Since the medieval days of the Greek empire, men have been going on voyages and unpredictable journeys. One such trip was that made by the warrior Odysseus in 10-epic years, trying to make his way home from Troy. In his tales of triumph and obstacle during the Trojan war, the warrior overcame the challenges of war, and the 10-year long journey to eventually get home. His epic journey begot the beginnings of the word ‘odyssey’, and true to its form, Xtrym Adventures has quite a plan up their sleeves for your holidays.
Just like the Greek predecessor, the #TurkanaOdyssey is bound to be a tale fit for legendary folklore. Xtrym Adventures has a reputation to go beyond the conceivable ordinary to create out-of-this-world experiences. Duncan, the congruent brains behind this outfit is arguably one of the most experienced adventurer south of the Sahara in the modern-day. His exploits include summiting the highest peaks in Africa, having set foot on Mount Kilimanjaro more than nine times. This only translates to unmatched experienced in hiking, and the best part is, he has a sixth sense in identifying strain during the trip. This ensures all travelers of their utmost safety in the entire period. I remember summiting Mt. Kenya with Xtrym, I must attest that it hardly anything close to easy! But Xtrym made it doable.
Turkana: Rich in culture and captivating landscapes.
Categorized among the little explored Northern tourism circuit of Kenya, the Lake Turkana region is virgin territory for your #Wanderlust. The rhapsodic satisfaction yielding from the sights and sounds of this
region is unmatched and innumerable! The lake is home to three National Parks that serve as a pit stop for the migrant waterfowl. These also form major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes. Turkana isn’t shy to boast of its rich cultural heritage, stemming from the prehistoric years. The Koobi Fora region bears rich fossil deposits of Fossil remains and is home to ‘The Turkana Boy’s’ final resting place. Being the largest desert lake in the World, Lake Turkana is home to a number of breathtaking Islands and beaches, some of which will leave you feeling like you’re lost in an exotic location only seen in movies the beaches and springs are to die for.
Turkana is also home to a good number of nomadic pastoralist communities that are rich in culture and heritage including the Rendille, Samburu and Turkana peoples.
8-Days of Xtrym sights and landscapes
We all have this indigenous instinct to travel, wander, to disappear… however, on most occasions, we hardly ever get the time to do it. The timing of the #TurkanaOdyssey cannot be more opportune than this. Placed right after the Christmas festivities, this is bound to be the front-runner for the ‘road-trip of the year’ award. After spending your Christmas dining with family and friends, there’s nothing better than a good 8-day getaway in the outdoors.
The odyssey is not a point-A to point-B affair, Xtrym adventures has an intricate plan with scenic stops at various points including Kitale, Lodwar, Kalokol, Eliye springs, Eldoret and Baringo. This is more than a bargain, more than fun… I can’t help but want to fast-forward to the day for departure.
Going Xtrym: Teamwork means fun
Unlike your regular hotel holiday experience, the #TurkanaOdyssey is an outdoors camping experience. The best part about camping is putting heads and hands together to try and accomplish various tasks. My weak point is usually cooking ugali for a large group over the fireplace… so y’all better count me out! The trip is going to be broken down into various tasks and challenges which will be equitably allocated on a rota. As you get yourself ready for this epic trip, here’s a few things to bring with you:
There is quite a bit happening all around us that is spilling all over my mind up to this very minute… trying to make sense of it all seems to be a tough task. Your typical Nairobi day never lacks intrigues, theatrics and challenges, and it could take a couple of days trying to make sense of everything.
With all these happening,why immerse yourself in a never ending thought juggling exercise yet you can sink your fingers into a juicy broth of African delicacies, forgetting all your day’s troubles? I could talk about the annoying Nairobi traffic; but at this moment, I’m pretty sure talking about some steaming brown Ugali; kuon bel as the luopeans call it, and fried fish; rech is much more interesting and delicious!
In the thick of a buzzing city: Getting to K’Osewe
Nairobi’s mid-mornings are usually a beehive of activity, walking through the busy streets with the hardworking citizens marching to their places of work can be quite choreographed. The rhythm of the steps and speed along the streets is somewhat synchronized and you’d quite easily be singled out as an ‘outsider’ if you can’t keep up! Hidden in one of the most enterprising streets, K’Osewe muffs you from the heat and noise of a buzzing city to give you the tranquility of home away from home.
Getting to K’Osewe’s is as easy as knowing where Nairobi’s iconic Nation Center building is. Two blocks up from Nation Center, just past the Cooperative Bank Kimathi, you’ll find K’Osewe’s Kimathi outlet. You can’t miss it because a huge sign sticks out, hanging from the roof of the street’s walkway. If your eyes fail you, your nose wouldn’t, as the tantalizing aroma of authentic Kenyan dishes start their onslaught on your senses.
An Island of peace: Checking off your Nairobi food bucket-list.
If you thought K’Osewe is only ‘your regular walk-in bar and restaurant’, you are wrong. K’Osewe is that and more. It is your getaway, your hiding place even in times of turmoil you get comfort in their food. Best of all, at Kosewe, you get to eat and drink yourself to happiness to the enchanting tunes of the African rhumba and benga music.
Kosewe’s food ranks very high on every traveler’s bucket list. I have dozens of foreigner friends who must tick off having an African meal at Kosewe off their bucketlist when they visit Kenya.
Breezy, transitional decor and musical goodness at Kosewe.
The restaurant sits on the entire first floor of the building, and also provides access to a sunlit gazebo. As you walk in, with whispers of benga music politely oozing from speakers in the near background. The ambiance of the restaurant almost feels like a tiny oasis in the middle of a big concrete desert that is this city.It’s an experience that can not be limited to just a few words on a blog post! You’ve got to see it to understand..
On this Thursday lunch hour,I quickly secure a table under a parasol that is at one end of the gazebo. On my far right I spot a mzungu who is devouring his plate of fish with the respect and meticulousness a fish from the Lake Victoria deserves. There’s this joke boasted to a large extent by the Luo community of Kenya; where you gobble up a bony chunk of fish into your mouth, and only spit out the spines and bones from your lips! Highly tricky maneuver, a preserve of the experienced, but clearly, this mzungu knew his fish eating skills from the experts!
In less than a moment, a charming waiter attends to me and takes my order, promising the very best rech and kuon bel. The restaurant can easily host about 300 people and still have room for everyone to do the YMCA dance!
It is only authentic Kenyan if you boycott the fork and knives… Dig in!
Within minutes my fried tilapia is served piping hot garnished with Kachumbari;tasty slices of tomatoes and onion rings sprayed with coriander. My fish is accompanied by a side-dish of greens and steaming hot Ugali.
Before the waiter is done setting up my small ‘feast’, my glands can’t hold themselves together; the sight of everything got me salivating with expectations.If you truly want to enjoy any African dish, dig in with your bare hands! I truly was delighted at my very first bite! But did I start too soon? Before downing my first mouthful the waiter is back with Mor alenya (ghee) that I am supposed to ‘anoint’ my veggies with. Mor alenya loosely translates to ‘Shining happiness’ in the Luo dialect; and shine it did… to my senses and taste buds.
Should you find yourself at Kosewe, ensure to ask for ‘Mor Alenya’… that simple addition made my first instance of delight seem like nothing compared to the ‘shining happiness’ that followed.
Fresh off the boat to your plate.
K’Osewe prides itself in serving freshly produced, authentically Kenyan dishes that are whole and organic.I sat there wondering, if their fish is that good, how good can their grilled beef, fried liver or chicken be?Well,that’s for you to find out and let the rest of us know.
Fresh juices, packet juices and sodas are also available as accompaniments with your meal, but I just had to wash down my scrumptious meal with a cold freshly blended mango.
It’s almost noon, patrons are trickling in, in the likeness of the ritual pilgrimage to Mecca and gradually, the almost empty halls fill up. From the smiles and warmth in their diverse faces, you could tell they know what they are in for.
The diverse menu,the chefs treat.
K’Osewe serves first class traditional Kenyan cuisine – whether you order coconut fish stew,
deep fried fish,
free range chicken, Athola (Roasted then cooked meat),
Aliyah – not the musician – (sun dried then cooked meat),
or Aluru (quail). You can also enjoy fresh fish stew,
After trying any one of these delicacies,you’ll always find yourself redoing the pilgrimage to try something new. Their prices are pocket friendly and each meal has the real value for every cent spent. If you are in town and haven’t tried them,trust me,you do not know what you are missing!
Occasionally Local bands play and diners simply relax and soak up the in the ever present good vibes all in a bid to enjoy a little musical pleasure. It is for sure a local hangout for many residents, K’Osewe is all about good home-style cuisine and a welcoming ambiance.
In a nutshell K’Osewe is a touch of simplicity, affordable, stripped-down, straightforward and damn delicious.
Dial a dinner.
You can’t make your way to the restaurant? Fret not K’Osewe’s got you covered. You can dial a delivery and your fish will be on your desk before you say Jack Robinson.
Fun fact: It is believed among Luos that their ‘superior’ intelligence derives from the consistency at which they eat fish, especially the head/Gills. If you were wondering why you got that ‘odd’ look after leaving the ‘gearbox’ (Head) intact; there’s your answer!
Located only five minutes away from Lake Bogoria is Lake Bogoria Spa Resort.
I had a short stay in the Resort and took amazing shots to give you a glimpse of what your stay will be like when you visit. They have a wide array of accommodation options to choose from ranging from executive suites, cottages, junior suites,standard rooms and camping.
The key attractions to enjoy during your stay its proximity to Lake Bogoria, the unexploited rich cultural heritage of the nilotic people including the Njemps, Tugen, Turkana and the Pokot and finally a natural heated pool from the hot water geysers that is said to be therapeutic.
Accommodation at the resort starts from Ksh.17500 for a standard double room for residents and USD 311.00 for a standard double room for non-residents.
Here are some photos of the Resort to help you plan for your visit and stay in Baringo.
Back porch of a room.
There you have it!
For more information about Lake Bogoria Spa Resort, contact them on +254727925397 or check out their website here.
We have a new feature in our blog that will cover never seen photos of places I have have visited! These photos are meant to highlight key attractions in the different destinations and inspire you to visit while giving you an idea of the top attractions and things to do!
To start us off, spotlight will be on Lake Bogoria in Baringo County.
Well there you have it.
I hope these are enough photos to inspire you to visit Lake Bogoria.
As I had previously mentioned in part one of my Mt Kenya experience, I suffered from a terrible stiff neck on the first night of the hike which messed my whole experience-ish. The nights were severely cold and at some point I felt like I wasn’t going to make it.
I was so tired of this mind game, the never ending rocky slope, the kilometers that kept piling and a tough journey that came with no title! I was done. Completely. I wished everyone the very best and decided to just make it to the T- junction that led us to Lake Michaelson; our next camp.
Several attempts to start summiting proved futile until something strange happened.Determination.
I started walking slowly following the other guys footprints. There was no one in sight. The only option I had was to keep going.
I was barely moving, but I covered some distance.
After about an hour, I saw the first lot from our group crawling back. They had summited!They had an accomplished look on their faces but the exhaustion was evident as well. They were not talking much.
Somehow discouraging but I never gave up hope.I kept at it. It was probably going to take me three hours to go up,come down and catch up with the rest.
They were not sure I’d make it back on time with the moody weather. I was not sure either.
As I made the second turn up behind a huge rock, I saw Abbas; the leading guide. He was carrying two bags and encouraged me to go up. I mean if Abbas cheered me on, it was doable.
I crawled, sat, walked, stood but pushed on.
As I made it to the second turn, I saw Charles.
Charles was the other guide. He gave me painkillers the day I could barely walk. When he saw me, his eyes lit and he gave the warmest smile ever, stretched out his arm took my bag and held me.
‘I have met a guide who’s told me they left you struggling to come up, but they are not sure you’d make it past the fifth step! That you’ve struggled to make it this far, I will take you to the summit. I don’t mind going up for the second time. You are truly resilient.’ He told me.
Who wouldn’t get renewed strength with such encouragement? I had to make it.
Surprisingly enough, I did remarkably well thereafter.
Charles was heaven sent. I don’t know how he did it but the next thing I saw was Lewis glacier which is the largest remaining glacier but is quickly receding, I could see the Austrian hut; the camp set up by the Austrian Alpine Club, clouds, Batian and Nelion peaks stood there majestically as well, then alas! a ladder that led to Point Lenana! I instantly forgot everything else. I no longer had the neck and muscle pain. I smiled sheepishly at myself. If only I was this patient with myself always.
At this point, I cared less about catching up with rest. I mean, I was at the summit, the view was breathtaking, Charles was there with me, I was the highest standing Kenyan in Kenya on both feet at that time and I had my camera! What more could I had asked for?
I went, I saw, I conquered. Victory tasted so good!
Were it was not for Charles, I probably I would not have summited.
There you have it! Summiting wasn’t easy, but I did it anyway.
Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa. It has three peaks namely Batian,Nelion and Point Lenana in that order.
Mount Kenya National Park receives an estimated 16,000 visitors per year. Apart from hiking and mountaineering which are the most popular activities at the park,game viewing,camping and bird watching is also common with both local and international visitors.
Hiking Mount Kenya is not easy and can not be taken on without preparation. You just do not wake up and decide you want to hike Mt.Kenya. It takes months of training and preparation.
A careful consideration has to be made when choosing a tour company for the important 5 day hike that might be a matter of life and death if not planned by an experienced tour planner.
I booked my hike with Xtrym Adventures back in January 2017 for the April hike. There has to be at least four mandatory preparation hikes,all adequately spaced out within the four months. It is during these hikes that you get to experiment with your new gear so you don’t get disappointed with improper gear and the discomfort that comes with new shoes and gear.
The cost of the hike was charged as follows;
Residents with work permits-Ksh 30,000
Non Residents-Ksh 25,000 plus KWS park fees of USD 260.
The above cost does not cover tips for the guides, cooks and porters. It also doesn’t cover for the prep hikes. While budgeting, it is also important to set aside enough money for buying hiking gear which costs an arm and a leg. The easiest way out is renting. Duncan of Xtrym adventure hooked us up with Chris Tembo who rents out mountain gear at the best rate in town.
With more than sixteen organized group trips to Mt.Kenya and countless others to Mt.Meru and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Ruwenzori at the border of Congo and Rwanda plus a host of many other mountains, Xtrym adventures was the most suitable candidate for the job.
The last prep hike was at Ngong Hills, which is approximately twenty two kilometers from Nairobi city centre. It was during that hike that we got to meet the entire team(popularly referred to Team Xtrym Adventures Mt.Kenya Easter 2017 Edition) and have a final pre-departure meeting. From the onset, a whatsapp group was put in place for ease and convenience of communication.
It takes a total of five days to hike Mount Kenya starting from Sirimon gate and finish at the Chogoria gate.
We set off on Thursday 13th April and finished on the 17th of April 2017 as follows.
We departed from Nairobi at around 6:00 am. Everyone else kept time apart from me. It was a bit embarassing to hop into the bus and everyone is settled waiting for you.
There was anxiety in the air. I was scared too. The horror stories, altitude sickness and trekking for an estimated 80km in total wasn’t something to look forward to. We made two quick stops for breakfast and the other one in Nanyuki at the Equator.
Shortly after leaving Nanyuki, Duncan made it so clear that if there was anyone who wasn’t so sure about the hike, then Nanyuki would be the best place to turn back…There was a piercing silence there after. Stuff suddenly got real.
Arrival at Mt.Kenya National Park…
We arrived at Sirimon gate at around half past midday. When we got there, it was straight to business, off loading the bus, taking lunch, introduction to the porters, guides and cooks. So for the twenty five of us, there were twenty five porters . Your porter is in charge of your main bag.
After a brief introduction, the porters and the cooks left quickly with our luggage for the first camp.
With the lighter day bags, a nine kilometer tarmacked stretch to Old Moses camp,a full tummy and a not so hot sun wasn’t a bad idea after all.
Sunset at the mountain was magical! However, as soon as the sun sets the weather drastically changes and temperatures drop sharply.
We arrived at Old Moses camp at dusk. The camp sits at 3,300m high. It is basic, dunk beds, benches, two washrooms and a tiny common sitting area. The frigid cold at night was out of this world. Popcorn, biscuits and hot black tea came in handy! Remember, showering is not an option during the first four days and your core business is walking.
The cooks did remarkably well with the food. Their consistency with quality and variety and serving meals on time gave me something to look forward to at the end of each day.
The day started at around 6:00am. Sunrise was spectacular and the peaks could be seen from the camp. I wondered why we needed so many days to finish this hike. I mean the peaks were just there.
Breakfast was quick, so was the stretching/workout session. However, all was not well with me. My chances of summiting began getting slimmer because of a stiff neck from the previous night. So painful was my neck that the thought of going back home crossed my mind. There were strict instructions not to take any form of medication and the pain balms and ointments were not working. Tough times.
Plan of the day was to walk to Shipton camp which is at 4,200m high. The hike was an estimated 17km and was to take any where between 6-8 hours.
We crossed Likii valley and Mackinders valley.The crystal clear rivers, streams and plants I got to see for the first time. This was the first time in my life I drank directly from a river.
The never ending slopes were a mix of steep and gentle. The pain in my neck was growing and having my day bag on my back made it even worse as the pain radiated to the back of my head and my shoulders. I missed every laughter and joke. This was the time I started questioning the choices I make in life.
I was there physically but at home emotionally. However that did not stop me from taking photos of the enchanting landscape and the obviously tired but cheerful friends.
Wabbie,Judy and the magician.
By the time we were stopping for lunch at Likii river, I was so beat and out. A quick estimated had me thinking of wherethe energy to finish the other half of the hike was going to come from. If we were to cover 17km, and we were halfway it only meant we had about 9km to go. I couldn’t eat. Everyone was so supportive and I remember Robert removing stuff from my bag to make it lighter. A quick nap as over lunch, painkillers and a hot water bottle did the magic.Somehow.
The long walk after lunch wasn’t as bad because of the diminishing pain. The scenery, plants endemic to Mt.Kenya, cute mountain rodents and the now very conspicuous peaks made it more exciting.
The long after lunch walk to shipton was quiet and uneventful. Vegetation was beginning to thin out as we started the rocky terrain. The higher we kept going the colder it became and got worse when the sun went down. Day two was tough.
When we got to the camp, there wasn’t as much excitement as the first night. This was the same night we were supposed to summit. We had four hours to freshen up, eat, overdress , sleep and get ready to summit.
I was not ready. I was scared and weak.
Day 3.(Summit Night)
No sooner had I closed my eyes and zipped up my sleeping bag than I had the wake up call. How now?
I grudgingly woke up, packed my bags then went for tea. The temperatures outside must have been minus a thousand degrees! My hands were freezing despite the two layers of my sub zero gloves.
On the summit day, the hike is meant to start at exactly 2:00am especially if it is a big group like ours. There were some delays but we eventually set off. Biting cold, lack of enough sleep, a throbbing head and a weak body was the story of my life.
The unspoken rule of hiking has it that the weakest hikers lead the pack. The first one hour of trying to get to 4,985m at sunrise from 4,200m was just ok. My body was pulling me back in as much as my mind was all made up for summiting. The breaks became too frequent and the rest of the team slowly but surely widened the gap with permission.
We were left lagging behind with Racheal; who had a bad case of altitude sickness that only got worse the higher we climbed. The only way she was to helped was to get to Lake Harris then start heading down to the next camp. On the other had, I was so weak with a slight headache. I could not even lift my own legs.
If there was that one time I felt so helpless in my entire life was summit day. Thank God for Habbakuk aka Haba Haba who helped with my day bag, held me by the arm and practically walked with me. Bless his soul. Duncan was there for moral support and entertainment and watched over Rachael together with Ken. He even labeled us ‘Team Machozi’.
The ascend was the toughest part of the entire hike. Steep rocky slopes with some eroded sharp edges and loose gravel and feeble legs.
The intention was to get to the peak at sunrise but that proved impossible because even the leading pack was moving with difficulties.
Sweat, tears, doubt and a possibility of not making it the summit was frustrating. The only thing I wanted was to get to lake Harris then figure out my next move.
The next hour was very quiet. Soon after we were at Lake Harris.
At this point, Duncan had to release Habakuk and Ken. I wanted them to go summit as well.
The leading lot was about 45 mins away, I thought I could make it to go up with Habbakuk and Ken, but I was so weak.
Point Lenana was so near yet so far.
They say nothing is impossible to a willing heart. I removed two layers of my clothes, drank water; lots of it, took sultanas and an energy bar then sat for a while. I felt a bit energetic and decided to follow the rest of the guys. However, there was a problem. There was no way I was going up alone. The options I had were to wait for the other guys to come down after two hours then request one of our guides to go with me or to go down with Duncan and Rachael. Sitting next to the very cold breeze of Lake Harris for two hours at such high altitude was a recipe for a slow death. I did not want to die slowly.
The more time we took to reach to a decision the more Rachael worsened. The only solution was to go with Duncan and Rachael without summiting. Well, there went another ‘machozi’ moment.
As I absorbed what just happened and what was about to happen,something miraculous happen,a hiker and his guide showed up from Shipton and Duncan requested them to tag me along to meet my group.
No sooner had Duncan disappered than the guide told me they were in a rush and they needed to rush. Wow. Anyway, I released them but decided to take a step at a time to the top.No going back.
Check out part two of this series and find out whether I summited on not.
Contrary to popular belief, Makueni County in Eastern Kenya is not a desert,neither is it an expansive flat land with thorny bushes with drying crops and hunger stricken animals.
Allow me to introduce to you the Makueni County I went to last weekend for a hike. As the rest of the country wallowed in the continuing drought with visible repercussions, there was a different narrative from this side of the republic.
Rehabilitated land, irrigation schemes, gabions and mixed farming was heavily evident. Fertile slopes that would have otherwise been left to all sorts of erosion had been put to profitable agricultural use. This might not be the script in entire county but it holds water for the areas I passed through.
From the lessons learnt after Mt.Longonot hike, I was much wiser on this one and wanted to make it as comfortable as possible. This meant proper gear, more water, more fruits and energy bars!
The estimated time of departure was 5:30 am EAT. According to the info sheet circulated earlier, it was clearly put that anyone arriving late was to be left behind. Well, I did not want to that person. So despite the insomnia and the three hour sleep, I was right on time.
The first stop was Makongo in Makueni. It has a nice view point of the green hilly country side with hanging clouds,busy ants and a snaking tarmac road that made lazy turns between hills.
About an hour or so away was Nzui shopping center.This was the second stop. The tour bus we were traveling in couldn’t go further into the rough terrain,therefore we had to seek alternative means of transport to Matuluni shopping center where the hike was scheduled to start.
The two options we had were motorbikes or Toyota Probox. I had heard so many funny stories about Probox such as its supernatural ability to carry twenty people yet it has a capacity five,its imaginary turbo engine etc. Let’s just say after that ride, I understood why it has a ‘comfortable’ capacity of fifteen and twenty if you stretch it!
After about fifteen minutes, we were at Mituluni. All ready to start the hike. The weather was conducive for the day considering it had rained the previous day.
Nzaui hills is under Kenya Forestry and being a virgin trail, we were assigned two guides, one at the front and the other behind us just in case we got lost.
The terrain was moderate, no steep slopes and has the best landscape views.
A round hike was about 20km and it took approximately six hours.
The best aspect of the hike was the shade provided by the forest canopy.
About six kilometers into the forest, the gentle slope came to an end and a steep slope with undefined paths led to the first summit. That was the toughest part of the hike because the bushes were almost the same height as the tallest of us and one had to find their way through the thicket.
On approaching the first summit, you are presented with a view that instantly erases any memory that might be left of the tough ascent,the panting and sweating.
Summit two which was steeper was about thirty two minutes away. The bush gets thicker, the legs heavier and eyes narrows as one tries to make their way through.
As it is always true with hiking, the epitome is getting to the summit.
Nzaui hills proudly stands in the heart of Makueni County and can easily pass as a watch tower. From above, rivers, ox bow lakes,farms, shopping centers and homesteads can be seen as miniature structures.
The summit is a huge rock and has a perpendicular slope.
After enjoying the view at the top, the guide took us to a gentler slope during the descent and within a few hours were were back at the starting point in the shopping center!
The descent was scenic and picturesque. There were lots of soft wood trees and dried branches,millipedes and birds.
Domestic tourism in Kenya has been on the rise in the past five years. As an ardent local traveler,affordable domestic tour packages provided by local tour operators are the best things to happen in these wanderlust corridors.
Day tours or one to two nights out of town have gained popularity amongst Kenyans because of their affordability and the fact that they are mainly held over the weekend hence no interference with normal work week schedule.
Last Sunday, Xtrym Adventures one of the leading organizers of adventures, safari and hikes in Kenya hooked us up with yet another group that was going to Mt.Longonot.
The cost of hiking the mountain, park entry fees, half a litre of water and transport to and fro Nairobi was all valued at Ksh.2,199 (Approx USD 22)
Mt. Longonot is about 60Km from Nairobi,Kenya. It located inside Mt.Longonot National Park. A trip from Nairobi will be slightly less than an hour to the gate of the park. The scenery as you descend Maai-Mahiu road is breathtaking. This is where you get to see the floor of the Great Rift Valley and even appreciate the mighty Mt.Longonot as is rises majestically to a thick cloud above.
Once we approached the park’s gate, the mountain looked like kid’s play.Easy stuff. Our guide mentioned we will be back to the gate after approximately six hours. Honestly we did not understand why… I mean seriously this hillock shouldn’t be a hard nut to crack.
Time is an important factor to consider when you are planning this hike. The earlier you begin the hike the better.Because then, the sun won’t be so hot. I guess the toughest task would be hiking with a heavy bag in scorching sun.
When we got to the gate, we stretched (vital to avoid muscle pull), paid at the gate then proceeded.
There is a stretch that leads to the foot of the mountain. Zebras and Impalas can easy be spotted grazing.I did not see any monkeys though…I assumed they were still asleep.lol.
The initial stages of the ascend were effortless. But the events to unfold later made me want to take back my words. The trail slowly but surely became steeper and thinner and the peeping sun finally come out strong. The terrain was dusty but we soldiered on. I asked how long before we got to the peak and everyone burst out laughing. I needed no answer clearly. We were no where near the peak.
Well, I guess sometimes you only need someone to laugh at you to ignite the fire inside.
The steeper the terrain ,the tougher I became. I had to prove a point you know…(Wrong mentality…but it was fun…)
Eva, my pal, did exceptionally well too. It was hard to imagine we were sweepers at some point.
Truth be told,hiking is not for the faint hearted and has nothing to do with physical strength. It all about attitude and mental strength. It is also not about competing with the rest, but just finding your own way to get to the top. Sometimes you lead, other times you are led.
After about an hour or so, we were told that the peak was a few meters away. That statement gave us a little more energy to soldier on. There was apparently a small hut at the top of the hill. Once you begin to see it, then be sure you are almost there. The hut is the first place you can sit and replenish.
A few minutes later, not only did we get to the hut, but also to the first peak!
We were allowed a ten minute break to breath and grab something. Be advised to carry some lucozade, a banana, apples or grapes. You will thank me later.
The next phase was a trek around the rim of crater. The view was encouraging. This was the point where Naivasha,Lake Naivasha and its environs could be seen in perspective. The Rim of the crater is said to be 7.2km. However it felt like 14.4km ?.
Phase two started out well. We were energized and excited to go round the rim. The excitement was soon to come to an end when I was told there is yet the highest peak of the mountain that we were to cover. This only meant, twice the initial effort and thrice the attitude.
The slopes were steeper here, the loose volcanic gravel beneath the feet proved difficult to just walk. Then there was a thick layer of dust. In my opinion, that was the toughest part.
In about one and a half hours we reached the second peak. Well the highest. It is called Kilele Ngamia. It was completely worth the effort. The view was so refreshing that any pain and struggle experienced earlier is quickly forgotten.
Nothing happens here apart from photos. From Kilele Ngamia, the rest of the hike was easy. It was mainly descending.
In about an hour, we were back to the little hut. Which has notoriously been named the ‘watering hole.’
Nothing feels as good as ascending and going round the rim!
Going down using the same route was at that point easier… Did I mention were were leading the pack that whole time?
Rusinga Island Lodge is a little kept secret. An oasis of love and romance. So hidden that until you get into the lodge you won’t exactly know what lies behind the walls.
The lodge came in highly recommended as one of the best destinations to unwind and rekindle love at the Kenyan ‘west coast.’
An airstrip,manicured lawns,happy host and the aroma of delicious food as you walk in gives a rough idea of how the general stay will be. I finally understood why it was highly recommended. I mean, if love and all other things were constant I think a combination of a wedding and honeymoon in the same venue would work perfectly.
The lodge boasts of some many beautiful things; like a lovely sunrise,
Pleasant lake front view,
Green carpet grass,
Breathtaking canopies that try to hide the sun from above and cute birds of varied species,
Garden furniture made from hard wood,
A long,firm impressive pier,
The signature cushions on a raised view point overlooking the lake,
And a few palm trees dotting the shoreline.
Rusinga island lodge is the perfect place to pause time, forget the city and teach yourself how to breath fresh air again. Bliss.
As this valentines draws near, this is the place to visit with your better half.
Romantic set up,privacy guaranteed, self contained spacious cottages with furnished patios that are suitable for a quiet cuddly evening overlooking the lake.
If you are a sporty and adventurous pair, the lodge can organize water sport activities like kayaking,
a ride to neighboring islands for sight seeing, bird watching or photography.
Other activities are;an organized game drive to Ruma National Park(Kenya’s only home of the Roan Antelope), a visit to Takawiri Island, the palmy Island with a white sandy beach on Lake Victoria.
Book a stay at Rusinga Island lodge and have an adventurous stay as you unravel this hidden gem with your loved one this valentines.
Rusinga Island Lodge has an airstrip right inside the lodge and together with Fly 540, they have a fantastic flying package.It doesn’t get cooler than this does it? Contact them today for bookings at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tel: +254 20 2531314 / 5 and Cell: +254 716 055924 / +254 734 402932 / 0733 – 121148.