Tour group etiquette
As you may have already guessed, I am alive. I wasn’t eaten by lions, I did not contract a fatal illness and I am, thus far, devoid of parasites.
On the downside, I am psychologically mangled having just spent the past 14 days in tour group hell.
I just want to preface this tirade with a note: I have been on group tours before and I loved them. Despite occasional misanthropic leanings, I have always thrived on the camaraderie, the shared wisdom and the general thrill of making new friends over whatever local intoxicant is cheap and plentiful.
This trip would have been no exception had it not been for two of the passengers and our tour leader. The result? A menage a trois of pain.
Imagine two young women on their first serious overseas trip. Now add to that mix a rugby playing farm boy/tour guide who spends a lot of time on a combine harvester daydreaming about two young women. Sounds like a plot for an SBS film but no, dear reader, this was the synopsis for The African Highway to Hell.
Subsequently, I have been mentally composing a list of tour group faux pas for the past two weeks based solely on the behaviour of these three extraordinarily annoying people.
1. Do not hang your wet laundry in the tour bus
The tour leader might like your underwear but I assure you, the other passengers don’t.
2. Do not stay up all night making noise in a camping ground if you are within earshot of your tour group
Go wake up some other poor souls; souls that do not have to spend the next 13 hours on a hot, sweaty bus with you. This point applies doubly to camping grounds that are supposed to be very peaceful. People did not travel 11,000 kms to hear you get drunk or have sex in one of the world’s most idyllic settings.
3. Do not gang up on vulnerable, single travellers
If you are going to act like you’re on Spring Break in Florida, the least you can do is be pleasant to your fellow travellers, especially those who have to share tents with you.
4. Tour Leaders: Do not obviously sleep with your group members
We don’t care what you do once we’re all asleep but please, for the sake of professionalism, do not spend all day flirting when you are meant to be telling us what kind of antelope we just passed.
5. Ladies: Try to curtail your desire to flirt with the tour leader when they are meant to be telling us what kind of antelope we just passed
We’re happy for you – honestly we are – but if you show us your pole dancing photos ever again, we’re going to kill you and it’s going to be bloody.
5. Ask yourself: ‘Do I have anything to say?’ before you open your mouth
This is a standard question for most people, but not for all. Asking ‘Are we’re there yet?’ again may result in the aforementioned brutal death.
6. Be kind, be respectful, be considerate and most of all, be on time
While we simply adore waiting for you in 40 degree heat, it would be a lot better for everyone if you showed up on time. We have all spent enough hours on the bus without sitting around wondering where the hell you are (not that we actually care).
I have a lot of wonderful things to say about Africa but first, I needed to get that off my chest. Special thanks go to my beautiful sister Kate; she is the most patient, supportive travel buddy in the whole world.