If you’re just catching up, i suggest you read Part 1 here first.
I survived the night, pretty obvious huh? For a minute there I didn’t think I’d make it through what I can objectively say was the worst night in a tent in my life (and I’ve had many).
The morning begins with almost no clue of the what transpired the night before, almost as if the mountain means to apologize.
Okay apology accepted, I can’t stay mad at you.
Okei is also up with the birds. We talk about the storm last time and he mentions that he hasn’t seen a storm like that in recent memory. Now where have I heard that before?
Turns out he spent the night in a nearby cave, high and dry. He asks why i didn’t join him in the cave.
As N and S awake I also find they spent the night nice and toasty, snacking away; It’s hard to like them right now. They ask why I didn’t join them in their tent. A pattern is forming here. I ignore it and dry my stuff out…
We are out of water, thankfully due to the nights tempest, the pools that were a bit dodgy the day before with stagnant water have filled up nicely with fresh rain water. Its more than enough for the rest of our stay.
A Morning Walk
After breakfast we decide to walk off some of the feast we have not had due to low food supplies. Okei the guide is really is a great source of information regarding the Samburu and their relationship with Ololokwe and it’s surroundings.
We get to see another view this time back the way we came towards Isiolo and Samburu National Reserve,
We spend loads of time here watching vultures and various raptors fly all around us. With patience birders can have field day here, all manner of eagles, buzzards, vultures and falcons are present here.
We also marvel at this truck inching along The Great North Road. Very funny and entertaining for some reason at the time.
The Second Afternoon.
We have an easy afternoon, everything on the mountain centers on the view. Wake up to the view, lunch by the view, walk a short distance to see a different view. The view is everything; the view shall not be ignored.
The showers constantly patrol the valley floor, but up on the mountain today its all sunny skies.
As evening approaches I explore my new digs in the cave. The cave is used by the Samburu community for rituals such as coming of age ceremonies and this has been happening for as long as anyone can remember. Their fathers and their fathers’ fathers have climbed the mountain, slaughtered countless cows here and made merry for decades, maybe even centuries past. The red circle shows the cave entrance.
The entrance is well covered against all who may want to enter my domain. Good sign.
Nice scenery from the entrance. Notice the cow skull from feasts past.
Inside, the cave is warm and cosy, the floor is soft, coated with countless dead leaves, the fire warms the rocks, this is comfort in its truest form. I am all set to do battle with the elements, whatever it throws at me tonight I well prepared, both mentally and physically. Bring it on.
It doesn’t rain.
The Last Morning
After a very relaxing nights sleep, the next morning does not disappoint as well.
Not too much faffing about today, after packing up, the porters arrive from the bottom and we begin the 2hr walk down, there’s a long drive back to Nairobi. We stop for one last look.
But wait, It’s not over!
When we get back to Sabache Camp, Dipa the owner tells us some elephants have been sighted a few minutes from camp and would we like to see them? Answer is a resounding yes. So he straps on an AK-47 and off we go.
Its not easy spotting elephants in the thick bush though I must tell you right now I manage to spot them even before anyone else does does. Turns out to be a group of 5 or 6.
Excuse the video quality, but I’ve never claimed to be a videographer.
Immediately after this we have to make tracks as we hear one of the elephants come towards us through the thick bush. We cant see it but it sounds very close!
What a way to end our adventure camping on Mount Ololokwe, with my first ever bush walk with elephants. It caps off the one of my best ever trips with a resounding, unexpected finale. I feel vindicated, the mountain that has been the focus of so many of my thoughts has delivered an experience over and above my wildest dreams.
- Pack very light if camping as your luggage will have to be carried up using either porters or donkeys. Pack your items in small manageable bags.
- Save weight to carry enough water. Even though there are permanent streams at the top they can be stagnant depending on how long ago it rained.
- Ensure you are fully self sufficient, there are no facilities at the top of mountain.
- Costs: We paid Ksh 1,500 a day each (both resident and citizen) for access to the mountain plus camping; porters Ksh 1000 (for a 2-way trip) and armed guide (mandatory) Ksh 1000 a day.
- Contacts: Dipa – 0726 – 991597
As indicated in Part 1, we were really let down by the Namunyak management who we had initially planned the trip with. As I have mentioned in my earlier articles I only write about what my experience was and nothing but. However if planning a trip there. the legal and official way is through the Namunyak Conservancy who can be reached on 020-2471573 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That been said I am very grateful to Dipa of Sabache Camp (hit that link), for stepping up when the chips were down and enabling us have a great camping trip. Also to Okei for the great chats we had and bringing us closer to the mountain with all the information he shared. Lastly the biggest thanks to my mates N and S, good times with good friends.
Last note: If you’d like to see some of the photos that didn’t make it on here, have a look at my Facebook page.
Until next time, stay well.
This article is dedicated to RM, thanks for the travel bug.