African Safari Club
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African Safari Club was actually a tour operator as opposed to a club. They operate mainly in Africa and Egypt and their websites claim they were founded in 1967 and now own several cruise ships and hotels which they operate. Daily Mail Reader offers are provided by this company.
The founder of African Safari Club, Karl Jakob Rüdin, a Swiss national born in 1939, started tour operating and hotel operations in Kenya in 1967, with the erection of his first hotel, the Watamu Beach Hotel. Rüdin started his early career in Switzerland as an Air line operator, namely of Globe Air Globe Air History, financed by Billionaire arts collector R. Staechelin.
After the crash of an air plane, and irregularities found during the after crash investigation, Rüdin was necessitated to disappear from front lines. So Kenya, a destination he knew from his air line back ground, proved best.
With the money of Staechelin, Rüdin soon acquired more hotels and made contacts with first the local authorities (Emanuel Mahihu, then Coast Province Commissioner), who soon enabled him to get into business with the highest authorities, i.e. the President Kenyatta. He built a Hotel for Mahihu, the Bahari Beach Hotel, and as well for Kenyatta, the Silver Beach Hotel and the Silver Star Hotel. From then, nothing stood in his way, and he became one of the tycoons of Kenya.
At the height of his business activities, app in 1990, he owned/operated the following hotels, safari lodges, and tourist related businesses:
Hotels and Safari Lodges:
- Watamu Beach Hotel
- Sea Horse Club
- Malaika Beach Hotel
- Dolphin Beach Hotel
- Flamingo Beach Hotel
- Silver Beach Hotel
- Silver Star Hotel
- Bahari Beach Hotel
- Shimo La Tewa Hotel (Casr al Bahar)
- Coral Beach Hotel
- Palm Beach Hotel
- Shanzu Beach Hotel
- Paradise Beach Hotel
- Mara Buffalo Camp
- Crocodile Camp
- Kimana Lodge
- M.S. Royal Star- 5,600 Tons, auctioned in 2009
- M.S. Star of Luxor- Egypt Based
- M.S Da Vinci – Egypt Based
- M.S Fleurette- Egypt Based
- 1 x DC 10, sold in 2002
- 1 x Airbus A310-308
- 5 x De Havilland Twin Otter, all sold but one.
- 1 x Cessna 206T (sold in 2004)
- 1 x Cessna 414
It was until 1995 that Rüdin managed his vast and complicated net of holdings, companies with the help of both sons, Roland and Hans Peter Rüdin. After Rüdin fell out with Roland due to his general inability of team working with others, the down fall of African started slowly but steadily. A last and potentially successful attempt to rescue the company began with the engagement of Kai Wulff as the CEO of the group. He took the company from a net asset value of 250M USD to a purchase offer of 500M USD before the owner family started to interfere with management once more and misappropriated funds which were allocated to renovations, plane upgrades and employee welfare. Mr. Wulff had successfully implemented an employee first policy and increased efficiency. The airline was changed to Airbus A310 from DC10 and the company was considering expanding into South Coast and other countries.
After Mr. Wulff lost the mandate to control all aspects of the group, the company operated constantly with loss balances, and could no longer pay regular salaries of their 3000 employees as from 2003/2004. Rüdin started to sell the companies assets in order to continue with its operation, which was never really modernized due to Rüdins own view of things, which he almost always forced on to everyone interacting with him.
A series of fires within the hotel group was attributed to have been arson laid by disgruntled employees, and things worsened in 2008, with the collapse of tourist bookings due to the Countries (Kenya) post polling violence.
On 16 March 2011, African Safari Club UK, the main provider of tourists for Rüdins Kenya operation became insolvent and ceased trading with 500 UK customers that were in Kenya repatriated by the CAA . It is not clear what impact the collapse of the UK sales organisation will have on the remaining operations, But Rüdin, now in his eighties, wows to fight on, despite having lost the loyalty of most of his employees. It is reported that K.J. Rüdin died in March 2013 of a heart attack in his home in Mombasa.
African Charity Work
Medical and Education Aid to Kenya. African Safari Club were awarded a M.E.A.K certification for their assistance with travel to and within Africa.
The Samson Chivatsi Charity
An African educational charity specialising in the building and maintaining of schools best known for the touring choir of African children known as The Singing Children of Africa. The SCA was founded in 1998 by couple Maureen and Ian McIntyre. Following a holiday in Kenya the couple were motivated to improve the educational and health opportunities for Kenyan children. Establishing a school in Utange, near Mozambique, the couple provide education and vaccinations to the local children and were commended by the Kenyan vaccination officer for having healthiest children they had seen.