Naivasha town, and especially Moi South Lake Road, is synonymous with game drives and diverse tourism activities.
But this time around, it was the roar of turbo-charged rally cars that carried the day.
Forget about the curfews imposed by the Ministry of Health in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, Naivasha was lit from dawn to dusk this past weekend.
Never before have the residents of this scenic town witnessed fans in their hordes.
Traffic came to a standstill at Moi South Road on Saturday night with the local community taking advantage of the numbers to sell ready food and drinks.
For the first time ever, the hospitality sector in Naivasha recorded a sellout with all hotels fully booked.
Over 1,000 marshals, World Rally Team, their local counterparts and service crews were part of those promoting the hospitality industry in ‘Vasha’ — as the town has come to be known lately.
The WRC Media crew came with a team of 70 journalists, most of whom came to relay action in real-time through the WRC Plus channel, which is followed across the globe on smartphones and desktops for subscribers.
Wines and Spirits outlets recorded booming business. Tents around Moi South Lake Road also contributed to bed capacity.
But many who couldn’t find a pillow to rest on overnight had no choice but to park their cars by the roadside to engage in nightlong partying.
Safari’s mood was evident from the word go on Thursday in Nairobi when tens of thousands of Nairobians watched a twin-track Super Special Stage at the 4.8km Kasarani Stadium spectator leg.
In the real action in Naivasha, there were designated spectator viewing points around the route at Sleeping Warrior, Elementaita and Soysambu, which was the main spectator area on Saturday.
The Hell’s Gate Spectator stage was also a place to savour, the Wolf Power Stage at the Hell’s Gate National Park.
This stage was run twice with the second run serving as the event’s Power Stage. This is where fans could catch the action at ‘crazy’ speed and WRT in the hunt for WRC bonus points.
Safari served as the first time that local fans had a look at a modern WRC car.
The World Rally Cars are equipped with 1.6-litre direct-injection turbocharged engines, and all cars — including the Yaris WRC — make use of inline four-cylinder engines mounted in a transverse position.