One of the first things they will tell you at Diguna High Ropes Challenge, is that the Danger of a fatal fall is REAL. A couple of glances will be enough to confirm that, but you will stay, because you did not go ALL THE WAY to RONGAI to quit! Seriously! 😃
Right after, and thankfully so, they will show you how to avoid the risk of a fatal fall, using the harness that supports you at the waist, hips and upper thigh, attached to the hooks and chords which should always remain fastened to the steel cables throughout the course.
Of course you will doubt the ability of the hooks and harness to support your weight and prevent a fatal fall. Of course you will. However, the support system can hold down the weight of a Toyota Vitz, so unless you’re heavier than that, you should be fine.
My friends and I had been trying to go to the High ropes course at Diguna for over a year. At some point last year, the Course had been booked for ALL Saturdays to the end of the year. There was scanty information on the internet about the course (which was unnerving, and I wanted to change that) and the postponing kept building up our anticipation. We did get to go mid this year – so Yes, it was worth the wait, and yes, I want to go back Again and Again.
PS: This course reminds me of Ninja Warrior, or Tarzan, or George of the Jungle, and if you love that kind of adventure then you should definitely try this out.
The Diguna High ropes Course begins with the ascent on Swinging Rungs. Think of a flight of stairs, where each step is a cylingrical log, held down from the top using chords on each side, which makes it swing and sway in the wind. You step on the first rung, swing yourself forward to the next rung, which is further up. Grip the chord of the next rung and move one foot (the chords are still swinging FYI), and then release previous chords and move the second hand and foot (amid the swings) without unintentional splits. Repeat for at least 5 such spaced rungs, and then get to the rest before the next challenge.
I didn’t think the course would be too hard looking at it from the ground, but this first challenge made me laugh at my naivety. Maintaining a firm foot grip on a cylindrical swinging step is already hard enough, shifting steps is even harder.
Tremor Bridge – This is one of the hardest challenges on the course (even the trainer can confirm) but I found it SURPRISINGLY EASY (Did someone say Ninja Warrior? 😃).
It’s a horizontal bridge, with widely spaced thin planks on which you walk, and a rope for support. At some point in the middle, you have to cross over the rope, which is your support, without slipping off the planks. It was not called the Tremor Bridge for nothing, yo!😉
I found this challenge easier because the planks had a better grip (compared to the cylindrical rungs in the first). A key trick is to maintain your steps on the middle of the planks, so that you are balanced and do not topple over. I may have been trying to regain my esteem after the first challenge bruised my confidence, so that may have helped a bit.
Logs in a Line – This horizontal challenge had two options – Walk on swinging logs arranged side by side (as opposed to ascending logs in the first course), Or Walk on a tight steel rope, while holding onto suspended swinging ropes for support.
I took the Tight Steel Rope option, partly because the trainers said it was easier, and maybe because I did not have an easy experience with the swinging logs. Tight rope involved keeping feet steady on the steel line, and stretching to reach out to the suspended ropes to get ahead. The chord linking your harness to the steel cable on the top also provides good support, so if you’re keen enough to avoid missing a step, you will be fine.
Swinging logs – Also Known as Tarzan Swings or Monkey swings
In my esteemed opinion (and that of hundreds of other participants and trainers), this is the hardest part of the course. So many people do not even try, and pick the option to swing on the harness and be pulled over to the other end. On the day that we visited the course, only 1 guy from another group managed to finish, albeit with a bit of struggle, and he looked fit as a fiddle and I think he’s had prior experience
Because life teaches us to believe in ourselves and to take challenges head on and to do what others think is impossible, you can guess which option I took. 😄
I mostly just wanted to know how hard it was, and I wanted to relive the Tarzan Experience from my childhood.
The swinging logs are Blood, Sweat and Tears.😅😢😂
On this challenge, you clamp onto a rope that’s hanging loosely from the steel cables up top, and then swing yourself to the next rope. Yes, hug the rope and hold up your whole body weight on that rope and swing, like Tarzan. Swing to the next rope and move, like Tarzan. Repeat. It’s like how monkeys swing on a branch that’s hanging, and then jump over to the next branch like they were born for that life! We clearly aren’t born for that.
Your hands will shake and your palms will ache and sweat, from trying to hold up your weight on a swinging suspended rope. You will miss the foot step and end up sitting on it, and then you will try to stand and your whole body will refuse.
The trick is to swing and move through the ropes as fast as you can, before the aches and the sweat and the possible blisters (Gloves May help). Know a guy who never misses gym sessions and who has been tossing their fitness in your face – take them to the Swinging logs, to the true test of fitness. Worth a try though, since they’ll just drag you away (no shame) to the other end when you get stuck.
Rope Ladder – This is an ascent, from the lower course challenges to the higher course. This is not as tough as the first swinging rungs ascent, but by this time, you may (or may not) doubt your fitness for the next challenge and the ascent can be steep.
The higher challenges include Rope loops (above) where you walk on loops, The Plank Bridge (below) which is like the tremor bridge but without a rope for support (harness is still firm), the Floppy Two Line which is walking on a tight steel cable higher up, and the Beam Balance which involves walking on a ten metre beam (think of electricity pole) and balancing on it. The higher levels are a lot about balance, but they may be easier if you hold on to the chord linking to the harness for support (which is cheating so try balancing first ).
The higher course challenges are far up where the air is fresher and the views are beautiful, but looking down can unsettling for some. If you do not want to take the higher course, you can go down at this point (which some of us did because of the sun and hunger and time). The Higher challenges are part of the reason I really do want to go back again.
‘The only way down’ is the POWER DROP – You are suspended on your harness, and then left to swing/ hang from your waist, and when you least expect it, the trainer drops you, in levels. The drop is sudden, your stomach feels weird and you want to laugh and scream and howl and do all of those at once. This one is really good for control freaks, yo!😄
The Power Drop, which comes with sharp screams from the ladies and muffled howls from the gents (because, manning up), marks the end of the ultimate high ropes course! If you think about it, the course is a lesson on life – some challenges are easier for some and some are really hard for all of us, but the point is to keep going anyway, stay focused and stay connected to the course (to avoid fatal falls).
Diguna High ropes course or the Dragon Boat at NV Park? For me- The High ropes course wins any day. I still cannot get over the feeling in my stomach and the fright and agony that just 7 minutes on the Dragon Boat brings me (Think banana ride). Some sections of the High course are tough, but there’s time to rest after each, and if you slip, the chords attached to your harness hold you, and you can always pretend you’re Tarzan and swing your way back to safety. 😃
Location: The course is on the grounds of AIC Diguna in Ongata Rongai. On Masai lodge road, on the way to Africa Nazarene University.
How to get there: If Driving, take the road to Rongai, up to Masai Lodge (after Multimedia University, but right before Rongai Town). At Masai lodge stage, take a left turn on to the earth road. AIC Diguna will be on your left, about 2km distance.
If using public transport, board a bus number 125 or 126 to Rongai / Kiserian , and alight at Maasai Lodge Stage. At Maasai lodge, take a Taxi or Tuktuk or Motorbike, alight at AIC Diguna or walk the 2 km.
Cost/ bookings : Contact the team via the Facebook page for updated prices, bookings and other detail – Diguna High ropes challenge on Facebook
Have you taken the Diguna High ropes challenge? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below! Sharing is caring! 😄