference facilities, a museum and a restaurant,” Mr Mangi said.

His colleague, Ezekiel Kemboi, said the making of the spa was a long and intricate process that required a lot of technical expertise, since it is large and entirely dependent on geothermal energy.

“It is a fairly new idea that we are trying out, and we now know it can work,” Mr Kemboi said.

The spa is expected to promote balneology — therapy by hot and warm baths in natural mineral waters, spas and cures.

The spa water is naturally rich in minerals, the major one being sulphur.

Spa bathing is therapeutic and has been popular both in the West and the East since time immemorial. It treats rashes and other skin ailments.
Steam baths, common in countries like Japan, also help in lowering cholesterol, softening the skin and can slow down aging.

The saunas in the administration building are designed to use brine water in naked pipes at 150 degrees Celsius. They are also installing steam generating appliances for steam baths.

Mr Mangi says for the country to benefit from the spa, it must be made a world-class facility.

The spa reportedly cost Ksh25 million ($286,200).

Located near the world-famous attractions — the Olduvai Gorge, Lake Naivasha and Hell’s Gate — it is billed to become a must-go site for local and foreign tourists.

Mr Mangi says they are planning to create more exclusive spas in different parts of the national park, “because we still have so much water that can be used.”

He says they are exploring the possibility of installing sky-lifts on the many hills in the area to give the people who visit Olkaria more options to have fun.

– The East African