The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has launched a one month-long photo exhibition at the National Museum of Kenya aimed at raising the awareness of Mt Kenya as a prime adventure tourism destination.
The exhibition christened “Mt. Kenya Photography exhibition” will allow the public to interact and purchase amazing pictures of the incongruous Mount Kenya topography as well as showcase adventurers scaling the mountain’s rough terrain.
Safaricom PLC CEO, Peter Ndegwa who was the chief guest at the opening of the photo exhibition said the concept for an exhibition makes it possible for individuals and other organization both small and large to participate in the conservation of the Mt Kenya ecosystem. "Each piece purchased will enable you to enjoy one of the many scenic views of the mountain but more importantly it will touch the lives of dozen individuals in decades to come. I therefore encourage everyone to walk around the exhibition and equally bring a friend or business partner so we can all be part of this noble initiative and more importantly climb the beautiful Mt Kenya, he said.”
Mr. Ndegwa noted that Kenya has some of the best hospitality infrastructure, saying it is possible to make hiking at Mt Kenya “a 5-star experience”. “I have gone around the world through various destinations for holidays and there is a lot more we can do to be able to add value to the assets, in order to attract more tourists … there is so much to see in this country, we just have to add value”, said Ndegwa.
For over 22 years Safaricom has contributed to conservation of the environment in different ways because conservation is key to their core value which is transforming lives, the CEO said. “Together, let’s make a difference in the different ways we can. I am happy Safaricom and Mpesa is represented in this noble course and will continue to be involved in the different ways we can in this initiative,” he said.
“For more than twenty years, Safaricom has supported different conservation initiatives across national parks, reserves, and forests which are a source of livelihood to local communities and directly contribute to the economy. We are delighted to support the Mt. Kenya Photo Exhibition which seeks to bring together both individuals and other organisations in support of the mountain ecosystem and to promote it as a sustainable hiking and camping destination,” said the Safaricom CEO.
In a speech read on his behalf by KWS Director for Partnership and Enterprise Mr. Edwin Wanyonyi, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said there is a big potential for more visitors to tour the iconic Mt Kenya, hence the need to continue harnessing resources to improve the visitor experience and to appeal to more adventure seekers and mountain climbers.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife through the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Kenya Tourism Board and other partners have put together this exhibition so that we can arouse the interest of Kenyans and other travellers to visit this iconic landmark. Through this exhibition we shall also be raising funds geared towards improving the visitor experience for adventure lovers at the Mountain “Said CS Balala
Hon. Balala invited all and sundry to sample the captivating scenes captured by eminent photographers. He noted the pictures capture breath-taking scenes and rough terrain which offer excellent opportunities to unwind and good for health. The Cabinet Secretary said Covid pandemic has taught us to learn to do things differently, and commended KWS for coming up with the innovative Zuru campaign that has seen millions of Kenyans embrace domestic tourism.
Earlier in May this year, CS Balala alongside KWS Director General Brigadier (Rtd) John Waweru and other dignitaries participated in an expedition of scaling up the mountain to showcase the exciting and immense potential of this gem.
The expedition was a great success that realized Sh. 10 million in cash and kind. The proceeds are already being ploughed back to among others things improve nature trails, develop sanitation facilities and hiking trails. The exhibition is a continuation of the exercise to raise more funds to make the mountain a prime spot for adventure tourism activities and hiking. Some of the partners who have made the expedition and exhibition a success are; Visa Kenya, Vipingo Ridge, Safaricom’s M- Pesa, Huawei, East African Breweries Limited, KCB Bank, and Sahihi Interior Builders among others. The climbing expedition saw a number of participants tip the mountain’s Lenana point (4,985m).
“We are excited to support the enhancement of the experience for visitors to Mt. Kenya, especially through unlocking various enablers including digital and finance. With the inclusion of digital forms of payment, Mt. Kenya’s appeal as a mountaineering destination will grow amongst both local and international tourists”, says Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Country Lead for Kenya at Visa.
Mt. Kenya National Park and Reserve occupies an area of 2,839 square kilometres. The park covers 715 square kilometres while the national reserve covers 212 km square kilometres. This is an enormous land mass that requires adequate coverage by mountain search and rescue teams considering that incidents can occur anywhere within this huge jungle.
There are three main climbing routes to access the peak of the Mt. Kenya. These routes require KWS surveillance so as to address; the monitoring of litter management along the routes, responding to emergencies like search and rescues, monitoring and facilitating visitors’ accommodation, protecting KWS equipment on the mountain high altitude zones, monitoring whether and climatic change and collecting daily weather data for onward transmission to the park headquarters, maintaining visitor’s safety while inside the park, among others.
Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa standing at 5,199 M and is one of the key adventure tourism destinations in the continent. Some of the known attractions at the mountain include the three peaks namely Lenana, Nelion and Batian, lakes which include Alice, Michaelson, Ellis and the diverse vegetation and wildlife. In addition to Mt Kenya, there are many other hiking trails that form excellent practice for those who plan to summit. These include Elephant hill, Rurumeria, Ole Satima, Mt Longonot, Table Mountain and seven ponds which provide an opportunity for acclimatization and building of body strength.