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The K’Osewe Delight: Homely meals in the heart of the city!

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.

K’Osewe’s delicious fish stew and millet Ugali

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,

 

Fried Liver,

Fried tripe,

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!

 

 

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Photos of Lake Bogoria Spa Resort:The ideal place to stay when you visit Lake Bogoria,Kenya

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.

Part of the road towards the resort.
Front view of the Resort.

Dining area.

Back porch of a room.

Swimming pool.

 

Baringo can be super hot, but a selfie right before a dip doesn’t hurt anyone…
The campsite.
Can you spot the ostriches?
Entrance to the natural pool.
The therapeutic hot water spa.
Natural hot water stream. I was surprised to see fish swimming in the hot water…

 

A bridge across the river in the resort.

There you have it!

For more information about Lake Bogoria Spa Resort, contact them on +254727925397 or check out their website here.

 

 

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Top places to visit in Baringo county:Lake Bogoria

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.

Entrance to Lake Bogoria National Reserve.
More info about the reserve.

 

Well there you have it.

I hope these are enough photos to inspire you to visit Lake Bogoria.

 

 

 

 

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Climbing Mt.Kenya, attempting Point Lenana (4985M): The story behind the glory

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.

The fast receding Lewis glacier.
One moment there are no clouds, the next time its clouds all over.
Still can’t figure out where all this strength came from…

Snow 🙂

Batian checking me out…

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?

The final climb…
Well, seems like the victory pose world over…
The Bible at the summit.

Never seen such beauty before.
….Go where eagles fly…
The most deserved break!

I went, I saw, I conquered. Victory tasted so good!

Were it was not for Charles, I probably I would not have summited.

Me and Charles!
Charles…the friend with a golden heart.

There you have it! Summiting wasn’t easy, but I did it anyway.

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Railway Transport in Kenya:The past and the Future

One of the items in my 2017 bucket list is to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa and back using the good old Uganda Railway.However, I remember my mother telling me funny stories of how a trip from Nairobi on her way to school in Nyanza was always filled drama. See, back then Kenya Railways was vibrant, functional and had a regular schedule. There were no bus companies like Mash,Modern Coast,Easy Coach e.t.c. Comfort and travel could never at one point be used in the same sentence.

She told me of how Lunjes and Jang’os traveling up country from Nairobi and vice versa were an interesting lot. They always transported beds, utensils,mattresses,chicken,sacks of maize and beans, millet,cassava and sweet potatoes. Each of them insisted on guarding their luggage hence hogging the little space that was meant to be shared. If you were lucky, they sometimes would allow you to carry their chicken in exchange of space.

They were also the same people who bought anything edible that was peddled by hawkers on each stop along the way. These were mainly ‘sim sim'(Sesame’s seed sweets),groundnuts, bananas, mandazi and roasted maize. As evening crawled in,oxygen became the rarest and most precious gas. Opening the windows was prohibited because of the biting night cold.Accessing the ‘washroom’ which was mostly a hole in the rare end of the train,was impossible considering the luggage and sleeping passengers. By the time everyone got to their destinations, the fatigue, constipation and mental exhaustion was unavoidable.

I derive thrill from such things and so I just wanted to try it out and see if it is any different now.

‘Sadly’ I might not get to experience that cheap thrill.

A lot has changed since that time. There has been the development of a faster and effective transport system, better roads and urbanization slowly changed the narrative as well and rail transport  became less popular. This led to negligence and irregular schedule. Such factors slowly but surely guaranteed a shift from the meter gauge railway.

Fast forward to the year 2017, a bigger and better railway system is about to be unveiled.

Despite the political controversy surrounding its development, I must say that the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR has put Kenya in the map in matters Railway transport compared to the previous Meter gauge railway.

Phase one of the project starts from Mombasa and ends in Nairobi.

The Mombasa station of the meter gauge railway. Image source:internet
Mombasa Terminus of the SGR project.
The Nairobi Railway Station of the Uganda Railway.                                                                                                                     Source:Internet
The new Nairobi Terminus.

The railway has eight intermediate stations. Intermediate stations are like ‘bus stops or stages’ these are stations along the railways that are not the main stations like Mombasa and Nairobi.

Each of the intermediate stations has a unique design. Informed by either the culture of the people in the areas they are located or the first letter of the name of the area.

Voi Intermediate Station. Designed inspired by the letter V.

 

Mtito Andei Intermediate Station, Design as letter M.

 

Kibwezi Intermediate Station inspired by the makuti roof thatching used by communities around the place.

The intermediate stations have a ticket area, baggage area, waiting bay,VIP area, facilities for people with disabilities, car parking area, and a freight yard.

Ticketing area.

Freight yard in the background.

Then, there are twenty three passing stations. These are basically the railway control area. The passing stations has four railways that eventually joins up to become one. (loop lines). They are used to control train movement on the railway, prevent collisions and basically give express trains priority in the event that two trains are going in opposite direction.

One of the twenty three passing stations.(control centers.)

There will be express passenger trains that only make short mandatory stops in the intermediate stations.

There are a number of super bridges along the railway with the Tsavo super bridge being the tallest. It is located at Tsavo East National Park.

Tsavo super bridge.
Mazeras super bridge.
Voi super bridge.

The SGR railway is fenced all the way from Mombasa to Nairobi. This is done for security purposes.Culverts have been constructed in specific areas to allow people,vehicles, animals and rivers to pass through to the other side.

Trials are still in course but word on the ground have it that it might take anywhere between four to six hours to get to Nairobi from Mombasa and vice versa. However, this is to be confirmed.

Some test trains on track.

The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR is to to be officially launched in June 2017.

Maybe just until then will I be able to check that item off my bucket list. This time only without drama. Maybe.

 

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Hiking Nzaui Hills, Makueni County.

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.

Nairobi, Kenya at 5:30 am.

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.

For this and similar hike experiences contact:

Xtrym adventures and Bucketlist Travels.

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Meet Rebecca Amo,the unapologetic globe trotter!

Who is Rebecca Amo?

Amo is a free spirited chic, easy going with lots of energy, selectively bubbly and on the lookout for intriguing adventures. I am super athletic and easy going when in the right mood ~extrovert. I also have this introverted side to balance the equation; That is get immersed in soul food books, solo back packing travels around the world, meditate and soul search in the mix of it all.

Ubud,Monkey Forest in Indonesia.

What inspires you to travel?

My forever young spirit and attitude,history,a yearn to learn new cultures,desire to try different foods, explore villages, meet different people,discover myself and most recently, books!Last but not least, the satisfaction I draw from putting Kenya in the map! Am that patriotic! I enjoy explaining where in Africa Kenya is and yeah, we girls travel solo too!

Egypt.
Jakarta.

Has travel changed your life?

So much! Travel has uncovered in me resilience, risk taking, spot on financial management, patriotism, love, peace, gratitude and awakened my consciousness on living in the now-present moment (Most difficult thing we suffer as humans),can’t leave out the love for soul food books.

Yoga retreat,Bali.

How many countries have you been to?

30 Countries so far adding 4 more this year!

India

What is your scariest travel experience?

Crossing Okavongo delta on a dilapidated ferry that looked like open rafters / dhows used by traders on the Indian ocean in ancient times,with the knowledge that if the caricature of this transport medium gave in, nothing and nobody would survived! Keep in mind, I am not a great swimmer.

What is the most underrated travel destination in your opinion?

In Kenya? Takaungu

Elsewhere? India, especially by Kenyans.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve tried during travel

Shared a room with a stranger (A man) in a dingy hotel at the Zambia border while back packing to South Africa, my first amateur excursion as a solo traveler! This was after I offered my room to a gentleman who was in the same bus,enroute to Zimbabwe, also stranded but couldn’t share a room with another guy! I was so naive! This stranger tormented me with sexual advances that I had to sit up all night watching football.Looking back? This guy could have actually raped me.For some reason, I was soo composed and stuck to my gun and fought back. Crazy! I can’t do it ever in my right mind…

How do you afford travel?

I literally save up for my travels.I work for my travels amongst other priorities…I also have a great network of friends around the world who help in playing host in some of the destinations I have been and will be in future.

Dubai.

What are some of the disadvantages of traveling the world as a Kenyan?

Mmmmh, generally, destinations that need visas can really make it hell because you need good financial proof to obtain a tourist visa, if you do get one, it does not guarantee entry to the destination country.The immigration of the destined country has a right to deny you entry.The other thing is,if you are female, there are some assumptions on why you are traveling alone that can be annoying if not condescending. Being black puts you on drug trafficking scrutiny among other annoying checks that you might just miss a connecting flight if scheduled for one and lastly, the assumption that I am Nigerian?While my passport reads Kenyan?….doesn’t go well with me!

Strangest food you’ve eaten abroad?

Snail and raw meat.

Bush or beach?

Bush!Now that I leave by the beach…..everyone needs a beach front address!

Best book or movie you’ve read about travel?

Motor cycle diaries .

Warmest country you’ve ever visited?

Indonesia.

Angor Wak,Cambodia.

What sacrifices have you made in order to travel?

I don’t have assets like land as most of my peers, at present, I don’t want anything that ties me down physically, I can pack up any time.I believe there is time for everything.Now, travel takes precedence.

What are your future travel plans?

Well, I have split my travels in the 4 quarters of the year and as per my leave days.

For 2017, I plan to go to;

1.Europe- France and UK in May/June for pleasure and watch sevens rugby team in the mix.

2.Pilgrimage-Jordan &Israel in October, this is a treat for me and my mum.

3.Festive season end year-Australia in December, time to make merry right?

I just started working on Jordan & Israel itinerary this month…..it is a challenge to get a Jordan visa while in Kenya.

2018;

1. Tembea Kenya- Lake Turkana

2. Paragliding in Switzerland

3. Explore Barcelona ,Madrid & Party in Ibiza-Spain

4. Explore Morocco and attend Africa largest salsa dancing congress

5. Machu Picchu trek in Peru.

Best items you have checked off your bucket list?

Hahahaha…….

1.Egypt pyramids.

2.Cruise on River Nile.

3.Snorkeling in the Red Sea.

4.Axum and Lalibella BC under ground orthodox churches in Ethiopia.

5.Taj Mahal in India.

6.Auroville in Pondicherry- India.

7.Stayed in an Ashram in Vellur, South India.

8.Climbed and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

9.Ngongoro crater and Lake Manyara in Tanzania.

10.Back packing Road trip from Nairobi to South Africa.

11.Empire State building ,statue of liberty and wall street in New York.

12.Desert safari and desert camping in Dubai.

13.Ferrari world in Abu dhabi.

14.Ango Wak Temple in Cambodia.

15.Full moon party in kho pagan island -Thailand.

16.Floating market in Thailand.

17.Rice fields  and Olowatu Blue point in Indonesia

18.Yoga retreat in Bali

19.Garden by the bay in Singapore.

Tricks and tips for young people who want to travel?

1st. Master your context: This is with regards to your life obligations and what you know is your reality.Be realistic and flow…..Nature will conspire and make your travel dreams achievable.

2nd.  You will never have enough money! So, with the little that you have, move! Start small, domestic tourism,then regional and international travels thereafter. Time is now, remember nothing happens in the future!

3rd. Once you get bit by a travel bug:-Trust me, anything is and will be possible and with the law of attraction, you will surely pull lots of positive vibes to your travel dreams!

 

 

I hope you are fired up to travel as I am!! Rebecca is serious travel goals!

Enjoy till the next post!

???

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Hiking Mt.Longonot

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.

Mt.Longonot as seen from the gate.

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!

The ‘Hut’
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 ?.

Aerial view Mt.Longonot. Source:Internet.

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.

Type of rock and sand in the trail.

The second peak, Kilele Ngamia.

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?

Before long we were back to where we started.

All beat and tired and about 5 hours later.

What more would you like to know about this hike?

Hope to see you hiking soon!

You can also check out Africa Outdoor Safaris for more details.

Till the next post…

Be sporty!

 

 

Open post

Fantastic photos that will inspire you to visit Meru County, Kenya.

I was in Meru County briefly over the weekend all the way to Isiolo for those random weekend plans. Hoping to plan a detailed safari soon and share the goodness.

In the meanwhile enjoy these lovely shots that should inspire you to visit Meru!

What are some of the places you’d recommend one to visit in Meru?Let’s engage …

See you soon in Meru soon ?!

Love and wanderlust,

B on Safari ??.

Open post

Meet Laura Lazzarino,The Argentinian Globe Trotter.

During my recent trip to the coast for my birthday, I had a unique opportunity to meet Laura. How we started off was simple, we were cooking up a storm with our new friends J and Ferdinand. Ferdinand was so curious about the octopus meal that everyone was so excited about. Ugali was also in the menu.Across the swimming pool at Distant Relatives rumours quickly spread that we were preparing octopus meal and ugali. Soon after our guest list swelled. Part of the guests was one Laura. As we got to know each other and shared our travel experiences, one of my friends called out my name to ask what amount of water was enough for our Ugali…Quickly Laura picked the name and asked with a lot of excitation, “Is this Bonita? Bonita on Safari?” She went ahead to say how she found the blog useful especially a blog post I wrote about Kilifi and Distant Relatives, as they say, the rest is history…

We caught up again during her stop over in Nairobi with her boyfriend Juan as they headed to Nyahururu and here is how our interview went  as she got to tell me more about herself and her travel experiences across the globe.

Me: Who is Laura?

Laura Lazzarino (31) is an Argentinian travel writer and the free spirit behind www.losviajesdenena.com; a personal travel blog which has been active online since the year 2008. My adventures across 50 countries has inspired a new generation of independent travelers. I am also  a National Geographic Viajes Magazine contributor and author of two travel books, including the best-selling Caminos Invisibles. Right now I am crossing Africa overland, from Cairo to Cape Town, looking for new stories to be featured in my next book.

Is this your first time in Kenya?

Yes!

Me:How does Kenya compare to your country? What are some of the similarities, and obvious differences?

L:Well…some landscapes remind me a lot of Argentina, but only for a moment. When a colorful bird or a giraffe appears in the picture, then I know I’m not home! Nature is overwhelming here, people and their traditions are different too. But I think we have something in common; we are friendly and we love visitors.

Me:How do you decide on the places you visit when you go to foreign countries?

L:We read a lot. We investigate, surf the web for hidden spots, plan an itinerary. But we are flexible too and always open to last-minute changes, or recommendations on the spot.

Me:How many countries have you visited so far?

L:Fifty, including Antarctica.

Me:How long have you been travelling for?

L:I started travelling eight years ago, but it was not full time. In 2010, I decided to make my passion my lifestyle. I’ve been traveling and writing ever since.

Me:How do you afford your travels?

L:Mostly, by selling my books online. In 2013, I self-published “Caminos Invisibles” a book about our 36,000Km  hitch-hiking trip through South America. After that, I published a Hitch-Hiking Guide to a Spanish publishing house and other projects. Also through collaborations with travel magazines like Revista Viajes de National Geographic.

Me:What inspires your travels?

L:Cultural differences,their challenges and new scenarios, I like how every travel changes me and the lessons I pick on the road.

Me:Did you plan to travel the world and write about it or it just happened by chance?

L:I never really planned it, but I would be lying if I  said I have never dreamt about it. I just did not think it was possible, at least for me…a simple girl from the countryside, with no contacts, no influences and no experience. It was not easy at first. I had to knock on so many doors, to learn a lot and work for free. But it was totally worthy it! I would have missed a lot if I never gave it (and myself) a chance!

Me:What are some of the highlights in your travels?

L:Before visiting Africa, sailing to Antarctica was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had. Now I have to say that watching free wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania is also something I will never forget. Hitchhiking in Iceland, getting lost in small Colombian villages in the Coffee Axis and looking for my great grandfather’s town in southern Italy would complete the list.

Me:Do you have any life lessons picked along the way?

L:One of the first times I hitch-hiked in Argentina, I met a truck driver who, after carefully listening to my story (I had just given up my job to start traveling and was so full of doubts) told me: “Never regret what you have chosen for your life”.

Me:Do you ever get homesick?

L:Who doesn’t? But tech has shortened distances, right?

Me:What is the longest you have stayed without going home to your family?

L:Fifteen (15) months. It was too much. Not only because of my family, but also for myself. I learnt that after one year of traveling, I lose interest. I get tired and I get to appreciate more a good kitchen and a hot home shower than a new adventure, landscape or story. This is when I go home to get the travel excitement back.

Me:Have you ever been in a situation abroad when you feel like your life is in danger? If yes, how did you overcome?

L:Not really, but I got robbed in Venezuela and was harassed in Egypt. It was not nice, of course, but I always keep in mind that those are random situations which can  even occur back home and that if I leave, then I will always have a bitter memory that might be unfair judgement to the people of that country. So I taught myself to get over it by taking time off,chilling out, not thinking about it and then go for that adventure again.

Me:What are some of the challenges you’ve gone through as a foreigner abroad?

L:I think that interacting with cultures where women take up most responsibilities in the society is always a shock. I can’t help but wonder why I, on the other side have so many opportunities and choices yet they don’t…if we were to be the same.The other Challenge is learning how not to judge,especially when you are confident with your principles.However, I think it is good practice.What we consider “normal” is just a convention. I have learnt to appreciate what I have more and also to question some statements that I have always considered to be true.

Me:What is in your bucket list?

L:I have a bucket list of over 50 items! Just to name some: Fly in a hot air balloon, participate in a flash move dance, camp in Lake Turkana, visit Christmas Island and  live in Colombia for a season.

Me:What are some of the things you’ve checked out of your bucket list?

L:Cutting my hair drastically (I even wrote a post about it, it was so empowering) and paragliding (so exciting)!

Me:Do you miss normal life?

L:Not at all. This is the best I could do with my life, the best decision I have ever made. I don’t regret it, not even in the bad moments of traveling, not even for a single minute.

Me:Airbnb or couch surfing?

L:Both. I like balance. Please add  camping to the list too!

Me:How do you balance life and travel?

Laura!

L:Traveling is my life…

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