Annual wildebeest migration expected to delay this year

Written By: Hunja Macharia/Stanely Mbugua
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The annual wildebeest migration that starts early July is expected to delay this year following the burning of grassland savanna along the Maasai Mara game reserve bordering the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

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Last year the migration kicked off in June but this year the wildebeests are yet to be spotted. Experts have also linked the delay to prolonged rains that led to growth of pasture in the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem.

The tourism sector in Kenya has been hit hard with activities at the Masai Mara Game Reserve grounded as the world battles the covid 19 pandemic.

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From the local Maasai community who leased their lands for wildlife conservation to tour guides/drivers and hoteliers who solely depended on tourism, life has not been the same.

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Wilson Kiserian who was a community tour guide at Entesekera Manyatta where tourists used to flock to learn about the rich Maasai culture is now jobless and back to herding livestock.

He said before Corona virus, business was good and the community was happy to entertain tourists as women ventured into selling bead artifacts.

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Wilson said that currently the Maasai community relies on selling their livestock to sustain their livelihoods; a move he says exposes them to poverty.

Secretary General East Africa Tour Guides/Drivers Association Felix Migoya led a team in tracking the wildebeest migration at the border of Mara/Serengeti exuding confidence that tourism at Mara will be boosted once the migration kicks off.

Migoya expressed optimism that domestic tourism would greatly assist the sector if the President opens up inter-county movement.

He however wondered why the Ksh 500 million stimulus package meant to stabilize tourism was only allocated to hoteliers and airlines leaving out tour guides and drivers who play a huge role in the sector.

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Alfred Korir a hotelier who owns the Zebra Plains Camp at Talek is elated to be among the few hotel facilities to open its doors to Tourists after complying with the Government’s laid down protocols.

Korir said the camp has installed a sanitization booth, with staff members equipped with temperature guns to check on the visitors who have been booked in the hotel.

He has however appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider opening up Nairobi to enable domestic tourism at the park.

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