Chronology of Key Events

Chronology of Key Events relating to Development of a Lodge at Olkeju Ronkai, Maasai Mara National Reserve (Narok section): 


The chronology demonstrates that both Olkeju Ronkai Ltd (the owners of the site) and Emuny Mara Ltd (the developers) were aware of the serious environmental concerns inherent in developing a lodge at this site for more than two years. 


It also demonstrates that they have continued with the development despite the attempts that many stakeholders have made, including the Kenya tourism industry national federation, to persuade them to halt the destruction of this fragile part of the Reserve that is critical to the Mara's ecology and tourism product, including the option of relocating to an alternative site elsewhere in the Reserve preferable on both environmental and tourism product grounds.



 Date    Event
1986 
 
 October
  • Mr H.A.M. Ole Kamwaro (Olkeju Ronkai Ltd.) awarded lodge site in Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) by Narok County Council (NCC)
 2002
 
 August    
  • Narok County Council approves relocation of proposed site to Olkeju Ronkai/Mara River Junction.
 2005 
 
 October    
  • Narok County Council drafts lease for Olkeju site and sends to Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) for approval. 
 2006 
 
 February    
  • MoLG approves lease subject to Environmental Assessment Report from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). 
 
 July    
 
 November
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report on Olkeju site submitted to NEMA.
 2007 
 
 April
 
 May
  • Public notice of Olkeju Ronkai EIA study published in National dailies. 
  • Narok and Trans Mara County Councils formally launches the development of the Masai Mara National Reserve Management Plan.
 
 June
  • Meeting between the MMNR planners and Olkeju site owners and developers discussing environmental implications of the Olkeju development, including impacts on rhino breeding area. Developers and owners indicate a willingness to reduce the size of the lodge to 30 beds, but are unwilling to relocate to an alternative site.
 
 July    
  • Ecotourism Kenya writes an objection to Olkeju Ronkai EIA Study on grounds that "continued development in the Mara ecosystem in the absence of a management plan would have long-term negative impacts on the ecosystem. In particular, the site earmarked for the Olkeju development is an ecologically sensitive area being within the Mara Riverine reserve. In addition, this area is known to be a habitat for the endangered Black Rhino and any infrastructural development in this area is a real threat to the Black Rhino."
 
 August
  • NEMA writes to Olkeju Ronkai Ltd. indicating that process of EIA report for Olkeju site has been put on hold pending completion of MMNR Management Plan and lifting of MT&W moratorium.
 
 October
  • Narok County Council writes to PS, Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife indicating that it's "in the interest of NCC to go ahead with Olkeju development" and that "MMNR plan accommodates this." 
 2008 

 January     

 February
  • MMNR Plan Tourism Working Group 2 identify Mara River Ecological Zone as a key ecological and tourism zone, and prescribe no further lodge development in the zone - limited to "special campsites" only.

 March     
  • MMNR Management Plan Ecology Working Group 1 comprising leading Mara scientists, ecologists and MMNR managers is held, endorse Mara River Ecological Zone, and prescribe no new permanent developments anywhere within the Mara River Ecological Zone because of vital Black Rhino breeding habitat and sensitive riverine woodlands used by a number of rare and endemic wildlife species.
 
 April
  • MMNR Plan Tourism Working Group 3 endorses final MMNR zonation scheme including prescriptions on new development in Mara River Ecological Zone, and specifically identifies need to put Olkeju development on hold until completion of MMNR plan.
 
 May
  • Key features of Draft MMNR Management Plan presented to NCC and TMCC Council Executive Committees, including prohibition on any further development in the Mara River Ecological Zone. 
 
 June
  • Clerk, Narok CC, gives instruction to Senior Warden MMNR to allow works at Olkeju Site to commence.
  • Construction work at Olkeju Ronkai commences.
  • MMNR Plan Tourism Working Group 4 strongly recommends that Olkeju development should be halted on environmental grounds.
  • Vice-Chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation writes to Suresh Sofat, Managing Director of Somak Ltd. and Emuny Mara Ltd. requesting a halt to the development of the new lodge at Olkeju Rongai, pending completion of the draft MMNR Management Plan, cc'd to Ministers of Local Government, Tourism, Wildlife, Environment and Lands, concerned MPs, NEMA and KWS.
 
 July
 
 September
 
 November
  • National Environment Tribunal hear applications from Kenya Tourism Federation and Olkeju Ronkai Ltd. and confirm that KTF's appeal has locus standi. 
 
 December
  • Olkeju Ronkai Ltd. applies to have case considered by National Environment Tribunal transferred to the High Court, which is granted by Mr Justice Osiemo.
  • Unclear whether NEMA stop order halting construction is also suspended. 
 2009 
 
 Feb-March
  • Construction work at Olkeju Ronkai site recommences. 

 April
  • Minister of Tourism gazettes the Mara-Amboseli Task Force to investigate and provide a way forwards regarding unsustainable and unplanned tourism developments underway in Masai Mara National Reserve and Ecosystem, and the Amboseli Ecosystem. 
 
 May    
  • MMNR Site Assessment Visit carried out by MMNR Plan Core Planning Team, government representatives, and the Narok County Council Game & Veterinary Committee. The team unanimously recommends:
    • The Olkeju Ronkai Site should be closed due to further development of any kind, because of its location within the Mara River Ecological Zone in a sensitive riverine woodland habitat of importance to Black Rhinos and other browsing and riverine species.
    • The existing electric fence and other developments of the lodge and related infrastructure should be removed by the developer and the site rehabilitated where possible. 
    • The site should not be used for tourism purposes, including the use of the site as a special campsite.
 
 June
  • Meeting of Narok County Council Game & Veterinary Committee and Core Planning Team agree on the relocation of the Olkeju/Emuny Mara development from Olkeju Ronkai to Ngama Hills site within the Masai Mara National Reserve.

 July     
  •  Ashnil Hotels Ltd. commences promotion of Ashnil Emuny Mara Camp, "opening June 2010".

 August     
  • Chairman, Kenya Tourism Federation writes again to Somak Travel LTd. regarding the Olkeju Ronkai/Emuny Mara Ltd. development.
  • Somak Travel Ltd. writes to Chairman, Kenya Tourism Federation on behalf of Mr Suresh Sofat denying any involvement in any lodge development in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
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