The Kenyan love for sports means that there is plenty for the visiting sports enthusiast to see and do. This is the ideal destination for the sporting traveler. The name Kenya has become a byword for athletic prowess. At many recent Olympic games and other international athletic competitions, the sight of Kenyans holding the gold, silver and bronze medals for a single athletic event has become common place.
Lewa Downs, a private ranch and rhino conservation area, hosts an annual marathon that is undertaken through the property. This race is run over a bush course that winds its way across open plains, through forests and hills.
The race is a charity fund-raiser set up to raise money for the conservation of wildlife, in particular rhinos. The event attracts many international competitors, and is open to both professional and amateur runners. The Lewa marathon is a race with a difference, often watched from the roadside by many of the species it has been set up to protect.
Another local event raising money for conservation is the annual Rhino Charge a 4WD rally through the wilderness. The exact route for the race is never revealed in advance, but more often than not it is in the Laikipia region.
The race involves 4WD vehicles following a course through extremely rough terrain to reach a series of pre-arranged points in the fastest possible time. The course is designed with challenge in mind, and each year these off road vehicles are pushed to their absolute limits. .
The Rhino Charge vehicles are crewed by a full team of driver, navigator and support crew. The race is definitely a light-hearted affair and is a social event in itself. Large camps are set up to support the race, and these are the venue for both pre and post race celebrations.
Golfers will be delighted to discover some of the finest golf courses in Africa. Tee off in the pure highland air with views of both Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance, and discover what a real Game safari is all about. Kenya’s golf courses range from the beach clubs set among palms and casuarina trees with stunning views of the sapphire Indian Ocean, to those dominated by the perennial snow cap of Mount Kenya. Many courses are at an altitude of more than 1500 meters (5000 ft), truly giving you an additional 10% yardage to your stroke.
The East African Classic safari title is an annual competition rally that traverses Kenya and Tanzania. The cars cross to Tanzania through the Usambara Mountains and the valley of Horogwe. The cars cover a distance of 4,500 km. The nine-day rally is organised by the East African Safari Rally that is inscribed in the F’ed’eration Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) events. It is organised in compliance with the prescriptions for Long Distance rally regulations of the FIA and the Supplementary Regulations and Appendices.
The Sevens held in June at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) grounds in Nairobi, is now a world recognized tournament in the global Sevens Rugby Series. Past participants include Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Belgium and Kenya. The Tusker Safari Sevens is a world-class rugby tournament, with spectators attending from all parts of the globe. It’s an action packed tournament with plenty of excitement and entertainment both on and off the pitch.
Kenya enjoys a well deserved reputation for being one of the worlds saltwater sports fishing destinations, a reputation that each season is further endorsed by the capture and almost invariably these days, the release of a staggering number of fish. There are barely a handful of destinations scattered around the world where that most elusive member of the billfish clan, the nocturnal broadbill swordfish is regularly caught. Kenya is probably the best. Many species of shark can be encountered off the Kenyan Coast, but in recent years it is the fearsome tiger shark that has attracted the most attention from anglers.
In volleyball, Kenyan women have carved a niche for themselves, repeatedly winning tournaments around the African continent. The Kenyan women’s national team will represent Africa at the 2006 World Championship in Japan, the World Cup in 2007 and the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. At the club level Kenya Pipeline Women’s team are the African Club Champions.
From athletics, cricket and hockey to the world’s most gruelling off road Safari Rally, there is a wide range of spectator sports throughout the year. There are also new and unusual sporting spectacles born of our exotic cultural heritage. .
Why not take a front row seat at the annual Donkey races in Lamu or the traditional Bullfights in Kakamega? If you don’t want to just sit back and spectate, Kenya can certainly keep you busy.