Security in the Mara Triangle

Jan 31st, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Security in the Mara Triangle

We recommend that campers in private campsites hire two rangers for night-time security. Please note that food and accommodation is not needed for the rangers, and the Mara Conservancy will transport the rangers to and from your campsite.

I just found this information on the Mara Conservancy website. This recommendation is new since my DH and I camped alone on a private campsite (Maji ya Ndege) in the Mara Triangle this past August. I assume the incidents at Entim and Naibor have prompted this warning. Pity it has come to this. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 04:19 AM
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This is very unfortunate indeed. It was presented to us as compulsory last August, and only AFTER we had already payed to enter the park. We were told that two rangers were required, at $20 per night each. Fortunately we were able to sign an improvised indemnity form and do away with it. The reason we selected the private campsite was so that we could have total privacy, even at night. So we managed to be alone at our campsite and had a great time.

Now I see that this is presented as recommendation rather than a requirement and I hope it remains this way because I would like to return to a private Mara campsite sometime and there's no way I'd return with two rangers at my campsite.

Mara is no more dangerous than any other similar park in Africa or in the world for that matter. And these are not my words, it's what statistics say. 2-3 incidents in a decade are NOT a reason for imposing such a requirement. BTW, I later found out that those who did get rangers for their campsite didn't get any receipt or other proof of payment for the money they gave to the rangers. Not good practice for the premier Kenyan park.
micmic is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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Besides the incidents at Entim and Naibor (about 2/yrs ago), when it was recommended that the smaller camps in the Mara arrange for Rangers from dusk/dawn... which they've done, but also the very sad incident when local Kenyans were self-camping which they'd done often... out for a few days celebrating the birthday of one of them... were attacked by bandits and one person was killed.

Personally, even if the odds are in my favor, the small fee to have Rangers available (they melt into the scenery that you don't even know they're there)... I choose safety.

Just prior the attack/murder above, I stayed at Sala's Camp on the border with Tanzania, with 6/tents only and also being the only guest... every night after dinner, out of the mist came these Rangers to escort me to my tent and back they went into the mist. They were gone by the time the sun rose.
sandi is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 10:34 PM
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Of course, one should be free to choose. What was happening last year (and I hope not anymore) was wrong because:

1) They were trying to IMPOSE the rangers on you
2) You were informed about the requirement only AFTER you had payed for your stay in the park
3) No receipts were issued
micmic is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 07:43 AM
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micmic -

Agree, but know that this use of Rangers at night only went into effect with the 2010 season, so can only assume the booking site wasn't updated earlier enough to reflect this and the applicable costs for bookings during the upcoming season. Their error, of course. Can only hope that the site has now been updated, so no surprises.

As to "receipts" - well, TIA - "this is Africa" so doesn't surprise. Though again hope this is included with the entire booking process from now forward.
sandi is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 07:54 AM
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very interesting to read this.
Percy is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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Below is what is posted on the Mara Conservancy website at the moment.

We insist that campers hire two rangers for night-time security. Please note that food and accommodation is not needed for the rangers, and the Mara Conservancy will transport the rangers to and from your campsite.

The wording has been changed from "recommend" to "insist." It would seem that, if you wish to camp in the Mara, you must hire rangers to protect you.

In 2012, when we plan to self-drive and camp in the Mara for several days, we will hire the rangers. We will invite them to our campfire in the evening, and look at it as a wonderful opportunity to interact with two local people.

Quote all the statistics you like, but they may not work in your favour - they didn't for us. One evening in 2009, when my DH and I were camping alone on a special campsite in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti, we were chased off our campsite by poachers. It was a frightening experience. This was just a few months before the tragic incident near Governor's that Sandi mentions, when the gentleman was killed while camping with friends on a special campsite in the Mara. We had camped for 6 nights on a special campsite about a kilometre south of where that gentleman was killed.

As for "imposing" rangers on us, surely as the managers of the Triangle, the Mara Conservancy has the right to set the rules and, if we wish to visit, we should be obliged to follow those rules. Hiring night security is just another rule, much like the rules about no off-roading or driving after dark. Yes, I too would prefer to be alone on the campsites but, we will respect the rules. If we don't like the rules, we can always choose not to visit. CR
canadian_robin is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 04:14 AM
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I am re-iterating the same things:

Nobody said that one should be illegal and not follow the rules. Even if you wanted to, you still couldn't deny the rangers if it is the rule (as long as you have officially booked a private campsite). Of course, one has always the option of not visiting. I'm not saying I won't visit again, but I will certainly never book a private campsite again in the Mara under these circumstances.

Robin, I have read your trip report and know about the incident you mentioned. It still doesn't invalidate ANYTHING from what I said. Instead, it raises further questions: Will you not camp in Serengeti again because of that incident (since AFAIK no armed rangers are provided there) ? Will you only camp in parks where armed rangers are provided from now on ? Are there many parks in Africa where poaching is not a problem and where one can be sure that s/he will not meet armed bandits ? Does your impression on whether armed guards are necessary or not depend on the park rules ? Serengeti and Mara are adjacent, then it follows that if you believe one needs rangers in the Mara, the same should be needed for Serengeti as well.

All I'm saying is that I strongly dislike this lack of freedom of choice that the Mara administration imposes to the campers, especially since IT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE FACTS. As I have already wrote in another topic, an official from the Mara who shall remain unnamed actually encouraged us to deny the rangers, agreeing with my estimation that the danger is negligible and certainly not bigger than any other African park.

I'm certainly not urging anyone to break the law, nor have I EVER done this. I don't know, maybe my English is worse than I thought.
micmic is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 08:53 AM
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Serengeti and Mara might be the same eco-system, but they are in different countries, thus different rules.

Just as the various Embassies, i.e., the US State Department issues "warnings" re travel to Kenya, it's a "warning" to enable the visitor to make their own decision.

In this case, the Mara management is responsible for those camping and if, after the recent incidents, they now "insist" these visitors hire rangers... so be it. While the facts might not justify the likelihood of danger, I sure wouldn't want to be the "odd person*" to have anything happen, when it could have possibily been avoided.

*much as that family who were camping, as they had done many times before when the percentages had been in their favor!

My need for an adrenaline rush doesn't lead me to being attacked out in the bush.

As everything in life, there are rules/regulations, if you don't like them................... well!
sandi is offline  
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