I have been having a very strong desire to travel, to just get out of Nairobi and have a change of scenery and some solitude.
Earlier attempts at organizing a trip somehow did not quite materialize: budget and timing mostly.
It can be a bit frustrating.
Nonetheless, where there is a will there is always a way.
The opportunity presented itself as a full package accommodation even provided, so off we went to kitale by road departing from Nairobi at 9am.
Kitale is a small agricultural town near Mount Elgon and Cherangani Hills in the Northern Rift Valley after Eldoret, a bustling city in Western Kenya.
The easier route seemed to be through the bypass then connects in Karen area but if you are not quite sure where the turn is you can end up missing it.
Through Naivasha and the majestic views at the view-point,, some things have thankfully not changed, Then through the chaos of Nakuru town for a stop over for lunch. It had not really hit me just how crazy and chaotic towns can feel as we had been driving on seemingly open stretches of road for many kilometers and dreaming.
Entering Nakuru town from the highway you are greeted with street vendors who are selling the same thing in between lanes of traffic: the parallel of Nairobi traffic cannot be understated complete with the hunger pangs as we reached Nakuru by lunch time. We stopped at a local hotel, the Midlands Hotel that is the one of the oldest hotels there. It is right off the main highway with pretty good service. The food was ok, although they really should have asked if they could clear the juice and they need to work on bringing the food when it’s still warm as one member in our party got cold food and they took the juice away before they were done. Also please look into having more snacks, it’s on the menu but they did not appear to have them.
After a light lunch we all bundled back into the car and continued our journey and I was enjoying the views. I also learnt we have climbing lanes in Kenya, yes you read right, climbing lanes. Particularly helpful when you are behind a lorry going up hill but sadly most Kenyans still need to be educated on who has the right of way on those lanes as there were a few times when the opposite side of traffic took it as an opportunity to overtake.
Thinking about how much more lush the vegetation must look after the rains. The further from Nairobi we drove the drier the earth was, the more brown hues and cracked earth we saw. This is upsetting.
We reached kitale just as night fell and into the home we were staying just in time to think about dinner. I loved the place we were staying in, to the people who opened up their home to us….I want to come back. The fresh air (despite the obvious dryness), the lack of traffic noises where you can hear the soundtrack of farm animals and birds chirping. Perfect.
I was so aware of the lack of Nairobi sounds that i actually did not sleep quickly, just absorbing it all in.
The food was farm fresh, no microwaves, no frills, good wholesome food, fresh water from the well and good company. It felt like a recharge.
Coming back we took a flight, that though not so cheap at 7000/- per person, the flight was short and uneventful. The flight takes 50 minutes in the air and they do provide you with juice and peanuts. Word of advice: please follow the regulations on luggage set by the airline, the airplanes are small so you can’t very large heavy bags on board. Word to the wise, there are two airlines that travel to kitale, compare and try to book early then you get a better rate. Next time if I am able to travel I want to try Sax as they are advertising a flat rate of 6000/-.
Landing back at Wilson airport it felt like we were suddenly back to reality, the traffic, the noise, the brashness of some Nairobians.