Situated on the East side of Africa, Kenya was rumored to be a whitewater kayaking meca. After a short trip there last November I was very keen to go back and explore more rivers. Chris, Sim and myself had three days of exploring with one highlight being a first decent of a perfect 20 meter waterfall on the Nyamindi river.
The Land of Adventure
Nyamindi (First Decent)
Basing out of Savage Wilderness our days were full of exploring sections that had been run and sections that where fresh for the ticking. The rain was pouring every night and the rivers were perfect.
Working on the Nile its not hard to go kayaking, however the main issue here is trying to set up some sort of a mission as people work sporadically. One of the first people I asked was Anton and without hesitation he was in! 100% commitment, which is hard to come across. As the mission started to take shape we managed to recruit Timmy Flowers. Timmy with his local knowledge was a huge part, knowing the condition of roads, dealing with police checks, etc. our low rider car stuffed full of kayakers, kayak gear and carrying three creek boats did tend to attract attention.
Webuye falls, Day 1 - we started the trip from jinja at 6 in the morning and drive to the Malaba border crossing. Here we had a 2 and a half hour wait to get through. Once through we went straight to webuye falls which is a series of channels with many waterfalls and rapids to scout. After scouting from the road side and Being very excited to get on the water we decided to try some of the rapids on the liver left channel. With the water level being a bit on the lower side only this section was runnable. After a few fun rapids and an epic boot to finish we got back in the car and head to Gilgil to our friend Tim for a BBQ and some whiskey.
Tana Classic Waterfall
Day 4 - after a night of discussion we decided to head around to the east side of mount Kenya to check out a river called the Thuchi. This river had some very promising prospects. Plenty of gradient and it looked like it would have volume due to the rain catchment area feeding it. When we got to the put in we couldn't believe our eyes. It looked like a perfect flow, it was a first decent, the shuttle was easy from bridge to bridge and the sun was shinning hard. We got geared up, splits, first aid, mobile phone, food, water basically everything we needed to be prepared for an epic river ahead of us. We got on and the river was smooth granit rock and a kilometre in we found some nice rapids and a portage that dropped around 30+ meters. After this it all went down hill unlike the river. We had estimated that the river would be 12 km long but it was looking way longer than that. Loads of flat water, acasha torn bushes across the river and the river splitting into channels laid ahead. Oh and the thought of hippos in the pools shock this up a bit. It started to get worrying after hours of flat water. Timmy at one stage asked some local Kenyans how far the road bridge was away and the answer was up stream 5 km, down stream 5 km and then 1/2 a km down stream. We took the last answer and hoped. It took us 5 and a half hours to cover 20 km and by the end of it we were glad to find the take out and a nice motel.
Day 5 - after a night in a dodgy motel where the toilet didn't flush and the shower didn't work we got our gear together and drove towards the Nithi river. After some epic driving and scouting we decided to get on the river. This section was low volume and gorged in. The valley itself was so beautiful and the river was an amazing place to be. With help from the adoring locals we managed to put on the river and off down the gorge we went. Within the gorge we found some lovely rapids nothing to difficult with the main danger coming from trees and logs in the river. Due to these logs we had to do 3 portages. At one stage in the river we came across a cave full of thousands of bats. It was amazing, I was the first down and startled the bats there was a flash of bats out of the cave and a kite (bird of prey) came fling in and grabbed a bat, another bat had fallen into the river and was trying to swim back to the shore but got swept down stream then returning a few seconds later. Once we finished on the river we got our shit together and drove to Neru to a lovely hotel with good mosi nets and some nice Kenyan meat!