A Bracelet For The Outdoors Badass!

If you are a true adventure enthusiast, you will agree that life in the outdoors is no fashion show, but there is a modish bracelet out there that will be seen wrapped around the hands of experienced outdoors-men like Bear Grylls. This bracelet not only looks good, but makes you the outdoors ultimate badass and could also save lives!

Get one of these babies and be a true outdoors badass!

What are we talking about? The multi-functional Paracord bracelets! We have all probably seen these bracelets as they have now become mainstream, with many people sporting them. Most people wear paracord bracelets as a fashion statement. What I need you to know is that these bracelets are not only swanky, but also very handy in instances of having to survive in the wild!

These bracelets are crafted from 3 to 6 meters of the same nylon cord that has been used as suspension lines in parachutes since World War II!

These survival bracelets have proven to be an essential item for any badass adventurer. 🙂

Check out some of the outdoor uses of these 5 in 1 gadgets;

The truth is that a majority of those who wear paracord bracelets will most likely never deploy them in a true survival situation, but as we always say while in the wild; it is better to be ready than sorry! So what is the “survival” part of a 5 in 1 paracord bracelet?

1. Get Your Direction Right! Are you going out to hike a new trail? It is definitely important to have your directions right. These bracelets come with an in-built Military Grade Embedded Compass for precise orientation. To serve you best in the rough of the wild, the compass is abrasion resistant and waterproof!

2. Make A Distress Call! Many dangers lurk in the outdoors and any adventurer should be able to make a distress call whenever caught up in a dangerous situation. In the event of an immobilizing injury, or when lost in the wild, there is no need to sit on a rock and cry. Be an outdoors badass and use the survival bracelet whistle! Blow three loud blasts in quick succession to alert those around you that you need some help. This badass whistle can be heard miles away!

3. Keep Warm or Roast Some Prey! Whenever out in the wild, a fire is one of the most important things to have. Simply put, no campsite will be a campsite without a fire. Whether it is a fire to keep warm, ward off wild animals or send a smoke signal, how about you be an adventure badass and make it using the fire steel and fire striker that comes with your 5 in 1 survival bracelet?

4. Cut Through It! Ever held a tin of beef or sardines in your hand ready to eat after a long hike, only to realize that you forgot the tin cutter right on your bed as you packed? The 5 in 1 survival bracelet will save you from hurtling back to the stone age as it comes with a neat mini-saw or cutter, and you would not need to bludgeon your tin with a rock to access it’s contents! The stainless steel mini knife is zigzag shaped and sharp enough to cut through ropes as well. You can swim or shower with it as it is rust resistant!

The stainless mini knife tucks away neatly into the buckle of the survival bracelet. The compass is set right on top of it for easy access

5. Rope It Up! The main component of a 5in 1 survival bracelet is the 2 to 6 meters paracord. This is a badass rope made of several clusters of nylon fibers which makes it rot and mildew resistant! It is known to hold weight as high as 250kg without snapping, which is the reason it is used in parachutes as it can withstand the force exerted when they launch.

An outdoors badass backpack made from paracord, sticks and a raincoat!

Once the paracord in the bracelet is unraveled, one’s imagination is the only limit to the number of uses it has! Adventurers can use this cord for hacks as simple as replacing a broken boot lace, to building traps for prey if lost and in dire need for food.

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Adventurers can use this cord for hacks as simple as replacing a broken boot lace

Other uses of the paracord include;

  • Making a shelter – This taut rope can be used to hold together branches while putting up a make-shift shelter to survive a cold night in the wild.
  • Making splint for a broken limb – If you or one of your fellow adventurers breaks a limb while in the outdoors, a paracord can be wrapped around two pieces of wood, to hold the injured limb together until you get to a health facility for specialized care.
  • Use the inner strands as fishing line – One can tear the outer covering of the paracord and pull out single nylon strands which can be tied to a tensile stick or rod to build a fishing rod!
  • Making a perimeter trip line for warning – Paracord can be tied around a selected campsite to act as a ‘fence’ to keep off intruders as well as act an alarm system should anyone or anything opt to trespass.

Get one of these babies and be a true outdoors badass!

Christmas is around the corner, so if your boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, mum or dad is an adventurer, how about you make them a badass adventurer by ordering one of these natty bracelets for them? You can also get cool with your own paracord bracelet and be well on your way to conquering the outdoors!

Place your order(s): njuguna06mash@gmail.com, +254 720734201

 

Happy New Year, Beach!

“I love this beach!”

That is what he said before he proceeded to do crazy back flips on her. He eventually stopped from exhaustion, and a glint of immense excitement seemed to have permanently patched on his face. He sipped his beer as his chest heaved heavily. He proceeded to dance on her. There was no guessing how much fun he was having with her! Like many before him, she had him in her grip. She of enchanting beauty and from a lineage of exquisite world renowned beaches, played host to us on new year’s eve. Her name is Kendwa beach!

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I loved Zanzibar!

A week before we left Nairobi, I had a meeting with Mukhtar The Head Adventurer at Bunduz. Typical of his meticulous self, he took me through every detail of the 10 day road trip from Nairobi to Zanzibar and back. He mapped out the route we would use and the hotels we would stay in. I had to give it up to him on his knowledge of adventure trails and how he leaves nothing to chance in his planning. I however blame him for not warning us of how much fun we would have on this round road trip that would see us leave Nairobi, go through Arusha, Dare-salaam and on to Zanzibar, before proceeding to Diani, and eventually back to Nairobi.

Arif Huseein and Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz confer at the Namanga border

Arif Husein and Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz confer at the Namanga border

Adventure is part of me, I love it and I preach it. I can tell when one is getting a raw deal and when it is worth every dime. This year’s end of year road trip was one of a difference. How you know that a company is mature in it’s trade, is by the options it offers it’s clients. Bunduz definitely did impress me on this one. They have moved away from the traditional way of delivering an adventure package where everyone is bundled into a truck or a van and driven off to the set destination. Bunduz set out the adventure route and gave the adventurers a choice of the activities they wanted to take part in, and on how they wanted to travel. They had the options of the overland truck, land-cruisers and a package for motorbike enthusiasts who wanted to soak in all the fun with wind blowing in their hair 🙂 Talk of diversity!

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All set to leave Nairobi for the 10 day, action packed road trip!

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Adventurers inside the Bunduz overland truck

When we started writing on adventure, only a few Kenyans were interested. Going by the numbers that signed up this time, I can confidently say that the culture of adventure is fast growing among Kenyans of all ages!

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Riders couldn’t help but silently admire the overland truck

From scenic foreign towns, to pristine beaches offering an escape from the busy city life, to those action-packed with thrilling water sports, parties and adventure; there was plenty of options for anyone looking to spend the end of year in style!

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A beautiful road from Nairobi on our way to Arusha

One border, 273Km later we were at the base of the volcanic Mt. Meru in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. The cosmopolitan town which acts as a tourists center for those on expeditions to Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, as well as Ngorongoro had loads to offer. Adventurers were informed of the activities available for the next day as they enjoyed dinner. Later that night we sampled the town’s night life. I will not divulge into that, but the beat complemented the drinks and inspired the moves! Arusha dance. (video)

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Arusha, here we come!

Early the next morning, some of the adventurers set out on a game drive and tour of the world renowned Ngorongoro Conservation Area which lies 180Km West of Arusha. This crater being one of the world’s most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries, boasts of unparalleled beauty. Some of the adventurers opted to explore the town of Arusha. I personally opted to visit a crafts project named Shanga that employs more than 55 physically challenged artists to produce high quality and unique handmade jewelry, glassware and decorative paintings from recycled material. The passion that those at Shanga put in their work can be felt as one takes a guided tour through the establishment. It is a landmark of the African resilience and will to win, despite the odds. It was started by one Saskia Rechsteiner back in 2007.

Meet Moshi, an artist who paints a personalized board of wildlife caricatures as you wait or enjoy lunch at Shanga

Meet Moshi, an artist who paints a personalized board of wildlife caricatures as you wait or enjoy lunch at Shanga

Adventurers shopping at the Shanga shop

Adventurers shopping at the Shanga shop

We also had the pleasure of visiting the little known Lake Duluti. The crater in which it is formed is a subsidiary vent of the Mt. Meru which towers 4,566m over the tranquil lake. The lake has water all year round. It is rumoured that Arusha plans to utilize the water to supply the entire town! The thick forest around the lake is habitat to snakes, monitor lizards, and a large number birds that can be heard chirping from the papyrus reeds.

The little known Lake Duluti, which is only 20 minute away from Arusha town

The little known Lake Duluti, which is only 20 minute away from Arusha town

From a Arusha, we hit a 600km stretch of good road into the former Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam. On our way, we drove along the imposing Usambara Ranges. I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel to clamber up the rocky faces of the range. Daar es Salaam, the city that grew from a small fishing village now stands beautiful and proud in its humble splendor. It is easy to notice that efforts have been put in place to give this city some order. I was pleasantly impressed by the organized bus system which has seen some roads set aside for use by the blue city buses and no other vehicles. The buses ply the city on an effective time schedule ferrying passengers who no longer have to carry cash, but an automated fare card to board the bus!

The imposing and beautiful Usamabara Ranges

The imposing and beautiful Usamabara Ranges

A short break while covering the several hundred miles to Dar es Salaam

A short break while covering the several hundred miles to Dar es Salaam

A peek from my hotel room in Dar. Notice the blue bus at the bottom.

A peek from my hotel room in Dar. Notice the blue bus at the bottom.

Dar es Salaam felt like being underneath a dump blanket inside a furnace! It was very hot and humid. The most conservative of dressers, found it difficult to stay covered up. Even when it drizzled like it did on our night of arrival, I couldn’t dress in more than just a vest and a pair of light cargo shorts.

Happy adventurers on our way to Dar!

Happy adventurers on our way to Dar!

By this time, all the adventurers knew each other and those of similar exploring interests had naturally gravitated to each other. As you walked down the hotel corridors or dug away at your meal in the restaurant, It was common place to hear murmurs of the activities people were looking forward to undertake in Zanzibar. After one night in Dar, we were on our way to Zanzibar which was to be the epitome of this tour!

It was a two hour ferry ride to Zazibar

The beautiful Dar es Salaam skyline from aboard the ferry to Zanzibar (video)

Bunduz made sure that we traveled in class to Zanzibar. A seat in the the clean, air conditioned, multi-decked ferry dubbed Kilimanjaro VI was a saviour from the coastal town heat. The engines roared, as passengers shuffled down the aisle to board the ultra-modern vessel. An announcement and a departure honk later, the Dar es Salaam beautiful shoreline was fast drawing away from us as the vessel gracefully tore through the Indian Ocean waves. The mood on the ferry was alive and celebratory. Cheerful murmurs were audible as travelers chatted away. I opted to travel on the top deck taking in the view of the turquoise blue water and enjoying the breeze. Some travelers cupped their faces in their palms clearly afraid of sea travel, clutching onto their sick bags just in case their breakfast opted out, others pointed and clicked their cameras randomly in all the directions of the compass, while others plugged in their earphones and hummed to tunes totally oblivious or uninterested of where we were. We were soon out in the open blue sea, no land and no other vessels in sight other than the occasional fishing boat which seemed so tiny and appeared like pins on a giant blue pin cushion. Two hours later, we docked in Zanzibar and the 25$ ferry trip felt worth every dime!

Aboard Kilimanjaro VI, heading to Zanzibar

Aboard Kilimanjaro VI, heading to Zanzibar

A ferry leaving Dar for Zanzibar

A ferry leaving Dar for Zanzibar

Karibu Zanzibar!

Karibu Zanzibar!

Beautiful Zanzibar shoreline!

Beautiful Zanzibar shoreline! (vid)

Zanzibar is a laid back country that is also quite strict about maintaining and conserving its environment in the most natural state. On arrival, the customs officers who stamped our passports on entry also checked our luggage for any polythene bags as they are not allowed into the country. I always find it very encouraging when a country takes its environment seriously. While in Zanzibar, I felt silly to have thought Dar es Salaam was hot! This was the epi-center of the heat!

This was to be home for next couple of days!

This was to be home for next couple of days!

Zanzibar is a bucket list destination for most if not all world travelers! The number of activities and places available to visit left us wishing we had more time in this semi-autonomous part of Tanzania. A tour of the stone town with its Arab traders footprint of narrow streets, minarets and artistically carved doorways takes one back back to the history rich 18th century. For the strong at heart, a tour of the slave chambers can be taken. Seeing the chains and the poor conditions the slaves were held in after capture and before they were taken to the market for auctioning. Some of the adventurers took a tour through the spice island where they were shown the plants from which various spices are made from. The most sought after spices on this tour happen to be ginger and nutmeg, I would love to tell you why, but I would like more if you got to hear it from the horse’s mouth when you take the spice tour 🙂

Happy to have taken the spice tour

Happy to have taken the spice tour. by D.Kola

Chains in the slave chmabers

Chains in the slave chambers. By Steven Kim

Our stay in Zanzibar would not have been complete without an excursion out in the sea aboard a dhow. We took a day tour of the Mnemba Island and its marine life rich surroundings. The clear blue water allowed one to see the little dunes formed by waves on the white sand at the bottom of the sea. It was not strange to catch a glimpse of a solitude fish or shoal of them swimming and minding their own business. It looked so easy do, and we were here to experience the marine life, be at one with the creatures of sea. However, due to our human limitations in water, we had to settle for snorkeling. Others who have more endurance and experience in the water opted to scuba dive. Our vessel of choice was dubbed the Seafari and our Captain ‘Eddie Murphy’. 🙂

Boarding Seafari for a day excursion to Mnemba Island

Boarding Seafari for a day excursion to Mnemba Island

Our Captain 'Eddie Murphy' gives us a brief before departure

Our Captain ‘Eddie Murphy’ gives us a brief before departure

A young adventurer all set to snorkel

A young adventurer all set to snorkel

Zanzibar is a diver's heaven!

Zanzibar is a diver’s heaven!

Let's go, flipper!

Let’s go, flipper!

Beauty out at sea in Zanzibar

Beauty out at sea in Zanzibar

We later traveled to the Nungwi area of Zanzibar to Kendwa beach where the ultimate jump off party was set to be held. All the roads led to Kendwa Rocks, an establishment that holds an electric new years party, year in year out. The popularity of this party was evident from the number of people that thronged the beach. There were revelers from Kenya, South Africa and other parts of the world! The ladies dressed to impress and the fellows spent to make a ‘kill’ 😉 The loud music tore through the air and people danced the night away. I took a walk to the beach and it was refreshing to see couples sitting in the sand, sharing bottles of wine as they waited to usher in the new year watching the lazy waves break on the white sandy shore. 5… 4… 3… 2…1.. the crowd counted, and at the strike of midnight we were treated to a spectacular fireworks show! “Happy New Year!” Everybody shouted as they jumped around in joy! As I sipped my chilled beer underneath the velvety star studded sky, I prayed that this energy and beauty would carry on through out 2017!

Beach party at Kendwa Rocks, Zanzibar!

Beach party at Kendwa Rocks, Zanzibar!

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!!! (video)

As if seeking to overdose on beach therapy, we left Zanzibar, made a slight stopover in Dar es Salaam before heading out to the Kenyan South Coast by road. Our next stop was Diani beach! On the scenic route down from Dar to Tanga and through the Lunga Lunga border I could see adventurers going through the photographs they had taken in Zanzibar, and recapping on the escapades they had at Kendwa.

A beautiful diversion off the main highway in Tanzania, cut to allow road recarpeting

A beautiful diversion off the main highway in Tanzania, cut to allow road repair works

We arrived in Diani, Kenya a few hours into the night. Not much could be done as most of us were tired from the day’s journey and some were looking forward to undertaking more action packed activities on the next day. After dinner, some retired early while others opted to experience what the Diani nightlife had to offer. Early the next day, a bunch of us left for a day excursion at the Wasini area of South Coast. The trip saw them go to the unspoiled Kisite Mpunguti marine park which lies in the coral gardens, protects marine life and acts as a breeding ground for migratory birds. As was witnessed in this occasion, it is not rare to spot a school of dolphins swimming and sometimes playing in a way to enchant the visitors to this part of the Indian Ocean!

Understandably, some of the adventurers opted to rest in at the beautiful hotel (Amani Tiwi Beach Resort) where we were putting up. Walking the long white beach, relaxing in the beautiful swimming pool and sipping cocktails from the pool bar, or pampering self at the hotel’s spa were some of the activities they opted to indulge in.

Cheers from the pool bar! Amani Tiwi Beach Resort

Cheers from the pool bar! Amani Tiwi Beach Resort

Amani Tiwi Beach Resort, a true gm on the Kenyan South Coast!

Amani Tiwi Beach Resort, a true gm on the Kenyan South Coast!

The culmination of this tour was by some adrenaline junkies who found it fit to jump 15,000ft out of a perfectly well running plane flown by a sober and able pilot! The Diani Skydive is the company of ‘crazies’ that has people scrambling for a chance to take on this fear-conquering feat. It was difficult to actually get a slot at this time of year. Bunduz had to call Diani Skydive in advance to book the slots! We were greeted by an air of busy fellows and ladies, all in easy wear branded in their company colours. One guy was on his laptop working on the videos of those that had jumped earlier in the day, another was on his hand held radio coordinating the jumps, while another lady welcomed us to the lounge area. Despite them being busy, it was clear that they all enjoyed what they do! Kudos Diani Sky Dive!

Adventurers getting instructions on the best position to enjoy a tandem jump fully

Adventurers getting instructions on the best position to enjoy a tandem jump fully

The jumpers were advised to maintain a ‘happy-banana’ pose and cooperate with their tandem jump instructors to avoid a bumpy or rough free fall from the sky. After the short introduction session, the jumpers were strapped to their skydive gear and off they were whisked to a nearby airstrip for the take off.

Gear on, brave faces on and ready to skydive!

Gear on, brave faces on and ready to skydive!

A mother and two daughters took on the skydive challenge by the horns!

The adventurous Alulu Zain  and her two daughters took on the skydive challenge by the horns!

On the beach, other adventurers had an awesome time relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery as they waited to cheer those that were landing from the skydiving. A large T shaped mark made from red cloth was on the beach to guide the jumpers on where to land their parachutes. After a short while they started appearing in the sky as minute objects falling, and eventually open parachutes were visible slowly gliding through the humid air to the beach below.

A landing straight on the red mark!

A landing straight on the red mark!

The ten days action packed road trip that saw us travel extensively through Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar was now coming to an end. The spirits were high and I knew we had all made a good decision to start the year with such a bang! As has been custom and typical of the Bunduz crew, this was another exhilarating, well organized and fun filled adventure! It is a little early in the year, but I would be lying if I said I am not already looking forward to the next Bunduz adventure plan, which should be going down soon! I will certainly keep you posted.. 🙂

Adios from the pack of adventurers that rocked the 10 days Bunduz road trip 2016/2017!

Adios from the pack of adventurers that rocked the 10 days Bunduz road trip 2016/2017!

Adventure: 10 days Road Trip; Nairobi – Arusha – Dar es Salaam – Zanzibar – Dar es Salaam – Diani – Nairobi

Distance Covered: Approximately 2,200km

Organizer: Bunduz, Mukhtar Sidi

Documentary & Photography by: Macharia Njuguna

Some Places To Stay: Venus Premier Hotel (Arusha), RainBow Hotel (Dar es Salaam), Zanzibar Beach Resort (Zanzibar), Amani Tiwi Beach Resort (Diani, Kenya)

Run Wild; Lewa Marathon 2016

“I have been running 26km every week since March, in readiness for this marathon! Grueling is what the terrain was, and the sweltering heat didn’t make it any easier; thank heavens for the misting stations along the trail! I am tired to the bone, but hey, it’s all for a good cause!” Said Fred after finishing the Run Wild Run For The Wild 2016 Lewa Marathon.

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On the road from Nairobi, I traveled with a bunch of happy, singing Hashers all set to take part in a marathon that has made it to the world’s list of top ten ‘must do’ marathons. The Lewa Marathon is revered in the world of runners as one of the toughest marathons in the world! Knowing this, I figured that the pomp and dance the Hashers had was something in the lines of a war-dance conjured to imply courage as they forged forward to the war; The 2016 Lewa Marathon!

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There’s never a dull day in the Hash House Harriers movement!

Commitment to conservation of wildlife and its habitat in Kenya was hallmarked as the Lewa Marathon marked it’s 17th Anniversary; this time hosting over 1300 participants drawn from 28 countries all over the world. A growth in leaps and bounds from the 150 participants the marathon hosted in 2000, the inaugural year.

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The Safaricom Lewa Marathon is one of the major sporting events in Kenya and in the circles of runners all around the world. The energy of the event and its participants was almost tangible! As early as the first bird chirped to wake the world, runners could be seen pacing up and down their camps as they warmed up their muscles prior to the marathon. There are those that were to run the half marathon (21km) and the elite runners who would cover enter trail of the full marathon (42km).

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Early morning as the runners sponsored by MMC Africa Law get ready for the marathon

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The energy of the event and its participants was almost tangible!

The Lewa Marathon gave the spectators as well as the runners the exciting possibility of encountering wildlife on the trail. The picturesque landscapes were enthralling like snippets straight out of a Disney film! Like the proverbial bite and blow from a rat, I assumed the marathon was treacherous for the runners and the natural beauty of the Lewa conservancy was the reliever.

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Spectators were treated to picturesque landscapes as they cheered runners in the Lewa Marathon

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An ostrich stands vigilant at the Lewa Conservancy

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Mama rhino and child, out for a morning snack at Lewa

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Striped beauty of the zebra stands out in the Lewa plains

 

Young and old runners gave their best and pushed hard! Every pant, muscle cramp and foot sore being their symbol  of commitment to the spirit of wildlife conservation. Through the undulating dirt tracks cutting through the breathtaking Lewa Conservancy, runners sweat it out, with some running strong and others shuffling their feet with an aim to make it to the next water-point and eventually to the finish line.

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John Ruengo pushing hard. At 86 he is the oldest Kenyan marathoner.

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All terrain vehicles came in handy while moving from spectator point to the next

As I moved from one spectator point to the next, I was glad to have met one of the child competitors in the Lewa Marathon. The kids take part in a 5km race and are awarded medals on completion of the set distance.

“What is your name?” I asked the shy boy walking towards me with a medal dangling around his neck.

“Moses.” he replied in shaky voice. “I see you finished the race. What position were you?” I inquired.

“I don’t know. I am so tired, but happy that I got a medal.”

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Meet Moses. One of the finishers in the 5km Children’s race at the Lewa Marathon.

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Some ran strong while others shuffled on to the finish line

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Determination was written allover her face

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I will keep going, no giving up!

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Effective cooling; A runner goes though the misting station!

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A determined runner goes past other marathoners at the Lewa Marathon

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A 2013 Virgin London Marathon Finisher pushing to finish Lewa Marathon 2016

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“I have to keep going,” So James seems to tell himself.

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He entertained spectators as he asked for Tusker at every water-point

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Spectators cheered on the marathoners to the finish line

As Hal Higdon said, The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during the marathon! This was evidenced by the celebration from the various teams, after a grueling day on the trail. Closest to me was the team sponsored by  MMC Africa Law. After a few hours of cooling their heels at the Bunduz camp, it was back to party time!

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Finished the marathon, and had no energy to show off the medal

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Oh yes, we finished!

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The MMC Africa Law team celebrates after the Lewa Marathon 2016

I believe that many a runner will agree with me in saying that, Finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible! To the runners in the Run Wild Lewa Marathon, the organizers, the sponsors of the various teams in the marathon, the journalists covering the event, the entertainers and the ever so kind spectators handing bottles of water and energy bars to the runners, we finished the marathon!

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Finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible!

 

Important Info:

Event: Safaricom Lewa Marathon 2016

Location: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Isiolo

Distance: 254km from Nairobi

Pictures & Documentary: Macharia Njuguna

Trip and Camp Organizer: Bunduz (Mukhtar Sidi)

 

On The Rocks.. (Rhino Charge 2016)

On the rocks is how I wanted my drink served after a long day out chasing after charge cars. On the rocks is where every competitor and spectator that made it to the Gauntlet found themselves. On the rocks is where I found my relationship with Safaricom degenerate to when I found out that the gauntlet was their guard-post, yet there was no network coverage!

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On the rocks at the Rhino Charge 2016 gauntlet!

“Should you ever go to your village and not connect to your Safaricom line, this is the guy to call.” That is how I had been introduced (on the eve of the charge) to the signal guru that Safaricom had dispatched to the Rhino Charge 2016 venue. As I paced up and down the gauntlet, I couldn’t help but wonder where and how he had lost his mojo. I later met him and he explained  in an embarrassed mumble, from underneath a Safaricom branded cap that; it was difficult to get network coverage at the gauntlet because it was smack in the middle of a depression. I walked away and stripped him of the title guru in four steps; a letter down with each step.

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Communication satellites at Longonot on our way to Rhino Charge 2016

Rhino Charge 2016 was set in the vast and picturesque Narok County, the home of the world renowned wildlife reserve; Masai Mara! As we drove there aboard Ki-Pumpum, I wondered what adventure the charge had in store for us this time around. Would I be able to get good shots? Is the terrain taunting enough for me to maybe get a shot of a charge vehicle toppling over several times and back on it’s four wheels? Would I be in a position to visit most guard-posts and spy on charge vehicles as they tore ravenously through the thick bush in a bid to win the top prize? I had to wait until the charge day to find out.

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Bunduz adventurers relaxing on arrival at the venue. Ki-Pumpum rests in the background.

For the past 27 years, why does a group of people get out into the wild to find a new trail where millions of shillings are torn away in the form of all-terrain vehicles that maneuver a 12 point circuit spreading over approximately 100km, in a duration of 10 hours? One would wonder. Year in, year out, why do spectators throng the often harsh environment to witness embellished vehicles clamor over rocks and tear through bush while driven by enthusiastically calculative crews that stop at nothing unless their vehicle is reduced to a heap of junk metal? As I retired to my safari chair right by the Bunduz camp bonfire, I watched spectators share their tales from the charge day that had just ended. As we braved the cold dark night of the Masia Mara, I quietly scrolled through the shots I had taken, and that’s when it all dawned on me; the spirit of the Rhino Charge is one charged with the resilience of a people committed to the conservation of the Kenyan wildlife, nature and catchment areas through the protection of mountain echo-systems. The spirit of the Rhino Charge will stop at nothing to see that conservation is upheld!

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No Bush Too Thick! No obstacle will stop the spirit of Rhino Charge

This year, the Rhino Charge raised Kshs. 139,000,000.00 for the Rhino Ark and Kshs. 4,400,000/- for the host community! Of note is that the top two fundraisers were indigenous Kenyan teams. Team Magnate Chargers and Car #23, led by Stanley Kinyanjui and Peter Kinyua respectively. In celebration of the success that Rhino Charge 2016 was, I made sure to bring you some shots of the action… 🙂

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Spectators follow the Rhino Charge from a vantage point

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Spectators look on as Car #36 clamors over a rock

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Rev up that rock!

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A runner leads Car # 42 out of a thicket

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A Masai Moran adorns Peter Kenneth a spectator in traditional regalia

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As they pondered the best route down

 

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The host community loved the show

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A Rhino Ark official looks on as Car # 40 maneuvers a rock

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Let that model pose not fool you. The ladies driving Car #19 had super skills!

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No lugga too deep!

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A spectator engrossed in the action packed gauntlet

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Through it all, and stopping at nothing!

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Just a scratch, let’s push on!

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There is only one way down this rock!

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A contortionist of a vehicle! SimTank #TeamChomz

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Team Frying Squad had spider looking modified vehicle

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Off to the next guard-post

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Go straight through that bush!

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Hang on, can I find a better route?

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Team mates hang on the side to stabilize Car #40 as they leave the gauntlet

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This is the winner of Rhino Charge 2016!

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Car #62 was the highest fundraiser towards Rhino Ark. They raised Kshs. 14,500,000.00

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Car #23 driven by Peter Kinyua raised Kshs. 11,000,000.00 towards the conservation efforts of Rhino Ark

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From the full adventure cooler box Stronger Simtank, refreshments flowed freely as spectators enjoyed.

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A charge car leaves the venue. It was time to say goodbye.

~MASH~

7 High Adrenaline Adventures in Kenya

I have always found myself drawn to adventures that have high adrenaline activities tucked somewhere in the itinerary. In my recent travel escapades, I have noted that activities once tagged as a preserve for the daring are now a staple sought by many a traveler!

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Some take part in these activities to pursue that rush that leaves a soul feeling indomitable (albeit for a few hours), others do it to earn bragging rights among their peers, while others truly seek that spiritual angle of being one with nature while in a solo stand of defiance; more like the dance battle some animals indulge in prior to a steamy session of passion!

Whatever your reason to seek out these high adrenaline activities are; I hereby give you a list of the seven must do activities (in Kenya) to leave your heart with a drum-thump of a pump!

# 1 SKYDIVING

Get into a noisy cessna 206 plane with no door, hit heights of up to 12,000ft and jump out! Show me madness if this is not it! Leaping from these dizzying heights is certainly not for the faint at heart. The ‘lunatics’ at the Skydive Diani have taken this a notch higher; with oxygen systems installed in the powerful and fast bird that tears through the hot and humid Diani air at ease, you can now join them in a 22,000ft jump (highest jump ever done in Kenya) and fly through the blue reaching terminal velocity of up to 200km/h in a 55 seconds free fall of pure adrenaline! A smooth parachute landing on the Diani Beach will calm your nerves with the scenic 5,000ft gentle drop back to earth. For only Ksh.35,000/- this is an experience you certainly don’t wonna miss!

Diani Sky dive (1)

#2 PARAGLIDING

You know you are an adrenaline junkie if soaring high like a bird soaking in the picturesque scenery below ever made it to any of your day dreams! Dream no more, head out to Kerio Valley and make this a reality! Jumping off high hillsides or cliffs and setting out into a flight high above the earth is a lifetime experience worth taking. With no age restriction, no prior training or experience required, Paraglide Kenya  can tailor-make a flight for you. For the sane nature lovers, a gentle scenic flight would be in order while for the ‘nutters’ seeking the rush, an adrenaline-filled joy ride would be the best serving. For only Ksh.8,000.00 be a bird high up in the sky for 15-20min!

Paraglide (Kenya)

# 3. BUNGEE JUMPING

Until you have climbed up the 60 meter steel structure with the sole intention of jumping off it’s edge and down towards the torrential Tana River, then you cannot quite call yourself an adrenaline junkie! As you climb up to bungee, the wind blows against you as if in a torment to measure your determination to jump. 220 steps later, you are at the top and in the jump cage. Your view below is that of Sagana, the Tana River and the farm lands on its banks. Observing the highest standards of safety your upper body is harnessed and an elastic chord is tied around your feet. As soon as you assume the ‘Jesus position’, you are ready to bungee!  3,2, 1… and off you leap! Some say they feel their heart float, while others say they feel it in their mouths during the free fall until the bungee rope kicks in. For as little as Ksh.5,000.00 find out what you will record as your experience!

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#4. WHITE WATER RAFTING

Common sense will dictate that we avoid torrential rivers, particularly those with whirling rapids and falls. On the other hand, adventure sense will nudge us to wonder what it feels like to be engulfed in a rapid or tossed down a waterfall as one with the raging water! White water rafting is the white-knuckle adrenaline thrill waiting to serve you this very experience. River Tana provides grade 3- 5 rapids depending on the seasons. Grade 5 rapids are something close to dancing with the devil or step dancing on the edge of a strict cliff! On-board an inflated raft, armed with a sturdy plastic paddle and shielded by a slight helmet and a life jacket, be the warrior that braves the raging waters, the occasional menacing sharp rocks and live to tell the tale. Savage Wilderness will arrange your date with the rapids.

White Water Rafting

#5. JET SKIING

Water in oceanic abundance has a thrill in itself. Swimming has its limitations and may even come-off as not ‘dangerous’ enough for an ardent thrill-seeker. Now imagine riding an agile fast machine in the open ocean and accelerating from zero to speeds of about 60km/hr in just a matter of seconds! If this has started to sound tantalizing in any way, come out and declare self a daredevil! Jet skiing is your thing! Get down to Mombasa and rent out a jet ski from as little as Ksh. 2,500.00 and zoom off into the vast ocean.

Jet skiing (2)

 

# 6.  MOTORCROSS

Be it on two wheels or four wheels, nothing beats the feeling of igniting a motorcycle engine, pushing in the clutch, hitting the gear shift into one and letting go of the clutch to set off into motion raising a trail of dust as the monster bike swings into action! Adrenaline rush is almost squarely synonymous with motorcycle riding. Various locations offer exhilarating dirt bike trails. Some trails are demarcated (http://www.chakaranch.com/), while some cockily tear through the wilderness, literally passing among herds of wilder-beasts and giraffes as they forage in the Kenyan grasslands (http://www.lukenyamotorcross.co.ke/) From as little as Ksh. 5,000.00 get onto a buggy or a quad bike and race your friends through the dusty or muddy rough terrain of the unbeaten tracks!

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#7. ZIP LINING   

On a harness attached to a cable (30ft above the ground), you will be propelled by gravity between two points across the Machakos People’s Park! You will have the option of choosing between the 200m or 300m long cable. The speeds vary depending on how you’d like to enjoy your ride. No where else in Kenya will you find a zipline this long, this high and integrated into a truly spectacular park setting. With the buzz of activity below you and depending on how good or evil you are, you just might feel like Santa flying over chimneys on Christmas eve or like a witch flying her broom in the night! Ha ha!

Zipline Machakos(1)

 

~MASH~

Naivasha Relay 2015 (Hash House Harriers)

It was after an evening Hasher’s run around the Parklands area of Nairobi that I heard about the Naivasha Relay. Plumber who is one of the seasoned Nairobi Hashers couldn’t stop on how much of an experience the relay is. As I downed my beer, my adventurous streak started pushing the idea of what an adventure this one would be. I thought of running down the Rift Valley escarpment to Naivasha, the rough terrain, the danger of running into a herd of buffaloes or getting a snake bite while running in the savannah grass and I was sold! I signed up for the relay and ordered another beer 🙂

Hashers getting ready to leave Nairobi and start the Naivasha Relay 2015

Hashers getting ready to leave Nairobi early in the morning and start the Naivasha Relay 2015

The relay route starts at Dagoretti in Nairobi away from the busy highways and off to a dirt-road track that meanders down the Rift Valley escarpment and ends at the foot of Mt. Suswa, covering an approximate of 83 tough kilometres!

Runners all set to start the relay at Dagoretti

Runners all set to start the relay at Dagoretti

Having ran with the Hashers on several occasions, I know that as much as running to keep fit is their agenda it sort of comes a close second to having a great time socializing and partaking of liquids that are known to cause staggers. However, on this day it was evident that everyone brought their ‘A’ game! Hashers were divided into various teams, each team having it’s members seeded (with regard to their running prowess or lack thereof) from seed 1 to 9. Each team member would run a certain distance of the trail at a given time, with some running two or more stages of the race.

The time keeper busy recording time(s) kept by the runners

The time keeper busy recording time(s) kept by the runners

A group of Hash officials are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the relay runs smoothly. They are dubbed ‘Mismanagement’ but do not let that tag fool you as they did an impressive job of it! They ensured that time was kept as per the plan, safety of all the runners as well as spectators was observed, venues for accommodation were booked well in advance, heck they even organized to have a sweep car at every stage of the race to lift from ‘shame’ those runners that might have bitten more than they could chew 🙂

An ambulance that trailed the Naivasha Relay runners at every stage of the run

An ambulance that trailed the Naivasha Relay runners at every stage of the run

There were various teams that took part in this relay. I ran as a Seed 2 runner for team Hot Dogs. However, not to say that any team was inferior to the other, but two teams really stood out in my view. These are are the Urban Swaras and the Swedish School team. The Urban Swaras ran as if they were going for the money or their lives depended on it! I may not be privy to the times kept by the teams, but I can put my money on that they covered the total distance in the shortest time. On the other hand, the Swedish school had the youngest runners who turned out to be the most resilient. In the tough conditions of sweltering heat, ankle high dust in some stretches, rocky climbs and steep descents, these kids kept going and finished each stage of the race!

Any opportunity to rest under a shade was gladly grabbed

Any opportunity to rest under a shade was gladly grabbed

We met many locals along the trail, and their glowing faces were a confirmation that the Hashers are a welcome community to their lands every October. I was informed that the Naivasha Relay has taken place every year for more than two decades. There was some teams that actually went handing goodies of books, pens and rulers to the children amongst the spectators.

Children running to catch the Naivasha Relay action

Children running to catch the Naivasha Relay action

Despite the sweltering heat, and the terrain that threatened to be a spirit-breaker at every turn, the runners pushed on and kept some pretty impressive time. At one section I ran and the sun felt like it was dropping nearer to earth with every step I took! My skin was burning in the heat. At some point my imagination convinced me that my hair was melting down and I touched my face in horror, only to smear the many streaks of sweat (some caked in dust) on my entire face. I ran on. I panted heavily as my heart pounded on my chest as if threatening to break out. My thigh and calf muscles felt painfully tight with every step. I could see the few runners ahead and wondered if my eyesight was failing me as they kept growing smaller. I pushed on. The crowd waiting at the finish line was clearly visible and near, but I couldn’t seem to get there! I ran on. I remember praying that angels could carry me to the finish line, but I fast resigned to letting my mind get lost in the beauty of God’s creation around me. I finally finished the race! The Naivasha Relay was a true test of my fitness and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

A runner finishes the race to a cheering crowd at one stage of the relay

A runner finishes the race to a cheering crowd at one stage of the relay

The trail took us to some of the most picturesque areas of the country! Beautiful hills gracefully lined the horizon, some with crater rimmed tops. We had the privilege of running in an environment that knows little if any human interference. This is a run I am willing to do again and again. There’s is no reason why you should not also have it on your adventure calender! 🙂

As you already know by now, I took time to bring you some shots of how the events unfolded. Enjoy.

Children woke up bright and early to spectate the relay

Children woke up bright and early to spectate the relay

 

The daunting rough terrain demanded use of 4x4 road kings!

The daunting rough terrain demanded use of 4×4 road kings!

 

Every runner who finished their stage was received in celebration

Every runner who finished their stage was received in celebration

 

Hashers mingled freely with the locals

Hashers mingled freely with the locals

 

A runner ponders over his strategy for the run

A runner ponders over his strategy for the run

 

Hashers cheering on their teammates

Hashers cheering on their team mates

 

Trust Hashers to spare some time to dance during the relay

Trust Hashers to spare some time to dance and down a beer during the relay

 

There was lots of adventure to capture!

There was lots of action to capture!

 

The dust in some sections of the relay was ankle deep!

The dust in some sections of the relay was ankle deep!

 

The Naivasha Relay trail is quite picturesque

The Naivasha Relay trail is quite picturesque

 

The little shade available had to be shared :-)

The little shade available had to be shared 🙂

 

I had a selfie moment with the kids watching the race

I had a selfie moment with some kids watching the race

 

The Naivasha Relay ended at the Hell's Gate National Park

The Naivasha Relay ended at the Hell’s Gate National Park

Event: The Naivasha Relay 2015 (Hashers) Hash History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers

Location: Nairobi – Naivasha (Through the Suwa route) Approx. 83km

Photography and documentation by: Macharia Njuguna, @macharianjuguna

Roaring Monsters For Charity! (Rhino Charge 2015)

 

I made me some new friends who fear no lions :-)

I made me some new friends who fear no lions 🙂

Ahead of me I had a day filled with nothing but exciting adventure! My sole intent for the day was to chase after largely morphed, roaring monsters of cars with humans tightly clutched on their frames as they tore straight through virgin bush; just to capture some piece of the action for posterity’s sake!

By the bonfire at the Bunduz.com camp

By the bonfire at the Bunduz.com camp

Excited by the adventure the next day had promised to be, I sat by the camp fire and took a generous swig of some good old whisky. I looked up at the stars and listened to the peace that the night was. I smiled for I knew come day-break, this very peace would be torn into a ‘war-zone’ of machines battling it out for supremacy! The Rhino Charge 2015 was here!

Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com briefs campers on arrival at Namnyak Conservancy

Mukhtar Sidi of http://www.bunduz.com briefs campers on arrival at Namnyak Conservancy

Adventurers in the www.bunduz.com overland truck to the Rhino Charge 2015

Adventurers in the http://www.bunduz.com overland truck heading to the Rhino Charge 2015

Our journey from Nairobi was smooth, thanks to the always well prepared http://www.bunduz.com team. The excitement in the overland truck was tangible, with the adventurers chatting away in excited tones and taking many a photograph of the beautiful country that Kenya is. We were however keen on ensuring that we got to the Namnyak Conservancy in Samburu County before 6:00pm as had been advised by the Rhino Charge officials. They had warned that anyone arriving later than that would not be allowed into the venue.

The Picturesque Namnyak Conservancy in Samburu

The Picturesque Namnyak Conservancy in Samburu

At the crack of dawn, I woke up to the singing of birds in the wild lightly laced with the distant roars of the monster cars as they approached the parade ground where they’d all converge prior to the flag off. Soon the machines were all lined up and seemed to flex their muscles to each other with each rev of the engines, their full beam lights peering through the darkness of dawn seemed like mean eyes trained at each other to proclaim war. The chargers held tightly onto the monsters as they wheeled around. Every now and then they hurdled together and converse in hush tones like anxious warriors planning their strategy of attack.

The monster cars of the Rhino Charge 2015 at the dawn parade

The monster cars of the Rhino Charge 2015 at the dawn parade

 

Full beam lights seemed like mean eyes declaring war!

Full beam lights seemed like mean eyes declaring war!

 

With every rev the machines seemed to be flexing their muscles!

With every rev the machines seemed to be flexing their muscles!

 

The parade of might!

The parade of might!

Rhino Charge was first held in 1989 to raise funds for the construction of the Aberdare Electric Fence. Following its success, the project has since been extended to cater for the conservation of Mt Kenya and Mau Eburu. Rhino Charge is a world renowned off-road motor-sport event, as well as major fund raising activity for the conservation efforts of Rhino Ark, the charitable trust which works towards the protection of Kenya’s ‘Water Towers’. The event combines motor-sport, adventure and fun for the purpose of environmental conservation. http://www.bunduz.com organizes adventure parties to this event every year!

Book your next safari adventure with Bunduz.com

Book your next safari adventure with http://www.bunduz.com

I say one is as old as the tune they dance to in their head! This was reaffirmed by the age diversity displayed in the competitor teams at the Rhino Charge. Teams comprised of ladies and gents of all ages each seasoned in their skill either by schooling or experience, some were however evidently out to have a good time and raise funds for the charity!

The tune in his head tells him so! What an interesting fellow!

The tune in his head tells him so! What an interesting fellow!

 

Car No. 64 looking mean and ready with the team aboard

Car No. 64 looking mean and ready with the team on board

 

Car No. 47 had an all ladies team (The Girls With The Pearls) They wore pearls on their hats and round their necks :-)

Car No. 47 had an all ladies team (The Girls With The Pearls) Like amulets, they wore pearls on their hats and round their necks 🙂

The action begun and all the 64 chargers  sped off into the wild. They had 13 guard posts to visit in 10hrs, scattered over about 100 square kilometres of rough terrain. The team that returns to the point where they started, having visited all the other posts covering the shortest distance wins the competition.

Car No. 16 heads out at the start of the race

Car No. 16 heads out at the start of the race

I visited the gauntlet which was an area comprising of three successive posts that the organizers had set aside as the spectators zone to view the competitors in action. I took a few shots here, but I was itching to catch the monster cars in action on treacherous terrain and not at a section where they came to ‘smile and pose’ for the camera. I met a jolly good couple that was also dying to catch the real action and off we went in search of other guard posts using the Rhino Charge map. We sure did catch some action!

The Charge began early in the morning.

The Charge began early in the morning.

 

A charge vehicle tears through bush from the gauntlet

A charge vehicle tears through bush from the gauntlet

 

In out of a lugga as the ladies cheer!

In out of a lugga as the ladies cheer!

 

A monster car emerges from the thicket!

A monster car emerges from the thicket!

 

A runner goes ahead of the pack to check and advise of the terrain

A runner goes ahead of the pack to check and advise of the terrain

 

A little dented, but not out!

A little dented, but not out!

 

No bush too thick is what the Bundu Fundi lives by!

No bush too thick is what the Bundu Fundi lives by!

 

Let us zoom out of this gorge!

Let us zoom out of this gorge! This standard, unmodified Land Rover actually completed the circuit!

 

We've got this one in check!

The mean monster car tackles a gulley

 

Arriving at a guard post

Arriving at a guard post

The 2015 edition of the Rhino Charge thankfully only had minor incidents recorded. One charge vehicle (Car No. 32) however went up in flames following an electrical fault. Car No. 18 dropped out of the race with only 67 metres to finish, as it dragged on with broken engine mounts, non-existent brakes and lost wheel nuts, the starter caught fire and blew the entire electrical system! All teams involved were unharmed and out of danger.

Car No. 32 goes up in flames

Car No. 32 goes up in flames courtesy of BRCK

 

Car No. 64 needed some extinguishing before they could finish the race!

Car No. 64 needed some extinguishing before they could finish the race! Courtesy of BRCK

 

Ladies encountered some radiator problems

Ladies encountered some radiator problems

Of note is that I was able to connect to the internet and update my followers on the happenings of the Rhino Charge, thanks to WIFI set up by Liquid Telcom, Safaricom and BRCK. This was certainly commendable and seeing the local community enjoying internet service was heart warming. I wondered what the morans were surfing through on their phones, could it have been YouTube videos of Chris Brown or news about Bruce.. I mean Caitlyn Jenner? 🙂

At the Craftsman guard post where the Liquid Telcom WIFI signal was the strongest

At the Craftsman guard post where the Liquid Telcom WIFI signal was the strongest

The day was finally over, and as I retired back to my host Bunduz.com campsite I had to fight my mind from wondering where the next Rhino Charge will be held. I had good fun here, and no doubt I pray to attend the next!

Bonus Pics:

Resting at a guard post

Resting at a guard post

 

What route should we take from here?

What route should we take from here?

 

Thanks for keeping my beer chilled as I raced :-)

Thanks for keeping my beer chilled as I raced 🙂

 

I need to fix where that noise is coming from!

I need to fix where that noise is coming from!

 

Security was tight at Namnyak

Security was tight at Namnyak

 

Food was in plenty at Namnyak thanks to Bunduz.com and Mc Frys

Food was in plenty at Namnyak thanks to Bunduz.com and Mc Frys

 

Rhino Charge 2015 was not short of beauties :-)

Rhino Charge 2015 was not short of beauties 🙂

 

The faces of happy www.bunduz.com clients after the charge

The faces of happy http://www.bunduz.com clients after the charge

Macharia Njuguna, Mukhtar Sidi and Ali Said of Bunduz.com at the end of a long and fun filled charge day!

Macharia Njuguna, Mukhtar Sidi and Ali Said of Bunduz.com at the end of a long and fun filled charge day!

Event: Rhino Charge 2015

Location: Namnyak Conservancy, Samburu County, Nothern Kenya

Photography and documentation by: Macharia Njuguna, @macharianjuguna

Adventure and safari organized by: http://www.bunduz.com

The Ultimate Trip, #Day 6 (Lake Bunyonyi – Kampala)

A life size sculpture of an elephant at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

A life size sculpture of an elephant at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

On the early morning of day six we all got up, had our breakfast and lazily got ready to leave the scenic Lake Bunyonyi. I had kept my word to her, I came back to take in and enjoy more of her beauty.

A tent pitched by the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. One of the Bunduz.com crew members spent the night in it.

A tent pitched by the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. One of the Bunduz.com crew members spent the night in it.

We had known the Lake Bunyonyi area to be quite chilly in the morning, but on this day it was quite warm. It was as if the lady who the lake is was coercing us to stay longer and keep her company. She certainly is a fine woman; as she only got to show us exactly how she felt on our second opportunity of meeting ;-). She however fell for a bunch that would sadly have to leave her only with another uncertain promise of return. I wouldn’t blame her, we really are a bunch of jolly good fellows! On the other hand, we are adventurers, always in pursuit of a new experience. Soon, we were well on our way to Kampala.

Packing our stuff back into The Beast

Packing our stuff back into The Beast

The trip down to Kampala was not an easy one, as by this day most of us were quite knackered. This however did not kill the spirit of building friendships while sharing drink for most of us. Bottles popped, liquids poured and throats were quenched as lasting friendships were built. The entire time The Beast growled along as if in approval of the happenings in his belly 🙂

Knackered! Couldn't resist a nap.

Knackered! Couldn’t resist a nap.

Lasting friendships built!

Lasting friendships built!

Bottles popped, liquids poured and throats were quenched :-)

Bottles popped, liquids poured and throats were quenched 🙂

Many chitchats, bottles and pee stops later, we got to the Equator crossing in Uganda. A town we had been at previously on our journey to Kigali. We made a stop and had our picnic lunch here. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world where the imaginary line that divides the earth into two half passes. The Equator or the Uganda equator crosses into Uganda at a point situated 72km south of Kampala along the Kampala – Masaka road.

Sumptuous lunch prepared by the Bunduz.com crew

Sumptuous lunch prepared by the Bunduz.com crew

Adventurers enjoying lunch at the Equator in Uganda

Adventurers enjoying lunch at the Equator in Uganda

The curio shops at the Equator offer great shopping bargains. The craft stalls sell souvenirs and handmade products a majority with marks talking about the Equator. Some adventurers took the opportunity to purchase some memorabilia for the trip. I was sad that on this day I couldn’t find a proper fit of t-shirt saying, ‘I crossed the Ugandan Equator.’

I witnessed an unfortunate incident where one of us had to pay for an African drum which he damaged while testing it’s quality of resonance using a Masai ‘rungu’ as a drumming stick! I couldn’t understand why, but then again, bottles had popped, liquids poured and throats had been quenched. 😉

Say cheese!! The entire group of adventurers pose for a photo at the Equator

Say cheese!! The entire group of adventurers poses for a photo at the Equator

At this point, there are two cement circles marking the equator line and it is worth stopping for a photo moment. We also watched a a local demonstrate how water swirls in opposite directions in the northern & southern hemispheres at the equator line.

Later on in the evening, we arrived at the beautiful city of Kampala and got caught up in it’s hustle and bustle of people rushing home from the city after working hours. There was a swarm of motorbikes crisscrossing in between cars stuck in traffic while passengers pillion precariously. A busy city Kampala is!

Motorcycles in Kampala city

Motorcycles in Kampala city

A beautiful street of Kampala city

A beautiful street of Kampala city

We proceeded through the city and out to an outskirt suburb named Butabika, where we put up at the Red Chilli Hideaway, a spot quite popular with overland adventurers. I liked the place immediately, the well manicured lawns gave a sense of rest and tranquil while the swimming pool complete with a sun downer bar felt like the blessing of an oasis to a wanderer in a desert! Needless to say, we all hopped into the water to cool off from the fatigue of our travels as we enjoyed as game of water polo.

Red Chilli Hideway in Butabika, Kampala

Red Chilli Hideway in Butabika, Kampala

The irresistible swimming pool complete with a sun downer bar at the Red Chilli

The irresistible swimming pool complete with a sun downer bar at the Red Chilli

Later that night after dinner, we celebrated the birthday of one adventurer. A friendship had been fostered among adventurers!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

 

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip
Period: #Day 6 (2nd Jan 2015)
Distance: Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda) – Kampal (Uganda) Approx. 454km
Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/
Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

The Ultimate Trip (#Day 5) – Kigali – Lake Bunyonyi

Hotel Baussejour. Kigali, Rwanda.

Hotel Bausejour. Kigali, Rwanda.

Eventually we had to leave the beautiful land of Rwanda. It was evident that most of us wished our stay here would have been longer. Kigali had certainly treated us well and I personally loved it! With all the Kigali city exploration and the good old partying, we were quite spent on this day of departure.

Adventurers take a nap on our way to Lake Bunyonyi from Kigali

Adventurers take a nap on our way to Lake Bunyonyi from Kigali

The trip back seemed way longer than it was when we were heading to Kigali. We eventually got to the Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort in the late afternoon. I was glad to see her beauty and splendour still intact.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

Sharing a light moment by the shores of Lake Bunyonyi

Sharing a light moment by the shores of Lake Bunyonyi

We had a lot of time to relax here after having a sumptuous lunch prepared by the ever ready Bunduz.com chef. Some of the adventurers opted to spend the afternoon in their rooms, probably sleeping to recover from the party hangovers of Kigali, while others decided to indulge in a game of poker and enjoy a drink or two. I was definitely with the latter group of adventurers and sure had some fun!

Let's play some poker!

Let’s play some poker!

Taking in the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

Taking in the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

The locals enjoy time at the Lake Bunyonyi Resort with their families

The locals enjoy time at the Lake Bunyonyi Resort with their families

Time seemed to fly and before long it was time for dinner. The chef had promised to give us a grand barbeque and he certainly did not disappoint!

 

Adventurers around the fire as the barbeque was prepared.

Adventurers around the fire as the barbeque was prepared.

 

Mukhtar the Trip Captain helps put together the barbeque

Mukhtar the Trip Captain helps put together the barbeque

 

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

 

One Mr.Mbugua couldn't resist posing with the ladies! :-)

One Mr.Mbugua couldn’t resist posing with the ladies! 🙂

On this night we retired a little early as we had a long way down to Kampala the next day.

 

Road Trip Organized by: http://www.bunduz.com/

Documentary and Photos by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

 

 

The Ultimate Road Trip, #Day3 (Lake Bunyonyi – Kigali)

She’s dazzling in her beauty. As she basks in the tantalizing Africa morning sun, I can’t help but notice the reflection of the inviting lumps around her. The sun soothes her in the day but also takes up her water, but the night often creeps in and wets her with a gift of the very water in form of rain. In her calmness, she’s silent of her unrivaled depth. She attracts many, and on this day Nicki and I were trapped in her web of charm. No rush, we were taking it nice and easy. Like many she has cast her spell on before, we had to leave after our morning session with her. She will however be forever etched in my mind with indelible ink. I also left with a promise to return and enjoy more of her. Oh beautiful Lake Bunyonyi!

Lake Bunyonyi (The Place Of Many Little Birds)

Lake Bunyonyi (The Place Of Many Little Birds)

Reflection of the lumps around the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

Reflection of the hills around the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi boasts of unrivalled depth at 2,952ft (2nd deepest lake in Africa)

Lake Bunyonyi boasts of unrivaled depth at 2,952ft (2nd deepest lake in Africa)

On this day we needed to cover approximately 141km  of good road to make it to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. We therefore took our sweet time and enjoyed the morning at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort with a plan to head out at 1100hrs. Some of the adventurers opted to take boat rides, while others strolled around the resort and the rest just whiled the morning away somewhere close to the ‘watering hole’ – the bar 🙂

On a narrow jetty at Lake Bunyonyi

On a narrow jetty at Lake Bunyonyi

The cabin houses at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

The cabin houses at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort

Cottages overlooking Lake Bunyonyi

Cottages overlooking Lake Bunyonyi

I had been hopeful of doing a jet ski ride here, but the management had a disappointment in store for me; the machines were out of order. What a bummer!

A statue of a fisherman returning home from a fishing expedition. He sure got some love form the ladies :-)

A statue of a fisherman returning home from a fishing expedition. He sure got some love form the ladies 🙂

The group was quite excited about the trip. It somehow gave me a feeling that, to many Kigali was the highlight of the safari. I bet because that’s where we would usher in the New Year. Soon we all gathered around the Beast and off we took the road towards Kigali.

The fellows having a chat on what they expected in Kigali just before we left Lake Bunyonyi

The fellows having a chat on what they expected in Kigali just before we left Lake Bunyonyi

On our way out of Bunyonyi the Beast came to a halt and one of the adventurers shouted from the back, ‘Mash! Hapa ndio mwisho ya pesa yako!’ (Mash, the money you paid can only get you here!) That was his funny way of saying that Mukhtar our trip Captain was calling me outside the truck. So I climbed down and he requested that I take a photo that will include Beast and the biking adventurer (Ali) in one shot. I was elated at this request as it connoted that he was appreciating my photography work 🙂 I took position, Nicki in hand and I could almost feel her smile as I clicked away at the moving motorbike and the growling beast in the background. Little did we know that those would be the last shots Nicki took for the trip. Happy with my work, I climbed back into the truck. When I got to the top of the side ladder, Nicki suddenly flung off from my shoulder as I swung to jump into the truck. I stretched out my left hand and let out a yelp in a desperate effort to save her, whilst my right hand held firmly onto the ladder. I missed and down I watched her go. Everything in my world went silent as she cut through the air on a flight to the ground, it all happened so fast yet it seemed to be in slow motion to my eyes. Blaaam! Nicki hit the ground and I saw her body parts fly away from the impact. I climbed down the truck and into a bush to retrieve the broken parts with the help of our trip Captain. We found them. Nicki suffered a severe crack right across the front of her body. This was devastating for me, as we were just getting to know each other, and so far it had been so good. I sunk into a corner seat and silent mourned Nicki. I however quickly consoled myself that my insurance would take care of her, and also that Nicki wanted me to have fun on this trip. This consolation and a few encouraging words from some adventurers got me back into action, only that this time I used my Samsung cell phone to take the photos. She turned out well too, and for this purpose I christened her Sally!

Ali, the biking adventurer and Beast in the woods of Bunyonyi. (The last photo I took with Nicki)

Ali, the biking adventurer and Beast in the woods of Bunyonyi. (The last photo I took with Nicki)

We went through rural Uganda on our way to the country’s border with Rwanda. Of note is the fertility of this land and the work ethic of it’s industrious people. We saw busy rural towns with evidence of thriving business, construction of buildings and roads, as well as cultivated lands which I can foresee providing lasting food security for the Ugandan people.

A busy street in Kabale, rural Uganda.

A busy street in Kabale, rural Uganda.

A church under construction on a hill.

A church under construction on a hill.

Before long, we arrived at Gatuna. The border town in Northern Rwanda. We thought that this would be a quick stop where our passports would be stamped and we head on our way. However, this changed when the Rwandan immigration officials decided they needed to check every single bag and the truck for any plastic bags. Plastic bags are not allowed into Rwanda. I lauded them for this noble step in consciously safeguarding their environment from pollution, but I also think it would be advisable for them to communicate this to travelers well in advance to avoid delays at the border.

Gatuna, the border town between Uganda and Rwanda

Gatuna, the border town between Uganda and Rwanda

Two hours painfully spent at the Rwanda border, we proceeded into the country towards Kigali the capital city. Rwanda surely is the country of a thousand hills. There seemed to be a hill jutting out of the ground everywhere one turned. The green vegetation on the hills went on to make the complex of hills quite a breathtaking sight!

Beautifully cultivated hills in Rwanda

Beautifully cultivated hills in Rwanda

The Beast gently came to a stop at a beautiful spot, carefully selected by the Bunduz.com crew as the place we’d have our picnic lunch. The elegant Beast rested as the adventurers stepped out of it’s belly. This was a rare sight in this remote village of Rwanda and shortly we drew a group of curious youngsters who arrived on bicycles. The boys cycled and some had lady pillion passengers who were plastered in roughly applied make-up, adorned in shiny earrings, dressed in slightly mismatched clothes and clutching to their threadbare handbags. They were dressed to impress, beautiful in their village innocence. We mingled with them, shared our lunch and soon some adventurers came up with ideas of keeping busy with the village bicycles!

The picnic lunch spot overlooking tea fields in rural Rwanda.

The picnic lunch spot overlooking tea fields in rural Rwanda.

Beast resting in front of one of the beautiful hills of Rwanda

Beast resting in front of one of the beautiful hills of Rwanda

The curious youngsters with their bicycles

The curious youngsters with their bicycles

An adventurer cycles away

An adventurer cycles away

'If this bicycle gets a flat tyre!' an adventurer warns another. :-)

‘If this bicycle gets a flat tyre!’ an adventurer warns another. 🙂

As the Bunduz.com crew prepared the lunch, I took time to really acquaint myself with Sally. I had neglected her since Nicki came into my life 🙂

Ladies jump, loving the beauty of the tea fields.

Ladies jump, loving the beauty of the tea fields.

Mukhtar our trip Captain arrives in style.

Mukhtar our trip Captain arrives in style.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

I could somehow make out what his t-shirt read. 'Blame the dog' ha ha

I could somehow make out what his t-shirt read. ‘Blame the dog’ ha ha

Ladies enjoy lunch while overlooking the tea fields

Ladies enjoying lunch while overlooking the tea fields

We continued on the road towards Kigali. The adventurers were in high spirits and they downed the lunch time meal with an assortment of drinks as the ‘DJ’ played music as chosen by the ‘revelers’. It was a party allover again! As we entered Kigali, the adventurers couldn’t contain their excitement and they broke into song and dance. We made a grand entrance drawing more attention to ourselves than we needed to. As the pedestrians turned to look at Beast in awe, I could almost hear his growl bellow full of gloat now that he had ferried some jolly fellows from a far land. Rwanda, most of us loved you before we even met you! From the tales of angelic beauties gracing this land, to gigantic beer bottles served in their bars and exquisitely clean streets, we were here to take it all in. Rwanda, show us what you got!

Ali zooms past the Beast on our way to Kigali. He was certainly excited too!

Ali zooms past the Beast on our way to Kigali. He was certainly excited too!

An informal settlement on a hill in the outskirts of Kigali

An informal settlement on a hill in the outskirts of Kigali

The view as we entered Kigali

The view as we entered Kigali

We were soon settled in Hotel Beausejour which is friendly and very welcoming. We settled in and already started loving the Kigali hospitality.

Hotel Beausejour in Kigali

Hotel Beausejour in Kigali

This would be my resting spot for next two nights in Kigali.

This would be my resting spot for the next two nights in Kigali.

While in Kigali, I contacted and met up with some friends from Kenya. Accompanied by a few of the adventurers, we sampled the beer, partied and danced the night away!

Skol and Primus. Popular beers in Rwanda.

Skol and Primus. Popular beers in Rwanda.

Good times at CarWash 2 in Kuchira.

Good times at CarWash 2 in Kigali

Adventurers out at a club in Kigali

Adventurers out at a club in Kigali

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip
Period: #Day 3 (30th Dec 2014)
Distance: Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda) – Kigali (Rwanda) Approx. 141km
Organizer: http://www.bunduz.com/
Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)

The Ultimate Road Trip (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda)

New Year's Road Trip 2014!

New Year’s Road Trip 2014!

Three Days in 8 days of an overland trucking adventure!

Three countries in 8 days of an overland trucking adventure!

Like every journey, this one of 1,600km and 8 days of overland trucking adventure has started with the first step! Off to Kigali, through Jinja. The ultimate New Year’s adventure thanks to Bunduz.com @[504978663:Mukhtar Sidi Bunduz.com] #Adventure #Kenya #Uganda #Rwanda Get updates on adventurewithmash.wordpress.com

#Day 1 (28th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-1nairobi-jinja/

#Day 2 (29th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-2-jinja-lake-bunyonyi/

#Day 3 (30th Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/the-ultimate-road-trip-day3-lake-bunyonyi-kigali/

#Day 4 (31st Dec 2014)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/the-ultimate-road-trip-day-3-kigali/

#Day 5 (1st Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/the-ultimate-trip-day-5-kigali-lake-bunyonyi/

#Day 6 (2nd Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/the-ultimate-trip-day-6-lake-bunyonyi-kampala/

# Day 7 & 8 (3rd and 4th Jan 2015)

https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/the-ultimate-trip-day-7-day-8-kampala-eldoret-nairobi/

Of Tusks, Rivers & Machines (Tsavo East)

Hello there, good people!

I recently had the opportunity to visit the scenic Tsavo East National Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_East_National_Park) which is one of the oldest national parks in Kenya, having opened its gates in 1948!

Mash snapping away!

Mash snapping away!

I entered the park through the Voi, Manyani gate which is just one of it’s three gates widely spread over it’s imposing perimeter of 13,747 square kilometers. I was there on a work related mission, but by now I know you know how I do; I mixed work with a little pleasure and brought you several photos in which I share my experience with you 🙂

Construction of a steel bridge over Galana River

Construction of a steel bridge over Galana River

A steel bridge is being built over the wide and snaking Galana River, under the employ of the Kenya Wildlife Services, funded by the European Union. This bridge is somewhat controversial in the sense that different park stakeholders are looking at it in totally different perspectives! The Kenya Wildlife Service sees the project as a major step towards easing their fight against poaching. The bridge will make more parts of the park accessible to the game rangers and therefore make possible the protection of wildlife from poachers. On the other hand, conservationists view this project as a major tamper with the Eco-system of the park! They feel that this will set a precedent for so-called ‘development accelerators’ (roads, railway lines, electricity cables) to now shamelessly be passed through the park! What do you think? (share your views in the comments section)

The wide, tranquil and snaking Galana River

The wide, tranquil and snaking Galana River

 

Men building piers on which the steel bridge will rest.

Men building piers on which the steel bridge will rest.

 

'Robots' at work at the Galana River

‘Robots’ at work at the Galana River

The beauty of the Tsavo East National Park cannot be ignored. The park is generally flat, consists of semi-arid areas and savannah grasslands which are the habitat to a large number of animal species which includes the ‘Big Five’ (Lions, Elephants Buffaloes, Rhinos and Leopards) as well as a host of bird species. I wasn’t lucky enough to sight all these animals, but I sure had my fair share of animal sightings (elephants) and scenic natural features! Check them out 🙂

It's lunch time, do you care to join me? The jumbo seems to ask

It’s lunch time, do you care to join me? The jumbo seems to ask

 

A jumbo peeping at me through a thorny bush.

A jumbo peeping at me through a thorny bush.

 

A grown elephant plays with it's young one

A grown elephant plays with it’s young one

 

A family of elephants peacefully grazing away

A family of elephants peacefully grazing away

 

A young elephant walks to catch up with the rest of the herd.

A young elephant walks to catch up with the rest of the herd.

Tsavo National Park also boasts some beautiful scenery which I was glad to have had the opportunity to take several shots of. At this time it was sweltering hot and most animals tend to hide in the undergrowth in search of the much needed soothing shade.

A male & female Ostrich advance towards each other. An ostrich dance in the making (the attraction is real) :-)

A male & female Ostrich advance towards each other. An ostrich dance in the making (the attraction is real) 🙂

 

Entry to the Lugard Falls, name after Frederick Lugard the British soldier and explorer

Entry to the Lugards Falls, name after Frederick Lugard the British soldier and explorer

 

(Lugard Falls) The enchanting series of white water rapids on River Galana.

Lugards Falls. The enchanting series of white water rapids on River Galana. (Notice the beautiful shapes curved out in the rocks by the torrent water)

 

River Galana is home to a large population of crocodile. They all tend to converge at the Crocodile Point where there are less rocks and the water is quite tranquil. It serves well as a hunting and a breeding ground.

River Galana is home to a large population of crocodile. They all tend to converge at the Crocodile Point where there are less rocks and the water is quite tranquil. It serves well as a hunting and a breeding ground.

 

It was too hot on this day, not one crocodile was in site!

It was too hot on this day, not one crocodile was in sight at Crocodile Point

 

The tranquil Galana River

The tranquil Galana River

The construction of the steel bridge over the Galana River is almost complete. I can’t help but keep wondering whether this will develop into another human-wildlife conflict or it will actually contribute to the efforts of conserving and protecting the wildlife and the park’s Eco-system. Only time will tell..

The digging continues. The bridge will soon be up over the Galana River.

The digging continues. The bridge will soon be up over the Galana River.

 

Our trusted friend (Ford Ranger) got us to the park and back home. Even she couldn't stand the sweltering heat; she had to hide in the shadow of the concrete mixer :-)

Our trusted friend (Ford Ranger) got us to the park and back home. Even she couldn’t stand the sweltering heat; she had to hide in the shadow of the concrete mixer 🙂

It was my pleasure having visited the Tsavo East National Park, I would highly recommend that you take some time too and make a trip down there. Get to see what our beautiful country (Kenya) has to offer!

Important Information;

Distance from Nairobi: 331 KM (Approximately 4hrs 30min drive)

Terrain: 

Good smooth tarmac from Nairobi to Voi

Rough dirt roads within the park (4×4 vehicles highly recommended)

Park Entry Fees:

Refer to this (http://www.kws.org/export/sites/kws/about/downloads/Entry_Fee_Leaflet.pdf)

What to carry:  

Hiking boots, Drinking water, Camping equipment (if you intend to stay overnight) Also useful are: Binoculars, Camera, Hat,

Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Guidebooks, Mosquito repellant and Waterproof jacket.

Where To Stay:                

Voi Safari Lodge, Ndololo Tented Camp, Kingfisher Tented Camp, Satao Camp

Activities:  

Game viewing, Trekking, Bird watching

NOTE: Always Follows the Park Rules!

 ~MASH~