This was my second time back to Samburu county. First time was in 2016 and I must say that, the beauty, vast open country and the majestic views from all round not forgetting the amazing A104 which is smooth as a baby’s behind from Thika road, past Karatina, onto the Kiganjo road that takes us past Nanyuki, off to Isiolo, past Archers post and then into Samburu. That is a drive that needs to be enjoyed over a longer period of time, but we made it work over a weekend by leaving Nairobi at exactly 5:00am on Saturday 19th. With a few pitstops we made it to Sabaache eco-camp at midday, when the sun was blazing down on us.
It has never been a smart idea to start hiking in the middle of the day and not in a county that is known to give people heat strokes, but we had a mission to accomplish so after dropping off our bags in our quaint cabins we hit the trail. We were 8 of us in total. A nice neat group of happy hikers who were excited about getting to the peak and taking in the amazing views that we had been raving about. We had a repeat hiker, Wamucii, who had built up the summit views to epic levels.
There is a reason why we avoid hiking in the scorching heat. In less than 10 minutes after take off, we had our first casualty. Her body was struggling to process not only the heat but the almost 60 degree incline that assaults you as you start climbing up Mt. Ololokwe. Nausea is the body’s way of telling you that it is struggling. In addition to the heat and the incline, she was also suffering from food poisoning. Rule of thumb, ‘better out than in’ so I encouraged her to get rid of the toxins and to just give herself time. It wasn’t long before the rest of the group pulled away and we were left behind. After ensuring that the group ahead was okay and had the necessary support, I fell back to keep an eye on her and also to encourage her along.
The beauty about being at the back is that there is no pressure to keep up with anyone. We simply sat down and let the nausea process out and allowed her to recover before pushing on. As we started our journey upwards, we found one of the original team members on his way down. The heat had gotten to him and nothing we said could convince him to journey back up with us. We let him continue with his descent as we clambered on upwards.
Here is the thing, I could tell that she would rather have been going downwards than upwards, but based on my assessment of her vitals, I knew she had the stamina and grit to get to the halfway point, which I knew would be worth the pain and the tears. I kept a safe distance from her as I pushed her on and encouraged her, safe because I knew that given a chance she would probably slog me across my mouth. Eventually after a lot of coaxing and coddling, we made it to the halfway point. The look on her face was worth it. She took in the views and knew that it had been worth the struggle. She also felt very proud of her accomplishment and shared some nuggets of wisdom. ‘When you think you are done, and there is nothing left to give, dig deeper’ ‘the journey is more important than the destination’ ‘surround yourself with the right people, who will encourage you and cheer you on along your journey’.
After spending a good amount of time relaxing and enjoying the solitude of the mountain, we made our way back to base. The journey down was quick and painless. Once we got to camp we were rewarded with hot showers, a hot meal and a bonfire where we chatted and relaxed after a long day. Needless to say, we slept soundly and were well rested for our journey back to Nairobi the next day.
Samburu is a county that is seldom explored and Kenyans miss out on the beauty that is within our borders simply because we do not take the initiative to travel. As always the hikes leave us craving for more-more of the outdoors, more of travel, more of relationships, more of community. If you want to find out how you can join us drop an email to email@example.com