I always thought I do not scare easily. I fast realized that is not true.
Fear of missing out or FOMO as many refer to it brought me on this adventure. I think FOMO is just a cooler way of saying peer pressure. In this era of social media and instant gratification, you may be influenced by a group of total strangers or friends you just met. Unlike our mothers’ time when bad company was the girl next door who talked back at her parents or the boy down the block who does not comb his hair. My peer pressure stemmed from a thread on twitter about a haunted tunnel in Limuru that piqued my interest. Something about a walk in the dark called out to my adventurous spirit and I took the few minutes’ drive to Limuru’s Buxton tunnel.
I excitedly checked in with the group, paid my dues, and almost tripped rushing to the entrance of the tunnel. I just could not wait.
The first five minutes felt like walking into a dark corridor. Only that this corridor was 1.7km long! It got darker and darker as we progressed in the murky train tracks. Everyone was quiet or talking in hushed tones, maybe whispering a quiet prayer, or cursing their choice of 1000 ways to die. I was in this second group. Local folks say that people are killed in here and that is why we had to get police escort at the entrance. As it got darker all you could hear was pebbles displacement from our footwork and an occasional sigh or whimper. “Nyakitee, people die happy deaths swinging from planes or high on ecstasy, and you choose this?”
In the middle of this creepy darkness were several man caves. The policeman casually pointed out that in the event of a train passing through, we should identify a cave to jump into and wait for the train to pass. How comforting to know that even in the middle of what should be called ‘the shadow of death’ the light at the proverbial end of the tunnel is an oncoming train! We strutted along using battery-operated torches and the flashlight on our phones for lighting. It would have been more adventurous if we had carried the tribal fire torch like the Jewish soldiers when they came to arrest Jesus.
While I was looking forward to getting the hell out of the cold dark tunnel which had water sipping through the cracks of the black soot-like wall, some guys stopped to scribble ‘I was here’. My idea of calming the voices in my head was to take photos…I love being in front of the camera. The flash from the camera and the clicking sounds calmed my nerves a bit. Finally, we came out from the other side, fresh air, some warmth from the sunlight, and a new sense. What a relief!
The Buxton tunnel was built in the early 1940s as part of the railway line that was formerly referred to as ‘The Lunatic Express’. There is a book with the same title, and you can also see the early trains exhibition at the Railway Museum. Buxton is the 2nd longest tunnel in Kenya and is still has operational cargo train lines.
This was a once in a lifetime experience because I’m surely not going back, but it was worth my time and it quenched my curiosity. Check out Let’s Drift Kenya on Instagram ( @letsdrift ) should you want to try this fun adventure.
- Carry a headlight or torch
- Wear comfortable shoes and one that you would not mind getting dirty as the tunnels have murky water.
- Inform the administration police and get security before embarking on the walk
- Carry something warm as it gets a little cold in the tunnel