Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.
2019 has been a great hiking year. I found a new hiking squad that has been consistent, super fun and always coming up with new hiking destinations. We have done three hikes together and made a lot of beautiful memories along the way. The idea of hiking the sleeping warrior/ugali hills first came up from one of us during our first hike together in Ngarendare forest in May this year.
Initially we were to make all the arrangements without the help of a travel agency but thanks to a few unreliable tour operators we decided to join a group (Matembezi traveller’s club) that happened to be hiking the same place on our proposed date.
I am not a big fan of group activities due to the dynamics of getting everyone in sync. It is really hard to get everyone to respect the group dynamics and keep time. We were supposed to leave Nairobi at 6.30 AM but the bus and a few people were late. We used the Nairobi-Mai Mahiu route which is quite scenic, made a brief stop at the view point and another at Buffalo mall Naivasha for supplies.
We then had to wait for someone at the Gilgil weigh bridge so by the time we got to the starting point for the hike it was 11.00AM. It was already hot and in my head I was like here you go again Mukuhi the master of hiking in the sun!!!
The hike started at the shores of Lake Elementaita… A beautiful, blue and surreal start. I saw flamingoes for the first time in my life though from a distance.
Unlike my previous hike at Mt. Ololokwe, the terrain here was friendly because we didn’t have to go up any steep hills… Well at least not for the first 10Km. We hang out, took photos walked, watched the rich bird life in the lake, walked some more and at some point got diverted to some hot springs which turned out to be the joke of the day. Let’s just say they have nothing on Lake Bogoria.
After the short stint at the hot springs the walk started to become exhausting and the sleeping warrior hill seemed to be drifting further away instead of getting closer.
Back story… If you look closely at the hill from a distance it literally looks like a sleeping man (head, neck and torso) so someone decided he is a warrior hence the name sleeping warrior.
By the time we got to the base we were tired and hungry so we took a short break then proceeded to conquer the hill. It was a tough and unpleasant experience for 2 reasons:
1.The sand was loose so we kept sliding or sinking in the sand.
2.The was no clear path to follow and the shrubs made it really hard to move without injuries.
I was afraid of falling and getting bruised by the shrubs. Luckily it wasn’t a long climb. (no photos were taken during the ascent)
The most fulfilling part of any hike for me is always the view from the top. This one did not disappoint. We had a few moments to take it in and socialize.
We started our descent and were all psyched for the next hill. It drizzled a bit and for the first time in my hiking life I had fun going down the hill. When we got to the base we learnt that we had to walk for about 30 minutes to the next hill (Ugali Hills) and that is the point when I decided I had had enough.
Instead of going up Ugali hills, my friends and I decided to walk back to the bus. We met a few kids from the local village whose only sentence seemed to be “give me biscuit.”
As our hike came to an end and we were treated to a beautiful rainbow at the end of the hiking trail. It almost felt like an apology to my now aching body and to remind me to always appreciate beauty in nature.
Lake Elementaita is a salt water lake in the great Rift Valley Kenya. It is home to over 400 species of birds, different fish species, insects and vegetation. The litter problem has been common in all the places I have gone hiking and this was no different. To keep hikers from throwing plastic waste in the lake and its environs, there are two very cool trash points but given the size of the lake I hope there is more. This is one of the cleanest hiking trails I have ever been to but sadly some people from our group discarded their water bottles and we had to clean up after them.
1. The sleeping warrior/Ugali hills hike is an easy day trip from Nairobi but if you like you can set base either in Nakuru/Naivasha or one of the hotels at the shores of lake Elementaita.
2.Make sure you have proper hiking boots with a good grip to avoid falling as the sand at the hills is loose.
4. If you can, wear a long sleeved top to avoid getting pricked by shrubs or getting a rash from the plants.
5. Carry lots of water… It is a long long walk. Grapes and apples always come through for me.
If you have been on this hiking trail, feel free to add more observations.
As always thank you for reading.
Go out and experience nature and remember to share…
Love & love