BY VICTOR ADAR
It was November 23 when a 22seatervan left Nairobi’s CBD at 10:45 am with a battery of select journalists to go to Elementaita Mountain Lodge, a new hotel in Elementaita. By 14:05pm, the team of about 15 members of the fourth estate was safe and sound in Naivasha, ready to experience the new facility situated up a hill with a full view of Lake Elementaita.
For a fact, apart from serenity and adventure, this destination trip meant one thing: opportunity. When investors spread their tentacles, it is the economy and Kenyans who stand to win. Some say that once the Standard Gauge railway phase 2A link to Nakuru County that is expected to connect Nairobi to Kampala through Naivasha, Kisumu and Malaba is complete, destination tourism will pick up pace.
That is probably why leisure and travel remain an important component of the country’s tourism sector. Investing in different parts of the country, especially those with a focus on lucrative ventures should be supported by the government. With the latest hospitality report by Jumia Travel that touches on trends in terms of tourism, travel, hospitality and even aviation industry, there’s general speculation that development of lodge and estate facilities can result into steady income to individual investors who double as employers and tax payers. As a result the so-called “tough economy” will be a thing of the past.
Unknown to many, travel and tourism activities are key growth drivers of the continent’s economy contributing 8.5% (which is $194.2 billion) of the GDP in 2018 from 8.1% and 7.8% in 2017 and 2016 respectively as per the Hospitality Report Africa. On room revenue, the report adds, it is expected that in the next five years, Nigeria will lead in terms of growth with a projected 12% compound annual increase followed by Tanzania and Kenya with a projection of 8.2% and 7.4% compound annual increases individually.
At the same time, leisure remains an important component of the continent’s tourism sector thanks to a 71% of the tourist expenditure recorded in 2018. As a result, Kenya should rake in millions once capital-intensive ventures take off. As the figures keep coming, and capital-intensive projects taking off, shrewd entrepreneurs should start bubbling with hope. It is a move meant to prove a point that after all economy is that bad, and high risk takers should not shy away from pouring money in big projects.
“We have budgeted around Sh800 million to complete the facility, and when complete we will be having 52 rooms with infinity swimming pool, and the main building and a conference facility,” says Nicholus Njogu of Superior Homes Limited, the developers of the Elementaita Mountain Lodge.
Mr Njogu says that the main purpose of this development is to provide leisure activities in the Elementaita circuit. Lake Elmenteita, also known as Elementaita, is a non-fresh water lake in the Great Rift Valley. It forms part of the private Soysambu Conservancy, which is a not for profit organisation that aims at preserving the Soysambu Estate as a wildlife area while pushing for sustainable co-existence of wildlife with livestock.
Location of Elementaita Mountain Lodge, which is a short distance from Nairobi-Nakuru highway, though, is quite unique. Apart from being close to the lake, and at an elevated point where visitors have the whole view of the lake and the landscape surrounding the entire Elementaita development, it is around 20 minutes drive off the main road, making it convenient for people to visit and learn about. The villas boast of modern bathrooms with view of the lake, private terrace and gardens, and an open plan layout.
“Basically we plan to be having team building activities, couple visitors and we are assuring our potential customers that by December we will be receiving the first group of guests. We will be working with other partners, the events industry to come up with packages for the first group of guests whom we will be receiving by this month (December 2019). People from all walks of life should have their Christmas here,” says Njogu.