Annual wildebeest and humpback whale migrations to attract 1.7million visitors to Kenya

Tourism CS Najib Balala arriving at Mara Serena Lodge in Masai Mara Game Reserve where he witnessed the wildebeests migration. About 1.7Million tourists are expected in Kenya to witness the "double migration" between July-October this year. [PHOTO:ROBERT KIPLAGAT]

Kenya is expecting over 1.7 million tourists in the three-month wildebeest and humpback whale migrations, Kenya's tourism cabinet secretary has said.

The whale migration from North Antarctica to Kilifi as well as the wildebeest movement from Serengeti, Tanzania, to Masai Mara game reserve attracts tourists from all over the world. 

Addressing journalists at the Mara Serena Lodge during a promotional tour, Kenya's Tourism CS Najib Balala termed the two events the highlights of the current tourist season. “It is a major tourism boom for us. We have about 800,000 wildebeest already in the Mara and the humpback whales swimming to our coast,” he said. 

Mr Balala said delayed migration of the wildebeests was caused by the rains but that this did not affect visitor numbers. He further expressed satisfaction at the bookings in hotels in the Mara, which he said were currently at 98 per cent. 

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“Here at the Mara hotels and camps are fully booked. Tourists are here to witness the rare phenomenon. Kenya is now a safe destination and the sector is now at 18 per cent in growth. We are projecting it to get to 50 per cent in the next five years,” said Balala. 

He was hosted by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, who termed this year’s migration as the ‘best ever’, saying the slight delay allowed the county to prepare for the event.

The Kenya Tourism Board boss, Allan Njoroge, said the ‘double migration’ package had been well received.

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