Ever keen to keep up to date with what is happening with our clients – George is just back from a two-week trip to Dar es Salaam, The Selous and Arusha.
Here is a short report but feel free to contact George for any first hand information by commenting below.
The Oyster Bay
Dar is very steamy at this time of year but The Oyster Bay is well air conditioned with two remote units in each suite and a bank of six units in the main areas. Fortunately the Gazebo also picks up even the slightest breeze coming off the ocean so pleasant to sit before dinner. February is a busy month and Maretha, Khadija and Patrick are hard at it from early morning to late at night. The South African flight timings are not helping with guests either arriving or leaving in the early hours – but at least they avoid the traffic jams of Dar.
Another way to avoid the traffic is to go straight to the hotel on a Sunday morning off the Saturday night BA flight out of London – transfer takes about 20 minutes and guests have all day to relax and prepare for safari. We had a number of couples doing this on this visit and they said it was a perfect way to start their holiday.
Thankfully the construction next door is coming to a conclusion, they say all noisy work will be completed by the end of May – but it is much less than before now that all major foundation construction is completed.
We bid a sad farewell to Sacha and Tam who leave Beho Beho after four years for their new posting nearer to home at Chiawa in Zambia. Four years gone so quickly? Ian Kruger who has been at the camp as senior walking guide for this last season will take over as camp manager and will be joined by Kimberley Lomas the new Hospitality Manager who is moving over to Beho Beho after two years at Mwagusi in Ruaha. Onesmo will be promoted to Head Guide and will be joined by Walter Jubber (FGASA level 3) as guide trainer/walking guide and Karin Kruger as resident chef/food and beverage specialist. So a few changes – but all overseen (or over Sean) by Sean Lues the operations manager in Dar, and of course Salum and Heribert are still there as the excellent driver guides and hosts.
Lots of plans for the low season – refurbishment of the public areas – new softs for the bandas – a new front verandah arrangement for each banda making it more comfortable – a new day bed arrangement and a redesigned luggage rack and hanging space. Also a lot of tidying up behind the scenes – a new kitchen and more managers housing. They certainly have their work cut out.
Bush nights will be getting a smartening up with new fly-sheets and a different theme to the food element. It always gets rave reviews – guests love the experience.
Ideas are also been tossed around for an ‘Owners Banda’ located on the hillside above Banda 5 this would be a two-bedroomed spacious cottage with its own sitting and dining areas, a plunge pool, private vehicle, guide and butler services – so watch this space.
It has been a good season with occupancies back to that of two years ago, also bookings coming in well for this forthcoming season so all is looking very positive.
Elewana Afrika – just putting the final touches to a number of promotions for the new season – to be announced shortly once fully approved. There are some great new ideas and ‘real deals’.
Tarangire Treetops, Serengeti Migration Camp and The Manor at Ngorongoro are all doing well with lots of positive feedback especially from Sky Safari guests. The seven night all flying programme starting with a night at Arusha Coffee Lodge and spending two nights in each of the safari properties has been a big success. The tight itinerary with afternoon travelling allows for good morning and early evening game experiences without having to interrupt them by dashing off to the airstrip. 5Y-IKI the Elewana Cessna Grand Caravan with 9 business class seats is definitely the classiest plane on the circuit!
Kilindi – Elewana’s most recent addition is now in the capable hands of Stephan Meves (Manager of Elewana’s Afrochic at Diani Beach) until the end of the season (31st March) and will open up for the new season on 1st June with new managers and a complete ‘softs’ refurbishment.
Afrochic is in the tender care of Tazim Ramji-Wissanji – known to most people from her many years in Sopa Lodges in both Kenya and Tanzania. They have just done their first wedding – all arranged in FOUR days – more on wedding packages at AfroChic to follow.
Sopa Lodges is enjoying peak season occupancies and Tarangire Sopa is preparing for a total refurbishment in the low season – a full programme of room renovation and public area refurbishment is poised to begin as soon as occupancies allow.
Dar es Salaam
Saada Juma the Commercial Manager for BA in Dar informs me that they are installing a fast bag drop in Dar for those passengers who check in on line. Not before time judging by the queue that was waiting to check in last Sunday morning. System problems, no air con and lots of sweaty irate passengers not a good combination for the ‘Worlds Favourite Airline’ – but somehow we departed on time – congratulations Dunston.