No place to lay weary head as fans flock hotels

A fan at last year's Safari Rally, in Naivasha. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

With only four days before this year's edition of World Rally Championships (WRC) Safari Rally is flagged off at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi on Thursday, getting accommodation in luxurious hotels in Naivasha is becoming a nightmare.

And the few hotel rooms that are available, are going for exorbitant prizes.

Hylise Hotel General Manager Seeman Otanga said they started receiving bookings two months ago but were keen not to increase their rates owing to the harsh economic constraints.

"We were not ready to lose business. Therefore, we decided not to increase our rates despite the rush to get bookings in the high-end hotels. Our rates have remained the same as was before," Otanga told Standard Sports.

More arrivals of international drivers, their crews and specialized teams, who have already settled in their hotel rooms, have not made matters any better.

Arrival of international visitors who include co-drivers, mechanics, journalists and tourists who are here to monitor the rally have spiced up the situation.

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Peninah Malonza said they had welcomed the guests to boost the tourism sector, adding that the government is ready to ensure they deliver a successful rally.

"We are looking forward to welcome the world to Naivasha for WRC Safari Rally. As the one in charge of hospitality in the country, we are welcoming everybody here and be assured of a successful stay," Malonza said last week in Naivasha.

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