By Prudence Minayo
Chris Musau is a Machakos businessman, and a big player in the hospitality industry. He got into the hospitality industry by chance and has since made a name for himself through Maanzoni Lodge, a resort he opened in 2011. The establishment is located off the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway and sits on 28 acres of land. Maanzoni is a Kamba word that means beginning.
He was also the proprietor of Nova Supermarkets in Machakos and Komarock. Upon realizing his children were uninterested in the supermarket business, he sold them to Naivas.
Here is his profile as told by WoK.
He was born in 1954 in Tawa, Machakos county. Growing up in the village, he would help his father in his business, that comprised of shops and a transport company, during the holiday seasons.
He attended High School at Prince of Wales, now Nairobi School. Afterwards, he secured employment with a hides and skins company. He rose through the ranks to become a manager earning a salary of Sh28,000. This was a lot of money in the 70s.
The businessman got married at the age of 22 having met his wife at a party in Nairobi. The same year, he found out that a white man wanted to sell his 10,000 acres of land. The land had sheep, goat, and about 1800 cows and was going for Sh280 per acre. He did not have a lot of money but decided to bid for the land.
His friends thought he had lost his mind. They felt that buying a land in Ukambani, in a place where it hardly rained was just crazy. At the time, others were buying land in places, like, Ruiru and Limuru. Notwithstanding the fact that he didn’t even have the amount needed for the land.
Chris Musau got money from his savings, family and lenders and was able to raise Sh3.8 million. He bought the land though most of it has been sold to other buyers today. Among his buyers was his brother-in-law, the late Mutual Kilonzo.
In 2007, the billionaire decided to build a small place where his children could relax during their visits. He approached a friend who was an architect and they designed a 10-roomed structure. However, others urged him to expand the place so that he could establish something that would attract those wishing to have a relaxing weekend.
What was initially supposed to be a 10-roomed building had 64 rooms when it was opened in 2011. He added a hotel and a conference facility and thus Musau was officially a hotelier.
Today, the magnificent structure is surrounded by beautiful scenic gardens, which are a credit to his wife, an interior designer by profession. The lodge also boasts of 360 rooms and a large swimming pool.
During an interview with the Standard three years ago, he said his future plan was to build a 300-roomed hotel in Machakos. He also hoped to spread the foothold of Maanzoni to other parts of the country.
On 29th July 2022, Chris Musau bought the famous 680 Hotel in Nairobi. The hotel, which is known for hosting various events, has 680 rooms, and is located in the Central Business District.
The hotel belonged to the Sentrim Hotel franchise owned by serial hotelier Jagdesh Patel. In 2018, 680 made Sh213 million. Musau is said to have bought the hotel in a deal worth Sh1.2 billion. The 680 is said to have attracted both foreign and local investors and it is alleged that the deputy president was also interested.