Lang Lang, little-known ‘crying stone’ showering Baringo residents

The naturally-heated waters at the Lang Lang Forest in Baringo County. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.
The naturally-heated waters at the Lang Lang Forest in Baringo County. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.

Since 1963, Kenya has been losing approximately 12,000 hectares of forested land annually to increasing demand for wood fuel and charcoal, population growth, the spread of infrastructure and the conversion of forest into commercial farmland.

The total forest land area outside gazetted forests is either owned by county governments who manage them in trust from the local

communities who are the direct beneficiaries or by the privately owned forests owned by private companies like tea factories and tannin extracting companies.

Lembus Forest is one of Kenya’s expansive forests in Baringo County.

It consists of three major forest blocks: Chemorggok, Chemususu and Narasha Forest; these blocks form part of the Mau Forest Complex.

This makes it one of the largest closed-canopy forest ecosystems in Kenya. Its annual temperature ranges between 10 degrees Celsius and 24 degrees Celsius.

Apart from the sad stories of deforestation and increasing sawmills in the area, there is good news about its resources and benefits to the local communities.

Locating the wonder

Narrowing the forest focus to the positives it emits brings us to one of the indigenous forests that home wild animals and natural resources like the ‘crying stone’ that has watered the Lang Lang Forest is located 3 kilometers from the main road connecting to Eldoret from Nakuru through Eldama Ravine.

The extensive and life-filled Lang Lang Forest. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.
The extensive and life-filled Lang Lang Forest. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.

The locals named this forest so because of the hot springs therein.

It lies in Lembus Kwen Ward, where Lawi Kipchumba is the Member of the County Assembly (MCA) and Musa Sirma is the Member of Parliament of Eldama Ravine Constituency, Eldama Ravine sub-county in Baringo County.

Lang Lang hot springs are located deep in the Lang Lang forest.

According to locals, the hot springs shower the locals and cure them of leprosy and other weird skin diseases.

When a cow gives birth and finds it challenging to get rid of the after-birth from its womb, the water proves helpful.

It is given the water to drink, and in a few minutes, the placenta falls off with ease. This is one practice among many that locals have embraced from the resource.

The undiscovered natural wonder adds to the many untapped tourist attractions in the county.


The Lang Lang hot springs are named after the word warm; in Kalenjin, warm is lalang.

The place is rich in history. The water has no outrightly known or visible source and is rich in medicinal minerals.

The hot springs are said to be salty and are always hot all year round.

The area has a law that whoever comes to the heated pool first clears the floating leaves and ensures the outlet is clear for drainage


Allocating the hot-springs

The locals have separated the hot springs to have a place where ladies enjoy the steamy water and men the same, differently.

On the men’s side, the men are organized and have set a place for older men, youth and young boys.

The older men are given the relatively shallow area of the hot springs where they can sit and have some fun as they have their talks, while the youth have a relatively deep area.

The young boys also have a wider area where they can play as they bathe.

David Kirui,a local aged 54, explaining about the Lang Lang history to Janet Kiriswo. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.
David Kirui, a local aged 54, explaining about the Lang Lang history to Janet Kiriswo. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Outside the men’s naturally-heated pool are hanging lines they have put in place to dry their clothes after doing their laundry there.

The men do not depend on home water to shower, nor do they bother their wives over whether their bathing water is hot or cold.

The youth have a clear routine: passing by the Lang Lang pool for a shower, then heading to the quarry for manual work.

A unifying place

In the evening, they pass by, shower, relax, exchange pleasantries and later head home to rest.

The area locals say the naturally-heated pool is a unifying place.

Early in the morning, teachers and pupils meet in the pool to shower and later meet in class. During weekends they meet there in large numbers and deliberate on different issues.

They challenge the community members against engaging in social ills that can jeopardize their lives.

The ladies’ side is a bit wider and with inviting scenery. Their place has beautifully stair-cased rocks where they can jump in like into a swimming pool.

Lynn Cheptoo at the ladies side of the heated pool. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.
Lyn Cheptoo at the ladies’ side of the heated pool. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.

When older women are in the pool, the younger ones carry their water in basins and bathe elsewhere. The place offers the kind of therapeutic experience you would have to pay for to get in big resorts.

Wildlife, scenery

The springs are surrounded by a vast scenery where wild animals, including leopards, live, yet bothering no one.

The leopards, which prefer staying deep in the Lang Lang forest, sneak in to drink water and then head back into their habitats.

The snakes in the area are said to include the black python, the poisonous green snakes and the cobras.

They swim in the middle of the showering or resting locals, take water, and return to hiding. The locals say they sometimes step on the snakes, only to run in terror.

The forest also houses Columbus monkeys, which makes it more lively.

The baboons there usually distract locals, especially during the planting season, while the cheetahs in the forest remain very dangerous to domestic animals, commonly during the dry season.

However, they all add life to the forest.

The Lang Lang river flows from Timboroa to Arama, Chepsirian, Kapketon, then Lang Lang and is a tributary to the Perkera River through the Siloi river, feeding the whole region.

It changed its course in 2017 due to natural courses. 

Lang Lang River, unlike Lang Lang’s naturally-heated pools, provides fresh water that benefits the locals through domestic use.

They use it as a baptismal ground. 

One of the areas near the river has a swampy place, which the locals have neglected because it has a sinking area.

The saoset 

The myth surrounding the sinking area, locally called ‘saoset,’ is that long ago, a cow sunk in with a bell in its neck. 

That is why the locals do not visit the place at night because they would hear gallons of milk and a cow’s bell ringing. 

It is also believed that some people also sank into the ‘saoset’, according to stories held and passed by the ancestors to the locals over time. 

The area also offers a camping site and ceremonial grounds, retreat grounds, and an escapade from the norm. 

The locals are yet to benefit from sighting talks with the County Government, with the current Governor, Benjamin Cheboi, promising to have the place productive by consulting the locals on how they want it reformed. 

They fear having the place taken over by the County or National Government and closing them out of job opportunities.

David Kirui, one of the older adults in the locality, says he has seen people healed of diseases by using the pool’s waters.

Abraham Kimayo, aka Abdi, walking us through the forest and the hot pools, says that he has been there for 47 years, and since he was a young boy, he has enjoyed the forest and its resources and wishes it benefits the locals.

“Just like Lake Bogoria Springs has a resort owned by the public, has recreational centers and earns the locals some revenue, I wish this place were transformed.

That would enable us to improve our roads, our businesses, and agricultural activities, employ our children and have us on the map to success,” says Kimayo. 

Abraham Kimayo, a 47 years' old local showing the vast Lang Lang Forest. PHOTO/Janet Kiriswo, The Scholar Media Africa.
Abraham Kimayo, a 47 years’ old local showing the vast Lang Lang Forest. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Other benefits

Within the area, I met two brothers who had walked four kilometers to come to take their shower from the naturally-heated pool. 

David, the eldest brother, says his brother has been living in the Kabimoi area and has a skin condition and came purposely to have a shower.

The women, represented by Lyn Cheptoo, say that though women and girls do not spend most of their time in the pool because of home chores, they have specific times when they take their time to have fun and team building.

“The gatherings at the pool are very crucial; you get to have talks on issues affecting you and receive great feedback and feel

lighter and revived heading back home,” she appreciates.

Cheptoo says she studied hairdressing and is willing to have the area developed, and she will hopefully be employed as a tour guide and make a living out of it since she is very familiar with the environment.

“I know this area and am willing to have a position of taking people around. There are local tourists who visit but I do not charge them.

I want them, too, to have fun and feel good. My friends from different places in Kenya usually visit my home and they enjoy the springs,” she adds.

Cheptoo demonstrates how she uses natural leaves to create a soap to shower with. The place also has natural stones that women use to clean their feet and hands.

It is naturally situated where people can enjoy zip-lining (a fun experience of sliding from a higher slope downwards). 

Neighboring schools also visit the place to tour and learn Geography. 

Several ‘crying rocks’, medicinal herbs and a calm, serene environment define the area.

Though modern medicine has taken over, local herbalists still tour the Lang Lang forest to collect herbs that are used to treat different diseases.

Natural salty stones, which pregnant women love, are also there. The local women harvest them and take them to the market for sale.

Obeying the law to protect the forests, the locals protect this forest and ensure no deforestation occurs.

The Lang Lang forest also provides the community with a place for boys’ circumcision. 

During that period, especially in the ember months, the women keep off the forest until the circumcision and healing period is done.

The area is under government protection and no one is allowed to take advantage of the forest for personal benefit. This is also because they graze their cattle in the forest.

The Lang Lang naturally-heated pools serve people of all walks, not specifically from the local area. 

The elders in the community wish they would share their resources with the rest of the world.

In Kenya, natural resources include forests, rivers, lakes, hot springs and wild animals, mineral reserves, and other natural sceneries.

In Baringo County, the renowned hot springs at Lake Bogoria have been elevated by the Lake Bogoria Spa and Resort.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Taste of little understood yet beloved Baringo drink leaves consumers smiling

The Resort has a naturally-heated spa that draws its water from the hot springs in Lake Bogoria, which is about 5 kilometers away. The Lake Bogoria Spa and Resort is located 85 kilometers from Nakuru city, an hour-and-a-half-drive distance.

If you would love to travel to Lang Lang, it is only about 73 kilometers from Nakuru city.

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Janet Kiriswo is A Multi-lingual certified professional Journalist (English, Swahili and Native Kalenjin). Holder of a Bachelor`s degree in PR & Communication skills from Moi University, A Diploma in Mass Communication from The Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, (KIMC), with over 15 years active experience in the media industry. She thrives in covering stories matters that touches on Business, Health, community, Culture and Traditional issues and progress, Politics, Interviews and leaderships among others. She poses other skills in Public Relationship, Communication consultant, Radio presentation, broadcasting, visual feature stories, video/voice recording and editing among others. She strongly believes in changing the world through Communication.



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