Magadi Town: The New ‘Hot’ in Kajiado County


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Magadi town is not very far from Nairobi. It is, in fact, only about 110 Km from the city. But the terrible road to this otherwise great place makes the roughly 2-hour drive feel like an unending nightmare.

This is especially the case with the stretch from Ole Polos, the eatery famous for its fresh nyama choma, to the legendary Olorgesailie, the archaeological site first discovered by British geologist, John Walter Gregory in 1919 and later excavated by the Leakeys in 1943.

The town lies on the eastern shore of Lake Magadi and is home to the Magadi Soda Company, now owned by Tata India. This factory produces soda ash, which has a range of industrial uses

Magadi has been making the headlines lately with its new sensation – the hot springs of Lake Magadi. Scores of tourists flock this place ripe with volcanic activity to take hot baths in the natural Jacuzzis created by Mother Nature here. Local Maasai tour guides have emerged overnight to offer their expert advice at a fee, usually about KES 500.00 per trip per car.

I usually never use tour guides. I prefer to take a journey of discovery instead but in this particular trip, after getting lost a few times trying to trace the direction to the springs, I was forced to engage the services of one of this experts – take it from me, if its your first time here, you will need a guide or you will end up very lost or very stuck in the seemingly innocent salty quick sands.

Apparently this is not the first time Magadi is causing ripples. It was a filming location for the final scenes of Fernando Meirelles’ film The Constant Gardener, which is based on the book of the same name by John le Carré.

In the book Lake Turkana, instead of Lake Magadi, is mentioned. Flamingoes here are also plentiful although not as many as those in Lake Nakuru.

The water from the hot springs is highly salty and tastes really terrible when drank. Locals say it has medicinal values which are a natural treatment for skin problems. No scientific evidence exists as to what really gives the water here that quality nevertheless I went ahead to smear myself in it with the hope of getting a baby face at the end of it all.

Beware of the green slippery algae that have grown on the rocks, it can be dangerously slippery. Local guides, being weary of this green menace, have a cleared a path to the natural Jacuzzi so if you keep on that brownish path, you will be safe.

I was amazed to see a certain species of fish the Maasai here reckon is the popular ‘Omena’ thriving in this hot waters. It’s a wonder of nature how these fish survive under such high temperature.

All in all, the trip was quite a refreshing one until the journey back home began on the same treacherous road I was in during the day. To make matters worse, at night! Why are they nit fixing that road? It is an awesome place to go unwind! What do you think?

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