Thrilling Sagana, a spot for adrenaline junkies


Thrilling Sagana, a spot for adrenaline junkies

Vacationers enjoy water activities on the Sagana River in Kirinyaga. PICTURES | BOWL

Adrenaline junkies in search of euphoria have made Sagana a new tourist attraction. For years the town was little known for its tourist activities, but today it attracts around 5,000 holidaymakers on a good weekend to ride the rapids of the Sagana River, canoeing and jumping. elastic.

Titus Murithi, rafting guide and kayak instructor, explains daily that about seven canoes navigate the Sagana River.

“Each boat carries 6 people, so 42 customers, or 15,530 people in one year. On average, a person pays 5,000 shillings. This translates to 76.6 million shillings a year,” he says.

The rise in the number of adrenaline junkies, mainly from Nairobi, Kenyans seeking an escape from the city’s increasingly concrete way of life as greenery is cleared to make way for skyscrapers, has created jobs for residents. Some are canoe guides, others rafting guides, while others have turned their unused homes into lodges, providing accommodation.

“Rafting and canoeing are the main tourist activities here. Vacationers love the strong and extremely turbulent currents of the Sagana River. These activities attract young people aged 18 to 65. Children on school trips also come here,” adds Mr. Murithi who is also the national canoe-kayak coach called Slalom, an Olympic discipline sport.

Tourism is gradually transforming small towns into privileged destinations. Sagana, a small industrial town in Kirinyaga County, is reaping big profits by capitalizing on sports tourism and slowly transforming the region into an adventure hub, thanks to its unique topography.

Nancy Kanyotu, founder of Therema Gardens and Holiday Camp in Sagana, is among those offering water biking, kayaking, bungee jumping and camping.

“We saw an opportunity in natural resources, which we believed would attract international tourists,” she says.

In 2013, she opened her eight acres of grounds to paying guests. “I bought tents, built a few structures and spruce up the camping area,” she says.

According to Lee Daniel, president of the Sagana Tourism Organization, the Sagana River is a perfect place to train beginners in canoeing due to its natural slides and numerous rapid rapids.

“Besides canoeing, thrill seekers also come for ziplining and fishing,” he says.

He adds that on a good weekend, Sagana can host up to 10,000 guests, a number they couldn’t have predicted years ago. Now they are looking to position Sagana as the next Naivasha which sees a very high number of guests from the city during weekends and public holidays.

Another place is Jangwani Camp. Here, vacationers can enjoy activities like swimming, kayaking, and canoeing, spending time at honeymoon cabins, sport fishing, and an amphibious zipline.

“Today’s vacationer prefers adrenaline-pumping activities, and massive investment in outdoor watersports has had a huge economic impact in this region. It has created many job opportunities and opened up the area to international investors, especially those who love water sports, turning the area into a home of adventure,” says John Kuria, Director of Jangwani,

Havila in Sagana is another location that can host the Canoeing and Kayaking Olympics.

“Whether it’s watching and listening to the massive waterfalls of the Sagana River from the comfort of the resort or enjoying the silence in nature, vacationers also come here to connect with nature,” says Alex Chege , the founder of Havila Resort.

As the destination attracts tourists in droves, the opportunities abound. More camps and lodges mean more business for residents.

Though gratifying, Mr. Kuria of Jangwani Camp says the tourism industry, like anything, never lacks challenges.

“It’s not always a walk in the park. For example, after building my property, it took me almost three months to get the first client. Patience is the key,” he says.

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