Fred Obachi Machoka bought his Kajiado ranch in 1993 at Ksh47,500 per acre, and only settled there in 2005 because he couldn’t afford to pay rent in Nairobi.
For starters, Machoka is one of the most accomplished radio presenters in Kenya, having working in the media industry for close to five decades.
Machoka was a police officer serving in General Service Unit (GSU) when he switched to radio in 1975 after he was recruited to promote SANYO electronics on radio.
He helped popularize the electronic brand with a five-minute advertisement on KBC which was called Voice of Kenya at the time. His campaign was so successful that in the span of three years SANYO became a top selling electronics brand in Kenya.
He established himself in commercial broadcasting. Coming up with promotional concepts for companies was his forte. Machoka also hosted two music shows on KCB; Talk of Time and Music Time.
In 1988, he began his outfit FM 35 (Fred Machoka at 35) His main focus was still commercial broadcasting.
In 2002, new kid on the block Citizen radio approached with a job offer. At first he was quite hesitant since it was a new station competing with big stations.
However, Machoka took a leap of faith and joined Radio Citizen to host Roga Roga show which plays Rhumba music. The Roga Roga show airs up to date and is now even on Citizen TV. Both Radio Citizen and Citizen TV are also the most popular radio and TV stations in Kenya.
The radio and TV presenter is now popularly known as Uncle Fred aka the blackest man in black Africa.
Machoka bought a large parcel of land along the Kitengela-Namanga road at Isinya, Kajiado County in 1993.
The Citizen radio presenter took Ksh1.6 million loan and bought 50 acres at Ksh47,500 per acre. However he was forced to sell off 30 acres to repay the loan and finance his project.
“When I bought this land in 1993, I looked like a crazy man. It was pure wilderness and save for a few Maasai pastoralists, I was a lone ranger in a foreign land. Though I did not settle there immediately, many people wondered why I bought such neglected land which was at the time going for Sh47,500 per acre, a pricey figure 20 years ago,” Machoka said during an interview with Standard.
He added that;
“Initially, I bought 50 acres and took a Sh1.6 million loan and by the time I cleared, it had shot to Sh7.5 million because of interest. I struggled to repay it. I was forced to sell off 30 acres to repay the loan and finance my project. There were many dark and painful days and nights and my wife knows this too well.”
The blackest man in black Africa said he only moved to his Kajiado ranch in 2005 because his landlord in Nairobi increased his rent and he could no longer afford to pay.
“My landlord had also increased our rent and I could not afford it. So we relocated,” Machoka said.
The move to relocate to his farm paid off dearly later. Initially he faced several challenges like access to clean water given that Kajiado is an arid area.
For domestic and farm use, he used to make several trips to Athi River to buy water, but that was unsustainable. To close that tap, he decided to sink a borehole and that was the magic that his farm needed to flourish. With access to constant supply of water, came many possibilities.
The 15-acre ranch aptly called Fred’s ranch is now a sight to behold: neatly trimmed lawns, voluptuous high-grade cows mowing peacefully in the parlor, an enviable orchard filled with succulent fruits and the icing on the cake is the swanky cowboy-themed resort.
Machoka’s farm is agri-tourism at its best and even the President Uhuru Kenyatta has sampled the ranch’s finesse.
Other high profile guests who have visited Fred’s ranch include former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and several other celebs like Mzazi Willy M Tuva, Daniel Ndambuki alias Churchill etc.
The cowboy-themed Fred’s Ranch and resort specializes in barbecue cuisine and offers activities such as horseback riding, quad biking, picnicking, farm tours, and a lively children’s playground.
Machoka’s son Victor Machoka is the ranch’s managing director. Victor turned down a six-figure salary in 2015 to follow his family ambition.
Below are photos of Fred’s Ranch: