Home' Travel News : March 2014 Contents 10 travel news March 2014
March 2014 travel news 11
I’ve read with interest your latest Travel
News and the well written account on
Zambia by Anthea Rowan. Having returned
recently from visiting our daughter in
Lusaka and knowing well the areas visited
by the Rowan family, I found the article
both well informed and humorous and look
forward to reading more articles by this
We've visited the South Luangwa National
Park three times over the years staying
at Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku
Ridge, and found both the accommodation
and the Park quite exceptional. The species
of wildlife not as varied as in our Kenya
Parks but less crowded with no “package”
tourists and Park fees much lower than in
Kenya, especially after our Government’s
introduction of VAT.
The area in the vicinity of the Chichele and
Puku Lodges definitely deserves its claim
to provide an almost assured viewing of
leopard. The Rowans were unfortunate in
seeing only one, however, my wife Pauline,
who went out on more game drives than
her lazy husband, especially the early
morning ones before breakfast, had easy
daytime sightings of eight leopard over two
The use of spot lights on night drives can
be a problem and our daughter, when she
headed the Sanctuary Lodge circuit, tried
to persuade all tour operators to use a red
light system, much kinder to game than
the blinding effect of white light.
The account of the Zambezi River and
Kariba dam reminds me of this majestic
body of water. Over the recent New Year,
with a group of friends, we took over a lovely
Lodge on the Lower Zambezi and had the
usual “game runs” both on comfortable
boats and on a large pontoon with awning.
A well stocked bar, seating on camp
chairs that chugged along viewing game
on the shores and in the water including
elephant crossing underwater using their
trunks as snorkels. No dust, no potholes
or corrugations, bubbly and G&Ts in hand.
Watamu House Rentals
I am confused about your article on house
prices being expensive over the Christmas
period and that of Medina Palms being
Below is the link to our prices for properties
we let and you can assume that prices are
double at New Year. They are certainly not
Medina Palms' published prices were
Kshs.112,000/- for a 4-bedroom Villa, Kshs.
85,000/- for a 3-bedroom Beach Villa, Kshs.
42,720/- for a 2-bedroom Penthouse, and
Kshs. 32,800/- for a 2-bedroom Apartment.
If you can explain your comments based
upon these facts that would be appreciated.
Watamu Property Services
Good to hear from you.
We paid 32,800/- for a two-bedroom
apartment at Medina Palms. Two
bedrooms, lounge + dining area, kitchen,
plus all mod cons and fully serviced. An
oceanfront property, close to everything.
OK, not a house but far less hassle than a
house. I was offered a house in the Mida
Forest for 39,000/- a day, something we
had rented two years prior at 20,000/- per
day. Other readers have shared similar
stories, it is not just moi.
I sympathise with house owners who look
to maximise revenue income in the few
times of plenty, but I’d have to say I’d stand
by my comments that they are pricing
themselves out of the market.
I am writing to you about your latest edition
of Travel News, in which you make some
complaints about Ocean Sports in your
Miscellaneous Ramblings. Of course, as
the managers, Florian and I were upset to
read your comments and more than a little
surprised. We are very aware that Ocean
Sports is in need of some investment,
however with our current situation and with
tourism being so low at the moment, this is
We therefore make the best with what we
have and try our hardest to ensure that
guests leave the hotel happy. Our progress
on Trip Advisor is a testament to this.
Over the Christmas and New Year period
we shift, almost overnight, from catering
for 30 people into the hundreds. We are
very aware that service is slow and that
the voucher system is frustrating, however
it is not put in place without a lot of thought.
As we don’t have the facilities to enable us
to cope comfortably with large numbers,
we ensure that our prices remain very
reasonable. Most places, as you point out
in your ramblings, double their prices over
this festive period; this is something we do
A beer sells for 250/-, in comparison to
Forty Thieves at Diani who charge 500/-.
Our Beach House, which has 4 double
rooms, staff included, rents for a mere
Kshs. 35,000/- a night over that period. For
a short term let it would be hard to beat
this price anywhere along the Kenyan
coast. On a Friday night you can get a
main course, dessert and a drink for the
same price as a cocktail at Medina Palms.
It is for these reasons that I felt compelled
to write. As a journalist you have a
responsibility to be both objective and
fair, and as a fellow Kenyan, knowing the
difficulties tourism is facing, it would have
been nice if you could have mentioned
some positive points as well as the
Yes, we had complaints over the New
Year period but they were fortunately
far outnumbered by compliments from
Kenyans as well as overseas guests who
enjoyed the relaxed, upbeat atmosphere,
the parties, the special events, the
socializing, and all things which originally
put Ocean Sports on the map as a favourite
hangout for the young and old.
A number of people have mentioned your
ramblings and definitely amongst the
residents in Watamu, people are upset
with your criticisms and confused that you
complain about house rents and yet in
the same breath, tell us that you stayed at
Medina Palms. Their rates are very high,
and during Christmas and New Year they
too increase them dramatically.
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