I recently came across a short story on social media that tickled me. It was a Cucu (granny) reciting an African proverb. She said that if you don’t travel you will marry your sister. I was tickled by that analysis. It’s similar to one that says that if you don’t eat a meal out of home then you will believe that only your mother can cook well.

I have become more intentional about travel in the second half of my life. It’s one of the signs that what I’m doing is aligned with my life mission. I’m always on the lookout for gaps to travel and not waiting until I have enough money to do so. Photography and coaching have helped kidogo and I look forward to more travels as a result.

If we wait for perfect conditions we will never get anything done. And that calls on us to be creative and try to live out our interests from our current stations in life. I admire a pal of mine who lives a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. Love that description by the way. She has a way of beautifying small things to look so exquisite and enjoyable. She even tries out food recipes at home that I call Instagram food because of how delicious it looks. You’d think it’s a meal served on some exotic island getaway.

Last Saturday I resumed my hiking after a few months’ break. I had missed hiking because of the travel to a new place plus the chance to photograph nature. I joined my usual group and headed to Namanga by the Kenya-Tanzania border. Namanga is guarded by huge hills on one side looking down on the small border town. I felt like a spy at the top of one of them checking out what was happening in Tanzania.

I have been to Namanga many times and have seen those hills named Oldonyo Orok. They have always looked like a good scene to shoot those Wild Wild West movies. It never crossed my mind that one can come here to hike. We set out from Nairobi at 5:30 a.m. and embarked on our two-hour journey to the border. It felt nice being driven for once. I even took a nap kwa gari.

We arrived after 8 a.m. and got on our way. I was surprised to see two rangers from the Kenya Forest Service as our guides. Again I didn’t know we have a KFS office in Namanga because I’ve never seen forests in that area. I was about to be proven wrong. Somo and Joshua were pleasant guides and led us at a good pace. The sun delayed to chomoka but not for long. Luckily and to my surprise the tree cover was quite impressive. It felt like hiking in the Aberdares only at a warmer temperature.

We progressed well through the undergrowth and I was amazed at the vegetation, well apart from the stinging nettle weed that kept rubbing me the wrong way literally.  There was a humorous uproar from the group because our captain had categorized the hike as moderate. Things kwa ground were more difficult than moderate for most people. In hindsight, folks achieved more than they thought they would and that to me was a good reason to be economical with the truth hehe. Sometimes having the full picture limits our potential. We may need to move on blindly to achieve more than we think we are capable of.

We encountered huge boulders in the forests and even had to slide down others on our descent. Finding streams of cool water oozing from the rocks was pleasant. Our guide Joshua informed us that was the source of all the water that quenches Namanga’s thirst and even takes care of folks on the Tz side. We do need to jealously preserve our forests and water catchment areas. If we don’t then we shall be toast very soon.

We got back to the bus 13 kilometres later tired but in high spirits and drove back to Nairobi safely. That was a nice Tembea Kenya hike for me and I’m glad to have been back on those trails. Most of us grew up being told not to have roaming feet lest we get lost. It was good for a while but the sooner we get roaming feet the more we see and learn about life and ourselves. Spending our whole lives in one place doing one thing is like buying a book and reading only one chapter. We will never know what the other chapters have in store. Hike through life as much as you can folks and see how more colorful your lives become. Don’t live moderately hehe…




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4 thoughts on “Border Patrol.”

  1. Sam says:

    Travel more so we can also see those destinations through your stories and lenses.

  2. Eunice mwongera says:

    A good read. Moderate is still debatable for those rocky very close climbs.
    The hidden caved waters were so refreshing after talking to rocks for close to 4hrs. Phew!

  3. Mike Eldon says:

    My memories of Namanga are from the 80s, when the border to Tz was closed, but we got special permission form the police in both countries to cross. It was always a stressful experience though, as I wrote in a poem – titled ‘Namanga, passport to humility’.

  4. Kirigo says:

    As Sam says, travel much so that we experience the world more through you.

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