So the holidays we take months (or years) to prepare for, plan, re-plan, save religiously for (or not), sacrifice, anticipate, excite about, use to inspire or bribe good behaviour in kids or spouse, and aaaall that etc… are over… at least for most… Alas!! And here we are again, in January (or Jan-worry, Njaa-nworry, etc.) the longest month of every year, this one complete with 5 whole weekends, pockets empty, demands high, spirits low-ish and recovery in the form of salary or business far away out there in the distant horizon… Help!
But wait! It’s a great time to start afresh, wipe the slate clean, celebrate the successes, forget the failures and renew hope to achieve new and unrealised dreams!! Yes, you can make it! So go ahead and make the new year resolutions and this time round, commit to tick off ALL items by June? Okay half of them by March? All right, at least the first two by next week then you can throw out the list – the one about checking out the nearby gym and the other about setting aside monies to invest. Me? At least I did the gym one and then I… Escaped! J
Eliye Springs – Lake Turkana’s surreptitious delight
This past December I got see my 46th County – YEEEEI!!! I was sooo excited! I managed to drag my sister with me (kicking and screaming no doubt: “whyyyy can’t we go to Seychelles”??) And in the end, guess who agreed it was truly worth it? We both did! J
We took the short route (one hour 40 min flight out of Wilson), were picked up at Lodwar airport, took the er… 7.5min tour of the small town, said goodbye to ‘civilisation’ and sped off into the into the semi-desert horizon. Many goats, few camels and several sparsely distributed settlements – well blended into the environment later (less than 2 hours), the driver interrupted our animated catch-up chat with a casual ‘so here we are’… ‘WOOOOW’, we exclaimed!!! No words to describe the sparkling, Jade Green of the world’s largest permanent desert lake, blending into the radiating palm trees crowding the beach surroundings of Lake Turkana, a sight we were totally unprepared for… What? I’d seen some photos on the net, but none had been anything close to this pristine beauty of Eliye Springs Resort.
One Warm welcome with a cool refreshing drink later (it’s HOT!) then checked into our Boma, and off we went to explore, touch the lake and take the photos just for the record.
Fast forward to the next day’s adventure, it started off at 7 am with a speed boat ride towards Central Island (or Crocodile Island), a dormant volcanic island comprising several craters, three of which are filled by small lakes– one home to flamingoes, the other crocodiles and the third, tilapia. On arrival about one hour later, we got on to shore to do a short climb up the hill as guided by our accompanying KWS Ranger. Near the top, he suggested casually (it seems to be the modus operandi), ‘Look, I wanted to show you something here…’. Again, modus operandi, ‘WOOOOW’!! (Yeah, that was us again). Stupefied by the splendor of the scenery… sparkling, jade waters of a vast lake spread out, yet confined in by the steep rock crater walls, we stood quietly to acknowledge the beauty of God’s creation. Then in silence we descended carefully, so as not to slip down the sandy path, to the bottom near the shore, to get a closer look at the few flamingoes left (most migrated out due to rising level of elnino fed waters), and to appreciate the magnificence of the crater from this viewpoint.
Some time later, back into the boat to circle the island and land on a different side of it. After a quick picnic under a blissfully, shaded structure built by KWS, we set off again towards the 2nd lake, this time to catch sight of the crocodiles – apparently these waters formerly contained Africa’s largest population of Nile crocodiles of about 14,000, hence it’s alternate name. We stayed around long enough to glimpse at least 5 (not impressive, but enough to confirm their existence) from a safe distance at the top of the hill, while marveling at the scenery of confined crater lakes in the foreground and infinite lake in the background (WOOOOW!). Eventually, though reluctantly, we had to turn our backs on splendour of it all and head back ‘home’ to shore…. (Sigh)!
Back to base at our lovely resort, with wonderful staff, fellow ‘resortees’ and awesome surroundings, we spent the rest of our time chatting randomly with all and sundry, shooting pool and/or cooling off swimming in the perfectly, shallow & cool lake shore by day, while by night we were bewildered by skies so clear you could almost count each of the stars sprinkled generously across the darkness. And ofcourse we thoroughly enjoyed stuffing ourselves with the scrumptious, freshly caught and cooked fish meals (by day and night)! J
We felt so at home that we even got invited to the resort’s farewell bash for one of their staff on our last night by the lake, complete with the latest music & fancy equipment to carry the catchy sounds far, far into the shadows, probably even to the other county across the shores on the other side (Marsabit). We dined and danced under the stars to our hearts content. What a perfect way to wind up our awesome time, savoring our delight in discovering this little-known, mysterious, yet absolutely amazing paradise way up north!
It was a wistful journey back home, brooding over the possibility that we had but glimpsed what the future held: an exotic, desert oasis hideway up north, for the few ‘in the know’ – a truly, exceptional getaway… Escape!