Nyeri as a county of mountains, hills and valleys, it is also a place of rivers. I grew up near one river by name GURA RIVER. The “Usain Bolt of all rivers.” It originates from Aberdares Ranges and known to be the fastest river in Africa.
I grew up at the banks of this river in late 60s and as I turned 6 years before joining primary school, I started learning how to swim from this river. Our mothers were our teachers and trainers in swimming. They could carry us on the back as they swim upstream and after a few tutorial classes, they would dive in the river living you to save yourself. Amazingly, we didn’t have swimming costumes so it was either nude game or a dressed in a complete dress. Why the hustle? Swimming nude was the best option.
As risky as it was, one had to swim through back to the shore; not without some struggles but with it, confidence was gained.
The then activities was local made floating mats from dry maize stock. It happened that maize haven’t was in January and August during school holiday breaks. We could complete who would flow down steam faster as the fastest river floated us through. Another activity was fishing. My big brothers were expert on this. Since my mother would not allow her cooking pot for this, my brothers could use “Kimbo/Cowboy cooking fat tins” make bush fire and then boil the fish.
Another activity was sliding down the muddy hills. We had cleared a hilly area (not for hiking) but we could fetch water to wet the ground, sit on banana stock and slide down to the river. What a game! This was meant for boys but girls could try it too.
2022 HIKKING , SWIMMING, FISHING AND CAMPING SAFARI LAUNCH
In tourism industry there are so many unveiled activities. At Shelter Tours we have toured Gura River and come up with 2-3 hours hiking activity by the river.
This tour will be a combination of community activity.
There so much memories running in my mind. Girls could be vetted by young men looking for wives by how good the girl is in washing clothes in the river without letting them flow off with the fast waters. River stones were used to dry the clothes. Watching them dry without being blown up by the wind was another task. (See another story here).
Come to fetching water by clay pot without breaking it; this was before the modern metal pots were introduced where we used to carry 2x 20 liters on the back tied together.
Those interested in history of Mau Mau will have a night listening to this fascinating stories and joining women in doing their morning chores such as milking the cows and goats, fetching water from Gura River for domestic us, learn about coffee farming and other medicinal plants, culture and traditions of Kikuyu young girls and boys. How time and seasons were divined.
We will have coffee roasting and tasting activity as well as banana flour milling and sugarcane harvesting and juice making.
Gura River during Mau Mau( Kenya freedom fighters)
The Gura River played a great role in saving the lives of the locals during Mau Mau era. It was from Karina bridge where Aguthi started…there was no bridge and locals used to lay logs across the river only for the villagers to criss cross from either of the side.. When the colonizers came the situation accelerated there were betrayers among the locals who sold out the solidarity of Mau Mau to Mzungu an then the locals or the Mau Mau slaughtered them an threw them into the River Gura.. During all these Colonial eras this river and it’s neighborhood severed as hiding areas of Mau Mau. Still later on it served as recreative areas… happy valley for festival seasons. But as far as Mau Mau issues were concerned it was valley and river of hiding. Kangubiri and Kiariua these served as Detention Camps…those who resisted colonization had to be tamed.