Day 6 (September 15, 2013)   Thomson's Falls and route to Maasai Mara


Route Nyahururu - Bogoria - Maasai Mara

 We will leave the hotel as soon as possible as this is the day with more kilometers to cover. The plan is go to Lake Bogoria, enjoying its beautiful views with millions of flamingos and a geothermal area with geysers and boiling mud.

   We cannot be there after noon because, as Cinderella, we must leave the place before 12 PM in order of being able of reaching our cap in Maasai Mara before night, as this is a route can be over 5 hours and a half.


Room in Thomson's Falls Lodge   
   While in breakfast we’re told there is a road that allows reaching Lake Bogoria and they’re doing tours usually to there. Somehow, we are already resigned to miss Lake Bogoria because, although people can get there, we already learnt what can do with us a road in a bad condition. We will have a rough road in our last stage of our drive to Maasai Mara and we want to avoid the night can get us in that road. We are also removing kilometers from today’s long route. With this change in the plan we’ve rested and got the breakfast later, visiting the falls and spending the rest of the day on reaching our room in Maasai Mara, the last before the relaxing days in the beach.

Thomson's Falls LodgeThomson's Falls Lodge

   From the hotel’s entrance one can hear the roar of the falls, which makes really easy going to the right place. It is a very short walk where you must pass by the only part opened in the fence around the space with the view point and the way to go down.

   It seems we haven’t come by the usual entrance, as we can see that at our right, with a lot of stalls selling souvenirs and people offering some touristic attraction in exchange of some shillings. The first of those coming to us are a man with two women dressed and painted as typical Kikuyu tribe. We make some pictures with them. Then appears a man with a couple of chameleons we can have climbing by our body. As I have three 200 ksh bills, I give two of them to the Kikuyu to keep the other one for the chameleons’ man. They answer me there are three of them and I just ask them to share the money. But the chameleons’ man has the rate writing in his arm, and it is 400 ksh, so I must change anyway.

Kikuyu in Thomson's FallsThomson's Falls

Chamaleons in Thomson's Falls

   Then is the woman for the admission tickets who comes to us, as we must pay 200 ksh for them. When we see the sellers are coming for us too we go to the view point downstairs, lonelier and smaller, for some pictures before leaving the place.

   With this, we take the car around 10 AM for taking B5 to Nakuru following the itinerary showed in the map above, but without taking the road north to the lake. This road has parts quite worn down, with several potholes, and some other in works, making the drive slower. We stop in Subukia view point for our first views of Rift Valley from high: a vast flat land some hundreds of meters below us which is part of this huge scar in our planet. This valley is more important than looking as wanting to split Africa in two pieces, as here is where the oldest human rest have been found, including the famous Lucy.

Subukia view point
Rift Valley from Subukia view point
Toilets in Subukia view point

   This road offers a gentle driving through the rural area, where villages are appearing every when and then, but we always can see people walking along the road. The most of them are well dressed and seems as not matching with the place. We assume this can be because today is Sunday.

Village in our way to Nakuru

   Somehow, the road itself, keeps the standard for these sort of areas of the country, with parts completely worn out and animals crossing at their will. Even we pass by a spot where all the tarmac part is occupied by a big pothole full of dark water and two ducks are swimming on it as cars are forced to avoid it by the sides.

Ducks taking a bath on the road

   Reaching Nakuru is quite simple taking motorway A-104, the one heading to Nairobi. We know it because we took it to go to Naivasha. We must drive all to South for, 30 Kms before Nairobi, taking the exit going down to Rift Valley and heading to Narok. But that exit is at right and there is none in our direction, so we must go on for a while until finding a place to turn out. Then we can come back to the exit, by the side full of souvenirs shops around viewpoints looking to the Valley. It is in the gas station just before the exit where we stop to fill fuel and lunch from our packed meal we’re bringing from Thomson’s Falls Lodge.

Road down to Rift Valley

   It looks like today is not finally be such a complicated journey as I advanced: as we’re going down to the valley, a sign points Narok to 100 Kms, if the road keeps being this good we can be there by 4 PM and, from Narok, I’ve read everywhere it is a 2 hours ride to Maasai Mara.

Rift Valley views

   And that’s what I’m thinking until I see Lake Naivasha. I can believe neither my eyes nor the GPS. It cannot be. I stop in a hotel to confirm it really is. They explain to us by this good road we’ve been able of reaching, Lake Naivasha in less than 30 minutes, while it has taken almost 2 hours by the Nakuru motorway. So, a road showed in the map as secondary is a lot better than the main motorway in this case. This is another example of the importance of knowing well the roads in this country.Mount Longonot The thing is we’ve got the wrong way because at Mai Mahiu, the town just down in the valley, we’ve gone on to the Old Naivasha road instead of turning to Narok road.

   We must undo the mistake and driving back, along Mount Longonot, to Mai Mahiu, where we take the turn to Narok, but with a wasted hour this time.

   The road is still good until Narok, and even further. At 7 PM we’re smiling thinking we’re going to reach our camp just at the last minutes of daylight, but it is then, in a place called Maji Moto, where the tarmac ends, without any previous sign, and gets us to our well known hell.

   A massive block of hard mud with a waving surface as endless as the straight we have in front of us, forced us to drive at 10 Km/h and suffering, even at that speed, as the night is closing around us. This is the loneliest place in the world and the cars to and from Narok are not taking this road, but go somewhere through the savanna and we can only see their lights and dream we could take the same way.

Road to Maasai MaraSunset in our way to Maasai Mara

   GPS is not lying to us when is showing a long way to our goal. But it is long because we’re moving extremely slow over it. It is completely dark when we see some maasai teenagers on motorbikes and, a few minutes later, nothing at all.

Broken bridge in our way to Maasai Mara   We pass though places where the road confuses in a sea of mud and does the way more complicated. Our GPS keeps helping here. We pass through some bridges over dry streams, each one is more spoiled than the previous one, until we find one which floor we cannot see in the shadow of the car lights. Eva doesn’t want I leave the car, but I must check the bridge is ok. And standing out of the car, at the beginning of the bridge, I can confirm there is no floor. So what now? I wonder how to going on and those thoughts with the two of us sleeping in the car are coming again. I move the car in a way its lights can show me more of the place and I can see a way beside the bridge done by the cars, going down to the bed of the river and then up again to the road.

   The road goes on and on forever and as we can see how the hours are falling quicker than kilometers, the vision about sleeping at car is still there. I’m calling since time ago to the camp phone number in my printed voucher and nobody is answering.

   The worst situation I can think of is reaching Maasai Mara gate and asking to the ranger in there for help, but there is still a long way for it. The darkness is so intense I think we can pass along the camp and miss it. I’m recalling they have a time for electricity coming from a generator, and later than 10 PM I know there is no going to be lights on it.

   We try to cheering up with any little thing: the light on the top of an antenna, a part of the road looking better… but when we reach Oloolaimutia, the town giving name to the reserve’s gate, I think we’ve left the camp behind. The entire town is in darkness, but when I stop in front of a bunch of signs to read them we feel so happy when one of them is pointing to “Rhino tourist Camp”. It says it is 2 Km deeper in the town and has a phone number, different than the one I’ve been calling to. We get immediate answer when calling to this one.
Room at Rhino Tourist Camp
   I still will need to call to that number some times more to find the place as, in a point with three different roads with three different signs pointing to three different camps, none of them is the one we’re looking for. We still will drive for a while through that area where is so difficult to know what is a way for a car or what is not. When we arrive we must use the car horn and give the phone to the boy who appears. He receives some indications from the man at phone for starting the generator and taking us to our room, with real walls. We cannot get dinner, but we do get a bed. For tomorrow we will stay at camp and rest. We could do a short tour but, overall, rest.