Of all the hikes in and around Honiara, Kakobona seems to be the one least mentioned among the expat crowd. So when a friend of mine got around to organising a hike there, Manyoni and I dragged our two visitors into the Solomon outdoors.
The little that I did know about hiking Kakobona was that you walk inland alongside the Kakobona river (just West of Honiara), and that it’s flat and easy. This small amount of information left me envisaging a flat hike along a muddy track, through tall and thick itchy grass, with the sun beating down from above and a wide, raging, river beside us.
In actual fact, it was anything but.
We met at Godfrey’s place, and were escorted by Benjamin and Austin along a muddy single track through the bush. This track opened up onto the wide, dry Kakobona riverbed. So far the hike was exactly as expected.
From there, we followed the riverbed upstream, with the bed becoming narrower and narrower until, very soon, we found ourselves in a cool chasm surrounded by rock walls and enough foliage to prevent the sun from sizzling our skin. This was not at all expected, and it was such a welcome surprise that my normal heat-zapped energy rapidly returned.
As we continued walking upstream, we commenced climbing over rocky boulders that paved the way for a never-ending series of crystal clear cascades. Every so often, we would plunge ourselves into a natural swimming pool amidst the falls, letting the uncharacteristic coolness of the Solomon Islands reinvigorate and reenergise our minds and souls.
The boulders became gradually bigger the closer we got to the falls, and a stack of gigantic fallen trees made for some adventure-filled scrambling, climbing, wading, and new path-setting. It was not uncommon to need a pull up from above, accompanied by a push up from behind.
After 3 hours of walking (okay, make that 2 hours of walking and 1 hour of splashing around in the water) we reached Kahove Falls. After the beauty of the previous three hours, the falls were a little underwhelming (perhaps due to very little recent rain), but beautiful none-the-less. The best part of the falls was standing under them and letting the water provide an all-over body massage as it dropped from 40m above.
A quick snack and rest was in order before making our way back in reverse: sliding down the same boulders we had climbed up, plunging ourselves in fresh pools whenever we got a little hot, and exiting the cover of foliage and rocks right as the clouds in the sky opened their arms and gave us a parting drench.