(eTN) – It was learned yesterday that a massive landslide cut off the main route between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha at Mto Wa Mbu, the escarpment where the Lake Manyara National Park is located. Torrential rains, which are currently lashing parts of Eastern Africa, caused a major rock and soil slide, tearing the main road at sections, while covering it at others, and in the process apparently also killing several people and injuring others.
As per the latest reports, hundreds of vehicles are already piling up at both sides of the landslide, with tourists stuck returning to Arusha at the end of their safari, while others are not able to reach the northern parks under the circumstances.
One of the deceased was reportedly working for Serena’s Lake Manyara Safari Lodge and was on duty at the company’s water pumping station, when the landslide hit; another colleague is reportedly still missing.
The single grader/earth mover sent from Arusha proved unable to deal with the scale of the slide, and local government officials are now scrambling to deploy more machinery to clear the road. Affected are not only tourists but thousands of Tanzanians using the road to travel, while supplies to the lodges and tented camps and villages are also unable to get through.
Weather permitting, tourists are now trying to fly out from the Manyara airfield to avoid missing their departure flights from Kilimanjaro International, while others have opted to arrange for flights to the parks, instantly filling up available seats on the scheduled flights from Arusha.
It was learned from the same source that other bridges and parts of this key road have also suffered extensive damage as a result of the massive rains, leaving the tourism industry in particular worried for the upcoming peak season over Christmas and New Year, immediately appealing to the government to ensure road maintenance teams to be deployed to repair poor sections to prevent further traffic disruptions.