The Afrika Kenya Village which offers traditional mud brick hut accommodation services to discerning tourists in Kilifi has unveiled an exclusive menu featuring delicious local foods to attract tourists.
The variety of culinary delights on offer depict Kenyan dishes reflecting unique cultures and practices of diverse Kenyan ethnic communities.
The Owner and Proprietor of Afrika Kenya Village, Caroline Anami says her hotel will be serving traditional cuisines from all over Kenya in a bid to give visitors an unrivaled culinary experience.
Anami a former television actress, said culinary tourism or food tourism as a cultural experience is gaining traction worldwide and Kenya should not be left behind.
‘In a small way we seek to create a positive impact in the tourism and hospitality sector’ she said during an interview.
She said the expanded menu includes Chapatis, Ugali, Githeri, Irio, NyamaChoma, Pilau and Biryani and Mukimo among a selection of delights from around Kenya.
Anami said over the years she has realized that international and domestic tourists coming to Mombasa want to consume traditional foods during their stay but unfortunately they hardly find these foods in the menu of many local hotel establishments.
The hotelier said it is her desire that visitors enjoy every moment of their time while at the eco-lodge which should be a complete experience wholly spent in an African way from accommodation to food experience.
She said the culinary culture is increasingly appealing to foreign tourists and foodies who expect to see and sample the most authentic and choicest Kenyan flavours.
Here, The Afrika Kenya Village offers intrepid travelers a new experience with guests enjoying the cool tropical breeze with a panoramic view of the mangroves down the ocean as birds chirp.
The cultural-tourism set-up is fashioned on medieval African village and offers comfortable self-catering accommodation for visitors looking for memorable experiences.
Tourist huts that are the main feature, are simple structures made from clay, cow dung and thatch and each hut depicts the history and architecture of Kenya’s main communities providing visitors with natural beauty.
The different cultures in Coast, Central, Rift valley, Nyanza and Western regions are depicted by each hut decorated in the style of a tribal home.
This novel concept has excited stakeholders in the tourism industry who have welcomed the initiative to offer an exclusive and authentic wide range of traditional food.
Farzan Dhanji, a tour operator said the tasty traditional cuisine is a welcome diversification and innovation of some of the best local cuisines and food products.
She said the diversified menu will allow tourists to get a firsthand experience of the local culture, customs and cuisine.
The tour operator said there is ‘big thirst for cultural knowledge’ among Kenyans and foreign visitors eager to learn cultural practices and culinary skills in the tourist hub of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu counties.
‘What we need now are more of such facilities that highlight Kenya’s dynamic food culture to the business travelers and tourists’ she said adding that many destinations are using food as a unique selling point to attract tourists.
Kenya Association of Hotel-Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast Branch Executive Officer, Sam Ikwaye welcomed the exclusive traditional menu noting that it reflects the trend of diversification in the catering and hospitality industry.
He says there is need to diversify tourism products from beach hotels and safari lodges to such an excellent concept of hut resorts that offer unique experience and cap it all with the traditional delicacies.
Ikwaye says there is a strong demand for authentic Kenyan cuisine as more and more foreign tourists want to experience the local popular delicacies.
‘The exclusive local delicacies will in the long run help boost the tourism sector which is the region’s economic mainstay’ he said.
He further added that ‘food tourism is the way to go so as to complement our long standing safari and beach holiday products’.
The hotelier said the benefits of culinary tourism are more for the host communities than for the tourists such as helping the local farmers since it features local produce, respects traditional knowledge and protects cultural identity and heritage.
By Hussein Abdullahi