Yvonne ‘ulisomea shule uhost mazishi kutoka’ Thursday ‘au’ group of schools? I am still in stitches on this one. Trust me I had a better intro until 3 minutes ago when I left guys googling the meaning of a few English words I had used during our conversation. For the records, I plan on googling them as well after this post. Truth is, by the time I left school not a single burial had been held on our school grounds. My mother tongue is even better. If I had a side hustle ad probably lecture Kikuyu in exchange of words without “Rs” and “Ls”. (Njuguna & Janet you can laugh all you want big man is watching) Ask chinku (a guy we should meet in writing later in the year) who was surprised over the weekend at my Kikuyu eloquence. We both happened to share a birthday month (September) and thus when Chinku posted on his status that he needed to camp over his birthday I jumped in and requested if I could join. He agreed and after evaluating various options we settled on camping along Lake Elementaita at Oasis camping site. Being my first real camping, I offered to choose and get the foodstuffs we were to feed on during the 2 days. Gladly he agreed with two rules though; one, I was not to buy KFC for meals and two NO “pitha” for pizza as a meal. I felt a bit offended that he hadn’t seen my new healthy eating movement. Well with these rules I had no option but to call a pal to give me ideas on any simple to make camping meals “Easy just get canned kidney beans and spaghetti for dinner, a loaf of bread, milk, apples, and baked beans for breakfast”. He said feeling like the boy with a loaf of bread and fish in the Bible. I had no time to think so I got exactly that with bottles of drinking water and glucose in case we needed to hike.
The thing is no matter how much you want for food it’s all dependent on its preservation method as well as your transport means. I wanted sausage for breakfast, meat for dinner, but we had no cooler box and we were using public means for transport matatu to be precise. Wait did I just use precise in my sentence? Mama, I have made it!
Saturday 28th, 2019 at around noon was our departure date and time via Nairobi Nakuru highway with no stopover till Kikopey a small town known for roast meat vendors. Thing is when you use public means the cost is relatively cheaper but you cannot have stopovers for photos and site views, for instance, there was no stopover at the rift valley viewpoint. Good thing we both have had 100+ stopovers at this curio shop previously. On alighting at Kikopey the locals had so much to say about us not knowing we both speak Kikuyu. They went on saying how they would lock up their dogs till our departure which to me was funny. (Chinese feed on dog meat apparently). Chinku says he’s made peace with it and even accepted his nickname “Chinku” and wrote stop judging by the color. We got to oasis camping site on motorbikes from Kikopey town safe with a warm welcome and straight to pitching up tents, getting lessons from Chinku on how to do it, how to survive during camping, and finally on the must carry, and on the Dos and Don’ts while camping. (Post later in the year on the same). I did all the cooking while Chinku helped with the dishes, lighting up the fire and taking down the tent.
The site was full of two white families, a group of 8 young Indian men, a group of crazy millennials and one couple that made the rest of us rethink our love lives. The white families were cool and to my future partners let’s pack on Friday evening, have the kids do their homework over a bonfire as we count our stars. The Indian group sorted us with music and couldn’t help but plan a weekend off with my girls in my head. The millennial group had nothing to be admired. They were loud with conversations not fit for a site with kids. They made me realize how good I am at my age. The views of Lake Elementaita and the overlooking mountains i.e. the sleeping warrior, Ugali hills on the left and Table Mountain on the right. Sounds of birds and flamingos on the lake Elementaita were to die for. No cake but that remains the best way I have celebrated my birthday. Chinku gifted me with this cute camping bulb to hookup inside my tent while I got him nothing (now I feel like a terrible friend). All in all our birthday dreams did come true and my first real camping experience was amazing. What could a girl want?
About Oasis campsite Elementaita
We camped at oasis camping site which is the last facility on the left side of Lake Elementaita, surrounded by natural bushes and acacia trees making it a birders paradise. Its location is close to Lake Elementatita’s hot spring as well as the sleeping warrior and Ugali hills for those who would consider hiking. Staff members are friendly and the thought of the manager’s house around gives you more confidence. They offer various accommodation but we only paid for the grounds and cooking woods considering we carried our tents, food, and utensils. On the camping ground they have an outside kitchen for those camping and preparing their food and a sink for clean up. The campsite also have bonfire spots(I spotted 3 of them) and they provide firewood and even light it up.
Activities around Lake Elementaita
Walk along Lake Elementaita- This is a salty water lake and a habitat to several birds mainly the greater and lesser flamingos as well as the pelicans.
Enjoy the views of the mountains surrounding the lake i.e. Table mountain and the sleeping warrior.
Bird watching -Along with the lake, birding would also be an option bearing in mind Lake Elementaita is a habitat to several birds as well as due to the bushes and acacia trees surrounding oasis camping site that host other birds other than the flamingos on the lake.
Visit Lake Elementaita hot springs & interact with locals- If hiking is not your potion make sure to take a short walk to the hot springs,swim or just dip your legs into the water as you enjoy the hot sun.
During weekends you can interact with the locals who come to shower and wash clothes, learn how to fish and learn how this place came to be and the magic behind its naming.
Photography & Chill with friends at the campsite- If your goal was to have an easy stay-cation have it. The camping sites have playgrounds where you can play. Also, carry board games and play with friends as you barbecue.
The compound has good flora and tree trunks good for photography
Hike- Around Elementaita you are surrounded by both ugali and the sleeping warrior hills. For beginners hiking one of them is enough and for the advanced hikers transition from one to the next would be recommended
Kikopey-camping site: 150pp
Total: ksh 900pp
Lunch at Kikopey: 325pp
Dinner spaghetti & canned beans: 200pp
Breakfast bread & baked beans: 150pp
Own tents & sleeping bag: 500pp
Cooking firewood: 500
Total cost for 2 days: 2,325pp
NB: All amounts are in Kenyan shillings, pp stands for per person, firewood cost is standard and not dependent on number of people in the group thus in our case 500/2, dinner and breakfast is inclusive of all extras used in meal making i.e. sugar, cooking oil, salt, tea bags etc. which in this case were a share from our homes put in small sachets. Only spaghetti, baked beans, and the canned beans were purchased and the price split into twos. Lunch was on day one only.
Till the next camp commet, share and let’s find out where the sky meets the sea.