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Tourism: Exploring the ecological wonders of the world (IV)

By Ojugbele Omotunde

Kenya founded a national ecotourism association in the 1970s and the country is credited with being the origin of community-based conservation and ecotourism since the 1970s. Ecotourism Kenya works in collaboration with the public and business sectors of Kenya to safeguard the country’s natural resources, wildlife, and cultural legacy.

Since 1996, the Kenyan government has prioritized tourism with an emphasis on conservation and benefits to the community and the country is a top wildlife tourism destination in Africa because of its varied topography, which includes beaches in the Indian Ocean, the summits of Mount Kenya, deserts in Samburuland, and plains in Masai Mara.

It also has a diversified culture, with 48 different ethnic groups and languages spoken there. The country’s sizable middle class and youthful population are factors in its future viability as a tourist destination.

Kenya is a popular destination for adventurers seeking a safari into Africa as the country offers a variety of experiences, including private estates, luxury tented camps, and classic safari game lodges.

The word “safari” originates from Swahili, meaning journey, and Kenya is the land where the safari was born as it is one of the greatest natural shows on earth – the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Masai Mara’s rolling grasslands and wooded savanna.

The safari experience in Kenya is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the wilderness of Africa

The Great Rift Valley and Mt. Kenya are stunning landscapes, while Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world and the source of the White Nile.

Some Kenya ecotourism destinations includes:

1. North-east of the Great Rift Valley

Laikipia, located northeast of the Great Rift Valley, is a popular safari destination with numerous wildlife conservancies and unique overnight experiences. The region is home to various species such as white rhino, Grévy’s zebra, leopards, and Kenya’s famous lion.

The region is home to community-owned conservancies that combine wildlife conservation and sustainable development efforts and it’s also has a rich cultural past, with chances for visiting local villages, attending traditional ceremonies, and learning traditional crafts.

Laikipia offers ecotourism activities such as game drives, guided nature walks, camel safaris, and fly camping beneath the stars. The region

2. The Chyulu Hills

Huge areas of the country are green and verdant, such as the lush, rolling Chyulu Hills region in southern Kenya. The wildlife is abundant, and safari options are great asyou may ride on horseback or join a walking safari led by Maasai, where you may spot the Big Five (rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard).

3. Maasai Mara

This protected land in Kenya is home to the Big Five as mentioned in no 2, giraffes, gazelles, and cheetahs, and is renowned for its stunning natural spectacles, including a grazing giraffe.

4. The great wildebeest migration

From July to November, more than 1.3 million wildebeest and zebra cross the Serengeti in search of richer pastures in the Maasai Mara. It’s a sight to behold and on many people’s bucket lists.

5. Meru National Park

Meru National Park boasts a diverse range of scenery, from dense jungle to large, open plains and it’s also home to a diverse range of animals, which is prospering like never before because to environmental and conservation efforts – both white and black rhino populations are on the rise.

6. Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park, situated at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, is a popular ecotourism destination in Kenya as the park is known for its large elephant population and diverse wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and over 400 bird species.

Sustainable tourism is established in Amboseli, with eco-friendly lodges and camps operating to preserve the ecosystem and traditional Maasai way of life and ecotourism activities include guided nature walks, bird watching, cultural visits, and conservation initiatives.

7. Watamu Marine National Park

Watamu Marine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on Kenya’s Kenyan coast, is a popular coastal eco-adventure destination.

The park features a pristine coral reef with marine life, including turtles, dolphins, and over 600 fish species. Ecotourism in Watamu promotes responsible tourism practices, with eco-friendly hotels and lodges.

Local Ocean Conservation and the Watamu Marine Association work to protect the marine ecosystem through research, education, and community initiatives. Ecotourism activities include guided snorkeling, diving, turtle conservation programs, and dhow sailing trips.

8. Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya offers a unique ecotourism experience with dramatic landscapes, volcanoes, and geothermal features. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife species and focuses on promoting low-impact activities and supporting local communities.

Eco-friendly accommodation options, such as campsites and lodges, minimize environmental footprints and activities include hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and bird watching.

There’s also Geothermal spa experiences which provides visitors with natural hot springs to relax and learn about the park’s unique geology and the importance of conserving resources.


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