#Travel: My visit to the land of Lava, the Man-eaters, and Springs

 tsavo west travel serena kenya

It’s on a Monday morning. The new week presents opportunities yet I can’t construct the first line in an article which is urgently needed by my boss. I sense fatigue from a distance. My soul craves tranquility.

The only cure is to escape the hustles and bustles of the city. Kilaguni Serena lodge calls and I have to respond. The lodge has always held this sacred place in my mind. It is one of the world’s first lodge to be built in the wild. As a writer, I sharpen my pen through seclusion and this gem is hidden deep within Tsavo West National Park provided more than an ideal place for me.

This getaway’s tap of tranquility flows freely and that’s what hits me first. The lodge’s architectural design that revolves around makuti thatched roof for the central dining area and classic volcanic stone theme that adorn the walls of this 1946 lodge caught my attention. The splendor of Chyulu hills; one of the world’s youngest volcanic ranges is a perfect icing on the cake to what was turning out to be a good deal.

The excellent customer service at Kilaguni meets us at the gate. A brief description of the lodge happens over a glass of juice as we wipe out the dust on our faces. We were then led to our rooms which are tastefully designed and spacious. After settling down, the glass sliding door ushered us into the balcony where we were greeted by a breathtaking view of animals in the water hole and Chyulu hills majestically towering just a stone throw away.

With two seats placed on the balcony, over a mug of coffee, I felt an ocean of tranquility overwhelming my soul as I breathed in the fresh air while absorbing the magical experience that was right before me. A troop of baboons can be seen playing near the water hole as birds chirp their evening melodies. Soon a herd of elephants made their way into the watering hole forcefully evicting the baboons.

The time flew fast and soon it was sunset already. As the sun was being ‘swallowed’ by the Chyulu hills, I experienced the most breathtaking and memorable sunset ever. I wanted to stop the time and soak it all in.

The beauty of this place was already overwhelming us yet we hadn’t even scratched the surface of what this lodge offers. A candlelit dinner at the lodge’s thatched central dining area and the culinary delight of Kilaguni Serena was complemented by an unforgettable view of elephants, buffalos and a wide variety of wild animals drinking from the waterhole.

Our morning drive started off at 6 am with the guide Mr. Joseph Kaunda and Jackline Jonyo giving us the historical background of both Tsavo East and Tsavo West. ‘The place of the young rhino’, from which it takes its name Kilaguni lodge within Tsavo West is the land of lava, the man-eaters, and Springs.

Heading to Mzima springs as our first stop, the view of ‘5 sisters’ hills of Tsavo majestically protruding claiming their place in this jungle and grazing impalas made the early rise worthwhile. As we pass some dik-diks, our guide tells us to be faithful like them. He tells us that dik-diks spend their entire lives as a pair. If one dies, the other one will either commit suicide or will be stressed to death.

A solitary African elephant passes by and we are told that it has been chased away by the matriarch. We reach Mzima Springs, a set of crystal-clear ponds, where we first take a sip of the fresh water gushing from the ground. We were then taken to the pond’s submerged compartment where we were treated to a live ‘Nat Geo’ experience. From the chamber, you can see the fish, crocodiles and the hippos swimming underwater.

We were driven off to the famous Shetani lava field. On our way, we were blessed to see a parade of elephants, a herd of giraffes, zebras and a few ostriches. Across the horizon, the glaciers of Mt Kilimanjaro complement the park that has been known to have one of the best landscapes in the world.

The breathtaking view of shetani lava plain and shetani caves brings to our abrupt end the morning drive and our stay. Why is it that beautiful moments rarely lasts?

However, with their low season favorable rates, I will soon go back. This time round, I will sample their wilderness dinner, guided game walks, night game drives, their dinner in the bush, breakfast on Lion Rock, Sundowners on Roaring Rocks among others.

Pack your bags and head off to Tsavo West and experience a paradise on earth.

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