Just how green are the credentials of your Kenyan safari holiday?

The current chairman of the Kenya tourist board is Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the former president. It's a significant name and one that has associations with Kenya's "golden years" just after independence when President Jomo Kenyatta presided over one of the best economic growth rates in Africa, thriving tea and coffee plantations, the promise of real prosperity and, with the birth of affordable safaris, a lively and burgeoning tourism industry.

The current chairman of the Kenya tourist board is Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the former president. It's a significant name and one that has associations with Kenya's "golden years" just after independence when President Jomo Kenyatta presided over one of the best economic growth rates in Africa, thriving tea and coffee plantations, the promise of real prosperity and, with the birth of affordable safaris, a lively and burgeoning tourism industry.

Now Kenya needs to rekindle the Kenyatta factor. The numbers of tourists to the country may have risen by up to 30 per cent recently, but those who have not visited for a number of years will be saddened by Kenya's neglected infrastructure, the rationing of water and power, the poverty of drought-stricken country people and the all-pervasive corruption which starves the country of investment.

But it's not all bad news. Firstly, Kenya remains a magnificent country. The national parks, which have been lucky in escaping the worst of the drought, conjure all kinds of superlatives. The migration of the wildebeest (in May and June), the massing of flamingos, the loping of giraffe and zebra across the plains, the herds of elephant: they still live up to the Africa of your wildest wildlife dreams. Kenya also has the Great Rift Valley (thought to be the cradle of mankind), it has Mount Kenya for treks, and it looks onto Kilimanjaro, the world tallest free-standing mountain, with a footprint the size of Yorkshire.

In 1996 the Il Ngwesi safari lodge in the north of Kenya attracted international attention as the first tourist ranch to be wholly owned and run by local (Samburu) people. Since then there have been many thoughtful "green" tourist initiatives aimed at making tourism and wildlife conservation work to the advantage of local people.

Much of the accommodation in the parks, such as the excellent Serena Lodges, are built and run in great sympathy with the environment. As part of a number of new initiatives the tourist board in Kenya is now rating tourism businesses on their "green" credentials.

According to Beatrice Buyu, managing director of the Kenya tourist board, the country is fighting to stay ahead in the tourist game in Africa and has ambitions to become a world-class destination. There are plenty of new ideas for small-scale, high-quality holidays to the country. "We have undersung aspects of the country such as culture and sport and we are going to start a homestay programme so that visitors can experience the Kenyan way of life first hand," she said.

"There's great potential in spectator sports such as cricket. We're building on adventure sports, too, such as mountain climbing and camel riding which will diversify what's on offer for tourists and ease the pressure on the busy parks and beaches."

The negative publicity about safety for tourists in Kenya, which has eclipsed the bigger truth about the friendliness of ordinary Kenyans, is also being addressed. Tourist minibuses now have radio communications and good links to medical services, and measures have been taken to stop harassment by beach boys selling trinkets.

The government, for its part, has rebuilt the road between Nairobi and Mombasa on the coast and improved many others. In all there seems a new spirit of co-operation between parties and an energy about tourism in Kenya. But what of the corruption and lack of investment?

Well, a new "wealth declaration law" has been mooted - as a condition laid down by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a £133m loan - by which members of Kenya's political and administrative élite will be obliged to reveal their assets, which may do something to stop the haemorrhaging of public money into private accounts. Then Mr Kenyatta could sit back and watch a real transformation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - York

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - Y...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project