Safari stresses

Photo credit: © Fred Hoogervorst/Panos Pictures

Tourist vans cluster around a group of lionesses in Masai Mara game reserve, in Kenya. Thousands come to this safari park every year to glimpse the 'big five': lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard.

The park generates around 15 per cent of Kenya's tourist revenue and over US$20m. in foreign exchange. But the pressure on grazing land surrounding the park, for farming and small scale ranching, has resulted in a drop in wildlife of 58 per cent in the past 20 years.

And rules about keeping to established roads and tracks are often broken, as drivers seek out the best viewing points

However, the park authorities and the Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK) are trying to promote genuine ecotourism. Firewood is being replaced by solar energy, gas or fuel briquettes, drivers are being trained to follow the park rules and some lodges are encouraging walking tours rather than the use of minibuses. In some parts of Masai land, the people are also being encouraged to set aside sanctuaries for wildlife, from which local communities can benefit.


Kenya's Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development

Wildlife dynamics. An analysis of change in the Masai Mara ecosystem of Kenya (by Wilber Ottichilo 22nd March 2003)

Related articles:

Kenya's tourism industry grows 'greener'

Maasai hopes and fears

Ecotourism - hope and reality

Related links

Ecotourism Society of Kenya

Tourism Concern