Love in Taveta
Taita Taveta County will be many things to you, but top on the list will be the reiteration of human kindness. They are the most charitable lot you will come across in a long time. Well, unless you’re the kind that has little regard for locals. BTW, what then is your motivation? You know, those people who visit places as if a gun was placed to your head? It’s really strange seeing some of y’all on the road. Embrace the differences or stay at home, please. We really need to talk about the dissimilarities between tourists and travelers.
You’ll take dozens of selfies with the KWS Rangers at Lake Jipe, for the gram and also because they ensured your stay was nothing short of perfect.
What’s a road?
Pray it doesn’t rain. If you have to be there during the rainy season, use a 4 wheel drive. Still, you can use a “small” car and hope that your prayers get answered. If you choose the latter, you prolly won’t go past the second black spot, if I may. However, the locals will quickly come to your rescue. They will need you to return the gesture in a manner of their choosing. Be wise.
***I will edit the post and talk about Leah later. Better still, I could dedicate an entire post to that. We’ll see 😉 .***
We drive around 8 kilometers north from Taveta. There are a number of town centers where one may have local food or refill your water bottles.
A slight hike leads to the most unbelievable place.
You will be awed, you may scream 😛 Nothing could have ever prepared you for Lake Chala. There’s something with crater lakes. How does an explosion bring rise to such beauty?
Goof, jump, sit in silence, swim… do anything you want under the shadow of nature.
About Lake Chala
Lake Chala lies at the border of Kenya and Tanzania. There is a lot of geography surrounding its existence that is dated to around 750,000 years ago, only. The activities by that crater are also said to have influenced the shape of Mawenzi.
The Tanzanian side seems more infiltrated. You’ll see lots of hotels and tented camps. Apart from a few young Maasai men, you’ll barely find anything major in the Kenyan one. Its authenticity is captivating, its stillness calming, and its depth thought-provoking.
The Crater Lake is housed in a caldera, and it is said that its deepest point is around 2.5 miles (4000 meters)! It is considered to be the deepest inland body of water in the continent. According to folklore, or rumors, there are forces that pull one to the bottom of the lake.
The lake is spiritually significant. There are also many monster stories around the area with Lake Chala as the star.
We took a dip – first time getting into a crater lake. The water is refreshingly cool; there is barely anything (noticeably) strange about swimming there. Those we found there were just back from a swim and seemed pretty confident. A crocodile killed a tourist in 2002 but the locals swear there are no more of those. I’m done throwing such info around. I did not know that before we got into the lake 🙂 The water is extremely clear, you see the fish floating around. There’s also a lot of vegetation inside; the ecosystem therein is stunning.
To swim or nah?
The crater rim is a marvel in itself; it’s about 100 meters high. Even though an increase was recorded in 2011, the water levels have been decreasing over the years. Worth noting also, is that the water changes color depending on the time of the year. When we visited it was deep blue; it can also be green or turquoise. Apparently, the lake Chala gets its water from underground springs in the Kilimanjaro. Makes sense given the explosion we talked about up there.
There are many trees and plants surrounding the area making the experience more rural and unmatched. For the bird lovers, there are hundreds of birds depending on the season. Also, you see lots of butterflies floating around. Other animals to look out for include dik-dik, kudu, colobus monkey, and the blue monkeys among others.
On a sad note, the Lake Chala tilapia is said to be critically endangered. It is illegal to fish on the Kenyan side, but the Tanzanian government has no law against it.
If visiting from Tanzania, one may canoe, fish, swim or just walk around. From Kenya, enjoy the walk and swim.
Everyone who has been to Lake Chala will tell you how magical it is. As always, there is so much that can be said, but it would not mean much unless you visit the place.
Cheers to magic!
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