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Kayaking with elephants at Mugie dam

There is nothing more thrilling like kayaking in Mugie dam. They may seem similar, but kayaking and canoeing are different. It is distinguished from canoeing by the the sitting position of the paddler as well as the number of blades on the paddle. Armed with the spirit of adventure and excited like a woman who has just won the lottery, I was set to explore Mugie dam, Kenya’s third largest dam.

There are many private dams, which have been constructed for irrigation, but few have been turned into canoeing or kayaking venues. My guide, George Dipaloy had already packed our meal into the four-wheel drive and off we set for a short game drive before heading to kayak. Dipaloy handed me my kayak, low-to-the water, canoe-like boat, and I sat facing forward, my legs in front.

He also handed me a double-bladed paddle to pull front to back on one side and then the other in rotation. It felt quite long and I wondered whether I would have enough strength to hold and balance to the end. Noticing my hesitation, Dipaloy assured me that things will be fine, and after taking a deep breathe, we began our trip.

From research, the Eskimos created Kayaks, thousands of years ago. During these days, driftwood and sometimes the skeleton of a whale, was employed to build the kayak’s frame, and animal skin, specifically the sealskin was used to create the body. The kayak’s original purpose was for fishing and hunting.

They became increasingly popular by the mid-1800s as the Europeans became interested with the French and Germans starting kayaking as a sport. Despite my water phobia, I managed to still my mind from imagining the worst like the kayak capsizing. Besides, Dipaloy was great company; answering every question I had about the dam.

The population of critically endangered Grevys zebra and Jackson’s Hartebeests as well as bird species has also been preserved at Mugie. We arrived at the picnic island where people can relax with a view of the animals drinking water. People can camp here too; swim, have their sundowner after a long game drive and also fish in the dam. Tilapia and the catfish are the two types of fish that can be caught here.

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