CATHERINE W GICHUKI
The number of travellers to Kenya from Qatar has increased significantly in the recent past as more than 150 Qataris and Qatar residents acquired visas from the Embassy of Kenya in May, Kenyan Ambassador to Qatar HE Paddy C Ahenda has said. According to the envoy, about 50 percent of the travellers were Qatari nationals while members of other nationalities like Sri Lankans, Jordanians, Indians, Spanish, Omanis, British and Nigerians, among others, make up the remaining 50 percent.
Ambassador Ahenda said, most of the visitors were on leisure and tourism travel to popular destinations in Kenya, particularly during the Eid Al-Fitr holidays. He said, “As this is a tourist season, a majority of the travellers included Maasai Mara on their itinerary to see the safari.”
The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is the eighth Wonder of the World and The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World which involves a massive movement of wild animals between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya from July through October.
Encouraging Qatar residents to visit Kenya, the ambassador said such trips offer visitors an opportunity to see wild animals in their natural habitat in Africa. “I would like to encourage Qataris and Qatar residents to visit Africa, particularly Kenya. Kenya has some of the best parks in Africa and Nairobi is the only city with national park in the world,” he said.
The ambassador said getting a visa to travel to Kenya is easy and requires a payment of about QR140 for a single entry visa. He added that since the blockade on Qatar began two years ago, there has been a rise in the number of travellers from Qatar to Kenya.
“This year, the number has doubled compared to two years ago. Qataris love Kenya so much. Africa is the place to go. Kenya is the heart of Africa. If people want to see something indigenous, they have to go to Africa,” the envoy said.
The ambassador added that the availability of several daily flights to Kenya has contributed to the significant increase in the number of visitors to the country.
“Kenya is one of busiest Qatar Airways routes. Now, there are four daily flights to Kenya — three to Nairobi and one to the coastal city of Mombasa, which was launched in December 2018. This is a positive sign as it has contributed to the strengthening of bilateral relations between Kenya and Qatar,” he said.
The envoy described relations between the Qatar Embassy in Nairobi and the Kenya Embassy in Doha as