Lake Natron sees tourists surge

THE number of tourists visiting Lake Natron in Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region has increased from 6,901 recorded last year, to 7,599 in this year, following improvement of infrastructures.

Improvement of infrastructures such as walking trails has enabled tourists to easily reach Engaresero waterfalls, which is the main tourist attraction at the area, officials said.

Lake Natron is a mineral rich soda lake. It is a breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of lesser flamingos, despite its highly alkaline state. It is estimated that 75 per cent of the World’s 3.2 million lesser flamingos are found at this lake.

Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) Senior Assistant Conservation Commissioner (Reserve Areas Management and Infrastructures) Ms Asha Kilili told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview recently that apart from  building walking  trails, the authority has also built a resting  place and a modern toilet for tourists who visit the site.

For the financial year 2021-2022, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism was granted 90bn/-, which is equivalent to 6.9 per of the whole IMF loan of 1.3tri.- in emergency financial assistance to support Tanzania’s efforts in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. TAWA was allocated 12.9bn/-, which has helped the authority to significantly improve infrastructures at various areas under its jurisdictions.

In regard to how the authority has spent 12.9bn/- disbursed by the government from Covid-19 relief package, Ms Kilili said that execution of projects was going on well, with some completed, while others have reached different stages.

The project includes construction of a total of 463.5km of road within Wami Mbiki, Kijereshi, Mkungunero, Lukwika, Lumesule, Liparamba, Igombe, and Rungwa game reserves, that has reached 72.5 per cent, with a total of 336.2km already covered.

Others are the installation of electronic tracking systems for the monitoring of heavy machinery and vehicles in conservation areas that she said was also progressing well, where 1bn/- was allocated for the project.

Building of two out of four reception gates in the Mkungunero and Swagaswaga Game Reserve has been completed, while the remaining two at Wami Mbiki and Kijereshi Game Reserve were in the final touches of completion.

Through the funds, TAWA also purchased four surveillance boats and a special glass boat for marine tourism to be used in Kilwa Island. It is capable of carrying 60 passengers.

Other projects that are ongoing include renovation of seven Cultural Heritage Centres in Mikindani Mtwara, Tendaguru-Lindi, Kua-Mafia Ruins, Mbua Maji Mbweni Mosque, Cemeteries and Port Mosque and Kimbiji – Dar es Salaam.

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