Travel Report Aboard Mash Cool Higer KBZ 501L from by Ian Kung’u aka Azul – Travel Date 31st May, 2017

In an honest truth, this was not my bus of choice
I had wanted the mapenzi fare or the 9pm bus because I had an engagement in Nairobi the next morning. I had requested for a seat to be locked for me on either of the two but alas it was not to be!
The Higer had many seats available Almost ten, But Christopher Ochere and Juma Ngondi, My good friends and boarding clerks at Mash Plaza told me to just hop on that mapenzi fare till Makupa and then maybe I could get lucky…last minute cancellations etc..
Well not that night. Everyone was too punctual for comfort .On Every bus KBT110D, KCF658Z, KCA539D, KCD510E. Even the Malindi bus which always has a seat or two available midweek was also full.
Sammy Boarding Clerk at Mash Makupa office locked a seat for me on the 10:15pm bus. Okay then, So it’s Higer O’clock by force by fire. Well it Could be worse (and then it was😂😂)
On board by 10:30pm my greetings to captain Hassan, a good friend, and told him I’d be seeing him later on.
One thing to note is that this particular bus had been having issues with the retarder and suspension (My brothers and I happened across it at Scania earlier in the week)
So freshly serviced, the ride was phenomenal.
Was languidly stretched out back bench with three seats to myself, that chilled soda, water and biscuits that make you smile and that perfectly conditioned air… Then Joy! Waria joins me. Waria is one of the mechanics working for Mash, he deals specifically with the Top of the range models and had some business to attend to in Nairobi. I Programmed the Wi-Fi password into my phone again because its been changed ( yet again) the range is a bit of a blessing and a curse, many do like to piggyback.
I remember I was engrossed in a deep discussion on MBB about the fate of SGR on the busworld and it gave me lots of food for thought.
Until I saw Taru lining up and we had to slow right down to cushion the ride on those new bellows.
It was at this point I took my cue and made my way to the front.
Hassan was alone ( Oh Joy) I took the +1 seat and we started bantering about the road, the bus, life, the universe, food(I kid you not).
Apparently when Muslims break their fast, they mean business, I’d been getting subtle hints with the staggering amount of street food during the iftar period…
There I go digressing.
One by one the mighty F310s roared past
Some from Modern coast
Others by Dreamline
Others from Mash
Others from Coast bus (even shosho)
Well I understood there’s not much that could be helped. Stung a bit though.
One diversion after another
We got to a major snarlup of lined up trucks parked and turned off in the middle of the road because of traffic. So on with the full beam and chain overtake. By the time thirty truck drivers had seen A80 assets 😘, we were back in business clearing that nasty stretch and heading for Voi. The 10:30pm Mash Cool Gemilang KBX050S behind us kept showing it had something to prove. So did the 8:00pm Mash Poa KCJ044A from Malindi. Hassan was just laughing… “Haraka ya nini Nairobi haisongi ipo pale pale tuliiacha jana usiku”😄
He then went ahead to say something else rated R. No matter, well clocking into Killerguy’s territory at 3am The Gemi and The P360 are there. The 10pm Mash Poa KCD510E is there too with an open face, apparently the grille fell off in between Mariakani and Voi. Sad, but good for air intake lol. 5 minutes, passengers back on board and we set off again.
Here’s where the drama begins.
Five or so kilometers past Voi. We see a convoy of vehicles straight ahead. Hassan tries to manoeuvre the Higer to get past but its a deadlock. Nicholas, the conductor gets off to investigate. All engines around us are switched off. I see Gold dust in an awkward pose trying to offroad and overtake, it gets stuck and sticks to it’s lane.
Same for Simba coach, Spanish and Crown bus. KCE044L had gotten it’s Terrias Wedged on a sandy section and is spinning the wheels but not gaining traction. I get out and walk surveying the Crisis. I walk and walk and walk…And walk for about 45 minutes until I get to the scene of the crime.
There seems to be a Cabbage truck, a coast Bound Tahmeed Higer and some strewn bodies.
The blood and gore is a bit much for me so instead of pausing to investigate the scene, I do a survey of the traffic. The accident is near a bridge. There is heavy heavy traffic as both vehicles have blocked the road. There is no police presence. This is going to be a while, a long while. In the chilling bite of the 4am Air, I walk back to the bus and share my findings with Hassan.
He tells me to abandon all hope as we’ll get to Nairobi in the afternoon.
I was dejected.
I wrote texts to cancel my engagement
But then Waria also made and appearance and they both pulled out containers of food saying they had to eat before Suhur.
Talk about a frown turning upside down.
Hassan had Pizza the good stuff, minced meat, veggies and cheese. Waria had a decadent pilau. Both had tende.
I had soda and water. So we ate, I was so satisfied. I was at least pacified. We killed time chatting and trading experiences. I have to mention that because of The Aircon, the engine was kept running. It was nice to hear that smooth purr from the front, the frame of the vehicle wasn’t even vibrating like I am used to with these Kanyaris.
Import standards are hard to measure upto.
Inane chatter died down to a hum
The whole bus was asleep
Thermostat keeping the air at a cool 24°C
Then I heard it. Even over the active noise cancellation of the cabin, I heard the unmistakable strain of a Scania F310 going through its paces. Looking around I see headlights in the bushes. I almost take the door of the bus trying to get off and go see.
Its Buscar Cinemax Malindi, early from Nairobi, definitely at the front of the line. Its charging through those bushes, leaving a trail of dust in it’s wake. Its glorious. Other buses also make appearances, Modern Coast P410s, F310s from Simba, Spanish, Crown Bus, Mash, even Mombasa Raha makes an appearance.
I am freezing, the jumper and kikoi im donning isn’t enough.
I contemplate going back into the bus where the temperature is a bit warmer. But the pull of the Rhino Charge is exceedingly strong.
So I put on some Music and start dancing, Hassan finds it amusing and keeps flashing the lights like we’re in a club lol.
As Ed Sheeran keeps blaring on about how I need him, he doesn’t need me (partly true), Tahmeed Higers start making appearances.
I get tired and retire for some shut eye backbench
It’s about 9am when I stir. We’re moving slowly, I make some calls and as we pass the scene of the accident, I am talking to Amina Kasim who is laughing at me, asking me why I didn’t take the Kisumu bus. Well shame on me for not taking an earlier bus.
Can’t be bothered.
I make my way back to the front
Hassan is still at the wheel till Mtito
We get there at 10:30am.
Gemilang and P360 also there.
Captain switch, off again.
The journey is uneventful and there’s not much to report, except a small bathroom break past Machakos Junction.
We get to South C Bellevue at 2:15pm
Accra Road at 2:30pm.
This has been the most eventful and memorable travel experience ever.
I enjoy my time on this Red Higer more than the blue one. It looks better, rides smoother and that retarder is good for braking, no jerking, no inertia. 501L is king.

I return to Mombasa the next day on the same bus. There is not really much to reprt as I was asleep the whole trip (Blame it on exhaustion) and the ride must have been good because I was completely out. I didn’t even get up at Mtito. Belle Vue asleep, awake at Mash Plaza at 8am the next day.

10/10 on everything

What I needed on that bus I got.
Wi-Fi and power. The ride was smooth and calm just how I like it. The drivers were sensational and the crew just as well.

Mash Cool Gold Class for your daily dose of chills.



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