This is the 3rd and final part of our overland adventure hugging the southern border of Kenya, didn’t think I’d manage to get it all written down but here we are. From driving the deserts of Lake Amboseli to swimming the blue waters of Lake Chala all roads have led to the most southerly point of this trip in Tsavo West. The adventure is far from over though, actually it’s almost like it’s just beginning…
Road to Lake Jipe
The track from Chala to Jipe is a short one with only 30kms between the two and takes around an hour.
(Click on map to interact)
Road surface is good murram especially after crossing over the newly tarmacked Taveta Road.
Driving past Grogans Castle, can’t help but think I wouldn’t mind checking it out one day. Not much of a hotel guy but it looks quirky enough to be interesting.
After all the kilometers we’ve hammered up to this point it’s great to have a short stress free drive and as we approach the Tsavo West Lake Jipe gate we meet a welcome party. Hopefully a sign of things to come?
We’ll see you later.
Lake Jipe Campsite
The campsite is in a beautiful location right along the lake, and there’s already a rather large group from the Bundu Rovers 4WD club already camping there. Unfortunately I don’t take many situational pics as it’s crazy hot when we arrive with no shade (damn elephants), it’s all we can do just to try and avoid the the sun which seems to take sick pride in hovering a few inches above our noses. This leads to the cardinal mistake of not pitching our tents on arrival so in keeping with Murphys Law it’s unsurprising when the storm of the century hits later that afternoon.
The weather shifts from ever-blazing to thunder, lightning, gale force winds and the smell of ozone rich in the air. Someones tent goes flying into the lake, never to be seen again. We’re all soaked to the skin. I can’t stop laughing. I’m having a great time.
30 minutes later and its all over, the entire campsite is left picking up the pieces.
One good thing with the rain, it leaves extremely clear skies at night.
It seems the BR crew go hard while camping and they have a loud booming disco late into the night. Doesn’t bother me too much as they shared their roast goat with us, I’d forgive anything after some nyama choma. Gloria Estefan screams at me to ‘Turn The Beat Around‘…I ignore her and nod off.
The next day dawns clear, before breakfast I finally get some shots showing the campsite.
We’re excited to head further into Tsavo West so after breakfast it’s a case of pack up and go. Before then we decide to check out a herd of elephant about 200m from camp, turns out to be the best idea ever.
At one point the some of the elephants are almost within touching distance, out of the corner of my eye I see my passenger trying to disappear into her seat (I won’t mention her name but it rhymes with Gaia).
At this point we’re surrounded by the herd so nothing to do but wait it out until they move on. Worse things have happened. I few minutes later at the rangers post I get my favorite photos of the trip…
That dude was just too casual….’nothing to see here just taking out the laundry’.
And it goes on…
…and on. We can’t leave until they say so!
I’m reminded just how much sense camping makes. You get to see the same scenes (sometimes better) as those paying thousands more for the same wildlife experience. To each his own, but I’m glad my ‘own’ is dirt cheap.
To Kamboyo Campsite
Finally we escape, Lake Jipe is the furthest South we have come (this time) and it’s time to head North, traversing Tsavo West in it’s entirety to our final campsite at Kamboyo.
(Click on map to interact)
This will take us 6 hours, partly because Tsavo West is a massive park but also probably the worst signposted park in the history of national parks. Even the maps are crap.
It’s pedal to metal as we race ahead of another storm, being able to see where the road has previously washed out keeps us focused.
I spot a mother cheetah with her two cubs drinking out of a puddle on the road before they scamper off as the cars approach, unfortunately no else does. Otherwise not much in the way of wildlife.
We finally arrive to the more ‘civilized’ northern part of the park. Futile navigational attempts are made to visit the Roaring Rocks to no avail, beautiful park though I can’t wait to come back.
We race the setting sun and just about make it to the campsite just before nightfall.
Seems the BR team also has the same idea to camp here but thankfully no disco tonight!
The last night on safari is always bitter-sweet, as we talk about all that happened on this trip we’re happy to be heading home but knowing that we’re all leaving that piece of us that is adventure behind for now. Luckily with camping the next trip is never that far a why, it’s a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’.
- Tsavo West National Park fees: Citizens Ksh.515, Residents Ksh.1030, Non-res $53. Camping fees Ksh 200, personal car Ksh 300. Only M-PESA accepted.
- Lake Jipe and Kamboyo both in the park so fees are applicable.
- Lake Jipe Campsite- flush toilets, showers, bandas also available. Cheap beers available from ranger canteen. No shade at campsite, plan accordingly. Very intermittent Safaricom network (all but useless).
- Campsite is right at the Jipe gate so motorcylists might be able to get away with camping here, if not there is Lake Jipe Safari Camp 5min away.
- Kamboyo Campsite, flush toilets and showers, good shade, no other facilities but not far from main gate. Good Safaricom network.
- If you’d like to see more posts from Kenyan blogs see what Kitots and Mutua got up to on their own trips to this area.
This trip ages like a fine wine, every time I think back at it it just seems to get better and better with time. The 5 of us pushing ourselves nearly 1000kms for 5 days, through deserts and lakes powered by our love for this country, the passion to share it with you and some bomb mince pie. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Very fitting then that it it was captured so well in this video by the Routes crew, perfect way to end this adventure; on to the next one.