New Maasai Mara camp raises eco concerns | East African Jungle Safaris

New Maasai Mara camp raises eco concerns

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

Herds of wildebeest cross the river in Masai Mara on September 4, 2015. Every year hundreds of thousands of wildebeest make the crossing from the Serengeti to Masai Mara game reserve to graze during the migration. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

New Maasai Mara camp raises eco concerns

According to statistics, only 29% of the camps are legal, with conservationists raising the alarm that unchecked growth in the parks would interfere with conservation.

Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has been put on the spot for approving the construction of a new camp on the banks of the Mara River.

Some investors have raised concerns, claiming that Rafiki Camp, which is being built by a German couple at the Enkutoto conservancy adjacent to the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, is a threat to conservation. A statement from the owners of Olonana Sanctuary and Tangulia Camp, claims the new camp is being built on a riparian area, 400 metres from Olonana and Tangulia.

“It is congesting the conservation area and blocking a wildlife corridor which the animals use to access the Mara River.”

But Narok County, Nema Director, Patrick Lekenit, said the project had met all the requirements and there was no need to stop the construction.

“There are supremacy battles between the investors, and the two camps complaining seem to fear competition from the facility that is being constructed,” said Lekenit. He said he had toured the disputed site and had spoken to both parties and that he would soon hold a joint stakeholders’ meeting in a bid to address the issue.

The row comes after the Narok County Government’s statistics indicated that there were more than 300 camps and lodges, most of them illegal, in the reserve, particularly in the rhino-breeding areas, water points and along the Mara and Talek Rivers.

According to statistics, only 29% of the camps are legal, with conservationists raising the alarm that unchecked growth in the parks would interfere with conservation.

Kenya’s Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, said overdevelopment and environmental degradation in the Maasai Mara National Reserve could affect the reserve. Balala called on the Narok County Government and the Government authorities to address the issue of overdevelopment and livestock grazing in the Mara, so that Kenya’s best park could maintain its popularity.

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