Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve, one of the greatest wildlife reserves in Africa, is slowly degrading and wildlife population is decreasing. As a result, the National and Narok County governments have stepped in to curb the situation before the damage escalates.
The Mara hosts wildebeest migration every year which attracts tourists from all over the world. However, the government wants to control tourist traffic, especially during the peak season in order to protect the reserve’s ecosystem.
Tourist traffic control will be carried out through a management plan which might also close some tourist facilities and amend the process of issuing permits to lodge owners. In addition, the plan will reverse the damage caused by commercial activities and increased human traffic.
These plans are being renewed after the implementation of the first management plan, 2010-2020, stalled due to divergent stakeholder views.
“The Maasai Mara is the gem of tourism in Kenya. People come to the Mara mainly for the migration and during the months of July, August and September, it is usually 98 percent occupied. This is good but we need to manage these numbers by perhaps spreading visitors throughout the year. We are working with the [Narok] county government to develop a management plan and we will start executing this soon,” Najib Balala, CS Tourism stated while announcing the sector’s performance results for 2017.