Diverse Africa

Discounted rates for locals - is it fair?

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@@TheKenyanCamper What suprises you? In a good or bad way?

I should have said pleasant surprise. Im happy that it has so much support.

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who needs high level lux ?

 

if places did not have silly things like a personal butler service , and massive cabins/ tents they would not be so expensive to build and operate in the first place

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While I agree that the intention of discounted rates for locals is generally a good thing and helps to enable locals to enjoy their environment, which is hugely important, this has been taken the the extreme in Ethiopia. Parks there are moderately priced to begin with and I didn't mind a bit paying their slightly higher fees, but I was paying 4-10x the price of locals for hotel rooms. Ethiopia is just now starting to become a tourist destination and hotel owners there are basically trying to figure out how much to charge for things, seeing what will stick. It's a gorgeous, diverse country which is easy to love, but this practice seemed rooted more in greed than towards the advancement of the region. I worry it creates a huge economic inequality amongst locals which can be disastrous for any hope of raising the entire nation out of poverty. At the least it leaves a rather bitter taste in your mouth.

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While I agree that the intention of discounted rates for locals is generally a good thing and helps to enable locals to enjoy their environment, which is hugely important, this has been taken the the extreme in Ethiopia. Parks there are moderately priced to begin with and I didn't mind a bit paying their slightly higher fees, but I was paying 4-10x the price of locals for hotel rooms. Ethiopia is just now starting to become a tourist destination and hotel owners there are basically trying to figure out how much to charge for things, seeing what will stick. It's a gorgeous, diverse country which is easy to love, but this practice seemed rooted more in greed than towards the advancement of the region. I worry it creates a huge economic inequality amongst locals which can be disastrous for any hope of raising the entire nation out of poverty. At the least it leaves a rather bitter taste in your mouth.

 

~ @@ellenhighwater

 

You've confirmed what I've heard from a recent Ethiopia visitor.

I'm sorry to know that grossly inflated prices were also your experience.

It would also have left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Tom K.

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I noticed on my recent visit to Meru National Park in Kenya, that there is a three tier system for locals, residents and foreigners. There was also a van full of school kids coming from Meru town to visit the park which I thought was wonderful.

 

Locals would never have the opportunity to visit their National Parks without this pricing scheme. In the future it will also encourage Africa's middle class which is growing in both numbers and affluence to visit the National Parks.

 

We all have to consider that by paying more for the park fees we are paying for the upkeep and anti poaching efforts in all the National Parks. What could be more important to all of us?

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I noticed on my recent visit to Meru National Park in Kenya, that there is a three tier system for locals, residents and foreigners. There was also a van full of school kids coming from Meru town to visit the park which I thought was wonderful.

 

Locals would never have the opportunity to visit their National Parks without this pricing scheme. In the future it will also encourage Africa's middle class which is growing in both numbers and affluence to visit the National Parks.

 

We all have to consider that by paying more for the park fees we are paying for the upkeep and anti poaching efforts in all the National Parks. What could be more important to all of us?

 

~ @@optig

 

Does that mean that residents from other areas in Kenya are charged at a different rate from those living in the greater Meru County area?

Are school groups charged? When I visited Meru National Park in July, a large schoolbus was parked outside of the Murera Gate as the staff talked with the park entrance personnel.

I'm very glad that you visited Meru, which is such a lovely location.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

Reduced price or not: most (overnight) lodge safaris are still to expensive for most people, foreigner or not.

I don't think that a safari business model that only focusses on the reduced rates of lodges for locals is the way to go in terms of assuring locals access to their natural wonders. Definitely the local rates that the big players offer. The concept of a lodge safari is just to expensive for most people.

 

 

Edited by Bushfire

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Reduced price or not: most (overnight) lodge safaris are still to expensive for most people, foreigner or not.

I don't think that a safari business model that only focusses on the reduced rates of lodges for locals is the way to go in terms of assuring locals access to their natural wonders.

The concept of a lodge safari is just to expensive.

 

~ @@Bushfire

 

Thank you for expressing your viewpoint about lodge-based safaris.

I hadn't realized that lodge safari rates were a prohibitive factor.

My experience in Kenya was that lodge accommodations were moderately priced, if one was selective.

I'm truly sorry to learn that the lodges may not seem affordably priced.

Tom K.

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It seems that most the countries are turning to the high rate fee model that Botswana used to have. Not exactly good timing, when less people are going on safari overall. These countries are cutting out a significant number of foreigners that travel on a lower budget.

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It seems that most the countries are turning to the high rate fee model that Botswana used to have. Not exactly good timing, when less people are going on safari overall. These countries are cutting out a significant number of foreigners that travel on a lower budget.

 

~ @@luangwablondes

 

Thank you for telling this. I wasn't aware that it was a trend.

I've heretofore prepaid all safaris in a package price, without ever asking for a breakdown, thus wasn't aware of the daily rates charged to international visitors.

If there are less safari tourists, the increased rates won't be attractive to uncertain would-be safari visitors.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

 

Reduced price or not: most (overnight) lodge safaris are still to expensive for most people, foreigner or not.

I don't think that a safari business model that only focusses on the reduced rates of lodges for locals is the way to go in terms of assuring locals access to their natural wonders.

The concept of a lodge safari is just to expensive.

 

~ @@Bushfire

 

Thank you for expressing your viewpoint about lodge-based safaris.

I hadn't realized that lodge safari rates were a prohibitive factor.

My experience in Kenya was that lodge accommodations were moderately priced, if one was selective.

I'm truly sorry to learn that the lodges may not seem affordably priced.

Tom K.

 

 

People won't protect their natural wonders if they don't learn to appreciate them.

You do the math: about 18 million children in south africa alone.... no way that lodges alone can reach such an audience.

I find it a pity, when reading posts about kruger, masai mara, big-ass camps, vehicle congestions etc... that a lot of people react quite contemptuous when in fact this large scale safari concept (overnight or day trips) probably is the only option together with zoo's for most local people to learn to appreciate their indigenous nature.

Most lodge safari's are 1 to expensive for most locals and 2 bed capacity is just to small so most locals can visit.

Edited by Bushfire
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~ @@Bushfire

 

Thank you for forcefully expressing your perspective.

I needed that.

My natural complacency benefits from a swift kick in the patootie.

Your points are meaningful. I'm so glad that you wrote them as you did.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

@@Bushfire - I don't think it's a fair comparison of Kruger to the Mara. For example., there are a lot of self-drives in the Kruger that are local South African. I'm not too sure that's the case in the Mara or that local Kenyan's book the huge hotels or book the mini-bus safaris originating in Nairobi. If so, the percentage will be very very small.

Edited by madaboutcheetah

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1 I take it that locals are Kenyan born and residents are those who have approval to live in the country longterm

 

2 some places like Lewa and Ol Pejeta conservancy have scheme to bring in school children in small busses for game drives and environmental education. There are also trips organized by the wildlife clubs of Kenya

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The Bushcamp Company in South Luangwa have this initiative where once a year for a couple of days (in the dry season) they host school children from the school that the sponsor in Mfuwe village and put them in as guests filling up all of their bush camps. They take them on game drives, as well as show them the technical aspects of all the jobs in a bush camp from guide to chef to waiter. I assume that they are still running this? I think that it is a great initiative. It won't reach lots of people, but it directly targets those who live in close proximity with wildlife.

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Interesting about the reduced SADC rate making it 'affordable' for wealthy SA businessman to travel to the best Botswana safari destinations.....

In my general experience of trying to book SA citizens into the top camps in Bots, I have not managed to get a reduced rate (this may be a factor of high season demand) - the regular STO/Rack rates still applied!

I am all for local discounted rates, but by local I really mean local. One doesn't expect the operator/owner to make a loss, but, economically, a break-even rate should be offset by both the marketing and social responsibility benefits to be had from such a practice.

Now here is a thought....well actually an observation.

A lodge I am intimately involved with in Chobe, Botswana tries hard to attract Batswana in the quieter seasons and does offer a much reduced rate. When the city folk arrive from Gaborone the first thing they ask is where is the TV and why isn't there wi-fi in the rooms. So the expectations are really different. They may do one game drive and one boat (booze) cruise, but would rather enjoy a resort type (pool, spa etc.) experience as opposed to a bush experience. Over public holidays and school breaks, one resort type hotel in Chobe gets a LOT of local business. However, as I am reliably told, they make use of all the resort facilities and, and may do one excursion into their National Park.

Irrespective of this observation, differential rates are a good thing. As a Motswana I personally do enjoy (and wouldn't otherwise without the discounts) visiting both local and regional parks and facilities. And for those discounts I love to promote all Botswana's parks, Hwange, Kruger, Mana Pools, Matopos etc.

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The Bushcamp Company in South Luangwa have this initiative where once a year for a couple of days (in the dry season) they host school children from the school that the sponsor in Mfuwe village and put them in as guests filling up all of their bush camps. They take them on game drives, as well as show them the technical aspects of all the jobs in a bush camp from guide to chef to waiter. I assume that they are still running this? I think that it is a great initiative. It won't reach lots of people, but it directly targets those who live in close proximity with wildlife.

 

Wilderness Safaris do a very similar thing with their 'Children in the Wilderness' project.

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