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Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is located in central Kenya, 140km north-west of Nairobi in Nakuru of the rift valley Province. It covers an area of 188 km2

Lake Nakuru’s climate ranges from cold, hot and humid, to hot and dry. The annual rainfall is 965mm.

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Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent. It is surrounded by woodland and grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grassland alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter.

Lake Nakuru was first known as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. The foundation of the parks food chains is the cyanophyte spirulina platensis which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo. Kenya is also home to all of the Big five Animals which are Lion, Rhinoceros, Leopard, Water Buffalo and the Elephant these animals are a major tourist attraction and are one of the reasons why many tourists go to Kenya.

Desertification in General

It has been said that forests came before human beings and deserts followed them. Desertification is becoming a major problem as more and more of the world’s land surface is turned into desert. The new deserts which are being created are not necessarily hot, dry sandy places, but are instead any areas where the soil has been so mistreated by humans that it is now useless for growing crops. You may think that this doesn’t affect us here in Britain; after all, it’s too wet and cold for a desert to be formed here, that may be true, but that doesn’t mean that desertification won’t affect us. Think about it, if our soil is not conserved, then our food supply and all our lives are threatened.

Soils can be ruined easily in areas where seasonal rainfall is unreliable. Cutting down forests and trees, over-cultivation of the soil and over-grazing can all contribute to desertification. In poorer countries, farmers often know what needs to be done, but they and their families live so near to starvation that they cannot even afford to buy what they need to keep their families healthy, let alone attempt to solve their problems.

Tourism in Kenya

Tourism is very important to Kenya because it keeps the economy stable, the local people get to interact with people from other countries, the ideal situation is that poor rural people get a fair share of their money from the produce they make and a reasonable share of the revenues are enjoyed by the local communities in Kenya. The Government link up with poor people in the rural areas so that poverty is reduced and poor people are able to participate more effectively in tourism development while earning an adequate income.

I don’t feel that this always happens as seventy percent of people employed by park lodges are not local’s (Maasia), this shows that the locals are not getting the jobs needed for the survival of them and there families therefore they are not getting are fair share of the jobs. Local people are not consulted before new tourist developments are built making unfair as they do not get a say on what goes on in their towns. Tourism does produce a lot of money for Kenya, in 2004 they made 39.2 billion KSh (Kenyan shillings – the local currency) and in 2005 they made 48.9 billion KSh that’s an increase of 9.7 KSh in just one year, so we can see that their tourist industry is growing quite quickly.

There are several factors that cause social, environmental and economic problems in Kenya, such as:

Problems Concerning Tourists

The climate in Kenya has very low precipitation this means that they have extremely low rainfall throughout the year. Tourists expect a certain environment when on holiday like clean drinking water, swimming pools, ice in their drinks and showers on demand to keep them cool. This puts pressure on a country with low rainfall as they can not provide these luxuries on a regular basis. A possible solution to this problem would be to attract tourists to the ‘Real Kenya’ by offering a true Safari Holidays camping out, using less water and experiencing local cuisine.

Due to high pollution levels in the water, one of Nakuru’s main attractions, the flamingos are leaving. The flamingo come to lake to breed but as the lake is becoming more and more polluted by sediment and near by factories they have decided to flee. This is bad for Nakuru’s income and tourism as many tourists come to see the large amounts of flamingos that breed here but now they have gone a lot of tourists may not bother coming to Kenya. This problem could be solved by moving the factories as far away possible from the national park and lake so that flamingos don’t feel the need to leave

Due to the low precipitation levels in Kenya the farmers find it hard to grow their crops, which means they can not provide food for their families and cannot make a steady income. If the tourists were to use less water there would be enough for the farmers to grow their crops and feed their animals.

Tourist industries feel that locals are not qualified enough to have well paid jobs. One solution to this problem is that the tourist industries could employ some local people and as part of the job the tourist industries could give them training so that they would be able to work the higher paid jobs. This would mean that the locals with the higher paid jobs would be able to supply their families with food, clean drinking water and clean clothes and ensure that their own children receive an education which would be good for the economy as a whole.

Tourists often travel around on safari in land rovers for their comfort and safety, this breaks up the soil causing deforestation and sediment in the lake, the more sediment in the lake the cooler it gets, killing fish. The Hamming and other birds feed by looking into the water and seeing the fish they want to eat, this will not be possible soon as the sediment makes the water cloudy. A possible solution to this is that the tourists could take hot air balloon flights whilst on safari instead of driving Land Rovers this would prevent the soil from breaking up, therefore creating less sediment in the lake and disruption to the environment.

Problems Concerning Locals and Animals

Wild animals often escape from the National Park, the animals are not used to human contact. The wild animals can then spread diseases to local domestic animals, many small farms that depend on their animals for money or food are located next to the National Park. A potential solution to this is to put up thorn fences in the national park that look more natural and will not harm the animals too much, but will stop them from escaping. The Government could also provide vaccines for the domestic animals to stop them from catching the wild animal’s diseases.

As the population of Nakuru town increases more mouths need to be fed which means more crops need to be grown, but the soil needs to be rested to avoid soil erosion. A possible answer to this problem is to provide better education on contraception for the farmers and local people.

Nakuru town has no sewage systems and the amount of waste being produced is increasing as the population is increasing, this means that they will get an overflow of sewage, very nasty smells and the sewage also carries diseases and attracts vermin into the town. The solution to this problem is the same as the last, to provide contraception and education on how to use it for the local people to help the locals reduce the amount of children they have. The Kenyan government needs to invest/raise money for the local infrastructure.

Kenya is an LEDC (Lower Economically Developed Country) and needs to expand its manufacturing industry (such as factories) to become richer. Local people need jobs and the manufacturing industry needs to expand, it is also an economical problem as the manufacturing industry needs to become richer too compete with other countries. A potential answer to this problem would be to build more factories and employ local people. The Manufacturing Industry need investment from foreign companies which would provide more jobs for locals and this would enable them to provide for themselves.

After all my investigations I feel that there are a few problems that are drastic and need taking care of immediately:

* Over population – If this is not taken care of then the town of Nakuru will overpopulate making it hard for farmers to grow enough crops, there won’t be enough drinking water and there probably won’t be enough houses. A possible solution for this is to educate the town about contraception or to introduce a law where people are only allowed to have one child and if they have more then they have to pay tax on that child.

* No sewage Systems – This means that due to the over population there will be an overflow of raw sewage in the town which will bring in vermin that will bring in disease to the local people. A possible solution to this is for The Kenyan government to invest/raise money for the local infrastructure.

* Wild animals with diseases often escape from the National park – This need to be taken care of immediately because if all domestic animals are infected with disease by the wild animals, then all of the local’s meat will deplete and the farmers won’t be able to make as much money, therefore not being able to support their families. A possible solution to this is to put up thorn fences that will be cheap and practical, but will also look very natural.

Conclusion

From all of my research my opinion on Safari Holidays and the problems they cause is that they are disturbing the animals for example, there is a lot of sediment in the lake causing the temperature to go down which kills the fish, also the wading birds cannot see there food in the lake. This is caused by extensive use of land rovers that should be replaced with more friendly things like hot air balloons. They also disturb the animals by doing safari early in the morning when the animals are most likely mating or hunting.

Although the Safari holidays do cause problems for the animals they bring in a lot of money for the government and the locals. The money goes towards things like housing, but could also be used to build new sewage systems as the waste that is produced will start to overflow into the town of Nakuru causing disease and vermin to come into the town.

If I had a chance to go to Lake Nakuru on a field trip I would look for problems such as how sturdy fences were to see if animals could escape easily or not, I would see if I could find the amount of sediment in the lake. I would like to speak to the manger of the national park and ask for their annual profit from particular areas such as safari and food and drink sales, this would show an estimate of how much is made by tourism in one year.

If I were to go to Nakuru in 20 years time I would expect there to be many of these problems solved, if they are not I believe that their profit will start to fall and they will not be able to stay a national park anymore.