It’s hard to believe Obama’s presidency in more popular in Kenya and Africa than in America. USA is Kenya’s second biggest source of tourists after Britain. The question every safari operator ponders on is whether the Obama presidency will have an effect on Kenya safari seekers.
The newest addition on Kenya’s tourism portfolio is a small modest village west of Kenya, set to go along with the worlds finest game reserve ‘The Masai mara’ named last year as a world wonder, ‘Lamu islands’ named by the United Nations as a world heritage site and the white sandy beach of the Kenyan coast line to mention just a few.
Questions have been asked whether Americans and the many international travelers to Kenya will take keen interest and to some make it a life time dream to see ‘Kogelo village’ near Lake Victoria, the very origin of the current most powerful man in the world.
Mama Sarah still lives there and wish nothing will change, she loves the neighborhood and the old villager way of life, but not any more, her mud and tin house has been redone and nicely refurbished and now has running water and electricity.
Nelson Mandela, the South African legend and one of the worlds most celebrated person was born and raised in a small country side province, spending his early years in the tiny village of Qunu, just outside Mthatha. Many tourists gather here daily from all over the world mostly enroute or after a typical safari, says Sinyiko Zimisele, a professional guide at Qunu’s Nelson Mandela Museum.
Qunu now a thriving community is where Mandela has said he spent the happiest years of his youth, doing his herd-boy duties, playing in the river and sailing down the “sliding stone”. When his father was persecuted by a white magistrate and deposed as chief of Mvozo, where Nelson Mandela was born and raised, the family took refuge at a modest village of Qunu. It is the place where the young Rolihlahla, in colonial tradition, was named Nelson on his first day at school.
In Kenya, the government has proposed a Museum to be set up, which will accommodate the history of Obama junior in the USA and family back ground, all to be stocked with the artifacts and works of the late Barrack Obama Snr who was born here and the father of the US President. A documentary explanation of the Obamas family, history and background and those featuring the Kogelo sub-clan as a whole will be detailed here.
The recent surprise visit at the village by Kenyan top government officials and the tourism minister is expected to rekindle the sleeping blue print of western Kenya safari tourist circuit made nearly 30 years ago, with the rich culture and breathtaking country landscape among other touristy attractions on offer, but which has for all these years remained in the drawing board without being implemented.
Most Africans are happy that the Obama development will open up the influx of Kenya safari tourists to the expansive rift valley, then to the must see Lake Victoria, a fishing haven. Safari tourists will wound up the safari at the Obama’s family Museum at Kogelo Village.
The Kenyan safari circuits needed fresh ideas and one just fell off the skys. The Chinese even before Kenya could start reaping the fruits are the first beneficiaries as they have been awarded a tender to expand an airport on the lake side 60 kilometers from Kogelo so as tourist can access Obama’s root village.
There is also the ambitious multi million shilling investment initiative spearheaded by Kenya Railways Corporation intended to turn Kisumu town set on the lake side into a regional business and one of the Kenya’s tourism hub.
The USA Kenya tourists traffic in my experience consists of 90% from the white community and Kenya is more optimistic that the Africa Americans will be finding a Kenyan Safari a must do in order to quest the urge to see the origin of the very first Africa American super hero.
The very own Kenyan’s followed by the East African friendly neighbors of Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia have set the pace with school programs set to cover a visit north all as part of the vital history learning experience and role model lesson for the hopeful youths.
Families in Kenya has just found a reason enough to pack up and take that road trip during the next school holidays. In simple terms Kenyans and Africans have never felt so close a wonderland so far far away; a wonderland they call – The US.