” We hold in trust, for now and tomorrow the responsibility for the protection and conservation of Kenya’s extraordinary natural wealth, as represented by its fauna, flora and natural beauty. Kenya Wildlife Service will manage these resources, which are of inestimable economic, socio-cultural, aesthetic and scientific value. To fulfil this mission, Kenya Wildlife Service will develop the required human resources, achieve financial self-sufficiency and encourage the support and participation of the people of Kenya.”
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is a government parastatal entrusted with the protection and conservation of Kenya’ s flora and fauna. KWS was established in January 1990 under the Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Amendment Act. Since its inception, security in both the national parks reserves has greatly improved and poaching, which saw the disappearance of 85% of the nation’s elephants and 97% of the rhinos between 1975 and 1985, has almost been eliminated. From 16,000 elephants in 1989 the population has increased to 26,000 and the rhino population is now up to 475.
KWS manages 26 national parks, 22 national reserves, five marine reserves and one national sanctuary. Wildlife viewing is a major attraction in Kenya’s tourism industry and receipts from visitors to the parks and reserves is the main source of income for KWS.
KWS collaborates with many different groups in the development of wildlife tourism, notably the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, the industry represented by the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, and the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers. Each group has different priorities but are interdependent in regard to conservation and tourism.
As indicated by the mission statement, the principal goals of KWS can be defined as:
- to conserve the natural environments of Kenya and their flora and fauna for the benefit of present and future generations and as a world heritage.
- to use the wildlife resources of Kenya sustainably for the economic development of the nation and for the benefit of the people living in the wildlife areas
- to protect people and property from injury or damage from wildlife KWS encourages some wildlife area activities such as :
- Camping can have a low environmental impact and draws on a wide market ranging form the cheapest to the most high spending.
- This is being developed and will range from short guided walks to long hikes taking several days.
- Kenya’s exceptional diversity of birdlife attracts a large share of ornithological safaris.
- Walking/riding in semi-arid areas.
- Relatively low price park entry fees. Extended visits by school/university groups combining study and adventure.
- Visits to remote and beautiful landscapes of Kenya.
Snorkelling & Scuba diving:
- Kenya’s coral reefs have much to offer both the novice snorkeller and the experienced diver.
To enhance visitor satisfaction, KWS will establish visitor information centres and central booking offices in Nairobi and Mombasa and later in other major towns. Maps, guidebooks and other publications will be available at the centres.
KWS has already improved the road networks to redistribute the tourist load within the parks and to eliminate off-road driving. Improvement of roads to restore popular circuits and open up new ones is underway. Seven circuits have been identified, namely the south-west circuit, the west circuit, the mid-northern, the far north, the south-eastern, the coast and the Nairobi circuits.
KWS keeps a 24-hour security watch in the national parks and reserves under its management. Security in the parks has greatly improved and poaching of Wildlife has almost vanished.
Kenya Wildlife Service,
P. O. Box 40241,
Tel. 254 02 501081,
Fax 254 02 505866/501752