Need Help?  Call our 24Hr
Tourist Helplines

+254 (0)20 6004 767
+254 (0)20 8001000
+254 (0)722 745 645
+254 (0)738 617 499
+254 (0)20 2679838

Press Releases:
watches replica
Home  Kenya Tourism Awards  About Us  Safety Centre  Updates  Newsletter  Contacts  

 Press Room

George Adamson’s indomitable lion spirit lives, 25 years later
Author: Paul Udoto
Date: 27 Aug 14

This weekend the world marks the 25th anniversary of the death of legendary George Adamson, whose work with lions - alongside his wife Joy Adamson - made the couple ‘immortal' in the world of conservation.

For several years now George Adamson's legion of fans have celebrated his life and accomplishments by doing pilgrimage to Kora National Park in Tana River County, where George and Joy's camp was located back then.

Like the Biblical grain of wheat, which must die to bring forth new and better life, George Adamson's horrific death inspired a legion of conservationists the world over.

Indeed, he was the poster child of Kenya's conservation prowess for decades and put the country on the world map. His image as a sun-gnarled figure with mane of yellow white hair usually dressed in shorts and sandals with the signature smoking pipe and whisky remains immortalized.

The conservation icon and his wife, Austrian-born artist Joy Adamson, are best known through their gripping movie Born Free (1966) and best-selling book under the same title. The movie is based on the true story of Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned cub they had raised in Kora and later released it into the wild but remained in a friendly relationship with them.

Several other films have been made based on George Adamson's eventful life such as The Lions Are Free (1967), An Elephant Called Slowly (1969), Living Free (1972), Christian the Lion (1972) and To Walk With Lions (1999).

To carry on his legacy, Kenya Wildlife Service is working with neighbouring county governments and other stakeholders to create a lion sanctuary in Kora, the area he immortalised through his adventures with indomitable lions. 

Dubbed the ‘last wilderness', Kora is the third largest park in Kenya after Tsavo East and Tsavo West. It has bragging rights as the least- visited, utterly unspoilt and the most geographically diverse park in Kenya. The park was gazzetted in 1989 and covers an area of 1, 787 sq km. 

Its key attractions include pristine wilderness, inselbergs, River Tana, Adamson Falls, George Adamson grave side, George Adamson Bridge- famously Known as Kora Bridge, Kora Rapids and diverse wildlife and birds. For the adventurous, the places to stay in the park include Kampi ya Simba and Kora picnic site.

Visitors to the park have various activities at their disposal including camping, birding, star gazing, rock climbing- Kora Rock and guided bush and walking safaris. 

George Adamson was murdered by people who were reportedly unhappy with the success of his conservation efforts and his strange antics of domesticating and living with the dreaded king of the jungle.

So, what is the significance of George Adamson's life and times for the modern generation, a quarter a century after his death?

Though he was admired by so many people all over the world, not many have visited where he used to work, to see how he used to live, and where he was buried.  That is why the anniversary is being marked in the very area he lived.

The commemoration to be held at Adamson's grave aims at celebrating his conservation efforts and devising ways of getting the new generation of conservationists to carry on with his legacy.  

Participants at the anniversary will camp at Adamson's Camp and Tana River Campsite for the three days where they will watch his films, visit cultural manyattas and a gallery exhibition. They will also visit Kora Rapids and Kora Rock before participating in a cultural festival in his honour. Lastly, prayers will be made by his graveside. 

The significance of George Adamson's life lies in the fact that his legacy seems to be on a shaky ground given that conservationists have warned that lions may become extinct in Kenya within the next 20 years unless urgent action is taken to save them. 

Kenya has been losing an average of 100 of its 2,000 lions every year due to poisoning, growing human settlements, increasing farming, climate change and disease. Yet lions have a special place in Kenyans' livelihood and conservation efforts. Other than being the symbol for national strength and role in the ecosystem, they are among the Big Five, a major attraction for visitors to Kenya. Today, we see lions on national coats of arms and emblems, company logos, clothing brands and family crests - even the ignoble ones. If there is one creature we aspire to, it is the lion, king of all creatures.

There were 2,749 lions in Kenya in 2002 and their population dropped to 2,280 by 2004 and to roughly 2,000 today, according to Kenya Wildlife Service records.

The trend of lion population decline is disturbing and every effort needs to be made to ensure that Kenya either stabilises its population at the current population or increases the numbers to an ecologically acceptable level. 

It's ironical that the renowned British wildlife conservationist put Kenya on the global wildlife conservation map through lions yet they now risk extinction.

George Adamson was shot dead by Shifta bandits on August 20, 1989, at the age of 83. The late conservationist, then popularly known as the father of lions in Africa, is best remembered for keeping and nurturing a pack of domesticated lions.  George Adamson, whose shoulder-length hair and goatee gave him a lion-like appearance, kept a modest bush camp in Kora and lived off a pension, interest from a trust fund set up by his wife and donations from supporters.

The professional big game hunter -turned-warden, first visited Kenya in 1924 and embarked on a series of fascinating adventures that ended when he was shot dead by bandits. Shortly after his death, the government gazetted Kora as a national park in honour of his work.

‘Mr Lion Man' gained world fame and affection for rehabilitating captive or orphaned big cats for eventual reintroduction into the wild. He believed that lions had a sixth sense and was convinced that a scientific explanation would one day be found about the mysterious, apparently telepathic communication skills of lions - particularly between lions and human beings.   

He must be among the few people in the world with the honour of being buried in a protected area. The burial site makes him lie in the league of American millionaire Sir Northrup Macmillan, who was buried near the peak of Kilimambogo in Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, a few kilometers from Thika Town towards Garissa.  

Long live George Adamson, ‘the Lion Man of Africa'.  The world is a better place because of you.  

The writer is the Kenya Wildife Service Corporate Communications Manager

Other General News Highlights
»9 Apr 19KTF Leads Kenyan Tourism and Travel Trade Participants to World Travel Market (WTM) Africa in Cape Town, 10th - 12th April
»9 Apr 19Mombasa Waterfront Tourism Project - Rebranding of the Beach Product
»9 Apr 19Call for Expression of Interest - World Travel Market (WTM) London, 4th - 6th November 2019
»10 Dec 18Call for Expression of Interest to Attend WTM Africa, 10th – 12th April 2019
»12 Nov 18KTF Welcomes Nairobi - New York Direct, Non-stop Flights Commenced October 28th by Kenya Airways
»12 Nov 18Visit us at Stand No. AF655, World Travel Market, 5th - 7th November 2018
»13 Nov 17Press Release on Current Disease Outbreaks Outside Kenya by the Director of Medical Services
»2 Aug 17Mohammed Hersi Elected New Chairman of KTF at 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM)
»24 May 17Tourism & Hospitality Skills Development
»26 Apr 17Kenya's New Convention Bureau Set To Launch By Mid Year
»26 Apr 17Kenya Tourism Portal Nears Completion
»8 Mar 17Join in KTB’s Latest East Africa (EA) Regional Tourism Campaign
»3 Mar 17Safety and Security Tips While traveling in Kenya
»28 Feb 17East Africa Tourism Portal Goes Live
»18 Jan 17ASTA Destination Expo 2017, Nairobi, Feb 24-26
»18 Jan 17Phase II of KTF's Tourism Economic Research Approved
»22 Nov 16Register and Participate Alongside Kenya Tourism Board at the Annual Diplomatic Bazaar - Addis Ababa, 10th December
»12 Oct 16Announcing the Shortlist for Kenya Eco Warrior Awards
»15 Sep 16New Consumer Ad Campaign by KTB this October
»17 Aug 16Budding MICE Industry a Catalyst for Tourism
»12 Aug 16KTF Chairperson Meets with Official of US Embassy
»12 Aug 16Strengthening KTF Institutional Capacity
»12 Aug 16Proposed Multi-Stakeholders Collaboration in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area
»4 Jul 16Branding Partnership with Kenya Airways to Raise Magical Kenya Brand Visibility
»20 Jun 16Over 35 Countries to Attend Magical Kenya Travel Expo 2016
»13 Jun 16The Ministerial Roundtable on Tourism, 14th April
»25 Apr 165th Double Win for Kenya at London Marathon
»25 Apr 16Tourism Stakeholders Safety & Security Training
»12 Apr 16Kenya’s Green Destinations Guidelines Pilot Nears Completion
»12 Apr 16Concern over Deaths of Lions Straying Outside the Nairobi National Park
»15 Feb 16A Skating Adventure for Nature Lovers:
»15 Feb 16Great Lakes Private Sector Forum
»12 Jan 16Overview of arrivals data released by KTB for the period January - November 2015:
»12 Jan 16Events Calendar
»12 Jan 16Multiple Nods for Kenya as One of the Best Destinations for 2016:
»4 Sep 15UNWTO Demonstrates Confidence in Kenya, and in Particular, Mombasa, as a Safe Tourist Destination
»20 Aug 15'Why I Love Kenya' Campaign Update
»18 Apr 15KTB in Global Advertising Campaign to Woo Back Tourists
»18 Apr 15The New Terminal 2 Increases JKIA Passenger Capacity by 2.5 million Annually
»18 Mar 15KTF & Utalii College Sign Agreement to Provide Tourism Security Training
»17 Mar 15UK High Commissioner Dr. Turner Visits the KTF Stand at the Inaugural Africa Travel Show
»25 Feb 15Kenya Wild Fest 2015
»31 Jan 15KTF Seeks Private Sector Common Position on Laikipia County Tourism Bill
»1 Jan 15KTF 2014 Highlights
»10 Dec 14KTF to Host Media Training on the Single Tourist Visa
»5 Nov 14KTF Providing Logistics for Tourism Trade Members to Attend 39th ATA Congress & Jaguza International Tourism Expo
»30 Sep 14KTF Urges Closer Working Ties Between Tourism Industry and the Foreign Missions
»30 Sep 14World tourism day/Kenya Tourism Week
»30 Sep 14Tourism Fund Brand Officially Launched
»30 Sep 14Instant Fines Announced by Narok County Government to Deter Users from Violating MMNR Regulations
Home | About Us | Safety Centre | Updates | Contacts | Kenya Tourism Awards | Newsletter | 
Copyright © 2019. Kenya Tourism Federation