PARTY IN THE WILD

KWS defends hosting Koroga Festival inside Hell's Gate National Park

KWS says it has held more than 20 events in the park without damage to biodiversity.

In Summary

• The event planners had announced that their 'Love Edition' will take place inside the park on February 14-15, 2020 to coincide with Valentines Day.

• KWS said that the park had sites designated for hosting events where insecurity and disturbance is minimised.

Revelers during a past Koroga Festival event.
Revelers during a past Koroga Festival event.
Image: COURTESY

When planners of the Koroga Festival announced they will hold their first-ever out of town event at the Hell's Gate National Park, environmentalists and the public expressed their concern.

They were worried about the effects of the event which attracts thousands to the biodiversity of the park.

The event planners had announced that their 'Love Edition' will take place inside the park on February 14-15, 2020 to coincide with Valentines Day.

However, the Kenya Wildlife Service has come out to confirm that the event will go on as planned dismissing concerns that the festival will have negative effects on the park's biodiversity.

In a statement on Friday, KWS said that the park had sites designated for hosting events where insecurity and disturbance is minimised.

"We also have clear regulations for the event organisers, including timing, noise levels and clean-up after events," KWS said.

The organisation insisted that over the years they have held more than 20 successful events in the park including "To Hells Gate on a Wheelbarrow" and "Safaricom Jazz Festival" without significant damage to biodiversity in the park.

"This is largely because 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 event hosting," the statement read.

KWS further said that as part of sustainability and mitigation for ecological footprint, some funds raised from events held in the park are ploughed back to support conservation and community development.

"As guardians of Kenya's national parks, we assure the public of our utmost commitment to maintaining the ecological integrity of these conservation and recreation facilities," it added.