They say time and tide waits for no man. Time lost is never recovered. William Shakespeare was also right on the money when he said “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” You might not know the impact of time until you make a travel plan. Every minute counts. Every second is a chance to experience something new. The amount of fun and variety of experiences depends on how much time you have. Opportunity cost often comes to play when there is a lot to do, but with limited time. Travel with Eliud and understand why time is King!
I subscribed to a very cool plan, a 3 day fun-filled weekend at Nguruman Escarpments and Loita hills experience. You can bet the itinerary was convincing enough. We were to pass via Olorgesaillie Gorge; Tata Chemicals in Magadi then proceed to Loita Hills. I was excited because this was my first time to tour Nguruman. I have friends who talk about their experiences in Loita Hills passionately and they make me want to go. I made arrangements and was set for adventure.
As per the program we were to leave Nairobi at 12.30 pm or latest 1.00 pm. On the material day, the president of Kenya was passing through Mombasa road. This means the road was impassable for a few hours. The nightmare was that the truck ferrying us to Loita Hills was coming through Mombasa road. This means that we had to wait until the road cleared up. This was the first setback. I walked into a restaurant in CBD and ordered for lunch. I kid you not, I had enough time to eat and drink. Everyone going for the trip had arrived and 1 hour after the set departure time the truck was nowhere in sight.
15 min to 3:00 pm, the vehicle finally arrived.
To the surprise of many, it had to be loaded with foodstuff, tents and the like. “Why didn't they do this before?” everybody wondered. This took a whole hour. We left Nairobi CBD at 4:00 pm. Uhuru Highway being closed temporarily because of the president's motorcade and finding traffic in Rongai were among the reasons why we got to Kiserian at 6:00 pm. The organizers did some shopping there. We also took this opportunity to have dinner.
6.45 pm we left for Loita Hills. At this time we were supposed to be having a photography session at Lake Magadi according to the program. No one talked to us to probably explain what the plan was. We passed Olorgesaillie like it was not on the itinerary. It was already dark and we were eager to get to Nguruman. From this point, no one was talking to the other. We got to Lake Magadi at 9pm. There was no way we could have taken pictures or gotten out of the vehicle. We proceeded. From this point, the road was a nightmare. This means that the driver had to reduce his speed. I was bothered by the fact that I couldn't look outside for sceneries, physical features, vegetation, etc.
We arrived at Mud River Camp some minutes past midnight. Who asked for this really? There was total darkness. The campsite had no lighting. We had to provide light ourselves with phones and flashlights. This campsite was next to a river with no roof for shelter or relaxation. It only had washrooms and a small store. We had to pitch tents as the chef got to work. We also tried lighting a bonfire but it wouldn’t light up. After eating food at around 2:00 am, it was time for a briefing. We unanimously refused to wake up early as per the itinerary.
Because of fatigue, we woke up some minutes past 8:00 am the following morning. We found that breakfast was ready. It was time to go round the campsite and familiarize ourselves with everything. We realized that it had rained when we slept and the ground was wet. According, to the program, we were supposed to leave the camp at 7.00 am and go hike up the Loita Hills. This was another setback. At 9:00 am, we gathered for a brief introduction and also had a team dynamics session.
We left the campsite for hiking at 10.00 am. The truck's battery had no power after charging our gadgets the entire night. We combined efforts and pushed it to assist the driver in starting the engine.
Nguruman is a place with rich soil and plenty of water. People here are farmers and the produce was evidently great.
There is a center with various businesses. We stopped here to purchase sandals that are conducive for walking in water.
Everyone was excited about the hike and looked energetic. After walking for half an hour, we came across a river. The water level was high and not easy to cross. We stayed there for a while trying to figure out how to cross. We had a local guide. When I talked to him privately, he explained that to hike up the hills, one is supposed to start at 7:00 am. I looked at my watch and it was midday. How ironical. He continued by saying that the water level had risen on the other side of the Escarpment due to the rains.
Well, we were daring enough. We had to figure out how to cross that river. After all, why did we come all this way? So, we held each other's hands and helped each other across the river. A short while after the last person had managed to cross the river; we noticed that it had started to rain on top of the hills. The guide warned us from going any further up. He said that the water level could rise any minute and we would be trapped. What to do? Cross the river again! We repeated the same technique. As soon as we crossed, the rain had already caught up with us. Luckily, it was not heavy, so we managed to walk while being hit by raindrops.
It was only 2pm. We came to hike and we failed. A local pub at this point was the only consolation prize. We grabbed two for the road and danced to the local tunes. At 4.30 pm, we remembered that there was another river we had to cross while inside the truck and since it was raining we needed not to risk. Before we embarked on the journey back; we were met by a few guys driving a lorry from the direction of the river and they informed us that the river was a no go zone. Our driver knew this area like the back of his hand, so he suggested an alternative route. For the first time, I witnessed a truck getting stuck in mud. The road was slippery all through to the camp. We however managed to get to the camp at 8:00 pm.
We decided to spend time at the bonfire while the food got ready. This time, the chefs had outdone themselves because the meal was very delicious. We shared stories at the bonfire until it was past midnight.
On the third day, the plan was to leave at 9.00 am and drive to Lake Magadi to experience the hot springs; however, everyone woke up late. We took breakfast at 9.30 am and left for Lake Magadi a few minutes to 11.00 am. At 2.00 pm, we were already in Magadi. To be fair and honest, this was the highlight of this trip. The views at Lake Magadi are breathtaking.
The lake is characterized by flamingoes and a few animals such as zebras and gazelles. There is a hot spring at the lake where one can submerge. The water is at 37 degrees here. There’s a myth that says that the water has some healing effect. There is also a myth that the water can restore a person’s virginity :). Very interesting! We met some Maasai people selling curios at the lake. We engaged them, bought from them and also took pictures together. The truck played loud music and at some point, we started dancing. We spent 3 hours here having a good time. To most people, that was the only memory they carried with them from the trip. We left Magadi for Nairobi at 6.00 pm.
Time is a very important factor. If not kept from the start, it can ruin everything. Not keeping time on the first day made us not able to wake up early for the hike on the second day. The entire itinerary was spoilt. If time is kept, Nguruman Escarpment is an amazing place to be. The hike is the best with sceneries and a stunning waterfall. To you the reader, next time you are planning a getaway, make keeping time your first priority.