TCB’s Miscellaneous Ramblings February/March 2018

Posted on February 13th, 2018
Categories: News

 Where to start?

You might re-call in my last column that I just couldn’t help myself, and for the first time ever dipped my big toe into the political morass that is currently enveloping Kenya. Most thankfully agreed and found it a tad hilarious, which was the intention. However there was one reader who got really really upset, and literally blew a fuse. He didn’t so much take aim at yours truly, at least I don’t think he did, but more from the perspective that our political system had deprived his candidate of the Presidency.

I think I’ll keep the big toe firmly in its intended place of residence in future.

We drove to the coast on Boxing Day, drive-time from our home in Tigoni to our favourite all-time coastal destination Watamu in just 6.5 hours. No traffic, the tribe asleep most of the way – the pedal to the metal most of the way. Coming back was a completely different story. A terrible drive-time of 10.5 hours.

The government in its wisdom and to somehow address the road carnage on our roads, made the knee-jerk decision to ban all buses from travelling at night. I didn’t quite realise that this is what most of them do. How many of them plied the Mombasa – Nairobi road, was another huge surprise.

Trucks on the highway we can all deal with, they are slow, cumbersome and manageable, but the buses – whew!

There were so many of them, all travelling at some speed – while waiting to overtake trucks, you had to be really careful – a rear-view mirror filled with bus, and they wait for no one, indicator on or not.

If it’s not the roads or the unroadworthy public service vehicles then it’s the bloody incompetent drivers. Who invariably have bribed their way to obtain a commercial licence. With apologies to the majority, who thankfully know what they are doing.

Combine all three, and its mayhem. More regulation, more enforcement, but more of the latter for starters.

The planned new US designed, built and funded four-lane toll road from Nairobi to Mombasa is definitely something to look forward to. Evidently work will start on it later in the year, if press reports are to be believed. From what I understand it is to be a new build entirely, with the old road retained, as you have offer folk the opportunity of an alternative route without tolls.

I’m told the new toll road will have a minimum of interchanges. So, perhaps a 4-5 hour drive without too much stress is in our futures.

 Can’t wait!

While in Watamu I experienced first-hand the new sea-wall outside Hemingways. It is not to everyone’s taste, especially at high tide when you have to seek higher ground, as there is no beach left to walk on. Hemingways management gladly allows you access to a path higher up the sea-wall. There were a few hiccups over the holidays but quickly sorted. I’m told it is all still a work in progress and that the engineers predict that the beach will return in a short period of time and we will all live happily ever-after.

Talking of Hemingways, we stopped in for a cocktail or two at their fabled beach bar. The make-over, which has seen them closed for the past 18-months, is very impressive. We loved it and the price of said cocktails was in line with other establishments nearby.

We enjoyed New Year at Ocean Sports, a great evening followed it has to be said by a bumper New Years day party that ticked all the boxes. Rumour has it, that a new owner believed to be sympathetic to the very ethos of the place is as they say ‘on the way coming’. Full credit to Fabien and his team for a brilliant couple of parties.

Also in my last column were words to the effect that we were looking to move Travel News Kenya on to new prospective buyers. Well, it didn’t happen at least as of this moment – there isn’t an interested dicky-bird in sight. One prospective telling me ‘Why should I pay? I can start from scratch.’ Yeah right.

A lot of kind words from you readers has half encouraged me to continue and not to push the sale button too hard.

Kenya’s tourism is on the up.

There are not many beds left in the Masai Mara this coming migration season and camp and lodge operators are reporting a steep and steady increase in the amount of enquiries received, which in turn ultimately lead to bookings for most of the safari circuit.

The coast which has been in the doldrums for quite sometime seems to be awakening from it decade old slumber. Still the best beaches anywhere….

Long may it all continue.

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