ChalaJanuary 3, 2021 in Kenya ⋅ 🌧 24 °C
This pending customs thing at the border actually turned out to ruin my day. Somewhat. Apparently the road authority’s computer system was down this Sunday and they tried for around 4 hours to book my foreign vehicle fee into the system, without success. In the end the customs boss let me pass with a handwritten letter which should save my car from being taken by the police at the next road checkpoint. Under one condition: I would have to report to the customs headquarter in Nairobi until the end of the following day. Wtf? I got pretty mad because not that I did not plan to go to Nairobi during Covid prime time at all, I would certainly not want to rush there within one day! Obviously the people here have no understanding for my travelling mode. The customs officer thought she had done me a favour which I did not appreciate and so she got mad as well. Hmmpf. In the end I let her win because the alternative would have been to reverse the whole border procedure and stamp back into Tanzania again. With bad mood I at least went for lunch with my personal clearing agent and earned compliments for being so damn calm and patient. At least! At around 4 pm I left for Lake Chala just around the corner.
And this is where I’m sitting now being totally flabbergasted! On the map it just looks like some kind of pond but it is spectacular and for sure well underestimated by all travel guide books (I don’t use any). Without googling you see that Chala is a crater lake. You can drive up on top of the rim on Kenyan side and there is barely any touristic infrastructure. At a small wire gate I pay some shillings to the local community and am free to pass. On top of this rim there was a pretty hotel once - until around year 2000 - which is totally taken back by nature now. They say it got abandoned after the owner committed suicide. But you can walk around everywhere and enjoy the astonishing view from endless Tsavo National Park plains over this turquoise-coloured, crystal-clear fresh water reservoir on beautiful Kilimanjaro. The community chief agreed to let me stay over night because continuing now into the night is ridiculous. Especially where this road from Taveta to Oloitokitok is probably the worst in whole Kenya! I search for a suitable flat campsite on the volcanic rim and get three guards which I do not need. But they are nice and build a fire. Dinner: 2 huge bananas and a big mango. In the end I’m very happy having been held back by the customs the whole day. Otherwise, with still a full travel day ahead, I probably would have not stayed here but continued somewhere north. So, let’s prepare for sunrise and a day’s rush to Nairobi!Read more