2 independent reviews for Comoros small group vacation

Reviews for Comoros small group vacation

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review 10 Sep 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Watching the turtles

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Have no expectations. This is a rarely visited area of Africa where almost nothing runs to plan and guiding is very basic i.e. you are not made aware of the itinerary or what to expect/wear (e.g. we were informed only that we would be going to the beach but were then taken on a forest hike where it became dark during the hike. People were in flip flops and we had no torches). Be prepared for the huge amount of rubbish left everywhere including on the beach.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not really. Helped the local economy perhaps by bringing in some income. No apparent reduction in environmental impact (perhaps the opposite as the turtle guide had limited knowledge and did not insist of important aspects such as not using normal lighting and therefore the turtles seemed to become stressed).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Enjoyed this new country and challenging experience. Would not return, however.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Vickie, Thanks very much for taking the time to write a review about your recent trip to the Comoros. Iím really glad to hear that you were able to see the turtles. Another group member mentioned you were fortunate to see both the adult turtles and the hatchlings, which mustíve been a very special experience. We take the welfare and protection of local wildlife very seriously and will be addressing the turtle situation you mentioned, with our local team and with great concern. A red light should always be used when viewing the turtles and a respectful distance from the turtles kept. It was not acceptable for anybody to get close to the turtles with a bright torch and this should have been managed by the guide. It is common for locals not to be educated about protection of the natural world and its wildlife but the guides should at least have a fairly decent grasp of this and Iím very sorry to hear that this didnít seem to be the case on your trip. We certainly do our best here to make sure that correct measures are taken when it comes to viewing wildlife and approaching their habitats and I will be addressing the management of this activity with our local team to avoid any incidents like this from occurring in the future. With regards to your comments about benefitting local people, we work with a local team in Comoros, as well as smaller locally-owned accommodations and we employ local guides and drivers. This does benefit the local economy as well as providing an authentic experience for our travelers and keeping carbon emissions down by not employing a western guide. I am very sorry to hear about the unpleasant experience of finding that islands were littered. As I know youíre well aware, this part of Africa is underdeveloped in terms of tourist infrastructure, especially in comparison to some of its other East African neighbours. The experience in a destination such as this is expected to be a raw and unpolished one, but I can really appreciate how seeing all of the litter you mentioned wouldnít have been pleasant. We are particularly interested in wildlife and the natural world and would be sad to see this, too. There is a long way to go in terms of educating these countries to look after their natural landscapes and wild habitats, but also, a long way to go in terms of local people actually being able to access the infrastructure and facilities to deal with the amount of rubbish they are discarding. I can appreciate itís not a a very nice sight but sadly this is the reality in many parts of the continent. The guides should also have given clear information about activities and Iím sorry to hear that this wasnít always the case. Iíll be sure to speak to our local team about this, including the hike to the lake. Iím very sorry for the lack of clarity here. Please know that this is not how we intend our tours to be run and we are working hard with our local team to iron out the creases and to avoid this happening in the future. Comoros is one of our more challenging destinations in terms of infrastructure, due to the sheer fact that it receives very few international tourists. Itís important to see a trip like this as a journey and an insight into island Africa and to manage expectations, as the experience will never be a perfectly polished one. That said, we will be working hard to make changes where possible and know our local team is keen to do so, in order to bring more tourism to the Comoros and to ensure that our travelers have a positive experience. Iím glad you enjoyed the tour overall and we really appreciate the time you have taken to write with feedback.

review 5 Sep 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Scenery and the people

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for untouristed challenges

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Donít know

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Poor communication of ground operators caused frustration

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for taking the time to send in your feedback . Comoros is probably our most challenging destination - not so much in terms of the destination itself, but in the fact that the lack of tourism here means that the infrastructure and level of services on the islands is much below what one can expect in other parts of Africa. Few local people have had the constant practice with tourists that helps them both to understand expectations and refine the services that they provide. We are constantly working with our partner here to improve services, but this is not always an easy task and so we try to highlight the issues involved in traveling here in all of the information that we send our travelers. Despite our best efforts, itís often the case that things in Comoros donít always run as smoothly as we would like, and perhaps we should have made this clearer in the pre-departure information we sent you. That is not to abdicate responsibility - we do of course try our best to continually improve the quality of services here - but it can be a difficult issue to resolve in a country like Comoros. We will be discussing all of the issues that you mentioned in your email to us at length with our local team to see how best we can avoid similar problems in the future. Thanks again for taking the time to provide us with feedback - this is always really important to us as it helps us to highlight any areas that may need improvement.

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