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)

 

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A Hotbed of Cultural Diversity ~ Samburu!

Samburu County

Modernization is fast spreading throughout Kenya and Samburu has certainly made notable steps towards this. However, the people of Samburu have found a way to marry the comforts of modernization to their traditional ways of life, resulting in a culture full of colour and distinct contrasts to the silent ‘code’ of westernization that is often confused to be the stamp or validation of a community living in modern times.

Modern, but not lost in westernization

Modern, but not lost in westernization

 

Samburu county is one of the few places in Africa where the locals have held on to their traditional ways of life and culture. The name Samburu refers to the people forming the majority of the county’s population. The county however is home to other communitites notably the Turkana, Pokot, Rendille and Borana.

Young Turkana men stylishly adorned for the event

Young Turkana men stylishly adorned for the event

I visited Samburu County during the 26th Edition of the Maralal International Camel Derby and as always, I was glad to be back to this hot bed of cultural diversity; a true gem of Kenya.

Samburu, a true gem of Kenya

Samburu, a true gem of Kenya

As promised, I got some shots in an effort to give you a glimpse and virtually connect you to what the people of Samburu are like.. 🙂

A moran ponders his next move while clutching to his cell phone

A moran ponders his next move while clutching to his cell phone

Keenly following the camel races at the derby

Keenly following the camel races at the derby

A happy Samburu dance

A happy Samburu dance

A war like dance by Turkana warriors

A war like dance by Turkana warriors

A combination of age, composure and beaty!

A combination of age, composure and beaty!

Morans ready to present a jump dance

Morans ready to present a jump dance

Colour is never shot in Samburu

Colour is never short in Samburu

I love my roots!

I love my roots!

Samburu weather supports the Moran dress code

Samburu weather supports the Moran dress code

Friends of a feather, chat together

Friends of a feather, chat together

A wade through the mud to the derby celebrations

A wade through the mud to the derby celebrations

Comfortable in her well arranged necklong ornaments

Curious

Curious

All set for the pomp and dance!

All set for the pomp and dance!

The soloist with an angelic voice

The soloist with an angelic voice

To show our joy, we dance

To show our joy, we dance

A man shares his tobacco with a female friend

A man shares his tobacco with a female friend

I don't wonna miss out on anything

I don’t wonna miss out on anything

Age didn't stop her from being part of the derby

Age didn’t stop her from being part of the derby

For her, life went on unperturbed

For her, life went on unperturbed

Wide rimmed neck pieces

Wide rimmed neck pieces

Young girls show up for the clebrations

Young girls show up for the celebrations

A male soloist leads a female choir

A male soloist leads a female choir

I made new friends. They live in Nairobi and always make an effort to attend and support the Camel Derby

I made new friends. They live in Nairobi and always make an effort to attend and support the Camel Derby

Undeniable patriotism

Undeniable patriotism

On the journey of life

On the journey of life

Alone in a crowd

Alone in a crowd

Beautiful friends

Beautiful friends

Ladies in stylish hide clothes

Ladies in stylish hide clothes

"What say you?"

“What say you?”

She hid, I sought :-)

She hid, I sought 🙂

"All this fun in one ground?" She seemed to ask

“All this fun in one ground?” She seemed to ask

Camels got gear too! :-)

Camels got gear too! 🙂

"Hold on, let's smile for the camera.."

“Hold on, let’s smile for the camera..”

Colour that makes life beautiful

Colour that makes life beautiful

The stick is not only ornamental, but for utility as well

The stick is not only ornamental, but for utility as well

They rested outside the pub. My guess, it must have been full inside :-)

They rested outside the pub. My guess, it must have been full inside 🙂

She let me take her photograph and asked to see it

She let me take her photograph and asked to see it

Her shyness couldn't hide her beauty

Her shyness couldn’t hide her beauty

"Is this bead out of line..?"

“Is this bead out of line..?”

He cleaned his teeth in readiness for the pomp

He cleaned his teeth in readiness for the pomp

It's on! Boogie down!

It’s on! Boogie down!

"Did you see that..?"

“Did you see that..?”

His jacket played a good backdrop for this shot :-)

His jacket played a good backdrop for this shot 🙂

Not even the grey could take away their colour and beauty

Not even the grey could take away their colour and beauty

I had to blur him out to get the beauties

I had to blur him out to capture the beauties

The Morans' hangout spot

The Morans’ hangout spot

Load on her back, but she couldn't resist being part of the spectators

Load on her back, but she couldn’t resist being part of the spectators

Friendship is, enjoying the derby together

Friendship is, enjoying the derby together

The ladies man!

The ladies man! They danced around him.

Selfie on a camel back

Selfie on a camel back

"We are with it!"

“We are with it!”

The crowd at the Camel Derby evening fun fair

The crowd at the Camel Derby evening fun fair

The sturdy moran seemed to stand guard of his community.

This sturdy moran seemed to stand guard of his community.

The shots are meant to make you want to know more about the beautiful people of Samburu County. What better way to do so than to organize a vist of the county? Go experience the warmth, colour and energy of the 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

The Ultimate Road Trip #Day4 (Kigali)

Early morning on the tour of Kigali

Early morning on the tour of Kigali

On this day I woke up quite excited that it was the last day of the year 2014, we would soon be ushering in a new year and this is always seen as an entry into new beginnings and clean slates for next twelve months. Unlike me, many make new year resolutions on this day listing down things they will never do again and those that they intend to do more often. I made a resolution to always preach peace wherever I may be. I dreamt of a world dwelling in peace and harmony. I resolved to push on with my photo-project (https://askmyshoe.wordpress.com/) which is my little contribution towards fighting tribalism in my beloved country, Kenya.

Genocide

Genocide

We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial. I really did not know what to expect, and the silence in the truck that morning confirmed to me that all the other adventurers were also quite anxious about the visit. On a hill with neatly manicured grounds and intentionally arranged rows of flowers stands a large white building that has stored in detail the horror that befell Rwanda in the year 1994.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial

The Kigali Genocide Memorial

We were welcomed by the very friendly staff of the memorial centre and they gave us a quick introduction to the facility. We were going to take a self-guided tour of the museum aided by a map of the facility and a hand-held audio play gadget that has a voice recording narrating about each numbered stop of the centre.

The map and audio play hand-held device

The map and audio play hand-held device

From the movies we have watched about the atrocities that happened during the Rwanda genocide, nothing comes close to the horror that is recorded in the memorial centre. It left me wondering what would fill a human mind with so much anger and hatred to yield into a massacre of a people. It made me sad to imagine that bad politics sort of has the power to reduce men into animals! Rwanda saw it, and made an effort to ensure that future generations understand how dark those times were for their country so that they can endeavour to never go back to that.

The main entrance into the Kigali Genocide Memorial

The main entrance into the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Just before we started the tour of the museum, I had to pay a small fee so that I could be allowed to take photos inside. I wanted to bring you some of the shots so that you can have a feel of what is recorded;

The peaceful and beautiful country Rwanda was before the war. They are on their way well back to recovery.

The peaceful and beautiful country Rwanda was before the war. They are on their way well back to recovery.

European tourists follow the horror of the genocide in the pictures

European tourists follow the horror of the genocide in pictures

Identity cards previously indicated whether each Rwandese person was a Tutsi or a Hutu

Identity cards previously indicated whether each Rwandese person was a Tutsi or a Hutu

The genocide spared no one. Not even children.

The genocide spared no one. Not even children.

Tourists drawn into the story of the genocide told in the museum

Tourists drawn into the story of the genocide told in the museum

A room that holds some photos of people who lost their lives during the genocide

A room that holds some photos of people who lost their lives during the genocide

Skulls and some personal belongings of those massacred in the genocide. Some skulls have bullet holes while others have clear machete cuts

Skulls and some personal belongings of those massacred in the genocide. Some skulls have bullet holes while others have clear machete cuts

Clothes recovered from mass graves where a majority of the victims had been buried

Clothes recovered from mass graves where a majority of the victims had been buried

Some of the innocent children killed in the genocide

Some of the innocent children killed in the genocide

A section of the mass graves where some of the many victims are buried within the centre

A section of the mass graves where some of the many victims are buried within the centre

Some names on the wall where the genocide victims are listed

Some names on the wall where the genocide victims are listed

An adventurer takes a guided walk around the genocide museum

An adventurer takes a guided walk around the genocide museum

It took us slightly more than two hours to tour the facility. My heart bled for what Rwanda had gone through, and it was great to see a people so united on the path to recovery and building a strong nation. I prayed that all leaders in this world may lead selflessly and for the sake of their citizens and not their selfish interests. I said a silent prayer for my country Kenya, that we may slay the monster of tribalism so that it may never threaten the peace we know like it attempted to in 2007/2008.

Adventurers catch up after a tour of the museum

Adventurers catch up after a tour of the museum

The integrity of Rwandan people was to also come out while we were on a tour of the museum. As Ali the biking adventurer sat at the museum’s lobby,  a lady who was one of the curators walked up to him and asked to know his name. She engaged him in a conversation finding out if he had ever been to the museum before and where he was from. Ali, being who he is was totally into this conversation. I mean, she was a beautiful lady, he’s a biker and most often than not those two find their way to each other either by accident or intent. 🙂 When Ali told her that he had visited the place about two years ago, she went into the office and came back with a wallet which she handed over to him. Ali was ecstatic! He had lost it on his last visit here. It was intact. Not a single coin or card was missing!

His wallet was intact after losing over two years ago at the genocide museum

His wallet was intact after losing it over two years ago at the genocide museum

The day raced past me. There was so much to see and to reflect on at the genocide memorial. Soon it was time for lunch and as usual, the Bunduz.com crew did not disappoint. We had a picnic lunch right on the museum’s beautiful grounds overlooking a section of Kigali on a neighbouring hill.

Lunch is served

Lunch is served

We later left the genocide museum and took a truck tour of the Kigali city. We then ended up at the Kigali Serena Hotel which would be the venue for the new year’s eve party. The adventurers were all excited about it and procured tickets to the party right on the spot, with the help of our trip Captain, Mukhtar Sidi.

Kigali Serena Hotel

The venue of the New Year’s eve party, Kigali Serena Hotel

I bet most of you have watched the popular movie about the Rwanda Genocide dubbed Hotel Rwanda. While on our way back to where we were putting up, we stopped by the Hotel Des Mille Collines where the movie was set!

Hotel

Hotel Des Mille Collins

Later that night we attended the New Year’s eve party at the Kigali Serena Hotel! It was an awesome party! Our trip Captain (Mukhtar Sidi Bunduz.com) through his many connections was able to secure a VVIP party section for the adventurers. We danced, drunk and had loads of fun as we ushered in the new 2015!

The ladies arrived dressed to kill!

The ladies arrived dressed to kill!

Mukhtra (Bunduz.com) with some of the adventurers at the New Year's party

Mukhtra (Bunduz.com) with some of the adventurers at the New Year’s party

Ushering 2015 in style!

Ushering 2015 in style!

Ladies enjoying the ambiance of the Bunduz.com VVIP party section

Ladies enjoying the ambiance of the Bunduz.com VVIP party section

The faces of joy! Happy 2015!

The faces of joy! Happy 2015!

Mash and Mukhtar of Bunduz.com at the Kigali Serena Hotel.

Mash and Mukhtar of Bunduz.com at the Kigali Serena Hotel.

Happy New 2015! May it be filled with blessings and adventure enough to constantly rejuvenate your soul!

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

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

The Ultimate Road Trip, #Day 1(Nairobi – Jinja)

‘Hello Mr. Macharia. I trust that you are all set and ready for the ultimate road trip. We shall be meeting tomorrow at 6am so that we can be well on the road by 6:45am. Kindly, keep time.’ This call from Mukhtar Sidi of (http://www.bunduz.com/) who was to be the road trip Captain kept ringing in my head as I slept on the night prior to the safari. Needless to say, I was up by 5am and on my way to the meeting point by 5:45am. I was excited about the trip! I found a few of the other adventurers already boarded onto the truck. The Bunduz.com staff was at hand to receive me and pack my luggage into the truck. It was actually nice being in the middle of the city Nairobi so early in the morning. The air was so cool and fresh. The skies were clear, and the streets appeared so clean and beautiful without the mammoth crowds that ‘invade’ them during the day. I couldn’t help it but take a few shots with my newly acquired ‘baby’ Nikon D5200 that I christened Nicki.

Bunduz.com staff assist with the loading of luggage just before the start of the eight days road trip

Bunduz.com staff assist with the loading of luggage just before the start of the eight days road trip

Some of the adventurers sadly did not keep time, and this did not go down very well with the trip Captain who is quite strict about the itinerary schedule. One actually had to catch up with us while well on our way out of the city!

Mukhtar of Bunduz.com calls clients to make sure they arrive at the meeting point on time.

Mukhtar of Bunduz.com calls clients to make sure they arrive at the meeting point on time.

The overland truck smoothly growled it’s way out of the city. It felt sturdy, just as it looked with it’s large all terrain tyres and the compartments that swallowed into storage all our supplies and luggage for the eight days journey. It’s angelic white body created an impression of cocky confidence like that of a matador who chooses to wear a white suit into a dusty bullfight arena. On both sides of it’s belly were the words ‘Life On The Wild Side’ that stood out like tribal tattoos on the arms of a mighty wrestler. These words quietly promised us an adventure of a lifetime. From how it gracefully handled bumps and bends on our way out of Nairobi, to how the gears shifted smoothly in silence, and also how cushy the seats felt; I was certain we were in the vehicle right for the job! A rugged wrestler, that moved with the grace of an angel, and gave the comfort of a mother. I named the truck ‘Beast’.

The 'beast' that made it all possible. Early morning on the day of departure

The ‘beast’ that made it all possible in the early morning of departure

As we made our way further out of the city, I learnt from Mukhtar that my good old friend Ali Said would be joining us on the safari. He would however not be with us in the truck, but on his motorbike! I thought he was insane to conjure up the idea of riding on two wheels over 3,200km, but being a biker myself I secretly envied him as I knew he would experience the adventure with all his senses on alert. No chance to snooze or booze!

Ali Said, the adventurous rider on his African Twin motorcycle (750cc of raw power)!

Ali Said, the adventurous rider on his African Twin motorcycle (750cc of raw power)!

We needed to travel from Nairobi all the way to #Jinja in Eastern Uganda. A distance of about 580km. This seemed like it was going to be one long day, noting that no one was quite speaking to the other. I knew that something had to be done to break the ice. Usually, the camera sort of does the trick and so shortly I was clicking away on Nicki. Taking shots of the truck occupants at random. This sort of shook up things a little bit and I started getting a smile here and there.

Adventurers each minding their own business as we started the safari. This wouldn't last :-)

Adventurers each minding their own business as we started the safari. This wouldn’t last 🙂

Before the 'Bhajia' ice-breaker, Beast did a good job of comfortably accommodating the adventurers who to escape into work or reading :-)

Before the ‘Bhajia’ ice-breaker, Beast did a good job of comfortably accommodating the adventurers who chose to escape into work or reading 🙂

The best ice-breaker however came when one of the adventurers (Shakeel) left the truck, boarded Ali’s motorbike and came back with bags of ‘Bhajia’ (an indian delicacy prepared by frying slices of potatoes in a spicy paste and served with chilli). He threw a potato party and invited everyone to it! Going by how the adventurers dug into the food, I could bet my money on that few if any, had taken breakfast that early morning 🙂 Food certainly got people talking! From then on I baptized Shakeel as the ‘Bhajia Hero’.

The 'Bhajia Hero' invited everyone to his potato and chilli party. What an ice-breaker!

The ‘Bhajia Hero’ who invited everyone to his potato and chilli party. What an ice-breaker!

Conversations started, laughter was audible and people started moving around in the truck. Friendships were being formed and this clearly indicated that we were on for an awesome trip! I was drawn into the beauty that our land Kenya is, as we drove further up country and Nicki did not disappoint in capturing this for your viewing;

A scenic section in between Naivasha and Nakuru

A scenic section in between Naivasha and Nakuru

The beautiful tea zones of Kenya in the Rift Valley

The beautiful tea zones of Kenya in the Rift Valley

A street in the beautiful city of Kisumu, Kenya.

A street in the beautiful city of Kisumu, Kenya.

On this day, we were in a race with time. We needed to make it to the Malaba border between Kenya and Uganda. The aim was to get to Jinja before dark. Packed lunch was served in the truck. A well balance meal of sandwiches, an apple and a packet of juice which I really enjoyed. The sandwiches were made with love, thanks to the Bunduz.com team. We made it to the border, and I really wanted to test the new pass-card that allows Kenyan, Ugandan and Rwandese citizens to cross into any of the three countries by just producing an identity card and not necessarily having a passport. I was issued with the pass immediately I availed my Kenyan ID card and conveyed my intention to cross into Uganda. I can confirm that this works efficiently and it is an indicator that the East African Community is making paces in the right direction. It is however sad to note that Tanzania is yet to sign up to this!

Adventurers enjoying the scenery on our journey to Jinja

Adventurers enjoying the scenery on our journey to Jinja

Soon we were in Uganda and headed to Jinja. By now, most of the adventurers knew each other by name and were already talking and sharing drinks which they had certainly not carried in short supply 🙂 Some of us were slowly being soothed to sleep by Beast’s clam and steady growl. Then suddenly someone shouted out , ‘Mash, look! Calvary is in Uganda!’ I immediately jumped up and instinctively grabbed Nicki ready to swing into action. I managed to get a good shot of the cross on the hill. I however still do not what it’s all about. Kindly anyone reading and knows what the cross on the hill is, feel free to share.

'Mash, look! Is this Calvary in Uganda?'

‘Mash, look! Is this Calvary in Uganda?’

An imposing hill that looks like a giant warrior protecting the village at it's foot

An imposing hill that looks like a giant warrior protecting the village at it’s foot

Time seemed to fly past and eventually the sun hid behind the hills as darkness crept onto the land. It would soon be dark. Unfortunately we wouldn’t make it to the camp in Jinja early this evening as it had been planned. The several stops along the way delayed the intended schedule.

A golden African sunset in rural Eastern Uganda

A golden African sunset in rural Eastern Uganda

We eventually got to the Nile River Explorers Camp where we put up for the night. The place was dark, and I could not quite explore much since I was quite tired. The Bunduz.com team quickly set up our kitchen and prepared us a sumptuous dinner which was served underneath the stars and beside our faithful Beast.

The trip Captain, Mukhtar allocated tents to the adventurers at the Nile River Explorers Camp

The trip Captain, Mukhtar allocated tents to the adventurers at the Nile River Explorers Camp

Dinner is ready!

Dinner is ready!

Adventurers munching away underneath the stars as Beast takes a rest besides them.

Adventurers munching away underneath the stars as Beast takes a rest besides them.

Finally I had my space to lay down and rest in readiness for #Day2

Finally I had my space to lay down and rest in readiness for #Day2

Event: The Ultimate Road Trip Period: #Day 1 (28th Dec 2014) Distance: Nairobi (Kenya) – Jinja (Uganda) Approx. 580km 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/

Mt. Longonot, The Ascent!

Mash, seeks more climbing adventures for 2014!

Mash, seeks more climbing adventures for 2014!

My wake-up alarm went off, blaring my favorite wake up tune at 0545hrs on 3rd January 2014. I had slept readily packed for the trip and by about 0630hrs we were well on the road to the meet-up point, where we were to link-up with the rest of the pack. The mission was to climb Mt. Longonot!

Mt. Longonot

Mt. Longonot

This is however not where the story begins. The story begun on 1st January 2014, when my family and I were invited to a New Year’s barbeque party at the Wildebeest Eco Camp in the leafy suburbs of Karen, Nairobi. Here we not only made merry, but also met a bunch of really cool people whom (on striking conversation) I discovered were quite adventurous! Before long, we were buried deep in chitchat on how beautiful a country we have and the many adventure escapades one can undertake here. Shortly we were talking about this blog and I shared my ambitious intention to climb several mountains this year. I learned that the group was in the planning stage of a Mt. Kenya climb, and in preparation they were to climb Mt. Longonot in a day’s time. Needless to say, I hopped on and into their plan and as they say, the rest is history! 🙂

The good road down to Longonot

The good road down to Longonot

Mt. Longonot is located in the Great Rift Valley, southeast of Lake Naivasha approximately 60km from Nairobi. We took the Mai Mahiu route (Old Naivasha Road) which is the most scenic route down to the floor of the Rift Valley.

Mai Mahiu, a settlement just before getting to Longonot at the Great Rift Valley floor

Mai Mahiu, a settlement just before getting to Longonot on the Great Rift Valley floor

Power cables running down the escarpment to the rift valley

Power cables running down the escarpment to the rift valley. Mt. Longonot in the background

We arrived at the Mt. Longonot National Park gate, where the team made the final adjustments to their gear making sure that each would be comfortable on the ascent. On paying the park entry fees, we all congregated and took some instructions from our guide for the day (Mr. Kanja from http://www.dawntreader.co.ke).

Preparing for the climb

Preparing for the climb

Stretch that muscle! :-)

Stretch that muscle! 🙂

The pack listens to Guide Kanja's climbing tips

The pack listens to Guide Kanja’s climbing tips

He gave the climbing tips which included; asking the team to remain together on the ascent, nobody should wander off the trail and into the bushes, we were to all keep a pace comfortable for everyone in the pack and the one that stood out the most for me was that the climb would be daunting, and the trick to keep going was to ensure that one foot was always in-front of the other. Off we went into the park to conquer the Longonot!

Off to conquer Mt. Longonot!

Off to conquer Mt. Longonot!

I had climbed this very mountain back in 2011 with my two close buddies (Nick & Joash) and to some extent that was a battle of the boys on who was in the best shape to climb. I climbed in 45min. This time I was determined to push myself to doing it in 30min. However, my intention was dashed when our guide said we all needed to stick together (a pack of climbers climbs only as fast as their weakest link). This created an opportunity for me to enjoy nature’s beauty, capture shots documenting the adventure and also to take time and wonder at how great our God is in his creation!

Welcome to Mt. Longonot National Park

Welcome to Mt. Longonot National Park

The trail up the mountain is a gradually steep footpath often interrupted by shallow gullies dug out by run-off water. This caused us to be in a single file for the better part of the climb. The mountain is mainly covered in short shrubs and thick savannah grass. It is therefore wise to wear trousers for the climb.

Single file going up Mt. Longonot

Single file going up Mt. Longonot

The sun was sweltering hot and with every step up the mountain the feet became heavy. I however knew what to expect on the ascent and therefore I decided to take time and enjoy the little interruptions along the climb. I let myself listen to the constant buzz of the insects in the grass, I allowed myself to enjoy the rare waft of dry wind over my sweaty face and I was glad to be in the distraction of the birds flying by. Every once in a while I would dash up to the front or lag behind of the pack to snap and capture beautiful moments on my camera. I was delightedly lost in the splendour of nature!

A lone short tree, standing tall amongst short friends. :-)

A lone short tree, standing tall amongst short friends. 🙂

Soon it was easy to know why it was necessary to stick as a group. Notice the warning sign!

Soon it was clear why it was necessary to stick as a group. The warning sign! (Caution; Be ware of buffaloes)

A neat picnic site within the Mt. Longonot National Park

A neat picnic site within the Mt. Longonot National Park

A few meters up the mountain, we came across a group of elderly nuns who were determined to reach the peak. I was very impressed by one of them who seemed to be the eldest. She was dressed in her official garments, armed with a wide-rimmed cotton hat and a walking stick in hand. She took every step with a gait burdened by age, yet she could still afford me a smile and a greeting as I went past her on the climb. She was to later find us at the peak, minutes before we set off on the climb down! She reaffirmed it for me that no one is ever too old to get out on an adventure! 🙂

The elderly nun climbing Mt. Longonot

The elderly nun climbing Mt. Longonot

We soon came to one of the rest points on the trail, and here the pack was glad to shelter in the shed from the hot sun. The shed was a good spot to catch a breathe and snack lightly to gather the much needed energy for the rest of the climb. KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) has also built an ablution block at the rest post where climbers can relieve themselves before proceeding on the climb. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be for one to pace up the mountain while battling not to answer a call of nature. So, Kudos KWS!

Resting and sharing energy snacks at a rest point along the trail

Resting and sharing energy snacks at a rest point along the trail

As we proceeded on the climb, I realized that the higher we went the steeper the mountain became. It was harder to keep a grip of the ground, the trail had mild meanders around boulders of eroded rocks and the vegetation became thinner. We soon came to a point that was so steep such that some of us had to go on all fours to make headway! At this point, KWS has tried to make it easier for the climbers by laying down concrete steps on a stretch of about 30m at the steepest section of the trail. This was somewhat disappointing for me since I would expect a climbing trail to be as natural as possible. I am sure you all have your views on this, and it will be good if you can share them in the comments.

A steep section of the trail

A steep section of the trail

The steep section of the climb. Notice the concrete steps.

The steep section of the climb. Notice the concrete steps.

A beautifully eroded section of the mountain

A beautifully eroded section of the mountain

The peak seemed so close, yet so far. My feet were hot inside my shoes and my skin was sweating underneath my clothes. My body was slowly being lured by fatigue, but I fought on. The silence was audible as we approached the peak, partly because the chitchat in the pack had died down (possibly as each one tried to concentrate their energy on the climb). Chests were taking in heavy gasps of air, muscles ached, some feet slipped in their slow shuffle up and some even stopped to catch a breath, but we kept pushing on. Soon we were at the top of Mt. Longonot!

Finally at the peak of Mt. Longonot! Dance to that!

Finally at the peak of Mt. Longonot! Dance to that!

Mt. Longonot, conquered!

Mt. Longonot, conquered!

Exhilarating was the feeling that engulfed me as I looked down the beautifully rugged slopes of Mt. Longonot! My lungs appreciated the pleasantly fresh air and my eyes could not have enough of the picturesque view! In the afternoon of a bright sunny day, the view was so vast and clear that I could actually see Lake Naivasha from this vantage point. We (the entire pack) had done it!

The beautifully rugged slopes of Mt. Longonot

The beautifully rugged slopes of Mt. Longonot

A breathe taking view from atop Mt. Longonot. Notice Lake Naivasha in the background

A breathe taking view from atop Mt. Longonot. Notice Lake Naivasha in the background

Mt. Longonot

Mt. Longonot

Awed!

Awed!

We had climbed 3.1km (3100m) of jagged terrain, and all our bodies were yearning for was that much needed rest and rejuvenation. Almost instinctively, we all hurdled into yet another resting shed at the top of the mountain and shared the remaining supplies amongst ourselves. Cheerful chatter ruled this break and I noticed a smile of gratification (for completion of the mission) on everyone one of us!

Resting in a shed at the peak of Mt. Longonot

Resting in a shed at the peak of Mt. Longonot

A section of the Mt. Longonot crater rim

A section of the Mt. Longonot crater rim

I was willing to go round the full circumference of the crater (7.2km) but we only made it to 3km before the pack unanimously agreed that we wouldn’t make it round the crater, and therefore we had to start on the climb down.

Our attempt to go round the crater

Our attempt to go round the crater

We climbed down the mountain, this time at a much faster pace due to the ‘obedient’ gravitational pull. My toes inside the hiking sneakers felt swollen in the heat, my knees trembled with every step down and I jerked into an involuntary run every time I came across an unfriendly slope. 🙂

Our guide Kanja (www.dwntreader.co.ke) assist a climber down the mountain

Our guide Kanja (www.dawntreader.co.ke) assists a climber down the mountain

On all fours to make it down safe. That steep!

On all fours to make it down safe. That steep!

These feet can now tell a tale about climbing :-)

These feet can now tell a tale about climbing 🙂

On our way down, got lucky to spot graceful giraffes grazing

Lucky to spot graceful giraffes grazing, on our way down

My body was tired, covered in dust and caked sweat when we got back to the base of the Mount Longonot. I was glad to find a block that has showers and toilets where we all freshened up before moving to one of the eateries (Old House shop & restaurant) near the park gate for some nyama choma (barbequed meat) and ice cold Tusker (beer).

Old House, the restaurant

Old House, the restaurant

To the pack (Nduta, Angie, Ben, Ikua, Jackie, Kanja, Ruguru, Sijenyi, Gladys, Kariuki) Kudos! 🙂

The pack. We did it! :-)

The pack. We did it! 🙂

It was an awesome trip and a great way to usher in 2014, the year in which I intend to indulge in more climbing adventures!

Different angle shots from atop Mt. Longonot

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Location:

Mt. Longonot lies south-east of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya.

Approximately 60km from Nairobi City Centre, about 1hr drive.

Distance up Mt. Longonot (to the rim): 3.1km

Distance round the crater rim: 7.2km

Park Entry Fees:

East African Citizens: Kshs. 350.00 (Adults) Kshs: 250.00 (Children)

Residents:                   Kshs. 700.00 (Adults) Kshs. 350.00 (Children)

Non Residents:           USD. 30.00 (Adults) USD. 20 (Children)

Where to stay:

This is mostly a day’s excursion. However, one has the choice of staying at the many hotels and campsites in Naivasha which is not far (Cray Fish Camp, Fisherman’s Camp, Sopa Lodge, Enashipai among others)

Activities available in the park:

Hiking, Climbing, Bird Watching, Wildlife Watching

What to Carry;

Drinking water and energy snacks, camera, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, comfortable climbing boots, comfortable trousers to climb in, guidebooks  and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight (at a nearby campsite)

-MASH-    Macharia Njuguna

A Sandals, Sand & Lenses Affair..!

A new year for more adventure :-)

A new chance for more adventure 🙂

2013 is the year that was! Happy New Year, my good adventurous people!

First, allow me to apologize for not having posted anything within the month of December 2013. Well, as it happens to most of us I was sort of burnt-out from my day job. I however still managed to use my reserve energy to do a little travel just to get my mind off the daily routine and actually relax.

Mash, relaxing in Mombasa

Mash, relaxing in Mombasa

I visited the city of Mombasa for the second time this year. I however did not indulge in much activity and just opted to hang around the hotel (Kenya Bay Beach Hotel), yes I visited the establishment yet again and as always, they did not disappoint. I had in my mind to bring you my followers and readers a little of the Mombasa experience and therefore as I packed my sandals and shorts, I threw in my camera and lenses to make sure I could get you some shots. I spent most of my time on the white sandy beaches either taking a morning jog, watching the activities on the beach as I sipped my cold drinks from the creek above, or taking leisure walks in the evening. Here are some of the shots from the Mombasa trip;

Beautiful morning

The sun rises over a tranquil Indian Ocean on an early morning

The sun rises over a tranquil Indian Ocean on an early morning

A long stretch of the North coast beach

A long stretch of the North coast beach

Water Vessels

Anchored boats on an early morning

Anchored boats on an early morning

Speed boats in the shallow waters of an early afternoon

Speed boats in the shallow waters of an early afternoon

A old log boat anchored in the ocean

A old log boat and modern boat anchored in the ocean

A single sail boat with a sole sailor on board

A single sail boat with a sole sailor on board

A Baracuda Team divers' boat

A Baracuda Team divers’ boat

Anchored boats in the high evening tide

Anchored boats in the high evening tide

Activities

A kite surfer prepares his equipment as a passing sailor looks on

A kite surfer prepares his equipment as a passing sailor looks on

Two horsemen ride on the beach as a kite surfer does his thing in the background

Two horsemen ride on the beach as a kite surfer does his thing in the background

A cyclist peddles hard under the hot afternoon sun

A cyclist peddles hard under the hot afternoon sun

A camel carrying a passenger is guided along the beach

A camel carrying someone is guided along the beach

Two horsemen look on as a group prepares for a speedboat ride

Two horsemen look on as a group prepares for a speedboat ride

A 'flying-dragon' kite hovers over a camel on the beach

A ‘flying-dragon’ kite hovers over a camel on the beach

The beach on a busy afternoon

The beach on a busy afternoon

A group of tourists takes a ride in a wooden sail boat

A group of tourists takes a ride in a wooden sail boat

A family walks past the figure of a lion curved in the sand

A family walks past the figure of a lion curved in the sand

A handler and his camel take a rest on the beach

A handler and his camel take a rest on the beach

Scenery

A beautiful view from my room at the Kenya Bay Beach Hotel

A beautiful view from my room at the Kenya Bay Beach Hotel

Kenya Bay Beach Hotel from my room

Kenya Bay Beach Hotel

Patrons relaxing by the poolside at Kenya Bay Beach Hotel

Tourists relaxing by the poolside at Kenya Bay Beach Hotel

Palm trees along the beach

Palm trees along the beach

That was an awesome way to slow down and recollect on the year ending.

Sneak Peek into 2014: I intend to indulge in more adventures and particularly of the climbing and/or hiking kind 😉

Let’s have ourselves an adventurous 2014!

-MASH-