This is the moment of thrilling uncertainty.
“will we stumble upon a dead body as the villagers warned? Or will we be the bodies ourselves!”
Anticipating the unknown, I Stare bravely into the dome-like structure. A 1.7 km stretch of total darkness. There is a tiny single point of light at the very end that glows brightly. It’s happening, we are about to walk through the infamous Buxton Tunnel.
Kenya’s 2nd Longest Tunnel
I hardly blame our boda-boda guy for being annoyingly inquisitive. He’s a plumb, light skin man dressed heavily like an Eskimo. His genuine hearty laugh and soft features drew us to him- I’ve learned over the years to pick the friendlier ones, it almost always makes for a worthwhile ride.
Dropping us on the highway overlooking the railway line. He hesitates and offers to stay with us. I’m eager to shoot my second YouTube vlog and convince him we’ll be alright by pointing out our friends at the very bottom.
Barely seconds pass than a group of concerned farmers mill by, staring incredulously at my cousin Ruby and I. Visibly eager to know our intentions. One of them, a man in muddy black gumboots, inches closer while lowering the jembe in his right hand.
“People get killed there!” he warns
“No one in their right mind would go there in the morning, let alone at night,” he adds.
At this point it dawns on us why we were advised to carry an extra 200bob each for a police escort.
BUXTON TUNNEL, LIMURU
A number 114 matatu boarded at the Koja stage will have you in Limuru town within 45-minutes. Right opposite the final stage is the prestigious St Paul’s University.
We are 2 hours late so we opt to brave a ride in the piercing 14-degree weather on a motorcycle. It was extremely cold.
Built in the early 1940s, the 2nd largest tunnel in Kenya is part of the Lunatic Express (a railway line connecting Uganda to Kenya that was characterized by man-eating lions, hostile tribes, diseases and a hefty price tag that came with building the 1,000km railway line)
The tunnel is creepily beautiful, especially how the set of tracks snake into the grand 1949 semi-circular structure, then quickly disappears. You will notice the high ceiling made of an interesting choice of pale white and black squares; there’s a shallow trench on both sides filled with traces of murky water. Partly disgusting but also easily dismissable
We are barely in when Ruby reaches out for my hand only moments after ridiculing me for pulling the same move. She sarcastically laughs as this dawns on her.
The deeper we go the darker it gets, at some point, it’s eerie silent except for the pebbles being displaced as we move through. On the walls are numerous declarations of love – I suppose we can dub this, Kenya’s haunted version of the Paris bridge.
The soot-black wall makes for a great canvas for scribbling. Using the stones on the ground we followed suit, but not with the usual “… was HIA” lines we’re too cool for that LoL
The tunnel feels cold and murky and we realize a large part of it has water dripping from the walls. The police officer, Maina, made this discovery, prompting thoughts of what would happen if it collapsed on us…
“Will we be trapped here forever?”
We also spot a semi-man cave towards the middle of the tunnel – a few sticks and three blocks of stone lying strategically on the ground. The 25-minute walk was quite interesting. Although, in all honesty I was glad it was over.
would I do it again on my own? Hell No, should you include it in your bucket list? But Of Course? Because what’s life without a little adventure?
PS: I love you guys and wouldn’t want any of you to get killed, robbed or jailed so
- Inform the police before visiting the Buxton Tunnel
- Do not go on your own, get security
- If found wandering around of taking pictures without permission you might get arrested
- Contact Let’s Drift Kenya for a similar adventure
Would you go through the Buxton Tunnel? I’d love to hear from you, leave me a COMMENT and SUBSCRIBE. Vlog coming up soon.