With Kilimanjaro towering in front of you, the C102 highway slices across the plains, curves through the pretty, spring-fed oasis of Kimana and then climbs up to the Maasai country town of OLOITOKITOK at an altitude of 1700m. You’ll pass through Oloitokitok (also known as Loitokikok) if heading direct to Taveta from Nairobi or planning to cross the border to Tanzania via the foothills of Kilimanjaro. It’s also a potential place from which to start a climb up the mountain.
Although it’s ignored by 99 percent of tourist traffic, this one-street hill town is in a stunning location, closer to Kilimanjaro than anywhere else in Kenya – Kibo Peak is just 25km from Oloitokitok as the crow flies. It’s a relaxed place to settle into if you’re interested in finding out more about the Maasai, as this is their easternmost major centre. Markets happen on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There’s a customs post on the north side of town (you’ll be waved through unless you’re going to Tanzania), but the actual border is 8km further south at Illasit, on the road to Taveta.