Home' Travel News : September-October 2013 Contents 30 travel news September/October 2013
September/October 2013 travel news 31
I’ve been on the road lately; frst to the
Olare Orok Conservancy and the Olare
Mara Kempinski Camp. A press trip
and pretty posh it was all round. I think
I gushed about it and the Conservancy
in last month's edition.
This was followed pretty smartly by a
rough 'n ready camping trip back to the
Mara en famille with a lot of very good
mates with loads of teenagers.
Excellent game viewing of lion, leopard,
elephant, tons of plains game, plus the
grunting and groaning of the less than a
million wildebeest and zebra of the Great
Migration. We took a day to go and view
the Mara River crossings, but left poste
haste when we were overwhelmed by
seventy-two safari vehicles pushing
and shoving to get better positions for
their tip-bearing tourists.
Some of you commented on the 28
cases of beer we took on the camping
safari -- sad to say three came back
alive. Failure is hard to live with I know,
but we could blame it on the teenagers
who seemed to prefer alco-pops.
Next on the agenda was a trip to the
coast, Watamu to be specifc.
The drive down started badly; a massive
accident (thankfully not ours) near
LuKenya blocked the highway big time.
The tailback was over ten kilometers,
with most trucks and buses and the odd
car opting for an alternative route on a
disused diversion. This quickly became
a car park -- as luck would have it, we
stayed on the road, after 30 minutes we
were waved through and popped like
a champagne cork out onto an empty
highway. Devoid of all trucks until just
before Voi – ‘twas magic.
I was most impressed when I saw a
container train, 22 carriages long --
I'm told they run twice a day; hardly
impressive, but that's 44 less trucks
on the road each way. With the new
standard gauge Chinese railway on the
way coming, my trucking friends fear
for their livelihoods -- me, I'm happy to
have the road back sans lorries.
Watamu, usually abuzz with tourists,
was less so this August. The Italians
who usually come in their hordes were
less conspicuous; those that know
tell me that the economic situation in
Europe is the main culprit. That said,
there was more beach for us to frolic
and a not so busy gelataria for our daily
ritual every afternoon.
Limiting our children to only one scoop
this visit against the previous two...
Body wise - hah!
We dined, well, we had lunch at the
new Amadina restaurant at the Medina
Palms with MD Max Cheli and his wife
Denise. Great food, good wine and of
course great company. Old favourite
Ocean Sports was as ever, great
expectations, but at the end of the day
a disappointment as ever. It seems
another change of management has or
is about to take place. Like most Kenyans
we and our children love Ocean Sports;
it never changes, which is a problem in
itself -- but a great location and a good
place to meet up with upcountry mates
for a toot or two.
Towards the end of the month, I will
lead a Kenyan team to New York and
beyond to try and win our bid to hold the
2015 Skal International World Congress
at the coast. We’ve reached the fnal,
with only one other horse to beat. Skal
is the world's largest travel and tourism
organisation. We'll win, no doubt, and
it will be a great achievement for the
country to be able to host these high-
powered executives in November 2015.
This year's Congress is on a cruise ship
sailing the eastern seaboard of the US
and Canada -- I'm not a cruiser and even
less so when I know there will be 3,999
other souls onboard. What a scrum it's
going to be.
Wish us luck -- actually luck has nothing
to do with it. Kenya will win because,
well, it's a wonderful country full of
wonderful people -- end of story.
Finally, a trip to the airport last night
was a pleasant surprise. I'd anticipated
mayhem on a Saturday evening.
Aside from parking being at a premium,
or really not available - it was a doddle.
International departures back to normal
in Units One and Two - the departure
gates are presently being renovated so
its off to a tent on the tarmac. All very
posh with very-slow free WiFi but not
very much else to do. Best take a book.
For unknown reasons most parking
areas are empty and cordoned off.
The new multi-storey parking lot which
opened initially is now closed. The
ground foor about to become the new
international arrivals hall. To take the
stress out of the airport experience
I'd recommend someone else do the
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