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Why These Kenyan “Travel Packages” You See On Social Media Are A Rip Off

So one of my resolutions this year was to travel more, drop happy hour drinking habits, and since Sheesha was banned it’s almost as if God himself was pushing me to endeavour  this new and reformed way of life.

So I decided that it was time I go for one of the travel packages I kept seeing under the Facebook events category. I scrolled to one I felt offered value for money. It was a full day trip to the Ngong hills to enjoy a high rope challenge, zip lining, and a nice lunch at a hotel called Oloolua resort, coupled with swimming all at Kshs 3500.

The trip was hosted by Trek Beyond Adventures, a ‘travel agency’ I’ll never use again, and here’s why.

Looking at the activities laid out for the day, I was optimistic about starting an early morning. Everyone was meant to reach the bus in the CBD by 7:30, meaning I was up by 6 am and out of the house by 7 am. Unfortunately others who booked the trip didn’t have half as much punctuality or decorum, so the bus ended up leaving at 8 am, yet I was eager.

Upon reaching, the Kismames Giraffe Camp-where the high rope challenge and zip-lining activities were done-didn’t look very impressive, in fact the whole thing seemed like it was about to topple over, it all appeared unsafe. That however wasn’t as much of a mood killer as the travel agent (a very rude man at that) telling us that the amount we paid only allows us to either do zip-lining OR the high ropes challenge. The advertisement on Facebook clearly stated that both activities were included with the prize offered so you could only imagine everyone’s disappointment.

image: facebook

That was the beginning of a less than satisfactory day. No one did the zip-lining, and the high ropes challenge left rope burns and wounds all over people’s hands and legs. While the lunch at the Oloolua resort was alright, the hotel itself had a 2 star rating, and appeared very elementary. Swimming was actually not inclusive of the fees paid, but the swimming pool didn’t look particularly inviting anyway.

image: TripAdvisor

Personally I received a Ksh 1000 refund, because the trip in totality was simply the result of a greedy travel agent pocketing as much of the proceeds for himself, and leaving the trip generally unexciting and disorganized.

image: PopKey

While this may not be the case for other travel agencies, it’s definitely up to the customer to do his/her research and inquire beforehand. This doesn’t mean the end for me either, I’ll continue trying these small daily packages ever so often until I get them right.