Sunday, April 6, 2008

‘On Assignment in Africa’ – an update from the Original 2AFRIKA, INC.’s Director of Operations, Dominik M. Zakrzewski


Check-In at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International went very smoothly. I didn’t get the seat that I reserved (which is precisely why we do not arrange in-flight seating – I have never heard of a confirmed seat number actually being honored), my meal request also was not honored and I frankly didn’t feel like bothering to ask. Our flight was delayed by an hour and fellow passengers would not silence their cell phones. That’s a flight for you; it’s just another form of public transportation that we all dread and hate.

At the same time you’re in the company of people who are all in the same boat.

The actual notion that I’m on vacation didn’t hit me until we were about to land in Dakar. Up until then I was still on New York time, thinking about bills, statements, accounts, work, etc. We land in Dakar and all of the sudden it hit me: I’m back on African soil. I thought to myself that this will not change nor alter my life. I will go on, but I’ll be on vacation. I was wrong. Returning to Africa did put a break and a stop in my life. I stopped being hectic and plugged into the vibe of African time letting go of all that I was used to a mere 7-hours earlier.

The first changes that you’ll notice are the trees. Growing up in the Northeast I’m used to a specific climate and a specific flora. The trees are just different in Senegal. This is a taste of what’s to come later. The seats on the South African Airways aircraft are unlike any US carrier – there is more space and the in-flight service is very ‘genteel’. The duration of the flight is not as grueling as it seems. The hours DO pass by really fast.

I sat next to Mohammed, a 6 year-old boy whose parents are from The Gambia and who’s uncle is taking him back to visit family. We didn’t get into much detail but he was my flying buddy for the first leg of our flight. We played video games, I helped him with his dinner (which he just didn’t want to finish; instead half of it ended up on his shirt). At around 7:00AM Senegal time (approximately 3:00AM EST) we landed in Dakar and about half of the passengers departed the aircraft.

The ‘new’ crew informed us that we had another 100 passengers joining us for the onward flight to Johannesburg. Perhaps because I’m sitting in seat 74D - right at the tail end of the aircraft, the influx on new passengers didn’t affect us. The area around us is lighter and we can pretty much sit where we want. Johannesburg is 7:30 hours away. I slept on and off, collectively for about two hours. The anticipation and the adrenaline are keeping me up. The bathrooms onboard are microscopic!

As is customary here at the Original 2AFRIKA, INC., we are always on the look-out for new and innovative Safari products for our valued passengers – and usually, we time these ‘on-site’ inspections to coincide with visits to properties that are already featured in our Safari Collection to be sure that the standard of requirements that we set have enhanced themselves to suit our Collection but most importantly, our passengers.

Each day (or at least each day that he is internet accessible), Zakrzewski will be writing his evaluation reports on the day’s activities, emailing them to me, and I will be posting them. The title of this Blog will be ‘On Assignment in Africa’ – an update from the original 2AFRIKA, INC.’s Director of Operations, Dominik M. Zakrzewski.

I do hope that you will follow the trail and enjoy the newfound information that Zakrzewski has to share on a regular basis.

For further information on this informational Blog post or any other Safari in the Original 2AFRIKA Collection, visit us on the web at

The Original 2AFRIKA, INC. remains committed to Corporate Social Responsibility in Tourism.

If you would like to comment on this Blog Post, please communicate directly with the Original 2AFRIKA Founder & President, Kenneth R. Hieber, electronically via