Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said that zip-lines will be installed across the crater of Mt Longonot in order to attract more tourists to the site.
Mr Balala took on the 2776 metre hike over the weekend, visiting the tourist attraction to assess and showcase to guests the beauty of the landscape.
Speaking after the climb, which saw the CS and his team reach the mountain’s peak and ascend, Balala addressed the issue of revamping the site to add more activities for guests.
The CS said that the government needs to construct more products and experiences for the area’s visitors in order to make their trip to the area more enjoyable and diverse.
“If we maintain ourselves to just safari and taking pictures; that is not going to increase the numbers of tourists that we want. And it is not just about tourists in general, but also our Kenyan, domestic tourists,” Balala said.
The CS observed that there are existing picnic sites and campsites in the area, noting that there is an opportunity to do more.
“People go there and do the camping - why cannot we have a zip-line from one side of the crater to the other?”
“It is a world-class experience and it will put Kenya on the global map. Whenever I travel to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) parks, I see only opportunities and not problems,” the CS said.
Balala added that it is important for development projects to be done right and in an eco-friendly way that preserves the invaluable attraction sites.
He noted that Mt Longonot attracts 60,000 guests a year and that 17,000 people have visited the park over the last three months.
KWS Director General John Waweru, who accompanied Balala on the hike noted that there was a large number of Kenyan tourists hiking, and said that the numbers are encouraging for the tourism potential in the area.
“It is a good thing to see that Kenyans are exploiting this opportunity, and of course, we also saw some foreign visitors. I encourage you to come here and experience this beautiful place yourself,” Waweru said.
The Kenya Tourism Board noted through a press statement that despite Mt Longonot National Park being dubbed the “sheer adventure” destination and being one of the most fascinating destinations, it is one of the least visited.
“With its cool climate, lush greenery and stunning views of the Rift Valley, Mt Longonot offers a variety of trails for hikers of all fitness levels. It is also home to wildlife like Zebras, giraffes, grant gazelles and over 110 bird species making it a birding paradise,” KTB reported.
The KWS describes the mountain as “an extinct volcano with serene views.”
“A unique feature is the thick forest that lies within the crater of the mountain. The crater rim also provides great scenic views across the beautiful Rift Valley all the way to Lake Naivasha,” KWS notes on its website.
The CS also addressed the conditions at the Hell’s Gate National Park, saying that it would be reopened after the rains subsided and after thorough safety measures have been put in place.
Escape routes and alarm systems will be installed before reopening.
Balala and his team are set to visit Mt Kenya next week for a similar expedition aimed at showcasing the various attractions that the country has to offer.
“Following our hike on Mt Longonot, we will hike Mt Kenya as part of an adventure and nature hike campaign aimed at improving hikers’ experiences in Mt Kenya National Park, ” the CS wrote on Twitter.