Kenya evacuates tourists stuck in flooded Maasai Mara National Reserve

Thursday May 02 2024

A flooded JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge in Kenya submerged in water on May 1, 2024. PHOTO | POOL


Kenyan officials said on Wednesday that they have begun the evacuation of tourists marooned by flooding in the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve in the southwestern county of Narok.

Narok County Governor Patrick Ole Ntutu said two helicopters have been deployed to rescue tourists and workers in Maasai Mara.

Dozens of tourists and locals working at hotels, lodges, and tents inside Maasai Mara narrowly escaped death at dawn on Wednesday when the Talek River, which runs through the wildlife sanctuary, burst its banks after torrential rains, causing widespread destruction.

Ntutu said all the visitors and workers had been evacuated safely and transferred to nearby hotels and camps where there was no flooding.

Read: Floods leave trail of death and destruction

"We are implementing plans and mobilizing resources to respond promptly to distress calls and ensure the safety of our residents. We are remaining dedicated to fulfilling our duty to protect and serve the people during these challenging times," Ntutu said in a statement issued in Narok town.


Witnesses said visitors and workers were forced to climb trees on Tuesday night after the camp was marooned in water; dining halls were waterlogged, and the water level continued to rise.

Kenya is grappling with floods that have claimed 179 lives and displaced more than 190,000 people, according to government statistics.

In a recent briefing, Alfred Mutua, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua urged hotels and camps adjacent to rivers in the major national parks and reserves to put in place evacuation measures in case of flooding.

"Several camps have been affected by flooding, prompting our coordinated efforts to evacuate visitors, and we have been successful so far," Mutua said.