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…
It’s 9am, I’ve slept fitfully on our our first night out and but we’ve had a great time on the Olgulului Group Ranch exploring Lake Amboseli . A great start to this ambitious trip of 900kms along Kenya’s Southern border and it’s time to crank out a few more miles and at this point I’m blissfully unaware that this will be one of the longest days imaginable.
Three years ago I met a group of young Kenyan adventurers with fire in their eyes and and the determination to create a travel show for Kenyans, by Kenyans. It was during this first meeting that it was suggested “We should do a trip together”. However just like the very familiar “We should do coffee sometime”, it would take some time for us all to pull our respective knickers up and get planning. So finally here we are 3 years later, myself and the Routes Adventure crew, bonded by a common dream to shout as loudly as we can about our amazing country. This time with an idea to drive 900km over 5 days along the southern border of Kenya and Tanzania.
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.
I’ll tell you a little secret; the success of a family holiday is inversely proportional to the amount of time you are actually able to spend apart from each other. It might sound counter – intuitive but believe me after a couple of days together I’m sure many of you know how quickly the fire of familial love can transform into smouldering resentment. You want to spend time together but you also want that sweet space when you need it.
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.
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.
Early morning view of Mount Kilimanjaro from 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.
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 →