With a sublime climate, clear blue skies and stunning scenery, Kenya is the ideal place to indulge in some air-borne adventure sports. Here we look at the options for paragliding, zip-lining and jumping off into the unknown…
Paragliding over the Kerio Valley
For the ultimate in paragliding experiences, you have to head for the Kerio Valley. A branch of its more famous cousin, the Great Rift Valley, the Kerio Valley drops a spectacular 1,219 metres. Lying between the Tugen Hills and the Elgeyo Escarpment, it is 80km long and only 10km at its widest. On its upper slopes is a tangle of semi-tropical vegetation. At its sweltering bottom there’s only dry bush, elephant, buffalo and the meanderings of the crocodile-packed Kerio River.
The Elgeyo Escarpment is the perfect flying ridge. Actually it is two ridges: an upper ridge dropping 200m to a shelf before the larger ridge drops roughly another 1,000m to the valley floor. In winter (December to February), the Escarpment faces the north-easterly trade wind head on creating perfect soaring conditions. The wind can be quite strong, but is typically around 15-20km/h. The arid landscape produces strong thermals, which mix with the dynamic lift.
Here, a typical paraglide will last a couple of hours and cover ten kilometres, which means that you can look down on Tiati, the sacred mountain of the Pokot people, the ancient Neolithic furrows of the Sirikwa people and the shimmering heat and dust of the Rimoi Game Reserve – which is probably Kenya’s wildest. Tandem flights can be organised.
Getting there: by road, approx. 6-7 hours drive from Nairobi; or you can fly to Eldoret and then travel around 2 hours by road.
For more information: https://www.fly-kenya.com/
Kenya is home to some of the last remaining stands of primeval forests on earth. So, to get a bird’s eye view of them you might like to try out some zip lining. If so, head for The Forest, a Kenya adventure sports centre less than hour’s drive north of Nairobi, close to the Aberdares. Here, you can sample East Africa’s longest zip-line tour, known as Flying Fox, which soars over the Kereita Forest with a combined length of 2,200 metres. For more information, visit: https://theforest.co.ke/
Alternatively, you can fly across the Tana River with Savage Wilderness, just an hour-and-a-half from Nairobi. The zip line is 120m long and 130m high giving an exceptional view of the scenery below.
Go jump off a cliff
Well yes, you can: literally. Amid the leafy green vaults of the magical Ngare Ndare Forest, you can (with supervision) jump off a cliff into a rock pool.
For a bird’s eye view of the forest, you can enjoy the ‘tree canopy walk’ – a 450m long rope bridge suspended 30 feet above the ground, the first of its kind in East Africa. The walk ends on a high platform where you can watch elephants wallowing in the swamp below. Or if heights are not your thing, you can simply go for a forest walk amid 200-year-old African olive and red cedar trees. The Ngare Ndare Forest is also an incredible rock climbing destination.
An ecological stronghold, the Ngare Ndare Forest stands at the foot of Mount Kenya, close to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. For more information, visit: http://www.ngarendare.org
Ridiculously extreme sport
For the adrenaline junkie, there can be nothing better than scampering up an 80-foot high crane, clipping yourself on to a glorified elastic band and jumping off. Alternatively, you can drop-and-dangle over the churning waters of the Tana River or the Athi River. For further information: www.savagewilderness.org
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