Sitting on the coach to Edinburgh, I read an article about the Samburu, published in the Saturday travel section of a major paper. It was a long time ago, but visiting Northern Kenya was one of the highlights of my journey in Africa. I saw it in many places – in Port Saint Johns in South Africa, the Matopos region in Zimbabwe, in the villages of Malawi and so on – that locals are trying hard to benefit from tourism, but with little resources and a lack of experience it is very difficult to succeed. It was in Kenya where I have seen a different approach, where the whole community was involved in tourist projects together, for the benefit of the whole community. Community organizations, also called Youth Self-Help Groups, were involved in making and selling handicrafts, running guest houses and tours. I don’t know how successful they are today – but they weren’t mentioned in the paper.
Community based tourism organizations in Northern Kenya:
Lake Baringo, Kampi ya Samaki village: they were running a guest house and boat tours on the lake. From the profit they built a water cleaning plant for the village.
Maralal: calling themselves the Plastic Boys, they were running a guesthouse, making the best selection of authentic handicrafts and running shorter and longer tours and camel/walking safaris.
Wamba and Isiolo: quite small and disorganized groups making handicrafts, the later with a bit of Somali touch.
Tribute to Mohamed Amin and Brian Tetley
Mohamed Amin was one of the best photographers of Kenya, working often with author Brian Tetley in the most remote places. He had an arm blown off by an explosion in Ethiopia, but carried on with work with an artificial limb. In November 1996, coming home to Kenya yet from another assignment, the plane carrying them was hijacked and eventually crashed in the sea, killing both of them along with more than 100 other passengers and crew.
Further info on Mohamed Amin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Amin
The Mohamed Amin Foundation: http://www.moforce.com/