Illegal hotels in Mara targeted for closure
llegally established hotels in the Maasai Mara face closure as the county government seeks to open up space for wild animals. The county’s tourism and wildlife ministry has given all lodges and camps in the world-famous reserve seven days to submit their documents for validation or be closed. From next week, they will be required to submit National Environmental Management Authority approvals, physical plans and lease agreements. The directive, by Tourism and Wildlife executive member Nelson ole Keshei, is intended to enable the county government to audit its assets, liabilities, licences and wildlife conservation programmes. In addition, is aimed at reducing illegal establishments in the game reserve to give the wildlife their space. Mr Keshei said congestion had forced animals out of their habitats into nearby conservancies.
“The Mara has had challenges arising from over-development, rivalry and competition amongst developers,” he said during the signing of performance contracts by wardens and their assistants at Keekorok Lodge on Friday. He said the county government was drafting a Bill to require developers to obtain a provisional licence first.They would be required to obtain a regular licence after their establishments have satisfied Nema’s requirement that lodges and camps must not be near rivers, watering points and breeding zones and sewerage system should not cause pollution. Before a provisional licence is issued, developers must obtain clearance from the county tourism board and a nod from the Tourism and Wildlife docket. Of the 108 establishments in the reserve, only 31 (29 per cent) were operating legally, according to a survey by the Hotel and Restaurant Authority following a 2008 audit.
Coutersy of Daily Nation