By Jonah Karanja
After nearly 19 year of inaction, the Safari Rally is back in action in the Kenyan Wilderness. The event is expected to unite young and old motorsports enthusiasts in cheering and enjoying the thrill that is created by sports cars while also enjoying the scenic beauty that lies across the six planned rally routes. The 3-day event is to mark the sixty eighth running of the Safari Rally and will be the sixth round of the 2021 World Rally Championship, World Rally Championship-2 which is the second tier in rallying event and World Rally Championship-3 which is the third tier in the event.
The WRC Safari Rally return is much anticipated by Kenyans, event organizers, rally drivers and motorsports manufacturers among them Hyundai, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen as they wait to test their modern vehicles on the unforgiving Kenyan terrain. The Kenyan government through the ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage is giving the event and its organizers all the necessary support to see to it that the WRC Safari Rally has successful return. The smooth return of the WRC Safari Rally after a 19year break cements Kenya’s position when it comes to sporting events ranging from rugby, camel, athletics and motorsports. “We want to make Kenya the rally country in the continent and the entire globe,” Sports CS Amina said.
Probably the biggest sporting event in Kenya, the Safari Rally was supposed to make a comeback in the WRC around July 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that is wreaking havoc across all sporting activities in the world. Nearly all sporting activities in the year 2019-2020 were cancelled or rescheduled as crowding was attributed to be a big factor in increased Covid-19 infections in Sports.
Due to its rugged nature, Kenya’s welcoming, and sporting spirit and unforgiving terrain, the Safari Rally reputation is set to increase tourism activities into the country hence bringing in the much needed foreign exchange into the Kenyan Economy.
The 3-day WRC Safari Rally event is projected to inject approximately 6 billion into the Kenyan economy while also creating employment in the service industries such as caterers, local mechanics in the workshops and purchase of locally made products. The Made in Kenya brand and products will be visible to hundreds of foreigners and spectators especially through Media Coverage.
By taking advantage of the World Rally Championship Viewership, Kenya as a country will be laid bare in the eyes of people hundreds of miles away given that the World Rally Championship commands a viewership of almost 800 million. With the ever-growing view ship, The Safari Rally is set to advertise Kenya’s capability in event planning and hosting, Kenya’s welcoming people and Kenya’s progress in terms of social economic structures as a middle-income country, all which will impacts positively to our economy.
The Safari Rally comes barely a month to the onset of the Great Wildebeest migration which is heralded as one of the seven new wonders of the world. It is indeed a great time to be in Kenya to witness the transition from Man versus Machine to Animals versus Nature. The migration is an annual spectacle in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti and boosts thousands of Animals that try to overcome tiredness, hungry crocodiles, lions, hyenas and wild dogs. The sports tourism and nature tourism will give Kenya an edge when it comes to Tourism in Africa and bring about development as part of the revenue earned can be used as a driver towards the realization of the Big 4 Agenda.