Exorbitant room charges

2013-12-11 00:00

IF you are considering going to Mthatha to look for accommodation ahead of the funeral of Nelson Mandela, expect to dig deep into your pockets.

This comes as accommodation establishments in Mthatha yesterday reported being either fully or almost fully-booked.

Home owners in and around the town, including Qunu, are charging visitors between R1 500 and R3 000 per night per room.

This is despite the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency encouraging them not to charge guests more than R500 per person, including bed and breakfast.

A Northcrest man, who is renting his four bedroom house, said he charged R1 800 per person.

Some households in Qunu were also renting rondavels and houses to the media to the tune of R2 000 a night.

Hotel Savoy’s marketing manager Lee Myles said the hotel was fully booked, but they were trying to accommodate their additional guests at B&Bs and guest houses that still have rooms.

“There could be a last minute scramble for accommodation,” she said.

Myles, however, said the hotel still charged the same rates depending on the type of room.

The Dans Country Lodge and Events Centre was fully-booked since Friday due to pre-booking made by government officials a few months ago.

Although The Whitehouse guesthouse in Mthatha still has some rooms, it has doubled its price, said a manager who identified herself as Namhla.

She said they increased their rates because of the increased demand.

“When there is a big event, there is increased accommodation demand so the rates have gone up just as it did during the Soccer World Cup in places that hosted the tournament,” she said.

Eastern Cape Arrive Alive spokesperson Tsepo Machaea said traffic was starting to pick up in the capital town.

He said motorists could use alternative routes including Northcrest on the N2’s Durban side which joins the R61 and then N2 to East London.

There was also 2,6 km detour via Qunu on the N2 just before Mandela’s house.

Machaea said by Sunday the route leading to Qunu would be closed.

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