The conference will offer two forms of excursions: a one day excursion as an official part of the conference; and a three days excursion after the conference has been concluded. Both offer the conference participants choice from a rich diversity of routes that have been designed to respond to as many of the proposed conference themes as possible.
One day excursion as official part of the conference
The one-day excursions will be organised to make a complete loop as it comes to terminate at the end of the day. Four excursion loops emphasising different thematic orientations around the city of Nairobi and its diverse hinterland have been designed to offer exciting scenic landscapes through different conference themes with the aim to stimulate animated discussions among the participants.
Excursion loop 1:
This loop takes participants through the Ngong hills Wind Power Project to the west of Nairobi, and proceeds to the northern plains of Kajiado County, the home of the pastoralist Masai community spreading further into neighbouring Tanzania. The excursion loop gets back to Nairobi through the Kitengela-Athi River Nairobi corridor.
Excursion loop 2:
This loop is within the Nairobi City (CBD/SLUMS) and Nairobi National Park – Nairobi. Known as the safari capital of Africa, Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating landscape of both wildlife and bustling human-life full of activity.
This loop is designed to expose the participants to this unique mix of urbanscape and wildlife by exploring routes that reveal the different urban settlement densities starting with the Kibera slums – almost at the edge of the neighbouring Nairobi National Park hosting a fascinating range of wildlife like the black rhinos and zebras among many others.
Excursion loop 3:
This loop shall take participants through the recently completed Thika Superhighway linking Nairobi with the rapidly industrialising Thika town. The Nairobi – Thika Super Highway Corridor has witnessed dramatic landscape transformation in less than 20 years. The loop will proceed north to pass through the large-scale pineapple plantations by Delmont and the commercial forestry by Kakuzi before turning eastwards through the densely populated smallholder farming community of Muranga and Machakos Counties. The loop links back to Nairobi through the Thika – Garissa road.
Excursion loop 4:
This loop will run along the Nairobi – Mombasa Super Highway through the sub-urban satellites of Mulolongo, Athi River and Chumvi, and turn at the Konza techno-city into Machakos before heading back to Nairobi through Mua Hills and Kangundo subcounty headquarters. Participants will appreciate the rapid and fascinating processes of urban sprawl and some of the most important changes arising from recent and ongoing mega infrastructure investments like the Standard Gauge Railway connecting Nairobi and Mombasa, and the techno-city at Konza.
Post Conference Trips
The post conference trips are organised to accord the participants the opportunity to visit some of the historical commons spread across the country; some that still stand against all pressures and others that have been or are being transformed into other uses. Participants will also experience the rich diversity of tourism landscapes Kenya has to offer. Adequate time is allocated to allow extensive travel into the country side: four trips will be organised: two routes will allocate two days each and the other two will require three days.
Route 1 (two days):
This route takes the participants to a tour to the Great Rift Valley and its breath taking features observed from the vantage viewpoints as you start the descent into the floor. Participants of this route will have the opportunity to visit some of the most spectacular of these features like the Mt Longonot, Lakes Naivasha, Nakuru and Baringo that are home to the famous flamingos. The entire Rift Valley, spreading from Lake Turkana to the north through to Kajiado to the south was once (over 100 years ago) a continuous grazing area for the pastoralist Masai. At the time the pastoralists moved from north to south (and back) following the rains, accessing dry season grazing areas as the seasons dictated. These movements have since been curtailed: the pastoralist communities are now confined in clusters of smaller drier zones to the south and north while the high potential central parts have over the years been transformed into large scale commercial ranches and farms.
Route 2 (two days):
This route takes a north-eastern orientation for about 40 km before turning northwards to cross the longest river in Kenya, Tana River that feeds the seven folks dams downstream. Participants of this route will visit the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, one of the largest rice growing area in Kenya, and proceed to the Masinga, Kaburu and Gitaru hydroelectricity dams downstream. The irrigation schemes and the dams largely depend on the waters from Tana River catchment that drain the eastern slopes of Mt Kenya. The dams also regulate water flow to the drier arid and semi-arid lowlands in the counties of Machakos, Kitui, Garissa and Tana River. Water (a common resource) use activities upstream have direct impact on the livelihoods of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in these lowland countries.
Route 3 (three days):
This route explores the Nairobi – Mt Kenya – Isiolo corridor and will take the participants to one of the most thrilling scenes found in Kenya: Mt Kenya, the highest mountain in the country, and the Ewaso Ngiro north basin with its spectacular Laikipia plateau and vast lowlands of Samburu and Isiolo
– all home to a high mix of pastoral communities including the Masai, Borana, Turkana, Somali and the Rendille.
The highlands are part of the Kenya highlands predominantly under large scale commercial ranching and farming with a belt of smallholder farmers predominantly the Kikuyu and Meru communities. The region is known for its long history of socioecological changes impacting heavily on the lifestyles of pastoralist communities due to declining natural resources base affecting availability of water and pasture to sustain their basic source of livelihood, pastoralism. Major changes continue to manifest in this region through the most recent mega investments like the LAPSSET corridor and introduction of new models of conservation, the so called community conservancies seen to hold the solution to sustainable management of pastoral rangelands.
Route 4 (three days):
This route takes a southern orientation through the Kajiado plains into the Amboseli National Park on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, another region hosting one of the historical commons shared between Kenya and Tanzania.
Participants of this route will also visit the vast Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks that together form one of the largest national parks in the world, covering 4% of Kenya’s total land area, and popularly known for its stunningly rugged arid landscape and a number of rocky outcrops and volcanic hills.