What you need to know:
- Experts assure wildlife in national park will suffer minimal disturbance
- Organisers of the Safari Rally unveiled the stage on Wednesday.
The 2020 Safari Rally will end on a high note at the 11-kilometre Power Stage through the hills overlooking Hell’s Gate National Park on July 18, with the images which define Magical Kenya being beamed live on global television.
Organisers of the Safari Rally unveiled the stage on Wednesday. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala was present. Balala allayed fears that the Safari will interfere with wildlife’s tranquility.
The Power Stage is a flat out climax of the World Rally Championship (WRC) of which the winner earns five extra points in the series.
Additional world championship points are available to the top three crews through the stage regardless of where they actually finished in the rally.
Unlike the normal special stage, which is timed to a tenth of a second, the timing of Power Stage is to the 1,000th of a second.
WRC rallies the world over always incorporate a spectacular Power Stage at the end of an event — a stage that will allow the top three drivers to earn bonus valuable points that could very well make the difference between winning and losing the championship.
This Power Stage is, therefore, considered the make-or-break last gasp effort to victory and WRC drivers approach this part of the rally with absolute controlled abandon and commitment.
“We have gone through the route (Hell’s Gate) of the Safari. It has minimum impact on the vultures and the ecosystem of the park. We have put up a very powerful team here, headed by the assistant director, as well as the chief warden of this park, and they have convinced me that this is the right event to be held here,” Balala said.
“We are going to have all the issues being drafted or written down properly and also a mitigating action path so that there is no interference of the ecosystem.”
Balala said that the scenic park is definitely very impressive. “We want to show Kenya and how beautiful it is through the eyes of the World Rally Championship. This is a scenic park, it’s a geological park and good biodiversity. It also has animals that are preserved.”
The CS said the Safari Rally is expected to increase tourism arrivals and will generate resources that will finance conservation of parks including Hell’s Gate.
“This country receives more than two million international visitors. Almost 63 percent are tourists coming to visit the country, but the dominant factor of attraction is Safari and wildlife parks so the Safari Rally goes well with safari of the national parks,” Balala said.
“If it’s going to increase another 100,000 visitors coming to the country, it will be the third largest source market that Kenya receives. At the moment we have 240,000 to 250,000 visitors coming from the United States, 180,000 visitors come from the UK, 120,000 from India so the Safari and will be the third of the fourth largest tourism market to bring visitors to Kenya. That’s why the government is supporting the project.”
WRC promoter expert Ian Campbell from Britain said the Safari Rally is unique.
“As we have seen over the last few days we have been here, and from the experience in July, it will be the most attractive event in the world championship.”
His colleague Joao Passos from Portugal said as many as 150 foreign journalists will cover the Safari. The chief executive officer of the WRC Safari Rally Project Phineas Kimathi said the economic impact of the Safari will be enormous.
“The direct injection of money coming from the teams paying for the hotels, the value to the ‘mama mboga’ who is selling cabbages to the hotels or rearing chicken and supplying the hotels is going to be immense,” Kimathi said.
“It’s going to create employment in a big way because right away we will begin to do the roads, the service park, and we will employ our youth to make sure that we are giving value to everybody in the chain.”