I now understand why so many visitors flock to Kenya from around the World to experience a truly unique African adventure in the home of safari and diversity of authentic experience.
We spent eight days seven nights in Nairobi the capital and Mombasa the second biggest city to explore both the flora and fauna diversity of Kenya’s tourism.
As the saying goes in Kenya “You can only keep discovering” so we decided to spend four nights in Nairobi and three nights in Mombasa. People travel for plethora of reasons either for excitement, to learn, discover or just to find yourself a new experience. They say wealth is not about the things you own but the friends you make.
Upon arrival at Nairobi International Airport, we got transferred to our booking.com accommodation, The Grand Gabbles at Rapcha Road near Westlands courtesy my friend Sylvester of Seven By Far travel and tours. The location of our accommodation was very accessible to the city centre but extremely quiet and peaceful.
The Chapchap uber driver was very helpful to find us the best Nyama Choma and Ugali traditional meal along Waiyaki road, Njuguna’s place. The vibe was great at our first night with several bottles of Kenya’s premium Tusker beer.
The tourism sector in Kenya is highly developed with a wide range of tour operators, world class hotel accommodation, lodges, apartments, transport companies, breathtaking beaches, museums and monuments which plays hosts to visitors.
Karibu means Welcome in Swahili and that was the experience in the energetic modern and fascinating city to both wildlife and nightlife.
Wildlife In The City
It is great to get upclose and experience a giraffe tongue. They are amazing but first to the smell.
It was a wonderful experience on day two tours when we visited the Giraffe Center for about $15 dollars admission fee, you can feed the giraffes all day if you’d like. We had a nice nature walk with a beautiful female guide through the reserved park.
Many thanks to Mr. Eric Eomenda, Senior Corporate Affairs Manager at Kenya Tourist Board, who recommend we visit Stedmak Gardens and Recreation Center.
This is a super fantastic animal sanctuary and amusement park with wide range of small wildlife, snakes, cheetahs, lion, birds, crocodiles and an awesome kids playground with swimming pool.
I was skeptical to put around my neck a huge almost 50 kilogram black African snake python for a picture but the guide kept encouraging me.
Shopping Mall And The Ferris Wheel
In fact, it is impossible to experience variety of tourist attractions in a day. Our next visit was Two Rivers Mall. This is the best mall i have seen so far in East Africa, located in Nairobi.
The place is perfect for families with kids. It has a beautiful ambience with lots of fun activities.
My epitome was the eye of Nairobi when we took the Ferris Wheel, it was so magical.
Flavours of West Africa
It is not common or easy to find your national cuisine in a foreign country.
In Ghana, food is very important to every married man but we realized that Eastern, Southern and Central Africans detest hot and spicy meals contrary to West Africans.
This led us to Mama Ashanti West African restaurant owned by a Ghanaian, Mr. Kwame Boateng.
We were pleasantly surprised at this hidden gem. Good ambience, friendly and helpful staff.
If you are looking for a taste of West African cuisine, this is your go to place.
Godwin and Eric had jollof rice with packed flavours and vegetables. Top of their menu is my favorite banku and okro stew.
Standard Gauge Railway Express to Mombasa
Instead of flying to Mombasa the second biggest city in Kenya, we decided to experience the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) which is barely new railway transport in Kenya.
The experience was very positive passing through scanners with sniffer dogs given the tight security, right from the entry point, ticket purchase to the boarding in the beautiful ambience was so welcoming.
The journey which lasted almost 5 hours through the Tsavo National Park was stunning with scenery of free wildlife from elephants zebras, baboons, ostrich and some intriguing villages along the way.
On alighting at Mombasa, we checked out of the station to an orderly parking yard where our driver Demba, picked us for our first night in Mombasa.
Mombasa is a coastal city of Kenya along the Indian ocean. The city is known for it’s famous blue ocean and a vibrant nightlife.
Our first stop was at Zero night Club located along the Moi Avenue.
Mombasa The Ancient City
Mombasa is the melting point languages and cultures from all sides of the Indian Ocean.
We visited one of the most iconic attractions, Fort Jesus Museum. The Fort has a museum that displays various artefacts from the era where Mombasa served as transit point to slave trade.
The Fort doesn’t not only symbolises the history of Mombasa but also Architectural prowess of Portugese Europeans who settled at the cost in the 16th Century.
We visited Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort for water sports activities and the guards were so friendly and helpful.
Never in my wildest dream to have had such a wonderful great experience jet-skiing, scuba diving in that blue ocean.
When you are destined for great travelling experiences, your potential haunts you until you are satisfied.
My holiday in Kenya was fun at the coast exploring the magical island and it’s hidden gem.
I would recommend Kenya as a perfect destination for a vacation. The magic lives on.
Dubai Allies Ghana For Multi-City Tourism Walk Show
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will collaborating with Ghana, Nigeria and 52 other partners for its multi-city tourism walk show dubbed “Dubai Tourism”.
According to a statement signed by the Head of Campaigns, Africa, Mr Salim Dahman, the roadshow would kick off from February 24 to March 2, across key cities in Ghana and Nigeria to further increase its promotional efforts of the city’s “ever-evolving tourism proposition to African tourists.”
Mr. Dahman said, the 52 partners will spread across hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors and will interact with key trade partners in Ghana and Nigeria.
The Dubai Tourism roadshow 2020, will Kickstart in Accra, Ghana on 24 February; followed by Abuja, Nigeria on 26 February, Port Harcourt on 28 February and Lagos on 2 March.”
“The roadshow will highlight Dubai’s affordable experiences and the diversity of the city’s offerings to key travel partners in the West African region; spanning across travel, accommodation, entertainment and citywide events, with a focus on family travel.
“Key elements of the event will include breakout network sessions, partner presentations, one-to-one meetings, an education session and Dubai Expert certifications and a briefing update on Expo 2020″
The African region is of significant importance to Dubai and we will continue strengthening our relationships and developing strategic activities in this fast growing market. “The upcoming road show gives us the opportunity to reach out to all of our key partners, to align on future trade opportunities and ensure Dubai continues to remain front of mind for African travelers. “We will continue to be present throughout the year and aim to steadily increase the number of partners we bring with us each year to this landmark roadshow,” he added.
RWANDA/ A Country With Unconventional Vision And Leadership
KIGALI – RWANDA, Wednesday February 19, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Rwanda has risen from $752million to $9.5 billion in 2018, and the GDP per capita has grown from $125.5 to $787 during the same period. Due to Rwanda’s internationally recognized universal access to healthcare policy called ‘Mutelle de Sante’ life expectancy has risen from 29 years in 1994 to 67 years in 2016. Inflation has fallen from 101% in 1995 to 1.1% in 2018 and Rwanda has jumped over 100 places in the World Bank Doing Business Index, today ranking 38th globally and 2nd in Africa.
Furthermore, with the 9 Year Basic Education policy, Rwanda has seen the average expected years of schooling rise from 6.2 years in 1995 to 11.2 years in 2017. These numbers, both the increases and decreases, are not merely statistics on paper, they reveal a people who have taken the reins of destiny into their own hands. Following the defeat of the genocidal forces by the Rwanda Patriotic Army rebels led by now president, Paul Kagame, many highly qualified development experts believed that the fabric of Rwandan society was irrevocably torn asunder. Over one million people had been killed in less than 100 days, over 3 million had fled the country to refugee camps in Tanzania, Burundi and the DRC (then Zaire), the national treasury was looted and there weren’t even pens and paper in government departments.
Speaking to members of the Australian chapter of the YPO (Young Presidents Organization) in May last year President Kagame was asked this question, “experts say that a turnaround from a cataclysmic event such as genocide is supposed to take a century or at least a generation, how was Rwanda able to do so in only twenty years”? President Kagame mentioned the main aspects of the Rwandan turnaround; thinking big, having a vision, refusing to get stuck in the status quo, believing in, and having faith in the vision and, lastly, making sure that the journey is inclusive by bringing people in and creating possibilities for them to make their contribution.
Rwanda does not have the usual ingredients for economic transformation. It does not have a wealth of natural resources such as oil or diamonds, it is landlocked, it has one of the highest population densities in the world. However, Rwanda has a will to build a better, more prosperous nation.
What Rwanda did was put together a development plan called ‘Vision 2020’. This plan envisioned a Rwanda that was middle-income and knowledge-based. With a GDP growth rate which was dominated by double digits over the last 10 years, we are reaping the fruits of the ambitious plan.
One of the fruits is the emerging MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector. Who could have imagined that 25 years after the Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda would become home to one of the most iconic and most expensive buildings in Africa, the KCC (Kigali Convention Center)? The KCC, a venue that includes a five-star hotel and conference facilities that can host over 5,000 delegates, will this year host, among other world class events, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). To date, KCC has hosted the African Union Heads of State summit, the Transform Africa summit as well as a myriad of regional and international events and conferences.
The KCC has not been the only such ‘out of the box’ investment that the Government of Rwanda has made to create value where no one expected. A decade or so ago, the Government insisted on building the country’s very first five-star hotel, the present-day Kigali Serena hotel. Our development partners baulked at the investment, saying that there was no need for such a high-end facility. The Government, believing in its vision, went ahead and built the hotel thereby creating the anchor accommodation facility that opened Rwanda to the opportunity of becoming a regional destination for business travel and MICE. The country now has five 5-star hotels and more are opening up this year. Furthermore, high end accommodation establishments have opened their branches across different parts of Rwanda. To create the ecosystem that a vibrant MICE sector needed, the national carrier Rwandair was established, investments in skills and capacity building were made and the private sector was encouraged and supported to invest in the sector.
Because the Government refused to take a laissez-faire attitude to the development of the MICE and the overall tourism sector, investments that we have registered in the sector as the Rwanda Development Board have totaled $1.5 billion since the year 2000. Hotel rooms have increased from 623 in 2003 to 14, 866 in 2018, tourism revenues have jumped from $131 million in 2006 to over $300 million with MICE tourism revenue numbers growing from inconsequential numbers in 2000 to $55 million in 2018. We expect that all the numbers will grow by at least 10% per year and projections show that the tourism sector will be worth $800 million by the end of 2024.
This might seem ambitious, but we believe in our vision and we are actively working towards fulfilling it. That is why we partnered with different partners, including but not limited to Arsenal FC and Paris Saint Germain, English and French football teams respectively, to market Rwanda as a destination for tourism, MICE and investment. That is why Rwandair is increasing both its fleet as well as its destinations in Africa, North America, Europe and Asia and that is why we are currently building a new international airport in Bugesera, on the outskirts of Kigali, in partnership with Qatar. In addition, we have taken an active role in building an Africa that freely trades with itself through the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACTFA) and internally we have reformed both our business environment and visa regimes.
The business community has followed our lead. Last year, we registered over $2.4 billion in investments on the back of over 8% GDP growth. Leading global businesses such as Volkswagen, Motorola Solutions, Andela and Radisson today provide jobs to young Rwandans graduating from global institutions of learning that are based in Rwanda such as Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to the recent opening of the first smartphone factory by Mara Phones; companies including Volkswagen (in partnership with Siemens), Ampersand, and Safiride are also rolling out environment friendly transport solutions through electric vehicles and motorcycles on the street of Kigali and other parts of Rwanda.
When we tell businesses that Rwanda is the right place to invest in, we are confident that they will find the right environment to thrive. Why? Because we built that environment.
Mr. Zephanie Niyonkuru is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the
Rwanda Development Board. The Rwanda Development Board is a one stop
shop for investors, bringing business registration, investment
promotion, tourism, ICT development, SMEs, human capacity development,
privatization and specialist agencies under one institution.
– Zephanie Niyonkuru
(Source: Forbes Africa)
Rwanda’s Controversial Strategy To Boost Tourism Yielding Result
KIGALI, RWANDA, February 6, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – In an effort to boost its international image and attract more foreign visitors, the Rwandan government is investing heavily in football sponsorship. The “Visit Rwanda” slogan first became visible on Arsenal football jerseys thanks to a €34 million deal signed in May 2018. A similar contract was recently signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain. The strategy is already reaping results, but some observers say Rwanda should also be investing in improving its human rights record. FRANCE 24’s Simon Wohlfahrt reports.
What Has Helped Kenya Tourism, Through Benchmarking – Tourism Maestro, Abeiku Santana Writes
The government of Kenya has decided not to own the tourism product but to coordinate the sector for a better economic growth. Public Agencies under the tourism sector includes the central government, the Kenya Tourism Board, a vibrant marketing arm of the sector and Kenya Wildlife Services which protects kenya’s wildlife and all natural attractions including the forest and marines.
The cooperation between government and the community that owns the attraction is superb. The role government plays in the tourism product is to train and develop the service providers and offer them loans and incentives to improve the quality of their product and service delivery.
It is a policy in Kenya that tourism operators employ at least 60% of their employees from the community in which they operate.
Again the role government plays in ensuring total quality product delivery is conservation of all natural and heritage attractions
The sustainability process starts with a committee responsible for the conservation of all natural and heritage attractions and it reports to the Head of Kenya Tourism Board. There is also a conservation trust which is mandated to collect all garbage at attractions and recycle for artifacts.
Many hotels and lodges, away from the cities, are now investing in alternative energy sources. Solar power, in particular, is the preferred alternative, and most responsible properties today use some kind of solar system for their electricity and water heating.
Hotels and lodges generate large volumes of solid and liquid waste and, because many of them are in remote areas where local council services are not available, they have to find ways of preventing their sewage from contaminating the environment. Initiatives to manage solid waste range from responsible purchasing to waste separation and recycling. As well as composting green waste and using it in their vegetable gardens, most lodges and camps are now returning their non-degradable waste – tin, glass, paper, batteries – to Nairobi, where it is recycled by larger manufacturers.
Tourism contributes 11 % percent to Kenya GDP which offers 15 percent employment to the youth.
There is a Community involvement in the conservation of the beach front, water sports activities, kayaki, surfing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling among others. There is also an annual clean beaches competition among the coastal communities. Under the tourism sector all stakeholders are empowered to own the tourism product through excellent service delivery.
From the Hospitality, Local Transport services, the academia, Traditional Leaders, government, the media and the general citizenry , tourism Is everybody’s business. The media has helped increased awareness of tourism and its benefits to the state.
A lot of effort is being dedicated to minimising levels of human-wildlife conflict in areas outside Kenyas parks and reserves. Interventions range from fencing off protected areas to encouraging community tourism enterprises and providing compensation to pastoralists whose livestock are killed and farmers whose crops are damaged by wild animals. These interventions are initiated by different stakeholders, including private investors, local NGOs, and foreign conservation organisations
The media has helped in the profiling of the destination. The media compliments in the marketing of the destination. Kenya has presented an excellent development strategy which has received a lot of foreign investment.