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KENYA, A BUDDING WATER SPORTS DESTINATION

Kenya successfully hosted the 5th Africa Flatwater Canoe-Kayak championships at Masinga dam from the 24th to the 27th of January 2008. The success story of this event went a long way in showing to the world that Kenya is a diverse and safe destination.

A total of 15 African countries took part in this first of a kind event to held in Kenya which also acted as qualifier event for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The event was officiated by French officials led by the chairman of the International canoeing federation slalom committee.

A team from Iran and North America graced the tournament, their presence a testament that the competing nations had confidence in the tournament’s organization and Kenya as the host and a leading tourist destination.

The still waters of Masinga dam, a source of Kenya’s hydropower, offered an idyllic arena for flat-water canoe races that were dominated by the experienced teams from South Africa and Tunisia.

The fast moving Sagana River in central Kenya was the venue for the canoe/kayak slalom event. Participating teams as well as guest teams from North America and Iran tackled the rapid waters of the Sagana all looking to set the fastest times possible over the well planned course. Athletes from North America, South Africa and Togo carried the day in the four competitive races.

The participants were also treated to Kenya’s world famous wildlife at the Mwea National Reserve. The park which is located within reach of Masinga Dam provided the perfect getaway for the team members. The park is home to a modest elephant population, Rothschild giraffes, common zebras, hippos and over 150 different species of birds.

Masinga dam is a budding location for water sports and is easily accessible by air and road. Accommodation is available at the Masinga Dam Resort. Budget accommodation is readily available in Matuu, a small town 40Kms from Masinga Dam.

You don’t have to be a water sports enthusiast to enjoy what Masinga and its environs have on offer. A good number of interesting sites are easily accessible from Masinga.

By road, an amazing place to visit is Fourteen Falls and Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park. The park is home to the African buffalo, different species of monkey and abundant forest birds and on certain times in the year, a colorful showing of butterflies are a charm to spot.

The serene summit of the hill also popularly christened Kilima Mbogo by the locals provides panoramic views from all angles as far as they eye can see. On clear days, the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya are easily visible.
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