30 years after Out of Africa, Kenya has lost none of its box-office appeal
Sunday times by Chris Haslam
Let’s start in the bush. In a recent article for this newspaper, I claimed that nowhere in Africa can compete with Kenya for the quality and quantity of wildlife. It’s a bold assertion, but having just returned from an unseasonably wet Masai Mara, I stick by it.
The first thing you notice here — after the lions and buffalo — is the absence of humanity. There are more than 100 camps and lodges in the Mara. They range from basic to ultra-luxurious, but they have two things in common: they’re safe, and they’re all running at seriously reduced occupancy.
“Ebola and terrorism scared the tourists away,” said one camp manager, “even though neither has ever been here.” It’s bad for business, but rather good for the few who come to these magical plains. Back in the old days, a sighting of, say, a cheetah would bring safari vehicles buzzing like wasps around a jam tart. Last Thursday, in the Mara’s Olare Motorogi Conservancy, it was just me and my guide, Patrick Koriata, with a bone-idle male cheetah utterly unwilling to demonstrate his supposed athleticism.
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