FIRST FLIGHT EVENT

This event has been designed to create new, high profile opportunities to celebrate our history, heritage and cultural diversity, with a focus on adding value to the existing calendar of events.

On the 3RD of October 2016 it will be 101 years since the first recorded flight in East Africa took to the skies and as often this development was driven by war. The First World War I in East Africa was in full swing at the time and German forces under Von Lettow-Vorbeck continued to needle the allied forces in the Taita Taveta area and kept an outpost inside Kenyan territory on Salaita Hill, the tallest in the wider area and a perfect spot from where to monitor troop movements by the allies, besides staging ambushes and raids from there. When General Jan Smuts was handed the overall command in the East Africa a couple of aircraft were brought from the port of Mombasa to Maktau, where a small airfield had been established inside the allied camp – the planes were in fact assembled in Maktau before commencing surveillance. These planes were according to James Willson’s research (Guerillas of Tsavo) of Caudron Gill, BE2Cs and Henry Farmans make and flown by both the Royal Navy Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps from South Africa.

Last year this event was conducted in a much organised manner by the County Government of Taita Taveta, Sarova Hotels, Aero Clubs of Kenya and Kenya Tourism Board among other partners. The event managed to bring into the county a large number of tourists and opened up the Maktau area to investments.

This year we believe that the event will brings tourist from all places in world to these battlefield sites that serve as a reminder of the past by preserving for later generations the history of what took place. Furthermore it plays a primary role in the advance and propagation of knowledge about the history of a country. Battlefield sites often offer historical documentation, interpret material evidence, guided tours and exhibits for the tourists benefit

The event will give us an opportunity to reflect on the impact the war and the aviation industry had in the socio economic development of our county and also seek to exploit the opportunity arising from this historical event. The County Government of Taita Taveta also sees an opportunity to broaden its portfolio of tourism products and investment opportunities in the county.


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