Making the paradise visible for visitors
Even though Ethiopia is still seen as an exotic holiday destination, the government considers tourism as one of the most important future sources of income for the country. The number of international tourists is increasing every year. Furthermore, the initial situation in this region is really promising for the successful development of ecotourism: Kafa is inviting not only because of its various natural treasures like hot springs, waterfalls, rivers, rich wild and bird life, but also attracts national and international visitors with the new National Coffee Museum in the region where Arabica coffee originates.
Some travel organisations have already shown interest to include Kafa in their travel programs in particular as part of a “coffee tour”. The touristic infrastructure in the greater area is also in the process of improvement: From the capital Addis Ababa leads a newly tarred road to Jimma, the last section from there to Bonga in Kafa is under construction. Also the airport in Jimma is being extended from a national to an international one.
The project aims at increasing the tourism potential and generating new ways of income for the local community in Kafa Biosphere Reserve. In order to achieve this, firstly a management and business plan for ecotourism in Kafa BR has been developed. On the basis of these plans the next step is to set up the tourism infrastructure:
- Wild coffee experience trails and a corresponding network of hiking trails in the forest to natural, historical and cultural sites
- Bird and wildlife (such as hippos and monkeys) observation and viewing towers
- Picnic and camping sites
- Cultural open air museum with reconstructed historical buildings of the former Kafa Kingdom
- Model lodge catering especially for international tourists.
The set up of infrastructure goes hand in hand with capacity building initiatives for local tourism service providers such as restaurants, hotels, tourist guides and other businesses related to tourism. In addition NABU will support community-based tourism initiatives to increase the attractiveness of Kafa for tourists.