Recently, a meeting was held by a registered group known as Mt.Kenya Climbers Association to address some of the challenges they faced as regular climbers of Mt.Kenya. Through their meeting, they sought the Kenyan government’s intervention through Kenya Tourism Board and Kenya Wildlife Services in providing direction and solutions to some of the issues raised. The ultimate goal is to make the Mt.Kenya experience better for all users and to increase the country’s revenue in terms of the number of guests touring Mt.Kenya.
The issues raised by the members included:
Substandard accommodation at the camps
Most structures are made of corrugated sheets with minimal insulation, making it extremely cold at night considering temperatures at the mountains go to levels sub-zero. In addition, they are small in size, hence no enough space to move around especially when groups summitting are big (20+ persons).
Poor and insufficient sanitation
Camps in the park are generally lacking in this front. The association is pushing for more functional sanitary units which by all standards will improve the hiking experience and keep the park clean.
Lack of a proper rescue protocol
They also note that the park has no rescue protocol in terms of safety. In the event of accidents, porters are called upon to help in the evacuation exercise which takes days depending on the location of the incident. This is a potential risk to all mountain climbers considering summiting Mt.Kenya is an extreme sport.
Interruption by the Revenue Protection Unit officers
The other issue pointed out by members was the regular night interruption by the Revenue Protection Unit officers. They want a system where all entries into the park are recorded and proof of payment is confirmed at the point of exit. The officers do their runs at night causing unnecessary interruptions.
Guest(s) access into the park without a guide(s)
They also pointed out that some guests were allowed inside the park without a guide. This is against the park rules and eliminating such incidents will not only protect the guests from possible wildlife attacks, but it will also protect the flora and fauna from unscrupulous guests and earn the local guides a livelihood.
Clarity in breakdown of park access fees
The association wants KWS to clarify whether one-night visits at the park are allowed and if they are allowed what fee should be charged. Because at present, the minimum fee charged for even one night at the park is equivalent to a three-night stay.
Proper marking of private camps
They pointed out that some private camping grounds are not marked hence the difficulty in identifying the public ones.
Being excluded in decision-making processes in matters related to the park
They Climbers expressed that there is a need to include them in some of the decisions made by KTB and KWS regarding the park because of the hands-on experience and regular interaction they have with the park.
Little effort made in marketing Mt.Kenya as a tourist destination
Finally, they feel that not so much has been in terms of marketing Mt.Kenya as a tourist destination in Kenya in comparison to how beaches and other premium parks are marketed.
To get further insights of about the meeting, the concerns, and the association, get in touch with their spokesperson; William on +254 723 839 300.