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MUD SATISFACTION

of mud baths and giant swings at Camp Ndunda

by Chris Shitote

Someone wouldn’t believe we are all parents. That’s the statement one of us made after the mud bath. Yes, mud bath. I guess we never fully grow up. 

Actually yeah, I read somewhere that men don’t fully grow up until the age of 43 and women until the age of 34….I don’t own these words. Like I said. I just read them somewhere, but at least not on TikTok.

Well, let me get to the back of this. I have said this before, we are planning for Chalbi in July so we are really trying to save about ksh. 40,000 just to go see sand. Well, so much sand. The biggest in the country I think. Kindly concentrate Kris, we are talking about Camp Ndunda here, you don’t have to validate your sand viewing needs, we will get there at the end of July. sawa? Sawa. 

Camp ndunda was one of our to do lists but I almost passed on it because my saving skills were put to test. Then one brilliant guy came up with a suggestion to cut the cost by half. Yes, we have brilliant people in this team. They think better than me most of the time. So I usually seek their advice from time to time. This time he suggested that there is no need to do camping, that cuts the budget by ksh. 1500. We can also do public transport, that cuts the budget by another ksh. 500. We only need snacks and lunch since we are not camping, another budget cut by ksh. 1000. The rest I can’t remember, But what I do remember is the total budget came to ksh. 3000 from a possible ksh. 7000. 

Oh yeah, just remembered, we only chose to do certain activities and most of which were part of the entry fee of Ksh. 350 per person. We even decided to ditch the PSV idea and just drive ourselves there. Some comfort at least.

Departure time, 7:00am. I was just 5 mins late, yet I was the last one to show up. Impressive time keeping from the team. We keep improving. Coffees from Java, no snacks this time, we were too early for the shops. Off we went.

Driving east from Nairobi. Easy drive, great roads up until some sections which are still under construction, no big deal though it’s a short distance to where we are branching off. We are using a different route this time. We are not branching off at Makutano but further at Kagio junction. Less traffic and less road bumps. We have luxury cars, hehe. At least one.

A few pit stops and we get to Embu town about two hours later. Like I said, easy drive. 

First time for some, they have been to 13 counties though, quite impressive since they haven’t been in the country that long. 14 counties now, right Abdullahi? Right. 

Embu is a busy town. We seek google maps’ help to locate our destination. You should have seen where it took us. I think it wanted us to go to Meru instead. Try using google on this one. You’ll be surprised by how far off it is. A local came to our rescue. “Kindly make a you turn, and proceed with that road until you spot the district hospital, opposite it, there is a road to your left, you’ll find bodaboda guys there, ask them.” 

Thanks Emburian. Your guidance led us straight to the camp’s gate. There is signage just at the junction opposite the hospital indicating 7km to the camp. Good job camp, better signage than most places I’ve visited before. And I have been to a lot.

Here we are, everything is straight forward, a spacious parking lot. We pay our entrance fees, the rest will be paid as you undertake the activities. Two main activities we are looking forward to. 

The giant swing. But first we had to shake what our mama gave us to some zumba as a warm up to walk through the natural forest. You must see the two left footed team I came with from Nairobi. The ladies were super with this, at least they have something to shake. For the gents, well. I’ll leave it at that. 

Back to the giant swing. It is exactly as the name describes it, but now in the wild. So, maybe the giant wild swing is appropriate. I saw tears in people’s eyes. That’s called phobia. Not sure if it’s for heights, for swinging or for water given that underneath the trees there is a river that flows to Tana river. I guess the quickest way to get to the Indian ocean. 

They recommend screaming your lungs out, specifically for the ladies. Looks like men dont scream. They roar. 

For the brave, it is an easy relaxing thing. You are tossed over by two funny guys. They recommend you close your eyes, there is a giant tree just at the end of the swing and a strong push might get you through it. Just before you hit it, they pull you back and all I recall was I was asking for a stronger push. They turn you upside down and ask you to relax….ohh so enjoyable. You can get your phone out but with a warning that Sharks don’t like you polluting their environment. So you need a tight grip on it.

Next, is a short trek to two great falls. I would love to come see them just after it has rained. I love chasing waterfalls. I have to swim in it. “Pants off,” my brain tells me. “Sorry shirt off instead, you are in public remember.” I’m in. It is freezing cold. My muscles can feel it. The bones are wondering what the hell just happened. To add to that, it is deep so no standing and rushing ashore. I must get to the end before my muscles give out. Quick pulls and I’m standing right next to the falls. Awesome feeling. Now I have to make my way back. Unfortunately, they don’t allow people to swim so one of the guides spotted me and asked me to get out. It’s for safety I guess. Plus I haven’t signed any insurance policy here, so I get it. I’m out. We make our way back up onto the swinging bridge. Not my first time on such. It is an easy walk.

Time for some games. We sit down for this. At least something new from what I am used to. New game that is. A few photos and videos and we are done.

We debate between lunch and finishing the activities. Food is not ready yet, so let’s just finish then sit down to a relaxing meal. Two more activities to go. Archery and the other most anticipated activity, I’ll get to that later.

Archery is easy, few arrows, a bow and a Target. A target that most were not able to aim at. Too high, too low or even no shot at all. I wonder what games people were playing as kids. At least for me I used to hunt small birds to cook for kalongolongo. Anyway, that’s why none of us is a soldier. 

Final activity, Mud bath. The name gives everything away doesn’t it? Well, wait until you get there, then the guide tells you to get in a freezing river, barefoot with a pail that you will use to throw water, yes throw water to the next person in line who will then throw the remaining almost no water to the next person then fill a 5 liter pail that will then tip over some heavy metal ball which will then be placed on a maze then rolled down until it drops off. We were two teams. Gender rules I guess. The ladies beat us in the first round. I guess they were used to carrying water on their heads back then. Just kidding, don’t kill me Sheila. You seem like one. Hehe. 2nd round, easy for the gents, new skills acquired and they have perfected it I guess. Last round, I can’t really tell just realized that the mazes aren’t identical. I guess the ladies, based on what the guide said. But we are claiming the title too. So.

Time for the mud bath, although some of us are already covered  in it from falling during the water throwing session. There is just something funny when an adult falls. 

The guide requests us to get into the mud pool. Not fun at all. I keep questioning why I left Nairobi for this. We are in it. I have to get out immediately. I feel an extreme pain in my stomach. I have a muscle cramp. Never felt this way before. I guess it is from the Waterfall swim earlier. My muscles just can’t take the touture anymore. I get out, a few breaths and I’m back in. Again, same pain, so I get out. Few breaths and some patting on my stomach and my silly self gets back in. this time i’m good. The guide suggests that we all crawl inside the mud. I should have stayed outside. Silly me

Like I said, none of us is a soldier. We brave the mud, back and forth until we are at the end of the pool. Then we are asked to go back. Like I said, not fun. Next activity is us rolling down a slide into a mud pool. Why the hell I’m I doing this? Some bucket lists better be left in the bucket. We are done though, as usual, it is the satisfaction. I told you there is a river nearby. We dip ourselves in it to get the mud off. I’m not coming back for this, but I’m glad I did it. 

More freshening up with a warm shower, best part of the whole trip I guess. Hehe. Kidding.It was all worth it.

Time for a good meal and we are off.

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