It’s one of those destinations that everyone should get a chance to visit in their lifetime. Few places on earth are as stunning as Kenya and it has everything the responsible tourist could wish for. It has a well organised and established Eco Tourism industry. So, it is easy to find lodgings. Ecotourism Kenya promotes an Eco-rating Scheme that certifies accommodation. The success of Eco Tourism here has resulted in a major turnaround for endangered species. Nowadays, people shoot animals with their cameras instead of guns.
Tourism in Keyna represents the second largest influx of foreign currency into the country and with its wealth of natural resources and outstanding beauty, there is a lot for visitors to see. The Great Rift Valley and the superb Indian Ocean beaches combined with the spectacular landscape around Mount Kenya and gorgeous views across to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, makes Kenya a truly breath taking experience.
The Kenyan countryside ranges from glaciated, extinct, volcanoes to soft stretches of golden beach. From the vast open planes of the Masai Mara grasslands and the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest inland lake. Kenya is one of the places you are guaranteed to see the “big five” mammals: lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo. There are also vast herds of wildebeest, zebra and other bovine animals that freely migrate across the continent. Kenya provides home to many rare birds, insects and reptiles, as well as endangered species of flora and fauna.
All of this wonderful scenery requires a dedicated program of marketing, surveying and teaching to ensure that the countryside is kept safe for future generations. Through honouring successful projects with prizes and awards they emphasise the importance of protecting this precious haven but still enabling responsible tourists to experience the thrill and excitement of an African safari.
The country boasts 19 national game reserves and areas of international renown and if you want to catch sight of the wildebeest, the best time of the year to see them is from July to October at Kenya’s most famous park, the Masai Mara located in the South Western region. It is well known for its population of Big Cats and Thomson’s gazelle and people flock here to witness the great migration of wildebeest that come from the Serengeti, an annual spectacle of mammoth portions.
One of the best regions is The Laikipia Plateau. Its cooler climate means any time of year is a good time to visit. It can be found stretching from the slopes of Mount Kenya to the edge of the Great Rift Valley and popular activities here include camel riding. Also in the area are the Lewa Downs which is only 4 hours’ drive from Nairobi. Here you’ll find the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. They’ve had a very successful Rhino program that can now boast a Black Rhino population growth rate of 10 per cent. The Conservancy is also famous for its spectacular bird spotting including Ostrich, Pelican, Ibis, Flamingo and Heron.
Gone are the days of grand African safaris where you can sit on the back of an elephant and bag yourself a lion to put in front of the fireplace. These days African tourism is much more sensible and sustainable. The activities are planned so as not to endanger the animals and to protect the surrounding countryside. Tour operators work in conjunction with local communities so that they too can benefit from visitors. While the tourists get to see something of the real Kenya as they travel. Nearby you’ll find the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. Located in Nairobi National Park, it is Kenya’s oldest Animal Orphanage and it’s full of exotic creatures.
The stark beauty of the remote region of the North, is suitable for the hardier traveller but the rewards are worth the extra hassle of getting there. There are virtually no tourists and it’s a wild and remote landscape with plenty of Kudu (a strange type of antelope). Check out the Elsas Kopje lodge for somewhere very special to stay.
The Mathews range is also known as the Lenkiyio Hills, a range of mountains 150 kilometers long that peak at over 2500 metres, in the Laikipia district in northern Kenya. It’s worth a trip here to see the elephants, plus the higher altitudes create a milder climate encouraging thick forests of Juniper and Cycads.
The Samburu region is home to the Samburu National Reserve and it is not as well-known and so, is less crowded than other more famous Reserves. Situated on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River , it is a great place to spot the endangered Grevy’s Zebra as well as Lion, leopard and cheetah. Crocodiles are very abundant here too.
For the responsible outdoors adventurer, Kenya provides a wealth of opportunities. Organisations that have been in place over the last fifteen years to aid and develop green, accountable tourism encourage people to visit but also to make a positive contribution. Such groups, by showing and encouraging respect and education for the country’s resources, allow everyone to gain a positive benefit from the landscape.
Photo thanks to John on flickr
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