Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trip Advisor Reviews

It’s interesting reading Trip Advisor reviews, mostly you need to read between the lines, most highly rated places will have a few really bad reviews in amongst the 4 and 5 star ones, did those people visit completely different places, or was it that they had either mis-conceptions about the hotel/resort or had they been mis-sold by the operator? Most operators dealing with small scale lodges in Africa claim to have visited every one on their books, this is rarely true! Africa, and Tanzania in particular get either glowing reviews or ranting ones, some people think they are coming to Disney World and expect perfection in everything, others appreciate that it is a third world/developing country and come with an open mind – saying that, if you are going to a five star resort it should be perfect, they are completely insulated from the outside world, just know that your money does not contribute to the local economy but to the economy of the country the owners reside in (or an off-shore tax haven). Happily on Mafia (with a few notable exceptions) the lodges are owner managed and the money stays in Tanzania, with the lodges running and contributing to projects on the island – and recruiting their staff locally!

I read one truly awful review about a lodge on Zanzibar this week (one that I know to be a really fantastic place), it was one long whinge about everything. One comment really stood out, ‘if you come to Zanzibar and XXXXX in particular expecting to swim in the sea you will be disappointed, the tide goes out at 11am and is out for pretty much the rest of the day’ – REALLY? Is it not the case that you spent 2 nights there and at that time the tide cycle was that, but that as the tides change with the moon cycle (no I don’t understand the science) that each day the high and low tides WILL CHANGE! The east African coast is tidal, there will always be a period during the day when the tide is out, it’s why most places have a pool!

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