Rally drivers explore Kenya ahead of the WRC Safari Rally [PHOTOS]

MOTORSPORTS Rally drivers explore Kenya ahead of the WRC Safari Rally [PHOTOS]

Abigael Wafula 06:04 - 25.03.2024

A look into how some top WRC rally drivers spent their weekend ahead of the Safari Rally scheduled to start on Thursday, March 31.

Top-ranked WRC Rally drivers took time out ahead of the World Rally Championship Safari Rally Kenya to explore Kenya’s tourism offering.

The drivers included Thierry Neuville from Belgium who is currently ranked first in the WRC championship standings, Elfyn Evans and Nicolas Ciamin from Wales and France respectively who are currently ranked second, and Gregoire Munster from Luxembourger who is ranked 19th.

The drivers took part in the Maasai Mara tour for top WRC drivers organized by the WRC in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife ahead of the third round of the WRC scheduled to begin on Thursday, March 28 to Sunday, March 31.

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Neuville expressed his delight at the opportunity to explore the Mara. He was excited to see the wild animals and promised to be back again soon to just explore the country.

“I have enjoyed this visit to the Masai Mara, I was able to see some lions yesterday during the drive, and I saw elephants at close range and some rhinos and other wildlife which was amazing. I would definitely come back, this has been a great experience,” he said.

The two-day excursion saw them explore the magnificent Maasai Mara National Reserve. The experiential itinerary included a hot air balloon safari, authentic wildlife viewing, cultural interactions with the local Maasai community, and a bush dinner, among other activities.

On his part, Sports CS Ababu Namwamba while flagging off the four drivers said that adventure and motorsport enthusiasts are now strongly associating Kenya with unique experiences, buoyed by the growth in events.

“The Safari rally is part of our heritage and part of our plans is to ensure that Kenya benefits from hosting these key personalities.

“We are so keen to deploy our sports tourism agenda and to use sports as a platform to market Kenya and as a platform to welcome the world to Kenya and that’s why for us it’s an opportunity to welcome the team of elite drivers to the Mara, home to the 8th Wonder of the world, a perfect way to showcase the best of Kenya," CS Ababu said.

According to Tourism Principal Secretary John Ololtuaa, Kenya is particularly well-placed to tap into the over $6 billion (approximately Ksh 791 billion) motorsport industry.

Kenya is looking to leverage experiential marketing to draw in more travellers by encouraging sports enthusiasts to either extend their stay after sporting events or arrive earlier to enjoy a more immersive tourism experience.