Masai Mara in Kenya: international airport planned – Kenya’s government is planning to build the first international airport in the Masai Mara, the world-famous nature reserve in western Kenya.
While the tourism sector in many African countries is currently still suffering from the global corona pandemic, the Kenyan government is planning for the future. This is about the Masai Mara International Airport, which of course does not yet exist, but which should be completed in around two years. In the middle of the approximately 1,500 square kilometer Masai Mara nature reserve, more precisely at the Mara Triangle wildlife and game reserve. However, this is not a completely new airport; rather, an existing airport, the Angama Airstrip, is being expanded into an international airport. Work started recently. In the first step, the runway must be renewed and, of course, significantly extended and widened on this occasion. Because on a runway only 1250 meters long and almost 20 meters wide, no large aircraft with more than 200 passengers on board can currently land or take off. Therefore, the runway of the Masai Mara International Airport is to be around 3300 meters wide and over 40 meters wide in the future. Oh yes, and of course a fence around the airport will also be built. Because it doesn’t exist yet. Landing and starting machines had to drive wild animals off the runway every now and then. A real terminal is still missing, but that too will be built here in western Kenya not far from the Serengeti in neighboring Tanzania within the next two years.
Masai Mara International Airport: With the vacation plane directly to the Masai Mara
The Masai Mara and the national parks in Kenya are extremely popular with foreign tourists and are therefore also an important source of foreign currency in the country. Above all, the great wildebeest migration, during which millions of wildebeest and zebras from the Masai Marai in Kenya make their way to the Serengeti in Tanzania, attracts thousands of tourists to the Masai Mara and the border region to Tanzania every year. Kenya therefore hopes that with the new Masai Mara International Airport even more tourists will come to the nature reserve in the west of the country in the future. Because anyone who has visited the Masai Mara so far had to fly in small planes either from Nairobi or Mombasa. Or alternatively travel by car or bus, which means a drive of around five hours from Nairobi.
Conservationists, on the other hand, see the construction project rather critically. Because the Masai Mara International Airport would therefore likely have negative consequences for the wild animals living there. And the Kenyan population is also split in two when it comes to expanding the airport in the Masai Mara. While there are of course numerous proponents who are hoping for more tourists, many people are also concerned about the wild animals and the previously intact ecosystem. Because more tourists also means that more hotels and lodges will be built in the region, including all the side effects that result, such as the increase in further infrastructure projects.
Video: Masai Mara Safari Kenya