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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!

 

 

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Rusinga Island Lodge: An island retreat to rekindle your love this Valentines.

Rusinga Island Lodge is a little kept secret. An oasis of love and romance. So hidden that until you get into the lodge you won’t exactly know what lies behind the walls.

The lodge came in highly recommended as one of the best destinations to unwind and rekindle love at the Kenyan ‘west coast.’

An airstrip,manicured lawns,happy host and the aroma of delicious food as you walk in gives a rough idea of how the general stay will be. I finally understood why it was highly recommended. I mean, if love and all other things were constant I think a combination of a wedding and honeymoon in the same venue would work perfectly.

The lodge boasts of some many beautiful things; like a lovely sunrise,

Lovely sunrise.

Pleasant lake front view,

Lake front view.
Lake front view.

Green carpet grass,

Carpet grass

Indigenous trees,

Decades old indigenous trees.

Breathtaking canopies that try to hide the sun from above and cute  birds of varied species,

Birdie
More birds

Porch swings,

Garden furniture made from hard wood,

A long,firm impressive pier,

The pier!

The signature cushions on a raised view point overlooking the lake,

And a few palm trees dotting the shoreline.

 

Rusinga island lodge is the perfect place to pause time, forget the city and teach yourself how to breath fresh air again. Bliss.

As this valentines draws near, this is the place to visit with your better half.

Romantic set up,privacy guaranteed, self contained spacious cottages with furnished patios that are suitable for a quiet cuddly evening overlooking the lake.

If you are a sporty and adventurous pair, the lodge can organize water sport activities like kayaking,

fishing,



a ride to neighboring islands for sight seeing, bird watching or photography.

Other activities are;an organized game drive to Ruma National Park(Kenya’s only home of the Roan Antelope), a visit to Takawiri Island, the palmy Island with a white sandy beach on Lake Victoria.

 

Book a stay at Rusinga Island lodge and have an adventurous stay as you unravel this hidden gem with your loved one this valentines.

Rusinga Island Lodge has an airstrip right inside the lodge and together with Fly 540, they have a fantastic  flying package.It doesn’t get cooler than this does it? Contact them today for bookings  at: info@rusinga.com, or Tel: +254 20 2531314 / 5 and Cell: +254 716 055924 / +254 734 402932 / 0733 – 121148.

For a road or self drive package,contact Saiwa Safaris, via email on  holidays@kenyasafarisaiwa.com or saiwasafaris@gmail.com Mobile: +254 702 137 100/ +254 738 142 177 for bookings as well.

 

Hope you enjoy your stay!

 

 

 

 

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Litare Fishing Village-Litare Island,Homabay Kenya.

Rusinga Island Lodge is a luxurious, lake front private lodge in one of the Islands of Lake Victoria called Rusinga.

In my recent visit to the Lodge after several recommendations and months of drooling on pictures of the lodge I saw online, I finally got an opportunity to spend a few days there.

Intrigued by the manicured lawns, indigenous trees, lake breeze, an extended pier into the lake, delicate and tasty exterior design and the cosy rustic interior design, I was more than excited to call this my home for the next few days.

On the second day of my stay, the Lodge organized a day’s excursion to a neighboring fishing village called Litare.

Rusinga Island Lodge so far tops in my list of the most organized destinations I have been to.

By 9:00 am in the morning, the speed boats used to ferry us to the fishing village were already on location. Traditional boats can also be used to get to the village but for that superstar feel, the speedboats are the best. They also navigate better when the tides are high.

Litare Fishing Village is located on a nearby Island, approximately thirty minutes away.

As you approach the village, you will spot many fishing boats docked during the day because the fishermen mostly fish at night.

Little egrets can also be seen in their numbers neatly perched on the boats. Our guide was quick to point out that they  were the laziest bird on the island. They patiently wait to eat the tiny fish brought in by the fishermen.

During the day, it is difficult to see the men of the village. We were told that they only get to catch their sleep during this time of the day, after a long night out in the cold fishing.

The women can be seen drying the fish in large mats outside as a method of preservation before vendors and buyers come for them after a day or two.

There are three types of fish caught by the fishermen. Nile perch, Dagaa(Omena) and Fulu (Similar to Dagaa but bigger in size).

Most of the fishermen leave their homes and come to rent houses in the fishing village but they get to visit their homes from time to time.

Our guide told is that the fishermen are nomadic in nature and the follow the fish patterns as they migrate.

Fishing is the main economic activity in this village.There are so many fishing villages in Homabay County alone.

The fishing boats used by the fishermen are made from Mahogany and Mvuli hardwoods. This wood is imported from Uganda. The approximate cost of wood for one fishing boat is approximately Ksh.30,000(USD 300).

Boats

Fishing is done at night using locally hand-made traps. The traps are anchored into the water with the upper side floating on water, then a lantern lamp is attached at the top and the other side is tied to the boat.

The lantern lamp attracts insects such as lake flies at night. When the insects get in touch with the lantern lamp’s hot surface, they die and fall into the water then are used as bait to attract the fish.

As we left the fishing village, the women were busy cooking for their hungry men to get them ready for the next fishing trip.

Did I mention how thrilled I was to ride in a speed boat?

Have you been to a fishing village before? Which one did you like most? Is it similar to Litare? I am curious, let me know!

To enjoy an experience like mine reach Rusinga Island Lodge via;

E-mail : info@rusinga.com

Tel: +254 20 2531314 / 5

Cell: +254 716 055924 / +254 734 402932

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rusinga-Island-Lodge-899854163421465/

Twitter: @RusingaLodgeKE