Basically, the trip was great and my experiences special. Especially after having being in Morocco through another tour agency in late Feb & early March. For the most part, you did an excellent job supplying me with information about what I could expect and how the trip would proceed. And interacting with you was great; just sorry we did not get to meet when I was in Tunisia.
- Perhaps prior trips to Algeria did not go well for some of your clients or something happened in the souks/medinas in Algiers or Constantine, but your strong pre-trip caution about not trying to buy souvenirs & items when traveling about in Algeria but instead do so at the Algiers airport really struck me as off the mark. Not at all my experience as I happily plunged into the souks/medinas which I thought were great. Besides, what the Algiers airport had for sale was crummy in my view.
- I think it would be fine if you conveyed for people wanting to tour Algeria that the country is not very used to tourists or geared for tourism the way Tunisia & Morocco are. But to say don’t make purchases in the souks/medinas is off the mark for people like myself who considered these places and the people with whom I interacted among the highlights of my time there.
- What I say next about Algeria may not be easy for you to convey to future clients or good business-wise for you. I was not turned off by the constant “escorts”–i.e., police security–whenever we traveled outside of the cities. I never felt restricted or under scrutiny in Algeria, but others not alerted in advance to the emphasis on security or who have not previously traveled in third-world countries like Syria or Myanmar where a government/military presence is often very evident, might be put off by Algeria.
- Finally regarding Algeria, something I would not have thought to ask you in advance and another tricky issue for you business wise, what would be a really effective minimum stay in the country? My only regret about Algeria was that I could not stay long enough or travel around (e.g., go south as I was able to do in Tunisia & Morocco. One estimate I received was a minimum of 10-14 days to do justice to Algeria – In this sense, would I go again to Algeria? YES, only I would stay longer.
- Tunisia, as a smaller nation, was much more manageable touring in 6-7 days. A really great tour.
- Nourdenne, my guide-driver in Tunisia, is very good. Knowledgeable, conveys information clearly, listens, adapts to individual traveler’s interests, good sense of humor, etc. Fun to be around.
- Going into the mountains and south in Tunisia really added to the tour and helped give a broad sense of what the country is like & its culture.
- It was a special treat to be in Tunisia on Independence Day with all the patriotic music on the radio and Nourdenne singing, if off key, lustily & with great gusto.
- The hotels through my tour were if anything much more than I really needed. Can’t say much about hotel food, especially the evening offerings–just “hotel” food without, in my view, much local or national focus. In this sense, I really appreciated Ahcicin’s taking me out on several evenings at local places so I didn’t have to eat in the hotel.
All in all, Kevin, despite what I fear many of my comments may seem negative, I loved my trip and the way you organized it. I have already recommended Mosaic North Africa and your services to several people.