Conquering the Fourteen Falls on foot
Posted Thursday, July 26 2012 at 17:38
With our hands clasped together forming a human chain of seven people and the knee-deep water current battling our legs, we slowly made our way across a section of Athi River.
No, our boat had not capsized leaving us attempting to get ashore safely; it was our idea of fun.
This chain formation was the end product of several hours of knocking around ideas on how best to while away a lazy Saturday two weeks ago. My four friends and I eventually settled on a visit to Fourteen Falls in the Thika area.
For those of you who, like me, have never visited these famous falls, I can assure you that you’re definitely missing something awesome.
They are located within the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park about 80 kilometres North East of Nairobi.
From Thika town, a 25 minute (or 22km) drive along the Thika-Garissa road gets you to Makutano junction – from where a right turn and another 3km drive gets you to the site.
Once there, Sh50 per person will buy your pass into the park if you are Kenyan. Foreigners pay Sh340 ($4) per head.
For the two ladies in our midst, the brief for the excursion was that we would all hop onto a boat, paddle across the river, enjoy the picturesque falls, paddle back to shore and call it a day.
This itinerary was promptly adjusted as soon as we parked the vehicle and two gentlemen – who turned out to be tour guides – approached us.
“The water levels are quite low at the moment and it would be more fun if we crossed the river on foot. We know the safest route to use,” said Moses Karanja, one of the guides in the Fourteen Falls Easy Group.
The group comprises 20 guides who, having grown up in the area, have mastered the river bed route with impressive familiarity.
After convincing the ladies to attempt the cross on foot, they reluctantly agreed.
We removed our shoes, rolled up our trousers – this was no place for a dress or skirt – and got into the river, with a tour guide at each end of the chain.
“Hold on firmly to your partner’s hand, move your feet slowly and sideways from one rock to the next and follow my lead,” Karanja instructed.
Owing to years of being washed over, the rocks were smoothened leaving one with a feeling akin to that experienced when walking barefoot on the beach.