Posted in travel

14 Falls Slowly Fading

Activity: Visit to the 14 Falls

Date: 22nd April 2019.

PS: This is a continuation of the previous post : Hiking in Macmillan’s Land

Once out of the park our boda boda lad picked us (another Ksh 50 per head) and while we were on our way back to Donyo shopping center I enquired of the easiest route to the 14 falls. Yes, bitch has never been to the magical falls. Baraka was kind enough to tell us that there are two entry points. One at the Ol Donyo resort that is before you cross the Athi River Bridge which charges Ksh 500, while the other is just 5 minutes away from the center and charges Ksh 100. You can bet we went for the latter. From the shopping center, you turn left at the junction whereas right leads you to the Ol Donyo National park. Baraka charged us Ksh 50 for two to the venue, after bargaining we were his customers for the day (the Kikuyu in me speaking).

Before you get to the falls, one has to carefully cross a small bridge and find inscribed rocks written 14 falls. There is a makeshift where you pay Ksh 100 per person. Piece of advice: hide your camera or else you will pay Ksh 200 for it! I don’t know which Wakanda business is this but there is this bloke who helps tourists cross over the falls from the upper side. His side of the story is that there are people who come for photoshoots or perform with the falls as their background. Well I was neither an entertainer nor a model. This was some personal shit-collecting memories. The fella was kind enough to let me know I would take my camera out at the falls but had to make sure the chap who charges entry fee would not see me. In return I told him to not snitch on me. That was how my deal came through. You gotta know people!

One can opt for a tour guide at Ksh 200 to take you through the rocks if you scared of jumping or falling. We used to this wahalla we needed no tour. While navigating our way, a small green mamba on a tree decided to say hello to my brother but immediately vanished to the rocks. There is a small bridge that connects to the rocks for those whose legs cannot do the 180 degree stunt. However, as we were about to use it this gentleman came running from the blues alerting us to part with Ksh 20 each to use it. What? According to a story I didn’t believe since he smelled of liqour and weed combination, he built the bridge. Impressive! But I was not about to be extorted while I had already paid the entrance fee. “In case I make my way through the rocks, that you won’t charge?” I asked him. “No.” he replied. Well there was my cue. Climb my way by jumping on rocks. You don’t joke with an adrenaline junkie. On our way back though we used it after seeing several groups of local tourists using it. No one paid a dime. Who were we?

If you’ve ever been to the falls, so much has changed with time. Pollution alert everywhere. First it is the numerous plastic bottles, dumping, and then the sewage odour. As if that ain’t enough, hyacinth might make you think someone converted the river to a farm. Goats roam about having their fill. The water at the falls has turned green so has its volume decreased. If this tourist attraction is not protected, it will only be another history to our generations.

14 falls is a 27 meter deep scenery. Fishing, swimming, boating at Ksh 200 per head, walking around the rocks, bird watching, photography are some of the activities at the scenic site. It derives its name from their distinct waterfalls on the broad section of the famous Athi river (there is no river anymore, just a hyacinth farm). This magnificent waterfall is breathtaking and is characterized by boulders at the base where one can walk along a designated area, all this against the backdrop of the powerful sound of gushing water. This walk after everyone (my brother, the entry fee lad, the do- not- snitch- on- me fella) encouraged me to go for it, is something my guts couldn’t process. ‘Walk on top, see the falls like a 3D, then I might miss a rock and fall all the way, then I die. Not today. But the goats are clearly feeding at the base. Aren’t they scared of a fall? They are used to this. This is their thing. Not mine.’ Those were the negative forces coming my way. I surely wanted to but my body couldn’t move. This was after watching a video the previous night of the falls tragedy. Was not about to add to statistics. For this across walk you will have to pay Ksh 200 but for me I was getting a free walk halfway and couldn’t suck it up. Called it a day, had our 5minutes walk to the bus stop and miraculously the fare had shifted to Ksh 70 to Thika Town.