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County at Crossroads over Closure of Tourism Camp

The Narok county government is contemplating closing down a tented camp erected on the wildebeest migratory corridor in the Maasai Mara Game reserve.

Narok County Executive Committee member in charge of Tourism Joseph Ole Koila said the camp dubbed ‘Mara Ngeche’ was approved in the year 2008, and later built in the year 2011, way before the county government was established.

“We will be holding a meeting where a resolution will be made on whether to move the camp to another site or close it completely,” said Koila.

Koila who spoke to the press after inspecting the camp Wednesday regretted the incident that occurred on 14th August this year, where the wildebeest movement was blocked by workers at the camp that stands on the tributary of Talek and Mara rivers.

The clip that went viral on social media showed the wildebeest trying to cross the river but the animals’ movement was hindered by the camp, hence the animals turned back and many perished in a stampede.

This led Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to ask the county government to close the camp for interfering with the animals’ movement.

“We have never experienced such a situation again where the animals use the route beside the camp. But now that this has happened this year, we should take a firm stand that will protect the wildlife,” said Ole Koila.

He reiterated that the welfare of the animals at the world famous game reserve comes first before business, hence the county government will do everything possible to protect the animals in their natural habitat.

“This is a problem we inherited from the defunct county council that we are trying to fix now. We are however committed to ensure we give the animals the best,” said Ole Koila.

Wildebeest migration occurs between the months of July and September, where millions of animals migrate from the Serengeti Park in Tanzania to the Kenyan side across River Mara.

At the same time, the Tourism Executive lauded Kenyans for flocking the game reserve adding that already 70 percent of the hotels are fully booked.

“Since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic in the country in the month of March, tourism was heavily hit. However, we thank God now that the sector is slowly reviving as many local tourists’ flock the pack every day,” said Ole Koila.

By Ann Salaton


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