Kenya, whose tourist numbers suffered an all time low due to political riots, has rebounded back and in a big way. President Barack Obama has been accredited with this shift. Since his election win the numbers of U.S. tourists visiting Kenya has increased mightily.
The downturn in tourism to Kenya came after the country’s presidential election was contested and a power sharing agreement between both parties was later brokered. President Obama has renewed interest in Kenya thanks to his heritage link.
The push for travel to Kenya has actually come from travelers who are interested in learning about President Obama’s lineage. President Obama’s father was born in a small town called Kogelo situated in the western region of Kenya and more and more tourists are turning to this spectacular destination.
The result of this is that there are already commitments for more flights, and new tourism products and tourism circuits are being established.
Delta Air Lines announced that it would introduce direct service (the only one in the U.S.) into Nairobi from the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport just after President Obama won the election. This service will begin on June 2 just as Kenya’s high season takes off and will run four times weekly.
Tour operators have also started to announce that there will be visits to Obama’s father’s hometown Kogelo. At this time Kogelo does not have a hotel but it is rumored that there are plans to build up this region as a new stop on the Western Tourism Circuit.
Anyone visiting Kogelo at the moment will either stay overnight in Kisumu or around Lake Victoria where there are many lodgings and hotels. Or there are some tour operators who are setting up tented camps near the Kogelo region so that travelers can have a Western Kenyan camping experience.
Somak Safaris have now set up two safaris that combine a safari with a visit to the Obama village. During time spend in the village there is ample opportunity to meet the people and elders, visit a local school, enjoy folk dancing and learn about the traditions and cultures of the Luo people.
The safari will also include game viewing in Kenya’s popular national parks such as the Amboseli, the Samburu, lake Nauro and the Masai Mara.
Tour prices start at $4,780pp including airfare, accommodations, ground transportation, sightseeing and all meals and will depart from New York every Friday throughout 2009.
For something more affordable you could try the 11-day glimpse of Kenya program. This tour basically is an introduction to Kenya and all its splendors. Clients visit four national parks and game reserves along a classic safari route. The accommodation is comfortable offering great value such as the world famous “Tree Hotel” that overlooks a watering hole.
The rates for this tour start at $2,425 with a round trip airfare from $1,345.
2Afrika has added a new tour to its itinerary honoring President Obama – The Presidential Heritage Tour. This tour is a 10-night tour and includes visits to Mt Kenya and Lake Nakuru national parks, and the Masai mara.
The cost of this tour, which includes two nights in Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, start at $2,999pp plus $295 in taxes and an additional fuel surcharge.
The Obama factor has truly boosted tourism in Kenya.