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Roccco Feb 17th, 2004 04:13 PM

See what happens when you make the tour operators mad in Southern Africa? This is from CNN today:

HOEDSPRUIT, South Africa (CNN) -- A South African farm laborer said Tuesday that his white employer strangled a former black employee, then held a gun to his head and forced him to throw his dismissed co-worker's lifeless body to lions.

Workers at the Mokwalo White Lion Project on Sunday found a skull, a leg bone and some blood-soaked clothes, all that police said they think remains of Nelson Chisale, 38, a father of three.

Police are holding three men on suspicion of dumping Chisale's body into an enclosure with lions at a lion-breeding operation in the northeastern part of the country. On Tuesday, authorities released a fourth man, Robert Mnisi, 34, after he agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.

Authorities have not filed formal charges against farm owner Mark Scott-Crossley, 34, and two farm workers, whom The Associated Press identified as Simon Mathebula and Richard Mathebula. Police await the results of DNA tests on the remains, which could take several weeks.

A judge Tuesday postponed a bail hearing for the men. The next scheduled hearing is March 30.

Mnisi said Tuesday that Scott-Crossley strangled Chisale and then ordered him to throw the body to the lions at a breeding facility several miles from the farm where they were working. The farm laborer spoke to CNN from a holding cell before he was released.

"Then he say to me, 'Doctor pick it up [Chisale's body] and throw it in the lions,' " said Mnisi, who said Scott-Crossley put a gun to his head when he objected. "He say, 'Hey, if you don't want to listen to me, I'll shoot you. Get inside there.' "

The skull and bones of a man were found in an enclosure for lions.
Scott-Crossley recently fired Chisale, and police said they think Chisale was assaulted when he returned to the farm to collect his personal belongings. Earlier, Chisale filed charges, accusing Scott-Crossley of burning clothes the worker had left at the farm.

Also in a holding cell, Scott-Crossley said Tuesday he welcomes the media attention the case is receiving.

"So, you must follow it to the end so that once the truth is out, there's no sweeping anything under the carpet," he said.

sundowner Feb 17th, 2004 04:22 PM

Roccco - make sure STD has your dental records with her so it won't take so long to ID your body. Just kidding, of course.

What a lively afternoon it's been!

And thit_cho and Steveboy - don't think your posts went unnoticed. Everybody at worked looked up at me when I burst out laughing - kind of hard to explain that one.


Roccco Feb 17th, 2004 05:33 PM

Just to show my forthrightness with the tour operators, I dug this up from last week, and this, I believe, was the message that ultimately got me the rates I desired, and did not differ materially from any of my other quotation requests:

Number of People 2
Estimated Budget (Land) USD 150
Estimated Budget (Land & Air) USD 250
Comments Hello, I would like to visit Zambia from June 03rd to June 12th. I must spend my final night in Lusaka in order to make my early flight but that does leave eight nights available that I would like to split between South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. I have a great rate locked in directly from Kaingo in South Luangwa for five nights but would welcome you to quote me on a price for Kaingo and other places, especially Puku Ridge (Star Of Africa) which I like but will not consider at its published rack rates of $400 pp per night. From visiting last year at the same time (early June), I know that South Luangwa is only at about 1/3 occupancy so I do expect a heavy discount and low season pricing, although most lodges refer to anything past June 01st as high season. I would also like to stay for three nights in the Lower Zambezi at a place like the Sausage Tree Camp, Kulefu Tented Camp or similar and need all my air transfers included in the price. I have the following package in mind: June 03rd - Arrive at Lusaka at 6:15AM. I will require a transfer to Lower Zambezi National Park. I have read about a possible transfer from Lusaka that will take me 2.5 hours by road followed by 2 hours by speedboat. If you know of such a transfer, please quote me on this transfer as well as alternately quoting me on an air transfer, followed by 3 nights at quality game lodge such as Sausage Tree Camp or Kulefu Tented Camp or other camp in this category. Again, I will not pay rack rates or anything near to these rates. Just as I am capable of negotiating more favorable prices with the lodge, I expect that any accomplished tour operator would be able to do the same. June 06th - Air transfer from Lower Zambezi National Park to Mfuwe (South Luangwa). I will stay five nights here. I have prices of around $120 USD pp per night with either Kaingo or Kafunta but if you can meet same pricing I would include it in the package. I would consider paying more, but again, nothing near rack rates, for slightly more upscale places like Puku Ridge. If I could stay at Puku Ridge for a big discount, that would be my first choice, although I would probably only want four nights if I were to stay in a single lodge. With Kaingo, I would want three nights at Kaingo and two nights at Mwamba and with Kafunta, I would want three nights at Kafunta River Lodge and two nights at Kafunta Island Bush Camp. June 11th - Air transfer from Mfuwe to Lusaka, preferably in the late morning or early afternoon so that I may have a relaxed final morning and game drive in the South Luangwa. END OF PROGRAM Please include information about the planes that you will be using. Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.

Can't get any clearer than that, right?

Anyway, hopefully for my future trips I will be in a better position and will neither have the time nor the effort to shop around as diligently as I did for this one.

John_Berry Feb 23rd, 2004 03:30 PM

Apologies for this late (and first) contribution. Thanks to TF for the invitation, also to those who've made constructive comment.

During the course of every business day our consultants provide interested parties, prospective/current and past clients with information, safari options, alternatives and updates.

Most of the time we do it freely and in all cases prospects are under no obligation to book their trips with us. We operate in a free market, with well-chosen suppliers/affiliates/partners, with mostly well-informed and empowered consumers - the same environment in which the majority of our competitors operate.

Our business survives because we DO compete, most of the time - on value and service. We don't win all of the time however, usually because a competitor has beaten us, fairly and squarely.

This occasion has been more like playing a long and tedious game...

Would we decline this sort of business in the future? Absolutely 100%.

As a final comment I wish Mr. Morelli a successful trip to the lower Zambezi and Luangwa valleys in June. I hope that he gets some time out to do some additional research on Robin Pope Safaris, John Coppinger's Remote Africa, Andy Hogg/Phil Berry at BushCamp Company, Nick Aslin/Norman Carr Safaris to name a few in the Luangwa.

I hope that his feedback in time to come does fair justice to both destinations.

Roccco Feb 23rd, 2004 04:29 PM

Dear Mr. Berry,

If nothing else, through all the negativity that I contributed to with the posting of this thread, I am hopeful that some good comes from it and that the South Luangwa and the rest of Zambia becomes more recognized as a top-notch alternative safari destination. Should that lead to more bookings for you and your company, that is great.

For what it is worth, I did find that there are very competitively priced pre-arranged packages available on your website available to those that aren't as precise about their trips as I tend to be.

I have spread only positive news about South Luangwa after staying at Kafunta River Lodge and Kafunta Island Bush Camp last June. Zambia is an excellent opportunity for Americans that are finding South Africa too expensive with the US Dollar's weakening against the Rand, since most game lodges in Zambia price their rooms out in U.S. Dollars rather than in Rand. Hopefully this will lead to an increased interest in both Zambia and Zimbabwe, all politics aside and another specialty desintation for your company, as alternatives to South Africa.

My apologies for perhaps acting in a childish manner and my best wishes for the Zambian and Zimbabwean travel industries...lodges, operators and everybody else involved.

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