Everything To Know About Virtual Tourism In Kenya

Every corner of the earth has felt the impact of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, in one way or the other. The deadly disease which ground the whole world to a halt does not appear to be easing up, with airports in most countries still closed after travel bans were indefinitely imposed. COVID-19 is like an imposing visitor who just refuses to leave. This has in turn affected people’s daily activities, force-stopping small businesses and conglomerates alike and throwing a spanner into everyone’s plans for the summer.

I was unaware summer is almost here since I stopped checking the calendar, what’s the point right? Fun activities to engage in like scuba diving, skydiving or Neymar ‘diving’ just for the fun of it (oops! a football joke), travelling to exotic places is out of the equation, for now at least. That leaves us with card games, video games and basically any indoor games you can come up with. All that can get boring real quick but there is one interesting ‘games’ you’re missing out on, it’s the virtual reality game safari experience—Kenya to the world and Kenya’s gift to the world.

Famous for its scenic landscapes, exotic safari, safari walk, national parks and of course quite successful long-distance athletes, Kenya has for quite some time been the top destination for tourists who want to experience the African wildlife. It is no surprise then to see the Kenyan government’s initiative to bring the safaris to everyone since we all can’t visit the safari due to travelling restrictions.

What is a virtual tour?

Per Oxford Languages, virtual reality is ‘the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.’

A virtual tour then is an immersive experience that makes use of the concept of virtual reality. Right from your homes you can take a virtual vacation and satisfy your wanderlust. Of course, nothing beats a real-life travel experience but given the circumstances, the virtual safari is a great idea.

Najib Balala, party leader of The Republican Congress Party and current Cabinet Secretary for Tourism recently launched the virtual tourism initiative to showcase game reserves, national parks and the exciting wildlife of Kenya. The virtual tour, which is part of the Magic Awaits Campaign, will be accessible to everyone for six weeks. The campaign is designated to keep enthusiastic tourists in touch with the wildlife while also promoting Kenya as a desirable tourist destination.

In his statement released to the press, Najib Balala, a Harvard alumnus and Cabinet Secretary for Tourism said, ‘Our international tourism business is completely cut off and we have to still share destination memories with travellers and that is why we are unveiling a virtual tour safari to connect visitors with the destination.’

The campaign is set to feature exciting places and activities Kenya has to offer like the Nairobi National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Buffalo Springs National Reserves, Lake Nakuru National Park and Nairobi Safari Walk amidst other top destinations in the country.

The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism concludes by saying ‘We shall be live streaming and sharing this content every week to bring Kenya to Kenyans and to the world at large’ he added.

If you’re interested in experiencing the virtual tour, a simple google search for ‘Magic Awaits campaign’ will do the trick. Through social media accounts, you can also get in touch with the expedition by looking out for the tag ‘Magical Kenya’.

Which VR headset to buy?

For the best viewing experience, it is advised to use a VR headset. Without a virtual reality headset, the panoramic shots and videos will feel flat and uninspiring. The best value for money VR headsets are Google Cardboard, Google Daydream View, Homido VR Headset for iPhone and Android, Samsung Gear VR, Merge VR Goggles.

Kenya’s initiative will surely be the start of many such initiatives due to the high demand for indoor activities to keep one busy during this testing time. The beauty of Kenya’s scenery is literally at your fingertips, just a couple of clicks away! 

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