Desert Destinations

With all the possible holiday destinations, it can be quite overwhelming when planning your travels. Since we are entering warmer temperatures again, Travelling Mystery Guest took a look at some interesting desert destinations to visit. Some are in our neighbouring countries and some are very far, never the less, they do not disappoint:

  1. Canyon Lodge, Namibia

Located near the Fish River Canyon, not only does this lodge provide activities for all visitors, but their unique stone chalets will make you feel part of the beautiful Namibian desert. For South Africans, this lodge is not too far from home and for international travellers, this oasis is worth the distance.

  1. Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa

Located in the lush Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range (in Chile, South America), this destination is for those looking to travel further than South Africa’s neighbouring desert. Similar to the architectural design of the Canyon Lodge, the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge blends in with its surroundings, making you feel part of the terracotta ridge that rises behind it.

  1. Kubu Island
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Baobab in Botswana

Though this island’s location may not be defined as desert, the Kubu Island in Botswana (in the Makgadikgadi Pan area), consists of dry granite rock that features some beautiful Baobabs. An interesting fact about this destination is that the entire island is a national monument and it is considered sacred by the natives living in the area.

  1. Salvador Dali Desert, Bolivia

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The name of this desert, originating from the environment’s resemblance to Salvador Dali’s landscapes, already paints a picture in our minds of what to expect from this desert destination. It consists of long stretches of rocky hills, sand dunes and lagoons. So if it’s really desert that you’re after, you’ll find it here. This desert is in South America (close to Chile).

  1. Luxury Desert Camp in Erg Chebbi

Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs (a sand sea), the other is Erg Chigaga. The Luxury Desert Camp provides a true Moroccan experience in the desert, with the culture adding to every aspect of this camp. Camping in tents completed with Moroccan décor whilst surrounded by camels and the sun setting behind a dune would be an amazing experience!

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

 

 

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The importance of security at your lodge

We’ve recently returned from a trip to Zanzibar. It was after the first night’s stay that I once again realised how quickly one can either be super impressed with an establishment’s service standards, or absolutely horrified.

Unfortunately, in this case, it was the latter.

I had taken my camera with (with the aim of sharing some great photos with you when we return). The chalets we stayed in were all very neat and consisted of all the necessities for a three star self catering unit. You know – two towels on the bed, some bathroom amenities, mosquito nets (which you can’t go without there), etc.

On arrival I suspected that the lodge should be relatively safe, as all the chalets had windows that were only covered with mosquito nets. There were no actual glass windows, which indicated that they clearly have no problems with theft or other criminal activities. This was until that evening, when they stole my camera bag with my camera and two lenses from the bed while we were sleeping on the other bed in the room. After waking up from some strange noises, we realised something was up and got up to see if something was missing. When we went outside to see if there is a security guard who could assist us, there was absolutely no one to be found. Now – what do you do in such a situation? What if someone got hurt? The lodge manager was nowhere to be found, nor any of the three security guards who had been there earlier that evening. After notifying them the next morning, the lodge manager called the lodge owner, which indicated that he was not able to handle any of this and he realised that he had slipped up.

In Zanzibar it also seems to  work the other way around when it comes to police statements, as the police were not able to come to the lodge – they had to be fetched!

So…Travelling Mystery Guest compiled a few tips with regards to the importance of security at your accommodation establishment, which you might want to ensure are in place:

  • Make sure that your manager is always available and ensure that guests are given his or her contact details for emergencies. If a manager doesn’t want to be bothered in night time, he’s not worth being your manager. That’s where the extra mile comes in when it comes to hospitality.
  • If your lodge is large and needs security guards to patrol the area, ensure that they are on duty at all relevant times. Also ensure that your manager has an eye on them at all times.
  • With a tourist destination theft is always a possibility as tourists carry expensive items like cameras which are easy to spot and unfortunately also easy to sell on the black market within the hour. Make sure that your guests’ rooms can lock properly (doors and windows) and ensure that they are provided with safes to put their valuable items in. (In our case there were no safes).
  • When providing guests with safes, always ensure that the safe is accompanied by proper instructions on how to use it.
  • Be sure to have all contact details of local police readily available. (In this case, the manager also had to wait for a car, as he lent the lodge’s car to another lodge for the morning.) Be sure that your establishment always has some form of transport at hand for any kind of emergency or for in case you need to fetch the police without keeping your guests waiting for three hours!

One thing I could say about this lodge is that the manager was very helpful in booking us into another lodge (right next to them) with very high security gates and 24/7 security guards! Now why would they not have thought of this before my camera got stolen, mmm?