Honeymoon in Kenya

Kenya, one of the world’s great tourism destinations

Kenya is known for its remarkable diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures. From sweeping savannahs to tropical beaches and coral reef, dense equatorial forests to mighty snow capped mountains and more, Kenya is a world unto itself.

Kenya Wildlife

For many, the name “Kenya” has always been synonymous with wildlife.

We are the home of Africa’s famous “Big Five” (Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo) and it is true that this is the best place in the entire continent to see these five magnificent species in their natural environment. zebrasBut Kenya has even more to offer. We have an incredible range of wild habitats, each one with its own unique range of species. Open savannah, deep forest, soda and freshwater lakes, alpine meadows, coral reefs, caves, beaches, river deltas and even more.

A safari in Kenya means more than just seeing animals. This is a chance for you to immerse yourself in a wild world where the fascinating natural behaviour and interaction between species will keep you enthralled.

Kenya’s wildlife is as diverse and varied as your safari options and the role of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is equally diverse. This organization is charged with the protection and conservation of the country's biodiversity, both inside and outside our 48 National Parks and Reserves, including Marine Parks.

This means the conservation and management of Kenya's wildlife scientifically, responsively and professionally. We do this with integrity, recognizing and encouraging staff creativity, and continuous learning and teamwork in partnership with communities and stakeholders. 

Community and Eco-Tourism

In Kenya, the environment and tourism have always been inextricably linked, and this is a truly symbiotic relationship. Wildlife in particular has always served as one of our major tourist draw cards, and the resultant revenue has played a major role in the great priority placed on wildlife preservation in Kenya.

This is not just for the benefit of foreign visitors. Eco-tourism means more than just preserving wildife for our visitors, it also means protecting our own world and its resources for the future benefit of Kenya, our people and our wildlife.

Eco-tourist and community wildlife and conservation ventures offer the visitor a personalized and rewarding wildlife experience that gives them a chance to appreciate, respect and protect our country’s wildlife.

Genuine eco-tourism means tourism that has no negative impact on eco-systems, and positively contributes to the destination on a social and environmental level. Visitors should learn from their experiences and develop a greater understanding of the issues and challenges of preserving this great natural heritage for generations to come.

Kenya’s dedication to eco-values sets it apart from many other African destinations. This has again been proved by the “Eco-Ratings” scheme- a project by the Eco-Tourism society of Kenya (ESOK)

This pioneering scheme- the first of its kind in Africa- means that Kenya’s hotels, lodges and camps will be able to apply for a special rating- which will rate their level of eco-friendliness.

Community based tourism and eco tourism is a growing sector, globally. It currently accounts for 5% of the global tourism market and is growing at a rate of 20-30% annually. Increasing numbers of tourists want to interact with local communities and they want to stay in places that positively impact on both the environment and the local population.

Throughout Kenya there is growing awareness of the benefits of community based tourism projects. Communities that have allowed access to their land have seen their lifestyles improved through increased revenue through wages, land leases and development funds. Many projects have built boreholes, schools and clinics for the local community.

There are a growing number of community tourism projects in Kenya, ranging from Il Ngwesi and Tassia in the Laikipia area, Sarara in Namunyak, Shompole in the Magadi region and Losikitok in Amboseli.

The projects range in scale from complete community management to a partnership with an investor or trust who provides the capital to build the guest accommodation and related tourist facilities. The community provides the use of the land, through a lease and helps to ensure the protection of the local wildlife. Community members are often employed and trained in the tourism projects and benefit from wages, community development funds and involvement in spin off enterprises.

In Kenya, the community based tourism concept is just taking root and there is a need to harness this product and direct it towards the market in a more cohesive and systematic manner.

Cultural Tourism

Travelling has always been about discovery, and it is through visiting other countries that we learn about the world. Tourism is not just a financial exchange, it is about the exchange of experience- learning about new places, faces and people.

The best way to understand another culture is to experience it firsthand, and this is the true value of the tourist trade. All over the world, tourists seek cultural experiences, from the cathedrals of Europe to the Egyptian Pyramids, from the cosmopolitan streets of New York and London to remote villages in the Himalaya. Cultural tourism is one of the fastest growing and most popular niche markets today.

Kenya is no different. While some may argue that many tourists visit Kenya to experience only our famous wildlife, or our beaches, the truth is that for these visitors it is the experience of our culture that makes their stay so special.

When we conduct exit polls with our departing guests at our airports, we always receive one common compliment- an overwhelming vote of thanks for the warmth and welcoming spirit of the Kenyan people.

A trip to Kenya is about more than just wildlife or scenery- the real face of our country is found among the combined faces of Kenya’s many cultures. It is the people who bring the destination to life, each of our landscapes has a different cultural significance to a different community, and the wildlife has long been an essential part of our traditional cultures.

When you consider the importance of cultural tourism around the world, it is easy to see that Kenya offers more than any other destination

Kenya has 42 cultures, countless languages and dialects and one of the most richly diverse social tapestries on earth. Yet we remain a peaceful nation united by a common Kenyan culture, a strong, proud people who warmly welcome the world to our beautiful country.

Our heritage stretches back longer than most, and the depth of our history can be seen in the three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kenya. At Koobi Fora, some of the earliest evidence of human habitation on earth has been found, while the streets of Lamu echo with the history of centuries of sea trade, and Mt Kenya is a biosphere reserve that combines respect for a traditional symbol of creation and the need to conserve our environment for the future.

Cultural tourism is not just about foreign visitors. We as Kenyans can learn a great deal about ourselves and our country by experiencing the broad cultural diversity that surrounds us. Exposing ourselves and our families to other cultures teaches us and future generations to respect others and live in peace.

For anyone interested in cultural tourism, there are endless opportunities available.

To travel through Kenya is to experience a unique cultural mosaic as old as creation. Meet the Swahili sailors of the coast, visit the thorn-enclosed villages of the Maasai in the South, walk alongside Samburu warriors in the Northern wilderness, or fish with the Luo, master fisherman of Lake Victoria in the West. Anywhere you travel in Kenya, you will find new and fascinating cultures, and cultural events.

From the annual Maulidi celebrations in Lamu to the bullfights of Kakamega, the Maasai Eunoto to the Mombasa cultural carnival, there are enough festivals, events and ceremonies to fill a calendar and ensure that there is always something new and exciting to experience, anywhere, anytime.

Cultural tourism shows us the great value of our traditions and our community spirit, and by encouraging and celebrating culture, we ensure it is preserved and protected for the future. Increasingly, more and more communities are turning to tourist projects as means of sustaining and enriching their lives. The success of many community tourism projects, supported by the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Trust Fund, is a testament to the great value of culture in Kenya.

But there is a greater value in cultural tourism. At a time in history when racial and religious conflict threatens to divide and conquer the world, it is only through a better understanding of all human cultures and beliefs that our global community will come together and achieve lasting peace.


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