Written by On The Go Explorers.
Look up the sky: no one of them stays in the same place – Seneca.
Read that again. Happy new year! May this year be everything you want it to be and most grandly, we hope travel is on your vision board.
This is an important decade, vastly for those who stand for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainable Development goals were adopted by the United Nations Member States as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and to ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Which one do you stand for? Let us know in the comment section. (Thanks in advance).
Tourism has a great potential to contribute towards these goals, specifically the targets in goals 8, 12 and 14, which promote sustainable economic growth, ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns, inclusivity, and the sustainable use of our oceans and marine resources, respectively. Here, sustainable tourism is firmly positioned in the 2030 Agenda.
In light of this, there has been a niche for us to delve into sustainable travel and be part of the revolution in ensuring we are mindful of the impact the tourism industry has on the environment, local communities and wildlife. This means, engaging in ethical wildlife tourism, supporting local people and protecting our local culture and history.
There are a number of ways in which tourism can potentially make positive net contributions to conservation. Charity begins at home and as Nairobi- based travel bloggers, we felt obliged to visit and feature various establishments that have been set up to promote conservation of various animal species, land and our heritage.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
The lives of our elephants are in steady danger. They are either being pursued for their tusks, meat or are dislodged following the loss of their environment because of human-populace clashes and additionally dry season. A long time back, the wild biggest creature would wander around uninhibitedly until the impedance of people in their regular natural surroundings. While we are the very people that undermine their reality, then again we present the desire for them.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of the most successful rescue and rehabilitation centers for orphaned elephants. All year round, the Sheldrick Trust rave around the country rescuing elephants in emaciation and distress over human- wildlife conflict or poaching. The orphaned elephants are then taken through a rehabilitation program before they are reintegrated back into Tsavo National Park, after which they gradually go back into the wild.
At the trust, the rescued baby elephants are fed on a milk formula that has been made to match the nutritional qualities of Mother Elephant’s milk. The keepers at the trust lead them to a designated mud bath area where visitors can witness the feeding and play with the baby elephants.
Elephants are extremely social animals. While at the Sheldrick’s trust, we witnessed them giving generous hugs to visitors and accepting back rubs from us. Let us say they are genuinely instinctive because they realize the proceeds from every visitation goes into caring and nurturing them. Thus, the hugs are their show of gratitude? Maybe! We believe you might have witnessed these creatures’ violent charges at some point in your life. However, with them what you give is what you get in return.
The long term goal of the Trust is to attain financial sustainability to the trust. Therefore, to offer added support to the trust, you may adopt one of the baby elephants or purchase the branded merchandise including, T-shirts, water bottles, keyholders, fridge magnets and paintings. Purchasing the merchandise will not only support the trust but also grow the businesses and people that put in the work to attain sustainability and decent living.
Photo credits: Lunanga
The Giraffe Centre.
The Giraffe centre is also a non-profit organization that was established to protect the endangered species of giraffes: The Rothschild Giraffe. The centre offers an elevated feeding platform where the visitors get the chance to meet face to face with the giraffes and feed them. Pellets of corn, wheat and grass are given to the visitors for the giraffes to gracefully lick off their palms. Besides that, a wealth of information is provided on the giraffes, hence a day spent here is not only in partial fulfilment of the thrill of being very close to the animal but also in knowledge.
The giraffes are quite gentle but keep in mind that they will attack when they are provoked. However, guides are stationed to lead you on how to avoid provoking the animals. For instance, you could be feeding it from the side of its head that it least likes!
The Giraffe Center not only strikes as a tourism hub in Nairobi but also a center to Conservation projects including:
- Waste Management – The concept of 4R and waste sorting is taught, that is, Re-using, Reducing, Replacing and Recycling of glass, metal and plastic.
- Tree Nursery- Learn about tree care, seed collection, sowing, potting and planting trees.
- Biomass Fuel Production- Learn how different biomass material such as leaves and sawdust can be turned into fuel.
- Compost Manure Production- The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, educates about sustainable agriculture through composting by helping people learn how to reduce the usage of chemical fertilizers.
Within the center there is a cafeteria offering snacks and a gift shop that has beautiful souvenirs for purchase.
Other activities include nature walks, bird walks, tree identification and nature interactive learning carried out in the indigenous forest that once surrounded Nairobi.
Opened daily from 8.00a.m – 5.00p.m, the entrance charges are Ksh. 500 for citizens and Ksh. 1500 for non-citizens. It is important to bring along a form of identification and payment is strictly cashless.
Photo credits: Olwande.
The Nairobi National Park.
Fun fact: Nairobi National Park is the only protected area in the world with a variety of wild animals and birds within a city! The park has to be the most underrated destination by locals as well.
Nairobi National Park offers a variety of wildlife including Zebras, Lions, Warthogs, Cheetahs, Leopards, Gazelles, Baboons and Monkeys.
Ivory- burning site is a significant landmark in the annals of conservation in the National Park. In 1989, President Daniel Moi made an astonishing statement to poachers by setting fire 11 tonnes of seized ivory. An event that improved the conservation image of Kenya at a time when East African wildlife was ravaged by poaching. In 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta oversaw burning of 105 tonnes of ivory at the same site. This was intended to send a strong anti-poaching message.
Admittedly, the park faces threats from urban development and it is daunting in finding a perfect balance between conservation and development. Infrastructure projects like the railway line have pressed onto the territories of the animals and is likely to frustrate the wildlife.
Charges: Kenyans- Ksh. 430, Non-residents- Ksh. 4300 and Residents Ksh. 1030
Photo credits: I_am_Pishi
Nairobi National Museum.
Heritage sites form have more than one story of importance to tell about a people and their history, culture, and economic activities; from the notable treasures and carvings that are beautifully assembled and exhibited.
The Nairobi National Museum vividly depicts the four pillars of Kenya’s natural heritage: nature, culture, history and contemporary art right from the landscaping to the exhibitions. Featured is an aquarium, the mammal kingdom, the bird’s kingdom, an archeological space, and a snake park.
Another great feature of the National Museum is the spiral staircases that have photographs beautifully hanging from the ceiling. The photographs capture various moments in the history of Kenya like the retired Presidents Hon. Daniel Moi’s wedding pictures.
At the Museum, you are bound to encounter a litter- free and a well-maintained environment. We hope you keep it that way when you visit. If you have visited the National Museum before, you will probably notice the changes and new sections that have been introduced. However, the Snake Park could do better with renovation and the animals well taken of.
Sustainable tourism should maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to tourists, raising our awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices among ourselves.
Last but not least, when we have moments when we think to ourselves – ” I’m only one person I can’t make a difference” – we need to remind ourselves of Gandhi’s message -“Be the change you want to see in the world.’