Olkaria, Power Generation, Geothermal Power.

OLKARIA – The Visit.

There is always a first time for everything. Olkaria was a new destination for me this time. I have been to Naivasha on several occasions before, but never to its prestigious sites and recreation areas. Naivasha is the home of Fischerman’s Camp, Crayfish, The Blue Green (Just saw it as I passed by & thought I would mention it) and some other fancy places I would like to visit.

 

Every electrical engineering student knows that Geothermal Power Generation plants are a must visit. Fueling the excitement in everyone traveling today was the fact that 60% of the college’s students were on that trip. This is because those who were doing Marine engineering & Plant engineering had accompanied the budding Electrical Engineers also since there was a lot to be learnt at the place in relation to their line of career.

The journey started at Embakasi via the busy Eastern Bypass, crossed under the Thika Super highway, passed via posh estates at the outskirts of Kiambu, to Ruaka & finally joined the Nakuru Highway near Limuru. The experience was pretty awesome. These are the kind of situations where people unleash their other characters freely. Wearing civilian clothes is exciting since the normal challenges involved with having uniform are eliminated automatically. Ie having beards, & being a Monday, we had somewhat ‘new’ faces. Part of my heavy breakfast, was porridge. You know what does to the appetite. By the time we got to the first view point, I was as hungry as hell!!! But plans were underway to fight it.

I started travelling early in life. Dad loves travelling & I take it up from him. Travelling is awe-inspiring!!! There is so much to see in the world. It’s during these early days that I learnt that one should carry a few snacks or just enough to eat on the way since travelling is pretty exhaustive. For those who do, they know it comes with severe hunger and fatigue pangs at times. So I had taken several snacks with me. I do this every time I leave my normal environment and I am not sure about the stores along the way. You never know what can happen out there. I had several packets of weetabix and milk in my bag. I love milk. Just like my dad. Health conscious & all. So I unleashed my ‘joker’ to the incredulity of those around me who were left smiling at my next move.

I got my cup from my bag – a souvenir from a friend who gave it to me as he was going to Somalia. He actually tossed it from the lorry as the troops left the barracks gate on that particular day & told me to keep it safely since he wouldn’t need it out there. I treasure that cup a lot. So far, much has been done with that cup. However, it mostly stays in class where it’s used to take porridge I prepare at home for the 11 O’clock tea break. I put the bixs in the cup and poured the milk, I also had nuts with me and I put them in a mixture. I then went ahead to take it balancing it cautiously to prevent it from spilling due to the bumpy road. The good thing about snacks like weetabix in relation to selfish people is that it doesn’t have many fans, especially amongst my colleagues who thought it was a kid’s thing. Didn’t care, I was full, they were hungry. J.

My hunger being sorted, I could concentrate on the site seeing. Baby Omnia was off since it definitely couldn’t handle the journey. To prevent power loss on the road, I decided to be switching on whenever I needed to use it. Thus there was no texting or tweeting. The Time magazine that I was reading was only a few pages covered & I realized I couldn’t read it with the entire bustle around me. So I decided to stick to site seeing and I put it back in my bag.

Naivasha Town
We stopped over at Naivasha for a short time while the driver tried to figure out the route. It was new for him as well. We took the Mai Mahiu route but turned right a few kilometers later. This stretch had Naivasha’s main source of foreign income. Phase No. II of my excitement took precedence here. Phase No. I was the real estate developments around the Kiambu area. Here, we had most of the chief flower producers in Kenya. In series, seeing the green houses belonging to various flower farms/ companies was just awesome. These are likes of Nini™ Flowers, Karuturi™, Finlays™ etc. Finlays™ was particularly heart warming since it brought back memories of my days at Kenya Institute of Management – Nanyuki where a classmate who worked at Finlays™ Nanyuki, brought me flowers every Friday, splendidly wrapped in those white papers of theirs. Valentines every Friday I tell you! I miss her.
Junction to the places listed 🙂
Again I saw some big players on my bucket list: Crayfish, Fischerman’s, Hell’s Gate National Park amongst other popular recreation spots in Naivasha. We got to Olkaria Geothermal plant & like my high school geography teachers had promised several years ago, the place was reeking of rotten eggs. It was a mild scent though. Am sure if I was to meet a rotten egg anytime in the future, Olkaria would come to mind ASAP. It was lined with large pipes traversing all over the place. A few drilling rigs up on the hills & a few KWS officers were dotting the place. In attendance on this day, were students from Chogoria girls. The excitement in the bus developed into an argument in the lines of dating younger ladies in this case High School students.  As always there are those who love arguing & on both sides, we had some pretty baseless and interesting arguments. Deep down inside I wanted to blurt my points but I held myself back. Mosquitoes
We were granted access along the bumpy road to the Main entrance to Olkaria II generating station. Lunch was served – Dry Rats as usual. But the hunger in me couldn’t take that. Right across was a kibanda that sold fresh food to the workers there. We went there and bought so much food that the woman who owned the enterprise said she wasn’t gonna be selling any more, since we would finish for those whose the food was intended for. It was lucky to have discovered it early enough. Githeri and rice it was for my friend Ken and I. We actually shared a plate. Since we couldn’t get satisfied from that, Ken convinced her to fill the plate to the brim, we would pay extra & thus our overflowing plate cost Ksh 100/- while the others paid Ksh 70/-. The Army Biscuits & those other canned extras were saved for the return trip.

 

Transformers at the Sub station
My camera started clicking away as soon as my stomach was satisfied. The educational part of the trip started. From hot vibrating well tops due to the pressure from the steam, the thought of acid rain & blowing earth if something was to go wrong was just mind blowing. The noisy generator rooms and amazingly enough, Mitsubishi generators was also an exciting experience. Many people have never had the chance to “hear electricity”, forget the effects that the DJs pull at the club. The arcing at the substation was scary at first, but it was quite an awesome experience.
After an all round trip, we started our journey back and it was pretty uneventful, I was maxed out on excitement, & I figured I couldn’t get excited further than that. A major part of the journey back was covered during the day, & I happened to see the awesome real estate developments again on the way back. The day was a success and I slept it off a happy man.

 

A random house near Ruaka.
Uplands
Naivasha

 

The Steaming grounds…

 

Pipes…

 

 

Pylons…

 

A random well

 

My namesake marketing plots on a noticeboard on the premises.

 

A drilling rig – new steam well coming up.

 

More pipes

 

Still More Pipes

 

Cooling Tower

 

Pipe Maze…

 

 

Mistubishi Evo 1000… Kidding. One of The Mitsubishi Generators

 

A crane at the new site.
Spotted a Buffalo on the way back…

 

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