Readers Have Their Say

Written By: The Lowdown - Feb• 01•01

smallcover2001-02Go West

The call of  “Go west” in the early days of the Americas was a call of hope to prospectors young and old for fame and fortune. To the Zambian angler it is the lure of one’s mistress to the male angler or lover to the female angler, the mighty Zambezi River. For over twenty years I have sampled the delights the visits to the mistress has brought and felt the pull of her charms when one has to leave her bed. The many charms she possesses for the angler are abundant in the form of the mighty tigerfish and the tasty bream as well as the beauty of the thousands of birds that flock her banks. She has, as a lover has a way of drawing one back and tearing your heart apart as you prepare to leave her side. This year I felt cheated, the feeling one has been used and abused for the sake of an extra buck. The cheap hangover made me feel relieved to flee her side.

Perhaps the luxury of Barotse Safaris run by Barry Myers and Attie Krause was part of the charm that has lured me back to my mistress. An extremely well run operation with outstanding service as well as good boats, well-stocked bar and tasty food lured me back for five consecutive years.

Then came my brother on his annual sojourn from the colds of Scotland and with lesser budget we opted for the cheaper neighbours Senanga Safaris. The trip was prepared for the second year after having a good angling expedition there last year and we booked the waterfront cottage as we did last year.

Customer service simply does exist as it does next door. One may feel that if one pays more one gets more but my opinion is why should we accept a low standard with a poor attitude and have to pay for it. Sure there will always be the slight hiccups and hitches but incompetence is unforgivable.

Firstly one pays for the luxury of DSTV and one would expect that for paying for the service one has the option of channels available. Anglers being keen sportsmen normally associate with a popular channel named Supersport and any request to change to this channel from Hallmark were begrudgingly carried out and reverted on the stroke of full time. I still await the final session of the third test between the West Indies and England.

Having paid for the service it should be maintained. When a mini bus driving in a resident’s only area rips the cable apart, surely it should be repaired? After asking for the third time we repaired it ourselves and watched Mel Gibson in black and white beat his way to the recouping of his outstanding $70,000.

When the TV starts rolling and one is told that the technician is being sent for, should one wait two days? Could the manager’s TV not sufficed? No, the attraction of Hallmark proved too strong and we still await the arrival of the technician.

Secondly, when one pays for laundry one does not expect to find a neatly piled stack of washing in the laundry basket that has not been attended to.

Thirdly, money would have been better spent refurbishing the many skeletons of boats that mar the bankside of the lodge or purchasing a boat that would bring in some form of extra income and assist clients that have broken down upriver. We paddled for five hours without the slightest concern of our hosts. The problem? A faulty starter that had been repaired by guess who? The lodge’s repairman!

Fourthly, a noisy waterfront bar situated right next to the cottage does not appease tired anglers. The occupants of the bar too had illegal wares openly on offer and abetting prostitution is an offence. Were it not for our own security the docksiders would have been a greater menace than they were. Rumba music blaring nightly from the bar will not have me coming back for more. A lady of dubious background who tried to sample the delights of our dinner in a drunken state ridiculed us for not understanding the Lozi culture of sharing.

Fifthly, the cottage was searing hot as all windows were shut. Open them and one risks a mosquito infestation as the gauze has either been ripped off or missing. Close them and you have the sauna. The single mossie net did not reach the bed nor cover it adequately. A fan would be a good investment should gauze be short.

Sixthly, the management would do well to attend to the need of its angling guests. Early morning departure means the bar should have the orders ready. One should not have to send ones staff to find the bearers of the keys.

Seventhly, the solicitation of precious stones assumed to be diamonds is an offence unless one is licenced to do so. Guests with fishing rods boats and tackle make unlikely buyers of such wares.

Lastly, the customer is always correct. An unhappy customer is worth ten customers lost. We left extremely disgruntled as no attempt was made to address any complaint.

Qui Nangler

(Attempts to obtain a comment from Senanga Safaris have failed so far. Ed.)

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