Last week my sister mentioned that I’m changing in a strange manner. I had planned to go to Mtito Andei for the weekend by myself. Well, my camera and I. My personality dictates that my batteries are charged by people as compared to introverts who recharge in seclusion. This 40 manenos can change us in ways that we wonder who the guy in the mirror is. Yet it’s our own reflection. At least on the outside.

I had a complimentary voucher courtesy of Serena Hotels. I was looking forward to their hospitality. My other motivation was I would get to practice my photography skills in the wild. Wildlife and nature or landscapes are my favorite genres of photography.

I know we Kenyans complain a lot about Gava, but I was pro establishment on that Friday. I jumped onto the SGR to Mtito Andei at a cost of Kshs 1490/-. It was a smooth ride that lasted just over two hours. The other option would have been driving all the way down there which would have cost me much more than 1490/= . I appreciated that despite the knowledge that my youngest baby shark has a loan that was taken without her consent. Together with the other 45 million, odd Kenyans, she will have to figure out how we will all pay this ballooning debt incurred by our Government. I feel the balloon is about to burst if something is not done soon.

I do enjoy traveling on the train as I look out those big windows at the passing landscapes. I kind of get hypnotized by the passing views of the hills, trees, animals and humble homesteads. I’m lured to look within and start questioning how my life is going. Is my life just passing me by? Am I maximizing all my moments so that when they pass, I will not be left looking back at unfinished business? If I do that, then I’m sure to stumble on the next tree, hill or cow that comes my way.

My daydreaming was interrupted by the loud train announcement in English but with a heavy Chinese accent. The lady’s voice was informing us that the next station is Mtito Andei so I got ready to exit the train. On getting out I was met by Anthony from Kilaguni Serena Lodge who had come to pick me up. He was a pleasant chap who kept me engaged on our 32kms trip to the lodge. He gave me some strange facts along the way. One being that Tsavo east and west combined are larger than the whole of Israel. Some 20,000 plus square kilometers in size.

It was my first time to Tsavo, and I was in awe of the endless landscapes and greenery especially now that it was the rainy season. I had my camera ready in hand to capture any action that nature may throw my way. Sadly, we got to the lodge without anything more exciting to see apart from impala and some dik-diks. I checked in, had my lunch then sat by the lodge balcony overlooking the watering hole. Again, only baboons and impala came to catch a drink. The Chyulu Hills in the background made for spectacular landscapes. It was now about 3 PM so I went for a nap  in preparation for my game drive at 4 PM.

Stephen was my guide as we looked for the big five in this expansive wilderness. He told me even if we took a week driving around, we would not cover the whole park. I think he was managing my expectations to say we may not see much. Our chat and slow game drive were suddenly interrupted by the sight of a huge bull elephant. We stopped abruptly, I shot up and got my camera ready to capture this guy in his element. He was red hot literally. I suppose that’s from the red earth color at the Tsavo. I think all this action startled him and he wasn’t amused. He immediately charged at us and Stephen had to accelerate to a safe distance almost throwing me off my feet in the process. Apparently bull elephants in the Tsavo are known for their short tempers so one has to keep a safe distance. I managed to catch a few photos of him though. That was the highlight of my first game drive.

My second game drive on the following day was not as eventful as the day before. We drove further and saw more animals, but my highlight was the visit to Mzima Springs. I was shocked to be standing at the spot where all the water that feeds Mombasa comes from. It was just a stream with crystal clear and warmish water that provided a hangout joint for some crocodiles and hippos. For a minute there I was tempted to join the pool party, but I’d have made for a good snack for sure. My mind struggled to reconcile how a seemingly small source of water can quench the thirst of the second-largest city in Kenya. Now that’s a big thing.

That evening as I sipped on my Dawa cocktail next to a huge sycamore-fig tree (I was trying hard to improve my night photography) in the lodge gardens I played those two-day events in my mind. I realized that all the highlights of my photography retreat in the wild had one thing in common. Everything was big. The SGR is a big project, Tsavo is colossal, the bull elephants we encountered were roughly six tonnes heavy, Mzima springs quenches the thirst of the entire Kenyan coast and the sycamore tree outside my room was one of the biggest trees I’ve ever seen.

I realized at that point that I was living my personal hashtag right there (#OnlyBIGthingsgoingforward). I’m liking this life of being involved with big things only. Folks, maybe if we try and adopt a mantra to live by then life starts aligning to conform to that mantra. My hashtag mantra came alive last weekend such that on the way out of the park, we met face to face with yet another angry bull elephant that forced us to reverse in haste. I think he wanted me to stay on a while longer and admire him.

Live your hashtag fully folks.




Share this post:

3 thoughts on “Live Your Hashtag”

  1. Lilian says:

    Thanks Lucas. Nice read.
    I usually don’t have hashtags, but for 2020 I will follow your lead and have one, and Live it.

  2. MG says:

    Thank you Lucas for sharing this adventure! Hmmm I’ve never thought of living life through the lens of a hashtag. It’s so avant garde.. I’m still stuck in the life mottos of yesteryear!

  3. TBagz says:

    Love it!!

    Mzima Springs caught my attention. Even in the midst of the big things is a little spring just doing its thing. What are the obscure little things that influence the big ones?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *