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What we have found is that these bookings are just so that the person can get a visa to get into the country by showing they have a booking.
We have learnt that looking at the e mail address usually funny G mail /yahoo address.
2nd they usually try to book a long stay and dont try for a discount.
They will stall on the booking deposit some story. So if in doubt push for the booking deposit as you can not keep a booking without as you are turning away other inquiries, and set a cut off date giving your self enough to still full the rooms.
With time you will learn to spot these.
Another thing to watch out for is The tour/ broker will claim the his group usually with a person in-charge has a problem getting SA currency and they will pay you and can you front the money to there group controller, then quickly reverse the transaction be aware.
Hope this info helps.
Carl From Leighwood Lodge
Thanks for the comments and advise Aaltje. Do you have contact details for Maria as I do need so advice.