(eTN) – News just emerged that the African Safari Club, and integrated operation of selling safari and beach holidays to Kenya from European gateways, has apparently gone under.
Once an untouchable giant, when in the 70s and 80s they managed hotels owned by former first lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, the company sold holidays in Europe, operated a fleet of branded zebra-striped DC 8 before switching eventually to wide-bodied aircraft, handled them in destination, and operated a number of beach resorts north of Mombasa. This type of vertical and horizontal integration made the company rich in its hey days, and with their political connections in Kenya, they were often thought to be above the law applicable for other hotel chains and safari operations, even managing to keeping African Kenyans out of their resorts by questionable means, while visiting “muzungus” generally had the right of way.
From information now at hand from the UK, it seems that the company has folded and it is understood that the UK’s tour operator insurance mechanism is now swinging into action to assist in bringing affected passengers back home to Europe, while those who paid for outbound tickets are neither going on holiday nor in much likelihood getting any of their money back.
It is not at this stage clear what impact this development will have on the resorts in Kenya and if maybe other hotel chains may step in and take over the prime properties, or else if they will be tied up in court battles and shut down for the time being.