High Adrenaline Triathlon.. The Forest!

the-forest

The Forest; an adventure park within Kereita Forest!

What would be the ideal way to spend a Sunday? If your answer is anywhere between, sleeping in, watching movies or enjoying a whiskey while barbecuing with friends, (which simply translates to couch ‘potating’), then this article is meant for you! I am not judging, but I think you seriously need a Bunduz in your life. Allow me to show you why 😉

early-morning-team

The Bunduz team, all set to have fun at The Forest’s inaugural Triathlon competition (2016)

If you would avoid the party on a fine Saturday night so that you are up early on a Sunday morning, ready to take part in an adventure triathlon at a location 30km away from Nairobi and 2,000m above sea level, then this article is not for you because you already know that nothing beats spending an expendable minute while high on adrenaline!

triathlon-map

The map that each team tried to beat in the best time.

I was honoured to be the Bunduz triathlon team Captain. Just as the adventure tours that Bunduz organizes, we decided that our competition ethos would be to do our best in the allocated tasks, but also make sure that we have great fun while at it!

team-3

Our team trick was simple; Stay safe, have fun, endure the trail and have more fun!

If whenever you are handed a disclaimer form to sign, your heart starts to pump with excitement in anticipation of the ‘danger’ ahead, then you are a true blue adventurer and everything Bunduz resonates with you!

instructions

Yes, we signed the disclaimer forms and got instructions on the dos and don’ts of the triathlon trail.

The Forest is a new adventure park that has opened it’s doors in the hinter-lands of Kenya with an aim to interest local and international tourists in locations that have hardly been explored, unlike the coastal beaches and our world renowned national parks!

The Bunduz team was taken through all the safety measures to observe while undertaking two of the sort of technical sports in the triathlon. These are; zip lining and archery. The speed and caution with which the safety team at The Forest operated, gave us confidence that they understood what they were doing. A few rehearsal slides and arrow shots later we were ready to hit the trail!

mountain-bike

Alternative adventure is what The Forest offers!

The first activity was the zip lining! The Forest boasts one of the longest zip lines in Africa, and is ranked among the safest in the world. Armed with all the safety advise, what you are never warned about is how fast you are forward propelled on the zip line! Zooming through the light high altitude thin air, listening to the humming vibrations of the zip, one loses themselves in the picturesque bird-eye view of Keriata Forest, dangling at almost 100m off the ground. The feeling is exhilarating!

zip-line-go

Of utmost importance is paying attention to the Zip line crew instruction to apply the palm brake to reduce speed before landing.

You cannot be told how difficult it is to tear into a sprint, at an altitude of about 2,000m above sea level, right after a 2.4km heart sinking zip line ride. You need to try it! On landing, each team member had to run up a steep hillside trail to get to the station with all the heavy safety harnesses on!

run-run

Running up a steep hillside, to the next competition station right after zip lining.

At this point, a majority of teams had lost some time. Particularly those with skinny zip-liners like ours :-). Being feather-weight does not only have disadvantages on the boxing ring, but on the zip line too! It sometimes means that one cannot propel themselves to the end of the zip line course and therefore have to turn backwards at a 180 degrees angle and pull self to the end and losing precious time. The next activity afforded each team to salvage time lost depending  on how good at archery the team members were. Hitting the bull’s eye saved any team a whopping 60 seconds!

The Forest sought to teach the competitors about Kereita forest ad the community around it through a quiz that each team had to undertake while racing to do the best time on the trail. The questions ranged from what KFS stands for, to exercises that required identifying particular flora ad fauna species as well as acknowledging the wildlife that habitat in the very forest!

tree-climbing

Competitors had to climb up a tall Cyprus tree and ring a bell at its pinnacle before proceeding to the next activity!

We had to run, balancing long logs on the ground and others suspended in the air, maneuver a military kind of assault course before we could move on to the next activity. Touching ground meant having to repeat the entire course and spending more time to complete the triathlon which would amount to losing.

cycling-away

We mountain biked on a well marked 1km trail that was full of surprises!

The well maintained mountain bikes made it fun riding through the set trail. The terrain was full of surprises, but I remember my cyclist friend (Vincent Mulama) who once told me that whenever you enjoy a steep descent while cycling, do it as you prepare self to suffer an ascent! The twists and turns on the dusty trail were a mixture of pleasure and pain. At this point, most adventurers were tired and had no idea of the hill that awaited them at the end of the trail. It was not uncommon to see competitors pushing their bikes up the hill to the finish line.

 

 

Endurance is patience concentrated, and that is exactly what team Bunduz exercised to the end of the race! Mingling directly with unadulterated nature while testing my physical limits is an experience that I cannot trade for anything else. Adventure has a way of making us know ourselves and those around us better, therefore handing us an opportunity to live life in a realm of deeper understanding and spiritual awareness.

limitless

Take on fear by the horns, and endeavour to see what lies past it; only then can you say you live a limitless life! Team Bunduz!

So the next time you have time in your hands, you will still have the options of lazying around, indulging in unhealthy past times, or strapping on your boots and taking on a challenging, character building adventure! If your choice is the latter, you know whom to call; Bunduz.

7d247376-788c-49f7-985b-73db69fb52c5

Mingling directly with unadulterated nature while testing my physical limits is an experience that I cannot trade for anything else.

This was a Sunday well spent! The adventure logistics were organized and executed by the able team sponsor Bunduz. You can catch the next big adventure in the offing come December 2016! If you are an adventurer with a knack for exploring new places, experiencing other cultures and partying some while at it, then look no more. Heed to the ocean call and book your slot in the Zanzibar Trip of The Year!

 

Location: The Forest (Kereita Forest)

Distance: About 55.5km from Nairobi

Activities: Mountain Biking, Zip Lining, Archery, Nature Trail Walks

Documentary by: Macharia Njuguna

Adventure Sponsor: Bunduz

Next planned Adventure: Zanzibar Trip of The Year (Dec 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maralal International Camel Derby (26th Edition)

Mash (adventurewithmash.com) at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

Mash of adventurewithmash.com at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

I was meeting her for the first time. She had come all the way from the UK and her poise said that she was dying with the urge to explore Africa. She sat there patiently as the porters put together all the supplies we needed for the safari. Something about her demeanour said that she had been through the heat and came out a diamond. She had the confident face of a soldier that had survived battle and purred with the calmness of royalty. As I walked around her, something within me said I could trust her. Being from England, oozing confidence and courage, yet calm; I couldn’t find her a better nickname than Thatcher 🙂

 

Meet Thatcher, the newest addition to the Bunduz.com family :-)

Meet Thatcher, the newest addition to the Bunduz.com family 🙂 (Military Grade)

 

The fellows all set to cover 350km from Nairobi to Maralal

The fellows all set to cover 350km from Nairobi to Maralal

We drove Thatcher out into the night and we were well on our way to the Maralal International Camel Derby, an event that has been held in Samburu County for the past 26 years! This year, just like in the past this event was expected to draw attention from both the local and international tourists. The International Camel Derby is held in the small town of Maralal, the administrative headquarters of Samburu County which is a hive of cultural diversity as it is inhabited dominantly by the Samburu and sparsely by the Turkana, Pokot, Rendile and other Kenyan tribes.

The people of Samburu County

The people of Samburu County

350km later from Nairobi, we got to the Maralal town in the early hours of the morning having driven throughout the night. 122km of that stretch was of treacherous terrain, full of craters for potholes and finely sifted sand that blew up into a huge cloud of dust behind Thatcher as we drove down. She handled tough terrain with the ease of a tank on tarmac! She is a fine new acquisition to the Bunduz.com family!

A participant in the Camel Derby race

A participant in the Camel Derby race

The Camel Derby is an event held to celebrate the cultural diversity of the people of Samburu County as well as their way of life. The camel races are a central attraction of the Derby, but it would not be justice if the colour and pomp brought out by the traditionally clad people of Samburu went unnoticed!

A moran at the in his regalia at the Camel Derby main venue

A moran in his regalia at the Camel Derby main venue

The Bunduz.com crew set up camp for the adventurers who were on this trip at the Maralal Safari Lodge, an establishment located in the Maralal National Sanctuary. It was not odd to see zebras and antelopes grazing within and around the camp.

The beautiful Maralal Safari Lodge

The beautiful Maralal Safari Lodge

The 26th Edition of the Maralal International Camel Derby was dubbed ‘Sporting for Conservation, Tourism and Peaceful Cultural Interactions’ and the money raised would be channeled towards improving community conservancies in an effort to promote eco-tourism within the county. This made it a worthwhile undertaking as it coupled adventure with charity.

Tourists riding the single hump dromedary camels of Samburu

Tourists riding the single hump dromedary camels of Samburu

Early on the second day of the Camel derby, the adventurers woke up to a sumptuous breakfast prepared from the Bunduz.com ever ready kitchen. Nothing beats a full breakfast out in the open and by the pool. The adventurers especially those who were scheduled to race on the camels needed this tranquility to calm their nerves in readiness.

A camel whisperer

A camel whisperer

 

Security was tight at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

Security was tight at the 26th International Maralal Camel Derby

In the early morning hours, all the roads led to the Yare Safari Club which was the main Camel Derby venue. The grounds were full of people. The locals adorned in their traditional regalia freely mingled with the scores of tourists as they excitedly walked around the venue to witness all that was on show.

Morans discussing what to expect at the Camel Derby

Morans discussing what to expect at the Camel Derby

As the races began, the road was lined with cheering spectators as the camel riders and their handlers got ready at the starting line. As I clicked away on my camera, I felt the energy in the competitors and the crowd alike. This had the promise of an exciting event! The camels took off at a neck breaking speed with the competitors eyes all set on prize money. However, some camels were not as cooperative and had to be pulled or coerced to run at least half way through the set track. The crowd cheered the competitors on and it felt like we were in one big medieval arena, for a competition that took human brains, animal brute strength and endurance to win.

Spectators lined both sides of the road at the camel race starting point

Spectators lined both sides of the road at the camel race starting point

 

As the camel race began

As the camel race began

 

A head to head camel race!

A head to head camel race!

 

Spectators keenly following the camel race

Spectators keenly following the camel race

After the competition, winners and the losers alike were treated to a great show of cultural dances later in the evening. The morans and their women came out in their best of regalia, showing off the best that the Samburu County has to offer culturally. They sang and danced their hearts out as if conveying their gratitude for the success that the event was turning out to be.

Morans all set to do a traditional dance

Morans all set to do a traditional dance

 

Samburu ladies belting out a tune

Samburu ladies belting out a tune

 

Samburu youth in a playful dance

Samburu youth in a playful dance

 

What a beautiful traditional choir dressed in skin clothes!

What a beautiful traditional choir dressed in skin clothes!

 

A section of the audience enjoying the traditional dances

A section of the audience enjoying the traditional dances

We returned to the Maralal Safari Lodge with the Bunduz.com adventurers who were now quite tired from the events of the day. They were greeted with a warm dinner and as they ate away, the chatter was alive with heroic recounts of what each had been up to during the eventful day. Needless to say, most of us ended up by the ‘watering hole’ read bar, where we were entertained well into the late of night by a very able two-man band from South Africa as we downed bottles of whatever each of us fancied.

The very able two-man South African band

The very able two-man South African band

Tusker, the world's best beer from Kenya

Tusker, the world’s best beer from Kenya

A triathlon race was set for the final day of the Camel Derby. In this race, each team was expected to have three members. One would race on the camel; the other would cycle while another would run to complete the race. Bunduz.com crew and our friends from Warthog Expeditions took part in this race. The participants were very well coordinated, they all gave their best and had fun while racing for charity.

The Bunduz.com and Warthog Expeditions team!

The Bunduz.com and Warthog Expeditions team!

 

Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com mounts his camel in readiness for the triathlon

Mukhtar Sidi of Bunduz.com mounts his camel in readiness for the triathlon

 

The triathlon team walks to the start line

The triathlon team walks to the start line

 

Camels speed off at the start of the triathlon race

Camels speed off at the start of the triathlon race

 

Sarah Reeves of Warthog Expeditions at the finish of the camel race. Henry is on standby to start the bicycle race in the triathlon.

Sarah Reeves of Warthog Expeditions at the finish of the camel race. Henry is on standby to start the bicycle race in the triathlon.

This is one event that I was very excited to attend. I had been to the Camel Derby way back in 2009 and I was glad to see how much the event had grown over the years! In the words of one local, “The Camel Derby is like early Christmas to the people of Samburu!”

Let's call our friends over to share in the fun!

Let’s call our friends over to share in the fun!

 

I made new friends at the 26th Camel derby in Maralal. Lydia the CEO of Tourism in Samburu County and Therese a fun loving tourist :-)

I made new friends at the 26th Camel derby in Maralal. Lydia the CEO of Tourism in Samburu County and Therese a fun loving tourist 🙂

I really can’t sum up all the beauty and fun that I witnessed in this tour documentary, but I certainly took shots that will give you a feel of it so that you can make sure to book your slot for the 27th Maralal International Camel Derby with Bunduz.com come  25th – 28th August 2016 😉

Look out for the next photos-post dubbed, A Hotbed of Cultural Diversity – Samburu

 

Event: The International Maralal Camel Derby (26th Edition)

Location: Maralal, Samburu County, Nothern Kenya

Photography and documentation by: Macharia Njuguna, @macharianjuguna

Adventure and safari organized by: www.bunduz.com