Day trip to Mt. Suswa Conservancy

I have always wanted to visit Mt. Suswa, especially after first learning about it through photographs taken by Amunga, back in 2014.

What drew me most to the place was the famous ‘Baboons Parliament’, which I was a bit hesitant of its existence at first, until I actually went to the place, courtesy of an invite extended to me by a friend and my Photography mentor, Mwarv.

Armed with four well-lined stomachs, an undying spirit of adventure and a Land-Rover, we set out for Mt. Suswa Conservancy at 9 a.m on a chilly Wednesday morning.

 

Now, if you love road-trips and are crazy about scenic views like I am, then it is automatic that you will make a thousand and one stops along the way, before you finally get to your intended destination.

mt-suswa-day-trip
Mt. Suswa in the distance as seen from one of the viewpoints along The Great North Road.
mt-suswa-day-trip-2
A soapstone carving with illustrations of some of the mountains, including Mt. Suswa, that one is able to see from the Great Rift Valley viewpoint. These are sold at the curio shops at the viewpoints.

There is this little chapel that I had always seen whenever I drove on this road and I always wondered what the story behind it was. Well, my curiosity was finally put to rest when we made a stop there.

It turns out that the Italian Catholic Church P.O.W (Prisoners of War), as it is called, was built in 1942 by Italians who had been captured by the British, during World War II (WWII). The chapel is where they were held captive during the time of the war, and were made to build the now Escarpment Road, which connects Nairobi and Naivasha towns.

Most of the captives eventually died due to the harsh living conditions they faced such as mistreatment and snake bites. Others ended up committing suicide because they could not stand being alive anymore. Their remains are scattered all over the Rift Valley, with some being buried in places like Limuru and Lari constituency.

mt-suswa-day-trip-7
The outside of the Italian Catholic Church P.O.W. The inscriptions at the top are in Latin and translate to “The still cross stands as the world revolves”, in English.

After learning a bit of history, we resumed our 131 km journey, which we discovered upon making the turning from the main road would be a dusty affair.

The conservancy is about 10 kms from the main road so I would advice you to travel in an off-road vehicle, because the road is filled with rocks, ditches and mounds of sand. Also, if you are not in the mood to hike and trek for long distances it would be ideal since it can maneuver all these barricades.

mt-suswa-day-trip-9
Inside Mt. Suswa Conservancy. In the background is Mt. Longonot.

It is better to get there early in the a.m, at least by 8 o’clock, so that you can experience all that the place has to offer. The caves, the hot-springs, the crater views and the maasai culture.

It is also advisable to get a guide because it is very easy to lose your way in the conservancy, especially if it is your first time. I doubt it I’d remember the way if I went a second and third time. It’s like driving through a maze, the only difference being that there are no defined pathways to guide you. Every corner you turn to looks the same.

Our first stop was at the lava-tube Suswa caves and boy wasn’t it quite the experience. We had to strap on headlights because we were entering into a zone of pitch darkness.

mt-suswa-day-trip-11
One of the entrances to the lava-tube Suswa caves.

I tend to believe that I am one of the strongest people (emotionally) around, but I failed that test miserably on this particular day.

mt-suswa-day-trip-14
Janina examines a photo she took while inside the Suswa caves. A headlight is recommended when exploring the caves.
mt-suswa-day-trip-17
Maneuvering our way through some rocks and boulders to get to another set of caves.

Total darkness, bats hanging from the ceiling, undiscovered-insects crawling around, recalled scenes from previously watched horror movies, exposed manholes, coming across a leopard’s lair, being stalked by bees and flies that were in search of water and the unabating stench of baboons’ urine was the recipe for my instant death and resurrection all at once.

Squealing , shrieking and yelping really helped me get through it all. PHEW! Those were the longest two (2) hours of my life.

mt-suswa-day-trip-19
Kodonyo, our guide for the day, poses at the Baboon Parliament. The baboons are believed to assemble every evening at this point to have secret meetings :-D. (I am so serious)

Next stop was the crater.

Mt. Suswa, now a dormant mountain was once considered to be volcanic.

Fumarolic activity continues to date and the locals have taken advantage of this, by harvesting the steam, which in turn produces water.

mt-suswa-day-trip-23
Jeremiah (right) and Kodonyo (left) show us how they harvest steam in order to get water.
mt-suswa-day-trip-24
We had to jump over a barbed fence in order to get to the crater.
mt-suswa-day-trip-26
Views from the top of Mt. Suswa. There’s a place at the bottom that’s known as The Lost Island.

One of my highlights of this day, captured by Amunga. These maasai children were so friendly and jovial.

mt-suswa-day-trip-27
The beauty that results from evening light and clouds of dust.

A few things to note when visiting Mt. Suswa Conservancy:

  1. Conservancy fees of kshs. 500 and Guide’s fees of kshs. 500 per person are paid in order to access the place.
  2. Always call the guide in advance for bookings. Either Kodonyo or Jeremiah will do. Kodonyo’s number is +254702804172.
  3. Carry lots of water and food if you intend to be there all day. There are no neighboring shops in case you run out of supplies. If you have a cooler, the better.
  4. The place is hot and unforgiving so make sure you dress light.
  5. Camping is possible. It will cost you kshs. 500 per person, provided you have your own tent and camping facilities.

Would I visit the place again? Most definitely!!

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Day trip to Mt. Suswa Conservancy

    1. Oh niice. Did you take any photos? As for the bat poop, we didn’t see any especially since it was so dark. Or if we did, I was too freaked out by the darkness and sounds to notice. HAHAHAHA.And thank you for your kind words :).

      Like

  1. What a lovely post, I’ve been going to mount Suswa for many years and I almost consider it a second home. Nice to see Mzee Jeremiah looking well and on good form. Thank for sharing your trip there, these kind of articles have such an impact on travellers who might not have been and indeed might not even know about this places. Please keep writing, your articles are much appreciated and enjoyed.

    Like

    1. Such an honour to get feedback from you. I absolutely love your posts. Thank you for reading mine and for your feedback. Such encouraging words to say the least :-).Really, I appreciate the support.

      Like

Comments are closed.