Kakabona – not just Latin for good poop
Kahove Falls at Kakabona is one of the most beautiful day hikes in Honiara. Taking around 2.5 hours, the canyons and waterholes along the way are stunning.
We rocked up to Kakabona beach at 7:40 am with a crew of eight. The guide I prearranged, Peter, is nowhere in sight. A lady at a nearby betel stand is helpful and informs us, “Oh hem dringum tumas las naet.” Turns out he’s still asleep but a man walking by who has overheard our conversation offers to take us to his house.
We wander into the village and stop outside a large house where a bleary-eyed Peter materialises looking like someone had kicked him out of bed.
“Peter”, I query. “You hungover?”
He smiles, betel nut red teeth, and starts cracking up, “You know?!”
Well, I know, the betel nut lady knows, the whole village knows, Peter.
He’s sprightly enough not to cancel the trip and we continue walking through the village. We end up with half the village wanting to come for walkabout numbering a total of six ‘guides’ and two pikinini. We must have looked particularly incapable.
The walk starts in earnest once we exit the village and reach a riverbed of white-washed stones. Like most hikes in the Solomon Islands there is no path and for the next 2.5 hours our trail is the river with our guides occasionally diverting us in-land 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. It is a mixture of walking, stumbling, slipping, jumping and climbing over various manifestations of nature. An activity that demands balance and sure-footedness rather than a better than average level of physical fitness.
The dried out riverbed gets wetter and turns into a stream, and then a river. We start seeing little waterfalls along the sides and the first of the waterholes. There are a ton of them along the track which the pikinini use to jump and flip into as they wait for us to catch up.
About a third of the way through, canyons build up alongside us and squeeze the light out of the trail. We slow to enjoy what is unarguably the most beautiful and unique part of the trail.
This takes about ten minutes to walk through before the bush re-straddles the riverside.
An hour more of rock climbing and log balancing, the landscape transforms into brown boulders and loose rocks. Kahove Falls soon comes into view.
In its current state, it is rather underwhelming. Not its fault though. A combination of recent earthquakes and landslides has turned what used to be a terrific waterfall into it’s current piddle-like state.
Reaching the waterfall is cue for a refreshing dip and the 9 SBD cheese buns we bought from Honiara Hot Bread Kitchen. We share whatever extra we have with our guides but come a bit short as we weren’t expecting half the village to accompany us. It is interesting comparing the cargo we bring on a hike compared to Solomon Island guides. We have special shoes, special sprays, special creams, special drink bottles that keep beverages icy cold, lunchboxes that have been carefully meditated over and prepared the night before, all packed into special bags with special compartments. Most guides bring nothing but their 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. As I write this I realise why they might have brought along more guides than originally anticipated.
We chill out for about 45 minutes, during which, we realise our buddy’s soles have become unstuck.
A little bit of ingenuity (shoelaces tied around the soles and then kept secure with a sock worn on the outside) and we make 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 get to swim every ten minutes.
Once we get back to the dry riverbed it is just past 1 pm and hot. We arrive at the village and find that Peter has disappeared without a goodbye, presumably to nurse his hangover. We pay our 100 SBD 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. It is one of the longer walks but definitely one of the easiest to get to and 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.
The Dets in Less Words
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.
$100 per person
$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/Eden Bay.
- Hardy walking shoes that won’t get heavy when waterlogged
- Snacks (+extra for guides)
- Dry bag
- Duct tape – in case shoe soles come off