Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kenya : The Great Rift

Taking five under an Ecashia tree in the Rift Valley 

The Great Rift Valley from the escarpment 

The crater and summit of Mount Longonot

Coming along the Lake road by Naivasha Lake 

Masai boy in the Rift Valley

A smooth departure from Nairobi heading out through the city and away in the direction of Naivasha. The driving seemed much more orderly than more recent days on the bike further North. It was a long pull out of Nairobi once we started to leave the city it was a steep up for just over 40km which was hard going although the temperature was good and a cool breeze was blowing which also helped. Leaving Nairobi you quickly start to pass through the suburbs which presents a much different picture to the central area with nice leafy streets and large houses. It looked much more like the Africa I have seen before and it certainly felt nice to be heading back into it. The long slog went on for most of the morning but the sweat and toil was to be very well rewarded. After getting to the junction at the top of the hill we had been given a tip off to leave the main road and take the smaller road. Turning off we where straight into a long downhill. Whizzing through villages and dodging pot holes and reaching some pretty fast speeds. The road cut through some very nice woodland and scrub. Bend after bend came until one inocuios looking bend came up and as we went round it, it opened up and the effort was worth it. Coming round it the trees vanished and the land just dropped away with the road cutting in tight to the hillside and on the outside the Great Rift valley opened up. A huge vista more than the eye could quite take in. A vast area with the Longonot Volcano dominating the centre and the escarpment running as far as the eye could see. Then roughly 15km of steep winding bends hugging the slopes wound down to the valley floor where the heat kicked in. On the way potholes and baboons where the main hazards any truck moved very slowly as they struggled up. Then a very long hot cycle ensued across the valley floor past Masai men herding various forms of cattle always shouting ‘Jambo, Jambo Mzungus’ (Hello whites). The heat was certainly a bit much and there was next to no cover but every few kilometres there would be an ecachia tree to hide under for a while. Eventually we rolled into camp which we had chosen as the target on the shores of Lake Naivasha which worked out as about 120km.