It’s Christmas eve. And Christmas means family time. It means vacation time. It’s a time to be jolly with family and friends.
And while you thought that everyone would be staying home because of the Covid-19 situation, you realise there’s barely anyone left in our estates.
Then it comes to mind that travelling would be the best option, albeit last minute just so to avoid a lonely week to the New Year at home.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week recommended that avoiding family gatherings would be ‘the safest wager’ over Christmas, insisting there is no zero-risk option for traditional holiday merry-making during the pandemic.
Officials of the organisation said it was down to governments to weigh the economic and social benefits of loosening pandemic restrictions over the festive period, while individuals would have to decide whether they might be putting their vulnerable kin at risk.
The international organisation said people should be mindful of the decisions they take during the festive season and urged that celebrations be held outdoors if possible.
“Participants should wear masks and maintain physical distancing,” WHO alerted.
Christmas like no other
The same caution was thrown at Kenyans on Tuesday by the government spokesman Cyrus Oguna advising a no-travel Christmas, making this an unusual festive season.
“I know we love our parents very much so. But the gift that we are requesting you to buy for your parents is not to visit them if you really love them.
I know that might sound a bit insensitive, but this is the reality of the times that we are in.
You can send something to them using other means, but if you really love your parents, do not visit them during this period of Christmas,” he cautioned.
This advice by the government and WHO sounds like a inhibitant to the traditional December festivities as we know them.
However, if you’re still inclined to celebrate Christmas or New Year away from home, a little bit of extra planning and some due diligence can suffice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined several measures to ensure safety during travel, such as wearing masks, washing or sanitising your hands often, keeping atleast six feet apart from people who don’t live with you, whenever possible.
So in all likelihood, travelling would entail going on short, closer-to-home trips where activities are based outdoors and appropriate social distancing measures can be properly maintained.
However, those that are looking to travel far should again find destinations that allow them to enjoy the great outdoors, because, well…social distancing.
So, instead of travelling aboard the planes or the Standard Gauge Railway, why not take a road trip and enjoy the views, to minimise contact and health risks?
At the same time , you will also be venturing out of the usual coast and Naivasha destinations and explore less crowded destinations.
And what is a safer place to vacation other than a holiday home?
Silvano Inyangala, the project manager at Superior Home’s Pazuri at Vipingo in Kilifi county agrees.
He positions vacation rentals as a safer option to other places one would choose to go on holiday, especially at this time.
For them, they are following strict health protocols including, building in a 24-hour waiting period between guests.
“To ensure maximum hygiene, our employees regularly undergo health checks in compliance with regulatory requirements.
We disinfect every guest room after our regular cleaning services. And we are sure to host new guests at least after 24 hours,” Inyagala confirms.
Besides the usual cleaning, the holiday homes have ensured strict social distancing restrictions are adhered to in the common areas.
Additionally, disinfection devices have been placed at all common areas, to ensure that guests enjoy their time at the homes.
The property spelt ‘safety’ quite literally. First, unlike the hotel setting where guests get to share small common spaces, such as elevators and corridors, the holiday home offered more comfort from a health standpoint.
We bumped into several disinfecting booths before settling in our villa. Inyagala and his team would not allow any of us to ignore the booths. “Sanitise. Sanitise. Sanitise,” he kept reminding us.
And honestly it was exhausting and annoying at some point, but hey…everything and anything to fight this bogey.
The homes, which are up for sale, are also a good choice for families seeking new homes to replace their currently crammed spaces or escape apartment buildings that preclude social distancing.
The homes sit on 105 acres, hosting a total of 372 units after completion. For the buyers, a two-bedroom villa goes for Sh12.98 million, the three-bedroomSh16.98 million while the four-bedroom villas go for Sh20.98million.
But for those looking to spend a night or two, charges are Sh7,000 full board per head, Sh6,000 half board and Sh5,000 bed and breakfast.
Apart from the advantage of allowing you to have a personal kitchen to use and cook in to ensure that there is no risk of contamination, the vacation homes also offer the opportunity for you to cook healthier meals while you are away from home, among other benefits.
For instance, you get to experience the sunrise as you sit at the rooftop at say, 6:30am with your coffee or cold drink and catch the sunrise, followed by an equally refreshing breakfast. A perfect way to start the day, no?
The beach is about three kilometres from the homes. Head out, fully packed for a good swim.
But don’t work too hard, no day is complete without a power nap while you pretend to read a book, as you wait for the tides.
In the early afternoon the shore and beach is clear. The waters play hard to get, but be patient. Good things take time.
They start coming close. At this point you can grab a snorkel and check out the underwater life. But we chose not to test the waters.
It was unanimously decided that we’ll create our own ‘baby pool’ around the shores. When others swam, we played with water.
We made sure that we were able to stand and sit at our own pleasure in the ocean. Water past our waist was a no-go zone. But swim or play, we all had our share of fun.
- They are cheaper than hotels, especially if you’re renting for a longer period. In addition to having more space, you can also save on food expenses by using the fully equiped kitchen and washing machine.
- Lower possibility of quarantine in vacation homes.
- The standards you set for cleanliness is up to you and you will have peace of mind knowing that none of the nooks and crannies were missed.
- Fewer people in holiday homes, means limited exposure.