The Locals | Sagana, Kenya | Pt 1
Frank M Minia (Francis)
As a young local boy, I use to see the rafts paddle past me almost every day. I use to believe that the sport was only for Muzungu's (White person). I was introduced to slalom by my sister upon progressing in the sport I competed in the 'African Championship,' which was held on the Tana. My sister taught me how to take photos, which led me to become a photo boater for Stewart Wintersgill. During that time Steward and 'Savage Wilderness' started to train me to become a guide. Over time 'Savage Wilderness' has offered me freelance work and has continued my training, and I take part in a range of outdoor activities.
Whilst photo boating, I never thought I could become a guide or was able to guide a raft. However, when I got my first trip, I was so happy! Over time I have rafted many rivers in Kenya and achieved international qualifications.
I purchased the photo business of an old guide, which has allowed me to have my first kayak and help other people get involved in kayaking and earning money, whilst I still working for Savage. The current photo boater is my younger brother.
Moses Kaniaru (Musa)
I have been kayaking just over a year now! I love it so much! Two friends of mine, Sammy and Glenn, started to take me out kayaking. Beginning on flat water and slowly progression into moving water. But getting into kayaking has opened so many doors for me. I am now a freelance guide at Savage Wilderness, and when I am not working or out kayaking, I am a 'Boda, Boda' chicken delivery man.
I am now confident enough to paddle the commercial section of the Tana, running all the main lines. 2019 Tana River Festival I came first in the intermediates! Won some amazing prizes! Darren Clarkson-King was so kindly donated a set of Werner paddles. I am able to deliver a range of activities at Savage but now training to become a raft guide.
As a village boy, I saw the rafts coming down the Tana when I was washing or swimming in the river. At the age of 15, I got introduced to slalom by a friend of mine. I started to work for Francis as a photo boater, and over time I started becoming a guide at 'Savage Wilderness.'
2018 I won the Tana River Festival
, and in 2019 I came second only a few points behind Sam Ward (owner of Kayak the Nile
). Those events helped restart my slalom paddling. I was fortunate enough to head to Spain for a month of training and compete in the 'World Championship' in 2019. Beginning of 2020, I headed over to France to compete in the 'African Championship.' However, due to COVID19, the competition got canceled, and I had to return home.
I have been lucky enough to paddle different rivers in Kenya, Spain, and France. But one of my memorable moments is paddling a C2 boat with my three-year-old.
UPDATE: Sammy got his little shredder into his own kayak for the first time and he loves it!
Want To Know More?
If you'd like to know more follow Francis, Musa, and Sammy on their social media feeds.
Francis | Facebook
Musa | Facebook & Instagram
Sammy | Facebook & Instagram
Go here if you'd like more information on the Tana River Festival, Savage Wilderness, or Kayak the Nile.