Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mombasa: so near, yet so far

Despite my earlier rant about being a dumbestic tourist who can’t' picture a holiday that doesn’t involve Mombasa
of the edge of the world] the craving to visit the coast is back again. In my life I have seen the big five animals, and will do so again, but I am in no rush to go to the territory of a rogue buffalo or elephant armed only with a camera and a laptop.

The coast is a different story, a must see place even though it rarely changes. But December is not the best time to go to the coast – I was there last Christmas and the place was too crowded.

Reasons to go
Air fare deals: It's gotten a lot easier to get to the coast since fly540 has announced that they will fly to Mombasa for a round-trip fare of 5,440 shillings (about $75)
- This comes about six months after East African Safari Air launched Mombasa flights at a round-trip fare of 8,900 shillings.
- Now Kenya Airways has responded with rock bottom Kshs. 2,500 fares – but for flights the opposite way. i.e. from Mombasa to Nairobi from December 24 to 31 and from Nairobi to Mombasa from December 31 to January 6 2007.
- I hear that the road repairs are progressing well on the bad stretch near Mombasa.
- No water: Another reason to escape Nairobi is the water shortage. Even as the Nairobi water company is reporting increased profitability and collections there's a biting water shortage/rationing plan that is going on amid heavy rains. I have been reduced to a beggar going round to relatives & friends houses with 20 litre drums begging for water. I hope their neighbors don't think I am smuggling changaa to these houses.

Reasons against
- Bad timing because the Mombasa business community is not happy with how the Mombasa city council is managing the town
- Also at the tourism expo held at the Sarit centre at the beginning of November, most Mombasa hotel were reporting that they were fully booked for the December/Holiday period. Hence KQ having to have extra flights and having cheap tickets to fly the opposite way.
- Mombasa is flooded after some heavy rains
Madaraka update
The sale process of 600 houses by the Nairobi City Council and National Housing Corporation commenced in March 2006. However 359 tenants sued halting sale of 291 of the houses. The NHC and NCC are however proceeding with the sale of the other 309 houses whose tenants paid 10% deposit and are now expected to pay the balance by 22 January 2007 while a judge will issue a ruling on the 291 houses on December 4.


RC said...

Banks: I love travelling around this great country not only because I cant afford fly out but also coz we have a green haven here. And as usual coasto ranks number one for Nairobi dwellers.

By the way guys should also start thinking Rift Valley and Central>> Lake Bogoria, Nakuru National park, Sweet waters, The Ark, Mt Kenya etc. These are great places and trust me I dont mind going over and over

E-Nyce said...

Might hit the Coast after new year's, after the crowds have returned back to the Real World.

Fly540 only flys to Mombasa? Any plans for expansion.

And does anyone other than KQ fly to Kisumu, considering that KQ doesn't anymore? The thought of the Highways to Hell (to Kisumu or Eldoret), do not inspire upcountry road travel.

anyone: are there any Kenyan blogs that focus on real estate and/or hotels/motels/holiday-inns? If not, any recommended forums on the same?

Anonymous said...

i went to bogoria once and i must say it was great trip. kisumu circuit is also quite lovely for nairobians since its a great change. i just love the warmth of the place and even the people. that breeze in early evenings is also quite lovely. but i agree mombasa has a historical twist to its alure just like the old guys believe degrees arent degrees unless you get them from nairobi university!

i think the east african has increased their flights to kisumu. what kq is doing at the coast is what they used to kill compe on the lucrative kisumu route. they then immediately raised fares. then now they have stopped flying there. size does matter!

Anonymous said...

Odegle - I disagree. KQ has no economic reason not to fly to Kisumu.

I believe KQ over KAA... There has been NO action over the arturs' passes. Naomi Cidi was suspended (with pay?) but not prosecuted! She claims muhohohoho knew about the passes!

The damage to KQ's INTERNATIONAL reputation would be incalculable if there is an accident at KSM coz of potholed runways.

E-Nyce said...

I'm confused...

KQ suspended ops to Kisumu
2 weeks ago.

and East African Air died in
in 2004.

You guyz on the ground have more current facts?

bankelele said...

Riba Capital: Coast pekee! The air deals make things quite affordable. Have done a bit of the rift valley, central, western and widllife cicuits, but I don't get that itch to go back annually like to the Coast

E-Nyce: The beach was so crowded last Christmas it was not fun.
Fly540 is starting operations this November and will also do Malindi, Lamu and Loki i believe.

East African Air died (in 2004?) but East African Safari Air (sister company?) is still in operation - doing well on Kisumu route and now Mombasa

Odegle: Kisumu is another place I need to see. Mombasa has so much history and it so peaceful at night, relaxing on the edge of the world. We'll see if KQ can outlast the new entrants with the low prices

coldtusker: There's much air business to Kisumu shared between EASA and KQ. Maybe KQ decided to spur KAA into action by a boycott,

Mitzy: MInister Kagwe and KTB today called for more online marketing of Kenya. There are quite a few stories on Kenya travels but few are written by Kenyans themselves.

propaganda said...

E-Nyce/Banks: Fly540 goes to Juba next. Also eyeing Malindi and Lamu. East African Safari Air Express, the local arm of the EASA that collapsed in 2004, flies to KSM (Jakoyo Midiwo slapped around the MD the other day when he couldn't get on a flight to NRB).

Coldtusker: KQ flew Saab 340 turbo-props to KSM while East African SAE has a 80-seater Boeing jet. Nobody wants to pay to sit in a small propeller-driven plane when you can sit in a 737-200 for the same cost. You can bet passengers were voting with their feet. Funny enough, KQ are trying to crush Fly540 on the Mombasa route using the same advantage.

Anonymous said...

props - As banks said, there was so much business for both EAA & KQ, why would KQ quit the route?

No-one has answered the question... Who do you trust more...KQ or KAA?

Keep in mind, KAA are the same idiots who issued the "all-access passes" to the arturs... then started a blame game but NO prosecutions!

E-Nyce said...

Who flys to Entebbe? Best way to book into the lakeside hotels?

bankelele said...

propaganda: Midiwo needs help.

MassBile: you're welcome

coldtusker: I have to agree with Propaganda. KQ needs bigger planes on that route i.e. 737 and maybe they are not going to use them until KAA fixes the runway. Once that is done, we'll see ...

Kudrinketh: There's so much compe now - Entebbe, Kisumu, Mombasa, Juba with the new smaller airlines developing niche routes and clients. Thanks for the Entebbe hotel tips

Kudrinketh: VIA has introduced one way to entebbe via for $69 - book online at viauganda.com

Carina Coderis said...

Mombasa is such a great place! love all the beaches around it1 do you know any cheap Mombasa Flights? Thanks!


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