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Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

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posts: 88
Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor


I felt compelled to log on & let everyone know my & my husband's (newly weds - on honeymoon) experience with African Safari Club or as it was nicknamed by all those on holidays with us - in both the Shanzu Beach Hotel, Shanzu Paradise Beach Hotel & Coral Palm Beach Hotel (all part of the African Safari club hotels).- the African Suffering Club. Even Basil Fawlty himself would have been embarrassed by these hotels. After 3 days eating the food which by the way was left uncovered in both the outdoor & indoor restaurant which is certainly against all the hygiene regulations I am aware of in Ireland & I imagine all other parts of the world.

My list of complaints:

1. The food - after becoming seriously ill - severe cramps & vomiting both myself & my husband complained the following day. I was told that noone else complained & it could have been something I touched, getting used to the climate, etc. Many excuses were given but no answers were given when I enquired about the food being left uncovered & about the fact I checked all the orange juice jugs that morning (before our conversation) & they all had pieces of dirt in the bottom. I spent the remainder of my honeymoon with diarrhoea on & off but more on - I believe they call it the Mombasa Express. It left me exhausted & irritable. I did not go to the Hotel Doctor as I had no faith whatsoever in anyone who was working for them - though we were told he was not I did not believe what I was told as he works in the grounds of the hotel. There is obviously some relationship. When I got home I went straight to my doctor who diagnosed Gastroenteritis due to food.

2. The bathroom- tiles had come off the wall, the plughole was disgusting ( I have pics & will post when I upload them from my camera phone). Also there was fungus growing in the corners of the shower.

3. Salt water showers, salt water in the taps. I could excuse the latter but not the former. It's an absolute disgrace in a four star hotel which advertises (I believe from an english couple - thanks nigel) in reputable english papers. The pictures purport it to be four star, etc.

4. Rooms & cleanliness - Our floor was hardly washed at all let alone swept. When we went away on safari after closing up everything we came back & I found the sliding door to the balcony left slightly open. A lizard had managed to find it's way in but he was not the only occupant besides myself & my husband. The last occupant of our room only made a brief appearance when I pulled back the curtain on our last night (after the Goodbye meeting - & what a meeting that was!!). I had heard something tapping on the glass of said sliding door the night before but had not gone to investigate, lucky really as I'm not a fan of cockroaches. Pity really as we had shared our room with one from the Wed night of our last week. Shame some might say we didn't become acquainted before that.

5. Pool - Very nice if you like all manner of insects floating around you as you swim & paddle or learn to swim in my case. No effort (our first week) was made to clean them out. They were obviously part of the whole experience - perhaps they should have advertised them in the brochure, perhaps not you be the judge. When we got back from safari on Wed of our 2nd week I noticed that insects were being removed from the pool so at least that was an improvement. Though at this point a number of our fellow travellers who had spent considerable periods of time in the pool had got ear infections & throat infections - 2 of which were children.

6. Their safari & VIP Coach- I have never in all my life been in a VIP Coach with filthy seats but perhaps VIP doesn't mean what I think it does!! I have no personal experience of their safari vehicles but my husband met a man who had & he had the scars to prove it - when they were going down bumpy roads the underneath of the roof had no material on it to cover the metal bars & he got a gash on the top of his head as a result. Strangely or not, we booked with North Coast Hunters & there vehicles were clean inside & well maintained. We were impressed by their driver Livingstone - a lovely man & very good at his job.

7. Check out at 7am - A note was left the evening before our departure saying our checkout time for our flight at 5 past midnight was 7 am. We went to complain but couldn't get either to reception or the Tourist desk as so many others were queueing up to complain as well. Amongst our group was a man that is a member of the Association of Hotels & Restaurants ( I think that's the correct name) & he said that under their guidelines 10am is considered an international standard check out time. As we discovered that evening at our Goodbye Meeting once African Safari Club get your money they apply the same standard as Ryanair - Accept no responsibility, complete apathy & stoney faced resistance.

After all of this some might say, why didn't you complain more. The reason was that no responsibility was taken by management at all. We heard from various sources that they rent the building from the Kenyan Government & also that the Company are going under - no wonder some of our fellow holidayers said as their standards were awful everyone must complain.

I would hate anyone to experience the kind of honeymoon I did our holiday either that is why I'm writing this. Many people on holiday with us thought it was such a good deal they nabbed it but for us with the sterling exchange rate it was an expensive holiday but it was and what a honeymoon - THE HONEYMOON FROM HELL!!

Take care & hope this helps inform others so they don't make the same mistake we did.

Therese & Bob McKenzie

Manchester, United...
posts: 988
reviews: 76
1. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Hi Therese & Bob

So sorry to hear your trip to Kenya was terrible, we have been going to Kenya for seven years and whilst some of the hotels are not the same standards as the west you were very unlucky. We have stayed at Nyali Beach Hotel, Bamburi Beach Hotel & now always stay at Whitesands. ASC is known for being a bit hit & miss so other travellers please be warned.

posts: 88
2. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Hi Marym062

We were unfortunate yes but many others on holiday with us also suffered similar & one lady (who stayed in Coral Palm) got a stomach infection from the food & boarded the plane in a wheelchair as she was so weak. African Safari Club are a disgrace to Travel companies worldwide, they give them a bad name.

I do however feel fortunate to not have got as bad a dose as the lady I met who stayed in Coral Palm Hotel.

It is great to hear though that there are good hotels which we could stay in next time around. Of the hotels you stayed in is the Whitesands the best? Is it exorbitantly expensive. I know some people on the forum are lucky enough to be able to afford this but we aren't in that position yet :)

Take care,

posts: 614
reviews: 22
3. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Hi Therese,

Sounds like you had a mare of a holiday, we go out on tuesday night and I don't know what foods you ate, but I beleive there are certain precautions you should take in all hotels, only eat cooked foods, leave the salads well alone, no ice in drinks, no food thats been sat chilling sat on ice, and peel any fruit that you eat, oh and only drink/ clean teeth with bottled water with a sealed lid.

Hope you feel better now and I hope to avoid the mombassa express !!


wigan uk
posts: 716
reviews: 5
4. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Sometimes the 'mombassa express' is actually caused by some reactions to malaria tablets too.

plymouth england
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 5,851
reviews: 14
5. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Oh! no, not in Therese`s experience.....

it was deffinatly caused by poor hygeine and manky food...

I have gone to the Flamingo and I always advise anyone else what to avoid and hopefully they have not had such a bad time as T & M...

I do remember the food was very bad last November ..

The pudding of jelly and custard..(?). with the custard so weak it walked out of the kitchen on crutches.... and cake ...so hard and dry you could have sanded the bannisters down ready for a paint job........ was awful...... the poor monkey coughed his guts up . when it pinched a biscuit from the bannister....... The service has gone downhill ... but I know of two post members who have just returned and enjoyed every minute.....


posts: 17
reviews: 42
6. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

I am so sorry you had such a bad experience. I fully support your comments on the hotels managed by African Safari Club. We fortunately only had to stay one night at the Flamingo Hotel and I was horrified by the food. We arrived at midnight to be told they had kept a meal for us. It was a buffet and had obviously been left out for hours with no ice or heat on the hot food and it was swarming with flies. The management was rude and denied that we had paid ASC for transfers to the airport. Our room and the pool filthy. If ever you return to Mombasa stay at the Serena Beach Hotel its a wonderful experience and nothing to do with ASC.

London, England
posts: 3,016
reviews: 3
7. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

when you write your letter of complaint to ASC, I would advise you not to bother mentioning the lizard and cockroach experiance. Why ??....simple....because those creatures lived in the tropics longer before tourists moved in. Using that as part of your complaint will do you no favours and it will be classed as you whinging.

Lizards can actually get through a keyhole or through the small split in a door frame, ant's can climb up 25 floors of a hotel block . Cockroaches, they can appear in the cleanest of rooms. I lived in the Caymans for 8 months, I kept the kitchen totaly spotless and we had a cleaner in for the rest of the rooms 3 times a week......yet they still crawled along the back of the sink whilst giving birth at the same time as walking. Bugs happen in hot countries, even if the rooms are clean. Good luck with your complaint against your tour company.

posts: 88
8. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor


Thanks for your comments Drakesdrum & all the sound advice & GarryPawson thanks for your advice to but in my case it wasn't that. My doc said it was Gastroenteritis got from the food.

Lori sorry to hear you had issues with asc too but it's not really surprising. We went into the Serena Beach Hotel & ate there a couple of nights & I felt fine afterwards - no mombasa express :)

Did you change from the Flamingo to the Serena Beach Hotel? If so I would be most interested to read about your impressions. (Let me know if you've reviewed it).

Laraevans 1972 - appreciate your interesting comments but the funny thing about our uninvited guests is they only arrived when our Room Boy left the room open (for God knows how long) when we were on a 3 day safari.

I have also been to other countries & not stayed in 4 star accommodation - when in Malaysia I stayed in hostels some very scruffy but it was a backpackers holiday & we didn't mind. There were rats & cockroaches there as it's a hot country & we went at the hottest time but we had no uninvited guests in any of our rooms even those on the beach!! I'm not a complainer or a malingerer. I have been brought up to "call a spade a spade" & if something is crap I'll call it just that too.

Take care all,

posts: 17
reviews: 42
9. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Hi Therese

We actually went on a cruise organised by the ASC and had a great time. It appears that once you join the cruise it has nothing to do with the African Safari Club until you disembark. ( I have done a review on the cruise think it was titled MS Royal Star/ASC and the Serena but it may not be online yet.) As we are from Australia we joined the cruise at Mombasa so stayed 2 nights at the Serena prior to the cruise. We ended up at the Flamingo as we needed one nights accomodation before flying home it was easier to just add it on to the cruise. BIG Mistake!!!!

Manchester, United...
posts: 988
reviews: 76
10. Re: Do not book with African Safari Club - Caveat Emptor

Hi Therese

As we do voluntary work whilst in Mombasa we book our hotel direct, the hotels are very accomodating & give us (and many other people who do work in the schools & orphanages in the area) a very favourable rate. We are going over in May/June for 1 month & again in oct/Nov for 2 months and as we work in Shanzu & Mtwapa we need a good quality hotel as the Mombasa Express would leave us unable to carry out the work we do. If you are interested we are planning a new project & will be out in Mombasa for extended periods during late 2007-2008, any help would be very much appreciated.