Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has conquered mighty Mt. Kenya – Africa’s second highest mountain – to showcase the diverse adventure- and eco-tourism opportunities Kenya has to offer.

“Mt. Kenya has long been underutilised and under-promoted,” said CS Balala of his hope to change this status quo by drawing global attention to this natural tourism asset via the 7 Summits Africa Challenge, presented by Great Migration Camps.

 

CS Balala (left) on top of the world

CS Balala joined the five-day Mt. Kenya leg of the Summits Africa Challenge on 13 November, summited on 16 November and descending to the Mt. Kenya National Park around mid-day today.

The 7 Summits Africa Challenge team comprises 9 environmentalists, journalists and mountaineers who are attempting a new world-first: summiting 7 mountains in Africa, back-to-back, in 7 weeks.

The team, kitted out in K-Way and ready to go

 

CS Balala was drawn to the 7 Summits Africa Challenge by its driving ethos of promoting conservation through sustainable tourism in East Africa.

“The hard truth is that conservation requires money – lots of it – and the best way to get this much-needed revenue for conservation is through responsible tourism,” explains Carel Verhoef, one of the expedition leaders and a director of title sponsor Great Migration Camps.

While promoting conservation through tourism is the overriding purpose of the 7 Summits Africa Challenge, the team has also dedicated each climb to a cause that affects the mountain and the people, animals and natural environment around it.

 

CS Balala; leader of the pack

 

For Mt. Kenya, the team chose putting an end to elephant poaching as the cause to support. One in every three elephants that walked Africa just a decade ago has since been illegally killed. At its worst, that was a rate of slaughter of one elephant every 25 minutes, every day, for seven years. Kenya is at the forefront of the battle to protect African elephants through deliberate interventions. Leading that fight is Space for Giants, the non-profit organisation the 7 Summits Africa team is calling on the public to support.

 

Photo by Casey Allen

 

The 7 Summits Africa Challenge moves on to Uganda next, to climb Mt. Speke and Mt. Stanley (Rwenzoris mountain range).

Fancy joining them for a climb? Limited private places are available. Details here.