The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest to the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997.
The conservancy joins the ranks of iconic wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Islands and the Grand Canyon, all recognized as having outstanding universal value to the global community.
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa on Thursday praised the achievement which he termed as a confirmation of the Kenya's amazing landscape that has continued to attract many tourists to the country.
"It is also an assurance to the world that Kenya is keen on sustainable tourism and community involvement in tourism activities and we shall endeavor to do even more," Ndegwa said in Nairobi on Thursday.
Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve were inscribed as an extension to the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site towards end of June following Kenya's proposal to expand the boundary of the world heritage site.
The conservancy, which encompasses some 60,000 acres, was founded when David and Delia Craig set aside 5,000 acres of their cattle ranch and converted it into a rhino sanctuary.
It is home to 10 percent of Kenya's black rhino population and 14 percent of its white rhino population, not to mention the world 's largest population of Grevy's zebras.
But Lewa's mission is not only to conserve wildlife, but also to alleviate poverty in the local community, which is why the conservancy also engages in community healthcare, water management, micro-lending and other social programs.
Ndegwa said the World Heritage status is a prestigious recognition for places of outstanding universal value to humanity.
Lewa and Ngare Ndare were considered for their outstanding beauty and their varied and impressive ecosystems and biodiversity.
The expansion and extension of the criteria for listing will enhance the protection of the property as a world heritage site and improve the conservation status of the mountain.
It was on the slopes of Mount Kenya that the Duke of Cambridge Prince William proposed to his wife, now the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
The two sites are connected to Mt Kenya via the pioneering elephant corridor that serves as a route for landscape connectivity.
The sanctuary will join other Kenyan ecological and cultural treasures such as Fort Jesus, the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley and Lamu Old Town, and other global sites like the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Acropolis.