1st July, Day one
Normally the first day of every walk is a very special day for my team and I. We spent the night at Simba club Nanyuki and by 7 O’clock every one of us was ready having had breakfast and ready to walk. I strongly believe how you approach the first day dictates how the other days will be. We all gathered at the County Government of Laikipia Offices in Nanyuki Town where the walk would be flagged off. At around 8.30 we had a tree planting exercise in front of the county Government offices led by Laikipia’s First lady Mrs. Grace Irungu, Mr. Richard Chepkwony KWS Nanyuki Station Senior Warden and Mada.
2nd July, Day two.
I woke up at 6am.From my bedroom I could hear madam Njeri busy in the Kitchen preparing breakfast for my team and I. By 8am we were ready and set to leave to start the day’s activities. We drove to KWS Nanyuki station for a brief meeting with Mr. Chepkwony the senior warden. After the meeting I led my team to Nakumatt -Nanyuki for one on one interaction with the shoppers telling them about the ivory belongs to elephants campaign as well as educating them on the New Wildlife act. It was an amazing experience for all of us. But at some point I approached a man and explained to him about the elephant poaching situation in Kenya and the world, he could not let me finish he said with a lot of conviction that he will continue killing elephants because they are causing a lot of damage to their crops in the village and nothing is done about it. What really shocked me is when he mentioned that he works in the office of the president. I was scared too.
3rd July Day Three
We left Borana lodge very early in the morning, the management had instructed the staff members to prepare us breakfast by 6’Oclock.So by 6.30 we had left the lodge for Nanyuki which was likely to take us at least one and a half hours. We were at the flag off point (Equator) at exactly 9am, schools, different organisations like the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Police, Administration Police, local government officials and the Mount Kenya Trust waiting patiently. The Deputy County Commissioner for Kyeni East Mr Daniel Nyakundi flagged us off and we started the day’s walk. As usual the school children were reciting some good poems and singing songs about elephants, something I really love to hear. In about 30 minutes we were at a CCM Primary School where I had been invited to speak to the parents and the students of this school. After my speech, I planted a tree at the tree compound and issued some books and certificates to the school.
4th July, Day Four
After a restful night at the Bantu Lodge and some really good breakfast, my team set up our escort vehicle given to us by KWS ready for the day’s activities. We had planned to attend community meetings in Solio with people leaving next to the Solio Conservancy. As we were planning the walk, we had requested the chiefs in these areas to inform people of this meeting. The meeting was at a health centre in one of the villages in Solio. The Government after being displaced from their initial homes during the 2007 election violence gave the people living here land. They mainly survive on subsistence farming. The meeting began at about 10 O’clock. There were so many people in attendance some villagers had travelled for more five kilometres. The KWS Community Warden Mr Njeru joined me.
5th July, Day Five
Waking up to the sight of the beautiful Mt. Kenya is such an amazing thing; Bantu Mountain Lodge is at the foot of the Mountain hence providing a better view. We had breakfast at 7.30am and then prepared to live the lodge; we had a complimentary for a two-night stay and did not want to live. I have developed a culture of awarding hoteliers who host us with a certificate of appreciation for being part of the campaign. We left the lodge at 8.30am to Narumoru where we were to start the walk. Mr Njeru of KWS, Narumoru OCS Mr George Odongo and local chiefs from the area joined me. Mr George Odongo flagged us off at exactly 9am and we walked towards Chaka town. As usual we had various schools joining us. As we walk; we have someone in our escort vehicle talking to people within the areas where we are passing explaining who we are and what we are doing. That is either Peter Gitau or Ken Mwenda and sometimes I talk as I walk. We arrived in Chaka at around three O’clock by this time we had reached out to so many people along the way. I was shocked to see ladies dressed in traditional dancing attires standing on the road.
6th July, Day Six.
Sunday mornings during walks are my favourite, I always feel relaxed and enthusiastic. We all woke up a bit late; we had church service to attend at 11am so we knew we had quite some time to relax. We had quite an unusual breakfast that day, as they say when you go to Rome do as the Romans do, we had Fries and Pork for breakfast… hehehe The first church service was at Our lady of Consolata Catholic Church Sagana, we were joined by Member of County Assembly Ruguru area Mr Karere talked to the congregation as well as introduced my team.
7th July, Day Seven
Monday Morning, I was quite excited about this day, one of the reasons being it was a new week and I was visiting Mt. Kenya Academy, one of my favourite schools. Mr Simon Gitau KWS Senior Warden Mt. Kenya National Park and other government officials joined me. We walked from Kiganjo where we paid a courtesy visit to the Kiganjo Police training College meeting my old KWS colleague the Training Commandant and then walked towards Mt.Kenya Academy. Lillian Mugo (Communications) was in constant communication with the school so by the time we were walking into their school compound they had already come to the school gate ready to receive us. The most unique thing about this school is the reception they always giver me, they have a well-organised school band that walked with me from their gate to the Administration block. In 2013 when I walked with H.E Mrs Margaret Kenyatta the band was also present as we walked from their school towards Nyeri town. Mrs, Mwangi the school Principal then took me to her office, I signed the visitor’s book and later invited my team and I for a cup of tea and snacks.
8th July, Day Eight
Flag off was at the KWS Nyeri Station. The County Commissioner Nyeri County Mr Ole Tialal flagged the walk at around 10am.We had quite a large number of people walking with us that day, apart from the various government officials Mrs Petra Allermendiger and her lovely family walked with us that day. We like to call Miss. Petra our Matriarch. Once again Mrs Mwangi of Mt. Kenya Academy brought her students to walk with us as well as the band. We had more than 15 schools walking with us. As we approached Nyeri town Journalists from The Standard Media Group interviewed me. The County Commissioner together with other officials had organised for a meeting point in Nyeri town at Whispers Park where the last meeting of the day would be held. As we walked in Nyeri town, people would literally come from their houses and business areas to come look us and know what was happening. At Whispers Park, we found more people and school children waiting for us. We held a really big meeting so many people took home the conservation message. At around three O’clock we finished the meeting and left for Golden Gates Hotel where we would spend the night.
9th July, Day Nine
At 7.30am in the morning we had breakfast and awarded the Golden Gates Hotel Management a Certificate of appreciation. We left for the flag off point. Miss Tourism Nyeri County Ms Rebecca joined us for the walk, which was an honor and a privilege to have her that day. We were walking towards Mweiga Town from Nyeri. Madam Wanja of KWS was also with us. The Kenya Police team had given us an escort vehicle as well as a few police officers to control traffic as we walked on the busy road. As usual schools joined us too. At two O’clock we had reached KWS Mweiga Station. Madam Catherine Wambani KWS and Aberdare Park Senior warden received us together with Mr Christian Lambretchs C.E.O Rhino Ark, a charitable organization that took the responsibility of fencing The Aberdare National Park. We held a brief meeting there and then proceeded to Mweiga town addressed the residents of this town and finished off for the day. Madam Petra Allermendiger was hosting her that day in her beautiful Ranch Sandai.
10th July, Day 10
Petra’s ranch is amazing, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping something you don’t experience everyday in the city. After we were all ready we left our cottage to the main house where Petra was already waiting for us. Her staff had made some really nice breakfast for us. There was no much activity for this day, as we would have community meetings in Mweiga and the interior regions. We visited two schools that had been informed earlier of our coming. The head teachers in these schools had sent word to the parents and the people living near the schools about this particular meeting. In all the areas that we visited the issue that stood out as usual was destructive wildlife. But for this people living just next to the Aberdare National Park, this will cease to be a problem due to the electric fence being put up by The Rhino Ark. We however addressed these problems and let the people know how to reach the KWS in case of challenge concerning wildlife.
11th July, Day Eleven
This would be the last day at Petra’s Ranch. We had been there for two nights and she still insisted on having us even for a week. She was so good to us. It was not easy for my team to say Kwaheri (GOODBYE.) to Petra and her lovely family. By 8.30 O’clock we had left the ranch for Mweiga where the walk would start. Petra did not leave with us in the morning but she promised to join us later. At 9am we were flagged off from Muthaiga. It was raining at that time but the good thing we had had quite some experience walking in the raining during the Mombasa Edition so this was really nothing. After walking for around five Kilometres our Matriarch Madam Petra joined us as she had promised. We had a group from Solio Ranch who joined us and informed us that they had bought some refreshments for the walkers and that we would pick them at the entrance of the Ranch. In about 2 hours we were at the Solio Ranch entrance.
12th July, Day Twelve
We walked towards Ndaragwa. After a few days of walking in Nyeri County, we were slowly approaching our last County, the wonderful Nyandarua County. Apart from the government officials that had joined us we also had a team from Rhino Watch Safaris who dedicated the whole day to walk with us. As we walked, my friend and former colleague at KWS joined the team and brought some water and energy drinks for us. It is indeed a good thing to have friends who believe in your vision and support it. It was an honor! We finished the walk at a small town called Wiyumiririe and went to Rhino Watch Safaris where Madam Miriam Kinge the Hotel Manager was hosting us for two days!
13th July, Day Thirteen
Sunday Morning. We had been walking for 13 days now so you can imagine the fatigue the dirty laundry and a lot of blisters to treat. We agreed that we could take the day off and rest, do laundry and treat all the wounds. Mariam and her family were very cordial to us. As I took a nap, my team engaged in relaxing activities such as cycling and walking around the beautiful facility. In the afternoon we had a thanksgiving gathering with all the Rhino Watch Staff. Some members decided to serve Miriam staff with drinks to show how grateful we were for the warm welcome ‘giving back’ I call it. We had a good time of bonding and talking conservation. At 5 O’clock we left to another hotel near our starting point for the next day.
14th July, Day Fourteen,
It was now official that this was the day I would exit Nyeri County and enter Nyandarua County. Leaders from Nyeri walked with us for a few Kilometres to the Nyeri-Nyandarua boarder. At the boarder Leaders from Nyandarua were waiting and we had a successful hand over. Mr Gathungu KWS Senior warden Nyahururu Station took over from Madam Wanja. We walked towards Ndaragwa, then Nyahururu town and visited a few schools along the way. We finished the walk at around 4pm that day.
15th July, Day Fifteen.
We spent the night at Comfort Hotel Inn Nyahururu; we left the place at 8.30am towards the starting point. We were flagged off by 9am by Wellington Gathungu KWS Senior Warden and was joined by KFS Forester who also walked with me .
Wildlife Clubs of Kenya Nakuru walked with us that day and a group of Boda Boda Operators decided to ride alongside us that day; it was very colorful and caught the attention of many motorists. We visited so many schools and walked with them as well. We finished the day’s walk at five in the evening. And went back to Nyahururu to rest for the night.
16th July, Day Sixteen
I woke up early that day, took my team for breakfast in Nyahururu town and we later headed to Maili Saba for a community meeting in a school, before reaching the meeting point, we happened to bump into our good old friends from KWS who were travelling on the same route headed to a funeral this included David ole Kones now in Mwea as a Senior Warden. It was such a good reunion. For the better part of the day we had meetings in schools in shopping centers led by Ms Virginia Wahome community Liason Officer of Laikipia Wildlife Forum. At some point we encountered a child who had been injured by an elephant as he walked from school. We spoke to his head teacher about compensation and also left some funds for his medical bill. The meetings in this region were very successful but we encountered a lot of problems with most members of the community as they kept complaining that elephants were destroying their crops and houses in search of fertilizer. With the help of Mr. Gathungu of KWS, we were able to tackle all this challenges and the community ways of keeping the elephants away from their farms and homes. Later in that evening we walked round Nyahururu town talking to the residents.
17th July, Day Seventeen
On this day we had a special guest in our team. Florence Ruhi Miss Tourism Nyandarua County she was going to be with us for the remaining days. It was great having her in the team as we were walking in her county. After breakfast that morning, we left for KWS Nyahururu Station for a meeting with the Senior Warden Mr Gathungu. We also had journalists from different Media Houses who interviewed me about the experience of the walk so far. At three O’clock after the meeting, we drove to Shamata where we were to set camp for the night at the KWS Station. It was the first time to camp on this edition and this time in the forest, I had missed this you could tell! I went to collect firewood and guess what a herd of buffaloes were foraging in a thick forest, I was able to smell them since they had wallowed in the mud, I signaled my team and we retreated and searched for firewood in different section and this time with a KWS ranger.
18th July, Day Eighteen
Shamata area is a very cold region; we woke up at six in the morning, and my team prepared breakfast, as we got ready to put down our tents ready for the day’s walk. The walk was flagged off at Shamata town and we walked towards Wanjohi Town. It was during the Ramadan Period and I remember walking with a Muslim KWS officer who was fasting. This Officer walked with us from Shamata town to Wanjohi a distance of around 30Km that was quite encouraging! The road from Shamata to Wanjohi was not tarmacked and full of rough terrains. Never the less we made it through; it was not a simple journey. We reached Wanjohi at 4 O’clock. Wanjohi town is a beautiful town surrounded by the amazing Aberdare ranges; I liked calling it the town at the foot of the mountain. We held our last meeting there and went up the mountain at the Rhino Ark Base to set camp for the night. This is the place to go I tell you, a good scenic view of Ol-borosat and the entire Nyandarua .
19th July, Day Nineteen
Waking up to the sight of the Aberdare Mountains felt really great. From where we set Camp we could clearly the mountains. We left camp at 8.45am; we were to be flagged off at a town near Wanjohi. We had KWS Warden Mr Chebet and other officers from the Administration joining us that day. As we walked we stopped at different points to address the residents. The main challenge in this region was that some people would destroy the fence put up by the Rhino Ark organization to make way for the cattle to graze in the forest as well as way to enter the forest illegally for logging. Due to these illegal activities wild animals would also find a way to get into their farms and destroy their crops. At 3 O’clock, we held a very big meeting at Engineer town, the presence of two police vehicles with sirens, people walking on foot; many uniformed men attracted quite a huge number of people who were eager to listen to what we had to say. After the meeting went to Ndunyu Njeru KWS Camp to rest for the night.
20th July, Day Twenty
Sunday Morning. We still had a lot of area to cover and time was running out. We did not make it to church that day. After saying our morning prayer as a team, we drove to Engineer Town where we would start the walk. Mr Onyango and Mr.Chebet Senior KWS Wardens also joined us. We had an escort car from The Kenya Police. We were walking to Njabini town and surrounding areas. As usual we held various meetings at different shopping centre. The last meeting was at Kwa Haraka Shopping Centre at 4.30pm, where I would even meet my old high school and my teacher after many years. We were to set camp at Njabini KWS Station but the officers were kind enough to give us nice and warm rooms to put up. They said it would get cold at night and camping was really not a good idea. It actually rained that night so they were right.
21st July, Day Twenty one
Last day of the great Laikipia-Nyeri-Nyandarua Walk. We woke up earlier than usual; we had to be on schedule as we were expecting some guests later in the day during the closing ceremony. From Njabini we drove to Kwa Haraka where we had left of the previous day. We were flagged off at 9 am. We were to finish at the Nairobi-Njabini Junction and hold a brief closing meeting. We had invited a few dignitaries from KWS, Nyandarua County Government as well as friends and family. Along the way we received a very important guest. Mr. Muzaffar Khan our great friend and supporter. Despite his age he walked with us for quite some distance and went back to his car, he was with us the whole time. A great honor it was indeed!!At two O’clock, we were at the finishing point where our guests were already waiting to receive us. It was a great moment for all of us. For a moment I felt like David Rudisha after finishing a race. It was a great honor to see Mr. Paul Gathitu KWS Spokesperson and other government officials. The meeting was brief as we were really exhausted. Looking forward to Murang’a walk.
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