The acquisition two years ago of the Mara Leisure Camp by the Ugandan based Madhvani Group was the first such cross border investment coming from Uganda into Kenya, with previously only the reverse direction being the case, as Kenyan tourism companies invested in Uganda.
Top management of the company in Kampala were open in their comments back then to this correspondent, that investing in Kenya’s premier game reserve was to be but a start of a wider strategy, to expand their operations from Uganda across the border.
Being the undisputed market leader in the lodge sector in Uganda in terms of volume – other companies may have more properties and more locations but less rooms – it made sense, especially with an eye on the growing integration of the East African region into a single market, to spread the wings and create a presence first in Kenya before then eyeing Tanzania and other EAC member states.
Only a few weeks ago was the news broken here that the Madhvani Group had finalized the purchase of the Aberdare Country Club and the Ark from Fairmont Kenya, a development already intimated here way back in November last year. The group is now in the process to establish a reservations office in Nairobi to process bookings for their three Kenyan properties and the appointment of a General Manager Kenya has also been confirmed earlier this week.
Kenneth Mugira, who previously served as General Manager in both the Paraa and Mweya lodges in Murchisons Falls and Queen Elizabeth national parks respectively, before being posted to the Mara Leisure Camp, has assumed that position and will be based in Nairobi, also overseeing the operational side of the Madhvani Group’s properties.
Compiled by Jackie