Thursday, 23 June 2016

Vehicle hiring in Kenya

Hiring of vehicles for travel either on business or leisure travel is really catching on. The convenience of a rental for a certain period as opposed to maintaining a car or in the case of corporates maintaining a fleet is quite expensive.
A lot of companies are offering rental services but it’s not all rosy as one might think it would be.  Different companies are offering the same services but the standard differ and you might end up having an awful experience or parting with a large portion of your hard earned money. Lets break it down a bit.
1.  Contract.
Before hiring a vehicle you need to sign a contract with the rental company, the contract should clearly state how long the hire period will be, the amount you should pay for the rental and liability in case of an accident or theft of the vehicle.  If you don’t understand the liability or it’s not explained to your satisfaction insist on a clarification and if it’s no futile do not sign the contract.
2. Check and test drive the vehicle.
It’s very important to check the vehicle for dents on the body and if there are any they should be documented. You should check for a spare tire, the jerk, wheel spanner, lock nut, life savers and fire extinguisher. Some vehicles have extra security features which caution you and the rental company against theft however this gadgets are sophisticated and well hidden within the vehicle and if you don’t master them well initially this might cause some inconveniences. It’s wise to start and stop the engine a couple of times to get conversant with the system.  Take a test drive the vehicle; speed a little bit and break just to get the feel and stability of the vehicle.
3. Requirements.
You require a valid international driver’s license or a driver’s license from point of origin. You require a passport or national identity card. You can only hire a vehicle if you are between the ages of twenty three and seventy five and you should have held the license for the past two years prior to the hire period. You are required to pay all the amount up front and in cases where by the rental is on “self drive”   the hirer is expected to pay an excess deposit. The amount is meant to caution the rental company against theft of the vehicle or damage of the same which would renders the vehicle to be un road worthy. If this were to happen the insurance company could ask for some money i.e 10% worth of the vehicle in order to replace the vehicle and that liability lies with the hirer. However if the vehicle was chauffer driven the liability will lie with the chauffer and not the hirer.
4. Caution
It’s advisable to follow the traffic rules and not assume that since you are in Africa that you can cut corners; you will land yourself in jail.  Another cautionary measure is that once you pay your excess deposit on the final day of the rental you should call your contact person at the rental company and let them know what time you will be returning the vehicle and that you expect your deposit back in full because the vehicle is in the same condition as issued. 

Enjoy travelling in Kenya on a rental.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The 2016 Wildebeest migration has begun.

Its official the 2016 wildebeest migration has begun. This elegant creatures were sighted at sand river crossing point and it’s expected that any time from now they will start crossing over.
The wildebeest migration “one of the seventh wonder of the world” happens every year between the months of June to the end of October.  The wildebeest accompanied by zebras, gazelles and antelopes journey in a straight line from the Serengeti eco system to the Masai Mara eco system. 

They travel all the way to the Mara river banks and camp there for a week or two just waiting for one of the wildebeest to jump in the river and cross over and soon as that happens they all follow. Many of the weak, old and young ones perish at the jaws of crocodiles which the river is infested with as well as at the jaws of the big cats which place themselves strategically on the river banks to get a kill.
The migration is triggered by lack of vegetation on the Serengeti eco system where gnu are forced to move to the Masai Mara eco system where at the beginning of the migration the vegetation on the Mara reserve is lush. For three months the wildebeest feed on the vegetation clearing everything and by end of October they are forced to go back to the Serengeti reserve where they find plenty to feed on for the rest of the year.  

However over the years we have seen hostility between Tanzania and Kenyan citizens. This has resulted to Tanzania citizen lighting wild fires to deter this natural event from happening but all they have managed to do is delay it by a couple of weeks or so. This rivalry has continued to happen while both governments keep quiet about it.  Well the person that bears the weight off it all is the tourists who are eager to witness this rare wildlife event only to bear witness to how ugly human behavior can be. Tourist end up going back home disappointed or spending more on accommodation hoping to wait it out for a some days or so. Some get lucky and others go back even more disappointed. 

It would be a great thing for the locals to understand that they cannot interfere with one of the seventh wonder of the world. Both governments should come out and condemn this actions by few who are out to destroy one of the greatest movement of wildlife in the world.  It’s a rare and very unique event that attracts millions of people from around the world and the sad thing is that we take it for granted. I call upon every East African to rise to the occasion and speak loudly condemning this destruction because our economies rely on revenue we get from tourist who travel miles and miles to come to witness this rare spectacle. Will you be among those who speak out or will you be silent and ignorant about what’s happening the ball is in your court. What say you East Africans?