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Amboseli National Park’s Kimana gatehouse officially opened.

Date Published: 02 May, 2012
Amboseli National Park’s Kimana gatehouse officially opened.

The Director, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Kenya Mission, Ms. Erna Kerst officially opens Kimana Gatehouse in Amboseli National Park, with her is KWS, Assistant Director and Head Community Enterprise Development Ms. Munira Bashir.

A Ksh. 20 million newly constructed gate in Amboseli National Park has been officially opened by the Director, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Kenya Mission,Ms. Erna Kerst.

The Kimana gatehouse was inaugurated on April 30, 2012 about a year after the foundation stone was laid by the Deputy Director USAID/Kenya, Mr. James Hope and KWS board of trustees’ chairman, Hon. David Mwiraria. The gate as well as other gates in Amboseli National Park is linked to the KWS headquarters enabling KWS to easily maintain management oversight electronically. USAID funded the construction of the gate under a long standing partnership with KWS that goes back to 1992.

The design of the gate is a significant contribution to brand recognition for Amboseli National Park. It has a point of issue and point of sale which enables visitors to use cards to pay for park entry fee reducing the risk of revenue losses and increasing the speed of customer service. With the opening of the new Loitokitok tarmac road, traffic to and out of Amboseli National Park shifted to Kimana gate as compared to other gates like Meshanani, Kitirwa and Iremito.

With technology at hand, Kimana gate is a model to be emulated by other national parks in Kenya. The gate is connected by wireless to KWS Headquarters. This connectivity will enable the head office to receive complete, accurate and timely management information contributing substantially to enhanced management oversight electronically. This is expected to translate into increased revenue collection and improved security in the park. Previously information was captured at the gate and transferred and updated manually to the head office.

According to Erna Kerst, “Building the gatehouse has been a joint effort by USAID, KWS and the US National Parks Service. Many individuals have been involved in designing and building. Many factors were considered in the architectural design, including client needs, the environment, the neighboring community, and the general public.  I would like to thank all involved for their contributions.”

She also commended KWS leadership for directing its energies towards implementation of well-defined core functions and policy priorities under its recently developed Five-Year Strategic Plan (2012-2017). We have seen much over the past few years, including park branding, the security system, decentralization of management, outsourcing of non-core functions, and strengthening of community outreach activities that are aimed at making KWS a world class conservation agency. USAID is proud to be a partner in the process.

It is anticipated that the gate will contribute to increasing visits to Amboseli National Park in addition to improving visitor experience. The park is a global heritage site as well as a critical source of livelihoods for the local communities. It is one of the most photographed places in the world. The backdrop of Kilimanjaro makes it even more attractive to photographers.



 

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