It’s easy to discount the familiar; thats why those who live near Mount Kenya have never climbed it and why not everyone at the coast goes to the beach on a daily. I say this because just as I have never written an article on how to camp neither have I written about Olorgesailie. This is strange because I visit here so often I guess it became too familiar to me hence the laxity in writing about it. However I thought I’d share my special spot and made a call out for any Instagramers who wanted to head out for a night and get their astrophotography on and this lit the fire that finally led to this article getting done.
Some of you with more time on your hands than you know what to do with might stay up nights wondering how some of my travel ideas come about. Sure, sometimes it takes months of planning but sometimes things unfold in the simplest way possible; like this email I received…
Mr. T: Hi, I took a quick trip up into Namunyak last week and visited a really cool little campsite which is being developed by Museums of Kenya. The really cool part though was their research work on the rare De Brazza monkeys which they have been studying there for a number of years. I am hoping to plan a trip up that way later this year to explore more around the Mathews/Namunyak region. It is big though so will need to give it a few days… are you keen?
KC: Yes! A thousand times yes!
I know, I really should play a bit hard to get sometimes, if I was a lady of the night I wouldn’t make enough cheese to feed a mouse. So thats how 9 explorers, 3 cars, 2 dogs and a mountain of supplies find themselves in this part of Kenya to expose sample its many secrets.
Do not wear any bright colours otherwise they will spot us. Always remain behind a ranger and follow my instructions. Speak in whispers and tread very carefully so as to maintain silence. Be aware of your surroundings and always look out for the largest tree around you should the animal become agitated for any reason.
I know right? How can you not be excited when listening to a brief like that? My hands are clammy and my heart is tripping like an EDM track at what seems like 100 beats per minute. I’m nervous and excited about one of the most unique wildlife experiences you can have in Kenya I’m going to be tracking one of the most endangered species in the the world, the black rhino…on foot.
Conservation can be a really boring subject. Depending on how it’s presented on a scale of 1-10 some might rate it ‘watching Olympic golf’. Now most of us like the idea of conservation just as long as not too much is asked of us; liking a photo of a cute elephant on Facebook? That we can do. But actually understanding what impact we have on our environment and working to reduce it? Not so much fun. So there are reasons why conservation can be boring to some, but there are also ways to make it interesting as I find out for myself….
In our daily lives sometimes we tend to over complicate things. We make decisions that cause us more stress than necessary, we hang around people who drain our positive energy, we down play our achievements and dwell on our mistakes. Then when we look into inward we can only ask ourselves “Why do things have to be so hard?”.
Sorry, strange way to start a travel article I know, but this next place really did put the thought of how simplicity can be such a positive force in our lives. Because if there’s a place that personifies the concept of “just enough” its Amboseli Bush Camp.
It’s a real treat for me to be able to visit all the places I travel to twice; first when I visit them, and second when I’m writing about them. My visit to Lumo Conservancy was born as many of my trips are, staring at a screen while at work and daydreaming over photos on the internet. So after much planning (and of course saving), I found myself meandering down the Nairobi – Mombasa Highway, what i found there was a prime example of the link between community and conservation.
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.
Its difficult to explain the power of an idea. It dwells in our consciousness; sometimes relegated, sometimes ignored, but never forgotten. Ever present in the back of our minds, dominating our thoughts whenever we we have a moment to day dream.
I first saw a photo of Mount Ololokwe about 12 years ago and my imagination was instantly captured by this massive mountain emerging seemingly out of nowhere from the desert plains. In many of my travels such as during my elephant encounter in Samburu, and a most relaxing trip to Sera Conservancy among many more, she seemed to continually taunt me and was a constant reminder of the promise I once made to myself.
I had to spend a night atop this mountain.
Aerial of Mount Ololokwe, the red circle shows our campsite. Photo Credit : Marcus Harvey Continue reading
According to stats if you do not draw in the reader in the first two lines of an article, then there is a 90% chance they will not read on. I’m willing to take that risk this time around. This article I write for the traveller, not for the reader. For those who the open road is an inspiration to adventure as opposed to a fear of the unknown. For those that look at a map of this great country Kenya and see it as an open invitation to new experiences and possibly a new way of thinking. So if by some stroke of luck you’re still reading allow me to take you to a place that greatly rewards that curiosity.
“When you go back tell them we are here; we are waiting for them.”
Words often heard from people in places in Kenya that have so much to offer the Kenyan tourism circuit but do not get the visitors, domestic or otherwise that they so richly deserve. For some reason during my visit to Nandi County, this time they hit very close to home. Nandi is not only about tea, there’s much more to see.