Game park visitors rise ahead of July high season

Tourists at the Voi Safari Game Lodge. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Tourists at the Voi Safari Game Lodge. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

National parks and game reserves are experiencing a rise in visitor numbers ahead of next month’s high season, cementing a turnaround in the tourism sector.

Lofty Tours director Monika Solanki said bookings from the German market were on an upward trend.

“Between July and August, we are expecting more tourists to visit the Mara, Tsavo East and West National Parks and Amboseli National Park for game viewing,” she said.

Kenya Association of Tour Operators said lodges and camps in Tsavo East and West National parks, as well as Amboseli National Park, are enjoying occupancy of between 60 per cent and 70 per cent up from 30 per cent and 50 per cent last month.

Tour operators reckon that Kenya is witnessing increased travel, especially from the Europe, China and the US.

The numbers are expected to grow ahead of the famed huge wildebeest migration at Maasai Mara Reserve, which begins in July.

The growth is welcome news for hoteliers who had been forced to cut jobs, slash pay and even close shop following the crippling effects of several travel alerts issued in 2014 after a spate of terrorist attacks on holiday towns.

But the sector is on recovery following the withdrawal of the alerts with earnings growing Sh99.7 billion last year compared to Sh84.5 billion in 2015.