Travel: Here Is Why The Kenya Cradle of Mankind Should Not Be Left For Historians Alone

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Kenya - cradle of mankind. Image from http://www.museums.or.ke/cradleofmankind.html

With the country slowly recapturing its position as a tourist hot-point after a snarl up following attacks by terrorists, one of the key things that the Kenya Tourism Board is doing is looking beyond the traditional tourism attraction sites in the country such as wildlife and the coastal climate in their bid to have visitors come to experience all the rich natural endowments that Kenya have.  Going beyond the traditionally marked areas of tourist interest to fully harness Kenya’s potential will put the country in a position to completely reap from the gifts that nature has bestowed upon us. And this is why the uniqueness of Marsabit as a cradle of man and therefore a destination for both heritage and cultural tourism deserves to be highlighted.

Kenya - cradle of mankind. Image from http://www.museums.or.ke/cradleofmankind.html
Kenya – cradle of mankind. Image from http://www.museums.or.ke/cradleofmankind.html

Information from the Nairobi National Museum site notes that research on Koobi Fora, the exact location in Marsabit where some of the earliest hominids of man were found – effectively marking it as the cradle of mankind—is especially of interest to tourists, both local and international. Since research at the Koobi Fora started in 1968, more than 70 hominid fossils have been recovered. Some of these fossils are projected to have existed for over 2 million years (don’t bother trying to imagine how long ago that was. Feels like a period long before time, right?)

So what really is in this for anybody? I mean, we have evolved and we are now proper human beings, so why must we keep turning the hand of the clock backwards? Why should a site called, “cradle of mankind” make anyone want to pack their bags and spend money?

Image from http://www.50treasuresofkenya.org/about-kenya/history
  1. This will take you to an emotional journey

I think another way of saying this would be that, visiting a heritage site such as Koobi Fora is an intense mental journey. No matter how one chooses to look at it, human beings have the desire to connect their past to the present and futures. Well, maybe some people are a bit more crazy about it than others. But now imagine the possibility of getting a glimpse of documented evidence of 2 million years ago and the person that you are today? This article on the links between tourists, heritage and reasons for visiting heritage sites writes that reasons for visiting heritage sites were linked to the tourists’ perception of the site in relation to their own heritage and their willingness to be exposed to an emotional experience. Suffice is to say therefore that, with human beings with an origin, discovering that origin at close range is a journey that is worth making.

2. This is a learning experience

You might have well studied about fossils in history classes and evolutionary biology but when you get the chance to actually visit these sites, then you get a chance to interact with the experts and the preserved histories that will take your understanding a bit higher. This article on why the historic environment is important, notes that historic environment contributes to our economy, to our cultural identity and to our sense of place. In other words, an understanding of the world in the wider sense of it including historical and cultural heritages in a closer way through an unforgettable experience makes us better citizens of the world and puts us in a better place to leave our footprints in the world as we will be able to well understand ourselves and interpret our role in creating the future history.

3. A chance to kill two birds with one stone

The Marsabit Cultural festival. Image from https://rove.me/to/kenya/the-lake-turkana-festival

How about you come to visit Marsabit and its rich, numerous tourist attraction sites and people of very diverse cultures and then get to learn about the origins of man in the process? Visiting the cradle of man would a chance to have a fanciful recreational holiday while at the same time having immense learning about the existence of evolution in one more place apart from the widely known Ethiopia and South Africa. And the fact that this site is surrounded by many other interesting tourist attraction sites just makes it a more worthy travel investment. A great time to visit and kill two birds with one stone would be during the Marsabit Lake Turkana Festival.  You can combine cultural and historical tourism in one visit and leave with great memories of your time in Marsabit.

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