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A phone picture of matatus at Meru National park. Facebook
The government on Wednesday outlawed the entry of Public Service Vehicles into national parks.
The move was announced through the Ministry of Tourism’s Facebook page the following various concerns.
One of the major reasons was since matatus are in law not allowed to enter national parks and the government only allows for Tourism Service Vehicles (TSV).
Secondly, matatu drivers are not trained in national park environments since they ought to be on the lookout for the different types of wildlife from big lions to small crawling animals.
While it may be easy to spot a lion or rhino, it’d be hard for an untrained driver to spot a crawling animal on the savannah.
The government acknowledged that the influx of PSVs has been caused by locals. It is not clear whether this will affect school buses taking children for tours in national parks.
The other reason given for banning of matatus was that they are not built for the parks compared to the approved types.
TSVs are made of a tough exterior to withstand attacks from wild animals. The body of a normal 14 seater matatu may not fair well with the weight of a fully grown male animal on top of it.
They are also built to give tourists the best experience of the parks, unlike matatus.
Going forward TSV drivers are mandated to be accompanied by professional tour guides on their trips within the parks.
The government urged tourists to verify the status of the vehicles and drivers they use by contacting the Tourism Regulatory Authority as wardens will not allow entry of vehicles without approval.
Any vehicles ferrying tourists in the parks must be licensed by the Tourism Regulatory Authority as Tourist Service Vehicles.
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