Voice 1: What’s there to see in Lake Magadi?
Voice 2: There should be saline water, with salt particles floating on it, and a few flamingos painting the lake pink?
Voice 1: So, you mean the pink lake is the main attraction in Magadi?
Voice 2: Whatever! Just take the trip
This is the kind of internal monologue I had when my sister Kate organized a day trip to Lake Magadi from Nairobi. She sent me the details and kept reminding me to book every week until a week to the trip when I bowed to the pressure and made a reservation.
I sent Kate a screenshot of my booking just in case she didn’t trust me.
Our day trip was organized by Lake Magadi adventures and had drawn quite a big crowd. We had a 52-seater bus and a 14-seater van to choose from.
We left Nairobi around 8 am and went stopping at almost every other bus stop picking more people.
Olorgesailie Pre-Historic Site
This was the highlight of the trip.
Back in school, we learned about the evolution theory from the likes of homo erectus, homo habilis, to homo sapiens, and all those ancient people.
Olorgesailie is a geological formation on the floor of Eastern Rift Valley where hand axes and other artifacts associated with the evolution of man are found. Excavations are still conducted every year.
On display are tools and fossils related to the early man.
Our guide walked us through the Pre-historic site but the heat was too overwhelming to keep up. We, however, found a great photography spot and took several gorgeous shots like the below.
Near the entrance, there is a market where local Maasai women sell traditional handmade crafts from Maasai beads. As always, be sure to haggle for a non-tourist price.
If you’re looking for off the beaten path topography and history, then Olorgesailie Pre-Historic site is the place.
We drove on towards Lake Magadi.
We were met by our guide, Benjamin, at the gate who explained about the Soda factories around and how they function and bla bla.. not so interesting stories for travellers who are not on a school trip 😉
We stopped by the restaurant, ordered lunch and proceeded to the Lake Magadi Hot Springs. Our guide Benjamin explained the day to day activities that happen in the area including a gas exploration in the area towards the border with Tanzania.
We spent around 1 hour at the hot springs taking photos and having a good bloody-hot dip in the pools. There were several flamingos and pelicans in the water, painting the area pink.
We drove back to the restaurant for a meal which was not worth the money we paid for it, then jumped into the swimming pool for a well-deserved swim. The guide at the gym did such a great job on the pool dance.
Lake Magadi Travel Tips – Worthy Noting
- Carry a lot of drinking water. Temperatures are just shy of 40 degrees Celsius.
- There’s a pool at Lake Magadi Sports Club. Due to the heat around, jump in for only Kenya Shillings 300 ($3 USD)
- Carry your own supplies (snacks, soft and alcoholic drinks etc). There is, however, a bar selling all kinds of drinks which gives you an option in case your supplies aren’t enough.
- Pack a swimsuit and enjoy a free sauna at the natural pools with extremely saline water.
- The restaurant food is overpriced.
- If you can, camp overnight around Lake Magadi. The sunset and sunrise view is priceless.
If you DIY, below are the charges in Kenya shillings for adults and children respectively:
|Citizens & Residents||Non-Residents|
|Entry fees||500; 350||1,000; 500|
|Camping||500; 350||1,000; 500|
|Guide Fee Day||1,000 per group|
|Guide Fee Overnight||2,500 per group|
|Vehicle Entrance||100 for small car <12 seater, 500 <24 seater|
After all the heat and fun, we called it a day.
Bus Broke Down
Hell broke loose on our way back near Kiserian when the bus broke down in the dark. The driver just jumped out to inspect the bus whose engine was off at the time. He later vanished in the dark. Rumour had it that he did not have the right size of spanner in his toolbox and had gone to look for one in the nearby Kiserian town.
How long we were going to wait was not known since no communication had been received besides the ít’s gonna be okay facts-deficient statements provided by the co-organizer.
Some guys opted to walk towards Kiserian town to catch a bus back to Nairobi or if lucky, get a Uber Taxi that would cost Kenya Shillings 1,500 ($15 USD).
Far from our expectations that the organizer, Lake Magadi Adventures would organize for alternative means back to Nairobi, not even a word of hope came.
We made it back to Nairobi through private means.
Three days later, the organizer Benard said he wasn’t aware of the bus mechanical glitch. Oh yeah right. Thinking that he would contact the driver and maybe offer an apology on our whatsapp group for the mishaps, nothing until today.
Oh, Carolina! Maybe next time you keep your expectations down or have none at all.
Did we have fun? Hell yeah, loads of fun.
I honestly do not recommend Lake Magadi Adventures for a trip. I believe an event organizer takes charge of the entire event and strives to ensure that clients enjoy the services paid for as a bare minimum, which the company didn’t.
NB: Lake Magadi Adventures have the monopoly of Lake Magadi tourism area. Since you can’t avoid them, I recommend using a different Tour company (there are so many local companies in Nairobi) who will organize the day trip for you.
Kenya Shillings 2,200 ($22 USD) for a day trip is not small amount, so make the best use of it.
Feel free to ask questions, give opinions in the comments box below.