17 May 2024

Heavy rains and flooding in Masai Mara won't disrupt tourism, officials say


Heavy rains have swept through Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve earlier this month, causing flooding in the region. But officials say the popular tourism destination remains open, with minimal impact on visitor experiences. Local operators report that main game drive routes are unaffected, and the wildlife remains healthy and abundant, promising an excellent migration season.

The Mara Managers Association released a statement confirming that while there has been significant damage to infrastructure along the Mara, Talek, and Sand Rivers, efforts are underway to address the flooding's impact and ensure a memorable safari experience during the upcoming high season, which begins in June.

Numerous tented camps and lodges situated near the rivers have been destroyed or submerged. However, no human casualties have been reported, and all tourists were safely evacuated. Local authorities, in collaboration with the Kenyan government and humanitarian organizations, have initiated emergency response efforts, including rescue operations, distribution of relief supplies and provision of medical assistance.

Bridge and road repairs ongoing

The county government has already repaired the vital Talek Bridge, restoring access to the Mara, and work is ongoing to repair other affected roads and bridges. Mohanjeet Brar, managing director of Gamewatchers, told Travel Weekly that travelers can confidently come to the Mara and continue their safari as planned as the county government, national government, tourism players, conservancies and community leaders are all working to reinstate affected infrastructure to a high standard quickly. 

"The Talek bridge which was swept away was reopened within two days of the flooding. All the airstrips and the main game drive routes are all fine, and work is ongoing to repair the other roads for the season," Brar said. "The wildlife wasn't affected and in good health from the abundance of grass and food and we expect a great migration season."

The Mara Managers Association will continue to provide regular updates on the situation in the Masai Mara, and calls upon the international community to support the ongoing relief efforts in the region.

While addressing the current crisis is a priority, the association also emphasizes the need for long-term preparedness and resilience measures to mitigate future flood risks, including investment in sustainable land management practices, early warning systems, and infrastructure development.

Source: Travel Weekly US

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