To share this story, is to give you a glimpse of Kenya’s most cleanest and pristine lake, and I’m not so sure it’ll still remain the same if we all flock there to go see it. But seeing how Mzima Springs has maintained its pristine-ness despite thousands of visitors, maybe this isn’t so true.
Lake Chala, is a crater lake. Don’t know for which mountains or hills exactly. It straddles the Kenya and Tanzania boarder, with a little more hotels and resorts on Tanzania’s side and the only one on the Kenyan side was closed recently.
We left our trucks a few minutes to the rim, and walked the rest of the way. But it seemed more of hiking than walking seeing that one walks uphill. And from the outside, one can’t see a glimpse of the lake. At all at all. If no one told you there is a lake around there somewhere, you wouldn’t even have an inkling, that buried up there is the bluest water you’ll ever see on land.
The hike takes about thirty minutes. To the bottom of the lake that is. And once we got to the top, and the lake came to view, we all went silent for a moment. In front of us, was a lake larger that we expected, deep blue in color, with waves playing on the top of the water. No one was in site. Like absolutely no human beings, and no boat or anything to show their presence. It looked like it must have looked like this a thousand years ago. Pristine doesn’t quite do justice to what we were seeing. Virgin is more like it. Untouched. Totally unbothered by anything. Not even weather Elements.
After our initial shock, we went into a taking pictures spree. I had always thought that those pictures taken of lake Chala from previous editions of this trip, used filters to make this lake appear that blue. I had never seen such a lake, so I assumed it never existed and as such, they filter the hell out of it to make it more attractive. I was wrong. There is absolutely nothing, one can add to make this lake any more beautiful. Nothing. Nature decided to show off here. And left nothing to chance.
So we go down, since we intended to swim. But people are now a bit scared. We had all been expecting a small calm quiet lake with a beach where we could swim and lazy around. Not a fully fledged lake on top of mountains with strong waves.
But all the same, we found a spot and started swimming. After a meter or two the water gets really deep, so for once, even extremely good swimmers, had to stay at the ‘shallow’ end. I put it in quotes coz my head was barely being seen when standing at that shallow end. And for those who went underwater for a bit, we could see very clearly the floor of the lake, and besides the shallow end made of stones and some black tiny rocks, the rest of the floor of the lake is made of white sand. Yaani, you see those images Nat Geo shows you of the ocean, where you can clearly see fish moving . Except that this time you don’t need underwater lighting equipment to see all that, just courage to swim and open eyes.
For all of us, even those who didn’t swim, this was the absolute highlight of the trip. Kenya’s best kept secret.
We all didn’t want to leave. But all good things come to an end. I don’t know if any of us shall ever make the long trip back to Lake Chala, but whether or not we see it again, we shall never forget that experience of being in front of nature’s masterpiece.