Tag Archives: Hiking

Diary of an Explorer at the Tugen Hills…

Day 6: Touring Kipsacho!!

We embarked on another day of adventure as William accompanied us on a tour of the other side of the Kir Dam. He took us to the most beautiful and serene picnic locations and even suggested several camping sites.

We then made our way to a nearby area called Kipsacho. There we were met by the chief of kipsacho, who accompanied us to our venture of climbing Mt.kipsacho. We were very fortunate to get another amazing view of the northern rift and not to mention the house of former president Moi.  The view was extraordinary yet quite different from that of Mt. Morop but not any less amazing. I must admit the climb to the top of Mt. Kipsacho was more arduous than I had perceived it to be. The trail, albeit short, is steep and slippery. While taking a much needed rest on top of the mountain that stands 2,107 meters above sea level, Mr. William and the chief entertained us to folk tales of the Tugen people living in and around kipsacho. We were privileged to be informed of the fact that we are the first people from Nairobi and Mombasa to have climbed Mt. Kipascho.

We had the great opportunity of viewing an ancient tree (ficus sycomorus) shrine, a unique tree that has been protected within the confines of less than an eighth of an acre. That particular area is so precious, the elders possess a securely guarded title deed. This sacred tree is symbolic to the local community, and before setting off on a journey people usually pray for a safe journey after which they place a stone on or beside the tree.  There are certain periods in the year where you’ll be able to notice heaps of stones on/by the tree. A very interesting sight indeed.

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Diary of an Explorer at the Tugen Hills…

Day 3: Medicinal Plant Collection

Our mission on that day was to collect as many medicinal plants as possible. We followed our usual routine and left house at 8am in the morning. We joined Mathew at the center (main point at Morop) and spent the whole day trekking one side of the mountain collecting medicinal plant samples, taking pictures and videos.

For each plant that was picked we paused for a couple of minutes attentively listening to Bakari, Mathew and Ester as they each shared their knowledge about the plants. It was absolutely interesting. Most of the morning was spent collecting medicinal plants from the lower part of the mountain and the rest of the day we focused on the midsection of the mountain. Some plants can only be found on certain parts of the mountain but in this case we found that most of the plants obtained could be located from a lower altitude to a higher altitude on the Morop Mountain. For each plant that was collected Bakari placed them in the middle of a two paged newspaper. He later on taught us how to arrange and press the plants using a plant press, which he made using pieces of leftover wood and wire. Check out the entertaining videos below, on the procedure of how to use a plant press.

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[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/tg2OviV3ynU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

We managed to collect around 30 medicinal plants in just one day. A great feeling of accomplishment filled our hearts because we didn’t anticipate collecting so much in just a day…what a productive day!!! Later on Mr. William Kimosop, the senior warden of the area joined us in the evening and was with us for the rest of the trip…it was a great pleasure having him with us!!

Day 4: Plant identification and Information compilation

The day was spent at the home stay, identifying each of the plants collected and writing down their uses and the treatments and also planning the agenda for the rest of the expedition. As Bakari was arranging, pressing and identifying the scientific names of each plant with the help of his son and Philip. Ester, Mathew and I were jolting down each of the plants information and their uses. It took longer than expected because we collected several plant species the previous day. William also spent the day with us, telling as amazing stories about the great rift valley and the beautiful places to visit and the adrenaline pumping adventures that are yet to be experienced by not only us but by everyone who loves the wilderness…

Our Plant of the day was….

Croton dichogamus

Common name: Orange leaves croton

Local Tugen: Kelelwet

Family: Euphobiaceae

Synonyms: Croton kilwae

Croton dichogamus

Croton dichogamus

Description

A Multi-stemmed shrub to 3 meters high with many branches, thin twigs and numerous leaves.

Leaves: silvery beneath and brownish on the upper surface, turning orange before falling, aromatic.

Flowers: yellowish and sometimes with male flowers only (male and female separate).

Fruits: golden brown 3 lobed capsules in small clusters.

Habitat

Commonly grows in dry bushland, mostly on rocky soil, thickets, along dry upland forest edges and also in disturbed and grazed areas at altitudes of 500-2100m.

Uses

Leaves are crushed to remove juice and then used in the production of local brew. The leaves that fall to the ground are eaten by goats and are also browsed to a lesser extent. Medicinal uses: the roots are boiled for fever and stomach problems.

Preparation and Dosage

An infusion made by boiling the roots in water.

Children: ½ a cup, 2 times (morning and evening) a day for 3 days.

Adults: 1 cup, 2 times (morning and evening) a day for 3 days.

Welcome to the Trans Rift Trail

Over the last 5 years I have been working towards creating new and unique Tourist Attraction features that will add more value to the North Rift destination. Amongst them and as the most promising is a walking Trail that spans the breath of the Baringo and Keiyo County section of the Kenya’s Great Rift. It runs from Mochongoi in area in the Laikipia Plateau through Bogoria, over the Tugen Hills into the Kerio Valley and terminates at Chororget in the Keiyo Escarpment. Due to the fact that it runs right across the Rift Valley, I have christened it “The Trans Rift Trails”.

William Kimosop

William Kimosop

This feature has been designed along similar facilities found world over. Some of the most famous include the Euro-Trail that runs from the Czech Republic to Spain, The Inca Trail of South America the Appalachian Trail in the US and the just completed Trans Canada Trail. Ours is a very tiny bit compared to but runs across a famous land feature, The Great Rift Valley but nevertheless among the first in the Region. This feature utilizes the same footpaths used on a day to day basis by the local community but only opening it up for visitor use. Tourists and general visitors can disembark at different points and walk it for their own convenient length and time. I have designed to make use of existing facilities such as Reserve Out posts Community Trading and Market Centers, e.t.c. (see the attached sketch)

Cheploch Gorge - home of two friendly crocodiles

Cheploch Gorge - home of two friendly crocodiles

All activities can be coordinated from the newly built Information Centre and the Tourist entry points to start with and eventually extend to the other posts. I have personally surveyed the route in various areas while sensitizing the Communities and found it generally acceptable.

More than 1 million flamingoes on Lake Bogoria

More than 1 million flamingoes on Lake Bogoria

Coincidentally Elderly members of the Community recall past trail activities from the Colonial times and even pointed out stopping area that are still set aside to date.

This will open a new window in the Rural Tourism Development Chapter in Kenya’s history. As a flagship product in Adventure and active Tourism, I have no doubt that it may become Kenya’s next sensational product.

It will also provide alternative livelihood opportunities in for remote and far flung Communities along this old trail in a number of ways. For example the provision of various goods as fresh vegetables and fruits, essential supplies and services such as Guides, Porters, and even donkey for luggage. This will also be a multipurpose area which the community can use it in many ways to promote Environmental conservation activities. Thanks

William Kimosop
Chief Game Warden
County Council of Koibatek/
Technical Advisor to the North Rift Inter-Council Forum.

To book an expedition just call Betty Kibet on +(254) 721 294 341,  email us on [email protected]

Or visit us at the Equator Visitor Center at Mogotio.

In the next few posts we will take you on an extraordinary journey – this is just the itinerary…

THE TREK ITINERARY

Day 1 – Depart Nairobi for The Equator Mogotio Tourism Information and Operations Centre
India/Kenya Flag Raising Ceremony
Trek Flag Off by the Council Chairman and The Area District Commissioner
Proceed to Nyalilpuch Trail Base Station and Outpost for the night.

Day 2- Morning Ridgewalk and descent to the shores of Lake Bogoria on the Hannington Trail. Explore Emsos and overnight at Fig Tree Camp. (Support vehicle leaves for the Overnight Camp Maji Moto)

Day 3- Morning take off along the Greater Kudu Trail to arrive at Maji Moto Village Camp.
Overnight at the Greater Kudu Camp. Tugen Traditional dance. (Support vehicle leaves for the Overnight Camp Maji Moto)

Day 4 – Depart for Kamar via the Siewa Donkey Trail
Overnight at The Crocodile Dam. Evening stroll in the Village overnight film show.

Day 5- Depart Kamar on the Honey Trail and the Molo River.
Explore the River and the Little Lake Kapnarok. Picked by the support vehicle for overnight camping at Perkerra River.

Day 6-Drive to Tenges via Tugen Ritual Camp for a short ridge walk along the Mountain club of Kenya 1969 hiking route. Afternoon exploration at the Tabagon Rock Tower. Late afternoon swim at Sacho High School Pool. Supper and overnight at the Royal Camp Sacho. Evening meal at Sigowo restaurant.

Day 7- The Kerio Descent.Turukwei Trails Torok Cliff Face and the Tambach Cliff face exploration.Drive along the Escarpment and enter the Chororget descent.

Day 8- The Sego Trail descent
The Full stop party at the Sego Swimming pool.

REQUIREMENTS

Personal effects
Camping gear,
First Aid Kit Box
Cameras and Binoculars
GPS
Audio recorders

Food and Drink
Water jerrycans
Cooking Materials
Utensils Coolbox etc
2Donkey Harnesses (KSPCA)

THE TRANS RIFT TRAILS©®

A.RESTING POINTS

Features
Good tree shade
Sitting spaces
Signage
Numerous and identified by trekkers.

B. TRAIL POSTS
Features
Radio Communication
Kitchen shade
Toilet / Shower
Proximity to Water source
Pack animal availability
Rangers
Porters and Guides
Link to essential supply sources
Link to local/ regular Transport or Matatu service
Trail Log Book and certification stamp

TRAIL POSTS
Mochongoi .Kapkelelwa Waseseges.Sego Nyalilpuch Chororget Fig Tree CampEmsos Community CampsiteMaji Moto Netbon Kamar Molok (Sirimta)Radat Bekibon Tenges

C. TRAIL CAMPS
Features
All of B
Community cultural centre
Fresh produce and general market day
Permanent Trail Camp with facilities for hire
Guide Books, Maps
National Reserve Sub-station.
Trail Camps
Sego Sacho Radat Tenges Maji Moto Emsos Nyalilpuch

THE TRANS RIFT TRAIL©®

TRAIL POSTS 12 Sacho
1. Mochongoi 13.Kapkelelwa
2. Waseseges 14.Sego
3. Nyalilpuch 15.Chororget
4. Fig Tree Camp
5. Emsos Community Campsite
6. Maji Moto Netbon
7. Kamar
8. Molok (Sirimta)
9. Radat
10. Bekibon
11. Tenges

Total Distance approximately 155km