Kilimambogo hike and Camping at 14 Falls Campsite

Back on the road again with CampYetu, and this time we set out for Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park , otherwise known as Kilimambogo, in Thika, for a hike. We assembled in the Nairobi CBD at our usual meeting point, Bata, next to Hilton Hotel. After exchanging pleasantries and grabbing snacks for the road, we commenced our 85 km journey at 10:15 a.m.

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Le van

One hour later, we arrived at Thika town, and made our first stopover at Ananas Mall. This place has everything you need, especially if you are traveling and you do not want to carry too much luggage from home. There is a Tuskys supermarket where you can shop for household items and foodstuffs. There are boutiques, restaurants such as Galitos, a chemist and ATM machines as well. Very convenient if you ask me.

Soon, we were back in the van and on our way to Kilimambogo. We still had 5 more kilometers to cover from Thika town. The road changed from tarmac to all-weather murram. There were plenty of signs stragetically positioned by the roadside, courtesy of KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service), so it was very easy to locate the park.

On arrival, we were met by a ranger at the gate, who received us warmly and issued us with our tickets to the  park, after which she directed us to our guide. The park entry fees areas follows:

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Citizen

Resident

Non – Resident

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

USD

Child

USD

350

250

700

350

30

20

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Our guide, Nyakundi

We met yet another group that had come to hike as well. Nyakundi briefed us together, and soon after counted us all just to make sure that nobody would be left behind, on our way up the mountain.

It is necessary to go with a guide for the hike,for safety purposes, since there are buffaloes that roam the park. If you are not a fan of hiking, you can opt to drive instead, using the designated road within the park.

We used some man-made footpaths to make our way to the top. Most of the climb was VERY STEEP! I kid you not.

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Foot Path

Let me just give a disclaimer at this point… EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE!! Make sure you do some running or jogging at home,before you to decide that you want to conquer Kilimambogo. Otherwise, like myself, you will wail, weep ,make a stop after every step, want to give up and detest your life altogether. Trust me, you do not want to experience this.

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Glucose comes in handy when you fill like you have no more energy left.

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Some of the CampYetu guys on the hike

I had lost count of the time we had taken and the distance we had covered by now. All I knew was it seemed like we were not getting to the summit area😦. But all hope was not lost…

Thank God for view points🙂.

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View points are always so rewarding. From the cool breeze that meets you as soon as you get there, to the scenic views which will leave you in awe. All so relaxing.

For some minutes I had forgotten the struggle I had just experienced, until I was back at it again *resumes hating self*.

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Trying to make the best out of the hike on the never ending road

Just as God had promised Jacob and Israel, He too did not forget me😀. A warden happened to be making his usual daily rounds in the park, in the company of his colleague. He stopped by the road and asked myself and three other friends if we were okay, and if we wanted a lift to the top. At that point, I did not even hesitate for one second and right away jumped into the 4-wheel drive before, he even thought about withdrawing the offer.

PRAISE THE LORD!!!! My struggle was over😀.

We managed to catch up with the rest of the team who were almost at the top. They were not very amused that we cheated our way to the top. HEHEHEHE. But such is life, every man for himself and God for us all😀.

The summit area turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, as there was no jaw-dropping view waiting for us. It was all grass and several masts spanning the area. That however, did not stop us from finding our own views😀. We met Moses, one of the people who mans the area, who was kind enough to take us to greater heights (literally). Coincidence, I think not :-D!

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Moses

Even my fear for heights could not stop me from enjoying the view. Especially not after what we had gone through to get there.

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We climbed

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And climbed some more

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Until we could climb no more

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Needless to say, it was all so worth it🙂

After exploring the place and re-energizing, we made our way back down (This time without a car😦, bummer).

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Safiri Salama meaning, Safe Travels

On our way down we passed by the graveyard where Lord William N. MacMillan, who owned all of Kilimambogo back in the colonial era, and his wife, were buried. Legend has it that Lord MacMillan was a quite the hefty man. Before he died, he had asked to be buried at the summit area. On the day of his burial, his servants fulfilled his last wish and made their way to the top with his body. But because of the steep climb and Lord MacMillan being a bit on the heavy side, where they stopped and felt they could no longer go on, is where he was buried, together with his wife and their dog.

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Louise, who used to work for the MacMillan family until she met her death.

After a steep descend we were happy to be back at the van. Fatigued and famished, we were glad to find late lunch waiting for us.

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Ham sandwich, fruit juice and a banana

By the time we were done eating, the sun had already set. We made one more stop in Donyo town ,where we bought some charcoal, and then made our way to 14 Falls Campsite, where we would be spending the night.

We had no choice but to pitch our tents in the dark, otherwise we would have nowhere to rest our heads. Tents are usually provided but you need to carry your own sleeping bags. However, if you do not have one, they are provided as well, together with mattresses, but at an additional cost.

After the tents were up, we began to prepare dinner. Contrary to popular belief, we do eat really well during our camping trips, especially dinner time. Tonight’s menu was nyamachoma, pilau, kachumbari, beef and potato stew, and ugali. Quite the feast if I may say so myself😀.

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Keeping warm by the camp fire

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Good morning🙂

We were too exhausted to catch the sunrise the next morning, despite the sun rising at 6:40 a.m.

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Our campsite

We decided to explore the area, to try find some exciting things to do. You can bet we struck gold.

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We found this makeshift swing at our campsite.

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Found this pathway with some gorgeous light❤. The place is also perfect for morning walks or jogs.

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We found this bridge up in a tree. Pretty cool if you ask me and very stable if I may add. If you are lucky you’ll meet some monkeys up in there, swinging by😀.

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We found a zip line YIPEEEEEEEEE!!!!😀

There was a bit of everything for everyone. If you were not feeling all that adventurous, there was a wooden bench next to a pond, where you could go and just meditate on life. It was very peaceful.

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Peeeeeerfect for a lovely group shot🙂

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Or you could just play around with your reflection in the water . Whatever floats your boat (pun intended)😉.

All in a all, we had such a ball on both days. Great way to spend Valentine’s Day😀.

Feel free to check out a video I made on the same here —> https://youtu.be/pgZRjB1pS6Y

2015 in review

“Happy 2016 from me and mine.

Thank you for the continued love and support towards my passion.  Cheers to an even greater year of much much more traveling and blogging🙂 ” – Nimu.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lake Magadi – Nguruman Escarpment

10 a.m Saturday morning found us on our way to Lake Magadi, for a 2 day and 1 night camping trip, organized by Safina.

Lake Magadi is situated within Magadi town, which happens to be about 110 kilometers South West of Nairobi city. The road is pretty good up until you pass Kona Baridi, and that’s when things take a turn for the worse. The road from there on-wards is a bumpy one. Sections of it are uncarpeted while other sections are filled with potholes. Not many private vehicles pass through this route. However, trucks and lorries are quite common here, usually coming from the soda ash factory, Tata Chemicals, in Magadi town, or from Tanzania. A trip that would have normally taken 1 to 1.5 hours ended up being 4 hours long, thanks to the poor roads. The Governor of that area should really look into that…

Magadi is boiling hot; it’s like hanging out in a furnace. I would advice anyone going there, whether it’s a day’s visit or more, to go dressed in and pack light clothing. Also, carry litres and litres of water, preferably in a cooler.

This was my second time visiting the place and boy was I psyched! The landscapes here are brilliant; from the undisturbed lake, which made for perfect reflective surfaces and is home to flamingoes, to the Shompole mountains. Every landscape photographer’s dream location.

We were set to camp at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), in Nguruman Escarpment. The place is about 30 kilometers from the factory. We were already exhausted from the long trip from Nairobi, so you can imagine how we felt when we found out that we still had 30 more kms to cover before getting to our destination. On top of that, there was a crazy heat wave. What got us through all that was the fact that we would we get to cool off in a swimming pool once we got there.

Finally we were at our destination.. PHEW!

We were warmly received by Joseph (+254 715 648 192), who would be our host for the next 2 days. The place has quarters for the ICIPE staff, as well as rooms for guests who are not in the camping spirit. Accommodation per person (inclusive of meals) is kshs. 4,000.

It is only natural that you will find insects, arachnids and myriapods of all walks of life here, seeing as how the place is their research and development centre. If you are as entomophobic as I am, I would advice you to carry all the insect repellents and insect killing rackets you can find😀.

After setting up our tents and familiarizing ourselves with the camping site, off we went for a swim… IN A RIVER! I bet you did not see that one coming.

Came across this beautiful tree on our way there. How glorious are those branches? :)

Came across this beautiful tree on our way there. How glorious are those branches?🙂

That's Abdi :). He is a film-maker by profession.

That’s Abdi🙂. He is a film-maker by profession.

Rico, the insect whisperer :-D

Rico, the insect whisperer😀

That's Githinji, all the way down there smiling :)

That’s Githinji, all the way down there smiling🙂

I am always up for trying out new things so you can imagine how excited I was, to be swimming in a river, for the very first time. River Ewaso Nyiro to be more precise. I was a bit skeptical at first seeing as how the water was all murky. Also, I wasn’t too sure if there were any crocs or hippos lurking in there. Luckily, we were in the company of a Maasai warrior, who was well armed in case of anything.

The river bank

The river bank

Singoi, the Maasai I mentioned earlier. You should know, he has killed a lion before :-D. It cannot get any safer than that.

Singoi, the Maasai I mentioned earlier.
You should know, he has killed a lion before😀. It cannot get any safer than that.

Turns out there were no crocodiles after all😀. There were some baboons swinging on the surrounding trees, but they never bothered us at any one point, all thanks to Singoi🙂. The water is knee high deep so you can’t dive here. In addition to it being so shallow, most of the river bed is covered in soft permeable rocks, and sand on the edges of the river bed. The water is cool and perfect for relaxing. However, if one is not too careful, there’s a possibility of being swept downstream by the water currents. I came out of that river smelling like cows, but hey, it was so worth it🙂.

We made our way back to the camp site at dusk, to prepare for the night ahead of us. Some of the people hit the showers while the others assisted in dinner preparations. Soon it was dark and with it came rain. We sheltered in a common room while we waited for it to stop pouring. This was the perfect time to socialize, while enjoying some music in the background.

A few hours later the rained had stopped. We headed out to the bridge above the river, to try out some light painting.

Zollz, the model for the night :)

Zollz, the model for the night🙂

Soon, it was dinner time. After a delicious meal of ugali, macaroni, kachumbari and fried beef, we all gathered around the camp fire; not because it was cold (by the way it was still hot even at night) no, but because such is camp life.

Morning was with us. Our time at the camp had come to an end. Down went the tents, but the memories that were made here forever remain engraved in our minds.

Word spread that there was a small antelope that was seen roaming right outside the ICIPE gates. Turns out it was a baby bushbuck. The little fellow was actually under the care of some neighboring KWS officials. They had rescued her not too long ago while on patrol. She has basically been brought up by human beings so she is very comfortable around people.

Zollz the dikdik whisperer :D

Zollz the bushbuck whisperer😀

Make portraits with Mungai :)

Make portraits with Mungai🙂

Back to the road dusty road we went, after a fun, relaxing weekend.

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Beautiful natural spaces

Beautiful natural spaces

You can also get to Magadi via train :)

You can also get to Magadi via train🙂

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Human reflection - Cedi

Human reflection – Cedi

Henry, a Maasai herds-boy I met by Lake Magadi.

Henry, a Maasai herds-boy I met by Lake Magadi.

Until the next adventure, Auf Wiedersehen!

Amboseli National Park – Part III

“All good things must end one day
Yet when they do, the memories stay
Locked down deep to keep forever
Inside your heart that special treasure…” – J.Michael Brown

One last look at the beautiful Mt. Kilimanjaro

One last look at the beautiful Mt. Kilimanjaro

Soaking up the views one last time

Soaking up the views one last time

It's amazing how tiny these gentle giants look from afar.

It’s amazing how tiny these gentle giants look from afar.

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Farewell...

Farewell…

Amboseli Part III-21Amboseli you have been good to me. Good bye {for now} …

THE END!

Amboseli National Park – Part II

Day 2 was here with us🙂.

I really miss this place because all we had to worry about was catching the sunrise. No other responsibilities whatsoever. Life was good *sigh*.

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We came across this big fella and decided to stalk him :-D. Maybe he would lead us to some females. Lol

We came across this big fella and decided to stalk him😀. Maybe he would lead us to some females. Or so we thought.

This zebra was posing so right! How could I just let that shot go? Even that background was sooo right

This zebra was posing so right! How could I just let that shot go? Even that background was sooo right

We were still on his trail. Hehehe. The obsession with this ellie was real.

We were still on his trail. Hehehe. The obsession with this ellie was real.

So after much stalking I think he realized we were onto him. So he decided to cross to the other side where there was a huge thicket *sob*. Anyway, we continued with our game drive thereafter. We were not worried about find another elephant because they were in plenty here in Amboseli.

Then the most amazing thing happened :-O… LIONS!!! We came across 4 sub-adult lions, 3 male and 1 female. Can you believe I didn’t get a shot of any of them? I was sooo mad! So what happened is that morning, there happened to be a number of people on game drives so there were tons of tour vans. One particular tour van decided “nooooo, we are not close enough, why not move so close to the lions, to the point of being all up in their faces.” Yup, that’s what they did. They sped right into the lions’ personal space. As a result,the lions, just like domestic cats, were spooked by the tour van and in turn hurried off to the other side. I was using a 24-105mm lens so no matter how much I zoomed in on them I was not able to get a clear shot. I muttered a couple of not-so-good words under my breath in frustration… but HEY, I have since made peace with that tour van driver.

Consolation? I think not :-(

Consolation? I think not😦

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Met this guy on the side of the road. He didn't even flinch when we got close to him. I think he was liking all the attention :-).

Met this guy on the side of the road. He didn’t even flinch when we got close to him. I think he was liking all the attention🙂.

We got tired of seeing things eye-view level and decided we wanted to see Amboseli from a higher point; so we made our way to The Observation Hill, and boy wasn’t the view all that and a bag of chips (I have never understood that phrase by the way, lol).

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While we were busy enjoying the grandiose view, we happened to spot a small family of ellies making their way across the national park. For a moment we debated whether or not to go meet them as they were crossing…

The family of 3 at a distance.

The family of 3 at a distance.

You can imagine how fast we descended that hill just so that we could catch them. We also had to drive for about 1 kilometer to get to them.

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Luanda

Luanda

Met this pair on our way back to the campsite :)

Met this pair on our way back to the campsite🙂

Coexistence at its best

Coexistence at its best

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Mount Kilimanjaro showing off

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*cue R.Kelly here*I believe I can flyyyy :-D

I believe I can flyyyy😀

Minimal elephant

Loner ellie

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An elephant enjoying a dust bath. This is normally a way of cooling their bodies.

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These guys, who happened to be part of our entourage, had a brief encounter with an elephant as he was crossing the road. He paused for about 10 seconds staring at the car, before proceeding to the other side.

Another magical sunset to end a beautiful day:)

Another magical sunset to end a beautiful day:)

Amboseli National Park – Part I

*channeling my inner Eminem* Guess who’s back, back again 😂😂.

Hey fam! *waves frantically*

So a fortnight ago I managed to tick off yet another place off my bucketlist, courtesy of the OneTouch  team. First, let me just say that I was ecstatic when I found out that I’d be joining them on their trip to Amboseli National Park. It was not easy convincing them to let an outsider tag along but HEY.. I am that girl *dusts shoulder*. Anything for photography 😄.

At about noon on Sunday 14th September, I got a call from Mutua, who informed me that he would be picking me up. I did a mini celebratory dance in the midst of our phone call. Hahaha. The reason was that just that week, we had spoken about me getting to ride in the famous Luanda (Mutua’s Landrover) and as fate has it, Sunday was the day. An hour later, he and  Steve were at our house helping me load my stuff into the landy. This is really happening is all I could think at the time 😱😱. My dreams were being validated yoh!

We were meeting up with the rest of the crew, Joe Were,  Joe Makeni,  Paul Obuna and Sebastian Wanzalla  at a Shell Petrol Station along Mombasa road. After making sure that both Lisa (Joe Makeni’s Pajero) and Luanda were ready for the 4 day trip, we set out for Amboseli at about 2:30 pm.

There was a bit of traffic in Athi River caused by a truck that was moving at snail speed. Perfect opportunity to put Luanda’s new shoes to the test. Or as Mutua likes to call it, product testing 😂. Nobody got time for traffic when you have an off-road vehicle. WOOOOOOOOOSH!!!! You should have seen me at the back all excited screaming like a little girl as we flew past the traffic. In seconds we were at the very front and back on the boring tarmacked road *BOOHOO*.

I was still taking it all in. As in I, Nimu, was in Mutua’s car, Luanda, on my way to Amboseli, with the OneTouch crew. My birthday came early this year clearly, thank you Jesus.

We came across some more traffic in Sultan Hamud, still caused by a number of trucks from both directions. There were a couple of rumble strips and because of the size of the trucks, they had to move a bit slower than usual, hence the traffic. Can you believe we were there for almost one hour. This time we couldn’t go off road because there were trucks on the sides of the road *bummer*.

By this time we could see the sun making its way back home. No sooner had we made it past the traffic than we got a call from the guys in the other car asking us to turn back because they were having car trouble. When we got there, we found them in the process of trying to fix the problem. Turns out oil was leaking. Luckily there was a petrol station nearby. A few of the guys dashed to get some oil to replace that which had poured. There was a local who was helping out as well (typical Kenyan behavior). After the refill had been made, the engine was cleaned with some paraffin (I feel so smart right now speaking car language), to get rid of any oil spills.

It didn’t take long before we were back on the road again. We’d not had lunch (well Joe Were and Sebastian were smart enough to eat before we left) so we opted to make our first stop at a supermarket in Emali known as Peter Mulley. We grabbed a few snacks and soft drinks to sustain us, just until we got to the camping site in Amboseli. Unfortunately, Lisa had her second mechanical failure, this time at Kimana town. Since there was no mechanic at the petrol station we’d gone to, we were directed by a local to some mechanics in the vicinity. By this time it was dark.

Those mechanics were ninjas. They managed to fix the car in darkness. I am convinced those guys have cat eyes, you know, those glow-in-the-dark eyes that can see sooo well in the dark. Okay, our torches contributed in their seeing but still, it’s not easy to fix a car at night. Or at least that’s what I think.

I honestly thought that the road to Amboseli would be no different from that of the Maasai Mara. Shock on me! Smooooooooth tarmacked roads… Mostly. The murram road was doable. Lisa pulled a fast one on us AGAIN, and this time for good 😖. We had to tow her using Luanda until the camp site. Luckily, we were close-by. The rope we had kept cutting, especially when we were taking corners but by God’s grace… WE MADE IT!!

10 pm found us at one of the campsites located within the national park. We gathered some firewood and in no time, a fire was lit. Thanks to Paul Obuna, I can now say I know how to light a fire *pats self on the back*.

We all sat around the fire and relived our journey to the place, as we waited for dinner to be prepared. Chief Chef Mutua decided that we’d be having grilled chicken that night *sluuurp*. Let me tell you, that chicken was not marinated but it was sooooo juicy… You guys have no idea. That’s the power of salt, black pepper and Mutua’s cooking skills.

When the chicken was finally ready for devourment, everyone’s attention shifted to the grill (by the way it was a diy grill, not those fancy ones you’re thinking). Can you believe those guys were saying that the neck and the wings were what I was going to eat? Smh! If you know me and my relationship with food, then you know that those were just rumours 😂😂. I left my ladylike tendencies in Nairobi. I became one of the boys during that trip; and I am not ashamed to say that😌. In other words, I am not the one who slept hungry. HAHAHAHAHAHA

Monday morning 6 am found us at the gates of the national park paying for our game drive. Since Lisa had died on us the previous night, we all squeezed ourselves in Luanda (well except for Obuna, who opted to stay behind and shoot some birds, lol) and off we went for our first game drive.

Our first sighting of the day, a herd of elephants. There were so many calves as well :-)

Our first sighting of the day, a herd of elephants. There were so many calves as well🙂

Did I mention that ellies are my favorite wild animals? So this was heaven for me ^^,

Did I mention that ellies are my favorite wild animals? So this was heaven for me ^^,

My second favorite wild animals. And just as luck had it, I FINALLY managed to get a shot of a pair *siiigh*

My second favorite wild animals. And just as luck had it, I FINALLY managed to get a shot of a pair *siiigh*

A family making its way to the other side. Look at that cute little one in the middle :)

A family making its way to the other side. Look at that cute little one in the middle🙂

Hello there :-)

Hello there🙂

A wildebeest grooming itself :)

A wildebeest grooming itself🙂

A Grey Crowned Crane fishing for some insects from the ground.

A Grey Crowned Crane fishing for some insects from the ground.

*singing* Buffalo soldier :-D

*singing* Buffalo soldier😀

We were clearly not alone. The park was also hosting other guests, some in hotels such as Serena.

We were clearly not alone. The park was also hosting other guests, some in hotels such as Serena.

An ellie feeding at the marsh

An ellie feeding at the marsh

I had a stared down encounter with Marty 😂

I had a stared down encounter with Marty 😂

Hahaha I have to make a meme out of this one. This facial expression was priceless 😂😂😭

Hahaha I have to make a meme out of this one. This facial expression was priceless 😂😂😭

That reflection... Mother nature's doing :-)

That reflection… Mother nature’s doing🙂

An Egyptian goose with its head under water

An Egyptian goose with its head under water

Another fantastic reflection

Another fantastic reflection

Golden hour :)

Golden hour🙂

Hometime :-)

Hometime🙂

That sunset... Breathtaking :

That sunset… Breathtaking :”)

Mount Kilimanjaro :-)

Mount Kilimanjaro🙂

We were on game drives all day, lol. We only took a lunch break and after that we were back at it again. Day 1 of our stay there was all sorts of epic.

Stay tuned for day 2 😊…

Camp Kichakani

Aloha!

It has been a minute since I shared my travel experiences with you guys. Worry not, I’m back! I missed you too :D!!

This past weekend I was off camping in Nyahururu, courtesy of Safina. You might remember her from the Longonot post I did some time back. This woman is just thee bomb dot com. She really outdid herself this time round. I am looking forward to the future camping trips, which fortunately, will be happening on a monthly basis. Can I get a HALLELUJAH!!! *insert happy dance here*

We set out for Nyahururu at 8:30 am on Saturday and 3 hours later, we were at our first stop, the Thomson Falls. It was actually my first time there so I was pretty stoked about it. We were welcomed by a group of ladies who were eager to sell us some hand-crafted ornaments, including beaded necklaces, bracelets and key chains. There were quite a number of people as well who had come hiking at the place, including primary and secondary school students. There’s an entrance fee of Kshs. 50 for adult citizens and Kshs. 20 for children. The fee is fair enough for non-citizens as well, where adults and children pay Kshs. 200 and Kshs.100 respectively.

There was a stench that met us as we walked through the gates. We later realized that it was as a result of pollution at the waterfalls. As a result, the waters are also discoloured, but it is only noticeable at the foot of the river😦. Nonetheless, it was quite the sight to behold🙂.

As we trekked through, we came across some locals dressed in traditional Kikuyu regalia and artistically painted body art. They were willing to have their photographs taken, for a small fee. Totally worth every coin if I may add.

Camp Kichakani

As we continued with our hike, which was hastened by the fact that there were steps all the way down (PHEW!), I met some children who were on their way back up, carry firewood. I couldn’t help but get a shot of them, after getting their consent ofcourse. The pieces of wood are from already fallen trees.

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The walk down was very easy and hustle free. It took us 30 minutes to get to the very bottom. We could help taking portraits along the way, especially because of how green and lush it was.

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LO AND BEHOLD… *drum rolls* the famous Thomson Falls, in the flesh :-D!

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It was very windy and cold since the waters were falling at a really high speed. To add insult to an injury, it started raining. This made it really difficult to photograph. We were really determined to get some shots of the waterfalls so, we opted to shelter under a nearby tree, as we waited for the weather to clear up.

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There’s not much to see at the bottom other than the falls so we were well on our back up.

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I managed to do a long exposure of the waterfalls as well, with the help of an ND filter, since it was really bright🙂.

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We were back on the road, this time on our way to Kichakani Lodge, where we would be camping for the night. The lodge is 7 kms from the main road and is adjacent Lake Olbolosat. As we were about to setup our tents, it began to pour. Luckily, it was short-lived. Soon after, we took a stroll to the lakeside to try catch the sunset, which was a no-show as we came to find out later.

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The landscape here was winning

The landscape here was winning

Nightfall was now with us. Kitchen duties were assigned, with the men being given the responsibility of cooking ugali and grilling meat (nyamachoma) whereas the ladies prepared kachumari, veggies and pilau. Five star hotel meals I tell you. It didn’t feel like camping honestly. After indulging, some guys hit the dancefloor (yes we even had a place to boogie the night away), while others opted to sit by the fireplace and just relax. Can you believe there were people who went to bed AT 10 PM :-O!! Hahahaha.

At around midnight, we noticed the skies had cleared and ALAS!The stars were with us *GIGGIDY*.

Camp Kichakani-72

We decided to play with fire… LITERALLY😀

Light painting

Light painting

Some of us decided to call it a night at 2am while others opted to stay up. At about 5:20 am we were awaken by the sounds of tents being kicked and dew falling on our faces as a result. All that for the sake of catching the sunrise. Smh! Photographers have no chills:-/

The sky was on F.I.R.E

The sky was on F.I.R.E

The light spread all the way to the back

The light spread all the way to the back

Wouldn't you want to wake up to this every morning?

Wouldn’t you want to wake up to this every morning?

Pure bliss I tell you

Pure bliss I tell you

That was a very well spent weekend. I can’t wait for the next trip.
Ciao!

My Mara Experience

SUBA, TA KWENYA :-D!!

Hahaha, that is me attempting to greet you guys the way it is done in Maasai land. The former is used when addressing men while the latter is for when you are addressing women.

If you are wondering why I am here speaking kimaasai, well it’s because this past weekend I was lucky enough to visit … WAIT FOR IT… The Maasai Mara National Reserve *happy dance*. It might not seem like a big deal but to me it was. The Mara has been on my bucket list for thee longest time and when my friend Biko called me on Thursday night asking me to accompany him and some other people to The Mara, all expenses paid, there way no way I was passing on that opportunity.

On Friday morning, we assembled at The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC). I came to find out that morning that we were traveling with journalists from media houses like Nation Media and Capital Fm, since we were going to cover the annual Maasai Mara Marathon. If that was not pressure then I don’t know what pressure is.

Off we went, making our first stop at ABC Place in Westlands, to grab something small to bite, before making our next stop in Narok town for lunch. After stuffing our tummies with enough nyama choma to feed ten households, we were back again on the road, with two hours of travel to cover.

No sooner were we back on the road than the driver decided to pull over due to some slight car trouble. We used that opportunity to take explore the place. I was lucky enough to get a portrait of a maasai lady who was headed to the town. The only language she knew was kimaasai, which I am not conversant in. However, that did not stop me from understanding exactly what she wanted. She kept pointing at my camera and then standing at a distance staring right at the lens.

Maasai Mara-5

We had been on the road since 10:30 am and it was now some minutes past 5 pm and we had still not arrived at our destination, thanks to the numerous stops we had made along the way. Normally it should take a total of 5 hours from Nairobi to The Maasai Mara. It could be shorter but the road as you near the park is quite rocky and you do not want to encounter car trouble in the park, especially at night, with all those wild animals. No sir!

Our welcoming committee, wildebeests, at a distance.

Our welcoming committee, wildebeests.

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Just in time for sunset.

Finally we were at our destination, Lemek Conservancy. This was where we would be spending the night for the next two days. Our tents had already been setup so there was not much to do. A bonfire was started and everybody gathered around it to keep warm and chat the night away.

Our home for the next two nights.

Our home for the next two nights.

After missing out on shooting stars at Naivasha, I had to revenge. *insert evil laugh here*

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It turns out the sun rises at almost 7 am here so there was more than enough time to sleep and still catch it😀.

Maasai Mara-40

Maasai Mara-42

The athletes lining up for breakfast before the marathon.

The KWS Rangers being briefed in preparation for the marathon.

The KWS Rangers being briefed in preparation for the marathon.

Even the locals were not left behind on this day.

Even the locals were not left behind on this day.

The warm up.

The
warm up.

The aim of the Maasai Mara Marathon is to raise funds which are in turn used to conserve the Mara National Reserve and cater for community based projects such as education, water, health and sanitation. The races this year included the 21 km race and the 5 km race.

Participants about to commence the 21 km race.

Participants about to commence the 21 km race.

And off they went! And off they went!

A little water to cool off.

A little water to cool off.

Everyone was rushing to the finish line.

Everyone was rushing to the finish line.

And Bernard Kitur was the first person to cross the finish line after 1 hour and 10 minutes.

And Bernard Kitur was the first person to cross the finish line after 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Peris Chepchirchir was the first lady to cross the finish line, 1 hour and 12 minutes later.

Peris Chepchirchir was the first lady to cross the finish line, 1 hour and 12 minutes later.

21 kilometres is no jokes but everyone who participated managed to finish the race. Soon after the race was some entertainment by some of the locals which included song and dance, and a high jump challenge.

Maasai Mara-82

Maasai Mara-87

As if this day couldn’t get any better, I got to witness the NTV guys read the Sports news live. NILIWITNESS!! Hahahaha.

Brian the reporter and Bundi the camera man :-).

Brian the reporter and Bundi the camera man🙂.

The Governor of Narok was also present and was the one awarding the participants for the job well done. Prize money worth kshs. 200,000, kshs. 100,000 and kshs. 50,000 were awarded to positions 1,2,and 3 respectively.

After the awards ceremony was over, we set out to have lunch at Maasai River Lodge where we got to see some hippos and crocodiles.

Hippo

Hippo

The next agenda was to go for a game drive. There is no Mara visit or any visit to any National Park that is complete without going for a game drive.

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How beautiful is that sky?

How beautiful is that sky?

My other favorite wild animal after elephants :-)

My other favorite wild animal after elephants🙂

King of the Mara napping after a heavy meal.

King of the Mara napping after a heavy meal.

Early to bed, early to rise.

Early to bed, early to rise.

*insert Jeff Koinange’s voice here* What a weekend!😀

END

Camp Longonot

It felt great to be back on the road this past weekend after being indoors during the previous one, since President Barack Obama was in Nairobi for the weekend to curtain raise for the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

We started off our day by catching the sunrise at the Uhuru Park View Point in Upper-Hill, Nairobi. We were at the view point by 6 am. However, the sun was not to be seen up until around 6:45 am and boy wasn’t it EPIC! I wanted to get a completely different perspective of the Nairobi cityscape at sunrise and so I opted to go into the park itself, just to catch those golden sun-rays and that warm light.

The reflection was just too good not to capture

The reflection was just too good not to capture

We were to depart Nairobi at 7:30 am so we hurried off to the agreed meeting point in the Nairobi CBD, just to make sure we were not the ones keeping everyone else. Can you believe it was all for nothing? We ended up leaving two hours later. We are not called African timers for no reason. Hahaha! My friend Marcus even joked that the reason he came to work in Africa was because he’d never have to worry about being late seeing as how Africans, (especially Kenyans), never keep time.

One and a half hours later, we arrived at our destination, Mount Longonot, ready to hike. We were all pretty psyched for the climb, some (like myself) more than others. Of course there were those who chickened out (names withheld) and decided to stay behind, doing only God knows what. Hehehe

The view of Mt. Longonot as you get into the park

The view of Mt. Longonot as you get into the park

Off we went at exactly 11:55 am, armed with water and high energy levels, ready to conquer the mountain, in the scorching sun.

Looks can be extremely deceiving as I came to learn 30 minutes into the hike😦. That mountain is NO JOKES!! Steep slopes, rocky terrain and clouds of dust were the order of the day. War unto you if you were not well dressed. There were even people in suits and kitenge outfits… I KID YOU NOT!

I honestly thought I was very fit… HA! The entire time I was busy panting like a run-down hare. At some point I was ready to call it quits but thanks to my hiking buddies Rey, Safina and Darlene, I was back to my senses. Also, it seemed that the higher we went the more spectacular the views became.

Can you believe we were once on that path below

Can you believe we were once on that path below

These stairs really helped us ascend the mountain

These stairs really helped us ascend the mountain

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Two and a half hours later and WE MADE IIIIIIIIT!!! *victory dance*. There were actually people at the top cheering us on so that really motivated us hasten our steps.

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The crater🙂

One item on the 2015 resolution list ticked off😀. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPP!! There is no greater feeling than accomplishing what you had set out to do. *adds mountain climbing to CV*

Hikers going round the crater

Hikers going round the crater

There are those of us who still opted to continue with the hike and go round the crater. However, I was NOT one of them😀. Next time maybe? Hahahaha

After taking a loooong breather and re-energizing ourselves with some glucose, we were back again on our feet , this time descending the mountain. Everyone was in a hurry to get back done, especially since it looked like it was about to pour.

Camp Longonot-22

Primary school children descending the mountain

Exactly 4 hours later and we were back on flat ground *praise Jesus*. After much rest and filling our tummies, we were off to Lake Naivasha Crescent Lodge, where we would be camping for the night. We got there and immediately set up our tents. We then hurried off to the nearby lake to catch the sunset. It was not as spectacular as we had anticipated but we managed to get some decent shots nonetheless.

The light at sunset against the trees

The light at sunset against the trees

Trust photographers to do whatever it takes to get a good shot

Trust photographers to do whatever it takes to get a good shot

Reflections

Reflections

Soon, it was dark. We had to get back to our camping site especially since it was hippo o’clock at the lake shore.

It was a chilly night but luckily we had a fire to keep us warm althroughout as we enjoyed each other’s company.

Bonfire

Bonfire

The men grilled some nyama choma while the ladies prepared a few more dishes to go with the meat. Nobody wanted to sleep so we decided to play some rather interesting games, as we waited for the ugali to cook. The ugali was made by three different people by the way. I will not get into details of the state of the ugali when it was finally “ready” BUT, the saying too many cooks spoil the broth is not a lie😀.

We were hoping to shoot some stars but unfortunately the weather man decided otherwise. There was so much cloud cover and the full moon did not make it any easier either. Compulsory sleeping it was😦.

At 5:30 am we were up hoping that the sunrise would compensate for the failed sunset the previous day. We headed to the lake armed with torch lights since it was pitch dark. There was an electric fence separating the camping site from the lake, to prevent the hippos from trespassing. The brave ones (myself excluded) went over the fence to try see if they could spot the sun while carefully scanning their environment for hippos that were roaming around. Sadly the sunrise was a disappointment as well as it was not all that glorious as we’d hoped it would be.

After having breakfast, we took down our tents and packed our bags, ready to head back to the city.

The morning after

The morning after

Since the lodge had a swimming pool, we decided to check it out before leaving, especially since the sun looked like it was there to stay.

Weren’t we glad we did😀.

Caught unawares

Caught unawares

Hahaha nobody was safe

Hahaha nobody was safe

Everybody wanted to put their swimming skills to the test

Everybody wanted to put their swimming skills to the test

Water selfie

Water selfie

Swimming pool reflections

Swimming pool reflections

We really maximized our stay there🙂.

Typical tourist behaviour :-D

Typical tourist behaviour😀

I cannot wait for the next adventure🙂. But for now, back to reality😦.

Be sure to check out #CampLongonot on Instagram for more photos from the trip.

Joe Were Photography

“Good things need to be praised.” -William Shakespeare.

Today’s post is about one of Kenya’s finest photographers, whose work I draw inspiration from and whom I look up to; Joe Were.

As his bio reads, he is an adventure traveller, a linguist, pianist or keyboard player and Just a Band‘s Music Director. He is clearly a jack of all trades and a master of all if I may add. He was once an I.T teacher before he decided to venture into the Photography and Music fields.

Joe has had the privilege of working with renown companies such as Samsung (where he is a brand Ambassador), Airtel and Kenya Railways, to mention but a few. He is so good at what he does, he has even had his work stolen by a prominent political leader *hides from debris*. Isn’t that validation enough?😀.

I will let his photographs do the rest of the talking🙂.

Diani, Kenya

Camping at Hell’s Gate

Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate Sunrise

Lake Magadi North side

Lake Magadi South Side

Lake Natron

Mt. Shompole

Nairobi National Park

Shompole herders

Isn’t his work something out of this world? Be sure to check out more of his work on his website and his instagram account.

Something to note, his website has such a homely feel to it from the very minute you land on the site. Also, he has a tutorial section and #AskJoey section where you get to interact with him on a one-on-one basis. If that does not scream user-friendly then I do not know what does.

His website: www.joewere.net

His Instagram: jaydabliu

Thank me later!