Baringo hotels count losses after floods

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 00:00 | By
Safari Lodge was submerged after Lake Baringo broke its banks following months of heavy rains. Photo/Courtesy

Wycliff Kipsang @wsang08

The tourism sector in Baringo county is reeling from huge losses following floods which submerged major hotels at the banks of water bodies.

Lake Baringo has in recent years been breaking its banks, resulting in loss of homes, learning institutions farm land and businesses.

The worst hit is Block Hotels and Roberts Camp which were completely submerged, rendering more than 80 people jobless. Also affected is Lake Baringo Reptile Park.

Lake Bogoria Game Reserve has not been spared with many campsites submerged.

At Block Hotels, which was also known as Lake Baringo Club, monkeys frolic on the rooftops of the once-thriving tourism facility as hippos graze nearby.

The road leading to the hotel is overgrown with shrubs and the hotel itself, which was closed down in August 2013, is now a shell of its former self.

According to Richard Chebotibin, the only worker who has been retained to watch over the hotel assets which were salvaged, on average the hotel used to receive between 40 and 60 visitors a day with more than 100 at the weekend.

Submerged in water

A majority of the tourists were from Britain, Germany and China.

“We also used to offer conference and accommodation facilities but all the 40 rooms are inside that water,” Chebotibin who used to serve as restaurant supervisor told People Daily.

The father of six, who worked at the three-star hotel for 33 years, said  among facilities which were destroyed include a petrol station, a water treatment plant and gas cylinders.

The closure of the hotel also dealt a big blow to residents who used eke a living by supplying meat, fish and vegetables.

Workers who used to work in the hotels have called on the county government of Baringo to revive the facilities.

Clephas Onyango, who used to serve as a tour guide and a bird expert, says a major tourist attraction in the area is the large variety of birds with the county boasting of more than 160 species. Some of the birds found in the area are great white egret, African scop owl, snipe and sand pipe.

Other facilities which were affected by last year’s downpour include Kampi Samaki Health Centre, Anglican Church Kenya (ACK) and Child Care Early Childhood Development (ECD) which has been relocated to Kampi Samaki Primary School.

Thousands of people living near the banks of the lake were also rendered homeless after their homes were submerged.

Experts have attributed Lake Baringo’s and other water bodies breaking  their banks to the restoration of Mau Forest.

Baringo County Governor Stanley Kiptis has appealed to residents in flood and landslide prone areas to move to safer grounds as heavy rains continue in the area.

“We call on our people to move to safer grounds as we put arrangements to relocate them,” said Kiptis.

More on News