Daniel Ohola and his friend Claire Munai had arrived at the park in the afternoon hoping to have a fun-filled excursion within the gorges popular for their scenic beauty.
“We arrived at the park at around 3pm and paid the requisite fees. We were assigned a tour guide who led us into the gorges. We were optimistic that our Sunday would be fun before returning to Nairobi,” said Ohola.
He recounted walking past a group of other tourists of Asian descent at one of the gorges at a time when the weather was clear with some dark scattered clouds in the sky.
“We found a group of around eight Indians who were accompanied by their tour guide and driver. They appeared to be from one family,” narrated Ohola. The two were later led by their guide to one of the gorges known as the Devil’s Bedroom during which it started drizzling.
It wasn’t long before they heard a loud roar which they confused with sound coming from the nearby geothermal projects.“We started hearing noise from the upper side of the gorges and thought it was from the geothermal wells. It became louder and louder and our guide told us to move up the walls as he suspected flash floods were on the way,” he said.
“Within less than two minutes, water started flowing through the dry gorges. A minute later, our feet were inside a furious river flowing at supersonic speed. We climbed higher and only prayed that the water levels wouldn’t get where we were,” said Ohola. Ohola added that as heavy rains started pounding the park, the other visitors they had left behind joined them as they took shelter under the canopy of the gorges.
“They joined us making a group of twelve people. We were taking shelter in a very uncomfortable position. There was not enough ground to step on. Though we didn’t know each other, we held hands together to avoid falling into the waters,” he said.As the water levels rose, the group started moving towards an escape route during which a tragedy struck.
“All of us were terrified and were trembling as we walked towards an exit. A woman who was at the tail end slipped and fell into the waters. The next thing I saw five people being washed away by the waters. It happened so fast that we couldn’t save them,” he recounted.On seeing the turn of events, the survivors stayed put on one location fearing that they too would slip into the river beneath their feet.
“Among those who joined us, only a foreign tourist, her daughter and their driver survived. We stayed trapped in one location for more than an hour until the waters subsided,” he told the Standard newspaper.
This article first appeared on Standard