One of the great things about living in Nairobi is that there are just so many places that you can visit over a weekend or on a day trip. Without your own vehicle you’re basically screwed though as “public transport”, ie. matatus are hardly reliable and there is no direct route to the majority of tourist spots.
One weekend, some friends and I decided to climb Mount Longonot, a dormant volcano that is situated about 70km from Nairobi, not too far from Lake Naivasha. It rises 2560m above sea level and it is thought that it last erupted in the 1860s. The fact that you can just go and climb a volcano at the weekend is just incredible. A bit more adventurous than many of the weekends I’ve spent in the UK and whilst living overseas…
In all honestly, I don’t think I’d ever climbed a volcano before, and looking back, I certainly wasn’t mentally or physically prepared to do so. So after lots of “How far away are we? Is it Long Or Not?” jokes and arriving a little bit later than planned– blame the combination of both Kenyan and Spanish time, we began our ascent. I’m not going to lie, after about 5 minutes of hiking, I was ready to take a short break…my calves ached because I had exercised so much that week already. This is when I learnt that everyone climbs mountains in a different way, at their own pace. Whilst I like climbing relatively slowly and taking in my surroundings, the rest of the group’s motto seemed to be “race to the top”. Put it this way, I will certainly rethink my hiking buddies next time! Sorry guys. But apart from feeling very wimpy and unfit, with the help of a few more pace-friendly hikers (or those that perhaps just felt sorry for me), I did it! It did start raining just as we reached the peak but my, the views were stunning.
We had lunch at the top of Mount Longonot before heading down. There was also of course time for a few selfies (that’s the only reason anyone travels anywhere right?). Some of my friends were even eager to run down too but I just went slowly and took a few photos. Sadly we were did not have enough time to walk around the crater as that would have taken at least another 2-3 hours. We were up and down within about 2 hours which is pretty swift.
One thing I would say is that the climb to the peak of Mount Longonot is really steep, and quite rocky. Some of the trail is really quite precarious and as much as I was teased, I was happy to have my walking pole with me. Also, although I preferred the walk down (for obvious reasons), it was actually a lot harder as you really had to watch your step, whereas on the way up I just had to watch my breath. Ha.
Mount Kilimanjaro, I’m ready…
…or maybe not. I would absolutely love to climb Mount Kilimanjaro one day but it would definitely require a lot of determination and training. Maybe one day!
Just to update you- I am back in the UK temporarily as I have badly sprained my ankle (torn ligament) and I am on crutches. When I last posted I was about to leave for Uganda for a workshop. On my way back from Entebbe, I managed to fall as I was stepping off the plane. No I wasn’t drunk and no I wasn’t wearing stupid shoes, or dancing azonto. I was being sensible, promise! I’ve had many more ‘I miss the NHS’ moments since then, and it turns out that the Kenyan doctors made my injury even worse but that’s for another blog post….but thankfully I am now (hopefully) on the road to recovery. Sadly all this has meant missing my graduation and catching up with many of my friends in London. I’m pretty gutted but these things happen….my time resting is obviously being spent wisely: playing Words with Friends, getting hooked on ‘Orange is the New Black’, pigging out, watching hundreds of vines daily and of course spending time with my family. I occassionally venture out of my bedroom and lie on the sofa but if my foot isn’t elevated for a few hours, it goes all puffy and swollen so I can’t do much. I’m also dosed up on painkillers so my brain isn’t functioning properly (hence the short blog post). In other news, my mum retired(!) so congratulations to her!
Today, I would also like to express my condolences to the families of the passengers and staff of MH17. I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news. My heart also goes out to everyone affected by what’s happening in Gaza right now and my mind is on all the innocent civilians killed. I also want to express my condolences to everyone affected by the death of Castro Destroyer, a popular Ghanaian hiplife artist who is believed to have drowned whilst jet skiing in Ada, Volta Region. I was lucky enough to see Castro perform in December 2013 during my stay in Accra. He had such much energy and really stole the show away.
I urge everyone to listen to ‘Odo pa’, which is one of his hit songs, that features Asomoah Gyan, captain of the Ghana football team. It’s one of my favourite tracks and is no doubt being over-played all across Ghana right now.
See you next time x