Monday, 15 September 2014

KENYA'S SPORTS TOURISM HIGHLIGHTS



Kenya's David Rudisha
When you mention sports and Kenya, the large number of world class distance runners immediately comes to mind. Kenyans have traditionally performed well in international track competitions, and continue to take the gauntlet flying the Kenyan flag high. This great panache has come with many years of routine in the Kenyan hinterlands. School-going children rise at the break of dawn every morning, feeling their way under the cover of darkness before their long journey starts to school. Their thirst for education is one that is only quenched in the dismal classrooms, where, with many days and months of persistence, they have learnt the alphabet, and even how to spell and write their names. Their long arduous treks to and from school, with time, become a routine, and the discipline sets in, fueled by their desire to be better stationed citizens in the future. Inspiring stories of men who started this way have challenged the world, especially along the escarpments of the Great Rift Valley, including David Rudisha and Paul Tergat. Others have risen to the zenith of their success from the very pastoralists fields, where with discipline and agility ran after herds of cattle, and with resilience and persistence came out as one of the world's finest athletes. Their talent, shaped by attitude and altitude, and once oblivion to them, has brought out Kenya as one of the best sports training grounds in the world.

Kenya's tourism marketing is revolutionizing by tapping into the key events held in the country and using them as a platform to promote domestic and international travel. Sporting events like the recent Diani Touch Rugby tournament, which saw participants from across the border in Tanzania join with others coming as far as France and the UK to play against Kenyan teams have marketed Kenya as a sporting destination. Kenya, besides athletics, has excelled in rugby and played alongside titans like New Zealand and South Africa with successes in the famous International Rugby 7's tournaments from Dubai to Australia. This has drawn fans from all over the world to attend rugby matches held in Nairobi and the trending circuit in county stadia like the Masakuu Rugby 7's tournament dubbed Macha7s.
This according to Kenya's tourism marketing agency is one of the strategies to boost tourists’ numbers that have recorded a drop as a result of insecurity.

In a press briefing during the 6th edition of Diani Touch Rugby held recently in Diani, Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said key annual events held across the country have the potential to grow tourism.
 
"A number of County Governments and private sector have hosted and continue to host key events that have the potential to attract international participation and as Kenya Tourism Board we shall continue to leverage on these avenues to grow the tourism sector," Mr. Ndegwa said.
Kenya Rugby Union chairman Mwangi Muthee said the beach rugby tournament is recognized internationally and noted that the sport will go a long way in marketing Kenya's coastal beaches.
"Touch rugby is no longer a small event, it is recognition globally. I call for more focus on marketing to encourage more international participation. The union will collaborate with organizers to bring more international participants."
Kenya is known worldwide as the athlete country of the world. Major annual athletic events include the Standard Chartered Marathon and the Lewa Marathon.
Running in the wild - Safaricom Lewa Marathon
The 15th annual Safaricom Marathon and Half Marathon took place on Lewa on Saturday, 28th June 2014. Organised by Tusk and supported by Safaricom, this fundraising event hosted 1,000 runners from over 20 different countries. The Safaricom Marathon is regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the world. However, runners of all abilities take part, from fun runners, walkers and amateurs, to professionals like Paul Tergat the Kenyan international and former world record holder. This years winner was Philemon Baaru, winning the title three years in a row.

Maralal International Camel Derby
In the sweltering sand of Samburu county is held the annual camel classic dubbed Samburu Maralal International Camel Derby, the recent one held last August 28th-31st and the next one slated to begin on August 24th-26th 2015.The Kenya Tourism Board has been using this event to open up the northern  tourist circuit to both domestic and international tourists. During the recent Maralal Derby preparations, Samburu County Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal said that the Maralal Camel Derby is meant to pull travel enthusiasts to the northern part of the country which has unexplored tourist attractions.

“We intend to use this event to attract both local and international tourists to the northern tourism circuit where we have several unexploited attraction sites,” he stated.

The KCB Safari Rally
The event is set to attract participants from East Africa, the US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, India, Ghana, France, Brazil, China, Poland among others. Among the activities that will take place include amateur and professional camel races, bike competitions, marathon, cultural and culinary shows.

The KCB Safari Rally, held every April is a chance to see a world-class motor sport event held in the Nairobi area. The course covers some 700 km / 435 miles. Another safari rally event that draws tourists from different parts of the globe is The Rhino Charge. This annual off-road motor race each May takes competitors deep into the African bush of Kenya, whilst also raising funds for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust.
The Rhino Charge Experience
The warm waters of Kenya’s Indian Ocean is a great attraction to water lovers and has been one of the best coastlines in the world, not only for the white sandy beaches and beautiful lagoons, but also for the many beach sports that are a great pastime for both domestic and international tourists. These include sports like kite surfing, snorkeling in the clear blue waters, sailing, deep-sea fishing, wind surfing, dhow trips, kayaking and scuba-diving. It is a whole wonderful experience of the water sports in the Kenyan Indian ocean and the Lake Victoria basin.


Kenya has a number of beautifully scenic golf courses at various altitudes from Sea Level right up to the nine-hole Molo course at 2740m (8989ft). Windsor Golf and Country club is one of the attractions and The Railway golf club in the center of Nairobi city. The most recent is the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort in Naivasha which apart from golf also offer a variety of activities for adventurous guests, including Game and Bird walks, Fishing and Boating on Lake Naivasha. The oldest is the Royal Nairobi Golf Club. The "Royal" title was bestowed on the Nairobi Golf Club in 1935 by King George V. Other golf courses include the Muthaiga and Karen Golf Clubs each with championship courses.
Sports in Kenya continues to be a prime tourist attraction, winning the attention of many tourists ,both local and international.
Golfing at The Great Rift Valley Lodge

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