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Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Spooky feeling in Kenya's longest train tunnel

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Sunday morning when I joined a group of hiking enthusiasts outside the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi. I will accompany them on an adventure through Kenya's oldest train tunnel, Buxton Tunnel, in Limuru.

This tunnel was built in 1899 during the colonial era by Indian coolies hired by the British, and is part of the Kenya-Uganda railroad track, dubbed Lunatic Express.

NOT SAFE

The railroad starts at Mombasa and ends at Kisumu, formerly known as Port Florence, from where it will extend to Uganda.

After 40 minutes of driving, we arrived in Limuru, perhaps better known as the home for the Bata Shoe Company. Apart from walking through the tunnel, we intend to follow the railroad track for a considerable distance. Passing tea plantations and small forests.

We also plan to stop at Jumia House for lunch, and will end the day at Lakehouse in Tigoni.


Our guide is Mr. Alex Kamau from Let's Drift, a hiking company.

Our first stop was the Police Administration Camp (AP) to pick up three officers to accompany us through the tunnel, because we had been told that it was sometimes unsafe.

PITCH BLACK

We started walking along the railroad track from Limuru, passing green farms with tea, corn and other crops, and some very tall trees. The environment is calm and the air is fresh, a welcome from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi. As we walked, we heard voices raised in praise and worship in many churches that were built close to the railroad tracks.

As we approached the tunnel, we saw a small light at the end, which made it look short - until we entered. The weather outside was sunny and sunny, and someone was immediately shocked by the cold and humid tunnel. Some droplets also fell on us as we continued walking. It's pitch black, and some people use torches while others use flashlights on their cellphones.

I looked back and saw an increasingly farther entrance. I looked at the wall and saw a message left by a previous visitor. Some just announced, "Alex is here" or "the ziwa gang is here". But even more surprising are love messages like "Sam loves you Vivian", which is repeated many times, making people wonder if this is a love tunnel. As we speak, our voices and laughter echo throughout the tunnel, creating a frightening feeling. Perhaps this is what caused the rumor that the tunnel was haunted.

BIG PEANUT

We finished the 950 meter walk in less than 22 minutes, and were relieved to feel the warmth of the sun after the cold and humid atmosphere. We took some group photos and congratulated ourselves for conquering the tunnel. We were told that the tunnel was used by freight trains from Nairobi to Malaba several times a week.

We even saw a few drops of oil on the railroad track. We also noted some of the large nuts used to drive on trains bearing EAR, which stands for East Africa Railway, a sign of the train's age.

The trip ends with a stunning sunset view from the Lakehouse as we have snacks and discuss future adventures.

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