Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife plans to implement several interventions – including reducing the number of visitors and increasing park fees – to curb high season overcrowding in some of its national parks and to encourage travel throughout the year.
This is in response to growing concerns regarding the impact that overcrowding of safari vehicles and tourists in game parks and reserves may have on the areas wildlife, particularly during the great migration.
Africa News Agency reports that, during the high season (which is from June to October), costs to enter the parks will rise for both residents and non-residents by between two to six times the normal rate in the Masai Mara, and by 30% to 150% in Amboseli and Nairobi Park respectively.
Furthermore, a new policy paper published by the ministry notes that a limit will be set for the carrying capacity of priority parks during peak season. According to Business Daily, high-traffic parks and reserves, including Masai Mara, Amboseli, and Nairobi National Park, will not be able to accommodate more than 32 000, 13 000, and 10 000 visitors per month, respectively.
“Capping volumes of visitors in priority parks could reduce the overall number of visitors but shouldn’t negatively impact overall revenues if combined with a seasonal increase in prices,’’ said a spokesperson for the Ministry.
A third measure that is to be implemented is the use of a digital payment and online ticketing system to help restrict the number of tourists to an acceptable level. The digital system will generate tickets that contain information such as the validity date of the ticket, as well as a cost breakdown that details all of the prices, including the portions of those fees that are designated for park development and conservation.