Home' Travel News : September 2014 Contents 20 travel news September 2014
September 2014 travel news 21
Here is a scam of note you need to know
about: I’ve heard this story a number of times
from varied credible sources.
The place OR Tambo International Airport –
Johannesburg. It concerns carry-on baggage.
Your carry-on bag. Well within the legal
limits – dimensions, weight etc. It contains
all your personal gear, from passport to IPod
to camera to wallet and everything else in
between. On boarding the aircraft you are told
that you cannot bring it onboard. Why? Not
for the usual reasons you’d expect to hear, it's
too large for the overhead bins or too heavy
for the overhead bins.
But - the overhead bins are full!
You are at the aircraft door, with a line of
passengers behind you – you protest, it falls
on deaf ears. You are assured that all will
be OK, so not to worry. ‘But my camera, my
phone, my wallet, my...’ You find yourself in
a pressurised situation – grabbing what you
can from an your bag while others look on. A
burly surly baggage smasher takes your bag,
‘No worry lady you’ll see it when you get to...’
Most folk don’t have locks on their carry on
bags, which adds to the worry.
Johannesburg airport does not have the best
of reputations - particularly concerning theft
Once settled in your seat, you mentally check
what you were able to salvage from your carry
on bag – remembering that the camera and
your wallet never made it.
Sure enough on arrival your carry on bag is
waiting for you, phew – that was a close one.
Only to find out that it has been given a good
going over and that nothing of value remains
This story has one massive flaw, at least from
the point of view of the overhead bins are full
Overhead bins of all modern aircraft of a
certain size are designed to accommodate the
hand baggage of ALL their passengers. With a
certain amount of slack built into the equation.
If you have ever travelled in America you will
know this to be true, as those folk travel with
carry on bags that are almost as big as they
I write this column from Watamu, with its
stunningly bright white sand beaches: not an
easy task, when topping up the tan or sipping
a Cuba Libra are the alternatives. Thankfully
all is quiet on Kenya’s coast. Judging from the
crowd at Watamu’s gelataria every afternoon,
you’d assume coast tourism was making a
come back. Sadly it isn’t, with no light at the
end of the tunnel until at least the festive
The drive down from the highlands of Tigoni
took a record ten and a half hours, which
included a couple of comfort stops. They say,
that there are at least 2,000 trucks on that
road at any one time, day and night. For those
that don’t know; this is the single lane highway
(sic) that runs from the port of Mombasa to
Nairobi and beyond to Uganda, Rwanda,
Eastern Congo and Southern Sudan.
The usual drive time to include those comfort
stops is eight and a half hours, and I’ve done
it in six hours flat a couple of years ago on
Boxing Day. On this occasion understandably
there were no comfort stops.
All of this makes flying the better option – a
lot of folk are flying Jambo Jet, Kenya Airways
low cost airline from Nairobi to Mombasa for
as little as Kshs. 2,730/- then taking a two to
three hour taxi trip up the coast to Watamu or
For a large family it works a treat. Anything
less, take the daily KQ jet to Malindi a
40-minute blast - much more expensive, but
to my way of thinking, worth the ride.
Watamu what a magic place. Looking out
across the ocean as I write this I spot a
humpback whale breaching just beyond the
reef, and three boat loads of gogglers heading
to a sand island.
Almost time to stop writing - surely it's time for
a frosty one or two? But I do go on...
Earlier this year I had a whinge about a couple
of aspects of Watamu life that I wasn’t happy
about – a good exchange of letters followed.
You might remember them.
You know who you are - the service is still
slow but thankfully the beers are as cold as
my ex-wife’s lawyer.
Funnily - my kids entered a Watamu community
quiz while here; one of the questions was
‘Which is the bar with the slowest service?’
I thought, no it can’t be, did someone have a
wicked sense of humour, happily not.
The correct answer was the Pole Pole Bar.
(Swahili for slowly slowly).
Post Script: On the way back we stopped
at Ngutuni Lodge & Conservancy. Within
10-kms of Voi and only a ten minute doddle
from the highway (again, sic). Obviously a
well-run, clean to the endth degree, with
good wholesome and hot food outfit.
The big selling point however is the
waterhole out front of the dining area
which is also visible from most rooms.
The Conservancy borders Tsavo East
National Park - where water sources are
few and far between. Elephants in large
numbers were frequent visitors during
our stay as was a large herd of buffalo.
Plains game also frequents the waterhole
together with a host of smaller creatures.
We were told lions visit occasionally and if
you are really lucky leopards.
To my way of thinking this is the ideal stop-
over on the trip to or from the coast. With
no park or conservancy fees to pay.
Would you believe full-board plus a game
drive in your own vehicle for all of Kshs.
6,000/- per head (Approx. US$70 or
UK£41). Excellent value.
Links Archive October 2014 44 August 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page