Saturday, 21 March 2015

Mt Kenya Day 0-2

11-13 Mar 15. Dunedin, New Zealand to Nairobi, Kenya.

Parents to Airport 1 hour, Dunedin Airport to Christchurch Airport, overnight at Jailhouse Backpackers 11h 

Christchurch Airport to Sydney Airport 3 h 22 m, transit 2 hours, Sydney Airport to Johannesburg Airport 14 h, transit 9 hours, Johannesburg Airport to Nairobi Airport 4 h 20, Nairobi Airport to Khweza Guesthouse 1 h 20 m. Total travel time 47 hours. The Khweza Guesthouse was nice. It was clean and the staff were friendly.


14 Mar 15.  Nairobi (1600m) to Giant Bamboo Camp (2645m) which is on the Burguret Route up Mt Kenya. 1045 m gain.walking time 1250- 1445 (1 hour 55 minutes)

I woke at 0630 and switched on the hot water and packed some things while the water heated up then showered.  I had ordered breakfast for 0700 but at 0715 it still hadn't arrived so I got one of the porters to chase it up while I finished packing. 

At 0730 breakfast arrived and it was great. Fried eggs (african eggs have very pale yolk) and sausages on wheat toast with a huge bowl of fruit salad, fresh passion fruit juice and hot milk enought for 2 hot chocolates.  I then finished packing and checked out. My suitcase went into storage. 

Jeramia from Go To Mt Kenya arrived as I was finishing checkout. He would escort me to Gathiuru where I would meet my guide. Alex my driver from the airport was driving again. It was a 3 hour drive on good roads to Gathiuru. There I met my guide, Zachary,  cook, Dave, and porter, Basta. It was then another hour driving thus time on rough dirt and sand roads through farmland then forest which was farmed between the trees. 

At the end of the road I said goodbye to Alex. While the car was unloaded David prepared lunch for me which was set out on a Masai blanket. It was sandwiches with cheese, luncheon and fresh made guacamole which was really nice.  The guys finished packing and their packs were huge and heavy.  I felt guilty as all I was carry was some warm clothes,  rain gear, first aid kit and water.  When I offed to carry some more they just smiled and said "hakuna matata" (thats life or no worries in swahili).

Packing ready to depart
 We set off at 1250 (2330 meters above sea level) and stuck together due to risk of elephant and buffalo in the thick jungle.  The track was on an old vehicle track which is only used by motorbikes now and the grass is kept short by farmers who cut the grass with machetes and carry on the back of their bikes to feed their animals.  It was a trail that Te Araroa Trampers would dream of. Easy climb on nice track sheltered from wind and perfect temperature.

The pace was gentle due to the weights the guys were carrying so I could amble along looking at the forest which changed from jungle like trees to a forest of really big bamboo.

There was elephant dung on the trail but none was fresh and I didn't see any wildlife. There wasn't many birds either which is strange after the constant bird noise when walking in New Zealand.
On an easy vehicle track
Heading into the Bamboo
The crew on the trail

We had one break after 40 minutes and arrived at Giant Bamboo Camp at 1445. Zachary and I put up my tent which is a double so very roomy width wise for me but only just long enough length wise. I would not want to be a taller person. The tent was a good quality Quechua dome tent but I did not like thelack of vestibule and the entrance is angled for easy access but would mean rain getting into the tent entrance as you entered and exited. I set myself up and 30 minutes later David called me for afternoon tea kset up on the blanket beside my tent. I had a couple of hot chocolates and a plate of popcorn.
My Tent at Giant Bamboo Camp
Afternoon Tea, Popcorn and Hot Chocolate
I then sat in my tent reading on my phone wishing I had brought my Kindle. The altitude is affecting me slightly in a mild headache and weeing a lot.

At 1730 dinner was served by David. First was a freshly made vegetable soup which was delicious.  Then for main a huge plate of mashed potatoes with peas through it, spinach and a delicious beef and vegetable dish that had carrots,  tomatoes,  capsicum and corgettes. Then for desert a plate of fruit with a banana, tamarillo, and two different types of Passion fruit.  Then a hot chocolate to finish with. I was very impressed with this dinner.

After dinner I read for a bit then went to sleep at 2000. it was cold enough that I needed to pull my bag over my head.

I woke twice in the night for a wee and when it was time to get up I was busting to go again. Normally I sleep right through but this is the affect of altitude getting rid of fluids from the body.

15 Mar 15. Giant Bamboo Camp (2645m) to Highland Camp (3540 m). 895 m gain. 0830- 1240 (4 hours 10 minutes).

I had a restless night with having to get up for the toilet and still adjusting to the new time zone. Also there were some very loud birds making some very strange sounds.

 At 0700 I started packing up and headed into the bush to dig a hole for my morning business.  Luckily I didn't think about the chance of snakes in the thick bush until I finished as I may have had trouble going. Also glad I didn't see any as I wouldn't want to run away with my pants down.

I finished packing and breakfast was served.  It was a hot drink, plate of fruit, toast, omelette,  sausage and 8 pancakes.  Definitely filling and delicious.  If the standard and size of meals continues I am going to put on weight during this week.

We left at 0830 and walked up through the bamboo forest. The track was now on single track but still clear apart from some bamboo which had fallen down.  The gradient was generally gentle with some short steeper bits. I wasn't out of breath but had a mild headache which went away with one paracetamol.  I made sure to keep drinking regularly.

Great trail through the Bamboo
Basta Leading with David and Zachary close behind
Track starting to get rougher
Basta, David and me
Thick Bamboo
Elephant Prints

One of the few steep bits
At around 3000 meters we started energing from the bamboo into thicker vegetation and then into more open scrubby vegetation and tussock. Now I could look back down the mountain and the views were fantastic.

We stopped at a rocky outcrop for lunch.  Lunch was a 3 slice luncheon and cheese sandwhich, peanut butter and honey sandwich,  boiled egg with salt, banana and fruit juice.

Then it was another hour into rocky outcrops and then along the base of some big cliffs to our campsite. The track was rougher now and reminded me of the tracks in the Tararuas in NZ
Rest Stop. Zachary, me, David and Basta
Now we can see some views
Colour coordinated flower and plastic bag
Leaving the bushline
Entering the rocky outcrop area
Fusia (excuse spelling)
Elephant Print
Fantastic Vegetation - we are not in NZ now!
Heading under the Highland Cliffs
 At the campsite the crew set up in a cave and I was a little further around under the cliff looking down the mountain. I settled in and 20 minutes later had afternoon tea of Digestive Biscuits and hot chocolate. As I sipped my drink I watched a large Eagle circling in the valley below.  I then snuggled into my sleeping bag as it was getting cold and alternated between reading and looking at the view.
Tent with a view
I hope the rock is stable
The cave where the crew stayed
 At 1830 David brought dinner. Today was chicken noodle soup to start.  Mains was rice, spinach, and a nice chicken and vegetable dish. Desert was passion fruit,  orange and Mango, once again nicely presented. As I ate there were some birds becoming active in the cliffs above me. I watched the sunset which was fantastic even with some clouds in the way. I felt like I was back in Africa with that sunset as it is not the same anywhere else. The colours seem bolder and the sun bigger.

African Sunset
African Sunset
I finished off dinner with a hot chocolate. I used the rest of the water to fill my bottle and used this as a hot water bottle. 

I read until the late hour of 2030.

1 comment:

  1. An other adventure. Foods sounds great but the view is fantastic.