Tell me a better way to feel, digest the vibes of these words and revitalize the body and soul through active learning, and exhilarating experiences than in an idyllic, safe and friendly environment- nature’s palms.
I signed up for my trip with Nelly, who did not hesitate when I mentioned that it would be ziplining at Kereita Forest. She had just landed from her solo trip. Honestly, I expected a tonne of excuses from her but here is another beauty of travel. When you are intentional about it, you cannot afford a bucket of excuses, to say the least.
The day of the travel had me wake up earlier than usual. I stayed at the centre of my bed, stared at the dark ceiling and asked myself for the thousandth time if I had the courage. For a long time, I had a fear of heights. The thought of being up in the air, harnessing onto a cable a hundred feet above the ground, did not sit well with me. I could fall and die. I would not like that! I would not want that! Such a shame. I am sure our sentiments resonate at this moment. For this reason, I avoided height activities like a plague.
Arriving at Kereita, it was quite chilly. An extremely cold and piercing wind was blowing. We were benumbed with cold. Not a bird chirped; they probably huddled together in their nests. To shake off the cold, we engaged in some team building activities and got acquainted with each other. A moment to seize being the strangers we were in the bus. Critical in group travel.
Tips: Carry warm clothing when visiting the forest. In group travel, try not to be anti-social. You will get extremely bored.
Active learning is an instructional method that engages students in the learning process. I feel obliged to explain. At the forest, after signing the consent forms, you are taken through a comprehensive guide on the activities you decide to indulge in. The first stop for us was ziplining. We were geared up and instructed to assemble at the learning zone. Standing there, as we carefully listened to the instructors, I could notice people’s mix of reactions: Frozen faces, quirked eyebrows, gasps, shy whispers and tight lips- probably in a show of their fear or scepticism. Could they have been questioning their decision? Conversely, there was a handful of us itching to get through with the training and into the real deal.
Tip: Do not worry about not knowing how to zipline, shoot an arrow or shooting your paintball, the forest have the kindest instructors teaching its guests all these activities. Carry along your learning spirit.
Approaching the Ziplining area, we spotted one of the guides doing his daily routine; ensuring the cables were fit to be used. He made it look so easy. For a moment I was quite confident I could get along with this without making a fool of myself. However, when the bravest in the group did his first line, the shrill scream he let out took us aback. A fully grown man let out the loudest scream I had ever witnessed. For a moment I was rooted to the ground, ramrod straight, clasped my fingers to my chin, then my knees began to quiver and my stomach tied itself into a knot. I waited for a couple of us to go ahead of me as I stared at the long cable and repeatedly reminded myself that I was here for a killing. I gathered my courage. Nelly’s scream almost shattered it once more!
I stepped onto the platform. I was set up, ready to zip and the guide had me secured and ready to go. For a minute I was terrified, I screamed. A bit. Then it gradually felt like I was flying in a lawn chair! I comfortably sat back in my harness as it kept a hold of me as I glided over the canopy. Taking a glimpse of the ground underneath, I was amazed. You get to capture the stunning bird’s eye view of the ground underneath; the Almighty’s masterpiece! Spectacular!
Tip: Fear is paralyzing. When setting out for an adventure, pack it in a little suitcase and shove it under your bed before you leave. Carry along your adventure spirit.
The rest of the day had us having a blast hiking at nature trail, cycling, participating in the archery and paintballing. The sun was up, burning up the dew on the grass that shone like broken pieces of mirrors on the ground. The birds of the air chirped, the trees swayed side by side as though enjoying a tune to major nature, and we could not help but soak up the vibes of all these. Surreal!Later I asked the screaming man and Nelly whether they had an agenda. Their screams were anormal. They expressed how much they had been carrying a lot of baggage; stress from work, final year projects and relationships they needed to dropdown. A killing. I also had a relationship drama. This would be the beginning of the many birthdays I would celebrate without my bestfriends of close to 6 years. We had fallen out, and our egos were as big as our signatures. Another killing!
Nature is healing. We all chase this high, in one way or another, knowing the impulse of adventure is one of the hopeful symptoms of life. Having conquered my fear of heights, the following week I left for a 2-month- trip to Tanzania, where I hiked to the highest waterfall in Kilimanjaro and had a jump off it!
I had an incredible time, and the guides and people from Keitan Safaris, not to forget my buddy Nelly, made it more magical! Can’t believe I could say this, but I am looking forward to my next experience at the Forest! Later, we danced the evening away and the April babies had the chance of sharing their cake!
Article written by: Ess Opiyo. (ess_opiyo on Instagram).
Trip credits: Keitan Safaris. (@keitansafaris on Instagram and Facebook)
Photography by Brent Focus (@40cus_photography on Instagram)