Beyond the Town of Magadi

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After signing at the gate of Magadi Soda Company, we were allowed to proceed on to the town. Apparently photography is not allowed at the company though we drove on to see the lake side which was full of soda, smelly and my sense of anticipation of water birds was cut short. We could not imagine that after such a long drive there was no fish on the lake and so clearly no fish eagles or other such raptors. Such a let down

A view from the soda road inside Lake Magadi

A view from the soda road inside Lake Magadi

The road we were following inside the lake was leading to Entasopia, a town beyond your everyday if you are a city dweller. So With much disappointment, we turned back and drove further to the town for a meal at-least. Here we were met with further disappointment. No food! Unless we wait for it to be cooked. You should have seen the look on peoples faces with the sun overhead and hunger pangs. We requested for cold drinks; Mirinda and 7Up specifically we asked around about the town of Magadi and its environs.

Getting to learn of a conservation nearby which had Hot springs and geysers, also about the Shompole lodge which as a further one and a half hour drive further the psyche for adventure was once again rekindled. On an beyond the town of Magadi it was to be. The hot springs somehow would
provide relief for the body and the hunger as well, somehow. We paid at the conservation gate, got directions a followed Shompole road through the reserve.

On drive, we [passed the Lake Magadi Airstrip, a golf course and onto a section of the lake that was dried which was now an access road. We had been giving direction for a lower road and the upper road one of which is only accessible during the dry season. The wet soda was splashing on the car and the skidding was on the extreme. Very enjoyable for a driver especially with no obstacles around

Atleast on this section of the lake, there were some water birds. Mallards, Egyptian geese,Spoonbills, black and White stilts, and most of all flamingos. However few the were, we were grateful. At this time, the flamingos usually migrate to Lake Natron for breeding before the get back to the rift valley lakes of Nakuru, Elementaita and Naivasha after Lake Magadi. And slowly we drove on to the hot springs

For sure there were hot springs! After some persuation, we removed our shoes and got in. So even had small fish that were not getting cooked. Amazing! A visit to this other section of the road made it all worthwhile. The villages were very receptive, giving us information about the area, the main ideal uses of the hot springs, location for birds and touring visitors, a proper guide to Shompole lodge. Very fascinating and helpful Kenyans. It is no wonder the Maasai are amongst the well known communities in Kenya, their kindness goes a long way

The Beautiful women of Magadi

The Beautiful women of Magadi


As we were talking with the men, the ladies set up a small market by displaying there wares for us to see, select what we like and buy. Very intriguing indeed as we got out of the springs and there it was with each woman seated and infront of her was her goods. Of course we paid a visit, bought bangles and earrings for the ladies promoting their businesses with a hope of improving their economical standards and most of all changing lives. There after we were off for a drive back to the city in the sun

Being sundown at that time, we braced for bumpy ride and increased out speeds to try and get back most of all safely. The night seemed to approach fast than the day was letting in on. The distance also seemed longer and since there are no lights of the road, it was a bit scary of a
drive. Being out there in the bush, the road certainly was not relaxing. But on and on we drove and with each hill and corner passed, we were getting closer and closer home.

Then suddenly we could all hear a noise as we drove and chose to slow down and listen carefully. It seemed to like come from the engine. On stopping, we realized that the car was about to overheat. All the heat of the day, the drive down to the town and the skids at the lake, we had not rechecked out water.

The indicator was on red in the middle of nowhere and we just had to stop. Calmly were opened the radiator, let the car cool down letting off the excess steam and then later filling it with the water that we had carried from home that morning. Always carry water no matter the situation. Water is life.

She cooled down after a while we were back on the road after thanking God for safety, security and a working engine.The sight of Olepolos has never brought on such a rush. It was the only bright light that we could clearly identify to tell us exactly where we were. Closer and closer we go back through Kona baridi, Kiserian and Ongata Rongai

Our first stop back was Galleria shopping mall in Karen for something to eat as we were all very hungry. Mambo Italia pizza was served well with cold drinks as we were recapping the day long activities. Nine o’clock we were all home safe, showered, relaxed and i with a cup of tea. The camera by my side ready to experience the day again via the digital eye view. The story told by each image again was truly memorable #Kasunie

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Roadtrip Destination Magadi

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After several texts and call of planning to travel over the long weekend, the day had finally come. A road trip with the destination Magadi! With my wife and two of my siblings, we were off to an early morning trying to beat traffic out of Nairobi town and also with an aim to catch the sunrise at the higher points of Magadi road “Kona Baridi” with a view the Ngong Hills

After a full tank fuel on Mobil Lang’ata, a last check of the essentials for the day was necessary. Camera in hand and battery charged, camera bag and equipment, bird books and checklists, Binoculars, lots of water for drinking and extra in the trunk for the car, snacks, engine checks done and in order, tyre and pressure new and filled well, a happy wife and anxious siblings double check and ready i was for the drive

Out towards the Ngong hills through Ongata Rongai before the traffic buildup that a Saturday morning, on to Kiserian town and climbing out through Kona baridi area that early where we were met by a Batleurs eagle in the sky. With its unique flight silhouette; an extremely short tail it is unmistakable on flight with the rear edge narrowing to a pointed tip. We could not stop the vehicle in a climb in the narrow Magadi road section leading out of Kiserian so we trailed it on drive and moved on slowly

It was a bit windy on top of Kona Baridi, but the view was spectacular. The warm sunrise from the east, the wide view of Magadi road and the environs to your from and Ngong hills with its towering masts on the other side is truly a beautiful sight to behold. We are blessed to live in Kenya, and i would encourage road trips touring this beautiful nation. It would be a waste to never get see and enjoy this great country and its beauty in entirety. Travel, tour and see more destinations even further than Lake Magadi

At nine o’clock we were going down the Escarpment towards Olepolos. Once a great drive destination for Nyama choma, with many herds of goats and cattle in the area it seemed quiet and neglected. The area community was still to get up or were they already hiding form the sun as minimal people could be seen in the town

Slowly we drove past enjoying the superb starlings and other smaller warblers on the way. Further on in our drive, just below Olepolos country club a huge beautiful bird crossed our way and perched close to the road. Here we could stop and thats exactly what we did. I looked for clearing further on the road, a dried up river gorge, parked and off i scampered after the bird

The Red and Yellow Barbet as tracked in the gorge

The Red and Yellow Barbet as tracked in the gorge

To my amazement, it was still in the tree that i had seen it perch. Slowly i tracked and closer i got in for a shot. It was a Red and yellow barbet. How lucky i was to see this new bird and add it on my checklist. I tracked it on camera till it flew further off. Along the same path, we walked further to see if we could bring out other different indigenous bird but the area filled with thorn bushes was empty of birds. Not sure whether it was because of the new visitors or because of the hot sun but all was in vain. We could hear a few calls further in the distant but could not see any bird

An Abandoned wreckage on the Magadi road

An Abandoned wreckage on the Magadi road

We managed to see an old replica of aircraft wreckage though that had been long forgotten. Someone should have cleared the area to rid the place of the oil and fuel and especially the metal debris that had been left behind. It seemed more than fifteen years old in the area and we were surprised as to why it had not been cleared or towed way. Another case for Kenya Civil aviation Authority to follow up probably

So off again we contined on our road trip to Magadi. None of us had ever been to Magadi town before and we were all anticipating it, probably looking forward to a nyama choma lunch joints by the shores of the lake or something close to that as per the stories and plans in the car. We drove on and what seemed to be the good road came to an end. The rest of the section was marred by a terrible road all the way to Magadi Soda Company. By air Magadi is ten minutes with a Cessna 172 from wilson airport, with the car we had anticipated about two and a half hours drive but in reality after the two hours we were not even close

The horrible road reduced our speeds to less than 40Kph. The birding stops and landscape photo taking did not help with the time at all either. Along the road there were very few vehicles and majority were on coming. The resident travelers could be seen trying to stop us to ask for a lift probably to a location further on as we drove but since the car was full, we did not stop to offer the lifts. I wonder what happens to the “Do not carry strangers” in such a situation. We arrived in Magadi close to two o’clock in the afternoon and boy weren’t we happy . It seemed like a full day drive, tiring mostly but excited to be here

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