Nakuru to host Mara Day celebrations

A view of Nakuru town on November 30, 2021.

A view of Nakuru town on November 30, 2021. The city is set to host the Mara Day

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

Mara Day is held on September 15 every year with different themes aimed at promoting sustainable conservation of the transboundary river, which is shared between Tanzania and Kenya.

The Mau complex is the largest indigenous mountain forest in East Africa. It covers an area of more than 650,000 acres, straddling Nakuru, Bomet, Narok and Baringo counties.

Nakuru County will host the 11th Mara Day celebrations on September 15.

The event is hosted on a rotational basis by Tanzania and Kenya.

The Lake Victoria Basin Commission secretariat coordinates the celebrations, which aim to create awareness on the importance of the Mara River basin.

Last year, the event was held in Tanzania’s Tarime District, which is in the Mara region.

Deputy Governor David Kones said preparations for the event were in top gear.

“The Mara River forms an integral part of the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem. All is set for the event that makes a significant contribution to conservation efforts,” he said.

“On behalf of the governor, I hosted a committee organising the celebrations that will be held in Nakuru on September 15. We thank the organisers for choosing Nakuru to host this national event that is jointly celebrated by Kenya and Tanzania.”

He added: “We have the ecosystem conservation at heart and will always partner with stakeholders who will help in the conservation of water sources and the environment.”

Mara Day is celebrated every September 15 to coincide with the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The aim is to create awareness of the importance of the Mara River basin and its resources.

The day also aims to involve public and private actors in managing resources and to promote public-private partnerships to sustain management of the river and the region's biodiversity.

The source of the Mara River is the Mau forest in Kenya.

The river flows through the Mara reserve and Serengeti National Park before emptying into Lake Victoria in Tanzania.

Besides supporting wildlife conservation, the Mara River basin is a source of livelihoods for millions of people in Tanzania and Kenya and in East Africa.

The rich and fertile Mara River basin boasts some of the largest wildlife populations in Africa and Serengeti National Park is arguably the best-known wildlife sanctuary on the planet.

This is one of the most complex ecosystems on Earth.

But in recent decades the area has been under pressure like never before.

Poaching, expanding agricultural development, population growth and other influences mean the Mara-Serengeti region and the thousands of animals it supports are under threat.

Environment conservation stakeholders from Kenya and Tanzania are expected to attend the celebrations.

The 10th Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin, which took place on May 4, 2012, in Kigali, Rwanda, adopted September 15 of each year as Mara Day.

Since then, significant milestones in policy and conservation practices have been achieved.

The celebrations come as the Kenyan government has made significant efforts to conserve the Mau forest.

Construction of a 30km fence at the Maasai Mau forest is almost complete, even as the government prepares to install CCTV surveillance cameras.

Work on the electric fence in part of the Mau forest, which began in March 2021, is expected to cost Sh73.8 million. It is aimed at protecting the forest from human activities.

The government recently ordered evictees from the Mau forest who were living in deplorable conditions at the Saptet and Mekenyu camps to leave.

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