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No partying, hawking along Safari Rally routes

 A group of youths hawk fish in Karai center in Naivasha along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway targeting passing motorists. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Partying and hawking on Naivasha's Moi South Lake Road have been prohibited.

The ban was issued by the Nakuru County and World Rally Championship (WRC) to ensure safety during the international event. They warned that violators of this rule will face arrest and prosecution.

Hotel owners around the lakeside town have reported full bookings for the event that starts in two days.

During the last two rallies, traffic along the Moi South Lake Road and Naivasha-Mai Mahiu Road was paralysed for hours due to an influx of visitors who pitched camp on both sides of the roads and made merry late into the night.

WRC Head of Hospitality Faith Wathome said no parties will be permitted along the road to reduce traffic problems. She added that the WRC was working closely with the county government to regulate hawking and traffic flow on the rally routes.

"All our visitors have been accommodated in Naivasha, and we expect the numbers to increase compared to last year," said Ms Wahome.

She added that hawkers will be accommodated in hustlers' bazaars near spectator zones and away from the main roads.

Nakuru County Tourism Association chairman David Mwangi confirmed that hotels in Naivasha, Gilgil and Elementaita are fully booked.

He said that business was better this year compared to last year, with growing numbers of international and local visitors.

"Though we have not been involved in the planning of this rally like before, our members are reporting full bookings, which is a positive for the sector," he said.

He challenged the rally organisers to address the recurrent traffic problems along major roads in Naivasha.

Naivasha Commissioner Mutua Kisilu told The Standard on the phone that security has been intensified in the town and along routes the rally drivers will be using.

Over the weekend, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Peninah Malonza said that the country expects over 800,000 visitors for the global event.

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