Mt Ololokwe Beckons
6 days ago, 08:42
The first feeling when you reach the top of Mt Ololokwe — some kilometres off the road to Marsabit, after Archer's Post — is awe. The sense of wonder is inspired by the scenery that lies before you, from the vantage-point of the giant cliffs at the edge of the mountain. The cliffs overlook the rugged view of the Samburu plains and the world beyond. And there is more.
From Ololokwe's peaks, everything below appears tiny; the long tarmac road from Archer's Post towards northern Kenya looks like a bold dark line on a map, or a silhouette of a giant snake hiding its head behind boulders, and the cars seem like moving toys on a model town board.
The sheer vertical drop from the ledge to the valley below is frightening, and could possibly inspire height-induced vertigo — that dizzying feeling that people get when they are in an open space far off the ground.
The wind sighed softly. It had a calming effect, crowning the other feeling of accomplishment among us, the tourists arriving to this place. It was not an easy feat, climbing the rocky and scrub terrain for hours from the Sabache Camp at the base of the mountain in the searing mid-morning to afternoon October heat.
Ololokwe is relatively flat at the top, so we lay down to rest and soak in the sights and the cool atmosphere before beginning our descent. A committee of vultures soared above us, perhaps peering beneath the valley for carrion, or a suicidal animal falling from above. There are signs of animals, both wild and domestic, at the top of the table mountain. The presence of elephant dung at the peak is particularly puzzling.
A little after we arrived here, Eric Mbuthia, a fellow hiker, called out like he'd seen a sign: "Come see this, you won't believe it!" I looked behind. So did others; Bilha, Lucy and Philip.
Eric was holding a phone, taking pictures of what we were seeing in front of us. Bilha and Lucy rose to see what he had captured; the images of our backs silhouetted against the rugged landscapes in the distance.
At the mountaintop, the scenes are a feast for any landscape photographer and Eric — a self-confessed budding photographer in the alternate life away from his daily medical practice — was our unofficial photographer.
At a lesser peak earlier on, we had watched with admiration and awe (again), as fellow hiker Caroline Kibor get engaged to a Maasai warrior, in a mountain-inspired betrothal. But it was all for fun. Caroline was happy as she looked at this man wearing a green-and-red shuka and a rungu by his side. The man gave beaded items to formalise the "union" amid ululations from the rest of the group, the sounds of which reverberated across the mountain. The mock engagement birthed a "Caroline Mwema" — Mwema being the first name of the Maasai warrior, cum groom, cum tour guide.
Way before this trek to Ololokwe, Shiwan Adventures, our ...
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