On Saturday afternoon I came back from an unexpected work trip to Moshi. I rushed home from the airport, had a quick shower and threw some clothes in a bag because it was time for the next trip: staying with the Maasai at Mount Suswa, my first trip with Charlie's Travels!
Together with Jack, Nyssa and TJ, we left Nairobi with driver George until Mara Gateway in Suswa. There we were picked up by Rueben - the Maasai we were staying with - and his boda buddies. Packed on the back of their motorbikes we started the off-road journey… And it was bumpy! And dusty! We were literally just driving over the rocks and my hands started to have blisters from holding on to the bike so tight and my black backpack and hair had become brown from all the dust. But since we were going uphill and the sun was about the set, it gave us the most amazing view over the valley and Lake Naivasha in the distance. But that also meant it was getting dark quickly, especially in combination with some big rain clouds hanging above the hills. We kept driving on fast because the forecast gave code red because of the expected heavy rains that could cause flash floods and landslides.
When the sun had set and it became dark, we at least managed to get passed the rocky part of the journey and we ended up on some sort of dirt road. The driver told us 'we were very close, only 20 minutes left'. But after a few minutes on the dirt road: lightening FILLED the sky. Because we were now on the open plains, it seemed like the whole sky from east to west was filled when lightning struck. And it didn’t take long or rain started pouring down. We hadn’t really prepared for this so we all tried to keep our bags dry, while holding on to the bikes because the roads became all muddy and slippery. My driver gave me a shuka (the red traditional wear from the Maasai) to try and cover myself and my backpack with, but it didn’t help much. There was no other option than to keep driving, since there were not even huts along the way and the indication of 'almost there' was definitely in a Kenyan time frame because I think it took at least another 45 minutes, haha T.I.A.!
We finally arrived at Rueben’s house, all soaking wet. But his lovely wife Hilda and super cute baby Victorine waited for us with warm tea, Maasai style made with lots of milk and lots of lots of sugar. We got a surprise bottle of whiskey from Charlie's Travels to make the Maasai tea even more special and that was exactly what we needed after a ride like that! Thanks guys!
After warming up from the heat of the jiko (traditional stove) and having some great chapo and ndengu (chapati and lentils) for dinner, Rueben and Hilda left us for the night. And that was when we actually needed that bottle of whiskey again after seeing a big ass spider in our bedroom (I actually slept in the living room with a torch in my hand after that, haha such a hero *not*. But honestly, it was really big... haha).
The next morning we were up early enough to see the sunrise and finally even see where exactly we were staying. We hadn't seen anything the night before arriving in the dark and in the pouring rain! So we woke up in our 'manyatta'; a Maasai settlement made up of huts and cattle kraals. This manyatta was Rueben's family, meaning the other houses were all his brothers and their families. The huts are made out wood of plastered with a mixture of water, mud, and cow dung. The Maasai live of their livestock, mostly goats and some cows that during the day graze and at night stay in a kraal made of sticks and wood. The hut we stayed in was relatively 'modern' because it had beds with mattresses and even a solar powered charger block. But for the rest it was back to basics! So... going to the bathroom meant walking somewhere behind a pile of rocks in the field and using wet wipes were our 'showers'.
So just in case you are planning on going on this trip, a short lists of items you should definitely bring:
After the hike we returned back to the village where we napped. We were all pretty tired after that hike, haha. The rest of the afternoon we hang out with the kids from the manyatta. They were all very sweet and interested in our camera's, bracelets and tattoos. We played football, volleyball and sang songs with them, which they really seemed to enjoy a lot! We had a dinner of ugali and played cards that night, and again slept early. The next morning we packed our stuff on the boda's again and drove back to Mara Gateway, and from there back to Nairobi.
This was my first trip with Charlie's Travels and I really loved it. Being in Kenya for a bit longer and having experience traveling alone and more 'local' I would never really use a travel agency, but this was actually great because it still had that adventurous part but Charlie has more experience with finding those cool spots and I got great advice in advance on what to bring etc. (And a bottle of whiskey, yayyy haha!) And I honestly loved staying with Rueben and his family, he was so welcoming to let us stay and eat with them. It's not that easy to find such a place to stay by yourself, especially if you like the less commercialized places, but it really made the experience extra special! In addition they also do motorbike and festival travels (which I both hope to do in the next few months yay!), so if you are in for new adventures, you should really check out their website/Facebook or send me a message and I will link you up!
A d v e n t u r e s o f
a D u t c h g i r l
i n E a s t - A f r i c a.