Kabras Rally Team’s Baldev Singh cruising at Ilpolei in Laikipia County, February 11, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The East Africa Safari Classic Rally taking place between February 10 and February 19, will be a boost in showcasing some of the tourist attraction sites in counties where rally cars are passing. This is according to the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB). 

Facilities within the safari rally route that was flagged flag off from Nakuru County reported good bookings in the legendary nine-day rally set to cover 5,000 Kilometres across the country.

Some of the counties that will get a glimpse of the action include Nakuru, Laikipia, Kajiado, Taita Taveta and Kilifi.

The Safari classic rekindles memories of the original Safari Rally, which put Kenya and East Africa on the global motorsport map and earned an unassailable reputation as the world’s toughest rally.  

KTB CEO, Dr Betty Radier said motorsport events like other key events are important because they enhance a destination’s attractiveness and competitiveness.

“Due to the kilometres and routes covered in the destination, motorsport puts a focus on attractions and enables visitors and prospective travellers to get a glimpse of the destinations’ offerings,” said Radier.

She added; “We are glad to be hosting the East Africa Safari Classic now because the event will trigger a boost in tourism and strengthen the destination’s image, among other benefits.”

Glen Edmunds in Laikipia County, Feb 11, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

KTB will be leveraging on the global coverage during the event to showcase Kenya’s preparedness and enhance awareness of the destination among tourists whose travel plans have been hampered by travel restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Motorsport in Kenya began in the early 1950s with the inception of the East African Coronation Rally in 1953 as a motoring event to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England, who had been on a safari holiday at the Aberdare National Park in Nyeri.

Last year, Kenya welcomed back the famous World Rally Championship (WRC) after a 19-year hiatus. 

The event was televised to over 850 million viewers globally in its 14 rounds with a total of 13,452 broadcast hours projected.

“In 2021, we saw the benefit that the WRC Safari Rally had to tourism and hospitality business especially in the host region of Naivasha and Nakuru, where hotels were fully booked and people had a good time.

Giraffes at the rally’s Loldaiga Ranch route, Laikipia County. Feb 11, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“I am glad that we shall be hosting the WRC again after Kenya signed a five-year deal to have the event till 2026. The East Africa Safari Rally will have the same effect on businesses, and we hope that stakeholders and property owners will benefit from this,” said Radier.

The rally will have a participation of about 50 crews made up of Kenyans and international participants from Europe, Asia, and the Americas offering an opportunity to profile Kenya in these source markets.