The Plight of Tourists in Kenya, Part 2!

Kenyan Lion at the Maasai Mara

I am writing this blog post as a continuation of my last article. In a bid to find out more about these Resident and Non-resident charges, I sought to find from my Facebook friends. I posted this question-Can anyone explain to me this concept of RESIDENT &NON-RESIDENT charges when accessing National Parks and other Historical sites in Kenya? How and why did we come up with such policies? The following are just some of the answers I received and I can assure you, this was an interesting discussion.

Wildbeast at Maasai Mara

Ingrid Sofie Nygaard Tourists pay more.  It’s like that in South Africa, but residents should be able to enjoy the environment and the beauty of the country without paying LOADS of money..

Dida Swaleh It’s a rule that’s applied everywhere, and it makes total sense. Of course if you want to generate revenues through tourism. I also agree that locals should pay less, in a bid to boost local tourism. 🙂

Goodman KenstarI think it’s a good idea. Residents should pay less and Non residents should bring in that hard currency that Kenya needs at this time to curb inflation and strengthen the economy.

Wildlife at the Maasai Mara

Patience NyangeI am sorry. I still don’t get it. How many of us as residents go to the parks? I was in Maasai Mara for three days; only saw 3 blacks including me. Over 20 vans were all full with tourists. The same was the case at Amboseli and even Fort Jesus in Mombasa. 2. If there is a disparity, how big should it be? If I pay Ksh. 1000 as park entry fees, a non-resident pays 80 USD a day, if you ask me, that’s pure exploitation! Many of these tourists you can be sure they don’t earn 8 or 10 times what we earn. If we applied economies of scale, I am sure we will benefit more! It’s just simple logic!

Kenyan Giraffe at the Maasai Mara

Dida Swaleh I think it should not matter what the disparity is. Most Kenyans cannot afford to go to parks anyway. But the most interesting thing is they are NOT INTERESTED in local tourism, because their idea of holiday would differ greatly from that of a foreigner. It’s typical that most residents take their countries for granted and explore other areas… There are too many factors that come into play…. For instance, if i could afford it, I would rather go to Zanzibar than go to Kwale… Patience Nyange, do mean to tell me in Norway you used to pay the same amount as the residents there???

Jay P OtiendePatience Nyange, if you study marketing or something related to it, it’s called price discrimination…just like studies in the UK or US, they apply different Tuition fee for different international students. Reasons, to generate as much revenue as possible! For KWS this is a great pricing strategy!

The road to Maasai Mara

Goodman Kenstar Exactly! You would find non local citizens had it not been for the reduced fees. Africans are not interested in wandering around looking at animals. The one who mentioned Norway you are right because the residents pay less at the museums but the logic in Norway is one does not have to produce a passport. Just a bank card qualifies one to be a resident and many take advantage of that.

Patience Nyange Didah, this is just our own formulation. In Norway and the rest of other European countries I visited, there was absolutely nothing like Resident and Non-Resident charges. I paid and accessed all facilities as a resident there!!

Dida SwalehTheir loss i guess!!! :)) or maybe they don’t need the revenue!!! I am totally for having different fees for Residents and Non Residents. It’s a strategy that makes total sense. Here in Egypt, (one of the biggest major tourism-driven economies) there is a different fee for Residents and Non-Residents.

Kenyan Lion relaxing

P Reuben Mwakundia Honestly, Patience you don’t want to compare Kenya and Sweden! 50% live on less than 1 dollar a day here check that against the per capita income of Sweden and you will know why they don’t need to overcharge their visitors!! We desperately need excess foreign currency inflows to improve our balance of payments which is one of the reason the shilling was lying on its back last year!!!

Goodman Kenstar Dida Swaleh it exists in Norway too but for the case of Patience, I think she had a Norwegian bank(visa) card. The non EU residents pay more in Norway. That same card qualified her as a resident in all the countries that she visited. in Europe, and if one has a visa that allows them to stay for more than six months, then they are counted as residents.

Kenyan Elephant at Maasai Mara

Patience Nyange Mmmm, quite interesting reflections. Thank you. Just one more question, where does all this money go to? The road to Maasai Mara, is in such a pathetic condition, no electricity and many more things lacking. I am told all this adds to the authenticity of the park, interesting!!

Rev.Olive Branch Authenticity? ulalaa! That is just plain mismanagement of funds. The trips to the parks will be enjoyable with better paved roads if not tarmacked.

Dida Swaleh Ha h ha ha ha ha ha ha! now Patience Nyange you are opening a Pandora’s box….. do u really need an answer to that?? Come on, you are kenyan. :))) That’s a different debate all together!

Kenyan gazzels at the Maasai Mara

Mwas NdegwaPatience the reasons as 2why you should understand this are simply because all these nature trails, parks, museums etc ar eall our resources &  we as locals, we should not be subjected to high fees so that we can enjoy what is ours. 2enjoy Remember these Wazungus used to exploit us sometime back, so they should pay. In US, they can charge you higher just to keep you off.

The road to Maasai Mara

Patience Nyange Economies of Scale. If we charged less prices, don’t you think we will attract more tourists and of course benefit more? Remember they still need to tip the drivers, tour guides, the waiters at the park and even the park wardeners. Interesting, we Kenyans actually demand to be tipped!! Goodman, FYI, as much as I had a Norwegian Visa Card, I was never asked to produce it anywhere I went. I only used my passport only at the airports but never at the parks! Many were absolutely free entrance!!

Zebras at the Maasai Mara

Kristin Henriksen Aas Hey guys. Just need to make two small comments about your discussion. I can agree to some extent that wazungus can and should pay a bit more in such entry fees, but 4 times the fee of a resident???? Not fair my friends. Not all wazungus have their backpack full of dollars, some of us are not able to present 80 $ for such. I have lived for 17 months total in Kenya. And I could afford to go to one park only once for the duration. I would have loved to see more!! Secondly, no one is asked to present any kind of ID when entering parks in museums in Norway, the prices are posted outside and differ from children, adult, student and retired.
So there you have it…

Omotto Omanyo OliverPatience: Expatriates’ working in Kenya earn 6 times what a local in the same job group does? Look at Michael Joseph, Bob Collymore, Ambassadors, UN experts etc and they are still paid in foreign currency which means they are cushioned from our hard hitting inflation, so let them pay.

The Maasai grazing their cattle

Ok, now you have it. Kenyans and others have spoken, not my words! The most interesting thing I picked out of all this conversation is the fact that, it is a PAYBACK time, Mzungu (Britons) colonized us and now they are paying for their sins. Huh, this is interesting. A Norwegian friend says, “I see the point, but then, say it loud and clear. And please say, only Britons, don’t subject this payback time to Europeans”. Now this is where I say, I rest my case!


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