Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Finally I arrive in Port Elizabeth, the plan was for me to ride with the Irish the whole way but due to my ability to schedule flights so well I was on a different flight than then getting to PE (port Elizabeth) before them. So as I wait at the airport in PE, I grab a glass of wine, refill my time on my SIM and relax (what a concept) a bit reading my book.
So upon arrival Colm and Caitln meet their hotel ride and I tag along hoping to sleep on a floor or find a place to stay somewhere else. Well, Margret is quite friendly and lets me stay in her daughters room for the night and we grab some slices of pizza and I have a little more wine by the pool. All in all a lovely and relaxing evening, everything is looking positive.. you know what that means..the TIA lightning is ready to strike!
This TIA moment is brought to you by Nomad tours Africa. So, we wake up in the morning get all packed up, have a lovely breakfast with the BEST sausage I’ve had to date in Africa. Things still going smoothly.. then we wait..
and wait.. and wait..
AND WAIT SOME MORE.. nearly 5 hours past the appointed time on our printed itinerary of 8am at 1pm we are finally picked up by the Nomad truck. Now we are all cheesed off, had to buy our own lunches which were supposed to be included .. and supposedly still are we’re told.
We get on the truck to be greeted by the rest of the tour group. Now let me take a diversionary moment to share some information about Nomad
“Suitability for our trips is not just about ﬁtness it’s about being
able to take the rough with the smooth – whether you’re up to your
elbows in mud rescuing your sinking truck, climbing the nearest tree in
an attempt to escape from charging buffaloes or searching for the only
bush in the desert to squat behind – expect the unexpected!”
“The nature of overlanding tends to attract a certain age group, and
experience has shown us that our camping trips are unsuitable for the
majority of travellers outside the 16 to 55-age bracket.”
Now given these statements, and I could come up with other examples as well as many internet postings about thier tours about how adventurous and young and energetic their tours are.. would you expect the composition of the tour group to be: A family of 4 including two ten year old girls and a late 60’s German couple who does not speak English.
To add to this we do stop for lunch from the truck.. lunch in their minds is somehow defined as lettuce, bread, and potatoes smothered in mayonnaise.. yeah.. lunch.. whatever!
So now come the excuses from Nomad.. your hotel operator knew what time we pick up they should have told you.. you’re booking agent had bad information.. we changed those times in February.. you wouldn’t have arrived in time to do anything anyway.. we can’t do anything..
Suffice it to say I stuck with them to the first destination determined to make the best of a less than perfect situation.. however the attitude from the driver, the tour guide and Nomad offices in Cape Town are completely unacceptable. We finish day one at the Tsisakama national park.