Kenya is a vibrant country synonymous with safaris, wildlife and all-round masterpieces crafted by Mother Nature. From the vast grasslands of the Masai Mara to the palm-lined shores of Mombasa, this natural paradise needs ongoing efforts to keep it thriving for generations to come. This is why sustainability in Kenya is at the forefront of decision making in order to manage the rapid population growth, urbanisation and effects of climate change. Without careful consideration, Kenya is at risk of losing its outstanding biodiversity, so read on to discover what the country is doing to champion sustainability and how you can make your trip an ethical one.


Promoting Responsible Tourism

Tourism has created ample jobs for Kenya’s workforce and helped boost the economy, but the country is aware that tourism isn’t feasible long-term without promoting sustainable practices. A key component of this is a move towards sustainable lodges. From community-based lodges like Il Ngwesi that employ locals and help support health and education projects to hotels like The Severin Sea Lodge that have a full-time environmental officer on staff, there’s an increasing number of sustainable stays cropping up around the Kenya which help to support sustainability in Kenya.

Reducing Plastic Waste

Single-use plastic has detrimental effects worldwide, and the adverse effects on wildlife in Kenya is no exception to this rule. This is why, in 2017, Kenya imposed one of the world’s toughest bans on single-use plastic. In conservation areas, single-use bottles, straws, cutlery, food packaging and more were banned from being used, resulting in lodges such as Tawi in Amboseli being crowned as completely plastic free. Alongside this, coastal resorts are doing their part to clean up beaches, eliminate waste and use renewable energy.

Rehabilitating Wildlife

Both climate change and human activity threaten wildlife and their habitats, and across the globe it’s a continuous struggle to figure out how best to combat these effects. Kenya, however, is leading the charge by creating sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres to protect and sustain its iconic wildlife. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a prime example. One of the most successful elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre in the world, the trust rescues and releases orphaned baby elephants back into the wild. Thanks for their admirable work, Kenya’s elephant population (which stood at just over 36,000 in 2021) is on the rise and increasing by around 5% annually.

Individual Action

With Kenya doing its own bit, it’s only right that tourists lend a hand in promoting sustainability in Kenya. Here are some of our top tips to ensure you’re travelling around Kenya in a responsible and respectful manner.

  • Shop local: buying locally-made products at markets and in villages, such as jewellery and wooden carvings, helps to keep the local economy thriving and also avoids suppliers of mass-produced items pushing out this part of their culture.
  • Responsible purchases: you should always avoid buying items made from endangered species, such as coral, ivory, fur and turtle shells.
  • Ethical animal encounters: it’s paramount that when having encounters with wildlife, the animals are treated with care and respect. Places such as the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are havens for vulnerable animals, and visitors are given the opportunity to unobtrusively interact with them.
  • Sustainable safaris: opt for eco-friendly accommodation and private conservancies, and reduce your carbon footprint by heading out on a walking safari.
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