Tourism is one of Kenya’s top exchange earner. This year, the Ministry of Tourism is expecting the sector to make 100 billion shillings ($1.2 billion) in revenue. The ministry has spent the better part of the year marketing Kenya to non traditional markets as it seeks to reduce its reliance on the likes of the UK , the US Germany, France and Asia. Kenya has numerous tourist attractions from mountains, lakes, wild animals, sandy beaches, historical towns and many others . Dinfin Mulupi looks at just a few of the country’s top destinations.
The Maasai Mara
Situated in southwest Kenya, the Maasai Mara is also know as Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserve. The Mara is specifically famous for its Great wildebeest migration, which is one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”.The migration involves over two million animals moving from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya during July through to October. The Mara also has the largest densities of lion in the world and hence is the home of the BBC wildlife channels Big Cat Diary.
Do you want to watch Flamingos? Then the Lake Victoria is the place to visit. The attractive colours, grace , beauty and vast quantity of Flamingos which paint the waters of Lake Nakuru pink , is a major attraction for both local and international tourists. The drive to Nakuru also offers tourists the chance to see the amazing Menengai crater and the beautiful rift valley escarpments.
Fort Jesus Mombasa
Fort Jesus is one of Mombasa’s most popular tourist attraction. The monumental piece of architecture was built in 1593 by order of King Philip I of Portugal, who at the time was ruler of the joint Portuguese and Spanish Kingdoms. The fort was built to guard the Old Port of Mombasa and is one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th century Portuguese military fortification. Its interior comprises of torture rooms and prison cells where slaves were kept in captivity before being traded. The fort opens during the day for visitors.
Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park is the world’s only park located in a city. The park is located only 7 km from Nairobi city centre with savannah ecosystem comprising different vegetation types. The park is also home to major wildlife attractions like the Black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffaloes, Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lands and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. One of its other major attractions is the Nairobi Animal Orphanage located within the park. The Orphanage has abandoned and injured animals found within and outside the country and draws over 200,000 visitors every year.
Lamu Island is part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site . The Lamu Old Town is listed as the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Some of the attractions in Lamu include Shela beach on the North end of the island which is characterized by a stretch of white sand and tiny broken sea shells. There is also the Lamu Museum built in 1891. The museum was the residence of British Governors during the colonial era. In Lamu, tourists encounter the rich Swahili history and get to experience dhow sailing.
The Crying Stones
Yeah, stones do cry, at least in Kenya. The crying stones are located in western Kenya on the Kakamega/Kisumu Road . These stones are monuments consisting of large boulder balanced on columns of rock with water flowing from a groove in the middle. The water or ‘tears’, are perceived by neighbouring communities as a good omen for example, the sign of a good harvest.
Obamas ‘City’ -Kogelo
Kogelo was just another tiny rural village in Kenya until Barrack Obama became US President. Kogelo is the birthplace of President Obama’s Kenyan father, the late Barrack Obama senior. Since then, thousands of local and foreign tourists have visited the once sleepy village that has now transformed to a must visit tourist attraction. The village located about six hours from capital Nairobi boasts of beautiful terrain with mountains, forests and lakes and abundant opportunities for safariing, mountain-trekking, bird-watching and fishing.