Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has intensified monitoring of water levels in all major rivers inside Tsavo Conservation Area to enhance disaster preparedness in a bid to secure various tourists camps located near the rivers should there be sudden flooding.
Tsavo Conservation Area Assistant Director (AD) Mr. Robert Njue said the monitoring was part of contingency plans by KWS to mitigate against losses especially for hotels, luxury camps and other tourists establishments that are affected by unexpected flooding.
Speaking to KNA on Sunday, Mr. Njue said that KWS was working closely with hotels and investors in the tourism sector inside the Tsavo National Park to avoid a repeat of past disasters where massive flooding washed away investments worth millions of shillings after River Galana burst its bank.
“With the rains continuing, we are keeping a close watch on the rivers to monitor the water levels and alert the hotels should there be any concerns,” he said.
In April last year, Galana River burst her banks after heavy rains destroying over ten luxury tourists camps in Tsavo East National Park.
Staff working at the hotels had to be evacuated by choppers. Amongst the hardest hit camps were Doa Doa and Crocodile Camps which were washed away.
Others affected include Galdessa, Kiboko, Shoroa and Kulalu camps.
The current monitoring of the water levels in Tsavo Rivers is meant to avoid such disasters.
KWS has already toured a number of camps located near major rivers to ascertain their safety.
They include Galdessa camp located along Galana River and Satao Camp near Voi River.
“So far, there is no need for alarm. The waters are normal and we don’t anticipate any major disruptions,” he said.
Mr. Njue added that the current rains which are expected to continue has led to closure of some roads inside the park which are deemed risky for vehicles.
He said the roads’ engineering team was mapping all the roads with signs erected on the closed roads.
On Thursday, 202 pupils from Blessed Allamano Primary School in Likoni were stuck for a night inside the park after their three buses got stuck.
Mr. Njue said KWS was keen on ensuring that all park users were alerted about the bad roads to avoid such mishaps.
He however disclosed that the rains had not affected the bookings for hotels in the park with most establishment reporting full bookings.
Some of the fully booked one include Satao Camp, Voi Safari Lodge and Ashnil.
He added that the number of tourists visiting the park was expected to swell as Christmas approaches.
by Wagema Mwangi