Maji moto means, in Swahili, “hot water”. And it refers to the place (or places, according to the Kenyan maps) where there are rivers or basins of hot water. I have visited the town called Maji Moto near the Lake Bogoria and this post is about it. Although there is another one near Narok.
The Lake Bogoria es famous for its hot springs and its thousands (or tens of thousands) of flamingos that rest on its shores. An impressive view that, from afar, paints the coast line of the lake in pale pink and makes it impossible to know where the water starts and the land ends. But our trip goal wasn’t the lake (which we also visited) but the river of hot water that names the town (or center) Maji Moto.
To reach there from Eldoret, the easiest way goes through Iten, Kabarnet, Marigat and enters the national park of Lake Bogoria from the Loboi Gate. From there, the road is stony and dusty but sufficient for any care with some ground clearance. There is another option, which avoids entering the boundaries of the national park and its high fees (especially for foreigners). It’s an off-road way that starts before the Hotel Bogoria Spa Resort and goes directly to Maji Moto; but this road requires an off-road car. For those travelling from Nairobi, the access is through Nakuru and Mogotio, from the South, a road that it’s again stony and dusty but sufficient for any car if ground clearance (and patience) are provided.
In Maji Moto everything starts and ends with the river. There are both primary and secondary schools and small shops for the very basic purchases, but nothing except the river seems interesting. The only accommodation point is the Netbon Bogoria Kudu Camp, which has 3 simple bandas and some space to camp, although it only offers minimal services: latrines, cold showers and a small gazebo. If you announce your visit in advance, meals can be prepared. The owner is Jeremiah and his phone number is +254 723 362546.
The camp is fenced all round and many birds welcome the guests. It’s easy to spot Jackson’s Hornbills (Tockus jacksoni), white-headed buffalo-weavers (Dinemellia dinemelli) and, although I couldn’t sport them, woodpeckers (Picidae) make noise around. At the river shore, the brown-hooded kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala) is widely available. And many more birds, which I couldn’t identify, make the time watching worthy.
The fence has a back door which gives direct access to the river. The river can also be accessed getting out of the camp and going round (for those not staying in the camp). At that spot, the river has some natural pools of calm water that the local had used, and still do, for bathing and washing clothes. Visitors can feel observed but there is enough space and intimacy for everyone, making this spot suitable for individuals as well as for families.
The water is warm throughout the river but the lower the course, the less warm it is. Therefore, the best suggestion is to take a bath on the upper pools where the water is roughly at 35ºC. And, although anytime of the day is good for swimming, the most amazing experience is at down or, even better, at sunrise.
The interest for bathing in a river made of hot water might not be enough to plan a trip to Maji Moto, where both the access and the services are rather minimal. But, if you happen to pass close by or you fancy some experience far away of the crowded tourist attractions, then the trip might be worthy. In any case, it’s a very cheap trip that shows an unknown part of the country to many. And children will definitely enjoy it.
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