OF THE KENYA SOUTH COAST TOUR INDUSTRY
- - Saint
Stephen's Inter-Denominational Chapel in the grounds of Africana Sea
Lodge was on August 16, 1991, packed with friends of all races and
from all walks of life for the 'Thanksgiving Service' for the Life of
Daniel Power le Poer Trench - one of the early pioneers of Kenya’s
Born in Nyeri in 1919 he
died on July 4, 1991 after living at Jadini, Diani, for most of his
He leaves three children
- Ian, Chris and Sarah, and four grand children.
It was his parents Maxie
and Nelly Poer, Trench who in the thirties started Jadini - the only
other, hotel at Diane then being ‘Two Fishes’.
Around Jadini in those
days was a most ‘fantastic forest’ in which roamed lions, buffalo,
leopard, several species of buck and colobus monkeys.
Jadini was sold to a Mr.
Robinson in 1969 and bought by Alliance Hotels in 1970.
It marked the start of
what was to become a most successful hotel group which presently also
Africana Sea Lodge;
Safari Beach Hotel, Diani, and Naro Moro River Lodge in the foothills
of Mount Kenya.
It also manages Tropical
-- Dan Trench seen at his
house on Jadini Beach - a beautiful part of Kenya‘s south
coast, which he greatly loved and where he spent most of his
Since 1970 Jadini Beach
Hotel has boasted one of the highest bed occupancy rates at the coast
and has continued to grow both in size and popularity with Dan taking
a keen interest in all developments there, particularly in its recent
Shs. 60 million face lift.
He died just a few weeks
before its completion.
Since 1970 Jadini has
grown from 60 to 344 beds.
Its popularity in its
early days led Alliance Hotels to purchase adjacent land once
belonging to the Le Poer Trench family and other residents to build
the 316 bed Africana Sea Lodge which opened in 1978.
Alliance Hotels also
built a chapel in its grounds dedicating it to the memory of Maxie and
Nelly le Poer Trench founders of Jadini Hotel’.
Maxie and Nelly died one
year after each other in 1968 and 1969, their ashes being scattered
around this area which they so greatly loved.
After the ‘Thanksgiving
Service' for Dan Trench on August 16, a second plaque was unveiled on
the chapel door reading 'in memory of Daniel P. le Poer Trench
1919-1991, late of Jadini’.
Afterwards his ashes
were taken by the family in a boat to be ‘committed to the sea
beyond the reef and off Jadini Beach Hotel’.
‘Jadini' stems from
the names of Maxie and Nelly’s three children - Jack, Ann and Dan.
Among the family members
at the service were Mrs. Sarah Moller (daughter) and Karen, three
years, from Nairobi; Jack Trench (brother) and his wife, Dorothy; Mrs.
Nancy Wise (Sarah’s mother and Dan’s sister); Chris Trench (son)
and Kathleen Bonham (cousin).
members seen at the ‘Thanksgiving Service for the
Life of Dan Trench’ included his daughter Mrs Sarah Moller [left]
3; his brother Jack Trench and his wife Dorothy; Sarah‘s mother and
sister Mrs Nancy Wise, his son Chris Trench and cousin Kathleen
Others present included
Dan’s great friends Omari Ali, fisherman and his wife, Mwanapwani
and daughter, also Kombo Said, gardener at his camp site, also
management and staff of Alliance Hotels and Nomads, and many friends.
The service was
conducted by the Missions to Seamen Chaplain Richard Diamond, from ‘Mombasa,
the organist being Mick White, one of the songs being the ‘Amazing
Grace’ Said the Chaplain this service is to focus on Dan and to
remember him for it is now time to close the final chapter of his life’.
An 'Eulogy for a Friend’
was delivered by Ken Martin who said that Dan will be remembered for
among them being his
boasting of being the second European to have been born in Nyeri;
as a soldier guarding
Sagana Bridge and
as a motorist in his
beloved and ancient pickup being driven at a speed of nearly 30 mph
and yelling at the driver 'you will kill us all’!
Continuing Ken Martin
said 'he was a natural naturist, a bushman and had a life long
interest in aviation.
Dan took a very active
part in the laying out and sitting of the airstrip at Ukunda - known
to many of his friends as ‘the Dan Trench International Airport’
As a raconteur he was
quite remarkable in the way he could enthral people for hours.
He was also always a
gentleman rising when a lady entered a room and offering her a seat.
Declared Ken Martin ‘Dan
is a part of Kenya’s history’.
He went on to reveal
that the family had received a letter from Dan’s earliest
competitors in the, hotel industry - Alan and Beth Fish formerly of
‘Two Fishes Hotel’ who now live at Somerset West, South Africa.
In it they referred to
the true friendship they had received from Dan in the early days of
They recalled ‘when
Alan was ill it was Dan who looked after the bar for him, and when
Beth was ill he sent over an ayah and servants to help’.
He had assisted in many
ways including successfully dealing with visiting cobras!
The letter ended ‘Dan
will go down in our memories as one of the most unforgettable
characters we have ever met’.
After the Thanksgiving
Service, tea was provided by Alliance Hotels with Chris and his family
later hosting drinks at the nearby Nomads Beach Bar.
Dan was educated at
Loreto Convent; Kenton and Prince of Wales School, Kenya, then
returning to Seremai their coffee farm at Nyeri.
When war broke out he
joined the Supplies and Transport Division of KAR being discharged in
the mid-forties having been seriously ill with cerebral malaria.
In the late forties he
went to Jadini to help his parents, run the hotel, which he later
managed until it was sold to Mr. Robinson in 1969.
Since then Dan lived at
a nearby camp site until he died.
In an interview, Mrs.
Nancy (Ann) Wise, Dan’s sister, said ‘my father came to Kenya’
in 1914 as a coffee advisor from the British Government.
My mother and I followed
early 1915 after spending Christmas in the UK’.
In 1923 we were one of
the first families to come to the coast for a holiday, taking over a
house which belonged to a CMS missionary at Freretown, Mombasa.
These holidays continued
until we went to school.
In 1934 my uncle found a
plot next to Jadini and thus introduced us to Diani Beach.
It was beautiful and had
a most fantastic forest.
We bought the plot next
door soon after.
We had to hack our way
through the bush to get there and our holiday house had three rooms
and a verandah with two changing rooms for boys and girls Many friends
came to stay.
Said Nancy if we did not
have room for them my mother used to say go and chop some coconut palm
and we will make a place for you to sleep’.
The family acquired
other land and their holiday house named ‘Jadini’ grew as it
attracted guests not only from Kenya but the UK and South Africa many
of whom would book a particular cottage a year ahead.
Nancy mentioned that one
day she had been sitting on the verandah about two in the morning, it
being too hot to sleep, and happened to see a dark shape approach.
She asked whose dog is
Said Nancy, as it walked
passed me I realized it was a leopard!
Water was a big problem,
which they helped solve themselves by building a garage-cum-store with
a corrugated iron roof.
They dug a well and this
became their water catchment area.
Initially buckets of
water were having to be carried to the hotel.
Later it was piped.
Said Nancy 'my mother
was among the first to put up a big fight to get a water supply from
Kwale to this area’.
At that time there was
only a narrow sandy track between Jadini and Likoni and if anything
approached one or other vehicle had to get out of the way.
Motorised ferries at
Likoni could only take four big cars and six small ones at a time.
Today, the main road to
Mombasa is very busy throughout the day with many ‘mini’ buses,
coaches, matatus, cars and lorries.
Said Nancy ‘one day I
saw a young buck trying to cross it and getting desperate in his
attempts to do so’.
She said ‘I drew my
car right across the main road.
Drivers hooted, but when
they saw this little buck trot across in front of my car they all
clapped and said 'Mzuri Sana'.
Asked for her comments
about Jadini, Nancy said 'it has grown very well.
It is a most attractive
hotel and very well planned'.
Major developments at
Jadini were in the hands of one of Kenya’s top architects,
Trzebinski, Gaal and Associates who were also responsible for the
design of Africana Sea Lodge and Safari Beach Hotel.
Such is the development
of the hotel industry on Kenya’s south coast mainland but today it
has around 20 hotels and lodges, with five more planned offering
between them a further 1500 beds.
Coastweek correspondent Neta Peal, Mombasa.