The Ultimate Guide to White Water Rafting in Kenya
White water rafting in Kenya is a must do for any adrenaline junkie. Rafting in Kenya is done in Sagana for the most part. I had the amazing opportunity to do it with Savage Wilderness, the pioneer rafting company in the country. It was three thrilling hours of fun and I hope this post inspires you to go white water rafting.
Before the action
I was really excited about going for white water rafting but I was equally as scared. You see, this girl is not a swimmer. So naturally, the first thing that came to mind was drowning.
The briefing did not make things any better. The instructors were busy telling us what to do in the event that a snake got into the raft or we spot a hippo in the water, all while reminding us repeatedly to not let go of the $80 paddles. After the instructions and risks were explained to us, I had a moment of weakness and wanted to skip on rafting. However, in the spirit of seeking discomfort, and some remaining adventure in my bones, I decided to go. In any case, we were all wearing life jackets so drowning was out of the question.
I was deeply afraid, so much so on the ride to the river I barely spoke to anyone. I was too busy thinking of how I was going to survive three hours in the water. Fast forward to getting to the river bank, I sat strategically near the guide reasoning that in case anything would happen he’d be able to rescue me ha! After our guide, Mark Savage, finished instructing us (I may or may not have stopped listening after he mentioned crocodiles), we were ready to get into the river. I was scared stiff at this point.
The big moment
On to Bigger Rapids
We got back into the raft and after a couple of minutes spent catching our breaths in calmer waters, we were asked to prepare for the biggest rapid yet.
“Oh my God, get down! Get down!”, Mark shouted as we dropped into a deep bend, the raging waters crashing against the raft.
We also witnessed a very brave man drop into the falls in his kayak. So crazy! How one can kayak a waterfall is beyond me. Maybe one day, when I gather enough courage I will be able to kayak but dropping into a waterfall is a no for me.
From there we headed to the last stop- The Devil’s toilet. The name is exactly what it is, jumping into that section of the river, the water moves in a circular motion- similar to a toilet flushing, and shortly after the swirling, you are “flushed out”. Strangely enough, I wanted to jump in but I gave in to fear. All who dared to slide in had a ball though.
After all the action, we floated peacefully in calm waters, observing the flora and fauna around us. It was incredibly beautiful and so peaceful. The remaining fifteen minutes or so were spent spotting monitor lizards, talking about Kenya’s history and taking the stunning views in.
Some things to note about white water rafting in Kenya
- There are a lot of camps in Sagana that offer white water rafting however, I highly recommend Savage Wilderness. Safety is paramount, the guides are knowledgable, and most importantly, it is three hours of fun and adventure. Notable mentions are Rapids Camp Sagana, Napoleons Rafting Camp and Jangwani Camp.
- The whole trip was 3 hours long.
- To book you need to be a minimum of four people.
- Swimming skills are not a prerequisite.
- Wear light clothes or clothes you don’t mind getting wet in. Shoes should be closed so sport shoes are ideal.
- Our photos were taken by the resident photographer who charges shs 2,000 per boat. This is optional.
- Rafting is a risky activity. Following instructions is key!
- The raft may flip over- depending on the rapid you’re tackling so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. You may also fall into the water. Swallowing the water is all part of the process- apparently flowing river water is clean so no worries.
- Most importantly have an adventurous spirit and be open minded. Your experience is highly dependent on your attitude. If you focus on having fun, you will, if you focus on fear, you’ll dread every minute of it.
- Facing your fear is often highly rewarding. The thrill you get out of rafting is incomparable.
For the adventurous, white water rafting in Kenya is a must do. Sagana is especially great, you get to raft Class II to Class V white water so you tackle both gentle and more extreme rapids. You can also raft in Athi River though there’s the risk of encountering crocodiles! For those looking for a bigger challenge, you can head out to Jinja, Uganda to raft the Nile. The braver and more adventurous of the bunch can raft the Zambezi , you can read about Gacheri’s experience here.
White water rafting was so much fun, in retrospect I wish I was less scared. Everything you want is truly on the other side of fear. It took me by surprise in the most pleasant way. You see, as a person who is most scared in the water, rafting has never been at the top of my bucketlist. I always dismissed the idea but somehow the thought has been circling my mind this last quarter of the year. It was terrifying but exciting, the rush was incredible! Definitely more thrilling than bunjee jumping. I honestly cannot wait to be back, hopefully I’ll be braver than I was then.
I hope this post inspires you to move past your fear and go after your goals boldly in every area of your life. White water rafting is a beautiful experience. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me. Comment down below and let me know if white water rafting in Kenya is on your bucket list.
A huge thank you to Savage Wilderness for making this happen.
Photos by Kepha
Until next time, Seek Discomfort!
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