15 MAY 2022
Capital FM (Nairobi)
By Carolyne Tanui
Nairobi — The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is banking on hiking and mountaineering as a key product for the growing domestic and international outdoor and adventure tourism.
A week after climbing Mt Longonot, Tourism and Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has accompanied other hikers on a four-day climbing expedition of Mt Kenya as he seeks to raise awareness of the experience.
The climb, which is part of the government’s strategy to raise awareness of the mountain as a key tourist destination in Africa, will also aim at raising funds for improving the visitor experience at the facility.
Speaking moments before the expedition at the Mt Kenya Chogoria gate, CS Balala noted that Mount Kenya has the potential to attract international and domestic visitors, including mountain climbers and all nature lovers.
“We are undertaking this expedition to re-position this great landmark as one of the key iconic adventure experience destinations in Africa. Last week, we visited Mt Longonot as part of the preparations for this expedition. Climbing is not easy, it requires proper preparation both mentally and physically. We have a team of able personnel that will guide us and we hope that Kenyans can be part of this hike.
He added that through the hike, funds would also be raised towards improving amenities along the route to improve the experience of hikers as well as improve gear for porters who are critical in the climbing experience.
“Through this excursion we shall also be fundraising to ensure the improvement of tourism facilities including improvement of toilet facilities at different stop points of the route, providing equipment such as bags, shoes and offering first aid training for guides and porters. It is good to note that this expedition is coming at a time when we are increasing our efforts towards the revival of the tourism industry from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” noted Balala.
The foundation of Kenya is known as a leader in Safari also enhances the potential of the destination being regarded as top in adventure tourism.
In 2019, Kenya commenced the Magical Kenya Signature experiences where adventure experiences such as the Forest Kereita, tropic air Safaris’, and cycling at the Mara among others have been highlighted as prime experiences in Kenya through the programme.
Kenya Tourism Board Company Secretary Allan Njoroge says, “Adventure tourism is part of the identity of the destination and we want to continue showing travellers that we have so much more in Magical Kenya. We anticipate that the climb by CS Balala and his team will help us raise Kenya’s status as the ideal mountaineering destination in Africa and the world.” Said Njoroge
Mt Kenya is the second mountain in Africa standing at 5,199 metres, it is also a national icon and a national treasure. The adjacent Mt Kenya National Park is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site and a wildlife stronghold that has over the years attracted many tourists to the region.
Apart from Mt Kenya, the destination is also well-endowed with other hiking and adventure destinations that travellers can explore including Karura Forest, Ololua Nature trails, Menengai Crater, Mt Elgon, and Mt Ololokwe and Ngong hills among others. These destinations offer different experiences and therefore should be on the list of all visitors.