Right above, is a real place…. 

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Right above, is a real place…. 

The only spa of its kind in Africa and it is found in Kenya! Have an idea of which one it is and where it is located? Disclosing it now would bring to close our conversation or be a spoiler for the curious rovers. Let’s take a step back to where it all began. The week began with a symposium that introduced me to “Green Hydrogen”. Intrigued, I decided to learn more about it. As I delved deeper, I discovered that it echoes one of the many ways of saving the planet to better the livelihood of people and nature. Don’t buzz out yet, for you still need to know where this magnificent creation of man that is fueled by nature is located.

The symposium concluded on a Thursday and the following day, we embarked on a trip that took us through Waiyaki way. Any guesses where we are headed? Well, hold onto your seat. We rode in an electric bus. Have you ridden such yet? It was my first time so I ensured I secured a strategic seat so as not to miss views in this expedition. One of the perks of riding this electric bus is how easy it is to hop on board. The step up is much lower compared to that of regular PSV minibuses or buses, which are usually a bit higher.. Plus, all its payments are cashless (hakuna kungoja change). Since the electric buses ply most of the routes within Nairobi, I challenge you to experience the comfort that comes with it, for words are not enough to capture the experience.

The before of your favorite meals…

Since we had to depart from campus early enough for our trip, takeaways were a necessity. While picking them, we discovered a part of the back kitchen that many of us hadn’t seen before. A hive of activities, this synchronized chaos involved receiving orders, movement of food items from one door to another—including some to the washing station before they land on the serving station at the front end. But what amazed us with this chaos was that no one appeared to be overwhelmed. Not even the chef stirring up their cutlets in a hot pan, and nothing was burning. The only aroma was the fresh baked items and sautéed onions in garlic (Ammm! Ammm! I could use a snack right now so I better stop the food conversation here before I am tempted to head to the cafeteria).

 Let us revert to our gabfest…

What is green hydrogen? Experts define it as a clean energy source that only emits water vapour and leaves no residue in the air, unlike coal and oil. The reason why it is creating a buzz (or has been) is because hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in nature. With such knowledge, we can all agree that decarbonisation of the world economy cannot be shelved. 

Here is a 1-minute video capturing how green hydrogen is made.

Here are some interesting terms that you may need to take note of

In the symposium, green energy was identified as one that is generated using a method whose sourcing causes no harm to the natural environment, for example green hydrogen. In most instances, green energy is swapped for renewable energy, although they are different. According to the United Nations (climate action), renewable energy stems from sources that are persistently and clearly renewed, for example wind, solar, geothermal or hydropower. Here in Kenya, through KenGen, we have been able to adopt some of them, elevating our country as a champion. Examples are the wind turbines on Ngong hills and Olkaria geothermal, just to mention a few.  Have you seen the hit to our destination yet?

Welcome to Olkaria Geothermal Spa

Roughly two hours from Nairobi via the Nairobi-Naivasha road, it is located off the Moi south lake road. If you prefer an aerial view, there is Naivasha airstrip. The naturally heated pool is a collection of water channeled from the hot wells. According to the KenGen website, temperatures range between 30 to 40 degrees centigrade and are continually monitored to track any changes. Apart from relaxing at the spa pool, other activities to keep you engaged include; game drives, rock climbing, biking, hiking and nature walks. In case you chose to stay in the pool, the view of the clouds formed by the geothermal wells are a sight to behold. The Olkaria Geothermal Spa is owned, managed and operated by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen). The Olkaria geothermal spa is the largest of its kind on the African continent. The spa is located within Hell’s gate national park (Nakuru County).

In closing….

As you plan for your next odyssey to Olkaria, here is a “sustainable” flashcard to the terms “clean energy = clean air”, “green energy = no harm to the environment”, “renewable energy = sources that replenish naturally, such as the sun and the wind.”  Renewable energy is also referred to as sustainable energy.

The image in this article was courtesy of https://www.lakenakurukenya.com/olkaria-geothermal-hot-spa/

Article written by Annete Karanja

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