Hotel owners in the Maasai Mara Wildlife Sanctuary are optimistic that its industry will recover following the current increase in bookings ahead of the wildebeest migration, which is expected to start this week.

Business owners, particularly hotel owners, are feeling more confident as a large number of international foreign visitors have reserved rooms ahead of the wildebeest migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Mara.

According to Keekorok Lodge manager James ole Pere, many other hoteliers have started receiving bookings from international tourists, , and they expect a 50% bed occupancy by the middle of this month. Mr Pere stated that some tour companies that have been out of business for more than a year, such as Pollman’s, Somak, and Rhino Safaris, have reopened and are already taking clients to the Mara. These companies handle large groups of organized tourists and use a fleet of cars for long tours in Kenya and throughout East Africa.

He also said  that in the last month, the Mara has received customers who do not fit into traditional markets, including those from Eastern European countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and Iran. There are also bookings from traditional markets such as Europe, America, and France, but have yet to receive any from the Chinese and Far East markets.

Mr Pere indicated that by mid-June, scheduled flights that operate in the Mara had begun to increase frequency to twice daily. According to hoteliers, the Covid-19 vaccine has given international tourists confidence in visiting Kenya.

Joseph Kararei, Entumoto luxury camp had this to say, “Some tourists from European countries who have observed the Covid-19 requirements for Kenya have made bookings to come and watch the migration after many of them missed out last year.”