Home Away: Make Your Next Holiday a Self-Catering Trip
Planning the details of a family or group holiday is a tricky task. On top of the list of considerations is accommodation. And for a large group of travellers, each with individual preferences on budget, comfort and food, a hotel stay may not be the best option. But have you ever thought of trying a self-catering holiday?
What is self-catering?
A self-catering home is a self-contained house or cottage offering furnished accommodation for travellers. Visitors bring their own food and drinks and prepare their own meals though, depending on the accommodation, the house may also come with a cook.
For a family or group of friends travelling together, a self-catering house can create the same special holiday moments at a fraction of what a hotel would cost; they are generally relatively inexpensive – especially if you are splitting costs. You also get the whole house to yourself without having to share your common spaces with strangers. And you get to cater your menu and drinks to your taste without having the hefty cost of eating out every meal. If you have very specific needs or tastes, you can even travel with your own nanny or cook.
Sapper Hut in the Aberdare National Park is one of KWS's 28 self-catering houses around the country. (KWS)
KWS Houses – all Kenya’s hotspots on a budget
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is the most well-known provider of self-catering accommodation in Kenya. For example, they offer the four-bedroom Sabuk Guest House inside the scenic Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park for a resident price of Ksh 20,000 a night. Being the priciest of their more than 20 self-catering houses around the country, that fee might sound out of reach at first, but look at the detail and you’ll find it’s quite the opposite. The house sleeps up to 10 people, meaning at full-capacity, travellers sharing the accommodation will each be paying a mere Ksh 2,000 a night. This is great value especially for longer stays. And KWS has self-catering houses all over Kenya – from the beach to Mt. Kenya to some of the prime locations within game parks – with prices ranging from as low as Ksh 2,500 a night. Check them out on kws.go.ke/where-to-stay.
Self-catering offers the best of two worlds by mixing up the wonder of travel with the comforts of home which perhaps is the biggest allure of a self-catering holiday. Sara Engel who runs Discover Watamu, a service that offers rental accommodation in the beautiful beachside town, says, “The only real part of ‘self’ in self-catering is buying your own food and drink. So you eat what you want.”
Yin Yang House, a 4-bedroom self-catering house in Mida Forest. (Discover Watamu)
Hotel meals come at a premium, and the cost is even more exorbitant when you’re a group of travellers. Cooking for yourself not only saves on costs but also offers flexibility. It accommodates for everyone’s eating preferences; vegetarian, low-fat, medical and belief-based diets. That’s an elusive dynamic to find on most holidays and one which enriches the experience for everyone. Discover Watamu’s houses range from 2 bedroom cottages up to 5 bedroom villas to suit all groups of families and friends and all budgets.
For more self-catering options, visit: Langata Link Holiday Homes, SafariNow, or the Kenyabuzz.com self-catering directory. In Kenya, there are thousands of self-catering houses in every corner of the country at every price point. If you are looking for value, comfort and flexibility on your next vacation, why not give self-catering a try?