Made a loss? Who? Vendors reap big from Safari Rally

Friday, July 1st, 2022 01:30 | By
Vendors say they were forced to order more alcohol from the depot after they ran out of stock as people bought the beverages beyond their expectation. PD/edwin otieno
Vendors say they were forced to order more alcohol from the depot after they ran out of stock as people bought the beverages beyond their expectation. PD/edwin otieno

Days, after business people ranted about the doom and gloom of their investments in Naivasha, were, it turns out some made a kill out of the 2022 WRC Safari Rally event held on June 22-26.

Among those who laughed all the way to the bank where public and private vehicle owners who utilised the opportunity during the four days by offering transport services to people who were going to the motor racing event.

According to John Kimotho, a public service 14-seater Matatu driver located in Nakuru town, due to the high demand for transport, he would charge between Sh400 and 500 to ferry people from Nakuru town to Naivasha town on what goes for between 200 and 250 on normal days. 

“ I had to charge high due to the high demand and being that the traffic was higher so we couldn’t make normal trips. I cannot complain either because I made double the amount of money I have been making on normal days,” he added. “Saturday and Sunday were the best days as people were even more than the other first two days,” Kimotho added.

He said if this could be the amount of money one makes on a daily basis, as matatu operators they would not be feeling the pinch of the high cost of living.

The car hire industry also reaped big as most people were looking for private cars for hire.

John Mwangi, a car hire agency in Nairobi, says that out of the 26 cars he manages, none of them remained, an occurrence which he says is not normal.  “ We didn’t change our normal costs of hiring cars but by around Wednesday, they were all booked and only four of the clients said that they are not going to Naivasha. They all booked for not less than four days,” he adds.

Maramoja transport, a location-based taxi app that enables people to select their favourite drivers, partnered with Koroga to provide transport to the people who were coming from places like Nairobi. Buupass, Kenya’s online bus booking company was also on board.

Rallying extravaganza

The hotel industry also profited from the rally event with all the rooms reserved.  A spot check by the Business Hub revealed that several major hotels and luxury camps in the town were fully booked, as crews, fans and media from around the world gathered for the rallying extravaganza.

As for the Lake Naivasha Resort, the whole of it was booked for the WRC officials and the Koroga Festival performers. Other hotels were all booked as told by the multitudes that looked for the reservations late and were forced to spend nights in their cars since they couldn’t get rooms. 

Also laughing all the way to the bank were Airbnb operators.  For one Mercy Waweru, a landlady who runs Airbnbs at Moi Southlake Road in Naivasha town, high demand made her triple the prices of rooms in her apartment and since people were desperate, they never complained. 

Some tenants were even tempted to leave their houses and let them be used as Airbnb in order to make some extra cash. 

Food is always a necessity and being that there were different concerts, food and beverage vendors did set up their temporary stalls in the environs to serve the crowds.

According to the vendors, alcohol was overbought as the buyers even carried some to their homes. “We had to order more from the depot after we ran out of stock as people bought alcohol beyond our expectation. As food goes hand-in-hand with alcohol, we also sold more food than we had budgeted,” said one of the vendors.

As the Koroga festival is primarily done to celebrate African culture, vendors also sold garments and decorations with African details.

Lake Naivasha public beach stood out as one of the best attractions to many as the place offers many affordable recreational facilities including boat and camel riding and selling affordable fish. 

Kennedy Kamau, a boat business operator at the beach, says during the normal days he charges Sh600 but on that day he charged Sh1,500 for the same.

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