Tourism agency joins voices against hosting of Koroga Festival at Hell’s Gate
Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) has opposed plans to host the 29th edition of the Koroga Festival inside Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha, just weeks after Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) approved it.
In a letter to KWS, the federation’s chairman, Mohamed Hersi, said that the event scheduled for February 14-15 should be relocated to “a more suitable and environmental friendly venue.”
“The intended Koroga Festival and other similar events that pull large human activities in this habitat raise sustainability concerns and uneasiness among the tourism and conservation stakeholders,” said Mr Hersi.
He added that KTF was not against the Love Festival in its entirety and the activities around it such as sustainability conference, lake cleaning, Mt Longonot climbing, and blood donation but that the location of the musical concert is the only concern.
A few weeks ago, KWS gave the organisers of the music festival the green light to host the event at the park saying unlike other wildlife-based national parks, Hell’s Gate is an activity-based conservation and recreation facility renowned for cycling, rock-climbing, horse riding, camping, walking, sight-seeing and hosting events.
KWS in December said it had confirmed the event would have minimal disturbance on the park’s ecosystem.
But Mr Hersi said hosting events at Hell’s Gate sets wrong precedence for the use of protected areas.
The Koroga Festival Love Edition has also been opposed by environmentalists and conservation activists who say it is likely to affect core conservation areas in the park.
Led by Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu, the activists had raised concerns, arguing that the event co-organised by Capital FM and Naivasha Love Festival was likely to affect core conservation arrears in the park that is home to many wild animals especially birds.
Ms Kahumbu has challenged KWS to make public the environmental impact assessment report done on the park before allowing the event to be held inside.
But in a rejoinder, KWS through its Head of Communications Paul Udoto, allayed the fears raised by the activists, stating that the park has sites designated for hosting events where insecurity and disturbance to the conservancy is tamed.
This will be Koroga’s 29th edition and the first time it will be hosted outside Nairobi. Bongo Flava star Diamond Platnumz will be the star performer at the event.