Despite the billions of shillings earned from tourism annually, communities around the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve still wallow in poverty. The poverty index is high and it is only a few people, hoteliers and tour proprietors who are reaping maximum benefits from the vibrant tourism industry.
"We are still waiting for the day when we will reap benefits from tourism. The situation is bad and it calls for urgent intervention," says Ben Kipeno, a community leader at Sekenani area of the reserve. Kipeno says it is only the Narok and Transmara County Council officials, hoteliers and tour companies’ proprietors who are pocketing millions of shillings, leaving behind too little to uplift the living standards of the locals who bear the brunt of human-wildlife conflict. "The locals who have conserved the ecosystem are spectators who just watch as the money is swindled," he says.