Ministry of Tourism to build toilets on Mount Kenya

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Ministry of Tourism to build toilets on Mount Kenya


Mount Kenya

View of Mount Kenya in Nanyuki Kenya. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

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  • Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala will climb Mount Kenya this weekend as he seeks to harness hiking and mountaineering experiences as one of the drivers of tourism recovery.
  • In recent years, Kenyans and international tourists have rekindled their love of the outdoors, seeking fun in extreme activities like ziplining, day hikes, rock climbing, and kayaking.
  • More than a century has passed since the English geographer Halford John Mackinder made the first ascent of Mount Kenya’s highest peak on September 13, 1899.

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala will climb Mount Kenya this weekend as he seeks to harness hiking and mountaineering experiences as one of the drivers of tourism recovery.

Last week, Mr. Balala scaled Mount Longonot and announced plans to build a cable car and zip line to attract adventure seekers.

In recent years, Kenyans and international tourists have rekindled their love of the outdoors, seeking fun in extreme activities like ziplining, day hikes, rock climbing, and kayaking.

In 2017, the Tourism Secretary embarked on a five-day trek to Mount Kenya’s Lenana Peak to raise awareness of Kenya’s adventure tourism potential and profile the mountain as a favorable tourism destination.

He said that despite the increase in the number of trekkers, which according to the Kenya Wildlife Service numbered 270,783 people between January 2010 and December 2021, the mountain has been quietly battling a sanitation crisis.

The toilets are old and few, so they are overloaded by the large number of users, forcing hikers to answer the call of nature in the wild and polluting water sources.

More than a century has passed since the English geographer Halford John Mackinder made the first ascent of Mount Kenya’s highest peak on September 13, 1899.

Since then, huts have been built and trails marked, allowing more people to successfully summit at least one of the three peaks named after Maasai chiefs. Batian is the highest peak, followed by Nelion, then Point Lenana.

Other lesser known peaks are Terere and Senderyo. Nelion and Batian require good climbing experience, but most people can climb Point Lenana with the right attitude, decent general fitness, the right gear, and an experienced guide.

Stellah Kaburu, a ranger and guide who has successfully climbed the mountain at least 20 times, says the mountain is also a bird watcher’s paradise.

Numerous species of rare birds have found a home in a forest that borders Lake Rutundu, one of the lakes of Mount Kenya.

The most prominent, he says, is the scarlet-crested malachite sunbird. Lake Rutundu also attracts fishermen, people who come for hobby pole and line fishing, and campers. Winnie Rioba, a Nairobi-based travel influencer, has also organized countless girls-only trips to experience Afro-Alpine flora, fresh air, and more than 30 lakes and lakes stocked with trout.

Other popular mountaineering and hiking destinations include Ngong Hills, Menengai Crater and Mt Elgon. The Aberdare Ranges are particularly favored by most hikers for their diverse topography featuring waterfalls, rocky outcroppings, canyon-like V-shaped valleys, and mountain ranges.

Mt Longonot National Park is a domestic tourism magnet with at least half a million visits by Kenyans since 2010. Close to 50,000 Kenyans visited in 2020 when the pandemic caused entertainment venues to close.

CS Tourism said the cable car will add to the park’s appeal.

“To make the park even more attractive, we have set the stage for a cable car and zip line for the benefit of adventurers. It may be of historical interest to note that we have identified and protected a historic site for a plane crash that occurred on December 24, 1968. Two passengers and one pilot were killed and we are in the process of locating the cemetery in which all three were buried.” , said.

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