Backpacking to Nguruman

It is not always all about glam, the catch is in the experiences we leave with.

Sometime last year I had seen Mimitimes go on a backpacking adventure and my curious self-wanted to try. I remember telling her I would love to have that same experience. Long story short, she held me to it. A while back after lockdown was lifted, she invited me for this particular adventure.

I took up the challenge to go on my first ever backpacking adventure. I did not google what backpacking is all about, I wanted this experience to surprise me and for it to be as raw as possible. So, come Friday I meet Mimitimes at Ngong town and later depart for Kiserian where we were to take a bus to Nguruman. I saw the bus and I was like are you sure? Anyway, I didn’t ask we walked to the bus to secure seats as we waited for Travel with Eliud who I was actually meeting for the first time. I was the only first-timer both Eliud and Mimitimes had been there before and they documented their experiences, check here and here.

Facts about Nguruman escarpment

  1. It is located in southern Kenya and it is about 50kms long.
  2. The escarpment forms the western wall of the Great Rift Valley.
  3. Shompole conservancy is located on the escarpment
  4. The escarpment also houses L. Natron and L. Magadi
  5. Only one bus goes to Nguruman, it departs from Kiserian every day at 2 pm and leaves Nguruman for Kiserian at 4:30 am.
  6. Nguruman is home for several agricultural activities and down there locals grow a lot of fruits that you and I do benefit from in this city.

The Journey

This was one of those journeys I do look back to and just feel proud of myself. On this particular day the bus that usually goes to Nguruman broke down, we had to look for an alternative. I know you are probably wondering why we just didn’t go back home. Going back home was not an option all we knew is that we had to get there. Several hours later we left Kiserian at about 6:30 pm. Usually, if you depart from Kiserian at 2 pm you will get to Nguruman at around 6:30 pm. The vehicle we finally boarded sped off on Magadi road and the views were to die for. The sun was setting oblivious of us who were trying to get to Nguruman before curfew. It was one interesting trip that I choose not to talk about today, just know Eliud made fun of how I would write about my first backpacking adventure when we got to Nguruman at about 10:30 pm.

Bus to Nguruman

Where we stayed

For someone who travels frequently or just once in a while knows it is important to create relationships with people because you never know when they will come through. This particular weekend we were reaping the benefits of one friendship that was created years ago. Our hosts were amazing and in case you are wondering why, they allowed us to camp inside their compound and despite getting there late, they waited and even served us tea and made sure we were okay before they went to bed. I was amazed maybe this city has ruined me. Our hosts constantly checked up on us and made it clear to us that we should ask for anything and not be afraid. We always felt guilty and insisted on helping when it comes to making meals and cleaning up.

Day 1

We woke up and after breakfast that was prepared by Mimitimes together with our hosts we stepped out to explore. We were in good hands since Eliud had been here before and he knew his way around. We take a motorbike to Ngomongo and walked the rest of the way to take in the beauty of the escarpment. We walk past beautiful homesteads and eventually get a river where we sat to take in the view. It was a hot day so seeing water made us so happy. A fun fact about this river is that when it rains heavily the place gets full. On this particular day, we were lucky to just walk through and chill as we cooled off. We sat there sharing stories and this is usually one moment I always look forward to, having conversations with people far away from home. Later we had lunch at a local and headed back to our campsite to play games and learn a thing or two from our hosts.

Day 2.

This day’s activity was one of the reasons I came for this adventure. I have been hiking a lot since lockdown was lifted and it is safe to say a section of my heart beats for unknown trails. The plan was to start early since the sun gets hot during the day but then again, we just wanted to view sunrise from the top. Anyway, this did not happen. Our guide picked us up at about 6:30 am and we headed out. This particular trail that we were to hike on this day hasn’t been explored much by hikers which made it even more interesting.

We started off our hike at about 7 am and let me tell you the sun was already up there. Anyway, that didn’t stop us plus we had a goal for hiking this trail, there was a waterfall at the end that we had to see. One thing you should know before trying out this trail is that it is an animal territory and once in a while our guide Moses had to tell us to stop because he had heard an animal in the bush. For a moment I re-evaluated my decisions but it was too late. As you walk through you will be able to spot Mt. Shompole and L. Natron from a distance. Also, the views of the escarpment are amazing from the top, you should try this trail. 4 hours later we got to a river and at this point, I had given up asking if we were almost there. Moses then said that water flowed to the waterfall. We crossed the river, walked through some thorny bushes, and finally got to the top part.  The view was everything and we sat there to take everything in as we had our lunch. After lunch, we hiked to the bottom of the waterfall. Let me tell you, it was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a while. The water is cold which is funny considering the temperatures but after walking under the sun for that long, this was perfect. The others decided to take a nap while I sat there to be in the moment. As we left that waterfall, I was so happy we had braced the unknown and came all the way. It is a beautiful place in the wild that every adventure seeker should try.

Nothing much happened after we got from our hike we chilled with our hosts and since it was our last night there it was a goodbye for us.

As I write this, I am still in awe that there are amazing people. Our hosts this particular weekend went out of their way to make sure that we were doing fine, ate, and that we were comfortable. They constantly reminded us that we should feel at home and not be afraid of anything but how do you keep asking when someone has given you everything? It is while hanging out with them that I got to learn a little bit of Maasai culture and how girls down there are going through it. We were lucky to meet one amazing man who has gone all out to make sure that those young girls at Entasopia get the best out of education. If you go down to Nguruman, ask for Mwalimu and please support him in any way you can, he is doing amazing work down there for those young girls.

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At 4:30 am the next day we headed out and I was so happy I came for this adventure. It was different from those that I had done before but at the same time, it is the one that completely stands out. Being my first time, I must say it was a good one and I can’t wait to try out more backpacking adventures. On the other hand, Mimitimes thought I was not going to survive lol.

Thank you Eliud and Mimitimes for bringing me along on this one lets do it again. Weeks later, my heart is still full. To the amazing hosts we had (Mwalimu, Leonard, Esther, Ken and Gitonga) thank you so much may blessings follow you always.

Magadi road is one scenic route, pack your sunscreen and drive down amazing view awaits you. They are even much better at sunrise and sunset, don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Till next time; go and explore Nguruman.

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