Saturday 10 May 2014

On route to Africa - Guest Blogger - Francois Ghanem

So my wife and I are on a plane 5 hours away from Jo'burg and an incredible journey of 4 weeks that Elizabeth helped make a reality.
Some history first...  We started planning for our Africa trip 14 months ago.  It all began with an email describing who we are as travellers, what we enjoy doing when we travel and what we want and what we dont - and possible dates for trip.  We did not want a mass marketed tour, a camping trip,  or an ultra expensive "spafari".  We were looking for good value which I know is not necessarilly inexpensive.
Out of the dozen or so companies (in USA, UK and South Africa) we contacted we selected Elizabeth. Why?
Because,  some responded that they do not cater to customers with our specific requirements (read not interested in value minded travellers).  Some ignored our email and told us what they wanted to sell us and why it fits our travel requirements.  Some even would not even talk unless we established a budget (I do not like to start the process with this important aspect of travel for reasons beyond this post).  And some said the trip is 14 months in the future come back in 8 months when pricing is available.
Elizabeth, on the other hand - responded with a thourogh email that gave specific feedback and suggestions for every aspect of our inquiry.  We fine tuned the trip with Elizabeth providing guidance along each step of the way. 
In a nut shell, Elizabeth understood us and our requirements.  Her emails clearly reflected this along with a sense of humor and a keen understanding of the Southern Africa travel scene.
Most important in our dealings with Elizabeth was the transparancy in pricing and her openness in sharing pricing of alternatives.  Remarkable, also, is the fact when she found a pricing error (in my favor) she let me know and credited me the amount!
One last thing - I research quite a bit and ask a million questions.  Elizabeth handled everything so well for 14 months and addressed all my inquires with efficient professionalizm along  with responsiveness and humor.
Enough about how we came to this point.  On to the trip.... Over the next four weeks we will visit South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.  Will be on safari,  some city stays, and self drive in Namibia.
We are thrilled as we embark on this trip and look forward to all the experiences and food (yes including smiley, mopani worms and monkey gland sauce - it is not what you think !)

Till the next installment with some travel observations and recap of what we're doing....

1 comment:

  1. Hey Francois,
    It is fantastic to have your perspective. Thank you so much for the warm endorsement - so far so good. I look forward to hearing how your trip pans out.
    All the best