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Flights to Norther Kenya - OPEN

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Posted by  Cody Tuesday, 21 July 2009 18:01

Flights to Norther Kenya - OPEN




The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has granted the

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) a commercial licence to fly tourists

to Northern Kenya.

The one-year licence restricts flights to areas around Sibiloi

National Park in Turkana, Marsabit National Park and Malka

Mari National Park on the Ethiopia-Kenya border between

Mandera and Moyale.

We are pleased that the non scheduled passenger air service

licence provides us with an opportunity to play a leading role in

opening up parts of the country that are remote yet significant

where other commercial air operators don’t fly. We are excited

at the prospects of enabling tourists and researchers to access

the cradle of mankind around Lake Turkana.

Other air operators are expected to start flights once the KWS

non scheduled passenger air service shows that the business is


Most of Kenya’s tourism is concentrated in the southern circuit

around Amboseli and the Maasai Mara leaving enormous

potential in Northern and Western regions.

The KWS Airwing, based at Wilson Airport in Nairobi, has been a

huge expense on the Service, especially because the costs of

running 12 aircraft and 14 pilots, which on average costs Sh4.5

million per month.

KCAA is finalising the process of approving a 7-seater

helicopter, 13-seater caravan and 4-seater Cessna aircraft for

the non-scheduled passenger air services.

The commercial service is meant to help KWS Airwing, a critical

ingredient in Kenya's efforts to protect and manage wildlife,

raise revenue to meet part of its costs for conservation work.

It is also meant to open up to tourists least visited national parks

in remote areas of the country as part of the Vision 2030 which

has tourist as one of its core pillars.

KWS has nine other aircraft for anti-poaching and conservation

work permanently stationed in Nakuru, Tsavo, Lamu, Meru,

Marsabit and Aberdare National Parks.

Two of the KWS pilots have Airline Transport Pilot Licenses while

four have the Commercial Pilot Licence. Besides these, KWS has

five reserve pilots, including Mr Joe Obrian, the Swiss

Ambassador to Kenya.

KWS plans to get an aircraft to be stationed in Kitale to cover

conservation efforts in the Western region. All the other

conservation areas have aircrafts.


of 585,000 km square, the KWS Airwing is permanently on

standby to fly into action anywhere in Kenya, either for

routine monitoring and conservation field trips or security

operations, search and rescue missions well as emergency


With 59 national parks and reserves spread over a country

budget of about Sh4.5 million a month including fuel and

aircraft maintenance.

The KWS Airwing was launched in 1990 and works on a

national parks that lies about 560 km from Nairobi, is one

of Kenya's most quiet and remote

the scenic and serene Lake Paradise on top of Mt

Marsabit, elephants, Greater Kudu, mountain lions,

buffalos and other wildlife. The extensive forest supports

animals that would not normally be found in arid northern

Kenya. There are elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards,

cheetahs, buffaloes, wart hogs, Grevy's Zebra, reticulated

giraffes, hyenas and antelopes.

Abundant rare birds are also found within Marsabit

National Park. Many water birds hang out at Lake

Paradise and a variety of raptors can be seen on the

shaggy cliffs and in the treetops. Marsabit National Park

was home to Ahmed, an elephant that was given 24-hour

protection by a presidential order. Ahmed, who boasted

some of the biggest tusks ever recorded, died at age 55.

Marsabit National Park, another of Kenya's remotenational parks. It has

international significance as the cradle of mankind and

teems with fossils, zebras, gazelles and impala. It is near

Lake Turkana with its world famous population of


scenic landscapes on the shores of Lake Turkana. The

park was partially established through the initiative of the

National Museums of Kenya to protect unique prehistoric

and archeological sites, some of which are linked to the

origin of man. The fossils include a crocodile


Sibiloi National Park which was gazetted in 1973 hasThe park covers 1570 Km2 of wilderness withEuthecodon, giant tortoise Petusios broadleyi, elephant

Elephas recki

shore, dry semi desert bush and near desert country. The

park is waterless apart from the alkaline waters of the lake.

and the petrified forest. The terrain is lake

high wildlife concentration. It is located along the Daua River

on the Kenya-Ethiopia border in the extreme north east of

Kenya on the Mandera plateau. It has a hot and dry climate.

The area is largely semi arid bush land and scrubby grassland

with riparian woodland and palms along the Daua River. The

area is also considered a site for plant endemism.

Its main attractions are; Malka Mari fort, hills and valleys.

Unfortunately, it has not been developed.

Malka Mari National Park was gazetted in 1989 because of its

national parks and reserves across the country in the last

couple of years at a cost of Sh45 million, including those in

remote areas.

KWS has invested heavily in tourism infrastructure in many

a cost of Sh55 million in Meru (Mulika, Kinna, Masanduku)

and Lake Nakuru (Naishi) national parks. KWS plans to

spend a further Sh1 billion in the next two years on

improving roads, bridges and airstrips in various national

parks and reserves across the country.

Various airstrips have been upgraded to tarmac status at

a drive to realise Kenya’s target of 5 million tourists per year by

2012. Already, KWS is planning to build airstrips in Ruma

National Park (Homa Bay) and Mt Elgon National Park near

Kitale Town. In the near future, more airstrips will be upgraded,

including one at Voi in Tsavo East National Park, Kamboyo in

Tsavo West National Park and Mweiga in the Aberdare

National Park. Each region has an aircraft for patrols and other

conservation activities.

Opening up of the domestic airspace is one of the key cogs in

For more information on the commercial air

licence, please contact:

Maj (Rtd) Solomon Nyanjui

Head of KWS Airwing (

Cellphone 0722713944