An African dilemma: pastoralists, conservationists and tourists - reconciling conflicting issues in Kenya

Damiannah Kieti, Rita Nthiga, Jonathan Plimo, Pratima Sambajee, Ann Ndiuini, Ezekiel Kiage, Peter Mutinda, Tom Baum

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Kenya is facing irreconcilable tensions by competing interests from conservationists, tourism developers and pastoralists. Concerns arising from the well-being of flora and, in particular, fauna by conservationists; tourists and commercial tourism; and the increasingly restricted use of traditional lands and herding animals by pastoralist indigenous communities, have populated the discourse of land use in Kenya. In this paper, we look into the varying perceptions of each group of stakeholders and seek to analyse the current narrative that gives priority to wildlife protection and the commercial exploitation of wildlife through high-end tourism development to the detriment of the rights and interests of pastoralism. As pastoral land becomes more appropriated, our analysis shows that the antagonistic relationship between conservationism, commercial tourism and pastoralism is likely to deteriorate. We therefore propose a more participatory model of tourism development that will allow pastoralist communities to have a voice in the process.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Mar 2020


  • pastoralism
  • conservationism
  • tourism development
  • land use and rights
  • Kenya

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