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Licking Its Wounds, Kenya Lowers Certain Park Entry Fees in Wake of Attacks

Where: Kenya
June 19, 2014 at 12:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

Mom and cub lounging in the savanna of the Masai Mara

The situation in Kenya has certainly not improved since our visit a few months ago in April, when we explored one of the world's top safari regions and feasted on game meat. At the time, we penned our thoughts on whether it's safe to visit Kenya, concluding that the safari regions were as removed from the threats in Nairobi and Mombasa as Upstate New York is from New York City.

Things have definitely not stabilized since, and, to be honest, it doesn't sound like the situation is under control or getting better by any stretch of the imagination. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has scrambled to ensure tourists that the attacks are not near or directed at at foreign facilities or tourist zones, but that reassurance has convinced few as many would-be visitors cancel their trips and tourism numbers continue to suffer. We can't blame those who cancel at this point, especially given this statement by the Somalia-based Al Shabab militant group that once again declared Kenya a "war zone" and warned foreigners that they were not safe:

“To the tourists visiting Kenya we say this: Kenya is now officially a war zone and as such any tourists visiting the country do so at their own risk,” the group said. “Foreigners with any regard for their safety and security should stay away from Kenya or suffer the bitter consequences of their foolishness. You have been forewarned!”

The statement is an attack on Kenya in itself, a country the depends on tourism for much of its livelihood. Meanwhile, as the KTB's attempts at reassurance flounder, it has now decided to try and motivate people financially, issuing a public notice that the entrance fees to certain parks will be reduced, specifically Lake Nakuru and Amboseli National Parks. The fees to each have been dropped by $10. Costs to enter other regions, such as the Masai Mara, remain the same. We're not sure that saving ten bucks will convince anyone of anything, but it's an attempt nonetheless to try to cut visitors a break.

It breaks our heart to see such a wonderful country in disarray, and we'd like nothing more than to see the violence come to an end. If you have plans to travel to Kenya and decide you still want to go, our recommendation at this point would be to make sure you fly directly to your safari destination. They are still the safest places to be in the country.

[Photo: Will McGough]

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