We’re delighted to share a guest post with some good advice if you’re planning on visiting Kenya, penned by the folks at AllTheRooms.com; there’s a great tip about offsetting your carbon with our reforestation charity too!
Few places have a landscape as stunning as Kenya’s, and in recent years the country has developed ways of showcasing its beautiful nature without damaging conservation efforts. If being immersed in the outdoors, humbled by sheer natural beauty is your kind of vacation, All The Rooms has created these top tips for how to travel and understand nature in Kenya:
This one may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many travelers prefer to look in a guidebook or search online instead of asking a local. Kenya’s National Parks are run by specially-trained personnel, knowledgeable in animal species, the landscape, and even the weather. If you find yourself curious about an aspect of nature, simply pose the question to your guide—their response is likely to be in-depth and, more importantly, include a special piece of information only a true local could know. People in Kenya are famous for being friendly, so whether you’re curious about the behavior of zebras or wondering which cycle route has the best views, start a conversation with a Kenyan, opening with ‘Jambo’, which is a welcome greeting.
Perhaps the reason nature is so admirable is because of how delicate it is. Tourism can be a particularly intrusive industry, seeing plants trodden on, litter dropped, animals provoked, waters polluted, alongside many more types of damage. However, there are many ways to avoid potential destruction, and all are relatively easy to carry out. First, don’t be loud—nature speaks in its own way and human voices aren’t part of the conversation. Remember to turn off your phone, watch your footing and if you’re in a group, try to whisper to your friends. Chances are you’ll see something more spectacular if you keep your presence hidden. Second, be conscious of when you take photographs; the flash can cause animals distress and the image is unlikely to capture the full glory of the plains. Thirdly, don’t litter or leave traces of your visit behind, garbage can attract unwanted pests, poison waterways, and harm animals. By protecting nature in the country, Kenyan areas and ecosystems can flourish, as well as enable more people to enjoy stunning scenery and unique sights.
Part of understanding nature is accepting that it can be unpredictable. Kenya is no stranger to the spontaneous characteristics of nature, from stampedes to flooding to wildfires. These sudden natural events showcase the power of nature and can be both wondrous and dangerous. The weather in Kenya is generally warm, ranging from high 60s to low 80s, however, this can drop considerably at night and monsoon winds with long rainfall make excursions in nature difficult to plan. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Maasai Mara migration, or go diving in Lake Victoria, take into consideration that the conditions may not be ideal and you could have to postpone activities. Similarly, if you’re hoping to feed an animal on safari, don’t pester or force your hand, you’re a visitor in other species’ habitats and you have to allow creatures to respond in their normal time.
Conservation comes at a price and while Kenya devotes a portion of its economy to supporting ecotourism, a shortage of funds and help threaten efforts. Kenya’s population has grown dramatically in recent years and many communities rely on agriculture for income. Beyond being informed, respectful, and patient, visitors to Kenya can get involved with nature-based projects. Save the Elephants aims to prevent poaching by protecting the animals and teaching people about their importance. Elsewhere, OceanWORKS took action to stop the over-harvesting of fish in the ocean, along with the use of destructive fishing equipment, while The Word Forest Organisation helps tourists offset the carbon they’ve created travelling to Kenya by planting trees there; they also build classrooms in impoverished communities too. The Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association also bring together local communities with the vast landscape to foster a relationship that is healthy and fruitful for both parties. Do some online research before your trip to uncover the multitude of non-profit organisations are active in Kenya, all working to preserve the abundance of incredible nature in the country.