1,000 tourists to watch hybrid solar eclipse in Turkana

The hybrid solar eclipse will be viewed at about 1725hrs in Ali Abey, Sibiloi National Park/XINHUA FILE

The hybrid solar eclipse will be viewed at about 1725hrs in Ali Abey, Sibiloi National Park/XINHUA FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – At least 1,000 international tourists are expected in the country to view the hybrid solar eclipse expected (annular/total eclipse) to be sighted on November 3.

The hybrid solar eclipse will be viewed at about 1725hrs in Ali Abey, Sibiloi National Park.

Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa said the view is expected to boost Kenya’s position as an astro-tourism destination.

“So far, air charter operators, tour companies and hotel owners are receiving an overwhelming response from people who do not want to miss out on the chance to view the total solar eclipse,” he said.

Ndegwa said the eclipse will be viewable for about 2 minutes with a 13 kilometre lunar shadow.

He said the government has beefed up security for visitors through the Kenya Wildlife Service.

On her part, East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said viewing of the total solar eclipse in Turkana presents a chance for all those in attendance to see what Marsabit, Isiolo, and Samburu counties have to offer.

Kandie revealed that despite the fire at the JKIA, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has reported an increased in passenger traffic in the months of July and August.

She said that the temporary structures that were erected in the initial stages are now being phased out and preparation of Terminal 4 is being fast-tracked.

She revealed that visitors have continued streaming into the country though the terror attack at the Westgate mall stirred peace momentarily.

“During the week of the attack on Westgate, two international conferences, the Eco Tourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC2013) and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) took place in Nairobi uninterrupted,” she said.

Kandie said the government has noted with concern the revision by some countries on the travel advisories to their citizens travelling in Kenya.

She said that by issuing such travel advisories, these countries inadvertently play into the hands of terrorists, who aim at sowing fear and despondency in the world.

She said that terrorism must not be allowed to conquer, therefore travel advisories propagate a hopeless sense of fear and amplify a public affirmation that terrorists can win this war.

“These ill-informed advisories come at a time when the country needs, more than anything else, support and empathy from friendly nations to them I assure that Kenyan spirit remains unbowed,” she said.

She revealed that later this month, the country will host the gala for the World Travel Awards (WTA) – Africa Category which will take place on October 16.

“A few days after the gala we will also host travel agents from close to 30 countries during the 3rd edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) from October 18-20,” she said.

She pointed out that all these are unique opportunities to showcase Kenya’s diverse tourism while celebrating the country’s 50th anniversary.