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!

out-at-sea

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)

High Adrenaline Triathlon.. The Forest!

the-forest

The Forest; an adventure park within Kereita Forest!

What would be the ideal way to spend a Sunday? If your answer is anywhere between, sleeping in, watching movies or enjoying a whiskey while barbecuing with friends, (which simply translates to couch ‘potating’), then this article is meant for you! I am not judging, but I think you seriously need a Bunduz in your life. Allow me to show you why 😉

early-morning-team

The Bunduz team, all set to have fun at The Forest’s inaugural Triathlon competition (2016)

If you would avoid the party on a fine Saturday night so that you are up early on a Sunday morning, ready to take part in an adventure triathlon at a location 30km away from Nairobi and 2,000m above sea level, then this article is not for you because you already know that nothing beats spending an expendable minute while high on adrenaline!

triathlon-map

The map that each team tried to beat in the best time.

I was honoured to be the Bunduz triathlon team Captain. Just as the adventure tours that Bunduz organizes, we decided that our competition ethos would be to do our best in the allocated tasks, but also make sure that we have great fun while at it!

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Our team trick was simple; Stay safe, have fun, endure the trail and have more fun!

If whenever you are handed a disclaimer form to sign, your heart starts to pump with excitement in anticipation of the ‘danger’ ahead, then you are a true blue adventurer and everything Bunduz resonates with you!

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Yes, we signed the disclaimer forms and got instructions on the dos and don’ts of the triathlon trail.

The Forest is a new adventure park that has opened it’s doors in the hinter-lands of Kenya with an aim to interest local and international tourists in locations that have hardly been explored, unlike the coastal beaches and our world renowned national parks!

The Bunduz team was taken through all the safety measures to observe while undertaking two of the sort of technical sports in the triathlon. These are; zip lining and archery. The speed and caution with which the safety team at The Forest operated, gave us confidence that they understood what they were doing. A few rehearsal slides and arrow shots later we were ready to hit the trail!

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Alternative adventure is what The Forest offers!

The first activity was the zip lining! The Forest boasts one of the longest zip lines in Africa, and is ranked among the safest in the world. Armed with all the safety advise, what you are never warned about is how fast you are forward propelled on the zip line! Zooming through the light high altitude thin air, listening to the humming vibrations of the zip, one loses themselves in the picturesque bird-eye view of Keriata Forest, dangling at almost 100m off the ground. The feeling is exhilarating!

zip-line-go

Of utmost importance is paying attention to the Zip line crew instruction to apply the palm brake to reduce speed before landing.

You cannot be told how difficult it is to tear into a sprint, at an altitude of about 2,000m above sea level, right after a 2.4km heart sinking zip line ride. You need to try it! On landing, each team member had to run up a steep hillside trail to get to the station with all the heavy safety harnesses on!

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Running up a steep hillside, to the next competition station right after zip lining.

At this point, a majority of teams had lost some time. Particularly those with skinny zip-liners like ours :-). Being feather-weight does not only have disadvantages on the boxing ring, but on the zip line too! It sometimes means that one cannot propel themselves to the end of the zip line course and therefore have to turn backwards at a 180 degrees angle and pull self to the end and losing precious time. The next activity afforded each team to salvage time lost depending  on how good at archery the team members were. Hitting the bull’s eye saved any team a whopping 60 seconds!

The Forest sought to teach the competitors about Kereita forest ad the community around it through a quiz that each team had to undertake while racing to do the best time on the trail. The questions ranged from what KFS stands for, to exercises that required identifying particular flora ad fauna species as well as acknowledging the wildlife that habitat in the very forest!

tree-climbing

Competitors had to climb up a tall Cyprus tree and ring a bell at its pinnacle before proceeding to the next activity!

We had to run, balancing long logs on the ground and others suspended in the air, maneuver a military kind of assault course before we could move on to the next activity. Touching ground meant having to repeat the entire course and spending more time to complete the triathlon which would amount to losing.

cycling-away

We mountain biked on a well marked 1km trail that was full of surprises!

The well maintained mountain bikes made it fun riding through the set trail. The terrain was full of surprises, but I remember my cyclist friend (Vincent Mulama) who once told me that whenever you enjoy a steep descent while cycling, do it as you prepare self to suffer an ascent! The twists and turns on the dusty trail were a mixture of pleasure and pain. At this point, most adventurers were tired and had no idea of the hill that awaited them at the end of the trail. It was not uncommon to see competitors pushing their bikes up the hill to the finish line.

 

 

Endurance is patience concentrated, and that is exactly what team Bunduz exercised to the end of the race! Mingling directly with unadulterated nature while testing my physical limits is an experience that I cannot trade for anything else. Adventure has a way of making us know ourselves and those around us better, therefore handing us an opportunity to live life in a realm of deeper understanding and spiritual awareness.

limitless

Take on fear by the horns, and endeavour to see what lies past it; only then can you say you live a limitless life! Team Bunduz!

So the next time you have time in your hands, you will still have the options of lazying around, indulging in unhealthy past times, or strapping on your boots and taking on a challenging, character building adventure! If your choice is the latter, you know whom to call; Bunduz.

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Mingling directly with unadulterated nature while testing my physical limits is an experience that I cannot trade for anything else.

This was a Sunday well spent! The adventure logistics were organized and executed by the able team sponsor Bunduz. You can catch the next big adventure in the offing come December 2016! If you are an adventurer with a knack for exploring new places, experiencing other cultures and partying some while at it, then look no more. Heed to the ocean call and book your slot in the Zanzibar Trip of The Year!

 

Location: The Forest (Kereita Forest)

Distance: About 55.5km from Nairobi

Activities: Mountain Biking, Zip Lining, Archery, Nature Trail Walks

Documentary by: Macharia Njuguna

Adventure Sponsor: Bunduz

Next planned Adventure: Zanzibar Trip of The Year (Dec 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maralal International Camel Derby (26th Edition)

Mash (adventurewithmash.com) at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

Mash of adventurewithmash.com at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

I was meeting her for the first time. She had come all the way from the UK and her poise said that she was dying with the urge to explore Africa. She sat there patiently as the porters put together all the supplies we needed for the safari. Something about her demeanour said that she had been through the heat and came out a diamond. She had the confident face of a soldier that had survived battle and purred with the calmness of royalty. As I walked around her, something within me said I could trust her. Being from England, oozing confidence and courage, yet calm; I couldn’t find her a better nickname than Thatcher 🙂

 

Meet Thatcher, the newest addition to the Bunduz.com family :-)

Meet Thatcher, the newest addition to the Bunduz.com family 🙂 (Military Grade)

 

The fellows all set to cover 350km from Nairobi to Maralal

The fellows all set to cover 350km from Nairobi to Maralal

We drove Thatcher out into the night and we were well on our way to the Maralal International Camel Derby, an event that has been held in Samburu County for the past 26 years! This year, just like in the past this event was expected to draw attention from both the local and international tourists. The International Camel Derby is held in the small town of Maralal, the administrative headquarters of Samburu County which is a hive of cultural diversity as it is inhabited dominantly by the Samburu and sparsely by the Turkana, Pokot, Rendile and other Kenyan tribes.

The people of Samburu County

The people of Samburu County

350km later from Nairobi, we got to the Maralal town in the early hours of the morning having driven throughout the night. 122km of that stretch was of treacherous terrain, full of craters for potholes and finely sifted sand that blew up into a huge cloud of dust behind Thatcher as we drove down. She handled tough terrain with the ease of a tank on tarmac! She is a fine new acquisition to the Bunduz.com family!

A participant in the Camel Derby race

A participant in the Camel Derby race

The Camel Derby is an event held to celebrate the cultural diversity of the people of Samburu County as well as their way of life. The camel races are a central attraction of the Derby, but it would not be justice if the colour and pomp brought out by the traditionally clad people of Samburu went unnoticed!

A moran at the in his regalia at the Camel Derby main venue

A moran in his regalia at the Camel Derby main venue

The Bunduz.com crew set up camp for the adventurers who were on this trip at the Maralal Safari Lodge, an establishment located in the Maralal National Sanctuary. It was not odd to see zebras and antelopes grazing within and around the camp.

The beautiful Maralal Safari Lodge

The beautiful Maralal Safari Lodge

The 26th Edition of the Maralal International Camel Derby was dubbed ‘Sporting for Conservation, Tourism and Peaceful Cultural Interactions’ and the money raised would be channeled towards improving community conservancies in an effort to promote eco-tourism within the county. This made it a worthwhile undertaking as it coupled adventure with charity.

Tourists riding the single hump dromedary camels of Samburu

Tourists riding the single hump dromedary camels of Samburu

Early on the second day of the Camel derby, the adventurers woke up to a sumptuous breakfast prepared from the Bunduz.com ever ready kitchen. Nothing beats a full breakfast out in the open and by the pool. The adventurers especially those who were scheduled to race on the camels needed this tranquility to calm their nerves in readiness.

A camel whisperer

A camel whisperer

 

Security was tight at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

Security was tight at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

In the early morning hours, all the roads led to the Yare Safari Club which was the main Camel Derby venue. The grounds were full of people. The locals adorned in their traditional regalia freely mingled with the scores of tourists as they excitedly walked around the venue to witness all that was on show.

Morans discussing what to expect at the Camel Derby

Morans discussing what to expect at the Camel Derby

As the races began, the road was lined with cheering spectators as the camel riders and their handlers got ready at the starting line. As I clicked away on my camera, I felt the energy in the competitors and the crowd alike. This had the promise of an exciting event! The camels took off at a neck breaking speed with the competitors eyes all set on prize money. However, some camels were not as cooperative and had to be pulled or coerced to run at least half way through the set track. The crowd cheered the competitors on and it felt like we were in one big medieval arena, for a competition that took human brains, animal brute strength and endurance to win.

Spectators lined both sides of the road at the camel race starting point

Spectators lined both sides of the road at the camel race starting point

 

As the camel race began

As the camel race began

 

A head to head camel race!

A head to head camel race!

 

Spectators keenly following the camel race

Spectators keenly following the camel race

After the competition, winners and the losers alike were treated to a great show of cultural dances later in the evening. The morans and their women came out in their best of regalia, showing off the best that the Samburu County has to offer culturally. They sang and danced their hearts out as if conveying their gratitude for the success that the event was turning out to be.

Morans all set to do a traditional dance

Morans all set to do a traditional dance

 

Samburu ladies belting out a tune

Samburu ladies belting out a tune

 

Samburu youth in a playful dance

Samburu youth in a playful dance

 

What a beautiful traditional choir dressed in skin clothes!

What a beautiful traditional choir dressed in skin clothes!

 

A section of the audience enjoying the traditional dances

A section of the audience enjoying the traditional dances

We returned to the Maralal Safari Lodge with the Bunduz.com adventurers who were now quite tired from the events of the day. They were greeted with a warm dinner and as they ate away, the chatter was alive with heroic recounts of what each had been up to during the eventful day. Needless to say, most of us ended up by the ‘watering hole’ read bar, where we were entertained well into the late of night by a very able two-man band from South Africa as we downed bottles of whatever each of us fancied.

The very able two-man South African band

The very able two-man South African band

Tusker, the world's best beer from Kenya

Tusker, the world’s best beer from Kenya

A triathlon race was set for the final day of the Camel Derby. In this race, each team was expected to have three members. One would race on the camel; the other would cycle while another would run to complete the race. Bunduz.com crew and our friends from Warthog Expeditions took part in this race. The participants were very well coordinated, they all gave their best and had fun while racing for charity.

The Bunduz.com and Warthog Expeditions team!

The Bunduz.com and Warthog Expeditions team!

 

Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com mounts his camel in readiness for the triathlon

Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com mounts his camel in readiness for the triathlon

 

The triathlon team walks to the start line

The triathlon team walks to the start line

 

Camels speed off at the start of the triathlon race

Camels speed off at the start of the triathlon race

 

Sarah Reeves of Warthog Expeditions at the finish of the camel race. Henry is on standby to start the bicycle race in the triathlon.

Sarah Reeves of Warthog Expeditions at the finish of the camel race. Henry is on standby to start the bicycle race in the triathlon.

This is one event that I was very excited to attend. I had been to the Camel Derby way back in 2009 and I was glad to see how much the event had grown over the years! In the words of one local, “The Camel Derby is like early Christmas to the people of Samburu!”

Let's call our friends over to share in the fun!

Let’s call our friends over to share in the fun!

 

I made new friends at the 26th Camel derby in Maralal. Lydia the CEO of Tourism in Samburu County and Therese a fun loving tourist :-)

I made new friends at the 26th Camel derby in Maralal. Lydia the CEO of Tourism in Samburu County and Therese a fun loving tourist 🙂

I really can’t sum up all the beauty and fun that I witnessed in this tour documentary, but I certainly took shots that will give you a feel of it so that you can make sure to book your slot for the 27th Maralal International Camel Derby with Bunduz.com come  25th – 28th August 2016 😉

Look out for the next photos-post dubbed, A Hotbed of Cultural Diversity – Samburu

 

Event: The International Maralal Camel Derby (26th Edition)

Location: Maralal, Samburu County, Nothern Kenya

Photography and documentation by: Macharia Njuguna, @macharianjuguna

Adventure and safari organized by: www.bunduz.com