Category Archives: World Cup

Sports Betting Comes of Age in Kenya

Sports betting used to be done at the Ngong horse races, and in a few casinos around Nairobi that have red carpet entrances. Now you don’t have to visit the casinos to place bets, as the mobile phone has become enables this.

Sports Betting in KenyaEvery day, the sports pages of the newspapers have about four (4) color half-page advertisements by different mobile sports platforms, enticing fans to bet on various matches, usually the English premier League. That’s a serious investment, and some are probably already making it back from the sport-betting public. The companies all have busy social media accounts, sign up via SMS, and mobile money payment options – mainly Mpesa.
Here are the main ones making a splash now (in no particular order):
Twitter: @betyetu
Phone: SMS amount to 29111
Payments: mpesa paybill 850704
The new arrival has media personalities Julie Gichuru and Carol Radull as promoters and had the (under-performing) sport cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario, as the chief guest at their official launch this month. Bills that you can bet on 277 different leagues, including Australia, Belgium, English (BPL),  Scottish etc. using their platform.
Twitter:  @MchezaKE #chezanamcheza
Phone: SMS cheza 29888
Payment: Mpesa top up 295525
Bills that they are the official sponsor of West Ham United, you can bet on the BPL and Italian leagues, and that they have a Kshs 9 million (~$90,000) jackpot
Twitter: @betway_ke #betwayinkenya
Phone: SMS fixtures to 29029
Payment: lipa na mpesa 880185
Bills that they have a Kshs 10 million jackpot and that they have Kenya’s best betting service. I get their email alerts even though I’m not signed on any league and it’s interesting that you can bet on many diverse events such as rugby and American Football, tennis, and, even politics like who will be the new US president in 2016 Sports Betting in Kenya 2
Twitter: @betinkenya
Phone: SMS join 29456
Payments: paybill 997270
Bill that they are Africa’s number one sports betting platform and official sponsor of the SportPesa premier league in Kenya. Also that they have a Kshs 18.5 million ($185,000) bonus and one can bet on the BPL, Euro, Middle East, and other leagues.

Twitter: @sportpesa

Phone: SMS game 79079 (Kshs 2 per SMS)
Payment: Mpesa paybill, airtel money, orange money
It’s amazing that even in faraway places, in rural Kenya, you find young men who are on the platforms. They may not even be able to watch the matches but can bet on them – even in places where it costs kshs 20 – 50 to watch an afternoon’s worth of English Premier League matches. If there are simultaneous matches, the kiosk owners change the channels to the different matches every few minutes to keep up with the action.

Succession Talk

There has been a lot about succession in the news today:

• Legendary investor Warren Buffet outlined his succession plan for his company and shareholders.
• Also, legendary World Cup match match predictor, Paul the octopus (and beloved by gamblers anonymous), died in his sleep in Germany, without leaving a successor.
• NIC Bank held a succession planning clinic for its customers and entrepreneurs
• This is also the week in which retiring Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph is being feted every other day somewhere in Nairobi while his successor Bob Collymore waits in the wings.
• And at Equity Bank, CEO James Mwangi, finally addressed and put to rest the matter of his succession. Announcing the banks Q3 results (with group asset of Kshs 136 billion ($1.6 billion) and profits of Kshs 6.4 billion ($80 million), he was asked about a long standing issue with some with investors and shareholders – ‘what would happen to the bank if something happened to him?’

His answer? Profit would go up because he’s currently highly paid, and his style over 18 years has changed to one who takes less risks! On a serious note he pointed out to several of the bank’s current managers who had more experience and knowledge than he did (but he is better than selling himself), and would form a pool from which the Board could pick out a successor. Some of the people he pointed out, and who may succeed him, include Gerald Warui (his principal deputy), Mbaabu Muchiri (ex coca cola and central bank who reduced housing bad loans), Michael Wachira (ex-Fortis), Allan Waititu (brought finacle to the bank & automation and is now in charge of new projects), Samuel Makome (ex-Citibank), Bildad Fwama (ex Citibank, British American), and Mary Wamae (who negotiated the first ever conversion of the Kenyan build society to a bank, the Helios deal, and regional investments in Uganda, Sudan, and currently in Rwanda and Tanzania which are aimed to open in Q1 of 2011)

He also noted that with his busy activities outside the bank at (Vision 2030, Advisor to UN & World Economic Program), he has delegated a lot to the point that he is not a signatory at the bank and does not sit on any of the seven board committees.

Kenya Easter Tourism Expo 2010

Past Easter expos: 2007, 2008

This year’s edition of the Kenya Tourism Board Easter 2010 Holiday Expo was held at the Sarit Center last weekend. Some of the notable offers were

Nairobi: KWS has self catering guest houses in most of the national parks and mountains areas. They also offer shuttle services to the Nairobi National Park from downtown Nairobi on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays (9.a.m and 2 p.m.) at a cost of 500/= (~$6.5) for adults and 200 for children

Country-wide: Heritage have full board and family adventure packages at their three Mara properties, (Siana, Intrepid and Explorer), three coast properties (Voyager Ziwani, Voyager beach resort, Kipungani -Lamu), as well as Samburu intrepid, and Great Rift lodge (Naivasha)

Ashnil Hotel has Aruba Lodge (located next to a man made dam inside Tsavo Park) at a cost of 6,000 ($80). They also have a new controversial camp inside the Masai Mara, but recently lost their 200 million shilling ($2.5 million) tented camp in Samburu in a matter of hours after heavy rain and flooding last month. Another property in the Samburu managed by Atua Enkop Africa got insurance compensation after flooding. Also not nature related but a looming disaster, the Bogoris Spa Resort and other hotels around Lake Bogoria must be wondering what will come after the recent Endorois court award that may affect their land holdings.

Also in the Central Rift there is also Lake Nakuru Lodge single in April to June is 8,000 while its 11,000 in high season from July to march, sunbird lodge at lake Elementaita at 5,200 full board from April to June, Kigio with Kigio Wildlife Camp and Malewa Wildlife Lodge

In Western Kenya, there’s a new entrant from Kakamega – Mago – an income generating venture of the Mago youth polytechnic in Kakamega with prices of 2,500 half board for residents missionaries and volunteers.

Kenya Coast: New North Coast Beach Hotelwon a prize for best stand the expo. They are trying to establish themselves with low introductory rates e.g. single half board is 5,800 ($75) and 6,500 full board up to December 2010 (except Christmas fortnight)
Mombasa continental has a flying package from Nairobi 22,750 ($295) per person for 2 nights half board up to July 2010, while singles normally pay 6,500 in the low season (April to June)
– Leisure Lodge Leisure Lodge, site of the Kenya ICT Board
connected government workshop has single rooms at 6,900 8,855 and 10,960 for Easter week.

East African Tanzania had Kempinski (Dar $130, Zanzibar $170, Serengeti $200 and Blue Bay), Plan Hotel (mapenzi beach camp special $333 and Neptune pwani beach $234) Hotels & lodges Tanzania (private island Zanzibar $264), Lamela Camp (Ngorongoro and Serengeti) and Gibbs Farm (Ngorongoro and Manyara)

Uganda had Lake Victoria Serena – opened in September 2009 with 2 nights flying on Air Uganda at $590 per person, Peal of Africa (tours of Bujagali falls) and ATV Safaris (ATV/quad bike safaris at lake Mburo)

otherSports: surprisingly did not see any world cup related travel opportunities to South Africa in June/July 2010 – a missed opportunity?
Kuoni have a package for golfers for $1,185 comprising 6 days of Golf at Windsor, Karen, Muthaiga and the Great Rift Courses, with the option of an extra trip to Masai Mara for ballooning
Wildflower have the Wildman Triathlon 24 -25 April 2010 at Turtle Bay Resort (Watamu)

Wedding: Serena Hotels had a beach wedding package for $1,380 per couple with 2 nights half board VIP stay, marriage license & certificate, wedding cake, champagne breakfast, wedding gift, bride manicure/pedicure, and guest of the couple enjoy 10% off.

Twitter Week: January 7

Here’s a summary of my week on Twitter in a top 5 format covering traffic and restaurant woes

5. Raring for the World Cup in South Africa: – ESPN to broadcast 2010 world cup in 3D http (via Business pundit)
– Thinking of driving to world cup in SA? AA of Kenya offer (i) car passport (ii) international driver license (iii) COMESA insurance; r/t @bugzville58 good idea you should though Kampala bus is also offering a trip for about 800 dollars one way.

4. Traffic in Nairobi was Good and then Bad: – Nairobi should remain like this: no traffic, or queues and faster bandwidth. Lets close Thika & Nakuru roads and #devolve the rest to shags

– Back to 5 day week and a matatu strike in Kenya to kick off 2010; ying yang: Nairobi public transit strike means booming business for taxis (good luck getting one this evening); r/t @tmsruge I was in the CBD today. All streets were a parking lot. No point taking either as you won’t get anywhere. #footing works best! ; Roads not so bad out of town 30min stationary then 10 min cruise home #matatustrike
– R/t @MoSande KE Matatus call off nationwide strike after PM promises to address their grievances. Normal service to resume immediately
– @inexes and i hear someone may be ending Mombasa vacation this evening #nairobitraffic; @karuoro someone just flew in from Mombasa holiday

3. Odds and ends: – From Nairobi Star: statehouse complains about Lucy worst dressed rank, while Atwoli is scandalized–says his peers in 150 wool class are Moi & Kirubi
– The Tamarind Group has taken over the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden Restaurant, which is renamed Tamambo KBCG
– Repeat of ‘House of cards’ showing on CNBC Africa. Documentary should be done on Nairobi or Nigeria shares bull run and bust
– Books first have buy pizza in happy hour, get one free. But also charge Kshs. 100 for take away pizza cartons – why?

2. Safaricom mandatory SIM registration, and costly 3G: – Via @kahenya solutions to improving mobile competition in #Kenya, and break #Safaricom domination of #3G
– via @kainvestor #Safaricom forcing new users to register their sim cards, which can’t be activated unless registered with an ID ->safcom=Gok r/t @LarryMadowo Its now a legal requirement for ALL SIM card holders to be registered & #Safaricom move is only the 1st step but @LarryMadowo @kainvestor Safaricom already has 1/2 their subscriber details from m-pesa accounts
– Can’t find a reliable #zain #zap money transfer agent in Kenya? Try the local post office or #posta (via #introverted blog post)
– Consumers getting unhappy about #Safaricom #internet bundle costs but they rarely leave @archermishale the word is out, be careful how you use expensive Safaricom data bundles – are they billing on supa ongea tariff?

1 It’s 2010: Happy New Year: Against sound advice, went out and got served a crap lunch. Remember waiters & kitchen staff are working, not celebrating the holidays
– Best food prayer I’ve heard ‘. . Also for the wonderful meal, bless the pockets that may have been depleted by it’
– Looking at the @KenyaBuzz year end calendar – Pole Dancing Competition at Tembo Disco Mombasa

Motoring Moment: Spare Parts and Bad Driving

Bad Driving today in Kenya, there is a matatu (public mini-bus) strike protesting at new crackdown by policemen for bribes, noise pollution etc. Matatu’s get blamed for a lot of the bad & dangerous driving behaviour on Kenya roads. This used to be the case, but the bad driving trend has passed on, and you’re just as likely to see over-lapping and traffic gridlock caused by small cars (especially taxis), buses, minister & other government VIP’s – who all over-lap traffic and engage in other risky road behaviour.

Shell Quitting BBC reports Shell petroleum will quit operation in 20 African countries disposing of refinery, storage and product sales. In 2008 Shell had already left some 15 African countries, and rumoured suitors for their assets included Oil Libya Morocco Oil in Northern Africa and Engen in southern Africa. Here in Kenya @coldtusker reckons KenolKobil would be interested if they could line up enough funding. Total of France are likely to snap up some stations after taking over Chevron, and the government will likely arm-twist a fraction of the Shell assets to go to parastatal National Oil Corp of Kenya (NOCK)

Read on Cars: also got the latest issue of AUTOnews published by the Automobile Association of Kenyasome gems in it:

In another world cup opportunity pitch, the AA of Kenya ( is offering:
– Car Net a.k.a passport eliminates hassle of lodging log-books or cash duty as you cross border points
International Driver License that allows Kenyans to drive across borders
– COMESA insurance that covers Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa

Also, (in the issue), did you know there are 9 Kinds of Spare Parts? I thought there were just two genuine and fake, but according to the AA the 9 are:

9. Off cuts – whole chunks of cars from accidents or scrap
8. Imported used parts (also scrap from cars shipped to Kenya in mixed load containers)
7. Stolen parts (from chop shops)
6. Reconditioned parts – salvaged parts which vendors claim to have re-conditioned and tested (likely an impossible task)
5. Salvage parts – taken piece by piece from wrecked cars
4. Counterfeit parts – illegal parts branded as genuine
3. Non-originals – independent brands which copy established brands
2. Original equipment (OE) parts – independent parts approved by manufacturers
1. Genuine parts – made by vehicle manufacturer, brand new & guaranteed with warranty

Cheap Bikes are Good Business: Toyota Kenya sells Yamaha motorbikes including the kazi ngumu which costs Kshs 99,000 (~$1,320) and comes with 1 year warranty, 2 free service schedules, free registration, and a free helmet. Elsewhere in the issue, the Toyota Marketing Manager says the arrival of cheap (Chinese) bikes are boosting their (Yamaha) sales, saying low cost brands offered an entry point, but as motorcycle market has become established they can afford higher quality machines and turn to Yamaha for superior reliability, durability and performance…we are not worried about used imports, they are not a bad thing, certainly there are anomalies in standards and much duty evasion, but mitumba is a way for people to get started, and as they flourish they will look for better and newer products

From Twitter – the classic @roomthinker: You can buy a Toyota Vitz in 2 configurations: 128MB and 256MB #AVitzIsNotACar
– @ArcherMishale: Overheard on FB: In addition to #ToyotaFeets #Feetsubishi #Legsus, Kenyans will also be on #KNEEsanPatrol! LOL!!

– @MwaiKibaki: Kenyans should not listen to radio traffic reports. There have been no traffic jams in Nairobi since January 2003