Diaspora Stories: The Yatta Plateau View Compared To Grand Canyon


Diaspora Stories: The Yatta Plateau View Compared To Grand Canyon

Diaspora Stories: The Yatta Plateau View Compared To Grand CanyonAs a young man growing up in Kangundo, Machakos County, I thought the highest points on earth were the peaks on the Kanzalu hills. My childhood home was on the foothills of the Kanzalu hill range and I always looked forward to the day I would climb the peak of the range and see what was on the other side of the hills.

At first this was not possible because of my age and fear of some wild animal in the forested hill.  Additionally, since I was first born in my family, I did not have an elder sibling to walk me to the top of the Kanzalu hill. My curiosity of climbing to the top of Kanzalu hill increased each day as I looked at the hill and I longed for the day I would climb the hill and view what was on the other side of the hill.

In the midst of this anxiety, an opportunity to climb the Kanzalu hill, came during a return journey of some visiting relatives, who lived on the other side of the mountain range. My parents allowed me to go with these relatives to their home in Mbiuni for a few days before school opened. Reaching the peak of the Kanzalu hill was such a great relief to me with as it had satisfied a long-time goal.

The elevation of the Kanzalu hill is 5,620 feet above sea level. At the peak I got a wonderful view of the Yatta plateau whose elevation is 4,600ft above sea level ( a drop of 1,000 feet below the Kanzalu hills). I had heard stories that some clansmen moved from Kangundo area and settled in Yatta and right in front of me was the great plateau.

The Yatta plateau covers 290 kilometers and was formed by lava spewing from the neighboring Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain. My experience at the top of the Kanzalu Hill and the magnificent view of Yatta plateau was like panoramic view the of Rift Valley from the peak of Ngong Hills which I would experience later on in life in Kenya.

Though my stay at my relatives’ home in Mbiuni was for a few days, it seemed like a month as I longed to climb the Kanzalu Hill and get another view of the Yatta plateau again. Finally, the day came and there I was walking ahead of everybody to get to the top of the hill again and enjoy the Yatta plateau site again.

When my father sent me to school at Queen of Apostles at the foot of Ngong Hills, I felt I was afforded another opportunity to climb and see what lay on the other side of the Ngong Hills. One Sunday, while on a weekly excursion with the other schoolmates, we climbed Ngong Hills. In those days, there was no human habitation on the Ngong Hills.

Dangerous wildlife including lions, buffaloes, cheetahs, hyenas and rhinos roamed freely and reigned supreme in the Ngong Hills. The teachers, accompanying us on the weekly outings, were armed with powerful guns to protect us in the event of life threatening encounter/s with wildlife during the excursions.  On one occasion, they gunned down a buffalo and I tell you we had a one week of feasting on buffalo meat.

On one of the excursions, we reached the peak of Ngong hills, and on the other side of the Ngong Hills was the Great Rift Valley. The highest peak on Ngong Hills stands at an elevation of 8,071 feet above sea level, while the Rift Valley takes an abrupt drop of 3,281feet.

The East African Rift System, is one of the most extensive rifts on earth’s surface and extends from Jordan in southwestern Asia southward through eastern Africa to Mozambique. The system is some 4,000 miles (6,400 km) long and averages 30–40 miles (48–64 km) wide. Anyway, my sight of the Rift Valley for the first time was such a wonder to me comparable to nothing else in the world.

However, I was not done with the Rift Valley. Later in my career in Kenya, I drove from Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet County down to the bottom of the Kerio Valley and up to Kabarnet in Baringo where I stayed overnight. What an experience this was!!!!  feeling like you are being submerged into the earth as you descend from the cool climate of Iten to the scorching temperatures at bottom of the Kerio Valley and ascend to the cooler Kabarnet on the other side of the Rift Valley. Although the marvel at the Rift Valley is a great experience, it is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA (one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world).

Join the author of “Life lessons of an Immigrant” as he tours the Grand Canyon via the Hoover Dam and contrasts it with the other Six Natural Wonders of the World.

Get your copy of “Life Lessons of an Immigrant” at www.Amazon.com or for more information visit: https://johnmakilya.com. If, however, you wish to get an autographed copy of Life Lessons of an Immigrant please call or text the author at 617-653-8386.

By John Makilya-Diaspora Messenger Contributor

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