His words echo in my head until today, sending shockwaves to my knees. I felt hopeless... I have never been this confused… I felt like telling the clients the truth and cancelling their safari... but how do I do that when I have confirmed they will travel and worse even confirmed and even paid the lodge?
August 2018 - Masai Mara Tourism peak season. We were just in the office doing the usual making arrangements and preparing logistics for the next days departures. We were busy like bees as the inquiries kept coming in… A couple walks in to inquire if they can book for a Masai Mara safari and we immediately jump in like hungry fox to provide best deal quotes. We struck a charming rapport with the clients, discussing all possible options, advantages and disadvantages of each option… They were a family of 7 all Kenyan residents; from the way they spoke, I could tell they were really very good people with very kind hearts; I was determined to make their trip memorable...
In August, finding a safari van leave alone a Landcruiser is
like finding a needle in a hay stack. We gave them a fair deal assuring them of a hands-on
customer service and also gave them T-shirts and a travel bag which really blew
their minds and couldn’t agree who would keep the bag; they bought two other bags
just to settle the dispute haha
Knowing that we have the whole day and night to make phone calls to get a Safari van, we sealed the deal; impressed by the affordable quote we gave; they immediately swiped and
cleared their bill.... this is not usual as many guests
will want to walk around and get the cheapest rate; I usually discourage clients as cheap is expensive:
nothing cheap comes with the ultimate experience. Price should never be a determinant of who you
travel with but rather the service, comfort and fun in the safari… They were moved by our
great reviews and we spent like 1hr watching the reviews on our YouTube channel
and reading on trip advisor. Their eagerness to travel and to have the kids
have a great time and adventure was burning hot...
We agreed on pick up time
from their place of stay and they left in very high spirits; I guess they went straight home to start packing.
12.30 pm. I started making frantic
calls to all our suppliers and posting on all whatsap
groups that I have a job for 3 days that pays well and am in
need of a safari van (all our vehicles were
5.30pm still no vehicle available.
As a plan B, I arranged a Noah to
pick up the guest in the morning and drop them to Narok and my safari van
coming from the mara to return with the new guests and the Noah to transfer the
other guests back to Nairobi. This was like a perfect plan; however, I will
have had to really assure the guests that they will have a van without any
delays… It also kills the first day spirit… Imagine being picked with a Noah
day one…? What will you tell the heighbours haha
I got a call from a gentleman
whose name il withhold... or let’s call him
Johnny. He informed me that he has a safari
van available that can do the job. I couldn’t keep calm! I wanted to see and
confirm the vehicle immediately. He informed me to go immediately to Ngara where
it was being serviced as he had just arrived from a 5 days trip. Is this the
point where I should use helter skelter? I took a motorbike from Moi Avenue and
in a speed of light I was next to the van.
It was a great van with off-road tires and recliner
seats and a front aerial… This was amazing!
“Boss gari iko sawa I want to confirm!” I called
Me: “ Wewe unalipisha aje?”
Johhny: “ Unajua ni season na hakuna magari… hio
kazi leta 20k per day”
What! This was so steep as its usually around 12k!
I didn’t want to burgain and I said its okay; I sent
him ksh 20k on the spot to hold and confirm.
6.30pm: Done! I strolled back to the office
enjoying fresh groundnuts feeling ripped off but great at the same time.
Johnny: “Boss hao wageni ni watu gani?”
I sensed trouble! Goose bumps… why is he asking? I didn’t
want to tell him because even if they are Aliens what does it matter? I had
paid the exorbitant price he had asked for! I could even place a cabbage head
in the van and ask him to do the vegetable a trip to the mara: imagine the
salad afterwards… and I was to pay!!
We argued abit and I told him they are Kenyans… he
said it’s okay. Two minutes later I got a text: “Boss ni season sibebi wakenya
pole!” I thought I was dreaming or it was a wrong text. Whaat! Why?! I called
him like 42 other times but he didn’t pick. I got another text this time round
from Mpesa… I knew he had made up his mind and nothing will change him.
He picked up after I called him a thousand more
times and he told me yeye anataka kubeba wazungu! We exchanged words as I had
lost my temper; I told him he will need me another time and I will report to
the TRA and tourist police and that when he will need me again I will never
“Kwani unadhani wewe ndio uko na kazi pekee yako?!
(middle finger). The guts and Ignorance!
Weh… next day 4am I was in the office hovering
around “Mugunda” the city market.
At 5am a van comes with a frustrated driver
“Boss nini mbaya?”
“Hawa washenzi wa ******** wamenikata Job”
Relax baby… come the kudu way, we are here for you!