The word ‘beacon’ is commonly used in Kenya to refer to a mark on the ground at the point where boundaries change direction. In other parts of the world, they may say a monument or a peg to mean the same thing. In Kenya, survey beacons are used for demarcating boundaries between different plots of land. The land can either be public, communal or privately owned.
Most beacons are installed by land surveyors. Depending on the surveyor that installs them, the appearance may be different. Most beacons look like a concrete slab that sits on the surface of the ground with the plot numbers inscribed on them. They can also be large concrete posts which makes them easier to find by a survey team or the landowner. Because of their size, they’re usually made with metal pins inside. This makes them a target for scrap metal so they are often vandalised. Because of this, the most recent trend has been to use PVC pipes filled with concrete.
When surveyors install beacons on a property, they first confirm the true boundaries with their equipment to ensure that what is on the ground corresponds to the deed plan.
As the owner of a property, the onus is on you to have the beacons installed and to maintain them. Ensure that you trim around your beacons often to avoid overgrowth of bushes and wild grass, most especially if you do not live on the property full time. It is also important to ensure that the beacons are easily identifiable to deter squatters from settling on your property. It is a simple way of showing people that the property has an owner that is active and paying attention to the activity in and around it.
Traditionally, specific types of trees and bushes were planted to mark boundaries. In some communities, this practice is still the norm. Today we like to fence our properties with concrete walls, wire or electric fences. But depending on the size of the plot and its location, the cost can be very high. Because of cost, many properties are left unfenced. If fencing is not possible, planting trees along the boundary between the beacons is an easy and inexpensive way to further mark your boundary once the beacons are established.
Here is a short video we did a while back on beacons, enjoy. Share your comments and questions below.