By “Safari Kay” Owner of Destined To Travel
With the internet now over 20 years old many potential travelers turn to the internet for their travel needs. Many are seeking out specific travel destination information. They look for specific properties, and what each might offer. Newly married might opt for an exotic honeymoon destination.
Usually they look for cost comparisons. Many look at the reviews on Trip Advisor. And in the end they select the best option that works for them.
Here’s an example I was personally told about. It’s where they spotted an online ad featuring an exotic honeymoon destination. The young honeymoon couple in Europe saw an interesting ad on the internet. They were attracted to it and called the owner. It turned out the owner was originally from a specific village in England. A village familiar to the couple. It was an automatic kinship they felt after talking with him.
Looking for that perfect beach property: Look no further. Step out of your room and walk directly onto the beautiful white sand, tree lined beaches of Zanzibar directly on the Indian ocean. Lounge in comfort and relaxation. If you’re interested in being in the lap of luxury, contact John at the following number.
(They lived in the U.K and were impressed that the person also was from a village in the UK; this specific village known to the couple, so immediately they felt a great bond, kinship). They felt they couldn’t go wrong.)
Wow, a Beachfront Villa Steps from the Beach
The ad and the description from the ‘owner’ sounded great. It was a beach villa, not just beachfront, but steps from the beach. How great they thought, walk out of your bedroom and step onto the white sand beach. They couldn’t resist. After all, it was going to be their honeymoon, so only the best would do.
They thought about it. Then decided to re-contact John, to make arrangements and sent the $11,000 for their week of bliss. (By the way in Africa, every booking in Africa must be paid in advance of your stay.) Payment receipt was acknowledged and they were soon to be off on their honeymoon.
Let me digress for a moment. Whenever I’m on my own safari, without guests, I’m often with my friends. They’re part of the three K’s, Kristina, Kathy and Kay, all with inquiring minds. We all want to know exactly how did others end up booking the property where we’re staying at. Their answers run the gamut; my friend recommended it, I saw it on the internet and it looked appealing, I know the company and their properties, or the cost was right.
How I Knew about their Tragic Honeymoon Story
This story here was told to me by a couple I met, while at a beach property in Zanzibar. It was not the property they found in the ad. This was the first time I’d personally heard someone give me a reason like this, although I knew it happens. Take a look at the property where we were staying.
The couple’s story was a sad one. Not only did they lose their money, but they also didn’t have their beach villa. Plus to make it worst, it was their honeymoon.
The ad they responded to was correct in the sense that the property was just steps from the beach. It was a white sand beach, tree-lined, all true.
Further talking with them, they began to tell me how they ended up at this property. All had gone well until they arrived in Zanzibar. But no one met them at the airport. They thought that odd, (but admitted that should have been their first clue something was amiss). But thought perhaps the company had the dates mixed up. They asked around if someone else could take them to the property.
Where was the Beachfront Property?
No one knew where the property was located. There wasn’t a name, just a general location. After waiting for some time, they finally found someone to take them.
They had carried directions given to them, just in case the driver had a problem finding it. The driver pulled up to a location following those directions the couple had brought with them. They had asked the taxi driver to wait for them, just in case …… and they were right!
The property sat off the road, so there was a long road into the property. They couldn’t believe this was the property, but thought it might perhaps be in the rear of this home. It was nighttime, and quite difficult to see. There was only a glimmer of light.
But you can’t always tell what’s going on inside, from the front of the house. So they walked up to the front door. Oh my gosh! The door was actually off the hinges. So they were beginning to think it was the wrong place, not allowing themselves to think they’d been scammed.
Someone they described as looking homeless answered the door. The couple asked for John. In broken English, they were told there was no John there. Then they asked if this was the property that was in the ad. The person answering the door looked clueless. Barely speaking English, the person told them, no one but he and his ‘friends’ lived there. There were no rooms to rent.
Scratching their heads, they decided to call the number of the person to whom they had been talking to in England.
It was clear – they had been Scammed
The number was disconnected. Now it was clear, they had been taken, scammed out of their money.
They slowly walked back to the taxi. I can just imagine how they were feeling and wondering what they were going to do. But it was their honeymoon and they were not going to allow this incident to spoil their time. They asked the taxi driver if he knew of another beachfront property in the area where they might be able to stay.
He told them yes, right next door. Not being able to see the beach in the dark, they were leery. But they said okay, take us there. The taxi driver was right; it was a beautiful resort hotel with villas on the beach. It was where my friends and I were staying.
That is the story of how they ended up at the property where we stayed. There are many more horror stories I could share with you, and you’d be amazed.
We three Travel Agents had to See for Ourselves
The following morning I told my friends about their story. Consequently we decided to walk along the beach to see this property that supposedly was the one in the ad. Below is the ‘internet special’ we saw on our walk… Yes it was just steps from the beach. This beachfront property was on a tree lined beach… you decide!
Take a look at the dilapidated property, filled with transients.
But the ad was correct. It was on the beach, and just steps away from the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean. How deceiving ads can be. You just may want to re-consider some of those internet specials you see online.
Notes from the site administrator
Unfortunately that couple lost all their money, not a totally unusual occurrence. In contrast to what they did, it can pay to use a travel agent that knows the area you’re considering going to. Better yet if that travel agent has been to the property and accompanies the travel group on the trip. That’s not so easy to find, but it can payoff well.
That’s exactly what Safari Kay does for most of her African Safari trips. If you’re ever considering going on an African Safari contact her for current information. She usually takes a small group of adventurous travelers to Africa on safari 2-3 times a year.
If you happen to live in Southern California, especially in the Inland Empire area, she does have intimate meetings every so often explaining all about her African Safaris. Should you wonder who goes on a safari – well almost anyone from a teenager up. I went on my first (yes I’ve been more than once) African safari when I was just about 70 years old.
To see an example of a one-time, very low cost safari, Click Here. She is offering this safari special during her 10 year anniversary celebration.