Kenya builds nest for bird-watching tourism

3rd Sep 2013

Up until now, it has been the best of times and the worst of times for wildlife-loving twitchers on group tours to Kenya.

They have marvelled at the splendour of lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos at the East African country's big game reserves.

But this could regularly be at the expense of hurtling past a tree packed with intriguing birdlife with barely time for a second glance.

Now all this is changing and Kenya-bound birders are about to have their day.

This tourism-rich land boasts avian stars such as the flamingo, ibis, stork, ostrich, crane, kite, grey woodpecker and cinnamon-chested bee-eater.

So it's a natural progression that Kenya should launch specialist tours for bird lovers alongside its lakes, parks and wildlife adventures.

The County Government of Baringo, Kenya, is targeting more than 50 million shillings (£367,500) in annual income from a new bird-watching enterprise.

The County Cabinet Secretary in-charge of Tourism Wesley Keitany has just returned from the UK Bird Fair in Rutland.

He said he persuaded organisers there to stage Africa's inaugural bird fair in Baringo on a date to be set in the next year.

Keitany told The Standard the county would fully mine its previously untapped massive potential for bird watching.

Baringo is one of the world's leading birding destinations with the largest amount of beautiful bird species, Keitany claimed.

It boasts over 500 bird species in Lake Baringo and more than 490 in Lake Bogoria, besides many scattered birds on cliffs and shrubs.

The county is also launching an annual bird-migration flyway in Tugumoi area, he said.

This is a unique migratory route populated by birds every November from Russia, France and other European countries.

Visitors to the Lake Bogoria Game Reserve can witness more than 1.5 million migratory flamingoes flocking to the lake in pursuit of good weather and food.

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