The Great Walk of Africa

In September 2009, I was part of a 9-member group on a hiking expedition in Kenya led by Alex Fiksman of Tropical Ice ( and Michael P. Ghiglieri (guide from my Colorado River rafting in the Grand Canyon). We trekked for 11 days from our first camp at Mzima Springs in Tsavo West National Park to the Sala Gate in Tsavo East National Park (3-hours away from the Indian Ocean), covering over 100 miles.  This hike was along the Tsavo River in Tsavo West National Park, till it joined the Athi River to become the Galana River in Tsavo East National Park. These rivers are 'infested' with crocodiles and hippos. We waded into these waters to cross them at least twice a day!!

Day-0, Day-1, Day-2, Day-3, Day-4, Day-5, Day-6, Day-7, Day-8, Day-9, Day-10, and Day-11

(Click on the thumbnail of each picture to view the full image.)

Day-0: Drive from the Kilaguni Serena Air Strip to Mzima Springs camp in Tsavo West National Park.



Day-1: Trek along the Tsavo River with overnight at Kudu camp.


Day-2: Trek along the Tsavo River with overnight at Kichwa Tembo camp.



Day-3: Trek along the Tsavo River with overnight at Maji Ya Chumvi camp.  As we waded across the river to the camp this afternoon, there was a hippo under water barely few feet away from our crossing! The pink ears surfaced on the water after we got to the river bank. This day included a visit to the man-eaters' den in the evening...


Day-4: Trek along the Tsavo River with overnight at Man-Eaters camp.  In the afternoon, we hiked to the Tsavo Bridge near the Tsavo Gate. In 1896, two lions killed over 130 migrant laborers from India when the British were building this railway bridge across the Tsavo river, halting the railway project.


Day-5: This day's hike started from the Tsavo Bridge (second picture in the set below) with a visit to the nearby Tsavo Railway Station on the Nairobi-Mombasa railway line. The roof of this station had clay tiles from Mangalore, India with dates of 1895!  We entered Tsavo East National Park and reached the confluence of the Tsavo River and the Athi River to form the Galana River, though the Athi River was completely dry due to the drought. Overnight at Lugards Falls camp.






Day-6: Trek along the Galana River with overnight at Epiya Chapeyu camp.  Finally, we saw the lions this evening...




Day-7: Trek along the Galana River with return overnight at Epiya Chapeyu camp.


Day-8: This was a lions-day! Encountered the lions early in the morning...  Later in the day, we saw a baby elephant mourning near its mother's body (pictures in the 2nd row of the set below)...  In the afternoon, we spotted a total of 18 lions with 16 on the opposite bank and 2 on the right bank -- that was a total of 33 lions' sightings in one day!!  Overnight at Durusikale camp.


Day-9: Elephants came to the camp early in the morning. Continued the trek along the Galana River, with return to overnight at Durusikale camp.




Day-10: Saw a baby hippo wading across the river early in the morning. The hike started with quite a bit of excitement: Two hippos angrily emerged from the water after we crossed the river and we had to rush away from the river... apparently, a KWS ranger put his foot on the head of the submerged hippo when he went to wash his feet after crossing the river! Those two hippos stayed active near the camp all day and even that night. There was a rare sight during the day's hike: we saw 16 lions crossing the river (pictures in the 1st row of the set below).  An elephant with her baby came for a visit to the camp that afternoon (pictures in the 3rd row of the set below)... This was our last overnight at Durusikale camp.




Day-11: After we bid farewell to the camp staff this morning, trekked along the Galana River past the Sala Hill to reach the Sala Gate. As we entered the Galana River to cross it for the last time near the Sala Gate, a hippo emerged from underwater near the opposite bank! There is a board at the Sala Gate with the warning: "This river is hippo and crocodile infested"!!  Next was the 3-hour drive to reach Malindi at the Indian Ocean.

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