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.

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.

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