Home ECONOMY Floods maroon tourists, locals in Maasai Mara

Floods maroon tourists, locals in Maasai Mara

by biasharadigest

Floods maroon tourists, locals in Maasai Mara

Floodwaters at Fig Tree Lodge in Maasai Mara
Floodwaters at Fig Tree Lodge in Maasai Mara game reserve. More than 10 lodges and camps were marooned after Talek River broke its banks on January 29, 2020. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Heavy rains have left more than 10 lodges and camps in Maasai Mara, a popular world tourist destination, flooded, with property including tents, beds, computers and documents damaged or swept away.

They include Mara Leisure, Base, Mara Acacia, Azure, Oleshaiki, River Side, Crocodile, Mara Ngenje and Mara Eden.

The flood waters also swept away a man who had attempted to cross a bridge at Talek River in Narok West sub-county but was overwhelmed when the river broke its banks on Wednesday night.

“The person he had been trying to rescue survived,” John Tome, a resident of Oloshaiki Village said, adding he was taken to Longisa Hospital in Bomet County.

Paul Letiwa, a Nation journalist, is among those marooned at Tipilikwani camp in Takek.


“I woke up and found the sleeping area flooded. In the process of fleeing, I lost my shoes, one of my phones and other personal belongings,” he told the Nation by phone.

“There was no rescue hours later. Scores of tourists are yet to be rescued but we have been taken to Talek Trading Centre, some five kilometres away.”

Others including locals are awaiting the floodwaters to subside.

Mr Tome, landlord of Tipilikwani and Mara Ngenje, said most of the tourists were asleep when the waters flowed into the lodges and camps.

A group of American tourists from Samburu National Reserve was to spend one night at the camp but was forced to stay longer.

“Hotel staff are still helping tourists to get to safer grounds. Hotel owners are worried that more of their property will be damaged. They have already lost property worth million of shillings,” Mr Tome said by phone “I have lost personal belongings including a phone, shoes and clothes. I am in the nearby Manyatta.”

A worker at the camp, Bernard Alukabha, said they had been hosting about 20 tourists.

Most of the visitors had to sleep on tables, he said.

Personnel from the Kenya Red Cross were stuck along Ewaso Ngiro-Naroosura road. Beneticto Omondi, a Red Cross staff member based in Narok County, said more than five vehicles were marooned by the waters.

Some hotels, lodges and camps either turned away guests or evacuated those present as a precaution.

Managers at Maasai Mara, known for the annual wildebeest migration, noted that visitors could not go on game drivers as the heavy rains rendered roads impassable.

Mr James ole Pere, manager of Keekorok Lodge which is inside the reserve, said many rivers burst their banks.

The floods have raised fears of lower numbers of domestic and international tourists given the rainy weather experienced since the December holidays.

According to official data, revenue from tourism rose to Sh163.6 billion in 2019 from Sh157.4 billion recorded in 2018.

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