Mara defies drying river to bag top global award

Wildebeest plunge
Wildebeest plunge into Mara River on August 7 at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The nomination of Maasai Mara National Game Reserve as Africa’s best national park has attracted mixed reaction.

The reserve is winning the coveted award when its future existence is threatened by the drying up of Mara River.

The world acclaimed reserve won the award for the sixth time at the World Travel Awards 2017.

The award also comes at a time that the present tourist’s peak season has ended earlier than usual after the Wildebeest returned to Serengeti, an outcome linked to continued plunder of the Mara River basin.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai welcomed the recognition saying it would boost the reserve's global image as a top tourist destination.


Other nominees in the category were Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana), Etosha National Park (Namibia), Kidepo Valley National Park (Uganda), Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.

The county boss said the latest reserve status is as a result of the efforts by the county government to revamp the reserve and double tourist numbers.

Mr Tunai said the county government tapped the Maasai culture, improved the six airstrips, and the tarmacking of the Narok-Mara road to promote all year round visits to the game reserve.

“We are keen to sell the Mara to the world as a premier holiday destination, the Mara as the eighth wonder of the world due to its iconic wildebeest migration, and as a destination for filmmakers and as a place of choice,” said Mr Tunai.