2016: I invited a group of friends over to Magadi for a camping experience in Magadi hot springs: Magadi is a really awesome destination if you know the time to visit, the places to go and you have a good guide who knows around. Many people will not enjoy this destination simply because they will just walk in with no arrangements expecting to have a Naivasha experience with many accommodation options and lots of activities and clubs… This will always turn out to be a bad experience: the scotching heat in the desert environment and what may seem as no activities and no options for hotels will make many not like the place very much.
I worked here for 3 years
and I explored all possible hideouts for camping and walking trails all the way
from Lake Natron, Nguruman, Shompole and even attempted to cross the Loita
forest to Masai Mara a trip that will remain as one of my memorable worst experience.
A day trip here is not
very recommended as the sun is super-hot and the hot springs will also be boiling
at maximum during the day and you may not enjoy a bath in the water. The local community
women selling beads at the springs and the lots of young boys and children
hoovering around will also not give you the peace and privacy you are looking
for. The landscape is very beautiful, the water reflections is unbelievably
beautiful and the pink flamingoes makes a very great sight. A few zebras and
Giraffes can also be seen here and their but it’s not a guarantee. There are no
mosquitos here but the nights are full of hyena laughter across the hills.
You can choose to camping
at the Springs or staying at Magadi tented camp but if you prefer some liltle
bit of luxury, and can afford it, stay at Lentorre Lodge in Nguruman or Shompole
wilderness camp – These lodges require prior booking and accessibility is
advisable to be in a good 4X4 raised car. If you wish to have a great trip down
there, let me know and I can make all arrangements and bookings for you and you
will love it! For camping I have all the equipment’s and the tents and I can do
a good schedule for you.
I prefer camping under the
stars: the experience is just wow and very affordable.
Saturday Aug 2016: My
friends were supposed to depart Nairobi at 8am to arrive by lunch time we have
lunch together, swim at Magadi sports club and go camping at the springs in the
evening. As usual, Kenyan’s will be always late! 12noon is when they were
leaving Nairobi with very crippled all sorts of excuses. By this time, I had
arranged everything, lunch was ready and was just sipping beer waiting on them.
Fast Forward: they arrive
at 4pm! A loud Toyota wish entered the gates raising eye brows all over with
the male occupants wearing vests and slippers to look like tourists on holiday
and the ladies rocking sexy hotpants, crop tops and huge sunglasses… They were in a real party mood and Alcohol
was evident everywhere and “ilikuwa imewaafect”… We had a few more beers and a
great roast chicken lunch served with potatoe wedges at the club as the ladies
enjoyed a swim at the pool.
6pm: We were all drunk
(not very) and tired and the temperatures were still very high. Heading towards
the hot springs, we made a stopover at the first sundowner spot at the golf
course famously known as hole 19. This area during the British times used to be
heaven with horses and sandy golf courses, a busy airstrip and flowers everywhere…
not any more since the Indians took over.... The sunset at this spot is just
breathtaking with the perfect reflections of the escarpment and Mt. Shompole on
the far end towards lake Natron.
Guys were drunk and lazy
and we decided to pitch our camp here as going to the springs would have taken
us an extra thirty or so minutes but agreed to do the springs very early in the
morning before the sun was out. With the help of my guides, this was done really
fast and they collected firewood and lit a huge bonfire for us with their tent
placed a distance away from us.
We had a really good time
with a lot of bonfire fun games and stories. At around 9pm, we saw headlights
approaching and a Toyota prado pulled over. I went with my guides to find out
who they were and it turned out they were heading to the springs but couldn’t
find their way. They were Americans; two ladies and a gentleman. We asked them to join us and we do the
springs the next day together; looking at the fun we were having, they were
pleased to join and we helped them pitch their tents and in no time we were
doing drunk karaoke while taking shots of whisky.
By midnight everybody
started dozing off and couples sneaking away to their tents giggling
childishly. I took my tent with my partner and the mzungus also went to their
tents with the couple in one and the solo in the other…
I was awakened by Eric the
mzungu guy asking if Lina was in my tent. I haven’t understood why he thought
she could be in mine… maybe because of how we gazed and looked at each other
while at the bonfire… My dreams of having a child in America still holds…
Her tent was open with all
her belongings inside… I woke up the guides and the others and everybody was
Where is she?!
Might she have been
Or has she gone for a short
What if she has been eaten
by a hyena?
Lina !! Lina !! Lina !! we
all called out in fear.
Questions were just not
By the way who is she?
Apparently, this was a
neighbor in their apartment who overheard them planning on going camping and
she was also interested. Eric and his girlfriend didn’t know her that much…
Sensing danger, I sent my
guides on motorbike to go and call the security as we went down towards the
lake looking for her.
The sunrise was beautiful
but nobody noticed as we frantically searched in the bushes calling her name…
This is the time you ask each other basic questions and nobody can even answer
and it will confuse you even more.
By the way, did she even
Who saw her going to her
None of us could remember
any of these parts and it was just shocking!
6.30am. The security men
in their Landcruiser arrived as well as the area chief and a group of masai
The area we camped has a
very steep cliff towards the lake and the bushes have very sharp thorns. We
slashed some places trying to identify her footprints in vain.
A radio call was raised by
the guards who sounded the alarm and everybody in Magadi got the news of a
missing Mzungu woman. Last time she was seen was at a bonfire with a group of
drunk men and women, wearing a khaki shorts with white vans rubbers and a green
We were divided into
groups and we went searching on different directions. I got a call from the
Magadi police OCS to go and explain the happenings of the night; I went with
Eric and his girlfriend. we did the OB statement entry and went back on
motorbike to join the search.
Eric and his girlfriend
could not control their tears anymore as efforts and hopes to find their friend
diminished every minute. My phone could not stop ringing as everybody wanted to
find out what happened. Should we call air rescue team?
Where is she!
I got a call from Mr
Bariwot the Magadi school head teacher that students have identified a body
laying at the shores of the lake… I could not even wait for him to finish and
in a speed of light we drove towards the school.
From our camping area to
the school is a distance of like 2kms with very dangerous cliffs, thick thorny
bushes if not using the main road. Hyenas around this rea are also many.
We found her! She was
under severe panic attack and had turned wild … she refused to be touched by
anybody… Her feet, arms and face were badly bruised and bleeding… she looked
very cold and sick. She could only remember Eric. We took her to the Magadi hospital and the doctors took
We were all dump struck… How
did she even come all the way?
We later learnt that she
sleeps walks and it seemed as soon as we went to sleep, she sleep walked to the
lake. How she missed going over the sharp cliff is a testimony for another day.
She may have woken up when she was down in the lake and lost direction coming
back. She might have seen the factory dredge lights in the lake and thats where
she was heading thinking it’s the camp… How she missed the many hungry hyenas
is unbelievable… how she maneuvered through the thorny bushes in the dark is
also very shocking…
Nobody went to the springs
any more. Moods changed and all the guests went back to Nairobi by 2pm.