KWS closes picnic sites in lockdown counties to slow Covid spread


Zebras at the Nairobi National Park. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has closed picnics sites in all National parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, and Nakuru counties in a fresh bid to curb a spike in coronavirus infections.

KWS said Wednesday that the new directive will also see National Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries which used to close at 6pm open from 6am to 5pm.

National Parks, reserves and sanctuaries in all the other counties where movement of people is not restricted will, however remain open but must observes strict Covid -19 guidelines.

“Visitors are reminded that it is mandatory to wear masks, keep social distance, wash hand with soap and running water, or using a sanitiser at all our facilities,” said KWS in a notice yesterday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last Friday banned movement into and out of the five counties in to curb spread of coronavirus infections.

While directing the cessation of movement in to and out of the five counties, he described them as “disease-infected areas” that are accounting for over 70 per cent of the new infections and deaths.

The tough measures come as daily positivity rates average 20 per cent from an average of 3.1 per cent in January.

The new KWS development also comes barely a year after the Service reviewed its park entry fee downwards by 50 per cent for Kenyans and international visitors in a move that was aimed at resuscitating the struggling tourism sector.

The new charges that took effect in July 1, 2020 for a period of one year.

Under the revised tariff, at Nairobi National Park which is frequented by visitors within the city, adult Kenyan citizens and residents have been paying Sh400 down from Sh430.

Non-residents will pays $35 (Sh3, 829) from $43 (Sh4, 704) to visit Nairobi National Park.

At Tsavo East and Tsavo West, adult citizens pays Sh500 up from Sh515. Non-residents will pay $30 (Sh3, 282) from $52 (Sh5, 689).