This post and many others that have not seen the light of day was meant to be up in September, a week after taking this trip. It was honestly one of the best and roughest trips I’ve been on and I still remember every fresh detail like it happened yesterday. But before I dive straight into it, I hope your year has started off well. I posted an update on my instagram about me losing all my work in November due to a massive data loss. I’ve come to appreciate the importance of having a support system because at the time, I was very close to giving up on my photography path if it hadn’t been for the encouragement and support I received back then. So that was my wake up call and the beginning of a new chapter as I look forward to creating more content while clinging on to memories from my past travels and work, including that Egypt trip that may never be brought back to life…..
Back to Magadi. This was my 3rd time in Magadi and the second time heading to Lake Natron with the OneTouch Crew. If you don’t know by now, these guys are the best travel buddies! The banter, the food, the planning and sometimes lack thereof, the laughs, the risk taking, did I mention food by the way? This one was no different from the past trips I’ve been on. We started this one a bit late having to buy food and anything else we’d need along the way on Magadi Road for the two nights we’d be camping there. Sections of the road have been repaired and it was a pretty smooth trip until the final 2-5 KMs of the trip when Obuna’s beloved Mazda succumbed to the dented holes of the hot tarmac. We didn’t think it would be bad until we discovered that we were two left wheels down with no functional spare.
At this point, reality is breathing life into Mutua’s words in one of his blog posts, “Seldom is there a Onetouchlive trip without some sort of issue that brings about great adventure.” The sun was picking up momentum and toasting each and every inch of tarmac that standing still on the road was a problem. Here I was thinking how screwed we were to have two wheels off as Obuna remained calm and reassuring that the Mazda would pull through the whole trip yet it had barely survived the prologue
We were however in luck as Shani’s Ubar 2.0 was there to save the day by rushing to Magadi to get the tyres fixed and back on the road.
Minutes later we were back on the road and in Magadi where we stopped to pick up our guide and headed off to Natron where we’d be spending the night. If you’re keen on exploring that side of Magadi to Lake Natron, I’d suggest getting a guide as it makes it easier when communicating with locals, most of them from the Maasai community and they also save you a lot of unnecessary costs. Also, there’s really no designated route to Natron so you have to make your own way which is heavily laden with dust that invites itself into your car. Case in point, the Mazda and its passengers who really suffered. We had to stop on the way to check up on them who were choking and coughing out kilos of dust from their car.
Mr Ndumos was loving his new look
Moments after the dust cleaning session we were back on the road. The plan was to get to Natron before or at least at sunset but it’s fair to say we failed. Scenes like these beautiful herd of cows at Shompole ensured there was no way we’d follow through with the plan.
We later got to our makeshift campsite to the surprise of some Maasai villagers who apparently guard the “border”. There’s no sign that shows you’re in Kenya or Tanzania but from Jose’s conviction (our local guide) we had to oblige. Soon after, we set camp on hard stone ground preparing for what was to be the hardest night of my life. There was no penetrable ground for the tent hooks to go through, our tents kept being blown off the ground by the strong wind as well as having to battle mosquitoes. Nightmare. Which reminds me, I should probably tell you of my previous experience here….or not.Anyway, I’ll share a small embarrassing story and let’s promise to not revisit this after I’m done, okay?
See, last time I was on this route, with Onetouch Live, we pitched tent on a river bank. It was dry at the time and there were billions of mosquitoes. The worst part was when the local guide told us there were lions at times and even crocodiles that visited the area. See, that was my first time camping. My folks at the time were pessimistic about camping and implored that I don’t do it. Adventure always tells you to disobey whoever. And that’s what I did. There was no way I was going to get munched on by crocs or a stray lion so I asked the guide to hang around for the night and he gladly did. He had a rungu , one of those weapons Maasais carry and more so, I heard that they fight and kill lions, so we were in good hands, pretty good portfolio yeah? At some point in the night, while hopelessly attempting to catch some shut eye and battling with the annoying mosquito chorus noise I heard some movements around the campsite and was like “screw this, I’m sleeping in the car”. Ladies and gents, whoever is reading this, I woke up in Mutua’s Landie. Let’s just say the next day I had to part with a few thousands for “hiring private security”. Hitherto, the guys never let that story go untold, irregardless of everyone having heard it for the umpteenth time. Anyway, let’s not talk about it. End of story.
In the next post, you’ll discover whether this time without “private security”, I lived to see the next day unscathed, or whether the Great Mazda made it through as well as get to see some of the beauty we have in Africa. To be continued….