The Good Safari Guide held its annual award ceremony last weekend in Durban, South Africa’s International Conference Centre, just ahead of the opening of the annual INDABA tourism trade show.
While several category winners came from Southern Africa, and congrats to them, too, of course, important for us here in Eastern Africa was that Kenya ended up with the runner’s up position in the African 2010 vote for “Best Tourist Board.” Kenya won the award in 2009 but gave way to South Africa’s Tourist Board this year, which ran a superb marketing campaign towards the FIFA World Cup in June. Congratulations are nevertheless in order for the Kenyan effort and also to the Zambia Tourist Board, which came in at a surprising third.
Elsa’s Kopje at the Meru National Park in Kenya, of Cheli and Peacock (C&P) fame, earned “Best Safari Property in East Africa” and doubled the honors when also taking the overall “Best Safari Property in Africa,” while their owning/managing company, Cheli and Peacock, also took honors as the “Best Safari Accommodation Group in Africa,” an amazing development considering the competition out there across Eastern Africa and Southern Africa, leaving the “big boys” out in the cold. Cheli and Peacock then added another award when they bagged the “Best Community Safari Property” award for their Loisaba Lodge. Hats off to C&P for this extraordinary achievement and congrats to all their staff for making this possible.
One of this correspondent’s personal favorites on the safari circuit, Gibbs Farm, came a notable third as “Best Safari Hotel.” Gibbs Farm, for those not in the know, is located on an extensive coffee estate and farm on the foothills of Ngorongoro, near Karatu, an ultimately charming stopover en route to the crater or the Serengeti beyond or simply to get away for a few days and enjoy the excellent home cooking, peace, and quiet for a couple of days.
Kenyan company, Porini, made it on to several finalist lists but sadly did not gain any honors this year other than this mention here for their equally outstanding settings and hospitality, while across the border in Rwanda’s Governor’s Camps (yes, those from Kenya), Sabyinyi Silverback Lodge came top in Africa for “Best New Safari Property in Africa.”
Our recognition and respect goes to the late Primrose Havelock Stobbs, formerly of Abercrombie and Kent and a long-time Kenya resident, who was posthumously awarded a life-time achievement award by the Good Safari Guide for her contributions to the tourism and safari sector over the decades.
Primrose passed away just about three weeks ago in the UK, after braving a long illness. She undoubtedly looked down from the heavens upon hearing her name announced, while her eyes followed the big herds across the plains of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, which she so loved in her lifetime. The award was received on behalf of the late Primrose’s family by Nigel Vere Nicoll. Nigel is the CEO of the Africa Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA), who worked with Primrose for a long time. Our profound condolences to the family of the late Primrose.
Sadly for us here in Uganda, no property or company made it into the top three, although the Emin Pasha Hotel in Kampala and the Clouds Safari Lodge were once again nominated among the finalists. Better luck to them next year, and here is a challenge for other Ugandan safari properties, to shed mediocrity and pretence and aim to rival those truly outstanding, truly luxurious, and truly exemplary examples set by the award-winning Kenyan, Tanzanian, Rwandan, and Southern African companies.
Visit www.thegoodsafariguide.com for the full list of finalists and awardees in this year’s competition and make sure you select and start voting now for excellence in service towards next year’s edition.