Kenyan tour operators at the Maasai Mara game reserve are up in their arms over the ‘invasion’ of their turf by Chinese tour guides.
On Saturday, the two groups locked horns, with Kenyans accusing their counterparts of taking over ‘their jobs’.
For hours, the locals blocked 24 top of the range vehicles driven by Chinese nationals from accessing the world famous game reserve through the Sikinani gate.
Kenyan tour guides and drivers, led by their secretary Felix Migoya, expressed displeasure over the ‘invasion’, saying the newcomers were using their own safari vehicles to drive Chinese tourists to the reserve. “They have their own tour operating companies. They are taking over jobs meant for Kenyans,” Mr Migoya said.
During the standoff, local Maasai guides blocked the Chinese drivers from accessing the reserve until they were hired to guide the visitors.
The Chinese were forced to employ 18 Maasai guides, who are now accompanying the more 40 visitors.
The tourists are in Maasai Mara for three days and are staying at Asian African Lodge, which is owned by a Chinese investor. A sizeable number of the visitors are based at the Keekorok Lodge.
According to the Kenya Tourism Board 69,000 Chinese visited Kenya in 2016.