ADVENTURE AT THE FALLS

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Hey there my good people,

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a weekend plan. It had been a while since I had gone for an adventure. I had seen a post on Instagram from a local travel company about an adventure in the forest trip so I reached out to the travel company and paid for the trip.  I then worked to get a day off from my boss which is usually harder than going to the moon but I succeeded. On the eve of the forest adventure, I got a call from the travel company to say that they had a ‘transport hitch’ so the trip had to be postponed to a later date. I now suspect that was a lie because almost a month later, I still have not gotten any communication on the new date for the trip. This incident reminded me why I do not like organized group activities because they almost always backfire.

I was very disappointed but I had to look for a plan B. I called my cousin in Nakuru, my friend in Maralal and another friend in Kajiado (Okay I was desperate).  Nothing positive came out of my phone calls until I called my friend Terry in Nairobi and asked her if she would go to the fourteen falls with me. I had always wanted to go there so I was super excited when she said she was in.

As I embarked on my little adventure the next day, I read about the destination on Lucia Musau’s blog so I had an idea of what to expect… beautiful scenery, the sound of water and foul smell.  I met my friend at Roysambu, boarded a matatu to Thika another one to Kilimambogo and a bodaboda to the falls.  I should mention here that to get to some destinations, public transport will serve you just fine so never limit your travel to when you get your own car/ hire a car / fuel a friend’s car. Of course having private car is more comfortable and convenient… I digress.

On reaching the fourteen falls, we were welcomed by a very charming ‘Kanju’ guy  who literally dropped the barrier like he would for a car and made me walk through confessing that when I go there again I would be driving my own car to which I said Amen (I know God heard that). There was a lot of activity around the falls with different vendors, school children on a school trip and guys offering to take us on tour around the falls at a cost. The first guy charged us 300 shillings, the second 400 and the third 500. We found a good spot to take in the scenery and get my camera settings right before deciding whether to take the guide’s offer or not.

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Of the many tour guides, one, Jose, was very persistent. He charged us 300 shillings (3$) per person and told us that we would decide if it was worth it at the end of the adventure.

We started off with the scariest boat ride ever. The boat was wooden and there was some dirty water on the floor. I could paint a picture of how scared I was while Terry laughed at me but in my panic mode I still managed to capture a few beautiful shots from the boat.

 

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We then walked through some very hot rocks with our guide gracefully carrying my pink bag and shoes until we got as close the cliff as we could.

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I mentioned earlier that I had read about the foul smell but I guess this was my lucky day because it wasn’t there. The first thing I noticed however when we got close to the falls was the heaps of litter (plastic bags, plastic bottles and beer cans). I tried not to let it ruin my day but just when I thought it could not get any worse, I saw a bunch of young kids taking their sodas and beers then throwing the cans in the river! It is very unfortunate though that the county government of Kiambu has not put up any dustbin / waste disposal point. I believe this, together with   DO NOT LITTER signs would make a significant difference.   I also hope with the plastic ban, there will be a bit of change.

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Part of the litter gang and a result of their work below

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A close up of the falls

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Jose was very patient with us as we posed for the best photos. We then crossed over to Machakos County through a wobbly bridge. Ps you have to pay 20 shilling to use this bridge if you do not have a guide.

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View from the bridge

We walked through the rocks, jumped over puddles and sometimes had to slide through very strong currents under Jose’s excellent guidance. At some point I was afraid the water would carry me over the cliff and was screaming my lungs out. My adrenaline was pumping but the view from the top was worth every struggle.  I took some of my best photos here… landscape, trees, people and young love. This would be a good spot for a date on a budget while connecting with nature.

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View from the top
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Young love

I could go on and on. My verdict, this was a great day but you need a very open mind so as to not get lost in everything that is wrong with the management of the fourteen falls. From some of the comments I read on trip advisor, the area needs a serious make over.  One review says the place stinks, is full of rubbish and has very expensive guides…apparently this person was charged KES. 4500.  Another review notes that the place needs a sitting area, restaurant, washrooms and safety equipment.

We left just before Sunset with a promise to be back hoping to find a better place driving my awesome car.

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Snapshot

  • The entrance fee is KES. 100.00. If you decide to use a guide you will pay extra depending on your negotiation skills.
  • This place is not child friendly
  • The location’s review on magical Kenya page is a joke I know your target is the international tourist but please let us be real! Check it out
  • The fourteen falls are part of Athi River (second longest river in Kenya 390 km) which drains into the Indian Ocean as river Sabaki/Galana river.
  • If you ever go here and need an excellent guide call Jose 0796541283

 

Thank you for reading . Please leave a comment and until next time… Do not litter, avoid disposable plastics but if you must use them dispose them properly.

Love always

Mukuhi

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A WILD SUNDOWNER

Sunset

Pour me a sunset, kill the night and I promise to drink with you forever.

     William G. Herman

 

Hello my people,

Have you ever had an experience so surreal you cannot put it in words? Well that is how I feel as I post this about my recent game drive at sundown at my favorite park. You guessed right… Olpejeta! I have written about it before on All hail the marsh, our cheeky relatives and what we lost along the way.

On this game drive, I only covered a small radius of the 90,000 acre conservancy and below a few photos that best summarize my experience. I hope you like them  and if you would like to visit the conservancy, which I believe you should, here is a summary of what to expect:

  1. Unlike many parks in this region, Olpejeta is open to the locals anytime…no appointment needed.
  2. It is the only place in Kenya with Chimpanzees
  3. It is home to all the big five
  4. The paths are clearly marked so with or without a guide, you can figure your way around
  5. It is the biggest black rhino sanctuary in East africa
  6. It is home to the world’s last three northern white rhinos (1 male &2 females)

For more information on more activities, accommodation and park fees check out their website. 

Until the next one,

leave a comment

Love & love

Mukuhi

 

 

Egyptian goose with her brood
An Egyptian goose & her brood
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A lioness by the road

Lioness 1

Sacred ibis
The sacred Ibis
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Southern white rhinos

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S white rhinos 1

S white rhino portrait

 

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A giraffe silhouette

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A giraffe silhouette at a watering point
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The spotted hyena giving me the side eye

Spotted hyena bonding 2

Spotted hyena at sunset
Colors of nature!

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giraffe and hyena portrait
#thehyena #thegiraffe one shot

 

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sunset dance because why not?

 

 

NEW FRIENDS AND HAPPY PLACES

Landscape view

We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.

Hello there,

It has been a minute but not too long I  hope. I don’t wan t to make excuses today so lets get right into it. In 2015 I made a terrible mistake ( story for another day) but in all that mess I met a great girl who was to become my friend (also story for another day).  Through this friend, I met another friend who was super excited about running the LEWA marathon 2017. We had only met virtually but we agreed that we would hang out after the marathon. So I found myself on the road to Isiolo very early Sunday morning ready for an adventure to unknown destinations with a person I had never met.

Grevy Zebra

 

Isiolo is the last town you would expect to find a traffic jam but on this day, a Sunday, the traffic was probably worse than that of the great Nairobi. The same happened when I was going to Marsabit ( read about that here). Maybe Isiolo doesn’t want me to drive through too fast.  So here I was with two complete strangers headed to destination unknown in the great Samburu county. We made our way to Buffalo springs national reserve and went straight to the swimming pool at Samburu Simba lodge.

The pool

I don’t know about you but this is a perfect spot to spend a day, say on a blind date and have conversations with even more strangers who are on vacation from different parts of the world.  What made it even better is that we did not have to take a game drive to look for the wildlife… wildlife came to us.

ELes and baboons

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Elephants vs baboons

Those who know me know I  love  elephants so having a herd of elephants grazing by the pool must have been the highlight of my day. I witnessed an elephant bullying a grevy zebra and I thought it was being mean but turns out it had a little calf probably less that two months. I am no expert in estimating wildlife’s age but it was really tiny.

On the way out, I was lucky to see a number of  oryx (by the way what is the proper name for it?) It is one of the species that are only found  in arid parts of Africa above the equator.

the oryx with a viewOryx potrait

we also made a stop at the springs which are weirdly clean despite the fact that there is no visible outlet. Unfortunately I was too focused on taking photos of me and my now friends (no longer blind dates) that I forgot to take a picture of the springs.

Snapshot

  1. Buffalo springs national reserve is located between Isiolo and Archers post and  is managed by the county government of Samburu
  2. Entrance fee is Kes. 500.00 for Kenyan citizens
  3. You can also access Samburu national reserve from here without having to pay park entrance fee again
  4. There is a variety of lodges to choose from for meals and swimming… we were at the Samburu Simba lodge
  5. You will need a 4WD… the roads are quite rough.

 

We had an amazing experience there and I would totally recommend it. Samburu is waiting for you.

Until next time, go find your adventure, tembea Kenya and don’t be afraid to go on adventurous blind dates… It could turn out to be your best day.

A big thank you to Maryanne, Tom and Christine. you made my day!

 

Leave a comment.

Love always

Mukuhi

ON TO THE NORTH

WELCOME 2

 

The earth has music for those who listen

William Shakespeare.

When I started this blog about a year and a half ago, I was looking for a platform that would allow me to share my love for nature, wildlife and photography and hopefully use the three to promote conservation education and a general appreciation for the world’s beauty. Taking stock a year and a half later, I have to admit I haven’t posted as much as I originally planned. Sometimes I write in my head but it never translates to an actual published post…blame it on trying to balance a full time job and using every spare moment of my life travelling somewhere in this country (Excuses excuses).  I sure hope the few posts I have managed to publish have in a small way fulfilled my goal.

Going through my photos made me realize I am a chronic hoarder. Most of my space is taken up by photos from all the places I have been but never shared. Taking photos is all fun and games until it gets to the sorting and editing part… then I switch off. So I have decided to get back on the writing/ sharing  bandwagon and hopefully keep doing it on reasonably regular basis by sharing one of my most epic trip this year to Marsabit. I have always wanted to go there but I guess the uncertainty of what lies ahead has always held me back until I read the Kenyan campers series on Northern Kenya.  Unlike him, my trip was rather spontaneous since the plan was hatched 2 days before it happened. One day to the trip, my friend was chickening out  but I gave him my positive vibes speech that nothing bad happens to me; which means nothing bad would happen to him as we ventured into this strange land.

On a Saturday afternoon after winding up in the office, the adventure began at 2.30 PM. We cruised through familiar territories from Nanyuki, through the beautiful farms in Timau  all the way to Archer’s post.  That is as far as any of us had  ever been before so after Archer’s, we were all in the dark as to what lay ahead. That road is not referred to as the great north road for nothing. It is in my opinion the best piece of tarmac in this country…well done President Kibaki, well done.  We had our first stop over near Mount  Ololokwe also known as Ol Donyo Sabache in Samburu county. The traffic on this road is non existent so you can take pretty good photos from here without the fear of some car ruining your shot. In the words of #Thekenyancamper ” This road has so few cars that when you come across one you just take a photo…It is an event!”. You can also do cat wheels if you wish. As for getting the camera settings right for harsh day light photography depending on what time you travel  is a story for another day.

Before  I digress further, the drive was quite scenic  thanks to the amazing Matthews ranges, Mount Ololokwe and the Nkadoru Murto (Cat and mouse rock formation). You may have come across some amazing aerial shots of this online. We got to Marsabit at around 6.30. Can you believe that? Truth is we were driving  at a constant speed of 160/170 km/h ( Don’t tell NTSA).

I really wanted to visit Marsabit National park but we were turned away at Ahmed gate because apparently the rains were coming and we would get stuck even if we had a 4WD. Thank you KWS ranger for breaking my heart like that and giving me a reason to come back.

Here are a few highlights on the trip to Marsabit and then I will let some of the photos I took tell the rest of the story for me.

  1. Carry a lot of water. It is very hot on the road.
  2. Do not be fooled, Marsabit is a cold cold town…pack your sweaters people.
  3. Lots of people asking for water on the road but since you can’t be sure if they are genuine or not… keep driving
  4. Apparently the roads in Marsabit National park are not well maintained so if that is on your list of places to visit plan your trip during the dry season.
  5. There are strong winds crossing the road as you approach Marsabit…watch out for that and be careful

I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.

John Burroughs

Until the next one

Love and more love

leave a comment

Mukuhi Wanjohi

SCENIC VIEWS 2
Beauty in motion

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WELCOME TO MARSABIT 2
Drive way to Marsabit town

THE FINAL STRETCH 2THE FOREST

SUNSET TREE 2
The sunset…
TRAFIC 2
The traffic
THE STERLING 2
Only in Northern Kenya

OPEN ROADS 2

RAINBOW SUNSET 2
My rainbow sunset
PROJECTS
projects projects
DRY RIVER BEDS 2
One of the dry rivers-Serollivi
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Mount Ololokwe

SCENES

 

 

POSITIVE  VIBES  FROM  LAIKIPIA  

Nature always wears the color of the spirit and nature comes in different forms…trees, animals,  sky etc etc… Over the last couple of months I have been out and about in Laikipia North which in my opinion holds some of the most beautiful and unexplored landscapes in this country.

I say this because lately, there has been a lot of negative buzz on Laikipia because of the illegal land invasions and general lawlessness in the area.  I have read most commentaries and opinions on the matter which are Unfortunately biased because some of these writers  have either never ventured  into these parts of Laikipia or  have lived here long enough to have a one sided opinion.
Any who,  I don’t want to get into the politics surrounding the whole issue, what I can do is share the beauty that awaits you in this remote part of Kenya once the dust has settled.  Trust me if you are a nature/ wildlife lover you will want to put this in your Kenyan adventure bucket list

Here are a few photos from Oljogi conservancy in Laikipia North from a few weeks back.

Until next time

Love & love

Mukuhi

Mr Eagle
Owl
Toucan
The crested crane
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Mr. Lion
Cheetah
Mr. Bear
The elephants

Mr. Very old leopard
Gulley erosion in a snap shot
And a cow /hardy cow
Wild dogs

Proudly_laikipian

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Sunrise -Mpala Research Centre

Hello,

It has been a moment since I  posted because lately my day job has been a little more demanding than usual. Despite that,  I must say that 2016 has been a great year since it started on such a high with the great Grevy’s Rally, a  two day action filled adventure and my cameras first serious gig.

I have embraced the quote “Every year visit a place you have not visited before.”    I attended the Lewa Marathon for the first time  (as a spectator),  I went to Archers post (first time in samburu County) and the most memorable visit was to Loisaba conservancy which is tucked  away in the ‘middle of no where’ in Laikipia North.  I can bet not many people know this place exists.

In my two part post,  I would like to share a few photos from my few trips around Laikipia in the hope that they will awaken your spirit of adventure and  a desire to conserve these amazing gifts of nature in Laikipia and the rest of Kenya.

Here is todays installment of beautiful Laikipia.

Until the next one,

Lots of love

Mukuhi 😍

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The great rock of Ilpolei
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Chimpanzee grooming session -Olpejeta Conservancy
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The great Kudu – Loisaba conservancy
Illiegal grazing - Loisaba
Herd of cattle illegally grazing – Loisaba conservancy
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Elephant March – Loisaba conservancy
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Ostrich and landscape -Loisaba conservancy
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Open grass lands -Loisaba conservancy
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The amazing Mount Kenya at Sunrise – Nanyuki