With the Adventure team in lockdown along with the rest of the planet in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid it’s an ideal time to catch up with some of RVA’s guides and bring you a little insight into who it is that takes you out and delivers the great adventure experiences we are known for.
We start with Maina Daniel who has been with RVA for many years and is a senior instructor. A skilled carpenter and passionate biker who started out in the adventure world by representing Kenya at a national level racing in the famous Tour Du Rwanda. A well qualified mountain bike instructor but also Maina was one of the first two Kenyan citizens to become an internationally qualified rock climbing instructor being assessed in South Africa. Maina is also a qualified canyon guide. While we wait to see when we are able to get back into the field we took this chance to catch up with Maina and ask a few questions to give a little insight into what makes him tick….
1: What first got you interested in adventure?
Originally it was cycle racing both on the race circuit around Kenya and also internationally that gave me the exposure to meet other people where I began to learn about all the other outdoor activities. I also live in Naro Moro which is a town sat below Mt Kenya so I always knew about mountain climbing. It didn’t take long to start to find that I was interested in more and more adventurous activities and quickly took to climbing.
2: If you had to choose one adventurous pursuit what would it be?
I think it would have to be biking. There are endless possibilities around Laikipia and around Mt Kenya. With a good bike then you can just keep exploring.
3: When on expedition what’s your favourite meal?
Nyama Choma, in-fact whether on expedition or not this would be my favourite meal. I would also add that the RVA BBQ is pretty hard to beat and a very good way to fill up after a day in the field.
4: Whats your favourite piece of equipment?
‘I really enjoy working with ropes and creating safe systems, so I would choose a rope as my favourite piece of outdoor kit. There is a huge amount you can do with a rope, descend a cliff or Canyon, climb a rock face a rope opens up whole world of adventure, just so long as you know which knots to tie then its a piece of kit that opens up all sorts of possibilities’
5: Whats been your favourite moment’s working with RVA?
A recent recce we did to look at the climbing potential in Northern Kenya where we managed to make an ascent of a remote rock tower known as the Cat was a pretty special day at work. I had often wondered whether it was possible to get to the top and we managed it.
I also enjoy being out on the bike trails on Mt Kenya’s slopes, its always a great ride no matter how many times I do it.
Certainly a big highlight for me was when I was sent to South Africa to sit my rock climbing instructors test which I passed and was able to bring that back to Kenya which really boosted my work as an adventure guide.
6: When you’re off on a long expedition and camping what’s the essential things you take?
‘My iPad – after a long day and you zip up the tent its nice to have some music to listen to. That and a comfortable sleeping mat is essential to get a good nights sleep. Lastly coffee is a very important thing to have on expedition. My insulated mug is filled up at breakfast as a matter of priority.
7: Whats been your favourite adventure moment?
Rock climbing in Northern Kenya and exploring the Ololokwe area. Discovering new areas has always interested me whether that’s been on the rock or with a bike.’
8: Whats your favourite place for adventure in Kenya?
‘The forests below Mt Kenya and in the Gathiuru area, these provide a lifetimes worth of exploring and as things grow or are cut back the terrain is always changing. The Ngare Ndare forest is also a place I love to explore every time we go in new ideas and venues appear and I would think if we keep looking then more and more will appear, the further you go down the rabbit hole the more things appear. But there are many places in Kenya where I have enjoyed outdoor sports from kayaking on the Tana river, rock climbing at Hell’s gate and of course Africa’s second highest mountain is literally on my door step so I am pretty spoilt for choice.’