I am told that decades ago in caves the Masai would make poison arrows using local herbs. By boiling the herbs until it created a paste then applied the paste to arrow heads just before going out for hunting expeditions.
This poison is known as SEKUT.
Our journey begun at 6 a.m. One of my fellow trekkers, Jai, had forgotten his house keys and had to go back. So the rest of the group decided to have a coffee at Java coffee while waiting . This pushed back our departure time to 7 a.m. The drive down is very scenic. After approximately 2 hours we drove past Kisames town and headed for the valley where our guide, James was waiting to take us to base. It’s preferred that you have a good four-wheel drive because of the loose rubble and rock. After a short drive we arrived at Seyal camp, a lovely get away put together by Rob and Lindsey McEntire at the foot of Mount Olesekut.
I wished I had organised to spend a night there. As it truly is a magnificent creation to the point that you forget about the polluted city-life. And start to embrace ‘the true’ Kenya where the sound of birds and fresh air surround you. Breathing fresh life into the tired soul.
Our guide James, was so gracious to take the group through the scenic route. He even shared the names and explained the usages for several herbs growing alongside the mountain. The background provides a view of Mount Olegasaile and Ngong Hills. Olesekut lies right at the center of this rocky, beautiful paradise. Rock climbers would be well pleased with a visit here. You could not possibly exhaust all the climbing options it provided by Mount Olesekut.
I did not realize I was traveling with super athletes it only took us 1 hour 45 minutes to scale the mountain to the summit. Michael is training to do the super hike which is 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada, Jai has climbed Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro and his wife run 400 kilometers in 2 weeks! Then there is me… I prayed for them all…..
Reaching the summit is the moment we looked forward to seeing, despite the overcast. The valley stretches out into an attraction of green landscape with deep ridges. The hillside is surrounded by gigantic rocks so carefully superimposed by nature. And I would be negligent if I failed to mention the zebras, who grazed peacefully on fresh shrubs. Indeed it was worth the short drive out-of-town this is a place unexplored–a secret haven.
The amazing beauty of Samburu is worth the long drive out-of-town which takes about seven hours with one stop over at Nanyuki.
The roads are done to perfection which makes the drive down all the more enjoyable. I could have gone with my little Suzuki and we would still have made it just fine.
Ol donyo Sabache is located on Namunyak Conservancy it emerges from the centre of the desert plains like a fine work of art correctly put in place to complement the sight and sounds of the landscape.
Sabache eco-camp is not what I expected, upon arrival all I saw was little huts I had been told of a spectacular ecological hotel but the simplicity of it all was shocking though for campers it is all you need. I had two Masai guards help me set up tent they proved to be of great help throughout the stay. The morning greeted us with great joy and the mountains embraced us as we started our climb to the top.
I tried to keep up with our guide Olole he just seemed to bounce off the ground with long easy strides. The group from Mountain Club of Kenya was great for company the conversation made the steep,rocky climb interesting. Half way through the journey I caught sight of elephant tracks, how I wished I could have seen them. It took four hours to get to the top, as some members of our team had suffered bad sports-related injuries and had to take it slow.
The summit presents to you breath-taking scenery, I paused to ask how such beauty could possibly exist with a view that extends over Sera and Kalama Conservancies. Carefully laid and crafted smooth rock for a floor painted in shades of brown, black and grey–it truly is a sight to behold. As I lay on this natural warm bed my thoughts wandered to a safe place of peace, serenity and hope for a better tomorrow. I was quickly awakened by hunger seeing as everyone was munching away, I had nothing lesson learned always carry a small back pack in case of anything.
A decision was made to abandon our quest to camp on the summit and make our way down to base camp. The darkness started to set in and the rain was coming down hard, the cold set in so you can tell our excitement when we heard the sound of the donkeys braying as we descended but upon reaching us they confirmed what we all knew was inevitable they were soaking wet! All the food, clothes, tents were drenched there were no two ways about it we had to make it down in the storm.
A thick dark cloud cover came over us and our Samburu friends were visibly getting sick all they wore were shukas and the cold was getting to them.We tried our best to help drive the donkeys with them but half-way through they had enough and refused to move this means everyone had to carry their own luggage and continue the long trek with the burden of luggage, it did not help that mine was the heaviest it really took a toll on my already injured ankle.
Our torches begun to run dim those of us with the more sophisticated ones were leading up front. The struggle was really for those with injuries the constant falls, slips and slides talk of adventure we were right in the middle of a live movie.
I cannot explain my excitement when I finally saw my car at the base camp I hugged her like a soldier back from war, we did not have a change of clothes everything was drenched and nowhere to sleep as our tents were dripping so we decided to make do with our cars. I still do not know how people sleep in cars I tried all positions but failed miserably so I decided to sit up and count stars till first light.
I was the first one up since I did not sleep I found some Samburu elders sitting round a fire and I joined them as they told tales of beloved Samburu. I heard how the elephant family was right next to us as we came down the mountain maybe too afraid of the moving light but they quickly came on to the path after we passed thank God.
The young Samburu boy was left up the mountain all night with the donkeys to protect them this was like a right of passage he had to show himself strong as protector.
They soon went to fetch him and when they reached camp his peers congratulated him. I gave him a jar of yoghurt and my lunch box of sausages he was well pleased I wish I could have done more.
I soon started up my Pajero Galloper she had consumed illicit “brew” from the local petrol station. I regretted fueling there but after a few chugs she started fine and we left Ololokwe the sacred mountain of the Samburu that speaks of things yet to be heard.
I have often heard of journeys for self-discovery, if you are at this junction in your life visit Chyulu Hills in Tsavo.
The journey from Nairobi is a four-hour drive. And while the trucks on Mombasa Road are a nightmare the beautiful scenery will soon make you forget the agony of constantly trying to overtake the trucks. The locals in Tsavo (Chyulu Hills) are not aware of the beautiful hills in their backyard. We spent 20-minutes asking for directions and being turned around. Kenya Wildlife Service should do more to promote local tourism.
Chyulu National Park is well kept but the drive to the bottom of the hill takes about one hour on a road full of big rocks, lose rubble and over grown vegetation so a good four wheel drive car is necessary. When you least expect it, before your eyes appears an endless series of green lush vegetation rich with wildlife such as buffalos, antelopes and bush babies—even elephants but unfortunately we did not see any on our drive.
The hills in Chyulu are like a painting carefully crafted by a master artist who has been hard at work for decades. How could such amazing beauty exist in the heart of this community?! Hidden and tucked away like a secret garden waiting to be discovered.
A visit to the caves was the highlight of our adventure. The winds and bends are enveloped by massive boulders, clothed in pitch darkness kept us well entertained. Some amateur rock climbing experience is need when traversing through the cave.
These hills have a story to tell if you care to listen so when you reach the satellite summit cast your gaze upon the deep forested valleys. Take a moment with feel your troubles subside as you acknowledge there is one greater master creator of all.
After trekking, we returned to setup camp for the night. We chose to avoid the traditional campsite because the ranger explained how elephants often trampled through the camp at night in search of water. On our journey home the next day we paid a quick visit to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Umani Springs (a four natural spring in Tsavo National Park) as they both were on our route as we returned to Nairobi. Continue reading “Chyulu Hills”→
It is Saturday, March 4 at 5:30 am and we assemble again ready to do, what we do best –conquer the mountains.
Mount Olorgesailie is the mountain that we will climb today. At 1,760m high we all thought it would be a walk in the park. After reading online reviews, we were prepared for a 4 hour trek. We had no idea that the journey would take our team 9 hours to complete! This mountain and climb was very deceiving.
When you arrive to the park the climb looks easy and the mountain peak seems as though it is only a stone throw away. As you start the trek you see the amazing views that the park as to offer. It’s beauty whispers sweet melodies to you. Then you realize that amongst the beauty a beast awaits you.
We were impressed with our 60-year-old guide who was dressed in a full suit and safari boots. He made the climb look like child’s play. During the hike through the dry river bed we met Mzee Kobe, a old tortoise. Mzee Kobe was approximately100 years old, and he was not afraid of our presence.
This climb was a mix of sweet and sour. You will amazed by the beauty of Olorgesailie but the trek to the peak is difficult. Once we reached the peak (though exhausted) the winds of satisfaction blew on the champion Shujaas.
Oldonyo Sabuk, Love that name if for nothing else!
Oldonyo is located just past Thika town. It has great scenery and we had good early morning start at 5.30am and begin trekking at 7.30am, beating the heat of the morning sun.
This mountain is a deceptively easy climb you don’t realise how far up you have gone with the steep narrow foot paths and the wide dirt roads, that provide a good way for a group to walk together and engage in conversation.
I heard tails of a leopard so I kept my eyes peeled open but I “spotted ” none….
The summit is rather disappointing with no view the shock of this made us almost want to create one.
Our guard Rebecca was fantastic she was calm, cool, and collected. She made the hike enjoyable and just like a good action movie.
The sleeping warrior did not disappoint us! A great ride out of town towards Kikopey and immediately we were greeted by the vast expanse of Delamere’s ranch.
There are two hills here the Warrior and Ugali hills, located next to the beautiful cottage that offers a comfortable stay and snacks for hikers.
The hike starts with the highest peak and in 10 minutes you can feel your leg muscles engaging before slowly opening up to the amazing scene of Elementeita lake and Delamere’s ranch at the Peak.
The most amazing moment was being up close to buffalos and watching the gazelles grazing with the sight and sounds of rare bird species.
Reaching the top of elephant hill at around 3600 Meters was a good start to our new year. With 3 cars loaded up of eager trekkers we started at the ranger hut at 2500 Meters hiking for several hours to the summit. The weather was on our side during the Kenya Dry season with little rain. Our guide Jackson was great and we all shared snacks and stories on the way up. We all made it up the hill and were tired and happy at the end of the day. Upon our return we started planning our next hike, Sleeping warrior
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