Tourists evacuated from Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve amid flooding and heavy rain

Tourists were evacuated by air from Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve on Wednesday after more than a dozen hotels, lodges and camps were flooded as heavy rain continued to batter the country.

Tourist accommodation facilities were submerged after a river within the Maasai Mara broke its banks early on Wednesday.

The reserve, in south-western Kenya, is a popular tourist destination because it features the annual wildebeest migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania.

Kenya Flooding
Floodwater covers a bridge in the flooded Maasai Mara National Reserve (Bobby Neptune/AP)

The Narok County government said it deployed two helicopters to carry out evacuations in the expansive conservation area.

More than 170 people have died across Kenya since mid-March when the rainy season started, causing flooding and landslides, and destroying infrastructure.

The Meteorology Department has warned that more rain is expected this week.

Kenya Flooding
Tourist lodges in the flooded Maasai Mara reserve (Bobby Neptune/AP)

Search and rescue operations across the Mai Mahiu area are continuing.

On Tuesday, President William Ruto ordered the military to join in the search.

Locals say rescue efforts have been slow due to lack of equipment to dig through the debris.

The government has urged people living in flood-prone areas to evacuate or be moved forcefully as water levels in two major hydroelectric dams rise to a “historic high”.

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