International and domestic tourists have a reason to visit Lake Nakuru National Park after this festive season as more than 300,000 flamingo birds have come back to the lake.
The world famous birds, which are a big tourist attraction, had been migrating away from the lake in the last few years.
HOPE IN FLAMINGOS
During its heyday, the park, which is a bird watcher’s paradise, was home to between 1.5 million and three million flamingos.
A spot check by the Nation on Thursday established that the birds are back in large numbers and the once deserted shores are slowly turning into a massive pink cover.
Hoteliers view this as a sign of hope that more tourists will come to the area.
“Our bed occupancy had reduced to 20 per cent as international tourists kept away from our lodge as there were no flamingos on the shores of Lake Nakuru,” said Mr Joseph Muya, the Lake Nakuru Lodge director of Marketing and Sales.
He said the low level of algae – the flamingos’ main source of food – was caused by heavy pollution upstream on River Ndarugu that drains into the Lake Nakuru, forcing the birds to migrate.
Mr Muya said that tourism this year was also affected by the political jitters in the run-up to the August 8 presidential election and the repeat polls on October 26.
“We were forced to scale down our workforce by sending them on unpaid leave. We could not afford to retain them as tourist arrivals at the lodge were declining by the day due to heightened political tension,” he said.
Potential tourists have cancelled their bookings in recent months as they adopted a wait-and-see attitude in the heightened political atmosphere, Mr Muya said.
He said the bad politics had translated to a slowdown of the tourism sector and this has led to heavy losses.
“As an industry we are happy that the heated political temperatures have gone down and international tourists will start pouring back into the country ahead of the high season, which kicks off next month,” said Mr Muya.
The director assured domestic tourists of a thrilling holiday package at the lodge, which includes horse riding and a game drive around the lake.
“Those who will book in before the Christmas festivity season kicks off on December 15 will enjoy a special offer of 10 per cent discount,” said Mr Muya.