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South Africa-based hospitality firm Mantis to open lodge in Mara


Tourists at the Masai Mara. FILE PHOTO | NMG

South Africa-based hospitality and travel group Mantis is set to open its first lodge in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, hoping to tap the popular Safari tours whose key attractions include the world-renowned wildebeest migration.

Mantis, which operates privately owned, managed and branded five-star properties and lodges across the world, said on Tuesday that the new lodge would be located in the Enonkishu Conservancy on the northern boundary of the game reserve and will feature 20 tented suites.

The company expects to open the lodge by 2024.

“The Maasai Mara is one of the most renown wildlife conservation and wilderness areas in Africa, and we are excited to offer guests sustainable adventures, which celebrate the region’s culture and stay true to the roots of safari,” said Mantis Collection chief executive Paul Gardiner.

The group is partnering in the project with Kenya-based real estate company Rakam Investment Ltd.

Mantis was founded in 2000 by business tycoon and conservationist Adrian Gardiner.

In 2018, French hospitality group and Europe biggest hotel chain Accor Hotels acquired a 50 percent stake in Mantis Group. Accor also owns Ibis Styles and Movenpick Residences hotels in Nairobi’s Westlands.

Mantis and Accor’s Kenya expansion plan comes against the backdrop of a string of heavy investments by leading luxury hotels in Kenya in the last few years, targeting the city’s position as the region’s financial hub.

Even then the local hospitality industry has slowed down lately with some establishments being closed down from low visitor numbers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya had a total of 23 internationally branded hotels in its pipeline before Covid struck.

According to the 2020 Pipeline Report, Ethiopia and Kenya had the highest number of hotel spaces in the pipeline — at 6,356 and 3,588 of the 13,850 rooms to be completed in East Africa respectively.

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