I write to you from a land so beautiful, the home of buffalos, elephants and waterbucks. The sprawling undulating terrains give way to the heavenly scenery of Mt.elgon National park. The vegetation is unique, patched up on the rocky surfaces that are numerous here.The story begins in kitale. Bored with everyday life, like any other man, I needed an adventure, so I had to find one. I picked up my phone and whatsapped a few friends. The text read ‘’If u were given one chance to run away where would you go to.’’The weird answers I received led me to a conclusion that most of my friends are either not that adventurous or rather maybe the cliché that every man is born different isn’t just a cliché, maybe it’s the reality.
One conspicuous answer I received was State house or Whitehouse. Whitehouse? Really? You see why people are different, anyway we can’t blame him, maybe he wants to be president someday. Others blabbed about going to church, most of which was a lie. Another one said Spain. That was a logical answer but not the kind of respond I hoped for. God knows I have never been on a plane, even the one bound for Nairobi. So I just ignored all the texts, reached out to my computer and clicked my way into the KWS website. I had camping in mind but camping alone in the cold thicket of the forest surrounded by Elephants and Jackals is a fools task.
I get back to whatsaapp,reached a few friends again. The text read ‘’ How about camping in Mt.Elgon,is that a thing that would excite you this Christmas. ’Owing to the fact that I notified them on 23rd just two days to the big day, of course most of them declined yet again.They wanted to stay at home and eat, some said they had goats slaughtered at home and no one was going to stop them from enjoying that meat, not even a mountain. Another said he had to be with shosho for Christmas, the craziest of them all said he was going to work, on a good Christmas day, may Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour forgive that one specifically, I would understand spending time with family but working on Christmas really? Anyway long story short, the only company you can possibly get to a campsite on Christmas day is maybe your younger brother or some street urchins who see nothing special with Christmas.
I am a relentless soul, when I set my eyes on somethimg,most at times I never give up until it is done. At this point, it didn’t matter anymore, I had to do this albeit alone. So I went home, shared a meal with my beautiful family, then I had to live in search of my adventure. My heart would not rest unless I had done this. I call up a motorbike and we hit the road, the destination,Mt.Elgon National Park Kitale.No one was going to stop me, the term unstoppable should have been coined from my experiences. I pick up a few wares, food staff, a camera, a laptop, a few clothes and some booze. If you’re going to be alone in the lonely cold night you surely need something to keep you warm. The place is barely 30KM away, I have spent my lifetime so close to somewhere heavenly yet I had not taken any trouble to exploit, reach beyond to see this beautiful paradise, what a shame, the African spirit surely lacks that spark of adventure.
I wasn’t going to camp ,that was so clear to me now, I had to have optional accommodation. So I asked the bike man where I would get a nice place to spend the night. He mentioned that there was a lodge that belonged to the game park.Mt.Elgon Park Lodge, I told him that should be our first stop, so that I could reserve a room for myself. We ride uphill, the road is dusty, my black self-resembled a mazing by the time we got there. We were so dusty yet it didn’t bother me since it was in the spirit of adnevture.There is no much scenery along the way except for huge tracks of land that I was informed belonged to the former senator Ole Ndiema,occasionally there were some hills, one was conspicuously named mlima Kanga, it is famed for its abundance of Kanga which the locals hunted. Thirty minutes into the journey and we are at the Mt.Elgon Game Lodge main entrance.Nearly the whole village had assembled at this point.Some street photographers were snapping them and instantaneously printing out their photos for them.This must have been magical for the naïve villagers of this place that I can bearly pronounce the name.
As I make my way into the lodge,the KWS official in charge of the gate stops me,he must have been overwhelmed by the mighty presence of the anxious villagers.I humbly tell him that all I need is a room and he allows me in,I can tell he knew I was a visitor since I asked in English,mark you my English is kind off the queen’s English,Githu Muigai with his mastery of talking from his nose can bearly rival me hehee.So he lets me pass and objects the funny talking villagers who can bearly pronounce the term Queen.I make my way into the reception,there is no attendant available.I head all the way to the kitchen and found a soft spoken mama who told me that the rooms were two thousand bob a night.Paying two thousand shillings so that I can close my eyes in a room for less than six hours is a thing I normally wouldn’t do but what choices did I have.
Of course I had a choice,I left the place and we headed down to the game park.We get to the entrance and I ask some guy,he must have been a KWS official whether I could find some accommodation.He directs me to a window where a beautiful Kao lady was stationed.I have a thing for ladies who are dressed in full combat,I don’t know about you but I kind off find it sexy.She was an amazing bird this one.I find her in the middle of some squabbles with some wazungus.A financial transaction gone wrong I guess.They are trying to reverse some cash that had been paid electronically by the wazungus.Seems these white people are not as affluent as many of us are mostly,you should have seen the looks on there faces when they were told that they had to wait until 2018 when the KCB offices were opened so that they could get there money back.They immediately started barking back at the man in charge saying they were not going to pay a penny more.Everbody has money problems,that is for sure,you mean this wazungus invent money and then it eludes them,gosh!!!
So the wazungu quarrel is over,the beautiful bird gets back to me.She smiles suggestively and politely asks where I am from.Eldoret I reply.Of course I lied.I cant tell her I am from Kitale lest she fancies me a local.’’Ooh so you’re a kalenjin’’she asks.’’Not everybody who comes from Eldoret is a Kalenjin my dear.’’She chuckles,then asks how she may be of help to be.Mark you this is the first polite individual in uniform I have talked to in my lifetime.’’I need some accomodation’’I tell her.’’Ooh,your so late,all available accommodation was booked months earlier,we have nothing available here today.’’she replies.’’Waah,seems I will have to spend the entire night with you at the gate then.’’I tell her.She smiles at that and tells me that she will closing soon.What happens to me after your closed,I cant possibly make my way back to Eldoret now its so late.She tells me she understands and that she will try to make some local arrangements for me.
She calls this KWS warden,his name is Kibet if I can recall.She tells me to talk to Kibet about my accommodation issues.I don’t like this one,he seems like one of those mercenaries in the movie the Expandables.This is the kind of person that can easily strangle you deep in the night and throw you in the forest for jackals and hyenas to also enjoy Christmas.So I decline in a gentleman way and request to hire me a tent.She knew I was not comfortable ith the guy.Her heart seemed to thrust her to do the best for me.So she calls this other guy,his name is Mutinda.This one was not clad in combat,he as in simple jeans and a red hoody,I tell him my situation and he accepts to offer me a place in the staff quarters.I had no problem relating to this one since I have spend some time in Embakasi and made a few friends called Mutinda or Watinda’s if you like.
He is polite and soft spoken.I thank the good lady,she smiles again and man that smile was enough to send you to dreamville,you know these kao ladies and their charisma,they just steal your heart from you.I pick up my bags from the motorbike,one of the bags was full of booze ,since I was going to spend the night with a uniformed man I told the bikeman to head back with most of the booze,I only kept a little bottle of Whiskey,HUNTERS CHOICE,I like this one,now that I as in a hunting zone.
We get on board a KWS four by four landcruiser,the driver talks about going to fetc h some firewood for some visitors.We drive off to an unspecified location.There are some houses,my guess is that they are guest houses.We pick some firewood,I am quick to help them lest he thinks me a lazy man and sends me back to eldoret in the creeping night.We load more than enough wood on the car and we drive off to the staff quarters.The deal is to leave me in the house and then they would proceed to Rongai Campsite to deliver the firewood to the families camping there.So we get to the quarters I drop my bag and I ask to accompany them because I am kind off not an indoors person.
He accepts and we tag along.We get on board and head of to Khaemba’s house to pick an axe.Khaemba is a warden,he speaks fluent kamba which leaves me confused.They banter with Mutinda about something and then they head back to the car.He says he cant lend us the axe since he is using it to splt firewood for some wazungus to roast meat.Do they pay you for that Mutinda asks,off course they don’t I can tell from his facial expression but the thing with these Kao guys always bootlicking some rich guys,I know their character.
SoMutinda suggests that he splits a few wood for us then so that we could take it to the guys down at the campsite.He graciously accepts,He splits a few,we load it again and off we are to Rongai camp.A jackal passes by as we drive uphill,soon enough we are at the campsite.We find a few families up there.A couple of four by four landcruisers and Toyota Prados.There are some birds,beautiful ladies,one calls a guy that was standing close to the fire DADDY.That was the kind of bird you woudnt want to hunt no lest the PAPA tears you down to pieces.So we keep to our task.We offload the firewood and off we are back to Khaemba’s place.The wazungus are midway in meat roasting,seems Khaembas efforts of word splitting had paid off.Mutinda heads in to Khaemba’s house and comes along with two chapatis,he hands me one,I cant decline since afterall it is Christmas.We walk down to the quarters as we chat.
He tells me how challenging his job is.He talks about the illicit hunters who apparently are so dangerous and they happen to be Ugandan too.They are Gishu hunters,from the LeeWard side of the mountain.There is no wildlife on the Ugandan side of the nountain,so they have to come all the way to Kenya to hunt our buffaloes.They are armed to the teeth he tells me.Once in a while if they come across a warden in the thick bushes,they would coerce them to carry the meat they hunted for them all the way to Uganda.Uphill and then downhill,almost fourty kilometres away.If you would not oblidge they would shoot you straight in the head
At the mention of that I thanked God for not having let ambitions of me being a uniformed man cross mind.We pass by some Impalas and buffaloes that are graciously grazing on a field close to the chorlim gate which also happens to be the main entrance.We get into the staff quarters and Mutinda ushers me into his room.He prepares some Ugali and some funny meat.The meat seemed dark and thck.That doesn’t happen to be beef,I inquire.No it is Buffalo.Whatever they call buffaloes meat I have no idea but what I am certain off is that buffalo meat is good.I bite a few pieces and it is a taste like no other.The meat seems like an improved version of beef.I am handed a sleeping bag after the meal and I take a rest in anticipation of the adventurous day ahead the following morning.
The head warden knocks on Mutinda’s door.He tells him to be up early the next morning since they were going to take some Wazungus to the peak of the mountain.My heart leaped at the mention of this.Immediately the big man left,I asked Mutinda whether I would accompany him to the eight highest point in Africa.He tells me that unfortunately they were using the wazungus car.If it were a KWS car it would be okay.Sawa,I reply,he could tell that I was not happy at that but there was nothing more he could do.Maybe next time when I have my own FOUR byFOUR I can also make that trip all the way to the peak but until that day comes I know I will have fun here.