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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Great Feedback from one of African Encounters' Customers!

Re: Zanzibar trip – Aug/Sept 2011

Once again, thank you so much for assisting Stefan and me with our Zanzibar holiday. We had the most fantastic time.

I would like to give you some feedback and some pictures just so you can share a little of the trip
with us

To start with, we had to leave on the Friday night as the Onetime flight to Zanzibar left early on
Saturday morning. At your suggestion, we spent the night in the hotel at O.R.Tambo. Brilliant idea.

Once we had collected our luggage, we walked to the hotel, well sign posted (once we had the
general direction) and spent the night. We did have to leave before breakfast (pity because we paid for bed and breakfast) so as to get checked in to the Zanzibar flight.

The Onetime fight left on time and it was a pleasant approximately 3 ½ hour flight. I would
suggest that you let people know that they need to purchase food and drink on the flight, so take
along some ‘smallish’ money as they don’t always have lots of change. In hind sight, we should have bought the breakfast on the plane rather than the muffin as it was to be quite a long day

On arrival at Zanzibar International we had a long wait in the immigration queue to buy our $ 50

Maybe, let people know, that this is the start to the holiday and to just relax, chat to other travellers and go with the flow, they will eventually get their visas....I think we took over an hour to do this. (I must admit to getting a bit fed up hearing people moaning and commenting about “being in Africa”-where did they think they were going??? And all in South African accents!! )

Then, once we had our visas, we went to get our luggage, and met up with the airport official who
was expecting us to ‘pay’ him for passing us our suitcases. Another suggestion to future travellers, when getting their dollars, get $1 and $5 notes, in fact lots of 1’s and 5’s, as there will be many times during the holiday when porters, waiters etc etc will need to be tipped.

That said, once we were out of the airport the driver from Exotic Tours was waiting for us and after loading the luggage (and tipping a couple of porters who were carrying the bags we could happily have carried ) we were on our way to the Dhow Palace Hotel in Stone Town. There was another chap with the driver – sorry, don’t remember his name- and he told us a bit about the history of Stone Town and Zanzibar. I think it would have been very interesting, if we had not been so busy just looking at all the new sights etc, so didn’t really listen very well .

The Dhow Palace was beautiful. You somehow got us the executive suit – and thank you for that-managed to chat a little – his English is better than my Swahili!

Please tell future travellers they must do the Safari Blue. We had fantastic snorkelling, saw the wild dolphin, had an amazing lunch and in fact a stunning day all round. People must just remember sun hats and lots of sun block – it was easy to see who the South Africans were, they were all sunburned . Also, take along shoes that can be worn in the water, and for walking over the various reefs.

The Spice Tour was interesting; we were taken to Jumbo Spice Farm and had a lovely tour of the area, just Stefan and myself with the guide. Talk about personal service

On the Wednesday we spent the day relaxing at the hotel, and found that there was a Tourist
information place where one could book and pay for any and all of the possible tours to be done in Zanzibar. So, for the Thursday we booked and paid for, through the hotel provided tour agency a trip to Prison Island to see the giant “tort- toises” and more snorkelling. This trip included the transportation into Stone Town, the guide, the small ferry to take us to Prison Island and flippers (we had our own goggles) for the snorkelling afterwards. Again, an awesome day out with amazing snorkelling.

As the hotel was about an hours drive from Stone Town we decided that we needed to do the ‘lie-on-the-bed-in the sun-thing’ on Friday. Easier said than done for me.... and I managed to find one of the staff at the hotel who did a short walking tour to the nearby village, so off we went again.

At this stage Andrea, I have to tell you, I have totally fallen in love with Zanzibar, and if I did not have a daughter to educate....etc I would up sticks and go and live and work there.

But back to our well planned and organised holiday. Actually, I don’t know what else to tell you,
because we had to leave on the Saturday morning, so once Hassan had picked us up and dropped us at Zanzibar International airport (where the electricity went off as we were having our bags wrapped in plastic- never mind, go do the departure admin, it will come on again
and it did) we had about and hour and a half wait in the rather hot departure lounge and were off back home to cold wet Cape Town.

I hope this gives you some idea of the holiday. I do need to add that neither Stefan or I are fussy
or moany-bag people, so to us it was all just fantastic, amazing, splendid etc etc etc. We enjoyed
both hotels (but loved the outside shower at Dhow Palace), we happy with all the food and drink
we had, found everyone we dealt with to be polite, kind and extremely helpful and just generally
had the most fantastic holiday/second honeymoon/60th birthday present...... and can only say an enormous THANK YOU to you for all your assistance and guidance in getting our holiday together.

You did an amazing job!!!

Thank you


Jane and Stefan Erasmus

PS hopefully I have attached some photos to give you a brief overview. Got lots more

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