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ADVENT OF FOOD TOURISM IN KENYA

Who doesn’t like food? Wait that is a pretty loaded question if you look at it from different angles. Regardless, food is sustenance. It provides nourishment to our bodies and ensures that the various building blocks that make up our bodies synergies are properly maintained.

Food tourism is also known as culinary tourism and can be more or less defined as travelling from your regular environment and visiting a different region for the purpose of experiencing the food of that particular country, region or area.

Culinary tourism is premised on the fact that cuisine is a strong expression of place culture. On the global front, countries like France, Italy, China, Thailand and India bank on local cuisines as part of their core hospitality product. As such Kenya would also do well to hone in this particular phenomenon that has taken root within the country though not as formidably as other nations worldwide.

‘We have a great opportunity to think globally while acting locally’ as put forth by a renowned media group. Kenya is abundant with an extraordinary local cuisine. At the coast most local restaurants provide foods such as pilau or biriani which are popular with both the locals as well as the tourists who’s initial plan was to engage in beach tourism but end up dipping their toe in the food tourism pond. Wine tasting is also part of our food tourism draw since we are not primarily known as a wine making country. The brand Leleshwa wines provides a wonderful tour of their vineyard in Naivasha and provides you with a chance to do the wine tasting towards the end of your tour. Towards the highlands we have the Kalenjin mursik which can be culturally linked to being the reason as to why they are talented runners.

This line of tourism does not only focus on our international visitors but also the domestic ones since they are culinary tourists in their own right by virtue of them indulging in local eateries. One such restaurant that is popular for its ethnic cultural evenings is the Carnivore  which has created events and themed nights which involve traditional foods and entertainment.

Focus on food tourism allows our country to market ourselves as a truly unique destination and appeals to travelers who would like to patronize and to feel part of their destinations through its flavor.It would also go a long way in ensuring that the rural communities feel like they are part of the tourism community and also that they can properly benefit  from it as well to enable sustainable development.

 

 

FOCUS ON GREEN TOURISM

Have you ever wondered what our reserves and game parks would look like a couple of years down the line? Or more realistically in say in about 10 years? Well the visual could either be positive or negative depending on how we utilize the resources at our disposal. It is our responsibility partakers in the tourism industry to leave the environment we are in better than we found it.

To realize this, we have to conform to certain Eco-tourism practices. Eco-tourism also known as green tourism, is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine and relatively undisturbed natural areas. It is a combination of 4 important factors which are conservation, community, culture and commerce.

As recent trends would suggest, most individuals who are keen on travel, seek to consume socially and environmentally responsible products. Particularly in Eco-sensitive destinations such as Africa. Kenya  has sought to engage in various Eco-tourism practices that not only conserve the environment at the time that we are utilizing it but also makes it usable by future generations to come.

Some of these practices include the following:

*Investing in alternative energy sources such as solar power which is generally the preferred alternative; this is used for both electricity as well as water heating.

*In the field of both solid and liquid waste management, certain initiatives have been undertaken to ensure proper waste disposal, they include, responsible purchasing, waste separation,recycling, composting of green waste, construction of wetlands for recycling waste water in order to return to the environment.

*Water is life. It therefore does not come as a surprise that it is a scarce commodity especially in the semi-arid areas in Kenya. It therefore needs to be conserved. Simple initiatives have been employed to ensure that this  goal is achieved for example by encouraging guests to minimise their water usage, restricting water pumping to certain times of the day such as when the guests are back from their game  drives., installation of low pressure showers and promoting use of recycled water and rain water.

*Human wildlife conflict is also an area that requires constant attention. It has been a matter of concern since these wild animals trespass on private property and more often than not tend to interfere with both the livestock and farms belonging to the locals. Henceforth various steps have been taken to curb this for instance, fencing off protected areas, providing compensation to the pastoralists whose livestock are killed and the farms whose crops are damaged by wild animals. The funding for these initiatives comes from an  array of growing local events held to raise money. They include the famous Rhino Charge four-wheel drive challenge and Lewa Safari Marathon.

We here at Kichaka Tours seek to support all the different Eco-tourism practices and initiatives put forth by the lodges and camps located within the different game parks and reserves. We strive to ensure that  sustainability is maintained in all the activities we engage in. Be it in our office operations or our interactions with our suppliers and guests. We are both proud and active members of Eco-tourism Kenya and we take our responsibility to protect and enhance the natural and cultural environment in the areas where we operate very seriously. We urge our clients to be mindful of the environment once within the the parks for example by keeping all plastic wrappers within the van or land-cruiser till they can be disposed of in the appropriate areas, using the water within the lodges and camps responsibly, if possible employ the use of re-usable bottles for water as opposed to the plastic water bottles. Practicing all these will go a long way in enforcing green tourism and encouraging sustainability.

Together, let us all make Kenya’s tourism responsible.

 

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