Rock climbing can be an exciting and adventurous expedition for most people. And this was the case for a youth group from a local city church as they opted to embark on a journey to climb the Nzambani Rock in Kitui County.
The myth is that if one was to go round the rock seven times, they would switch genders. So if a man was to go round the rock seven times, he would become a woman and vice versa.
As the 20 youth members began their trek up, the story lingered in their minds, some afraid as the myth tales had it, the same fate would befall them.
According to one such tale, a long time ago, a man admired the way women were treated in the society and went around the rock and his sex was changed.
This is however yet to be proved as the diameter of that rock does not allow anyone to complete even a cycle.
“I had heard of the stories being told about the history of the rock and I wanted to see how the rock looks like and how possible it is to change one’s gender,” said Stephen Mwariri, a pastor at the African Inland Church Ruaraka in Nairobi who led the youth for the hike.
“Going up the over 150 stairs to get to the top of the rock was the greatest adventure I have experienced in the recent past,” he said.
Harrison Makenzi said that once one gets to the top of the rock, one experiences a cool breeze where one can relax and enjoy an aerial view of the area.
Makenzi said that although he hails from the county, he had never visited the rock.
For Churchill Okumu, climbing the rock removed the fear of heights.
“At first I thought we will climb the rock on foot, but when we arrived and had to go up the stairs the hike became more interesting as I had to fight a phobia for heights,” he said.
The staircase is fenced to prevent children and other people afraid of heights from falling or feeling uneasy.
The members of the youth group have over the years been taking up rock and mountain climbing as a bonding experience with the added advantage of keeping fit. Last year, they opted to go up Mt Longonot.
According to Stellah Njeri, a mountain hiking expert, before deciding to go for rock climbing, it is important for one to check if they are ready to engage in the activity.
For first timers, one can start by doing simple exercises to strengthen muscles and increase heart rate.
If one is not physically fit, the simple climb may feel gruelling. In a worst case scenario, one may faint or die during the hike.
While on rock climbing, such as Nzambani Rock which has steps leading to the top, one can involve themselves in various activities to make the hike more interesting and challenging.
“Depending on one’s strength one can decide to run up the rock in zig zag ways, sit, walk, lift rocks and engage in as many activities as they want to make the hike more interesting,” she said.
According to Njeri, in the case of Nzambani rock which has stair steps, one should to prepare themselves psychologically to confront the fear of heights.