Travel reviews by Mr and Mrs F from Thailand
Great overall trip
On this trip, I visited Tanzania between 21-Dec-2013 and 28-Dec-2013 and I travelled with 1 other person.
Everything worked out really well. We appreciated that the camp managers knew our itinerary, took personal interest in knowing us and remembering who we are. So each evening when discussing the next day, they knew our names, what tent we were in, what we'd done that day, what our options were for the next day, etc.
We would recommend that both camps encourage their guides and drivers to communicate a bit more with their passengers, especially after they stop and talk to drivers of other vehicles........they regularly stop and talk briefly with passing drivers, and we assume they ask what that driver has seen, etc - which is absolutely fine to do. But by far the majority of times they stopped, chatted, and moved on without telling us whether they'd gleaned any useful information from the other car. Of course they could have told us anything as we don't understand Swahili anyway!
But coming from a Customer Service background myself, I would consider it not very good practice to stop and talk with friends in a language that my customer can't understand, and then not explain anything to my customer afterwards.
Similarly one of our drivers seemed to use his mobile phone to make a lot of calls one day - I know the drivers talk between themselves by phone sometimes, but these were longer calls than just passing on information to another driver - and again is a bit disrespectful when you're 'on duty' and supposed to be concentrating on driving and looking for game for your customers.
Sometimes we felt that they were just shooting the breeze and a bit disinterested (which maybe they were!) - but we paid good money for the safaris, and the guys may need an occasional reminder about what good customer service means in the culture of their customers!
Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:
I mentioned in the camp reviews - both camps provided very adequate torches and bug spray, and some bug repellent too, so there was no need for us to have carried those ourselves. (I haven't kept the Expert Africa letter, but from memory I think these were things you recommended we carry).
The 15kg baggage allowance for the small planes, and "small baggage holds" was also not a problem......it was a lot more relaxed on all 3 flights than we imagined it would be from reading Expert Africa's letters!
The tipping policy is confusing. Obviously cultures are different, but we found that your advice of "$10 per person per day" doesn't adequately explain it.
Each camp had a general tip box for all staff at the camp (which staff at Mdonya reminded us about on the day we were leaving!), but then we were told the drivers and guides had chosen not to be part of that system.......and so the obvious hope/expectation is that we'll also tip the drivers and guides personally.
So does the suggested $10 per person per day mean we give $10 to the driver per day, plus $10 to the guide per day? And is that for each customer to give this, or just each group? (i.e. per couple/family)
Personally I wish that tip expectations were done away with altogether. It would be nice if we could be assured that each member of staff is paid a decent wage out of what guests pay for their stay, and that we truly feel no obligation to tip......and then we can tip people when we think they've done something really good.
It frustrates me that we pay a lot of money for a holiday, but there is a clear expectation that we'll actually pay more when we get there as well!
I stayed at and have reviewed:
|Lake Manze Adventure Camp, Tanzania
22-Dec-2013 review: Great Safari at Lake Manze
|Mdonya Old River Camp, Tanzania
25-Dec-2013 review: Great safari at Mdonya Old River Camp