Wednesday, 24 August 2011


We have a great programme on our TV in the UK at the moment called "Holiday Hijack". It is where a group of people, usually two couples or a couple plus their older children, are sent to a luxury resort for 1 night. On the next day they are called to spend times with the locals and live with them in their own home. They are also shown behind the scenes at the so called luxury resort they are staying in.

This week is was based in Kenya. The family were put up in a 5* resort for the first day and night and then taken to live with the Masai tribes in a hut made of dung. They were made to live and work with the locals. They were also taken behind the scenes at the 5* resort and shown how a staff member who made their beds everyday, works for 3 months, 7 days a week, before they were given time off. They were also paid what we would see as a pittance.

On the last day of the holiday the family are given the choice of whether they remain with the family or go back and stay for a last night in their luxury resort. This week the family chose to return to the resort. I personally think that is an insult to the family who have fed them and put them up all week. Most weeks people choose to stay with the host family.

Over the weeks it has taught people how humble the locals are and not at all materialistic. It has brought people to tears to see how kind the locals are and how much they have to put up with from the tourists.

One that shocked me was the Maldives. People stay on a luxury 5* island and throw rubbish/trash away like they would at home. What they don't realise is that in the Maldives they have no recycling facilities as such and all the rubbish is taken by boat (after being sorted by hand) to another island away from the tourists and there it is left. The plastic is sold for a pittance but everything else is left there to rot. This shocked the family that were sent to the Maldives and was a real eye opener.

My question is "If having been sent to a 5* luxury resort free of charge, you were asked to then go and live with the locals after only one day, would you do it?" Luxury or Locals.
Would you swap this? Luxury 5* resort in The Gambia

I like to think of myself as being quite adventurous when travelling abroad and love to mix with different cultures and learn about them, their way of life and their religions.

for this?
Schoolchildren at Bakoteh school in Senegambia (The Gambia)

I loved my time in The Gambia. Our host Kabs, took us to his family home, where his sister was outside roasting nuts on the open fire for their dinner. We were shown around their "compound" where the whole family lived.

He took us to the local school where the children sang to us and chatted with us. I'm sure it was not just in return for the pens, pencils, books and sweets we took for them. They seemed genuinely delighted to meet us.

Could you do this or is it only luxury for you all the way?

Have a look at Holiday Hijack for yourself to see what you think and if it changes your mind.
This link will definately work for UK readers, but I am not sure about overseas ones. Give it a try.
Kabs and his wonderful family.