This past weekend I (Jamie) went with a couple of friends to 14 Falls, an impressive falls on the Chania River about 65 km outside Nairobi. Our plan was to go do a bit of hiking and check out the falls, but upon our arrival we realized that there wasn’t much in the way of hiking. Actually just behind the falls sits Ol Donyo Sabuk (also known as Kilimambogo) which is a decent sized mountain that offers a nice day hike, but we did not arrive in time to undertake that endeavor, but this will happen….oh will it happen. So back to the falls. The falls are actually a major tourist/picnic site for Kenyans. When we arrived found a gate where we were charged 400 KES a piece for entry, 100 KES for the car, and another 400 KES for a camera….yes our camera (total cost was around $8 each). Of course these prices were highly inflated compared to the Kenyan Citizen prices (which were substantially lower). I must admit the size of 14 Falls is quite impressive, and it really is quite beautiful. It is a horseshoe shaped falls that descends around 30 feet. It stretches….I don’t know 40 yards???? across the river (Never been a good judge of eyeballing distances). Unfortunately many of the visitors to 14 Falls seem to lack the respect of natural beauty necessary to truly enjoy such an amazing piece of creation. The first thing you feel when you arrive at the falls is awe at the sight of water rushing over rocks and plunging down 30 feet below, but you are quickly brought to your senses by a putrid smell, not unlike sulfur, attached to that rushing water. The entire falls reeks of it. When you look closely at the water you notice it has a greenish brown hue, which may be natural, but one can only imagine is a result of all the rubbish, pollutants and human waste that get poured into the river. If you allow your gaze to fall on the rocks within the river you quickly realize that most are housing piles of garbage, plastic bags, and the remains of picnics. It was heartbreaking and infuriating to see such a naturally beautiful sight being disrespected and ruined by people’s laziness. The falls themselves, with Kilimambogo sitting behind them really are picturesque and worth the visit. I just hope that there will come a day when Kenya increases conservation efforts and people begin to respect and appreciate the beauty that they are paying to see.
All that to say that the Falls really are worth seeing ( minus the litter) and in combination with a day hike of Ol Donyo Sabuk would be worth a return trip.