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We have 100s of photos from ATA's 30th World Congress and tours, plus photo stories of world famous athletes such as Dr. Kipchoge Keino, head of Kenya's National Olympic Committee. Details . Advertise





A solar eclipse is always a rare and unique event, but imagine seeing one from Northern Kenya.  This trip offers travelers the chance to explore Kenya’s remote Northern Frontier and take in a solar eclipse from Sibiloi National Park on November 3rd, 2013. This ultimate barefoot luxury adventure, also includes 3 nights at Alex Walker’s Serian Ngare Camp in the Masai Mara and 2 nights in the Lewa Conservancy at Lewa House before heading by helicopter to Desert Rose Lodge in the north to take in eclipse, explore the area by camel and interact with local tribes including the Samburu, Turkana and El Molo. Join us for this one in a lifetime experience!

Kenya's New Western Tourism Circuit Launched

Most travelers dream of finding a new and unknown destination, somewhere far from the beaten tourist path, where the thrill of real discovery and exploration reward the visitor with new and unexpected experiences, sights and sounds. While Kenya is known world wide for its excellent Game Parks and Reserves and idyllic tropical beaches, there are large areas of the country that remain largely unknown and seldom visited. Kenya is now encouraging visitors to explore and experience these hidden treasures.

The West of Kenya is an area of great geographic, cultural and natural diversity, offering tourists just as much, if not more, than many of Kenya's better known tourist areas. Plans are underway to work with communities throughout the West to publicize and develop the many attractions that the region has to offer.

Kenya is keeping pace with the demands of the international tourism market, and offering a diversified range of destinations beyond simply wildlife and beach safaris. At the small village of Si Galla Galla, near Kakamega, one can catch a spectacular traditional bullfight. Such events are an important event for the local Luhya community. Held throughout the year, these are pitched battles between two bulls each one representing an individual village. Thronged by excited supporters, the bulls lock horns and fight until one bull turns and runs. The winning bull is led around the field in a victory lap, accompanied by a chanting, jubilant crowd.

This impressive spectacle represents a significant cultural link between traditional African cattle culture and the art of bullfighting as practiced throughout Southern Europe.

The Kakamega forest reserve is also on the western circuit. Local guides told us Kakamega is a remnant forest, once linked to the great Equatorial forests of the Congo, and is home to a number of unique and endangered species. The forest has resident populations of primates, including the rare red tailed monkey, butterflies, chameleons and stunning birdlife, such as the giant Blue Turaco.

In order to promote local conservation, KEEP (Kakamega Environmental Education Program) has been established, which is a community group working with local children to ensure that the forest and its resources are protected and preserved for the future. They also provide guiding services to local guesthouses and have constructed accommodation facilities for backpackers within the grounds of the forest station.

Another tourist attraction is Kit Mikaye, in Seme. Despite its close proximity to Kisumu, very few people visit this sacred site. Set among a field of boulders, Kit Mikaye is a large upright stone, bolstered by smaller supporting boulders. Myths and legends regarding the stone abound among the local Luo community. It was once believed to be a living entity that roamed this area at night, visiting nearby Lake Victoria to drink. Sacrifices were made to the stone in return for divine favor and blessings. Even today, some believe that a visit to Kit Mikaye bestows good fortune upon the visitor.

The local community is now offering guided tours through the passages within the rock, which are also home to large colonies of bats and nesting birds.

One can attend a special commemorative boat race between local fishermen in traditional Ssese canoes.

A real highlight is a sunset trip to Mbasa and Mholo Islands, not far from Mbita Point. These two islands form a very important breeding colony for =day is an incredible experience. Thousands of birds fill the air, literally carpeting both islands in life as they descend to roost among the rocks and trees. With the last rays of the sun turning the waters of the Lake to gold, this is one of Kenya's greatest natural spectacles.

Close by is Ruma National Park. This little visited park comprises 120 square kms of savannah and gently rolling hills. This is the last refuge of the very Roan antelope, with the world's last remaining wild population found within the boundaries of the park. The Roan are easy to see on the wide open grasslands, grazing freely among stands of whistling thorn acacia. Ruma is also home to several other rare species, chiefly the Rothschild Giraffe, Jackson's Hartebeest and the tiny Oribi antelope.

From the heat of Ruma, one can move on to the relative cool of the beautiful Western Highlands. Tabaka near Kisii in the Western Highlands, is home to Kenya's finest stone carvers. The Kisii / Gusii community are renowned for their artistic skill with the local soapstone. They have a long tradition of carving ornate decorative art and jewelry, together with functional items such as plates and bowls.

The stone is found in a series of large open quarries throughout the Gucha area, which have also proved equally rich in uncovered fossil evidence and prehistoric artifacts. Cooperative workshops have been formed to produce work for the international market. Kisii stone is sold worldwide, and several works by Tabaka artists have found a place in major international art collections. Tabaka soapstone graces the UN HQ in New York, and the UNESCO HQ in Paris, in the form of a massive 7- ton "bird of peace" or Enyamuchera.

The success of this industry shows in the town of Tabaka, where every household seems to be busily engaged in carving, polishing, washing and packaging stoneware. This very success has meant the preservation of a very important cultural tradition. A visit here is an excellent opportunity to experience this rich culture and to purchase some beautiful handcrafted works of art.

Also in the Western Highlands is Kericho. This small town was brought to life by the Kenyan tea industry. The lush green carpet of tea bushes that cover these high cool hills are quite literally fields of gold. Tea remains Kenya's highest foreign exchange earner, and this region produces one of the world's finest quality teas.

Agri-tourism is becoming increasingly popular, and the small colonial hill town of Kericho is the perfect base to visit the local plantations, producing both tea and fresh cut flowers. Tea plantations also play an important role in local ecology, and are used a buffer zone to protect tracts of indigenous forest.

Moving North to Eldoret, this area holds great untapped potential for tourist development. From the heights of Mt Elgon on the Ugandan Border to the arid savannah around Lake Baringo, this region offers a great diversity of attractions.

Sports tourism is becoming increasingly popular around the world, and Kenya's Western Highlands are the home to some of the world's finest sportsmen. In the days preceding the Western Kenya launch, Kenyan runners had dominated the international athletic scene, taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th place for men and 1st and 2nd for women in the Boston Marathon.

The secret of this success lies in these hills. The average altitude in this area is well over 2000m, and these rarified conditions are ideal training conditions for runners. Two local schools, St. Patrick's at Iten and Sing'ore Girls near Eldoret have produced most of Kenya's Olympic Superstars. Altitude training can assist with development of both endurance levels and technique. Five separate highly specialized training camps for athletes have been established in the Iten and Kabarnet area, for both local and International athletes. These are ideal for athletes looking to gain a high altitude advantage.

Finally, not to be missed are the Tugen Hills at Kipsaraman, where one of Kenya's first community museums has been opened. The museum houses exhibits on biodiversity and conservation, as well as important local human fossil finds and a fascinating exhibit on the possible prehistoric origins of a local mythological creature, the Chemosit, or Nandi Bear.

Even more impressive than the museum itself is its location. Perched on a the edge of a precipitous drop, the view from Kipsaraman is an incredible panoramic vista of the Rift valley and distant Lake Baringo that quite literally takes the breath away.

Kenya invites visitors to come and experience the wild, wonderful and welcoming West.

Photos courrtesy Kenya Tourism