The World Tourism Day was celebrated on the 27th September 2021. This annual commemoration seeks to foster awareness among the local and international communities on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution that the sector can make towards the UN reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2021 theme was to celebrate the power of ‘Tourism for inclusive growth’. In a celebration of this day, the Strathmore University School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH) students sort out to resuscitate the HATSS Club to inspire students on the recovering and growing Tourism and Hospitality Industry after the dire impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry since 2020. The HATSS club planned and executed a Students hike to Ngong Hills, an attraction hub for hikers, for the students to unwind after an intense exam period. One student, Bhakita Fina, narrates her experience.
“We started off towards Ngong early in the morning and arrived at about 10.30am eager to conquer the seven hills. The HATSS officials made the necessary clearance at the gate and we began the day’s itinerary. We started off well but the hike up towards the first hill was hard; we immediately regretted not taking the bus to the parking that was closer to the foot of the first hill. But it was a good warm up which prepared us for the steep ascent that the second hill showed us. We then came to the third hill that showed us dust, literally! It was extremely steep with a lot of dust, but what’s a hike without that? We finally made it to the top of that steep slope and the view? Breathtaking! We sat there for a few minutes to just rest and take the view in. At this point majority of us experienced painful muscle cramps from the intense walk up and down the uneven terrain but we decided that we had come from too far to quit, and the weather was also favorable so we choose to continue our hike.
We came across many families and groups hiking and even a group of school children, in grade one who had made it to the last hill and were going back. We told ourselves that if these seven year olds can do it, so can we and I guess that motivated us! On reaching the fourth hill we came across two masseurs who were offering massage at a subsidized fee for those whose limbs were aching or needed a relieve on muscle pulls. None of us needed the service, though tempting, so we continued on our journey. The fifth hill was worse than the third. It was steep, incredibly steep but we conquered it. We finally reached the last hill at Kona Baridi and the view was amazing! It was all worth it. We sat, refueled with our snacks and relaxed ahead of our journey back to the starting point.
As we walked back, we explored shortcuts and came across several hikers and people on retreat, we briefly engaged a few of them and decided to just remain on the path we had previously used so as not to disturb them. Luckily in Ngong hills you cannot get lost because the paths are well marked. We finally got back to the bus and ate our lunch as we looked at the beautiful scenery. It was fun getting to engage out of class with my classmates.
I’d advise anyone going hiking to Ngong Hills to carry a speaker and have some afro playlist booming in the background; that’s what kept us going. Other essentials to bring along would be; lots of water so that you keep hydrated; snacks, have some sweets or glucose for energy; a windbreaker jacket; sunscreen because the rays from above are way stronger and so as to avoid sunburn later on, and good footwear.
All in all, the trip was worth it and we had fun. It was a good stress reliever and effective workout; it was awesome to interact with everyone. We look forward to having more trips, and hoping for ‘An Every Month Out’ with the STH HATSS club around Kenya, and beyond. It is what the Tourism & Hospitality courses entail, we welcome students from other faculties to join the club. Come and together we can learn a lot as we interact with different people, destinations and cultures.
More about the HATSS club visit: https://sth.strathmore.edu/study-at-sth/student-activities/
By Bakhita Fina Wanjala & Rose N Mathenge.