Three tour companies banned from Maasai Mara Game Reserve for flouting park rules
By Robert Kiplagat | August 12th 2020
Three tour companies have been banned from stepping in the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve by the area administration for breaking park rules.
The companies allowed their clients to alight from their tour vans to film the ongoing wildebeests’ migration spectacle.
In a letter by the Chief Park Administrator Ms Christine Koshal dated August 10, the three tour companies Sunworld Safaris, Mario Tours and Twiga Tours explained that the trio exhibited unacceptable behavior and mode of conduct on diverse dates of August 8 and 9 this year.
“On August 8 and 9, 2020 at wildebeests migration lookout point, you (tour companies) deliberately allowed your guests to alight, contrary to park rules and regulations. You obstructed the migration and also put the lives of the visitors at risk,” read the letter.
The letter was also copied to Olkinyei Tented camp, Oldarpoi Camp, Nashulai Conservancy and Mara Ngeche who were the hosts to the visitors.
“The management has been left with no other choice but to suspend you for a period of 30 days and you will not be allowed inside the Maasai Mara Game Reserve for whatsoever reason before the elapse of the ban,” warned Ms Koshal.
The wildebeests migration which is considered as the “eighth world wonder” is now ongoing for the last one week with thousands of animals crossing the Mara River from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Maasai Mara.
The move by the three tour companies to flaunt the rules have sparked sharp criticism from wildlife enthusiasts who have thrown their weight behind the park administration to punish the rogue tour drivers.
“It seems like the young buck drivers need to go back and get re-educated on the wildlife code of conduct. Other tour operators should be warned. Obey the wildlife code of conduct,” posed Jackie Arkle.
Narok County Government has asked tourists, both domestic and international touring the Maasai Mara Game Reserve to strictly observe park bylaws while enjoying their festivities failure to which they will also face the ban.
Recently, area Governor Samuel Tunai noted with concern that some tourists have been engaging in acts that go against the park rules.
Some of the habits that the governor discouraged include off-road shooting where some wildlife enthusiasts pursue predators feasting on their prey in their natural habitat.
“No more off-road driving and we are strict on this. All tourists who are on game drive should stick to the road. We do not want disturbance of wildlife on their natural habitats,” he warned.
He has also directed that all the short-cut routes to the park be closed, saying the park should only be accessed through Sekenani Gate, Ololaimutia, Musiara and Takel gates.
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