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More expensive safaris from 1 January: increased fees

Tariffs almost doubled for tourists, bloodletting for Kenyans and residents

27-12-2023 by redazione

Among the various increases (and the few decreases, as in the case of entry visas to the country) that await those living in and visiting Kenya in 2024, one of the most significant relates to entry fees to the country's parks and nature reserves.

The so-called Safaris are undoubtedly Kenya's number one international attraction and on the 'ticket price' to witness the great spectacle of the animal kingdom, depends (or should depend) the conservation of the savannah, through the efforts of the government body KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service). We had already covered the increases for the Maasai Mara, the reserve that is, however, not part of the KWS tariff schedule, because it is managed directly by Narok County and the Maasai communities themselves.

Turning to the national parks, the KWS had recently informed us that rates would increase from 1 January, and despite the opposition of the various tourism associations, the new price list is definitive, and even envisages rates that will double, if not triple, the current ones, considering also that the increases for tourists and residents are calculated in dollars, and with the current devaluation of the shilling, for those (just like the residents) who think and earn in local currency, the increase is even more noticeable.

But the bloodletting is also for Kenyans and East African community citizens themselves, who will pay about 2,000 shillings to enter, effectively quintupling the price of the previous ticket, with significant increases even for the entry of their vehicle. This means that a driver with his off-road vehicle, for example, will have to pay much higher expenses than before, which will be added to the safari 'package' offered to his clients.

But let us see in detail what changes for tourists: to enter the Tsavo East and West, a tourist will pay 20% more than in 2023, or 100 dollars, which at today's exchange rate is 16 thousand shillings, so almost double what it was in January 2023, when the dollar was worth 30% less than now.
While a resident will see an even more staggering rise in costs: from 800 shillings to $50! That is at the current exchange rate 8500 shillings, roughly what a tourist paid a year ago. This seems even more absurd, especially for all the resident professionals who organise quality or tailor-made safaris that are safe and super-professional.

The same rates can be found in Amboseli Park, Lake Nakuru and what is even more incredible, at Nairobi National Park, where tourists passing through Nairobi on their way to other destinations often take advantage of this great, unique resource of a nature reserve in the city with free-roaming animals, to spend a few hours there. From January, with the doubled cost of admission, the tenfold increase in the cost of an escort and vehicle, anyone will think twice.

In conclusion, one wonders whether the increase is really the only solution to preserve Kenya's national parks. The KWS has of course stated that the additional revenue will be used precisely to improve security and preserve the beauty of the savannah, and some conservationists believe that raising prices and decreasing the phenomenon of crowded parks (especially Nairobi National Park) of even local tourists, picnickers who pollute and do not respect the rules, will gain in exclusivity.
Private reserves, which once appeared as 'elite lounges', will certainly gain and become more competitive.
In any case, tough times for safari workers, it will not be easy to make customers understand that what they were paying until this year is a mirage and that prices have practically doubled. Not least because to the entrance fees, we have to add the substantial increase in fuel, and that in general of the cost of living.

TAGS: safaritariffeaumentotsavoamboseliKWS

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