UGANDA AIRLINES’ NONSTOP FLIGHTS TO MOMBASA OPEN UP DESTINATION KENYA COAST
(Posted 17th November 2019)
Travel to Mombasa, after the demise of Air Uganda which operated daily CRJ200 flights between Entebbe and the Kenyan port city, was challenging to say the least, given the transit hassle in Nairobi which included a change of terminals. It was also significantly more expensive to fly to Mombasa via Nairobi, compared to the return fare now charged by Uganda Airlines of US Dollars 318.
All this is now a thing of the past however after Uganda Airlines (www.ugandairlines.com) launched nonstop flights last week, once again making visits on business and for leisure as easy as it comes.
The flights – presently three per week but an increase to four is anticipated before the end of the year – leave Entebbe on Monday, Friday and Sunday, and the timings bring a weekend trip to the coast within the grasp of many.
The aircraft used for the service is a new 76 seat, dual class CRJ900 which, for the flight duration of 1 hour 45 minutes is comfortable with a 1×2 seat configuration in business and a 2×2 seat configuration in economy class.
The newly launched flights are expected to substantially up the interest levels again for travelers from Uganda wanting to spend a long weekend or a couple of days in one of Kenya’s famous beach resorts.
ATCNews was invited to travel on the inaugural flight from Entebbe to Mombasa, where upon landing the aircraft was greeted with the traditional water cannon welcome following which the airline hosted a welcome reception for invited guests at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
The trip was aimed to explore resorts along the beaches both north and south of Mombasa and give ATCNews readers but also the readers of the Uganda Airlines inflight magazine Ng’aali, or Crested Crane in English pointers to really good resorts with great accommodation packages, making a shorter or longer vacation very affordable.
I stayed at the ‘PrideInn Paradise‘, a resort recently elevated to 5 star status by the Kenya Tourism Regulatory Authority. PrideInn Paradise is a complex with a wide beachfront, plenty of facilities aimed to make a guest’s stay comfortable and enjoyable and a sister hotel – more about the Flamingo by PrideInn later – nearby.
The Paradise has made its name in recent years as a leading conference hotel in Kenya. The entrance to the meeting facilities is kept separate from the main entrance of the hotel to avoid too much mixing of those who are at the resort on ‘business‘ and those who have come for leisure.
Hence is the PrideInn Paradise a hotel for business but also a resort for families with children, couples and of course solo travelers too.
Children have several special places where they are looked after, and as witnessed close up and personal did a number of conference participants take advantage of these facilities, being sure that the little ones, while Mom was busy in the conference room, were equally kept busy with games and fun activities under the watchful eyes of qualified and trained personnel.
The owners of PrideInn Hotels & Conferences only a week ago appointed one of Kenya’s leading chefs as their new Group Director of Food and Beverages, clearly intent to raise the standards of their food offerings even further, though the variety of the offerings at breakfast, lunch and dinner could already be described as ‘rich‘ by any standards.
The main restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner is complemented by an a la carte restaurant and pizzas, burgers and similar dishes are of course available throughout the day and can be ordered from the poolside sunbed or the pool bar just as easily as from the food outlets directly.
I found the resort’s bedrooms large, most of them with a view on to the ocean or otherwise a view across one of the pools or the gardens.
(Bedroom – king size bed and of course are tea / coffee making facilities available in every room)
The PrideInn Paradise also offers their guests a fully loaded Spa and a well equipped gym while beach games like volleyball are organized every day by the resort’s animation team – a group of employees dedicated to keeping guests entertained – and fit every day of the week.
At the Paradise guests can book half board or full board packages, the latter including everything from breakfast over lunch to the afternoon tea and dinner, while the former excludes lunch.
At the nearby Flamingo by PrideInns, a resort very similar to Paradise, is the meal concept enhanced by an ‘all inclusive‘ offer which allows guests the consumption of soft drinks, local beers and red or white house wine without having to pay for this as an extra.
That concept allows travelers to keep whatever cash they bring for real extras, like souvenirs or tuk tuk rides to explore the neighbourhood and not need worry what bill has piled up for beers and wine when checking out.
Having covered families, couples and solo travelers with the two Shanzu based resorts does PrideInn also however have some very special deals for the younger generation, those who, tired of the night life in Kampala, want to switch scenes and go clubbing in Mombasa.
In Nyali, the suburb nearest to the island of Mombasa north across the bridge, does PrideInn operate a smaller hotel with standard and superior rooms but also suites and cottages. PrideInn Express offers excellent rates especially on weekends as the hotel is otherwise geared to business travelers and conference guests during the week.
The PrideInn Nyali is located very close to the main night clubs in Nyali and what better way for this age group to spend a weekend when both Friday night and Saturday night beckon and Sunday allows to sleep in as the return flight to Entebbe only takes off at 5 p.m., i.e. requires check in at 3 p.m.
Does this sound like a perfect outing for a group of friends wanting to have some fun or what?
The different types of room allow for different budgets but with rates of about 60 US Dollars a night for a double – that is for two people – on Bed and Breakfast, do such trips come any more affordable?
I certainly enjoyed my stay, regardless of the weather at the time, and my visits to the other two facilities only reaffirmed my first impression, that PrideInn Hotels are a choice partner for visitors from Uganda, offering something for every budget.
A return flight on Uganda Airlines goes for 318 US Dollars and adding to that the respective accommodation packages for weekends – Ugandan citizens and expats living in Uganda can take full advantage of the East African residents rates – and the transfers to and from the airports in Entebbe and Mombasa makes for a most attractively priced option for a quick and easy getaway.
Car hire is incidentally also available from PrideInn directly at equally affordable tariffs, certainly an option for travelers staying longer than a weekend and wanting to play some golf or simply explore other parts of the Kenya coast.
And for those who after their first experience then really take to PrideInn Hotels, they have another property in Mombasa proper – worth a consideration for those traveling on business to the coast – have a PrideInn Express in Ukunda / South Coast and three properties in Nairobi, located in the Westlands area of the Kenyan capital, the PrideInn Westlands, PrideInn Raphta Road and PrideInn Lantana Suites.
Check out www.prideinn.co.ke for details on tariffs or else have your travel agent get you the best deal … of course in this day and age, booking all services online, for those savvy enough, is a viable alternative and it can be done from the comfort of one’s living room, using a smartphone or a laptop and payment by leading credit cards can be safely done.
As mentioned before, flights to Mombasa can be booked online via www.ugandairlines.com or at the airline’s offices in Kampala and Entebbe.