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Narok County

Narok County bans Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp, client from Maasai Mara National Reserve for violating wildlife rules

The eco safari camp inside Oltepesi Village is specially designed for wildlife photographers. It is only a short 5-minute drive from the unfenced border of the Masai Mara reserve.

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The Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp logo

The County Government of Narok ha suspended Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp from entering Maasai Mara National Reserve for violating wildlife rules and regulations.

According to Chief Park Administrator, Ms Christine Koshal, on July 30 afternoon, the camp’s client was caught on camera with a leopard cub in the proximity of the mother.

According to the park’s rules and regulations, human activity interferes with an animal’s natural behaviour. To see an animal behave naturally, one must keep a good distance from it.

The rules say that a distance any closer than 25 meters (roughly five vehicle lengths) constitutes harassment of the animal and is a breach of park rules hence could result in a fine.

In a letter to the camp, she explained that the park management had decided to suspend the camp with the same client and the vehicle in question indefinitely.

“The management, therefore, directs all sentries in each point of entry to ensure the above directive is enforced and should take effect immediately,” she stated.

She further directed KAPS management, the ticketing agent for Maasai Mara National Reserve, to ensure no transaction whatsoever shall be conducted with the camp.

The eco safari camp inside Oltepesi Village is specially designed for wildlife photographers. It is only a short 5-minute drive from the unfenced border of the Masai Mara reserve.

In August last year, the County banned Sunworld Safaris, Mario Tours, Twiga Tours, Olkinyei Tented Camp, Oldarpai Camp, Nashulai Conservancy and Mara Ngechie from the reserve for allowing guests alight from vehicles inside the reserve.

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Narok County

Balala orders Mara camp blocking wildebeests crossing removed

Nakuru-based environmental activist James Wakibia said some facilities were built with no prior environmental impact assessment audits.

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Mara Ngenche Safari Camp that offers panoramic views over the confluence of the Mara and Talek Rivers. Photo/Courtesy

Tourism Minister Najib Balala has ordered for the removal of a camp built beside the Mara River, blocking the wildebeest crossing.

In a viral video shared by tourists, the staff of the unnamed camp are seen chasing away wildebeests trying to cross the river.

“It is very disturbing and we expect Narok Governor Samuel Tunai to take action and have the camp removed,” he said in a Facebook post.

Investigations show that there are tens of tented camps and lodges operating illegally in Maasai Mara National Reserve.

The Minister said he had had talks with Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai on the same for swift action.

The reserve is managed by the County Government of Narok through the Narok County Council in the eastern side and Trans-Mara County Council on the western side.

Camps and lodges congestion has diminished the reserve’s chances of survival despite being a prime global tourist destination.

The camps are located along the Mara River, Talek River, Olkeju Rongai River and Sand River.

A tourism operator said human activities inside the reserve have led to the death of migration corridors such as Loita crossing point.

The hotel manager, who sought anonymity for fear of victimization, said the reserve lacks concrete policy guidelines.

“I have also insisted that we need a Maasai Mara National Reserve Management Plan to protect migratory corridors,” said Mr Balala.

in 2017, Narok county threatened not to issue licences for the construction of new facilities within and outside the 1,526-kilometre ecosystem.

Nakuru-based environmental activist James Wakibia said some facilities were built with no prior environmental impact assessment audits.

“Some camps on the river banks are using hazardous materials to prevent erosion. That should not be condoned,” said Mr Wakibia.

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Narok County

Tour operators banned from Maasai Mara for violating park rules

One of the natural wonders of the world, the annual wildebeests’ migration is underway with the rare polka-dotted zebra expected to return to Kenya after crossing over to Tanzania last year.

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Tourists outside their vehicles and crowded at a viewing point in Masai Mara Game Reserve. Photo/Courtesy

The County Government of Narok has banned various tour companies for violating park rules and regulations at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

The Sunworld Safaris, Mario Tours, Twiga Tours, Olkinyei Tented Camp, Oldarpai Camp, Nashulai Conservancy and Mara Ngechie are said to have allowed guest alight from vehicles inside the reserve.

According to Maasai Mara Game Reserve, tourists, drivers and guides are not allowed out of their vehicles at undesignated viewing points.

Also, no more than 5 vehicles are allowed around one wildlife sighting; when more than 5, the viewing time is reduced to 10 minutes and taken in turn.

Chief Park Administrator Christine Koshal says the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ was committed on August 8 and 9, 2020 at Lookout Crossing Point during the ongoing crossing of wildebeests.

“You violated the park rules and regulations by obstructing wildebeests crossing and also put visitor’s life at risk by allowing them to alight the vehicles at undesignated points inside the game reserve,” said Ms Koshal.

She said the reserve management had been left with no other choice but to suspend the operators for 30 days effective August 10, 2020, and will not be allowed in the reserve for whatever reason.

Hotels, tented camps and travel agents have significantly lowered prices amid the Covid-19 pandemic, causing a gush of local tourists to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

One of the natural wonders of the world, the annual wildebeests’ migration is underway with the rare polka-dotted zebra expected to return to Kenya after crossing over to Tanzania last year.

According to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, the COVID-19 pandemic has already cost Kenya Sh87 billion loss in tourism revenue.

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Narok County

Inmates, homeless children benefit from Maasai Mara University’s Covid-19 CSR kitty

Restrictions to the members of the public from visiting inmates and children homes have cut short personal and group donations.

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Maasai Mara University officials, Narok GK Prison wardens and inmates outside the facility. Photo/Courtesy

Maasai Mara University has stepped in to support the most vulnerable members of the society against the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic.

The university has donated 97 cartons of fresh milk, 30 bales of maize flour, 20 bales of wheat flour and other items all valued at Sh200,000 to Narok GK Prison and AIC Sayiapei Children’s Home.

The institution of higher learning said the donation would go a long way in ensuring target communities adhere to COVID-19 prevention protocols.

The Narok-based university’s Liaison Officer Mr Samson Shakai added that the pandemic poses a great danger on the country’s food security.

“The pandemic triggered restrictions paralyzing livelihoods that could always spare a coin or two to support the most vulnerable in the society,” he stated.

Maasai Mara University officials, AIC Sayiapei Children’s Home and children outside the facility. Photo/Courtesy

Narok GK Prison’s Deputy Officer in Charge Mr Julius Kaliakamur said the gesture would not only cushion the inmates but help in rehabilitation and social reintegration of prisoners into the society.

“This is a true demonstration of love to the inmates who now feel the society cares about their welfare and being part and parcel of the society,” he stated.

He added that restrictions to the members of the public from visiting inmates have posed challenges to them as their supply of personal effects have been cut short.

AIC Sayiapei Children’s Home manager Mr Stanley Koisaba said the pandemic has equally had a toll on child welfare organizations clipping protection programs.

“With full stomachs, the children will get chances to smile and pursue their studies with ease and confidence as the institution engages in other urgent programs,” he stated.

Tabitha Katoon, a pupil, regretted that Maasai Mara University students no longer visit the home for motivational talks following the virus outbreak.

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