Kahove Falls at Kakabona is one of the most beautiful day hikes in Honiara. Taking around 4-5 hours return, this is an easy to organise walk that is close to Honiara.
We rocked up to Kakabona beach at 7:40 am with a crew of eight. The guide I prearranged a few days prior, Peter, was nowhere in sight.
A lady at a nearby betel stand informed us, “Oh hem dringum tumas las naet,” and lead us to his house.
We wandered into the village and stopped outside a large house where a bleary-eyed Peter materialised looking like someone had, very recently, kicked him out of bed.
“Peter”, I query. “You hungover?”
He smiled, betel nut red teeth, and started cracking up, “You know?!”
Well, I know, the betel nut lady knows, the whole village knows, Peter.
He was sprightly enough not to cancel the trip and started rounding up the troops. We end up with half the village wanting to come for walkabout numbering a total of six ‘guides’ and three pikinini. We must have looked particularly incapable.
The walk started in earnest once we exited the village and reached a riverbed of white-washed stones. Like most hikes in the Solomon Islands there was no path and for the next 2.5 hours our trail was the river with our guides occasionally diverting us inland when the rocks were too large to climb.
It should be mentioned that hikes in the Solomons are never just a simple process of putting one foot blindly in front of the other. You need to be fit, surefooted, and good at balancing on slippery rocks. It is a mixture of walking, stumbling, slipping, jumping and climbing over lots of sticky-outy bits.
As we walked, the dried out riverbed got wetter and turned into a stream, and then a river. We started seeing little waterfalls along the sides and the first of the waterholes. There are a ton of them along the track which the pikinini used to backflip into as they waited for us to catch up.
About a third of the way through, canyons built up alongside us and squeezed the light out of the trail. We slowed to enjoy what is unarguably the most beautiful and unique part of the trail. Crazy to think this is all so close to Honiara.
It only took about ten minutes to walk through the canyons before the bush restraddled the riverside. Doing the walk even up to the canyons sans waterfall would be worth it.
After an hour more of rock climbing and log balancing, the landscape transforms into brown boulders and loose rocks.
Kahove Falls soon came into view.
In its current state, it was a bit of an anticlimax. Not its fault though. A combination of recent earthquakes and landslides has turned what used to be a terrific waterfall into its current underwhelming state. It also didn’t help that we’d done this in the middle of the dry season when the river was low.
Reaching the waterfall was cue for a pitstop so we jumped in for a dip and shared our SBD 9 cheese buns from Honiara Hot Bread Kitchen with our guides.
Most guides bring nothing but a pair of jandals, not even a drop of water, and when the going gets tough, they leave their jandals behind on a rock to pick up on the return trip.
We chilled out for about 45 minutes, during which, we realised our fren’s soles have become unstuck. We’ve been on enough hikes here now to know, bring duct tape!
A little bit of ingenuity and we made the return trip back the same way we came. Unfortunately, doubling back is pretty common for most tracks in the Solomon Islands but at least with this track we got to swim every ten minutes.
Once we got back to the dry riverbed it is just past 1 pm and hot. We arrived at the village to discover that Peter has disappeared without a goodbye, presumably to nurse his hangover. We pay our SBD 100 per person to one of the teenagers that has accompanied us along the way and head back to Kakabona beach for a swim.
Overall, this was one of the most beautiful walks we have done in Honiara and an easy one to organise. Although the waterfall was a tad disappointing, the 2.5 hour walk to get there was stunning. The canyons and waterholes along the way make up for what the waterfall doesn’t deliver.
There is no official guide and the Solomon Islands Tourist Bureau does not provide any contacts. The best way to organise this hike is to go to Kakabona and walk around asking for a guide to the waterfalls. You can prearrange this a few days before if you like having peace of mind, or just turn up on the day. If you do make arrangements a few days before, take someone’s contact number.
Head West to Kakabona Beach, past White River, until you see a sign for Eden Bay on the right-hand side. Park there. This is a good meet-up point for your guide and the rest of your crew.
Have an early night the night before and start early between 7am-8am. For people of average fitness, plan 2.5 hours there, a 45-minute break at the waterfall, and 2.5 hours back.
SBD 100 per person
SBD 30 per car for car parking
Although we had arranged with our guide to park along the coast, we ended up parking at Kakabona beach.
- Hardy walking shoes that won’t get heavy when waterlogged
- Snacks (+extra for guides)
- Dry bag
- Duct tape – in case shoe soles come off