Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has invited interested and eligible private developers to tender their bids for the establishment of recreation facilities in selected public forests.
The facilities are expected to boost ecotourism and support KFS raise funds towards conservation of forests.
In a local daily, the KFS has invited eligible and interested private sector developers, well established community associations and other entities to express their interest in developing, operating and managing the ecotourism facilities.
The Chief Conservator Mr Julius Wambugu Kamau, indicated that the government forests where the recreation facilities have been proposed to be established include Cengalo, Cherondo, Gatare, Wanjerere, Ichichi, Kessup and Kobujoi forests.
Identification of the sites, some with historical background, took into account the involvement of neighbouring community, whom KFS have been using in protection of the forests from illegal loggers.
The recreation facilities to be set up at the forest stations are meant to attract more local and international tourists.
Currently, tourism potential of many public forests remains underutilized due to lack of recreation facilities.
“The proposed venture will assist KFS to help protect the forest environment and support conservation efforts,” read part of the advertisement.
In Murang’a the identified sites namely, Ichichi, Wanjerere and Gatare are attached to the history of independence as Mau Mau war veterans dug caves where they were hiding from the white soldiers and their collaborators.
The national government is currently doing Mau Mau road that connects Gatare, Ichichi and Wanjerere areas in Murang’a County where several investors have been trooping in search of land to establish tourist hotels.
Bantu Lodge located between Narumoru and Nanyuki is one of the ecotourism facilities established inside Mount Kenya forest. The facility has played a key role in promotion of local tourism.
For many years, KFS has been engaging communities living around public forests in efforts to conserve the environment and ecosystem in the forests.
By Bernard Munyao