Information received from Arusha indicates that the government has at last made a decision as to the exact route of the new proposed road from Arusha to Musoma, bringing bad news to conservation activists, who tried to prevent the new highway to cut right through the traditional migration routes in the Serengeti National Park.
For those acquainted with the geography of Tanzania, the new road link, much in demand, by the way, from the business community and local communities, the new road will start at Mto Wa Mbu – located on the foot of the Manyara escarpment, and then move through along Engaruka, pass Lake Natron, Loliondo, and the Serengeti, before reaching Musoma.
Proponents of the road reportedly considered the impact of the main highway leading through Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, where a tarmac road runs through the park towards Kasese, but migration there is limited to smaller numbers of animals crossing the road, while the new highway cutting through the Serengeti will, at certain times of the year, see the big herds march across the area by the tens of thousands, while a traditional elephant migration route is also being divided by the new highway.
Construction is due to start in early 2012 after a full feasibility study has been completed by the end of this year and further anticipated impacts have been dealt with. It could not be established from TANAPA what made them accept the routing they fought against for so long, and if political instructions came down on them like the proverbial ton of bricks, but the unusual silence of regular sources within and close to TANAPA speaks volumes for itself.