Sustainable Travel in Kenya

Generations of adventurers have traveled to Kenya in search of a safari into quintessential Africa. Kenya does not disappoint with one of the greatest natural shows on earth – the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Masai Mara’s rolling grasslands and wooded savanna. Kenya today offers travelers such a variety of experiences with private estates nestled deep in the wilderness, luxury tented camps and classic safari game lodges. Kenya presents arresting landscapes with the sweeping countryside of the Great Rift Valley and striking Mt. Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa. Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world and is the source of the White Nile, one of the two tributaries of Egypt’s mythic Nile River. Kenya is the land where the safari was born. Even the word ‘safari’ is Swahili for journey. Kenya offers an extraordinary opportunity to experience the wilderness of Africa.

What are they doing right?

Considered the birth place of community-based conservation and ecotourism as far back as the 1970s, Kenya was also the first country in Africa to establish a national ecotourism society. Now known as Ecotourism Kenya, the organization works in partnership with the Kenyan government and private sector tourism entities to ensure that Kenya’s tourism development respects and protects the country's wildlife, ecosystems, and cultural heritage, while also empowering local communities as sustainable partners. Recognizing the importance of tourism to its economic development, the Kenyan government has had a series of national tourism development plans, beginning in 1996, with a focus on conservation and community benefits, and it continues to recognize the importance of sustainable tourism to its future. With its incredible diversity of landscapes – from Indian Ocean beaches to the snow-covered peaks of Mount Kenya, and from the deserts of Samburuland to the vast plains of Masai Mara, its spectacular natural beauty is also matched by incredible cultural diversity, with 48 different ethnic groups and languages, in one of Africa's most modern countries, with a young, vibrant population and a large middle class. Kenya continues to be one of the major wildlife tourism destinations on the African continent.

The Elephant Ranking

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The country has fully embarked on a national level sustainable tourism master plan incorporating the three main pillars of best practice: environmentally-friendly operations; support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage; and improving the special and economic well-being of local people.

Sustainable solutions are coming to Kenya. The government banned the use of all plastic bags in the country to help curb litter and pollution. The country is also beginning to incorporate green techniques in building. Environmentalists and architectural groups are promoting sustainable construction and energy-efficient design. For example, the library at Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi stays cool without air conditioning. Stones placed in the basement absorb moisture from the ground that creates a cooling effect as it evaporates. The building’s large windows and doors are protected from the sun’s heat by shades.

Why the Elephant Ranking?