How rogue tour guides mint money diverting tourists to private ranches
Foreign tourists visiting Kenya have revealed harrowing details of how they are defrauded by rogue tour guides who devalue their experiences by diverting them to private ranches instead of national parks.
Nairobi News has learnt that the rogue guides work in cahoots with private ranch owners to deceive tourists on various destinations.
Mr Joshua Gibbons, a tourist from United Kingdom, who spoke to us, narrated how his intended visit to Tsavo East park from Mombasa with his Kenyan partner ended up in a private ranch.
Mr Gibbons offered photographic evidence to back his claim.
“We believed we paid 26k for a trip to Tsavo East and after a shorter journey than expected of 3 hours from Mombasa we were apparently there. I checked on the map on my phone and it didn’t seem like we were really in the national park,” Mr Gibbons told Nairobi News.
While they were there, they were shocked to realise that all the tourists at the scene believed they were in Tsavo East.
“Everyone there had made them believe that they were in Tsavo East, we were really shocked,” Mr Gibbons said.
“Even a couple that booked through (a major UK booking company) had also been conned.”
On confronting their tour guide, one Mr Moses Ajuma, he was told that the ranch is still part of the Tsavo.
“My partner then phoned her uncle to help them check out and establish where they were and it emerged that we were in a private ranch,” said Mr Gibbons.
ESCALATE THE MATTER
The tourists immediately contacted Kenya Wildlife Services officers who intervened, but on condition that the tourists agree not to escalate the matter.
The KWS captain solved that Mr Gibbons and his Kenyan partner be given back part of their money.
“Out of the Sh 26,000 we had paid, they only gave us Sh 7,000. They then said that the guide will take Sh 5,000 and another Sh 5,500 was for the fuel we used,” he said.
When Nairobi News contacted the tour guide company identified as Spot Kenya Safaris, the manager identified as Emmanuel said that he was equally shocked when the matter was raised to him.
“The guide did not even inform me that he was having any visitors with him and I was not aware of it,” he said.
On his part, Mr Ajuma said that he ensured that they sorted out the problem with the tourists and that both parties were satisfied.