Midnight in Mt. Suswa

You may suppose that all this scribbling is being done in the comfort of a hotel room or at a table in a fancy restaurant. You, dear reader, are wrong. It is from a window seat on an old overland truck which, with its breaking down twice on our return journey, threatened to give us an extra night in Maasailand.

GETTING THERE

Our journey from Nairobi to one of Kenya’s most under-appreciated geological features started yesterday at 7:00 am and took quite some time as we had to enjoy a couple of other scenery on the way and also to pick our guide at the little town of Suswa. Thus, we arrived our destination at 2:00 pm thereabouts.

Managed by the Suswa Conservancy, our campsite was a spectacular spot located at the very edge of the inner crater. The tired sun-stricken faces lit up taking in the breath-taking view of what manifested before us.

Behold.

THE HIKE

No sooner was lunch served and gobbled than we were ready to take a hike in its literal sense. The summit of the inner volcano, called Ol Doinyo Nyokie, rises to an altitude of about 2,356 m above sea level. Averaging to roughly 5 km across, this offers an awe-inspiring view of forest cover that is home to a variety of wildlife. From the viewpoint, the walk to this first summit took about an hour and was a pretty easy one.

It is at this point that I may stop and quote the famous “When it rains, it pours”. It really did! Visibility? Nada. Hailstones? Kwa wingi.

Granted, hiking up to the second summit proved a little more difficult since we had to maneuver some tedious wet and slippery rocky grounds. Also, there weren’t any clearly established trails and the gushing wind and the pelting hail certainly slowed our pace. Still, we managed \o/ and by the time we got to the tip, the weather was warming up again! We were dry by the time we got back to the camp 🙂

I can’t possibly write about every little moment: delighting at the steam vents, the caves, the lemongrass which was so much in abundance, the short stop-over at the Maasai village and the everything!

MIDNIGHT IN SUSWA

With no evidence of electric lights within and without the horizon, the starry night sky coupled with the bonfire was as electrifying as it was out of this world. Our evening meal was a delicious mix of chapati, rice, stew and a salad downed with a bottle of Shiraz.

Soon, we were shouting merrily and counting seconds to what would be the 1st of January 2017. The air was full of peace and calm, reflections of the year past, and wonderful promises for the new. And as I watched the embers, I knew that I have to visit this underrated gem again. Soon.

THE VERDICT

But for monkeys, antelopes, eagles & hearing the distant laughter of hyenas in the night, we were unfortunate to spot much of the other wildlife. Not even the bats! However, this morning, as I sat covered in a shuka with my freshly brewed coffee in a chipped white mug watching the rising mist and sun catered to yesterday’s disappointment.

The whole trip was amazing and herewith, I throw myself upon the favour of the gods that I may return soon; if only to experience the glorious shower that descended on us midway to the tip of the mountain, the company, the camp fire, the stories we told and the discussions we held.

WANT TO DO MOUNT SUSWA?

I took my trip with Sports For Change and really, Shiku does organize some fantastic trips! If you are within Nairobi and would like some catering services too, I’ll recommend our accompanying chef, Matthew, who can be reached on 0723 447689.

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