Tanzanian authorities said the fires were meant to regenerate the vegetation. Kenyan tour guides questioned the timing of the wildfires. About 750,000 wildebeests are expected to cross over into the Mara this weekend. Kenyan hoteliers asked the authorities to sort out the wildfires as it was affecting their businesses.
The long waited wildebeest migration and one of the seven wonders of the world is likely to be affected after the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) lit fires on the Serengeti National Park and at the border of the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
The wildfires which started on Friday, July 13, have destroyed vegetation and made the wildebeests which had gathered along the migration routes ready to cross over to Kenya to retreat.
Tanapa said the fires were meant to regenerate the vegetation ahead of the migration of the gnus.
However, the Masai Mara tour guides claimed the fires were aimed at sabotaging the herbivore's migration event which was scheduled over the weekend.
“Though fires always aid vegetation regeneration, the timing is suspect,” said Daniel Soit, the head tour guides at Sarova Mara Game Camp as quoted by the People Daily on Friday, July 20.
Several tourists and journalists from across the world have been camping at the Masai Mara waiting for the migration to begin.
A group of about 750,000 wildebeests are expected to cross over into the Mara this weekend after a small group of zebras crossed over earlier this week.
The hoteliers called upon the authorities to sort out the problem of wildfires at the time of migration as it would affect them economically.
However, they expressed confidence the wildlife would cross over to Kenya at long last despite the fires, noting no human activity would affect their annual migration.
View more breaking news in Kenya.
Photo courtesy of tuko.co.ke