Special Note On Charter Costs


Published: September - 1998

Year after year, charter costs in Africa create complaints from clients who feel "ambushed" by charges they weren't expecting. The latest complaint is from subscriber John Penek who says he was recently presented with a bill for $4,000 by a pilot in Cameroon, who had flown him from Douala, Cameroon, to the concession controlled by Felix Barrado of Nsok Safaris. The bill was for one-way passage! To avoid paying another $4,000 for the return trip, Penek said he had to catch a lumber company flight out of the area. "The only way that could be accomplished was for me to leave four days early, which turned my 12-day hunting trip into a eight-day trip," he writes, noting that the lost days contributed to him not being able to take an elephant.

Penek is not unhappy with Barrado, calling him an "...enthusiastic outfitter and professional hunter" who operates a good camp in a good hunting area. Moreover, he says Barrado called him by satellite phone ahead of time and warned him the charter fee would be high because the two other hunters who were scheduled to split the fee had cancelled. Penek's complaint is about the overall charter system as it operates in Africa. He says clients should perhaps be required to pay their charter fees in advance, just as they do their hunting fees. That way, clients would be protected against "surprises" such as he experienced.

Here at The Hunting Report, we think the idea has merit and might work in some areas. For certain, we think safari operators and agents do have a responsibility to address this problem more forthrightly than they do, and clients have every right to press them to do so. Passing all the risk of a "surprise" along to clients is simply not acceptable. The Hunting Report would be happy to provide a forum for further discussion of this issue.

........(continued)

 
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