Home' Travel News : April 2014 Contents 40 travel news April 2014
April 2014 travel news 41
Just after last month’s edition went to press
(now there is terminology from a bygone
era in these days of digital communication),
I received an e-mail from Cara Spencer, a
former Kenyan resident and long-time tour
guide/operator in the UK; and a huge fan
of this country.
She suggested we do an article on why
Kenya’s tourism is suffering so badly,
assuring me that it was not due to global
recession or security issues in Kenya. She
laid the blame squarely on greed.
Cara says Kenya is overpriced and not
competitive in the global tourism market
She quotes a recent trip to Kenya, where
a spur-of-the-moment purchase of a
3-day flying package from Nairobi to the
Masai Mara turned out to be much more
expensive than a week at a 5-star resort in
Morocco, including flights from the UK. To
drive her point home she then sent me an
advertisement in a UK paper offering a 12-
day holiday to South Africa INCLUDING
flights for less than her 3-day Mara trip.
Cara further bemoaned the cost of entry
into Kenya’s national parks for non-
residents, i.e. international tourists. US$
90 per day. ‘It’s obscene, as it is patently
obvious that those funds are not ploughed
back into caring for the parks.
No EU resident would pay anywhere near
this amount to visit a park or stately home,
including Buckingham Palace,’ she says.
The facts check out on all of the above, so
some research was required and is, as we
speak, ongoing. In the interim I was having
a casual chat over a beer with Richard
Corcoran, the MD of Liberty Africa Safaris,
and popped Cara's question. It hit a nerve
and a fuse blew. ‘It’s not profiteering, but
the cost of doing business in Kenya,’ he
said. His Letter to the Editor telling all is on
page 10. And you have to agree he has a
point, actually many excellent points and
observations. I hope you feel better now,
Richard, for getting that off your chest.
I’d be happy to hear from others on this
tetchy subject – click HERE to get in touch.
One interesting point made by Richard
was the recently introduced legislation that
all public service vehicles (matatus, tourist
vehicles and the like) having to be fitted
with speed governors within 7 days of the
legislation being approved by Parliament.
It’s now been approved!
Now how ridiculous is that? First off, they
are massively out of stock and ditto back
ordered – only certain so-called certified
companies can sell and install them. And
the cost (Kshs. 40,000 a pop)... Imagine
the hit on the daily commute to town.
Speeding within the confines of Nairobi
and Mombasa given the usual gridlock
is nigh on impossible, so why penalise
the city’s commuters? Long distance bus
travel is another matter all together.
It all beggars belief.
To end the debate, I started on my February
column about what I saw as excessive
house rentals in Watamu over the festive
season, plus a story of slow service
and warm beer. We’ve had a number of
responses without definitively reaching
any consensus either way. Two responses
were published in the Letters column last
Again I must say that I sympathise with the
folk that own houses at the coast and who
hope to cover their annual costs via rental
returns in the few times of plenty. What to
do? Just don’t price yourselves out of the
market – remembering that there are now
more rental house available than there are
those interested in renting at these silly
It was suggested somewhere in all this
correspondence that a Tusker on Diani
Beach cost Kshs. 500/- as opposed to
Kshs. 200/- at Watamu. Not so – Ali
Barbours Beach Bar on Diani Beach,
a Tusker is only Kshs. 300/-, and what’s
more it’s cold...
You heard it here!
Friends Jon Cavanagh, Erik van Vliet and
Anne Taylor are planning to publish a not-
for-profit book about fishing off the Kenya
coast. It will be a high quality, hardback,
boxed publication of approximately 100
pages in full colour, using the scrapbook
technique and printed in Bahrain - a
product of Mills Publishing.
The book will be divided into eras – the
forties, fifties, etc., and the content will
include: maps and charts, the fishing
grounds, the water, the weather, trophies,
record catches, 50 years of the Malindi
Fishing Club plus other clubs, the boats,
the crews, the fishermen and women,
the fish, the tackle and traditional local
They are looking for anecdotes, photos to
include captions and dates, short stories,
press cuttings, old posters, raffle tickets,
and records plus ferry tickets and copies
of old and relevant bills. The more the
The group's sponsors include Snoo
(Deborah Colville), Liza Long, Salim Manji,
Jonny Havelock, Sean Garstin, Roger
Sylvester, Mnarani Fishing Club, Captain
Andy's, Malindi Fishing Club and Watamu
To get in touch with them click HERE
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