According to local media, construction is set to begin soon on the Serengeti International Airport. The location for the new airport will be the town of Mugumu, in Uwanja wa Ndege ward, located approximately 40 kilometers from the northwest border of Serengeti National Park. Government officials recently confirmed that Paul Tudor Jones, an investor who operates a number of upscale lodges in western Serengeti has agreed to finance the construction of the airport. No specific date was given for the start of the project.
In an interview with Tanzania’s “Daily News” on Thursday, Serengeti District Executive Director Kimulika Galikunga heralded the news, saying “”This will even encourage more tourists on short vacations to visit Serengeti National Park because they can spend few days before flying back to their countries.” This is exactly what has many conservation organizations, including Friends of Serengeti, gravely concerned. A project of this magnitude will pave the way for unsustainable tourism development that promises to adversely affect this already imperiled ecosystem.