Large water bodies, flowing or not, are for me an active hazard and cause for great fear. Granted, I cannot swim to save a life and have, on two occasions, risked death while trying to prove a stupid point to my 2007/9 peers respectively.
Come September 2016, I excitedly took up a challenge to go whitewater rafting with Savage Wilderness. By this time, I had still not a clue on how to stay afloat! and accepting to paddle up to level 5 rapids at the River Tana was either one of two things: seeing the very face of death or fulfilling the longing of quite a tempestuous adventure. The adventure cost me two days of which I’ve no regrets at all.
DAY ONE: GETTING THERE
Driving from Nairobi is a stretch of roughly 100 kms that takes about 1 hour 45 minutes. 2 hours at most. The Nairobi-Nyeri highways is rather smooth up until the off road leading up to the camp.
Arriving at about 10:30 am on Saturday, gave me time to engage in other activities within the camp: zip lining, duff mpararo and sighting a group of Welsh get schooled about the basics of kayaking.
Being a budget camper, the afternoon of my first day was spent pitching tent at a grassy patch by a rather calm section of the river. Also, I got a not so unusual companion which made me propose that for subsequent travels, I just might get myself one husky.
The rest of the evening was spent poking my nose into nests and caves, trailing and flailing my arms at the bridge, reading at the banda and whiling time away at the bar with a glass of rum and cold coke.
DAY TWO: THE EXPERIENCE
That’s right, folks! It was on this day that I took matters into my hands and doing what it takes to waste it. By ‘matters,’ I mean my life and by ‘doing what it takes,’ I mean signing a waiver that would see me pointedly shoving my life down the flow. Nervous and highly irritable, I didn’t make to finish my breakfast and the two hours building up to the rafting, gifted me 2 brand new hives. Welcome Wilhelm and Wilhelmina!
10:15 thereabouts saw us driving up to our starting point. After all, was I not here for the excitement and thrill of running Kenya’s famed white waters? Was I not here to survive 12 kms in a raft in the name of recreation? Challenge accepted!
Squealing and delighting during this first experience, there were few places I could have thought of being at this point. The thrill was unlike any I have had before. Shall I say we did a bit of surfing too? Most unfortunately, I didn’t capture as much moments as I’d have wanted, but the sweetness of memories lasting was enough to make me want to raft yet again.
Should you opt to go white water rafting, there are obvious things you will ought to have for the best experience:
- Sunscreen for when the weather is hot. Of-course this you will then leave at the camp lest risk losing it to the water current.
- Swimsuit or bottoms with quick-drying material like nylon. You’ll spend a good deal of time in water and cotton or jeans is the last thing you want to have on. Alongside this, is a dry change of clothes.
- Water shoes – water specific shoes such as sport sandals are great if you want to avoid swamp feet.
- Enthusiasm and confidence to work those paddles, rock the rapids and brave the capsizes the best way you know how.
Over the years, different travel experiences have taught me far more about life, and myself, than I have at any other institution of learning. Surely, I guess you know that there is a lesson in that for us all.
Did I enjoy the trip? YES! Did I overcome my fear for water? NO! Do I have plans of white water rafting again? HELL YES!
To book for exhilarating yet incredible adventures, get in touch with the camp for packages and activities including but not limited to rock climbing, bungee jumping, kayaking and mountain biking. As for accommodation, if you do not fancy sleeping in tents, there are a couple cottages and dorms available too.
Till the next adventure, arrivederci!