Francis Leruso, RVA’s leading Bush Guide, was born in Kenya’s Samburu region in a place called Kililio (meaning hanging place) and due to keeping with his traditional nomadic life is currently living in a place called Chumvi in Laikipia just a few miles from our Forest Camp. Francis completed his education in 2014 in nearby Dol Dol. From there he joined the RVA team as a security assistant but quickly developed a taste for adventure and took on the role of Bush Skills guide. Things didn’t stop there and he has since become qualified in mountain biking and has a keen taste for rock climbing, which as soon as lock down finishes is looking for forward to getting back on with.
What first got you interested in adventure?
I first got interested in adventure one day as the RVA Security Guard at Forest Camp. I was asked to come down to the forest to accompany a group so I could keep an eye on the bus. This is where I first saw clients rock climbing and canyoning. I loved it and was pretty keen to try for myself. One of the great things about the RVA team is that we often get the whole team involved either on training with the adventure instructors or just for the team to experience and learn more about each others roles and what we do. I was pretty hooked the moment I tried it!
If you had to stay with one adventurous pursuit?
I would love to carry on and do much more rock climbing and want to work towards my SPA instructors climbing award. I enjoyed exploring and climbing back in my home area just before the lockdown began on a recent trip to Samburu and the Ololokwe area, so for me its definitly rock climbing.
When on expedition what’s your favourite meal?
My favourite meal is Nyama Choma especially at the end of a good expedition. BBQ goat on the top of Ololokwe, being from Samburu is a tradition I love! So it’s hands down my favourite meal.
Whats your favourite piece of equipment?
It’s my spear. Being that my favourite piece of equipment is also a part of my tradition and culture which is the thing which helped me start teaching adventurous activities with bush skills. Having been out on the activities though I am keen on ropes and bikes. I now bike to and from my home in Chumvi to work and into Nanyuki for supplies.
Whats been your favourite moment working with RVA?
A day we had a trip to Ol Gaboli community camp with the team and we went kayaking. We put the boats on the Ewaso Nyiro and I wasn’t a confident swimmer at the time and suddenly the kayak capsized and I had to shout for help. But the team was there which has been something which I have learned about the adventure world. We learn to trust each other in a challenging environment, which leads onto personal development. I am now confident at jumping and swimming in the main canyon which has all come from the support around me and my keenness to develop in the adventure world.
When you’re off on a long expedition and camping what’s the one thing you take?
I think it’s my mountain bike. I often take my bike on expeditions and enjoy going to explore the surroundings or area that we are operating in. I recently bought a Trek bike which I maintain and keep running.
What has been your favourite adventure moment?
Rock climbing – After getting going on the crags in the Ngare Ndare Forest and those first steps on the rock, it was great to head to the North and climb to the top of the Cat in the Ololokwe area. That was an amazing moment for me.