From the coast to conservancies, Kenya tourism is open for business

Expatriates and Kenyans alike were hit hard by the recent anti-travel advisories issued by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, described by many in mails and messages to this correspondent as

From the coast to conservancies, Kenya tourism is open for business

Expatriates and Kenyans alike were hit hard by the recent anti-travel advisories issued by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, described by many in mails and messages to this correspondent as entirely out of tune with the reality on the ground. A good number of those who commented in fact added that “getting on with our lives and our plans to travel across Kenya is maybe the best way to show the world that Kenya remains open for business and planned events are taking place some of which might even have British High Commission staff participate like they did in past years.”

The comments were referring to two highly-publicized weekend events, the Rhino Charge 2014, which this year will take place on the Kalama Community Conservancy in the North of Kenya and the Diani Rules 2014, which will take place along one of Kenya’s finest beaches South of Mombasa.

The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road motorsport competition held by Kenya’s Rhino Ark, aimed to raise funds to maintain the electric fence around the Aberdare National Park in Central Kenya as well as other similar ecosystems like Mt. Kenya and Mau Mt. Eburu, which were added some 4 years ago and now describes itself as “a fundraising event for the conservation of water towers in Kenya.” The annual Rhino Charge has taken place in various locations across Kenya since 1989 and is now in its 26th year. The venue is kept a tightly guarded secret and was only announced yesterday, to avoid participating teams to recce the routes in advance and to keep a level playing field for all entrants competing on what has often been described as one of the world’s toughest 4×4 off road challenges.

Tens of millions of Kenya shillings are raised towards the Rhino Ark’s conservation efforts every year. More information can be sourced by clicking on the following link: http://www.rhinocharge.co.ke/

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At the opposite end of the country, in Diani Beach, another major event will take place – the 2014 Diani Rules – equally aimed at raising funds for the Kwale County Eye Centre and has been staged for the past 20 years. Competing teams, un-motorized it should be added, will face off in such disciplines like tug of war, beach volleyball, rugby, frisby matches, and more and is taking place at the popular Fourty Thieves Beach Bar and Bistro. More information on this social event is available via http://www.dianirules.com/ and www.eyesforeastafrica.com

Wrote a regular contributor: “We cannot and will not let our lives to be ruled by such silly statements from the FCO. London and the UK are under the same threat levels like Kenya; terror is a global issue. I am English and lived in Kenya for over 25 years, and I strongly disagree with the way the FCO has treated Kenya. Their latest advice on Kenya has destroyed the livelihood of many Kenyans already, and when our High Commissioner tries to explain this away by talking of the UK’s commitment to bring investment to Kenya, it sounds like a bad joke. We continue to live our lives just the same as three weeks ago. I and many of my friends and colleagues do so to defy the terrorists but also to defy the position taken by our Foreign Office. They were plain wrong and they know it.”

Both events are taking place over the upcoming long holiday weekend as Kenya is celebrating its 51st Madaraka Day, commemorating the day in 1963 when the country gained internal self-government from the British colonialists before attaining full independence on December 12, 1963.

Meanwhile, the country’s tourism and hospitality sector has joined hands with the business community and civil society at large to help portray Kenya as a destination of choice where visitors can expect value for their money and a holiday of a lifetime, at the beaches as much as in the parks. Check out www.magicalkenya.com for more details.

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