African Safari Club : Mourning the Death of a Giant

It is official. African safari club is no longer in business. A statement in their official website states that the company “has ceased trading as of 16 March 2011″. Sadly, this means that any one who had pre-booked their Egypt or Kenya holiday with the company will have to make new travel arrangements.

Update 28 April 2012: I have noticed that a company called Africa Odyssey Limited has taken over the African safari club web domain. I’m yet to establish what relationship the company has with ASC, but for now I have removed the link to the website, lest it gives the wrong impression.

Some background information about the company

African Safari Club was established as a tour operator in the late 1960′s. The company had since then specialized in outbound trips to Kenya and Egypt from Europe. Besides just being a tour operator, the company owned/managed many tourist facilities both in Egypt and in Kenya.

Dolphin Hotel in Mombasa

Dolphin Hotel in Mombasa. One of the properties owned by African Safari Club

In Kenya for example, African safari club owned several upmarket beach hotels in Mombasa’s North coast, among them Dolphin Hotel, Shanzu Paradise Beach Hotel, Flamingo Beach Hotel, Coral Beach Hotel, and Palm Beach Hotel. In Egypt the company operated Nile cruises with its own fleet of 3 ships: M.S Da Vinci, M.S Star of Luxor, and M.S Fleurette.

By all definitions therefore, African safari club is was a giant.

Some industry observers may claim that the fall does not come as a big surprise, and that the writing has been on the wall for some time. The company has had some negative reviews in tripadvisor and in lonely planet’s thorntree, with some reports indicating that it was experiencing financial difficulties.

There have also been claims of the company mis-treating its staff and not paying them their salaries for several months. The recent crisis facing the Egypt travel industry was therefore the proverbial final straw that broke the camel’s back, but the fall was inevitable.

Whichever way you look at it, it is sad to see the company go under. What now remains to be seen is how this will affect operations in its hotel chain. For now, if you are booked in any of the African safari club hotels in Kenya, or its Nile cruises in Egypt, the best thing to do is to make other plans.

I made a phone call to Dolphin Hotel, and was informed that they are not accepting any bookings from Monday 21st March 2011. All existing reservations beyond that date have also been canceled. The same probably applies to all their other hotels.

20 thoughts on “African Safari Club : Mourning the Death of a Giant

  1. safaris in tanzania

    I was born and brought up in Mombasa Kenya. African Safari Club was a real Giant like you call the Company. It is too sad to hear that the company is ” dead”. When I was growing up I used to admire the Zebra lines on their buses and safari vans and was very eager to work for the company one day in my life. I just hope that something can be done for its rebirth.

  2. Joseph

    Good riddance!!! It was long, long over due. This company was well known for it’s mis-treatment of it’s Kenyan employees and even had no time for local domestic tourists. They were treated like trash when they went visiting.

    Once again, good riddance and we hope a professional company will take over the running of these beautiful hotels in Mombasa.

    • january rees

      i seen families of staff at the hote.. and they wasnt treated like trash , they were in the swimming pool , their children were in the swimming pool , with our children ,having a great time, while the rest were on the longers enjoying drinks…

  3. concerned

    long overdue. ASC did little for the kenyan industry. it was all transfer pricing. TP is an economic crime and investigation being driven by OECD. it is now time for KRA to talk to SR/ASC to carry out a correct TP audit to establish what is owed to Kenya.

    • ibrahim

      well said,i used to work for this of the worst place i have every the moment they have still not paid more 600 staff salarys for more then a year,

      • Nick

        Also worked for the company. I must say that my work in setting up new systems for ASC was enjoyable, great fun and helped me develop confidence in myself.
        The company could only have been brought down by the incompetence of the senior management, mostly “expatriates” as they had nothing to show for their titles.
        Cases of discrimination against local staff were rife most especially from the so called expatriates. This was a sad thing since apparently, nothing could be done against the owners.

  4. safari in Kenya

    It is quite unfortunate that one of the biggest safari companies has fallen. as much as we would want to castigate how ASC handled their staff, they were a force to reckon with in Kenya safaris. They also werent ready top change only allowing white clients in some of their properties which was not proper.

  5. P & A Sheile

    This is no surprise and we are very pleased to hear that they finally got their come-upance!! My husband (a Kenyan and Muslim) and I booked a 2 week holiday with ASC and within 24 hours we had moved into another hotel for the 2 week period. Our complaints:
    1. As he moved around the hotel, my husband was constantly being asked by staff; ‘what do you think you are doing here?”
    2. At mealtimes, all choices of meat were placed in the same dish as the pork and in response to a complaint we were told ‘ we don’t usually get local Muslims staying here”.
    3. We overheard the receptionist telling the manager (in French) that I had ‘picked him up’ at the airport when, in fact, we had been married 7 years and both of us had been booked in.
    4. The guards seemed to be there to keep people in the hotel; when we wanted to leave the grounds we were asked where we were going.
    5. The early morning flight to Uk was changed at the last minute and we were not informed (although we had told them where we were) consequently we missed the shuttle to the airport and had to pay for a taxi (25 kms)

    • Joe

      At the start you say you moved out of the hotel within 24hrs and the end they messed up your taxi ride to the airport. Something does not add up. Doesn’t put credence to your whole post.

  6. Maria Gilin-Zagorska

    I have enjoyed for 3 consecutive years my holiday in Mombasa resort run by A.S,C and I do think that a lot of what was wrong with the way hotels were run was due to local managers lack of competence,
    When I was a guest at the Dolphin and Flamingo there were kenyan guests staying and nobody discriminated against them !

  7. january rees

    i went with asc.. in feb 2011 . just before the hotel closed…
    3 adults 1 child..
    and we stayed at the flamingo beach .. i can honestly say we had a fantastic time .. the staff were great , the hotel was clean , and inviting..
    people were compaining about the food . because they couldnt get pie and chip;s..ect.
    but for what we paid for this holiday it was amazing.. i honestly cant believe people were moaning , considering what they got for the price…
    also the staff was taking cash for drink;s ect , so they were onm a good thing , some of themm..
    but thankyou ASC… for a holiday of a life time … january rees.

  8. Patrick

    Voyageur, habitué des bon plans, l’African safari club était un des best of de mes destinations. J’ai séjouné plusieurs fois dans leurs hotels, et je dois dire que j’ai passé là-bas des vacances formidables.
    Je suis vraiment déçu que ce tour operator ai disparu.
    Ils proposait aussi de rester une semaine, voire deux de plus gratuitement ! les endroits étaient sublimes, j’ai adoré.
    Ils m’ont même permis de visiter pendant 5 jours leurs différents hotels, avec navettes et repas et nuitées gratuites.
    Cela fait partie de mes plus belles vacances.
    J’ai fait un safari avec eux en volant au dessus du Kilimandjaro, puis logé dans des lodges fantastiques, tout ça pour un prix défiant toute concurence. Ils avaient tout: avion, hôtels spécialisés dans des activités différentes (cheval, plongée, safaris, golf, croisières, ets), bateaux, lodges, 4X4 pour safari avec toujours un personnel attentionné.
    Imaginez aujourd’hui partir pour moins de 500€ 15 jours minimum dans des endroits paradisiaques…et bien c’était possible avec l’ASC.

    Merci à eux pour tout ce que j’ai pu vivre, j’ai des souvenirs plein la tête et énormément de moments merveilleux passés là-bas.

    Je me pose une question: que sont devenus leurs hotels aujourd’hui ?

  9. kat

    i will miss them you try looking for holiday now for kenya. and also at least the workers had tips if not there wage but what happens to them now sorry to all the workers who lost there jobs. so who as taken over it i cant find nothing.

    • Timothy Kirigha Post author

      It seems like there isn’t any one particular receiver. Most likely they (African safari club) are selling each of their properties to different companies. Their internet domain (website) for example, has been taken over by Africa Odyssey. A company called The Emrald Group bought the Flamingo Beach Hotel in Mombasa, etc.

  10. doro

    Hi – I am a tourism professional/academic and currently writing a critical journal paper including a discussion of ASC.

    does anyone know what happened to the properties along the Mombasa coast i.e. who are buying them? local investment? foreign investment? what happened to Kimana and the long legal battle?

    many thanks

  11. ilse

    Can somebody tell me what happened to Watamu Beach Hotel after it burned? And what about David Nguo, Margreth and her little brother George ? They were living in the village closeby the hotel 30 years ago. I would be so nice to see them again.


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