Tuesday, 25 June 2013

No more reviews on Trip Advisor....

TripAdvisor recently started rejecting reviews of our Garden Route & Addo Adventure, because it is a multi-day tour rather than a one-day tour. This is really frustrating to us, as TripAdvisor reviews are an important part of our business, and I can't understand what the problem with multi-day tours would be. Any of our friends in the tourism industry have any insight on this?

What TripAdvisor had to say



Dear TripAdvisor Member,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We're sorry, but we weren't able to publish your review because we don't post reviews about multi day tours on our site.

That said, you're very welcome to post your message on TripAdvisor Forums (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ForumHome). Forums are discussion boards in which members ask and answer as many travel-related questions as they like, share opinions and get travel help from fellow members.

We look forward to seeing your contribution to our community.

Best regards,

TripAdvisor Support Team

What our client, Patty had to say

Subject: Earthstompers Adventures - Day Tours 
Location: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, Africa 
Title: Best part of our South Africa trip, and great for different age travellers. 
ID#: 163623616 

The Earthstompers Garden Route and Addo Adventure was fantastic! I travelled to South Africa for two weeks with my 2 daughters who are in their early 20s. We all thoroughly enjoyed the 6-day tour, which was the highlight of our trip! When planning our trip, I had considered renting a car to do the Garden Route by ourselves, but decided to go with a tour instead. Booking the tour was the best decision, and took the hassle out of our travels. With the tour we we were able to cover more ground because our tour guide (and company owner), Hendrik, knew exactly where to go and what to see. We were able to spend all our time enjoying the sites and adventures, rather than deciding what to do, how long it would take, or which direction to go. Hendrik was very efficient, accomodating, and incredibly knowledgable about South African culture, flora, fauna, etc. so we learned so much more than we would have if traveling solo. We also enjoyed the experience of travelling with others. We had a diverse group, in terms of age (3 over 50 and 4 under 30) and nationality (4 countries), that really clicked & contributed to our overall experience. We had many good conversations, laughs, and drinks! 

The tour itinerary was great and varied. We covered a lot of ground, saw incredible scenery -- mountains, beaches & wildlife, and enjoyed diverse outdoor activities. We were active, but nothing was too challenging. It seems like every night we were in a terrific location, usually a beach, to watch an incredible sunset, followed by a sunrise the next day. The game drives in the Addo Elephant National Park were a favorite for all. We chose to do many of the optional activities, including ziplining, bungee jumping, sandboarding, and elephant feeding. (Okay, I opted out of bungee jumping and sandboarding, but my daughters enjoyed them!) We thoroughly enjoyed it all! 

Finally, a word on accomodations on this tour, since you have two options -- backpackers or an upgrade to guest houses. I waivered on which option to choose, and in the end, opted to stay in the backpacker accommodations with an en suite bathroom. I'm glad I did! The rooms weren't luxurious, but they were clean and comfortable. Each of the backpackers was a unique experience, offered a distinct atmosphere, and provided a great opportunity to mingle with others (locals & travellers) in the onsite bar/lounge. I'd choose this option again. 

Overall, a fabulous trip. I highly, highly recommend Earthstompers for young and older travelers, in groups or solo, who enjoy the outdoors and a bit of adventure! Thank you Hendrik for an awesome vacation and introducing us to the many wonders of South Africa!!

***

Needless to say, we are proud of reviews like this, and quite frustrated about Trip Advisor's policy on multi-day tours.  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Same prices, better value

I got the idea to write this blog when one of our guests from the UK sent me the receipt for payment of her Earthstompers tour.  She paid £370 for a 6 day, 5 night tour with most meals and accommodation. That's what I'd spend on two nights out for dinner & drinks with friends in London!  I couldn't believe what a bargain it was.

As of today, our tours cost $254 less than the exact same tour two years ago. Have we gotten really good at trimming expenses? Have I cut down on the amount of meat I braai for guests? Nope. Our tours cost the exact same amount in South African Rand, but the Rand is now weaker as compared to the American or Australian Dollar, the British Pound, or the Euro. In fact, the Rand is at a four-year low against other world currencies.  Bad news for us as South Africans, but great news for tourists. Here's a chart that shows the cost change for our tours (note that prices are approximate & based on the day's exchange rate):


Currency
Tour Price

2011
2012
2013
South African Rand
R 5600
R 5600
R 5600
Backpacker dorm price – still the same in Rand….
United States Dollar
$825
$654
$571
Same tour, $254 less
Australian Dollar
$771
$673
$583
Same tour, $188 less
Euro
572
525
434
Same tour, €138 less
British Pound
£504
£424
£370
Same tour, £134 less

Now, lets take this a little further.  What else might a tourist spend money on....hmm...let me think... how about BEER?!



City, Country
Beer Price in USD
Cape Town, South Africa
$1.55
New York, United States
$5.51
Sydney, Australia
$5.16
London, England
$5.36
Berlin, Germany
$3.53

In Cape Town you can buy on average of three times more beer than in the other cities around the world. Don't mind if I do!

(Above stats thanks to an interesting and fun website called www.pintprice.com; image courtesy www.nuvo.net.)

We are thrilled to be able to offer our guests some amazing adventure experiences while on tour with us.  Lets have a look at how those compare?

Shark Cage Diving
Country
Price in USD
Port Lincoln
Australia
$380 - $495
Farallon Island, San Francisco
United States
$775 - $875
Gansbaai, Shark Alley
South Africa
$100 - $150

South Africa comes in at about 7x less than the USA and about 4x less than Australia. This is great value for money!

Not only does South Africa have the biggest Bungee Bridge in the world, but also the cheapest bungee in the world. I hate the word cheapest, it sounds so cheap! And who wants to talk about cheap when it comes to bungee jumping?! But Face Adrenaline, operating Bloukrans Bungee in Tsitsikamma has a 100% safety record since 1997 when they first opened, and offers an incredible experience for our adventure-seeking clients.

Bungee
Country
Meters
Cost in USD
Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe/Zambia
111 m
$130
Nevis Bungee
New Zeeland
134 m
$207
Macau Tower
China
233 m
$319
Verzasca Dam, Ticino
Switzerland
220 m
$203-266
Niouc Bridge
Switzerland
190 m
$215
Perrine Bridge, Idaho
United States
151.5 m
$175
Bloukrans, Tsitsikamma
South Africa
216 m
$75

(Please note these are estimate rates from the internet and all converted to USD by www.xe.com)

So where should you go for your next vacation? USA, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand? South Africa offers the experience of a lifetime for a fraction of the price. We provide the best value for money by far!

Garden Route Greetings
Hendrik Human