Hotels in Maasai Mara national reserve have run out of bed space following increased tourist arrivals who have flocked into the area to witness the annual spectacular wildebeest migration.
Unlucky tourists who have missed accommodation have since been forced to seek accommodation in private homes.
Mara National Reserve management said more than 100,000 tourists have witnessed the migration and more are coming before the spectacle ends next month.
On Monday, Mara National Reserve administrator Christine Daabash said the number of tourists had risen in recent weeks.
“The number of tourists has been increasing between April and this month. In April we had 9,000 tourists. This shot to 11,000 in May and 26,535 in June. We expect the number to go up to 100,000 by the end of this month,” she said.
Hoteliers in the famed park were caught flat footed since over the years, the peak tourist arrivals for the migration spectacle have been recorded at about 90 percent, giving the facilities room to cope with the high demand. However, this time round it is clearly different.
Last year’s migration was delayed due to the long rains which kept the pastures greener on the Tanzanian side leaving tourists on the Kenyan side disappointed which may explain why this time round many don’t want to miss it.
This year’s wildebeest migration from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania also started early in the month of May as opposed to July and August, catching many hoteliers unprepared to handle the huge numbers.
Hotel manager Antony Tira said they have been forced to refer some clients to facilities outside the reserve for accommodation.
“Most of the boarding facilities within the reserve cannot accommodate more tourists.
“We either look for an alternative hotel in the conservancies around the reserve or move out of our houses with other staff and literary rent the houses to our clients. Business is good,” he said, Business Daily reported.
The hotelier’s headache is, however, a blessing in disguise for the local community near the park.
Locals around the reserve are cashing in on accommodating tourists seeking the first-hand experience of the Maasai culture like dance, food and bead stitching in special tourism Manyattas.
Tourists fork out Sh15,000 ($150) per head for a 24-hour stay within a Manyatta.