June 29, 2011

Government shelves plans for Serengeti highway

Tanzania has cancelled its plan to build a highway across North of Serengeti National Park, which would have affected wildebeest migration to and from the Maasai Mara. The plan was cancelled by the Tanzanian government after pleas from Kenya and the donors of the project- World Bank and German government - that the road would affect tourism activities in the park negatively. "The spectacle is not only the main attraction for tourists coming to the East African region but is the iconic selling point for tourism in the region," explained Tourism Minister Najib Balala.

Conservationists had also protested that the project will impact negatively on the Maasai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. "The new plan is that the road will go through the southern part of Serengeti to go to Mukoma so as not to cut off Maasai Mara from the natural cycle of the wildebeests," explained Tourism Minister Najib Balala. The proposed highway was to cut directly through Northern Serengeti an area currently served by a gravel road whose use is strictly monitored by the Tanzanian park officials to ensure there is no commercial or intense traffic in the area. Balala added that it was only logical for the road to pass south of Serengeti which is more populated than the north. The new route for the highway from Serengeti to Mukoma is however longer than the earlier proposed route. (Nairobi Star)

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