Monday, 19 December 2011

The Great Rift Valley

It happened again!Friends from our Dar days managed to coax and convince(not coerce!) us to come out of the cosy confines of our comfortable home.This time it was not to celebrate any festival but to visit a part of the Great Rift Valley which stretches from Syria in South West Asia to central Mozambique in South East Africa.The place we visited is called Naivasha,a market town which is around a two hour drive from Nairobi.It is bordered by Lake Naivasha,and being at an altitude of 6,222 feet above sea level, is the highest Rift Valley Lake.
Naivasha,being at a higher altitude than Nairobi,meant that we were gradually driving up a slope.But the inclines are so gentle that only the pressure on our ear drums and the stunning view of the valley unfolding before our eyes made us realize that we were on an ascent!Being mentally prepared to face something like the Western Ghats of Maharashtra,the hair pin bends of the Cherrapunji Hills in Meghalaya or the steep slopes of the Usambara mountains in Tanzania,the relief I felt was immeasurable!
The narrow gauge single train track often ran parallel to the road and I spared a thought for the many poor labourers,mainly Indian,who had stuggled hard to lay this line more than a hundred years ago under Kolonial rule,often risking or losing their lives in the process.For remember,this was a time when wild animals like lions,hippos,rhinos,wildebeeste,really ran wild and were not confined to the borders of the National Parks by electric fencing and intense patrolling!
After a six year stint in Tanzania and numerous wildlife safaris,I thought I was immune to the sight of zebras and giraffes.But seeing herds of these beautiful animals grazing by the side of the national highway along with cows,sheep and goats came as a pleasant shock!I was as thrilled as I had been when I caught my first glimpse of a giraffe and then zebras almost ten years ago.I suppose one can never become indifferent to beauty in nature!
We travelled on through a green landscape dotted by gigantic hand-fan shaped cacti and thousands of acacia trees silhouetted against a cloudy sky.The children enjoyed parathas,pulav and samosas enroute to Naivasha.We might have been in  the heart of rural Kenya but that did not stop us from tucking into our very Indian meal!Finally we reached our destination and saw that Naivasha is peppered with lodges,resorts and spas, all ideal for people looking for a quick week end getaway.
We spent the day relaxing in one such lodge with what else but water buck,giraffes and zebras for company.A sign warned us not to venture out for the nature walk towards the Lake unless we were accompanied by securitry personnel as there was danger of being attacked by wild animals!We chose to stick to the safety of the main lodge area.
The children frollicked in the azure blue kidney shaped pool while we unwound in the mild sun surrounded by flocks of the prettiest coloured birds I have ever seen and by wild flowers of varied hues.Gradually,slate gray rain clouds gathered in the sky and we knew it was time to head back.But not before the children had played in the park to their hearts content!We,too,swung on the swings,forgetting for a few minutes that we were adults and children no longer..But,that I guess,is the whole point of a break from the daily routine!
The drive back was to the tune of fat rain drops drumming on the car roof.The rain made the valley view even more enchanting.A fresh, cool breeze accompanied the rain and I opened the car window to breathe in the pristine air and felt truly refreshed and blessed.Broad bands of sunlight filtered out from behind the dense clouds which were pouring out their water load.It looked as if God had crafted pathways of light from heaven to Earth.With a little stretch of imagination,I could easily believe that with Christmas round the corner, God had made these massive slides for Santa to slide down on.....What a lovely end to a gorgeous day!
Sadly,I had to prise away my daughter's I pod nano and my son's PSP in order to draw their attention to this magical phenomena of nature.The new generation is hooked onto technology and it is time we weaned them onto nature!


  1. This piece is as beautiful as ever. I am a huge fan of kenyankronikals. The whole scene unfolded right in front of my eyes as I read through and you have added your own special dimension by your very picturesque description.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you so much for your comments and for taking the time to read the blog.We had a great time yesterday!


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