Kenya is justly famous for safari but don’t let that blind you to the fact that there’s much more to do in this land of contrasts. Test your nerve with five of the scariest things you can do here.
1. Bungee jumping
If you’ve ever fancied tying yourself to a large elastic band and flinging yourself from a metal crane towards a river filled with crocodiles, this is the sport for you. You start by strapping yourself into what appears to be a straight-lace, then clambering up an 80-foot high crane. As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, you’re then clipped onto an elastic cord and told to jump. Being an adrenaline junkie, I’ve done this several times and I can honestly say that the rush of exhilaration you feel when flying through the air is second to none. And the best thing is that on the rebound, you get to feel the sensation of free-fall all over again.
Rapids Camp: www.raftinginkenya.com
Savage Wilderness: www.savagewilderness.org
2. Cliff jumping
Should you like throwing yourself from on high but would rather not be attached to an elastic band, this one’s for you; the cliffs and rock-pools of Ngare Ndare Forest provide the ideal location. First, climb to the top of the cliff. Second, look down if you dare. Third, jump! This sport not only gives you the exhilarating sensation of free-fall, but also the shock of plunging into freezing water and sinking deeper and deeper while your fall decelerates, and finally the excitement of shooting up through the water again and breaking through the surface of the pool.
Rift Valley Adventures: www.riftvalleyadventures.com
Should free-falling from a cliff or a crane not be quite scary enough for you, why not try flinging yourself from a plane? The 15-minute flight over Diani gives you enough time to tighten your nerves to their tautest – and of course to enjoy the view of Kenya’s most popular beach – before you plunge from the plane. You experience about 35 seconds of rushing towards the earth, reaching a velocity of up to 200km/hr, before your parachute opens. You then drift through the air – heartbeat hopefully slowing – before you land on the beach.
Skydive Diani: www.skydivediani.com
4. Rock climbing
Should you get your kicks by hanging from a sheer rock-face by your fingertips, look no further. Mt Kenya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ‘rugged, glacier-clad summits,’ provides just that. With more than 25 routes to the peak, eight of which are ice routes, and the easiest of which are grade IV on the International Union of Alpine Associations scale, the mountain has more than enough challenges. Should you wish to practise before you attempt this feat, there are good climbing rocks in Hell’s Gate National Park (see page XX), and a climbing wall at Diamond Plaza in Nairobi.
Mountain Club of Kenya: www.mck.or.ke
Blue Sky Climbing Wall: www.blueskykenya.org
5. Fly boarding
If you fancy being shot out of the sea high into the sky, your best bet is to try the new sport that’s taken Kenya’s coast by storm. Fly-boarding was invented in 2012 by Franky Zapata of France and introduced to East Africa only last year; madcaps wearing boots with jet nozzles beneath them stand on a board on the sea and are propelled into the air. Depending on your level of zaniness, you can plunge back into the sea feet-first, or flip over in the air and dive into the water. Offered at Pinewood Beach Resort in Diani and English Point Marina in Nyali, this new craze is sure to get your heartbeat thumping.
Raydon Water Sports: www.raydonwatersports.co.ke
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