Home' Travel News : July 2014 Contents 22 travel news July 2014
July 2014 travel news 23
The Church of Goodwill - Kekopy
Kenya has been my home for forty years, my wife and daughter are Citizens, our Grandson Michael was born here and has made
more safaris in his first year than many people will be privileged to do in a lifetime – and he has enjoyed a holiday at the coast. Right
now Michael is on safari in Amboseli with his Mum and Dad and Grandmother who is visiting from England. He celebrates his first
birthday in a week’s time.
Four weeks ago this prompted me to write an article that appeared in the travel section of the Saturday Telegraph in the UK – the
land of my birth – telling people just how much Kenya needed tourism – that it was vital to our economy and to conservation. Without
substantial revenue from tourism our wildlife will be even more vulnerable to poachers; setting aside wilderness areas for animals
even harder to justify to land hungry humans. The article was circulated widely by the Kenya Tourist Board to encourage overseas
guests to visit this wonderful country in the face of a barrage of Travel Advisories that have cast a long shadow over our tourism
industry. If you look on a map you will see just what a tiny part of Kenya is prompting security concerns – yet the repercussions of
recent events and the impact of Travel Advisories has been devastating and on a scale that in no way reflects the situation in the
country as a whole.
What a difference a month can make on this fast paced planet of ours. The World Cup has kicked off and the reigning champions
Spain are already on their way home – with England not far behind them.
But however disappointing, that is not what is
preoccupying my attention right now. It would be easy
to feel despondent reading headlines telling the world of
renewed loss of life on the Kenya coast not far from the
ancient city of Lamu, together with the killing of Satao
barely a month after the death of Mountain Bull, two
mighty ‘tuskers’ slaughtered for their magnificent ivory
tusks worth nearly US$2,000 a kilo in the Far East. The
bulls were in their mid to late 40s and had lived through
events both locally and internationally that have blighted
Kenya’s tourism industry in the past.
The bombing of the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi on New
Years Eve 1980/81; the Gulf War of 1990/91; the
bombing of the American Embassies in Nairobi and
Dar es Salaam in 1998 and the political violence that
erupted at the time of Presidential elections in Kenya
in 1997 and 2008. Despite these setbacks the tourism
industry has always shown a resilience that has enabled
it to dust itself down and snatch victory from the jaws of
defeat. But make no mistake these are difficult times.
All the more reason then to redouble our commitment
to Kenya, put our fears in to perspective and to ‘light a
candle rather than curse the darkness.’
Terrorism and poaching go hand in hand. They feed
on fear and insecurity. The battle to save our planet’s
increasingly endangered wildlife might appear to be a
lost cause whether attempting to protect the last few
thousand wild tigers in Asia or stemming the catastrophic
epidemic of elephant and rhino poaching in Africa. Even
the Masai Mara where Angie and I continue to follow the
lives of its charismatic big cats has seen an alarming
upsurge in poaching in recent months with reports of
117 elephant carcasses new and old discovered during
a census of wildlife in the Reserve - minus their tusks.
At times like these it is understandable to feel powerless
and downhearted. But each individual can contribute in
a meaningful way by simply holding up their hand and
saying ‘NO’ to the killing.
When I was working on a book on leopards in the
1970s it was estimated that 50,000 leopards were being
trapped, shot and poisoned across Africa each year for
their beautiful spotted coats. In the 1980s a brilliantly
orchestrated advertising campaign writ large on
billboards and in cinemas across Europe and America
Why I Love Kenya - Part Two
Big Cat Man Jonathan Scott speaks out on his Love Affair with Kenya.
All images by kind permission of Angie Scott
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