November 9, 2020

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

Lights off…

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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 very shocked!!

Where is she?!

Might she have been kidnapped?

Or has she gone for a short call?

What if she has been eaten by a hyena?

Lina !! Lina !! Lina !! we all called out in fear.

Questions were just not adding up.

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 sleep?

Who saw her going to her tent?

None of us could remember any of these parts and it was just shocking!

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6.30am. The security men in their Landcruiser arrived as well as the area chief and a group of masai men.

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 sleeveless jacket.

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!

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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 over.

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.

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