East Africa has had to fight hard to retain its tourist numbers amidst violent terror incidents, political instability and even West Africa’s Ebola outbreaks in recent years. Kenya and Tanzania remain strong drawcards for international visitors, but the pressure is on to differentiate products. Tourism Update rounded up some of the new experiences.

Take an e-safari

East Africa is renowned for its breath-taking scenery and abundant wildlife. Locations are exclusive and often remote, and most safaris offer visitors unique travel experiences with memories that last a lifetime.

The pressure to reduce carbon footprints – even when on safari in some of the most remote parts of the world – has been increasing, says Sean Kritzinger, Executive Chairman of Giltedge Africa. “Tanzania has rolled out electric 4x4 vehicles that make a safari experience not only almost noiseless, but it also significantly reduces the emissions.”

Whilst this green option reduces the carbon footprint of the service provider it also helps travellers to create a smaller carbon footprint on their travels, says Kritzinger.

Electric-powered eco-safaris are fast gaining popularity. “The e-car uses solar panels to power its engine and is currently being used in the Serengeti National Park,” says Kritzinger.

There is no denying that converting from diesel to electricity can be a costly undertaking, but demand for clean, quiet safaris that are environmentally friendly is growing.

Thanks to the environmentally friendly e-safari vehicle being near noiseless, it can approach wildlife without disturbing them, which in turn allows for a better game-viewing experience overall.

Hopes are high that demand for the technology will increase in Tanzania and Kenya and ultimately be introduced across tourism facilities.

Run with a Kenyan

The natural running ability of Kenyans has seen them smash many world records on racetracks around the globe, says Nicky Fitzgerald, CEO of Angama Mara, who recently joined forces with a local running club to offer a unique opportunity to guests.

“Our guests can join the Angama Running Club on one of its regular training sessions as part of its ‘Run with a Kenyan’ experience,” said Fitzgerald.

The Angama Running Club’s members include guides, butlers and other camp staff who want to share their love of athletics with guests from all over the world.

Setting off at 07h00 (departure is flexible depending on guests’ preferences) there are two routes from which to choose – 3km or 6km, or even further if guests are feeling up to the challenge.

“Something to consider though, is that at 2 000 metres above sea level, Angama Mara’s elevation will be sure to get participants’ hearts pumping, so a reasonable level of fitness is recommended,” said Fitzgerald.

But no matter which route is taken, guests will get to experience the exhilaration of running along the escarpment with the possibility of encountering plains game such as giraffe and zebra along the way.

At the end of the run, guests are presented with a T-shirt: ‘I ran with a Kenyan – and survived.’

Elewana Lodo Springs

Described as a different kind of bespoke safari experience, this new tented camp near Mount Kenya is set to open its doors in June. Located within the 9 300 hectare Loisaba Conservancy, this luxury five-star tented property will have eight tented rooms, all with impressive views that reach across the magical landscape of northern Kenya.

According to Matthew Brown, Africa Director for The Nature Conservancy, they had partnered with Elewana and Loisaba Conservancy to create the camp. “This is the newest and most exciting tourism experience that will generate local jobs and help contribute to critical wildlife and habitat protection. Personally, I find it really exciting that every visitor will be contributing to global species conservation and local livelihoods.”