CC Africa Single Supplement Policy

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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:05 PM
  #1
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CC Africa Single Supplement Policy

Hello,

I just wanted to post a clarification regarding CC Africa's single supplement policy. As you know, the single supplement is an old bete noir of mine, and I have recommended CCA to single people who are looking for ways to avoid it. However, I received an email from Cooncat which showed that some of my previous posts may have been a bit confusing.

CC Africa camps do not charge a single supplement. This includes camps like Kichwa Tembo (Kenya), Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Grumeti River Camp, Klein's Camp, Phinda, Ngala, and Londolozi. So if you book CC Africa camps through CCA, you will not be charged a single supplement. In some cases, this makes a CCA luxury camp less expensive than a 'mid-priced' camp if the mid-priced camp charges a single suppplement.

However, if you book another company's camp (e.g. Serena, Heritage Hotels, Wilderness Safaris) through CCA, either on its own or in combination with a CCA camp, the other company may charge a single supplement over which CCA has no control. This supplement will then appear on your itinerary, but it applies to only the non-CCA camps.

Hope that clarifies things!

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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Thanks Julian - I'll look over my CCAfrica itinerary tonight and see how this bears out.
CoonCat
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Julian,
That's how I understood your previous posts, but thanks for the clarification. Now am I correct in assuming that there's no single supplement at CCA camps regardless of whether you book through CCA or another tour operator?
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Hi Patty,

CCA does not charge a single supplement regardless of whether you book through them or through someone else.

However, because so few people know about this policy and single people are supposedly used to being ripped off, some bloody b*stards will charge a single supplement for a CCA camp and pocket it as pure profit for themselves. A very large, well-known operator here in the UK tried to do this to a friend of mine -- fortunately, I talked to her before she paid and she dropped them like a hot potato.

If your itinerary is mixed (CCA and non-CCA) it's harder to tell if this has happened, but if it's all CCA and a single supplement has been charged alarm bells should start ringing.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Julian
Would really appreciate knowing which UK operator behaved in that way - would like to ensure I avoid them in the future - behaviour like that should be discouraged.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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In 2003 neither Uncharted Africa (3n Jack's) nor Linyanti Explorations (3n Selinda + 3n Zibalianja) charged me a single supplement. I guess that has changed since W$ manage the camps.

Maybe of interest: Sanctuary Lodges don't charge the supplyment for Chief's, Stanley's and Chobe Chilwero in the low season (Nov-Jun).

Mitch
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:47 PM
  #7
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supplyment = supplement
(must be a virus...)
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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Yes, but for an aardvark, the typing is quite good!
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:05 PM
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You can't compare me with him!!

Orycteropus afer benidormi,
explorer of the termite holes at Fodor's...
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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Julian:

I share your aggravation about the single supplement but I have had that posted on cruises and many places so I have gotten somewhat used to it.

The new one that sticks in my craw is the "resident" "non-resident" fees charged by many of the African countries. Let me say from the start that I am one of the first ones to think that natives should see their parks. That is the only way many of them will come to understand the beauty of their wildlife and start appreciating it as we tourists do. That said, if parks, tour companies lodges and camps can make a profit on these "resident" large markdowns, then they are taking advantage of the rest of us. To see what I mean look at www.kenyalastminute.com.

Perhaps I am being unreasonable about this. What do the rest of you think?

Jan
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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I even remember something like 'resident'/'regional'/'overseas'.

Maybe it's for political reasons, to keep the own citizens calm? In Getaway magazine I regularly read about complaints by South Africans who no longer can afford their holiday trips because the market is 'wrecked' by the luxury overseas tourism.

Mitch
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:29 PM
  #12
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Hi Mitch,

When I was costing my Botswana trip for June/July 2005), Linyanti Explorations did quote a single supplement for Selinda/Zib, so it pre-dates the WS take-over. I believe the green season was still supplement-free at that time, though I'm not sure if that's the case anymore. Not sure about Jack's, as I've never costed them pre-WS.

Kavey, the operator in question was Thomas C**k. Their 'Signature' brochure showed very attractive prices for Londoz based on a shared basis, but when my friend tried to book she was quoted double that amount due to the 'single supplement' (!)

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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The 'best' I saw so far were David Anderson Safari Consultants in the US.

For a 10-day trip to Zambia (5n Mfuwe Lodge) and Botswana (5n unspecified Okavango camp) in March (!) they charged a single supplement of about $2000. As far as I remember the Mfuwe ss was quoted $40/day on the Mfuwe website, and the best camp of the few that are open at this time in the Delta, Chief's, charged $0.

Mitch
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Jan,
I personally don't have a problem with the 2 tier resident/non-resident accomodation pricing in Kenya. I'd also venture to guess that the majority of the visitors staying at these lodges/camps are foreigners (with the exception of certain destinations which serve as weekend retreats for Nairobi residents) and that these places probably couldn't run profitably if they charged everyone the lower resident rates. Perhaps I'm just naive, but I don't necessarily see it as 'taking advantage' of foreigners. I feel the same about the park fee pricing structure.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Hi Jan,

I think part of the reason the travel industry continues to think that it's all right to take advantage of single travellers is that we become accustomed to paying it and stop complaining. If we made a bigger fuss, perhaps taking advantage of single people wouldn't be accepted practice at places like the operator I mentioned.

The resident/non-resident fees don't bother me as much, though I do think that there should be some sort of means testing -- I've shared camps with some very wealthy South Africans who were boasting about how much less they'd paid despite their wealth (they 'dropped in' by private jet, for crying out loud!). There's no reason people who have that much money to spare should get a discount.

That being said, I think the policy is based on averages, and it's true that the average American or European is much wealthier than the average African, and I think it's vital for Africans to be able to visit the park and enjoy the wildlife -- otherwise it will become a lot more difficult to encourage them to continue to conserve it.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 26th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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Julian,

I'm not quite sure whether 'bigger fuss' will change anything in the luxury safari segment. For my part, I do not often meet solo travelers during my safaris, so the operators apparently are not dependent on us.

Mitch
 
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Aug 26th, 2005, 03:05 PM
  #17
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Mitch,

While registering our dissatisfaction won't necessarily bring about rapid change, failing to do so will guarantee that things won't change -- the companies will assume that we're happy to pay up. At least here in the UK, the situation for single travellers is slowly improving because people have voiced their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 26th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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I often travel singly, and I'm not offended by the single supplement. It would make more sense, I would think, for hotels and lodges to advertise room rates, and charge that rate irrespective of whether one or two occupied the room. But, by adverstising the per person rate, even though requiring two guests, allows them to show a lower rate per room.

To me, its the same idea when chartering a plane for safari. They may advertise the per seat price, but the price to fly the plane is generally fixed, whether there are one, two or three passengers.

There are also fixed costs associated with running a lodge, and the lodges calculate how much they need to charge per room. And they would likely lose money if the lodge was filled with single travelers paying half-price.

You either suck it up or bring a friend.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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I don't think the disparity between local and foreign fees rests solely on "means" but also that locals pay taxes to support roads, public parks, etc.

A "means" test is an impossibility, but so long as the disparity is made known. I also would have no objection if the US, for example, charged visitors from foreign countries (like South Africa) that have dual pricing systems, an excise tax to visit US parks. Reciprocity seems fair and there could be a schedule, similar to visa fees, for access to national parks. It ain't gonna happen, but to me that seems reasonable.

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Aug 26th, 2005, 03:50 PM
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Hello Michael,

In terms of the safari camps, I realise that there are fixed costs which need to be spread over all guests.

However, some costs are per-person and the costings provided by the operators should reflect this when costing for a single person. Your example of an airplane is a perfect one -- since flights are sold to tour operators on a per-person basis, a single person's costing should only reflect the cost of one seat. Less food is needed for a single person than for a couple or family (given the amout of special attention they need and the staff time they take up, kids should be charged double rather than half-price if the prices reflected the resources invested). In terms of the cost to the air charter company, it matters a great deal how many people are on board -- more people = more weight = more fuel used, which is why unusually heavy people are charged for two seats.

As for the single supplement, there is a lot of room for improvement, and if we just 'suck it up' things will never improve. There are too many hotels, particulary in Europe (fortunately the vast majority of safari camps are not among them) where single people not only pay a supplement but are then given inferior accommodation and service. This happens in restaurants as well -- the single person almost always gets the worst table in the house.

Safari camps aren't immune to this sort of problem, as the 'safari peeves' thread and the 'single travellers' thread attest.

BTW, your idea of charging tourists more to visit US parks is a good one, though as you said it would never happen.

Cheers,
Julian
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