News - 2010
PARKS AND RESERVES
Parks and reserves managed by KWS
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Investors offered 13 new sites for building top Lodges
Date Published: 29 Jul, 2010
The Kenya Wildlife Service is offering local and international investors 13 new sites for building lodges in the expansive and popular destination Tsavo Conservation Area. The Service has advertised for Expression of nterest for lease, development and operation of tourist accommodation facilities in three national parks in this area. The construction of the high quality lodges and permanent luxury tented camps in low use and wilderness activity areas of Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyulu National Parks is part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 development plan.
Tsavo’s tourist experience by promoting investment in low volume, high value tourism in the conservation area’s low use and wilderness areas. The plan further proposes to develop tourist products that appeal to different market segments and provide a high quality, low environmental impact visitor experience. Despite the Tsavo area having 2,796 permanent beds, most of which are in high use zones of Mzima Springs, Kamboyo and Voi, 70 per cent of the conservation area remains underutilised. To enhance the value of the sites for investment, KWS plans to improve accessibility and security presence. The Vision 2030 blueprint’s underutilised parks initiative provides for expansion of bed capacity, opening up of
The Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) consists of Tsavo East National Park 13,747 km2, Tsavo West National Park 7,065 km2, and Chyulu Hills National Park -700 km2. TCA is the tourism flagship of Kenya Wildlife Service’s protected areas and offers a distinctive visitor experience that capitalises on its exceptional resource values. The Conservation Area is known for its sheer size as Kenya’s largest Protected Areas complex (covering approximately 4 per cent of the country’s landmass). It boasts of a variety of ecosystems, biodiversity and natural habitats and is home to a high number of endangered species most notably the country’s largest elephant population, black rhinos, hirola and Grevy’s zebra. In terms of scenic beauty, Tsavo is famed for its diverse landscapes and scenery, untamed wilderness and magnificent volcanic features. History of the conservation area, including exploits of the early European explorers, the Man-eaters lions and railway construction has been subject of world renowned documentaries and films.
Tsavo accounts for over 20 per cent of average annual visitation into KWS parks. The coastal resorts, with its large pool of tourists seeking alternative activities to beach holidays, generate most visitors to Tsavo. The area is well integrated with inland tourist circuits and provides a favoured destination for wildlife related tourist activities. Currently, the Conservation Area has well-developed tourist infrastructure albeit spatially restricted in the High Use zone of Mzima, Kamboyo and Voi representing only about 30 per cent of the total conservation area’s land. A total of 2,796 permanent beds are available (this includes privately operated tented camps, Ecolodges, bandas and lodges). However, 64 per cent of these are found outside the protected area boundaries. Density of tourism infrastructure and facilities within just a portion of the Parks coupled with visitor concentration threatens the authenticity and quality of the parks’ tourist product and also limits realization of the entire conservation area’s tourism potential.
About 70 per cent of the conservation area remains underutilized.There is scope for development of additional bed capacity within the conservation Area’s Limits of Acceptable Use. However, further development in the High Use Zones will not be allowed.KWS has put together a comprehensive management plan for the Conservation Area. The 10-year plan to be implemented between the years 2008 to 2018 is a result of a consultative planning process under the Protected Area Planning Framework, which involved input from a cross section of stakeholders, Park management, and planning expert teams. The plan proposes a Tourism Management and Development Program whose aim is to ensure that the “Tsavo Conservation Area’s position as a premier tourist destination is maintained and enhanced” In addition to managing traditional vehicle-based tourist activities in the high use area, the plan proposes to diversify Tsavo’s tourist experience by promoting investment in low volume, high value tourism in the conservation area’s low use and wilderness areas. The plan further proposes to develop tourist products that appeal to different market segments and provide a high quality-low impact visitor experience.