• Kenya, away from safaris, another idea of Africa
  • Kenya, away from safaris, another idea of Africa
  • Kenya, away from safaris, another idea of Africa

Kenya, away from safaris, another idea of Africa

The cradle of humanity, land of Swahili, a people of travelers who gave their name to the Safaris, and the famous Massai, Kenya is now the site of predilection of the amateurs of thrills, mountaineers, international athletes, kite surfers and trekkers, but also cultural discoveries, to see another Africa

 

By Dounia Ben Mohamed, from Nairobi

 

The history of man began here, about 6 million years ago. Recently, excavations revealed stones cut 3.3 million years ago, the first forms of technology, in the Turkana desert, now a local form of Far West, yesterday, the cradle of the “humanity”.

Far from the archaeological sites, the main tourist attraction is the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros) at your fingertips in one of the country’s 53 parks and reserves, a pioneer in species conservation policy in the continent. Among the most famous, the Masai Mara, in the south-west of the country; The Amboseli National Park, the oldest in Kenya, from where you can see Kilimanjaro; more unusual, the reserves of Mount Kenya (more than 5000 meters above sea level) … Land of choice of safaris – the word comes from elsewhere, and means trip to Swahili – it offers the opportunity to communicate with mother nature in various ways, by classical 4×4 or on foot, by bike, even by camel or balloon. The tour operators make more “exotic” offers, often combined with a seaside stay. The beaches of the Kenyan coast, around Mombassa in particular, are actually more than dreaming. 

Nairobi, a microcosm of Kenyan cultural diversity 

But Kenya provides more than this picture postcard. The cradle of humanity, the crossroad of different peoples and stories, from authentic Maasai to the descendants of Indo-Pakistani immigrants, attached to its traditions but also a regional economic power, with modern infrastructures, buildings and malls, as a sign of a modernization confirmed – Kenya offers the face of Africa today, Nairobi first, the microcosm of Kenyan cultural diversity. In terms of culture, with its temples, mosques and churches; its architecture, the legacy of British colonization in some places meeting international standards in new districts, more “local” in the most popular areas; its shopping centers with various products but also the traditional markets where “made in China” and local products are mixed; its “noisy and stifling” downtown, animated by the latest hits – R & B icons but also the regional music scene – that escape the 24-hour buses and nightclubs, together with soothing calm and nonchalance of residential areas; finally, its restaurants, faced with a majority of fast foods of all kinds, Indian, Chinese, Italian, English and other specialties, testify to the cultural richness of a city that invites to the discovery of another Africa, less postcard, Africa in real life. The authorities are seeking to promote this diversity. Flourishing industry until the recent attacks of Westgate and Garissa, the activity is gradually booming. Kenya welcomed more than 700,000 tourists last year, over 16% more than the previous year.

Promote Kenya through its diversity

“In France, we want to promote Kenya through all the diversity of the Kenyan tourism offer,” according to the Kenya Tourism Office in Paris. The safari, not only by 4×4 or minibus, but also by horseback, on foot, by balloon, by bicycle … there are different ways of accessing wildlife in Kenya; The seaside and especially the Swahili culture of the Kenyan coast which can be seen in particular through historical sites such as Fort Jesus, the old town of Lamu, a UNESCO world heritage Site; The history of Kenya itself, the cradle of humanity with the discovery of the oldest tools in the world in 2015 and, in Turkana, the presence of hominid bones older than Lucy; the cultural side through the encounter of many ethnic groups and festivals; sport also with hiking & trekking, but also mountaineering in Mount Kenya or athletics, as Kenya is also well-known for its famous athletes.” These products help make Kenya a popular tourist destination in the continent


 

Author : Dounia Ben Mohamed // Photos : vue sur Nairobi, safari photos © DR

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