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Rich travellers escape to the wilderness

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For almost four months, Kenyans had shelved their holiday plans due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. But with the relaxation of the rules, a few people have started booking vacations in destinations where they are unlikely to come into contact with another human— except for their drivers, guides, chefs and butlers and their families or friends.

These groups of daring travellers eager to hit the road and ease the sense of being trapped at home want to wake up to the roaring of lions as the sun comes up and elephants emerge from the forest, away from the fears of contracting coronavirus.

These socially distant safaris in Maasai Mara, for instance, are being priced slightly lower than before, when Covid-19 shut down travel.

“We’ve opened Porini Mara Camp situated in Ol Kinyei Conservancy in Maasai Mara, and are receiving guests,” said Mohanjeet Brar, the director of Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps in an interview with BDLife.

By last week, two families had made reservations in the six tents camp which sits on 18,700 acres of land. The camp says they have also started receiving August holiday booking inquiries from international travellers.

“People are tired of being home and want to experience nature and take a break from life,” Mohanjeet said.

Gamewatchers Safaris runs ten lodges, alongside Porini Mara Camp, located in different parts of Kenya, and they hope to open them in one week. However, Porini’s Nairobi tented camp, located inside the national park, has been receiving guests, with the nine tents fully booked most weekends.

“We’ve tested our staff for coronavirus, have been inspected by the county health officials, and reorganised how we work to maintain hygiene,” Mohanjeet said.

Once booked, guests are sent a health and safety protocol document.

“We expect them to wear masks throughout, their temperatures will be checked and baggage sanitised before entering the camp,’’ he said.

The lodge will offer two meal times allowing guests and staff to social distance. For these wilderness destinations, bush walks, day and night game drives and sundowners are still part of the itinerary.

Mr Mohanjeet Brar. PHOTO | COURTESY

Tourism jobs

The reopening of the tented camps will see locals in Maasai Mara, Laikipia and Samburu who had lost their livelihoods when tourists stopped coming, start earning income from the lodges located in the private wildlife conservancies.

Last year, Porini Camp employed over 240 community members and paid about Sh150 million to the conservation communities they partner with.
“I remain extremely positive that we will bounce back better and stronger,” Mohanjeet said.

Alfred Korir, the owner of Zebra Plains Mara Camp has also reopened with a hope that the sector will sputter to life sooner rather than later.

At the moment, he is operating at half the bed capacity in line with the guidelines and set up outdoor food serving stations with tables placed at six feet apart.

“I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude because the local borders may be opened but the international visitors need some assurance from their governments before they come,” Alfred says.

The European Union has asked its citizens to shelve travelling plans to Africa and the local clientele is too small to sustain tourism. Some foreign tourists are too cautious, and they refuse to travel until a coronavirus vaccine is available, or at least until things are more stable. Zebra Plains is welcoming only weekend vacationers for now. So far, the lodge has received three bookings. Alfred says most inquiries from locals are for August.

To cater for the price-sensitive domestic market, he has had to reduce charges even if August is the most crowded and expensive time, which sees thousands of tourists travel to experience the massive movement of wildebeest and zebras and accompanying predators from Serengeti in Tanzania to Maasai Mara.

Sh1.2 million a night

“We have had to reduce the charges to Sh12,000 from Sh20,000 a night,” he said, adding that he is also lucky that his landlords have also halved the land rates. Most of the tented camp owners in Maasai Mara lease land from locals and pay an annual rent.

Globally, the high-end travel is likely to pick up first because the well-heeled travellers can afford to pay for coronavirus testing for staff and extra space where they buy out the whole property, especially those secluded in remote locations.
At Zebra Plains, for instance, Alfred has set up self-catering tents and family villas within the camp.

“These are for those yearning for exclusivity and minimal contact with people, save for the ones they came with. Designed like a single-dwelling house, guests can cook and clean for themselves,” he adds.

Mahali Mzuri, a luxurious tented camp owned by Sir Richard Branson is also opening its doors in August, just in time for the wildebeest migration. The camp in Olare Motorogi Conservancy in Maasai Mara will charge Sh47,500 per person and Sh1.2 million per night for groups buying out the 12 tents.

Nairobi Tented Camp. PHOTO | COURTESY

“We have always remained optimistic that we may be able to open this summer and we are thrilled to open just in time for the annual Great Migration. Guests can even stay at camp while working from home on a longer stay basis with the peace and serenity of the Kenyan bush, and the thrill of a game drive when it’s time to pack up work at the end of the day,” said William Odhiambo, the general manager of Mahali Mzuri.

John Kinaro, a director of Keshi Tours is also anticipating a huge influx of people travelling outside of Nairobi. Keshi Tours had been curating travel itineraries for international customers but it has recorded an increase in demand from locals.

“Since the first weekend of May until today, I’ve been taking 24 people per weekend on a tour of the Nairobi National Park. The domestic market has enabled tour agents to keep the lights on,” says the 35-year old, adding that most of his customers have been young families.

With reduced human traffic in the parks, he says, the trips have been memorable because animals have come out from hiding due to fewer distractions.

“Just last weekend, we spotted ten lions, a heard of rhinos and group of giraffes in all their magnificence,” he says.

When the ban lifted, people are making inquiries, wanting to travel outside Nairobi. International customers are also rescheduling their visits.

“For now, Maasai Mara is the most popular destination. People want to avoid social interactions. Unfortunately, Mombasa isn’t a favourite because it is hard to control the people one interacts with, even in an exclusive hotel,” he says.

Domestic air travel is also on a rebound. Safarilink Aviation says bookings for picking up, following the resumption of domestic air travel on Wednesday.

“Our Coast flights and Mara are especially busy heading into the weekend,” the airline said.

This story first appeared in the Business Daily

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Entertainment

Eddie Butita leaves The Trend after 5 years

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It is everyone’s prayer to see their friends and neighbours succeed in live and move from one stage to another one, on a higher level.

The aforementioned is the same when celebrities or people we have supported passionately thrive in their careers.

Eddie Butita leaves The Trend after 5 years

Eddie Butita was a panelist at The Trend for five years. Photo: UGC
Source: UGC

TUKO.co.ke can say the same about Churchill Show comedian Eddie Butita and his fans on their relationship over the years.

The comedian on Friday, September 18, triggered mixed emotions among his fans after announcing his exit from popular NTV show, The Trend.

In an Instagram post seen by TUKO.co.ke, the comedian said he was ending his 5-year stint on the show as a panelist to start another exciting journey in his comedy career.

Butita who has been a panelist on the NTV show that airs every Friday, thanked Larry Madowo who believed in him and gave him his first ever show.

He also thanked Amina Rabar and other crew members for being an integral part of his growth on TV and being great to him for all the years they have worked together.

”It has been five years of a good ride on the trend #TTTT it all started with just a one appearance and became a permanent job. I would like to thank Amina Abdirabar and the panelist team for being more than collegues our time together was worth it I learnt laughed and changed a lot that I was able to. It is time to give chance to other talents to get an opportunity to grow and shine with greatness,” he wrote.

The comedian also used the opportunity to thank NTV’s management for giving him a chance to work with the broadcaster.

”Special thanks to NTV Kenya for the opportunity we are still together in this journey. Thank you Larry Madowo for believing in me and giving me the first chance to be on the show the rest was history. Big thanks to my fans, I have got more in store for you this is just the beginning of another Chapter in my Comedy Career. Adios el tendencia,” he added.

His exit from The Trend came just a day after he broke the internet with a charming birthday message to his lover, Mammito.

By Tuko.co.ke

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Entertainment

“I got kicked out from home,” Bien’s brother Melvin painfully admits facing great rejection and resentment from their father

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Sauti Sol’s Bien-Aime Baraza’s eldest brother, Melvin has come out to reveal how his father rejected him at a very tender age.

The eldest of the three boys of the Baraza family took to his social media page to tell his story as a child, growing up without the foundation of a father’s love who was present but with no love towards him.

Melvin Alusa Baraza

Sharing a sweet photo with one of his daughters lying on his back, Melvin attested that a father’s love is the foundation of his children. A love through which the young ones build on and are able to face storms the world throws at them.

Melvin with his daughter

The sad narrative

However, that was never the case of his childhood.

I grew up facing great rejection and resentment from my father. I was fearful, felt unworthy and for the better part of my childhood longed for his affirmation, painfully narrated Melvin.

Unfortunately, the more he kept seeking affirmation from his father, the more it got worse.

…it only got worse to the point of being kicked out of the home I knew at the tender age of 17,” he continued.

Bien Aime’s eldest brother, Melvin

Looking back, it is not the tears or the pain he underwent that matters, but the lessons his childhood taught him that have seen him become a present and loving father to his 6 children. Because for him, breaking the curse of rejection is what matters most!

Today God has blessed me with 6 children whom I love with my life, an opportunity to break the curse of rejection and change the narrative.

Melvin Alusa Baraza with his children

His post caught the attention of many including his brother, Bien Aime who could only comment:

bienaimesol ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Baraza sons

Mixed reactions

Fans and followers, felt for him, painful memories of the past that might never fade away but he keeps a strong face for his young boys and girls.

waihenya A father should b the most important/best influence to his children. Lakini wasita babaaa?? 👨‍🎓👨‍🎓💪💪Hapo sawa
msosendo Sending you love and light!!! 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
betty.wangeshi ❤❤❤❤❤Mello you have indeed broken that curse and you’re such an inspiration to many 🥰🥰🥰. To all those deadbeat dad’s it’s your loss not the child’s!!!!
by Ghafla.com

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Entertainment

Beautiful Anita Nderu leaves Team Mafisi confused after declaring that she is a member of LGBTQ Community

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Kenyan media personality Anita Nderu has sparked mixed reactions online after announcing she is a member of the LGBTQ community.

 

Nderu, a former presenter at Capital FM, revealed this through a post on her Twitter page on Thursday, saying she hopes her kids will not be subjected to what she has gone through for being LGBTQ.

“I hope my kids never have to go through what I have gone through for being LGBTQ+,” Anita wrote.

Her announcement comes weeks after she came under heavy criticism from social media users for hosting two gay men on her YouTube show. Anita later defended her show, saying her guests were only friends who decided to show their real selves.

In July this year, Nderu said she would not apologise for hosting members of the LGBTQ community on her cooking show, ‘The overdressed cook’.

The video, which was meant for viewers over the age of 18, caught the attention of many, which led to her trending for days.

Speaking to Massawe on Radio Jambo, Anita said she respects people’s opinions but she will not apologise.

She said she has always been open about different things happening around, and so this being pride month, she decided to invite some of her friends on the show.

“I simply asked my friends to come on my web show and be themselves. What any of us have chosen to do on the show is how each of us is. Nothing about my show is scripted. What you see from the guests, food to outcome is what actually genuinely took place,” she said.

Anita has not been secretive about being a staunch supporter of Kenyan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons.

“As people, we should celebrate our differences, encourage authenticity & wonder at the diversity of humanity. We all have a right to love and be loved. Have an amazing day,” she added.

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