Kenyan operator's planes are grounded

About 10 000 tourists visit Mara river per month

26 June 2020 | Business

Kenyan-based safari operator Safari link, June is the busiest time of year, as the company's small planes ferry tourists to national parks in Kenya and Tanzania to witness the majestic annual migration of 2 million animals.

This year, the coronavirus outbreak has brought those adventures in Kenya's Maasai Mara and Tanzania's Serengeti to a halt.

Like other African airlines, Safari link Aviation grounded its planes in March after Kenya closed its borders and stopped air travel, part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

"During this period, we carry, just going to the Mara, about 10 000 passengers per month," said Alex Avedi, Safari link Aviation's CEO. "As you can see all the aircraft are parked, there is no one going to see this magnificent spectacle."

Safari lovers typically flock to the region hoping to witness hundreds of thousands of wildebeest that run the gauntlet of hungry crocodiles as they cross the Mara river in search of greener pastures on the Kenya-Tanzania border.

"There is a whole community around those conservancies that are definitely impacted and effected by no visitors. All the people who provide groceries, food, the guides, housekeeping, the barmen, it’s very unfortunate," Avedi told Reuters. Many lodges outside Nairobi have been forced to close.

However, in the heart of Nairobi's National Park, one campsite run by safari company Game watchers reopened on June 12. The camp adheres to strict health guidelines, testing its staff for Covid-19 and checking visitors' temperature. - Nampa/AFP

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