KENYA AS A SPORTS TOURISM DESTINATION

Tourism is constantly evolving but there is now an important change in demand and tourist expectation. Sports Tourism is now a significant part of the tourism industry in Kenya, with athletes visiting from countries in Europe, Asia, the US and other parts of the world to train or conduct philanthropic activities. In 2009, Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world in the 100m and 200m, visited Kenya for charity work as did world tennis star Serena Williams in 2010.

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Here we list some exciting sports and sporting experiences Kenya has to offer:

Hiking Tourism

Our favourite hike in Kenya has to be at Mt. Ololokwe. This holy mountain is located in Samburu country, a wild and rather non-touristic region of Kenya north of the main cities and attractions of the country. The climb up Mt. Ololokwe is quite steep but absolutely worth it. After reaching the mountain plateau, you get to enjoy incredible views of the vast and wild African landscape. The second part of the hike on the plateau is rather easy since there’s no big altitude change anymore.

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Mt. Longonot comes in second. This volcano in the middle of the famous Great Rift Valley makes for an excellent day hike from the nearby city of Nairobi. The hike starts at the base of the volcano, and the first stretch takes you through the open savanna. Keep your eyes out, because it’s not uncommon to run across zebras, giraffes, and wildebeest along the way. The trek then takes you up the side of the volcano, with a steep but not too technical hour-long climb that will reward you with an incredible vista as you reach the crater rim. From the rim, you’ll be able to look down into the crater and witness the majesty of the small isolated forest ecosystem growing within the dormant volcano. Or look outward and you’ll see what seems like half of the Kenyan plains stretching out before your eyes. If you’re only interested in a moderate hike, you could turn back here, but for a true adventure, follow the trail that circles the rim (with the mountain summit halfway around). The best thing about hiking Mt. Longonot is that it’s not an ‘overtouristed’ site, so you may as well have the entire volcano to yourself!

Water Sports Watamu

Straddling between pristine beaches and verdant coastal forest lies the popular resort town of Watamu, a beautiful and exotic town on the Kenyan Coast, known for its unique, relaxed and laid back way of life. A year-round temperate climate and its expansive stretches of deserted sugar white sandy beach, Watamu welcomes visitors seeking to chill out, explore and enjoy the wonders that it has to offer. Host to some world class water-sports training institutions, the town showcases the entire water-sports spectrum to perfection: kite-surfing, paddle boarding, sailing and more.

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Watamu Marine National Park with its extensive coral cover and host to a startling number and variety of marine life; with 150 species of coral, 1000 species of reef fish, sea turtle feeding and breeding sites, provides for exceptional snorkelling conditions. It’s also an internationally recognized destination for deep sea fishing. Attracting an array of serious anglers and hobbyist alike plus playing host to a number of tournaments including the ILTTA World Championships.

Cycling Tourism

For an altogether unique insight into Kenya why not traverse the most interesting parts of the country on two wheels. Cycling in Kenya is on an upswing, with the young middle class increasingly taking the saddle. As the popularity increases, there is plenty of opportunity in the country for biking, with a number of cycling clubs organizing excursions across the country.

Image Source: Baiskeli Adventures

Get to ride across the Kenyan Savanna, surrounded by a dazzling array of wildlife and the most spectacular vistas to grace any cycling course. Kenya has the perfect terrain for mountain biking, get to experience the gruelling ascents through sharp inclines and shingle descents made even more challenging by the rarefied mountain air, a real test even for the fittest cyclists.

Canoeing and kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts visiting Kenya have limitless opportunities on inland rivers and along the coastline. A great deal of the seashore is secured by shielding reef, thus providing serene conditions perfect for discovering shallow inner atolls and reefs having a spectacular marine life including many dolphins and tropical fish and uncommon dugongs. Kenyan river deltas, for instance, the Tana, offer ideal canoeing locations, where visitors can admire birdlife such as Fish Eagles, rare wading types, as well as mangrove nesting spots. Lake Baringo provides fantastic opportunities for paddling alongside local fishermen as visitors learn about local fishing techniques and Kenya’s rich culture. Lake Naivasha as well provides a number of boat trips, mainly to the magnificent Crescent Island famed for the bird life

Image Source: Jangwani Camp

We would like to hear from you what other sport tourism activities you’ve undertaken.

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