May 7th, 2024

Parts of Kenya have experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall over the last 2-3 weeks including some of the tourism areas such as the Maasai Mara and Nairobi. Unfortunately, this has caused several rivers to break their banks and has led to damaging floods in some areas of the country.

We wanted to provide an update to our guests who are coming out on safari soon on the situation at our camps and conservancies as well as the other areas we take guests on safari.

Fortunately, all our camps and our team are fine.

The greatest impact in a tourism area was experienced in the Mara from the flooding of the Talek River, Sand River and Mara River impacting a number of camps along the riverbanks. Fortunately, any guests in those camps along with the staff were safely rescued and no lives were lost. However, many people from local communities in the area were displaced or badly affected by the floods and we are currently working with teams on the ground to support them, so please feel free to contact us if you’d also like to offer any support as this time of need.

The rivers have all subsided now and the forecast is for more normal levels of rain for the next few weeks and then tapering off. In fact, there was no rain in many parts of the Mara yesterday with sunny days and our guests in Ol Kinyei have been enjoying their safari as usual.

Guests staying at the Porini Ol kinyei Safari Cottages enjoy a game drive in the Ol kinyei Conservancy – photo by Porini Guide, George Letoluo – 7th May 2024

The camps that were affected, especially along the Talek River, are assessing the damage with some indicating they will be ready to fully reopen in a few weeks and others that could take a couple of months. We will be in touch with all our guests that may be going to any camp that is affected or will still be by their time of travel.

There is close collaboration between the tourism industry including the Mara camp managers, national government including the Tourism Board and the Narok County government with a crisis committee having been set up that is coordinating a very effective response on the ground as well as daily updates. Our 24- hour Kenya Tourism Federation Safety & Security Centre is providing real time updates not only in the Mara but across the country so guests can come on safari with up-to-date information, while those already in Kenya, of which there are very many, can continue enjoying their time on safari or at the beach.

Currently some of the key bridges along these rivers have been damaged and the county and national government are making a focus to have these repaired as soon as possible. The county has taken swift action and is already today with heavy equipment at Talek bridge starting to have it repaired.

Our camps in the Mara (Porini Lion Camp in Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Porini Mara Camp, Porini Cheetah Camp, Porini Ol Kinyei Cottages in Ol Kinyei Conservancy and Porini Giraffe Camp in Mara Ripoi Conservancy) are all fine and those along the rivers are all positioned on raised decks and so were not affected by the increased water levels. We recommend all clients to fly in and out now as some of the key rivers are still high and can impact or delay access by road into some of our conservancies. We currently have guests at Porini Ol Kinyei Cottages and they are having a great time with all the usual activities. Porini Lion Camp opens for guests next week. Porini Amboseli in Selenkay was also not affected by the rains although the river has come up significantly and we expect this to go back to normal in a week or so. The camp is closed as we are putting in a new mess tent and replacing some older tents. Porini Rhino Camp in Ol Pejeta was also not affected and will be opening for guests after our annual maintenance next week.

Rhino River Camp, Meru was also not affected and has had little rain in the last week or so. Nairobi Tented Camp is also not affected although the roads to camp and in the park are not in good condition at the moment due to the rains.

April and May are considered the long rains in Kenya, and this is normally when we get most of our rains across the country which helps to rejuvenate the land, replenish the water table, and water courses and so leading to an abundance of new life across the country. This is also a time that every year we close most our camps for annual maintenance, the team take annual leave etc. although we do keep a few camps open as it is still a great time to be on safari during this ‘green’ season and often great for dramatic photography, especially as all the wildlife in Kenya other than the Serengeti migration is resident year-round.

The unusually heavy amount of rain this year coupled with human induced negative impacts like deforestation of key water towers like the Mau, Loita and Nyakweri forests along with land use change, over grazing and sand-harvesting has led to compaction of many areas and so less absorption of water into the soil and a much greater level of sheet erosion and runoff all increasing water into the main watercourses and rivers. As a company for over 30 years our mission has been to protect habitat in partnership with communities with every room protecting over 700 acres of habitat and generating benefits for local communities. Within the conservancies we have been able to ensure that there is no environmental degradation, and that woodlands, grasslands and forest are conserved. Guests staying at our camps are able to enjoy a great safari while helping to make a direct impact to protecting vital habitat and supporting communities.

We look forward to welcoming you to Kenya!

Dr Mohanjeet Brar (PhD) Managing Director Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps