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Kenya, Bikes, Climbs and Canyons

Community riding in central Kenya

It's been a busy two months since touching down in Nairobi in the New Year. Working on a variety of courses from mountain bike leader courses, safari rides, climbing and canyoning all throughout Kenyas hot season. As things ease and the much needed rains begin to arrive I thought it would be time to put a post together. It's been wonderful to be back on what feels like home turf and with a team who I have been fortunate enough to have worked with since 2013 when I first came to work with Rift Valley Adventures. Its also been great to be out delivering courses again after the hiatus of the last twelve months due to Covid. Which sadly still dominates the world as a whole with very little exceptions in terms of countries and travel being unaffected. The effects on tourism or lack of here has been hugely felt and is impacting greatly on peoples livelihoods and incomes. As I type things are beginning to change here with a surge in infections and the possibility that lockdown looms again and choices will have to made.

On a more positive note we have been delivering some great mountain bike leader and foundation courses. Kenya has a huge amount of great riding with all styles of riding on offer giving the perfect destination to deliver these courses, and the perfect destination for the independent rider looking for something a little different. Certainly being the hot season and coming from a chilly Cumbria it was a shock to the system at first but you soon get used to it. The other unique ride which I have been on numerous times before is the 'bike safari', so riding within a conservancy where wild animals abound. The big five seen from the saddle gives a pretty unique experience on two wheels. Here are a few example shots of Kenyan riding.

We have of course been climbing and canyoning in the local forest. These great venues on Kenyan rock being a lovely sandy hued granite and deep blue canyon pools deep within a tropical forest give a pretty unique venue for delivering adventure training courses. Sadly no mountain trips as yet which is a shame as I was hoping to get back up there at some point. In reality there are not the tourists or groups able to be here to do it in the current Covid climate.

Signs that the much needed grass rains are arriving in Laikipia

The much needed rains are now arriving as much of Northern Kenya is bone dry and in much need of some rain to start to turn things green again, providing something for the wild life to eat. Usually around now you will get the 'grass rains' which give a little to the grass before a lull preceding the big rains in April.

For all there was a degree of uncertainty in being back out in the role of Chief Instructor due to Covid its been a busy couple of months with lots done in terms of course delivery. We have also been into Nairobi schools trying to bring the outdoors indoors as it where. Schools are not really able to travel to get out on much needed and valuable outdoor education trips. Something which in the UK which is also being sorely missed by many and centres are starting to really struggle. For a bit more on this have a look at the Save Outdoor Education program.

We have also been able to get some staff training in looking at a variety of ways of teaching climbing in a climbing wall setting. There is an excellent new climbing wall and facility in Nanyuki which has been good for some group sessions so we took a look at ways of teaching technique and movement while injecting some fun into things.

Milly who runs the operations cruising it on the Mt Kenya climbing wall

As a destination Kenya offers pretty much all you could want in the adventure world and there is still much to explore. Hopefully as the world reopens people may consider this as a place not just for safaris but as a destination for some pretty adventurous expeditions.

Things are now a little uncertain as to what is going to develop here although my work was due to finish mid April just in time to start the Cumbrian spring things may have to speed up a little as restrictions and lockdowns start to grip the country. Hopefully though I shall be back out throughout the year as things pick up. So sad the devastating effect this pandemic is having on such a valuable industry for both health and mental well being. Perhaps there might be more government interest in the UK and elsewhere when it passes and its importance seen more post lockdown and pandemic.

This has all been working with Rift Valley Adventures, Kenya

A very dry Ol Pejeta conservancy and Land Cruiser support vehicle on a bike safari

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