Protest as 15 camps in Kenya’s renowned tourist destination, Maasai Mara National Reserve up for closure following a decision by the local government reports Kenya’s Nation media.
The local community at the Maasai Mara, tour operators and hoteliers have protested against the decision accusing the local government (Narok County) of flouting the legal requirements for a crackdown on illegal facilities in the reserve.
Narok county tourism department of Tourism started the plans of auditing tourists facilities in the reserve as part of the process of developing a new management plane and also part of operation to remove illegal camps in the Mara so as to create more space for wildlife.
The decision will have disastrous implications on tourism in the area according to the Mara tour Operators’ spokesman Mr. Joseph Tira. He added that the camps due to be closed have tourists reservations for the next year.
“Owners of these establishments play a role in ensuring visitors come to the Mara. If their camps are closed, the reserve will lose a number of tourists,” said Mr Tira.
A security team from Narok County started conducting the operation in the reserve for a week or so. At least eight camps have been shut down so far with seven more scheduled for closure this week.
Lodges and tented camps that have been targeted failed to submit registration documents. The documents are meant to audit the camps’ assets, liabilities, licences and wildlife conservation programmes.
According to the Nation, the Camp owners claim they were not issued with a notice to vacate. The affected establishments include Julia’s Camp, Mara Eden Safari, Mara Crossing Camp, Salas Camp, Rish Camp and Rekero Camp.