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Galana-Kulalu offers hope for tourism firms
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|Galana-Kulalu offers hope for tourism firms by Kenyans247(1): Mon 28, December, 2020 09:55am|
What you need to know:
The Galana-Kulalu food security project is a 10,000 acres module farm out of the 1.8million acres and uses River Galana for irrigation.
It grows maize, cotton, mangoes, cashew nuts, citrus, pineapples and banana.
Galana-Kulalu offers hope for tourism firms
The Sh7 billion Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme has turned into fortune for tourism players located along the Tsavo East National Park corridor after they begun using the project to attract visitors.
Mr Philomon Mwavala, the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) board member who is also the Southern Sky Safaris managing director said the strategic location of the food security project makes it a perfect destination for agricultural tourism.
“The food security project is located near the Tsavo East National Park and Galana Conservancy, about 1 hour and 15minutes drive away from the beach in Malindi and Watamu,” he said, adding: “We encourage people to come even for agriculture tourism and get first-hand information on what the government is planning on irrigation and food production.”
Doa Doa Safari Camp, located on the banks of River Galana opposite Galana-Kulalu Irrigation project, offers a camping experience with access to hippos, crocodiles and other water animals.
Mr Mwavala said the facility offers a diverse tourism experience.
“This is an area which has not been tapped well since other than agricultural experience, you are able to visit and see how ranching is done at the Agricultural Development Cooperation (ADC) farm at Galana,” he said.
The Galana-Kulalu food security project is a 10,000 acres module farm out of the 1.8million acres and uses River Galana for irrigation It grows maize, cotton, mangoes, cashew nuts, citrus, pineapples and banana.
Mr Mwavala said since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, most tourism players have halved the price to woo domestic tourists and the improved infrastructure to the national parks has boosted the sector.
“The tarmacking of the Malindi-Sala Gate road was timely and this is a major game changer because we have clients who come only for game drives. The flora and fauna in Tsavo is different from those from places like Maasai Mara and the animals are good,” he said.
Mr Benny Ngale, the Doadoa Safari Camp manager said that prices had been slashed from Sh15,000 per person to Sh7,500 and that the current intake of guests was at ten per cent with all of them being Kenyans.
“Business is really down, we were at 95 per cent before but we are currently at 10 per cent and all are locals. Locals have the money and they can pay. They only need to be informed to embrace local tourism,” he said.
Mr Ngale said the Doa Doa Camp offers excursions to Tsavo East national park and the conservancy for the game drives.
At Satau Camp at Tsavo East National Park, 55 Kilometers from Sala Gate, Mr Paul Ndima, the manager of Satau Camp they have reduced prices to attract domestic tourists which is slowly embracing game tourism and camping experience.
“We thank God because of local guests, since the foreigners stopped coming we are receiving many locals. When all the counties were opened by the President people flocked here,” he said adding “This is the time that we’ve known that Kenyans can travel and promote tourism,”
Mr Ndima said the facility can be accessed via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train from Voi and Bachuma gate along the Mombasa- Nairobi highway and also via the Malindi- Sala gate road and airstrips at the park.
“We currently charge Sh7,500 per person sharing and with the reduced rate we are very optimistic that many Kenyans will tour the park,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Thomas Tungu, a driver with Southern Cross Safaris said that in his fifteen year career as a tour driver he has learnt how to treat his clients who come with a lot of expectations during a game drive.
“Some want to see birds, others animals and others flowers. We have been trained to read them and after some minutes into a drive we can tell what each one needs,” he said.
Ms Rachel Ngatia, a domestic tourist from Mombasa encouraged other Kenyans to visit the national parks and experience the beauty that country had in terms of wildlife.
Speaking to the press at Tsavo East National Park, Ms Ngatia who was accompanied by her friends said she has enjoyed her moments at the park despite it being her first experience.
“It is unbelievable, we have seen the big four of the Tsavo fifteen lions within a span of 30 minutes alone,” she said adding “The tour companies are giving a good rate and it is the opportunity for Kenyans to come out and enjoy Kenya, I know Covid-19 has been hard on people but Kenyans should come out and experience Kenya.”
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