Monday, November 12, 2007

Muragua River - Kenya

Simon Coward likes his boofs big. Muragua River - Kenya

After the past few weeks in Kenya it is hard to believe that I left Europe only a month ago feeling confident that I would not be missing nor needing my trusty Dagger Nomad that I had practically been living inside since June. Impressions of African big waves and endless blunt movies that have swamped the internet highway over the past few years had me mislead. But it was my friend Simon back home that had always been the secret source of the truth. Nearly 4 years prior, his adventure insights brought him and a kiwi crew to a paddling destination far from ordinary.

Lower Muragua Gorge.

Lying on the equator, Kenya is more than a country of grasslands and grazing zebras. Africa's second highest, Mt. Kenya and many other mountain ranges, contribute to a spectacular landscape and provide an enormous area of altitude and water that has to drain somewhere, somehow. No longer is it a fanciful thought. Kenya can convert you from vacation bluntboater to a creekboater in a matter of days.

A massive component to Kenyan river exploration has come from Marc and James Savage. Beginning as a bush pilot and mountaineer, Marc founded whitewater rafting and adventure tourism in Kenya. Marc and family are keeping things active with a river base paradise on the Tana river. However James is keen in the kayak and his goal of river exploration remains.

First descents are vast in this country, but the Muragua River was one of Simon and crew's original mission discoveries. Years later and none kayakers more it is still a short but swift gut punch of rad.

James Savage close to home.

The Muragua appears after miles of bumpy road at a bridge over a sweet slide to start things off. The friendly locals quickly gathered in conversation about today's unexpected entertainment. Eyes, hoots and smiles were to be the norm.

The Muragua is tight at the beginning, but soon opens up to what any adventure paddler seeks. Easy access, clean drops, and a highlight waterfall.


Further downstream beyond the KenGen dam, the Muragua plummets itself off an 80 foot waterfall shelf and into a gorge full of giant drops still waiting for a kayak to show up.

Here the access can be an issue as we found ourselves swatting through thorn bushes and sliding down drainage cracks to get down below the entry falls. There is so much action in this one drainage alone it is hard to imagine what could be lying just around the next corner or over the next hill. But already nearing 5:30 the sun is low and the scale of the whitewater ahead must be saved for another time and day. Wearing the red soil as the color of Kenya on our hands and clothes, we return to Sagana after a special day of whitewater in Africa.

View Maragua River (IV) in a larger map