#OnetouchLive Lake Chala
Located on the south eastern slopes of Kilimanjaro and sitting on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, I’ve always considered Lake Chala to be the best doof mpararo location in East Africa. Last August, I got a chance to experience it again with Onetouch during one of our monthly photographic expeditions.
We departed Nairobi early, and headed to Emali where we turned off the A109 and onto the C102 that heads to Olioitoktok.
We took a breather in Emali for fruits and veggie shopping from Kaleche’s.
She has very good customer service, giving us slices of oranges and watermelon to welcome us to her stall. And those were some of the juiciest fruits I’ve sank my teeth into in a while.
Bumps on the highway at Emali make motorists slow down, presenting an opportune moment for hawkers to sell wares to them.
The Emali – Oiloitoktok (C102) highway had little traffic as usual and in slightly more than an hour, we were at Oloitoktok, where we went through the necessary documentation and crossed into Tarakea.
Our first agenda after changing money was getting some lunch. With ugali and fish in our tummies, we proceeded towards Chala as the sun set.
Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro’s second peak, was sheltering us from the strong rays of the sun so well, we stopped to reward it with some portraits.
The moment the flying cameras took to the skies, a crowd gathered to view the spectacle with us.
We got to Lake Chala Lodge’s campsite under the cover of dark. Leaking skies didn’t dampen our spirits thanks to the great help we received from the staff there in lighting the campfire and finding an ideal place to pitch our tents.
The following morning revealed the beauty of the place we’d call home for two days.
After breakfast, we ventured out to the lake to indulge in the reason for this trip – doof mpararo.
Doof is the splashing sound one makes when they enter a mass of water.
Mpararo is the phenomenon of meero skin turning whitish after swimming in water without chlorine.
Meero is a nyeuthi.
Nyeuthi is a black person.
In between swimming breaks, we kept capturing the beauty of Lake Chala.
I spotted this crustacean hanging between branches and decided to go to town on it.
Any slight change of shooting angle produced a very different photo.
We had grand plans of shooting the Milky Way at night but the clouds had grand plans as well.
The following morning, we woke up early to catch the sunrise.
It wasn’t too magnificent but we made the best of it.
Over in the horizon is Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park.
Wamai and I catching the sunrise from the Lake Chala Lodge lounge.
The previous night, Kanyingi had shared an Instagram photo of Kikuletwa Hot Springs, which are about 70km from Lake Chala. We decided to change our plans for a second day of swimming in Chala and find Kikuletwa.
The journey there took us 4 hours because of the speed restrictions in Tanzania and occasional shooting stops.
But changing our plans was a decision we didn’t regret.
Located about 17kms south of Boma la Ng’ombe, which is between Arusha and Moshi, Kikuletwa immediately jumped to the top of the list of best place to doof mpararo in East Africa. The waters are azure blue with fish that give a free pedicure as you swim in the warm, clear waters.
Makeni checking into Kikuletwa.
I haven’t found much information about Kikuletwa online but I believe the waters sip underground from Kilimanjaro’s peaks and appear here, creating pools that make this the perfect place to cool off on a hot day.
At around 5pm and with more than 6 hours standing between us and Nairobi, we got out of the waters and started making the journey back home.
Then God decided to turn the sunset a couple of orange hues warmer, making us stop at a railway crossing and shoot away.
The clouds parted for a few moments and Kilimanjaro’s Kibo peak took in the sunshine.
Then it was back to shooting the sunset on the railway.
A flat tyre and several sleep-chasing stops along the way, we got back to Nairobi at around 3am, tired from all the swimming and hours on the road, but happy that we’d enjoyed two of the best doof mpararo destinations in East Africa.