A few years back, we visited the Fourteen Falls of Thika -Kenya which are located 65 km North East of Nairobi off Thika-Garissa Road turning at Makutano junction. The Fourteen Falls are a further 20kms away, mostly on tarmac, with only the last 5kms or so being a dirt road. Having to cover the distance from Nairobi to Kitengela village daily to get to the High school and see the students through dust and air pollution we feel each day our lungs getting more and more polluted. Already my thyroid is in a bad state and it will get worse if we don’t hurry back home. Our private driver Jack is happy to announce that today’s ride won’t take us too long to reach the Fourteen Falls of Thika, but I am not sure if I can believe him, aware of the roads’ condition in general.
On our way we come across small kiosks selling fruit and stop to buy a branch of bananas for the trip but also for the family who is hosting us.
For pineapple lovers, Thika is an important place –probably the biggest supplier of pineapples in Kenya. On the way to the Fourteen Falls of Thinka, we come across expansive plantations of pineapples.
The Fourteen Falls of Thika got their name from the 14 small streams that merge to form the big waterfall at the foot of the Kilima Mbogo Hills. These streams are part of the Athi River, Kenya’s second longest river that starts in the Ngong Hills before winding its way to the Indian Ocean.
Fourteen Falls Thika – Kenya
We are finally here and the man by the entrance-gate sees that I have a camera and asks for 600ks which I find ridiculous. I decide to leave the camera behind and use the digital one for 300 ksh. We park the Jeep at the parking lot and walk down towards the rocks at the base of the Fourteen Falls of Thika which is characterized by large boulders and the powerful sound of rushing water as it cascades down the 25-foot drop.
The water was not as clear as we expected and we were quite disappointed. If we had to see hippos we had to move a bit backwards but we weren’t dying that much to see any. I have been to so many Safari trips during my 5 week trip to South Africa several years back that I could not care less.
Fourteen Falls Thika – Kenya
They would not make the slightest difference to me. I was disappointed with the polluted water and that was enough. The only thing that excited me was the sound of the water and some yellow flowers that added some beauty to the surroundings.
Anyhow, we started taking photos when some guys approached trying to persuade us to have some with their camera. I tried to avoid them but they were persistent. Jack agrees that he is going to pay for one or two, but the moment the boy presses the button he realizes there is no roll of film in his old camera and hurries back to fetch it.
The idea of visiting the Fourteen Falls of Thika might excite anyone, but these days the sight is totally different. The foul chemical smell, the reams of rubbish strewn across all the rocks, the weird foam from industrial waste, really ruin the experience. It is definitely the result of towns along the river not having proper waste disposals. I want to believe someone, very soon tries to address all these issues.
The Fourteen Falls Thika – Kenya
These days, in 2017 the situation is so different from what we experienced some years back. A picture is worth a thousand words! Thika nowadays has become a new industrial town and this is just one of the many towns that this river passes by. The pollution is extended and it is unfortunate that these beautiful falls have become a dumpsite. It is especially worrying that people still come to play in this water and that tour agencies include this place as a tourist site.
The guys in the photo are boatmen who take families out on their boats to the small island in the middle of the falls. This is how they earn their living to provide some cash for the family. They have taken it upon themselves to clean with the little means they have. People who live and work in this area state that they have been let down by environmental organizations and local authorities but they are insistent that as the rains continue to bring more garbage, they will be here to clean it. They don’t expect a penny from anyone for doing so. Personally, I am not optimistic at all, but at least there are still people who care.