Tag Archives: Naivasha

My maiden hike-Mt. Longonot hike

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My maiden hike-Mt. Longonot hike

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Three weeks ago I made a rather hard decision; a decision of going up Mt.Longonot with Kenyan adventures. Yeah, I know I am making it sound like it’s a hike up Mt. Everest. It’s such an achievement for a person who generally hates getting tired and moreso from walking. I am not lazy just so you know; I just like taking breathers before I even get tired. A few days prior to the hike I almost gave up cus I had been postponing my physical exercises until it was the last day of getting my body physically ready. Come the D-day and I almost got late cus I cant keep time to save my neck. I woke up early although I don’t think waking up some minutes to 6 was early enough for someone who drags her whole self when it comes to getting ready for anything.  So, I leave the house at 6.30 a.m and the meeting time was supposed to be at 7.00 a.m, I take some minutes to get to the bus stop and that gives me 20 minutes to get to town. Bad idea! I get to the bus stop and a 54 seater bus has like 10 people, at 6.52 a.m the bus is still half full.  All the while I am trying to keep my nerves in check lest I start shaking because of God knows why. It is 7.00 a.m and the bus leaves for town; looking at the hiking’s whatsapp group( Kenyan Adventures on Facebook)  and all I can see is people asking where the bus is parked and I knew my goose was cooked.

Maiden Hike youtube video

Just like a typical Kenyan, I send a text to say I am almost getting there never mind I am not even halfway. The guy does not even text back and I hoped against hope that I’ll still find them there. Good luck I got to town at 7.15 a.m and I alighted from the bus and started running across the street like a crazy person. Eeeh, some touts told me to run even faster as if they knew where I was going. Luckily, on Sundays Nairobi is almost like a deserted desert, so there were no distractions of bumping into humans or people looking at you like you just stepped from the space.

I get to where the bus was parked after asking for directions cus when my nerves are on edge I cant think clearly. Have you ever been in such a situation where you’ve heard of a certain building and you’ve even passed there a few minutes but when you are not in your normal self you cant even remember the direction? Shock, shock, shock, the bus is half full, some got there and went to shop for snacks others had not arrived and to think I was worried sick that I might be left got me thinking why I was even worried. I mean most of us are African timers and when one says 7 a.m they might as well mean 7.30 a.m. I sit there sipping my tea (strong tea) that I had made in the house and never had time to take it. I don’t know what I’ll ever do to get time to do breakfast. Moving on swiftly, we wait for the late comers and since I didn’t have time to do my shopping for snacks as a result of bad time planning, I sit there and hoped we’ll be provided for with snacks. The good Lord heard my prayers though cus less than hour after our journey started, we got our snacks hahahahahaha! I mean we had paid for these snacks. Each row was to share the large pack of crisps and each row had a maximum of 4 people, some had three people though. For some weird reason the pack of crisps ended up on my laps after doing its round. So I ended up taking more than I should. Same thing happened when were coming back. The crisps pack ended up on my laps the darn time; in fact I took home the remaining crisps. Let us just say I took enough junk to last me a whole year; crisps, soda, biscuits, sweets, the whole works.

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We used the Mai-Mahiu road where we took some time enjoying the great rift valley escarpment although there was not much to enjoy cus the weather was not all that. Those who wanted to take breakfast did although I wasn’t interested as such. I thought I’d buy a soda but being the miser I am, I decided I cant buy a soda or even any other drink at a 100 bob almost double the price in the normal shops. Even the water bottle ( half a litre) we buy at 20 or 30 shillings was going for 75 shillings, imagine that! So, when going on such trips, don’t be like me, prepare adequately.

Fast forward and we are at Mt. Longonot National Park. We did some stretching to prepare the body for this much awaited hike.. Eeeeh, lets just say  the preparation didn’t help me in anyway cus I started getting tired even before I walked for 1km. For a person who cant take a six floor staircase without complaining, for a person who spends 8 hour of her life sitting in the office, 6 days per week, this was torture. I started questioning my life’s choices and why I paid to come and torture my body. I had already started and going back was not an option; I mean I am just starting to build on the “NO QUITTER” kind of life and I hope to keep the fire burning. So, the whole group slowly divided itself into three groups the first/(fast) group, the second( slightly fast) group and the third (slow) group. I was in the second group and my mates wont let me be left behind lest I went back. I soldiered on and made it to the first resting point after taking some very steep stairs, yes there are staircases on that terrain otherwise we’d have crawled on all falls to get up there. So, we found the first group there already and after taking water, licking on some glucose we continued with our hike. Did I say there was a lady who showed up with wedge open shoes? I kid you not! And we thought she had a pair to change into, shock on us when she said she was ok with her high heeled shoes. Surprisingly she finished the hike before the rest of us; she was among the first group and even when we got back to the bus she didn’t look like she’d just been run over by a truck like your’s truly.

We are halfway the terrain and we found some whites from the land of opportunities (U.S of A) on the same mission as us. Some were coming down hill while others were just a few metres ahead of us. It got me thinking, people come from continents away to come see/and hike while we are just here being too lazy to enjoy the beauty of our country. Anyway, with 8 to 5 jobs, 6 days a week, who has the time to do hikes and the what nots? Besides, there are better things to do with that money and torturing our bodies in the name of adventure is not one of them. So, this lady, Madison from the land of Trump and her friends kept on sliding and falling at times but they soldiered on. At some point, she mentioned her main goal this year was to lose weight and trust me hiking can make you lose weight. I wonder what other mountain she is hoping to conquer as the year progresses.

At the top of mount Longonot, some 2560 metres above sea level

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So, we all make it to the top and everyone was happy with their achievements. Getting to the top is approximately 3kms or so but being a rough terrain, you might think it was 10kms. Take pictures at the top, eat or is it lick glucose then continue with the 7.2 kms walk around the crater rim. I thank God for some nice chap that helped me carry my backpack that had my water and some girl’s (Maurine). Shout outs to Lee who helped a girl to carry her backpack and held her hand when the going got tough!  Let me shock you; there is a chap whose hustle is to sell watermelons and pineapples up there. I kid you not!  He takes his wares up there every damn morning and goes back downhill every evening. That kind of determination is what I need in my life. A piece of watermelon that we buy at Kshs. 20 in the normal streets/market goes for Kshs. 50 while a piece of pineapple goes for Kshs.80. By the time you are getting up there, you can even buy the piece of watermelon at Kshs. 100 cus your energy is so spent you might find yourself collapsing. Those fruits taste heavenly and they are so darn cold like they have just come from a fridge; just the right temperature at the right time to cool your body.

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Round the rim of the crater hike/walk if you like

After conquering the first part, you would like to conquer the second one, and as I said, I’m trying to denounce the QUITTER’S LIFE.  I follow my group since the first group is already steps or hills ahead. It’s all fun and games until we need to walk on all fours to keep our balance and not slide backwards; one misstep and you might find yourself tumbling down the crater( the inside part where only a chopper can get you) or outside the crater rims and end up on God knows where. It’s a hurdle after hurdle, taking pictures as we take breathers; the breathers came in handy cus the altitude was taking a toll on us. When we were almost getting to the highest point( the crater rims’ highest point) it starts drizzling and I ask one of my crew members (shout out to Charlo) to give me his cap to keep my hair dry. We have hurry to the resting point (the highest point called Kilele Ngamia-2870 metres) before the soil becomes slippery and stuff. We get there and it rains heavily and the raindrops were almost getting painful, whats  with the ice cold winds up there. I even thought I’d come down with a flu.  My shirt is already so wet, my fingers are already swollen and I’m almost crying but big girls don’t cry, hahahhaha! I console myself cus there’s a girl who cant see properly without her glasses; we all know they get blurry when it rains and she had to rely on her friend for directions and stuff.

Check out the experience at Olkaria Geothermal spa

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At some point I removed my shirt and remained with the spaghetti top cus I figured the wet shirt was making me colder. We are halfway our journey and some white guy with a famous football team’s t-shirt comes running and bypasses us; I’m left wondering where he got the energy from. My newly found friend figured he could be an athlete and I wondered if he came all the way from wherever to come and train in Kenya or if he was holidaying and decided to go up the mountain. Some two boys bypassed us and they were running. It hit me its either age is catching up with me (of course it is, who am I kidding J ) or I am just a lazy bum. I mean how can they be running when I can barely put one foot before the other?

Maiden trip Youtube Video

Fast forward, we are back to the starting point at the top of the crater after much struggle. The crisps that always ended up on my laps came in handy cus we badly needed that energy. Getting down hill was not any easier. In fact, at some point I had to be literally dragged cus I thought my legs would cave in. I was the last person to get down there and the guide was getting worked up that I was keeping him from getting downhill fast. When we got to a safer place he let go off my hand and as soon as he left me, my legs could not hold me any longer and I fell on my bum. I sat there feeling sorry for my a** quite literally as I held back tears. I found my group after some time; I guess they were waiting for me and bless this soul who carried me a few steps to a flatter ground when my legs almost caved in.

 

The end

And it’s a wrap! I finished my hike, which was quite an achievement. That cliché; run, walk or crawl so long as you get there  had never made more sense in my life! I made it to the bus looking like a dying soul. Had my lunch at some minutes to 5 or is it 6 p.m cus I cant remember well. It comprised of a burger and a packet of milk. I took a few bites of those uncooked veggies they put there and wondered how people stomach raw veggies.  I am done with my lunch and I try to drift to sleep but I guess when you are uber tired you cant sleep. Even my eyes were tired, I kid you not! Its back to Nairoberry where I almost lost my phone to some two chaps who were trying some small talk with me; one was keeping the conversation going while the other was busy with my back pack’s zipper. My paranoia came in handy though.

I am back to my house and all I want is to hit the bed and ‘listen’ to my body. It is on a Monday morning and my whole body feels like its been run over by a truck. I spend the whole day in bed finishing my junk food cus I can’t even fix lunch for myself. Monday is over and I am wondering how I will sail through the week with a sore body, work and stuff; God help me.

It is Tuesday and I have been cussing like a sailor from the moment I woke up. Walking is a nightmare; I am waddling like a pregnant penguin. This week should end already!

Lessons learnt;

  • Exercise enough before taking on a hike
  • Prepare well with snacks and stuff the day before to avoid running like a headless chicken
  • Keep your phones and valuables in the innermost pockets where a pick pocket will have to wrestle you before they get them
  • Keep your radars high when strangers want to engage you with small talks in the streets
  • Get your body massaged after a hike

Next activity; zip lining J…. Stay tuned J

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Olkaria Geothermal spa in Olkaria(Naivasha)

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The hot spring on the background..the other one is the cooling lagoon

The other weekend I decided to see the Rift Valley side of our country and guess where I ended up….Olkaria Geothermal Spa in Naivasha. We almost bailed out on the plan due to one reason or the other but we decided, heck, YOLO! Olkaria Geothermal Spa is located inside the (in)famous Hell’s Gate and since there are one too many gates, you need to know exactly which one you should use to avoid getting lost.

When using personal means and you are from Naivasha town, drive towards the Oserian. Just before you get to Oserian, there is a road that goes directly to KenGen power plant. If you are using PSV, pick Oserian Matatus from Naivasha town and get dropped at Olkaria stage(Fare ranges between Kshs. 80 to 100. From there, get a motorbike and it’ll drop you right at the KWS entrance; depending on how well you can bargain, this should cost Kshs 50 to 100. At the KWS gate, these are the rates(per person)

  • Kenyan adults – Ksh. 350
  • Kenyan children – Ksh. 250
  • Resident foreigners adults – Ksh. 700
  • Resident foreigners children – Ksh. 350
  • Non-resident foreigners adults – USD 30
  • Non-resident foreigners children – USD 20

Once you are inside the park, you can ask for a tour guide to take you round or if you just wanted the Spa experience, go directly to the office and pay for swimming. You can swim for whatever time you want but the pool is closed at 6 p.m. The Spa is owned by KenGen which means they charge differently. Below are the Spa charges;

  • Kenyan adults – Ksh. 400
  • Kenyan children – Ksh. 100
  • KenGen staff – Ksh. 200
  • Group for students (under 18) – Ksh. 100
  • Grounds hiring – Ksh. 40,000
  • Resident foreigners adults – Ksh. 1,000
  • Resident foreigners children – Ksh. 500
  • Non-resident foreigners adults – Ksh. 1,800
  • Non-resident foreigners children – Ksh. 850
  • Towel – Ksh. 200

The pool is typically a heated swimming pool other than the water comes from the natural springs. In fact, Olkaria Geothermal Spa happens to be the largest natural spa in Africa; this makes KenGen the first company to make good use of the geothermal power other than generating power. There are no artificial additives in the pool and that is why the water looks whitish cus of the natural minerals and all. I happened to taste the water and it tasted like tea with salt instead of tea leaves; its salty. The water is brought into the pool by pipes but it’s allowed to cool first before it is released to the pool. There’s the hot spring itself where the hot water comes and the cooling lagoon which no one is allowed to go near.  If you swim near the water entry point, you’ll notice the difference in temperature. It’s hotter at the entry point; almost to the point of scalding the skin. Technicians are always on call to check the temperatures.

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look at the ‘island’ in the middle of the pool

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Also, check out Mt.Longonot Hike

Other things you need to know

  • You can enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you swim in the hot water. Monkeys or it baboons can be seen near the pool and the guards have to keep watch lest people are harassed. So when there, make sure your belongings are safe to avoid mishaps with the primates.
  • Make sure you have your identification documents especially for the KWS gate to avoid inconveniences.
  • Make sure you have your sunscreen in place; I’m still nursing sunburns from that place
  • Make sure you have warmer clothes for the evening or afternoon cus it’ll most likely rain in the afternoon.
  • You can carry your food or snacks or you can order food from there. The least expensive food goes for Kshs. 500. We had the most sumptuous pork with fries at Kshs.500 per plate.
  • Drive carefully cus you might meet wildlife on your way to and from Olkaria