Non-bitumen, all-weather road to link Ngorongoro-Serengeti

21Nov 2018
The Guardian Reporter
Arusha
The Guardian
Non-bitumen, all-weather road to link Ngorongoro-Serengeti

TANZANIA’s two most popular tourist destinations - the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park - will be soon be connected by a new, environmentally friendly, permanent road through the northern zone tourist circuit.

This is part of a pledge by the new deputy minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Constantine John Kanyasu, during a familiarisation tour of the NCA.

Kanyasu promised to iron out problems hindering the road project and will consult with concerned authorities in order to ensure that it gets executed promptly.

As the country’s leading tourist destinations, the NCA attracts nearly 600,000 visitors per year while Serengeti National Park draws around 350,000 tourists annually.

The project to link them with an all-weather road is understood to have already been approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

According to Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) chief conservator Dr Freddy Manongi, the road will be paved using “very hard materials” yet to be divulged, and not tarmac (bitumen).

This is to preserve the natural environment of the wildlife-rich area, Dr Manongi explained.

“The Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) has said it needs to also approve the infrastructural drawings and measurements of the proposed road to fit its requirements,” he added.

The proposed 88-kilometre road will link Loduare Gate, which is located 20 kilometres from Karatu town and acts as the main gateway to both the conservation area and national park, and the section known as Golini through rocky terrain.

UNESCO earlier this year gave the green light for the road project to start after being satisfied that only environmentally friendly materials will be used.

Tour operators have welcomed the road idea saying it will help boost tourism in the northern circuit and also save vehicle repair costs due to bad roads.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area collects around 130 billion/- per year, making it the government agency which generates the biggest amount of revenue.

But according to TATO executive secretary Sirili Akko, tour operators have long complained of cumbersome bureaucracy at the Ngorongoro gate entrance.

“There seems to be a breakdown in communication... NCAA officials are not fast enough to respond to customer complaints despite the existence of improved ways of communication like email and cellular phones,” said Akko.