The Kenya Tourism Board launched a campaign, ‘Why I Love Kenya’. As a person who works with hotels hosting international clients, I have to be at the forefront in promoting this campaign. So everyone at my work place has these buttons that one has to wear every day at work. They have the writings, ‘Ask me why I love Kenya’. So every foreigner sees me and they ask me the question. Seems like a very simple question but believe me, it gets quite difficult to say why you love your country when you have lived in it every single day of your life. Everything seems normal to you. Its until you visit a different country that you will get to really know why you love your country.
For instance you will get to know that in July, its not actually cold in Kenya as there are other countries that the same weather is like summer to them. So because of this, I decided to take a different approach to this campaign, I would ask the hotel guests what they have loved about Kenya during the course of their stay. Here are some of the answers I have received.
1. The people are friendly – like 8 out of 10 people give me this as the first reason they love Kenya. The first time I heard this I was like, ‘you have definitely not interacted with our matatu conductors ‘makangas’ or some of the public civil servants’! But as more and more guests gave me the same response, it got me thinking and realized that we are actually friendly people. How many times have you gotten lost and asked a stranger for directions and they gladly help, some even offer to escort you themselves and can give you the full history of the place as you talk. For me, its not once I have been paid for my matatu fare by a complete stranger since I had forgotten to withdraw money from the ATM or Mpesa. When I am bored at home, I can just walk to my local kiosk or shopping center and start a very long conversation about some random topic like man-u vs arsenal or politics with a complete stranger. I have come to appreciate this about my country
2. Scenery – This one, I overheard one of the tour guides(South African) who is a regular hear in Kenya brief one of his guests. He was taking his group of tourists around the country and was telling them of how the scenery is spectacular. That was not the catch though, it was when he said that in one hour of travel by road, you can experience various totally different weather and vegetation along the way. He for example talked about traveling top the rift valley and how you will pass by totally different terrein, weather, vegetation and landscape in just a few hours. This is the case in most of the places you will travel to in Kenya. It might be normal for you as a Kenyan but just think about it, its amazing.
3. Security – I was not sure whether to include this so before I say anything about security, I know this is not the most secure country especially with the terror attacks that have happened recently. But believe me,it is one of the safest countries to be in in Africa. I got this from a well traveled business man. He said that he could freely walk in the streets of Nairobi without having to look over his shoulders which is next to impossible in countries such as Nigeria and South Africa. He added by saying that in all the countries he travels to in the continent, Kenya is one of the best.
There are other numerous reasons why I love Kenya like its diversity, the wild life, the great holiday destinations and many more. But I just thought I should highlight the three which are most likely to be overlooked.
So…What do you love about Kenya?