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Kian Barker
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Shakabarker Tours

Kian Barker

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info@shakabarker.co.za

Guests are not always right

Greetings and Salutations,

Each day in the business of tourism, there are new faces and some welcome backs. Welcome backs are great for your business. Firstly because you are doing something right and secondly if you offer good service it saves you on advertising. Advertising is costly, but without it a business would never get off the ground. This little anecdote is about new faces, not welcome backs. We need new faces because not everybody wants to do the same thing again.

In the process of welcoming new faces there is an educational process. Lots to talk about, facts, figures and advisory info. St. Lucia is unique because we have hippos that roam our streets at night. In our winter months there are more nocturnal hippo visitors than summer. It is this time of the year that they seek out the freshly manicured and watered lawns, it is due to the lack of fresh grass in the neighboring game reserve that makes them the largest nocturnal visitor. It is on arrival that we educate new guests about this situation.

Couple of months ago I had a charming couple that arrived to stay for several nights. After going through all the activities in St. Lucia, on closure I mentioned there had been stacks of hippos roaming the St. Lucia streets. I suggested they should rather use there car as meeting a hippo on our streets could prove nerve racking. I was a little surprised at their response "you are schmiling, vee don't belieff you!" errr.. What do you reply to something like that. You are trying to be hospitable, without being overbearing. Also giving good advice to improve the stay of your valued guests. 'Now they do not believe you!' I left it at that.

In the morning I have never met two meek and almost embarrassed looking guests. They hardly looked up from their plates and mumbled they should have taken my advice. As they had opted for Alfredos Restuarant, while enjoying some good Italian pasta, two hippo had walked within ten meters of their table en-route to someone's backyard. Their en-route was MacKenzie street, the main street in St. Lucia. So nervous were they, that they had begged Freddy the owner to give them a ride back to Hornbill House!

Local advice, listen and make an informed decision.

Part Two

Now, one thing is not taking local advice, the other is expecting to change the environment to suit your needs. Africa is unique and it is certainly not Disneyland. Disneyland is contrived to suit and manipulate expectation. Predictable and not very Eco-friendly. There are no subtleties, none, you get jerked around in a sugar filled haze or something along those lines. Africa offers slightly different scenarios, what you put in, you get out. Added to this, time is on your side. For certain wildlife experiences in Africa you really need to wait a long time. But that is not all, certain places the animals and animal activity dominate daily or nightly events.

Our lodging is called Hornbill House BnB, through a total stroke of luck we have hornbills that visit our facility.These trumpeter Hornbills make a great big noise on arrival and departure. This usually takes place at or near sunrise.At night we have bush babies that cry for part of the night, just the way it is, great atmosphere and adds value. Rather this than a busy road, screaming roller coasters or thumping disco music. However a couple of months ago we had an American guest that complained about our hornbills and bush babies! Weapons of mass destruction came to mind. Did this person want to nuke the landscape for want of better sleep? Or a deathly silent lunch time siesta? Not sure, fortunately one thing was certain she was never coming back, bush babies and hornbills are staying.

Africa is alive in St. Lucia, viva Africa, viva!

Hasta la vista

The Knait Whrydah

Posted by Kian Barker

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