Twist as CEO Bumps Into Employee at Naivasha Safari Rally

A KCB Safari Rally car drifts in the dust in Naivasha in June 2022
A KCB Safari Rally car drifts in the dust in Naivasha in June 2022

I held Shamim’s hand as the Safari Rally cars were showcased in Nairobi, ready to unsettle the Naivasha dust that would linger in the sunlight before settling softly and gently kissing the ground.

She closed her eyes and felt the roar of the engine of the KCB Safari Rally car, then looked into my eyes, extending her invitation for this new adventure.

Who was I to resist? As some revellers waited for the rush hour, we headed straight to Vasha a few days before the rally began on Thursday, June 22.  

Vasha, as they call it, is a town full of fun, passion, adrenaline and… hmm… love. But this year’s one was quite different. Forget the traffic snarl-ups, supermarkets, and wines and spirits running out of stock.

I ran into our CEO while restocking my favourite Bourbon whiskey brand and getting some refreshments. We gazed at each other for a while. But wait….

Let’s rewind. The beginning of the year. I found love. Unlikely, as I was punching against all odds. We had so much in common. The outdoors, trying new restaurants and recipes, music, and movies.

We’d spend hours talking about our favourite books, movies, and music. We’d go on long walks in the park, exploring new trails and hidden gems. We’d cook together, go to the movies, see live music, and attend art exhibitions.

I was smitten. I’d never felt this way about anyone before. She was everything I’d ever wanted in a partner. Kind, funny, intelligent, and beautiful. I knew I had to win her over.

Shamim was an automobile enthusiast. She’d spend hours on TikTok, playing these quizzes where you name all the cars from their logos (emblems). I’d never heard of some cars in my 30 years.

Her birthday in June coincided with the Safari Rally, and I, being a novice, was down for the best time of my life.

The 2023 Safari Rally will start on June 22, 2023 in Naivasha
The 2023 Safari Rally will start on June 22, 2023 in Naivasha

I had never been to a rally before. I didn’t know what to expect. But I was excited to see Shamim so happy.

Since January, I had been counting down the days until my leave. I had been approved for June, and I couldn't wait to lie in a tent next to a campfire, listening to Safari Rally lovers confuse and excite me with stories on Carl Tundo, Anne Taieth & Sylvia King.

I am always fascinated by the Safari Rally, which captures the essence of Kenya, a country of beauty and danger, excitement and tradition. This would be an experience I would never forget.

I looked forward to fostering camaraderie with other rally fans, sharing stories and laughs around the campfire. Thought about watching the high-octane racing, feeling the crowd's excitement, and cheering on my favourite drivers. However, watching the helicopters fly above the rising dust, swirling and dancing past the speeding cars was what I anticipated the most.

I knew that my time at the Safari Rally would be unforgettable. It would be a time to relax, have fun, learn about Kenya's culture and history, and experience the thrill of motorsport.

As we debated whether to hire a tent or a hotel, Shamim reminisced about her last experience at the Safari Rally.

“Last time, I stood on top of my car with binoculars, enjoying the symphony of power and speed, watching the racing cars charge through the course,” she said. “It was exhilarating. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself.”

Convincing my boss and the HR department to give me leave in June was challenging. So many important things were happening at work that week: new staff were scheduled to start, we had an annual general meeting, and several new branches were opening. I had to provide a compelling justification for my request.

KCB's Nikil Sachania will be racing in the 2023 Safari Rally in Naivasha
KCB's Nikil Sachania will be racing in the 2023 Safari Rally in Naivasha

The Safari Rally was scheduled for Thursday, June 22, to Sunday, June 25.

“Asking for leave in time for the Safari Rally,” my CEO stated as I shook my head lightly.

“Ahh… just some rest. Maybe I’ll pass by on the weekend to see the rally as I return from upcountry,” I added as we laughed.

Thus, bumping into him at the rally was quite funny as I sought change for my Ksh 1,000 notes or a merchant who swiped debit cards.

“Ah, gentleman, uko huku pia,” he stated. “I knew you love Safari Rally

“But when I asked if you would come to the Safari Rally, I wanted to give you a heads up to avoid carrying lots of cash for transactions,” my CEO stated, laughing.

“Wee… kupata change imekua noma,” I responded.

“Yes, but I remember you bank with KCB, right?” he asked as we strolled towards his car.

“Yes, but the nearest bank is in Vasha town. I don’t want to miss today,” I argued.

“I know, but mambo ni chap chap. KCB has introduced a new ‘Pay With KCB’ service that allows merchants to receive payments from multiple payment platforms through a single KCB Till number.

“You can pay from any channel via the new KCB Paybill 522533, and the funds will be instantly deposited into merchants’ bank accounts for free,” he explained.

Make free payments with the new KCB Paybill 522533
Make free payments with the new KCB Paybill 522533

I was intrigued.

Via the new KCB Paybill 522533, you can pay from your KCB Account using the KCB App & USD *522#.

You can also pay from your Vooma wallet using *844# & Vooma App. Customers paying with M-PESA can do so via Buy Goods, Paybill 522533. The Paybill can also be used via Airtel money by dialling *222# and Telkom by dialling *160#. 

“Let me top you up with some Ksh10,000 so that you enjoy yourself. I am here with my family. You can join us too,” he surprised me.

“Thank you, sir. Maybe we will meet at a campfire or scavenger hunt tomorrow after the races. My girlfriend and I are on the far end,” I answered.

“Oh, nice. I would love to meet her. You can even detour to flower farms within Naivasha's rally racing circuit and get to know the source of the world's top acclaimed flowers and, of course, get her some flowers now that you can pay instantly via the new KCB Paybill 522533,” he joked as we promised to catch up later.

With my refreshments, I headed straight to catch up with my bae. We looked forward to cheering Nikhil Sachania, Evans Kavisi and other rally drivers while celebrating 70 years of Safari Rally.

Some couples joined us outside our tent just as Shamim and I wanted to stay inside.

“Ah! Ah! Sherehe ni uku nje! Come, let’s party,” Joash stated.

KCB's Evans Kavisi will be racing in the 2023 Safari Rally in Naivasha
KCB's Evans Kavisi will be racing in the 2023 Safari Rally in Naivasha

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