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CULTURAL GUESTHOUSE IN HARAR, ETHIOPIA: BASIC BUT HISTORIC - NO. 2


This review is about the Zubeyda Waber Guest House in Harar, Ethiopia. This is the sister location of the Rowda Waber Harari Cultural Guest House. You may be placed here anyway when you arrive. Its almost as nice as Rowda, but it has a few less traditional rooms around the back. Historic basic hostel.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Road Trip, Backpacking
  • Written July 8, 2014
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Zubeyda Waber Guest House - Harar, Ethiopia

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BASIC BUT HISTORIC - NO. 1: CULTURAL GUESTHOUSE IN HARAR, ETHIOPIA

This review is about the Rowda Waber Harari Cultural Guest House in Harar, Ethiopia. There are only 3 rooms here, its Government owned (big problem), you share a small bathroom, the neighbourhood is 'lively' at night and there is not much security. If this is fine with you and less than $20 - then experience a real 'Adare House'. Also known as a 'Gegar', its a 2 story small house unique to Harar and designed to keep cool. Throughout the house are wooden panels that keep the light and heat out and let the cool air circulate. It is decorated from floor to ceiling with all manner of decorations. The interesting thing is the sitting areas in the front room. They are at different levels to sit at. The higher your social or status within the family, they higher you sat!

This can be a cheap and exciting place to stay, but it is owned by the government. That means if an organised group pays a little more - you make arrive to a cancelled reservation.

At least pay the small fee to look inside.

This is the sister accommodation of Zubeyda Waber Guest House and both are really just hostels with breakfast.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Backpacking, Road Trip, Budget Travel
  • Written July 8, 2014
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Rowda Waber Harari Cultural Guest House in Harar,

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MALINDI GUEST HOUSE: GOOD PRICE & VIEW - ZANZIBAR


The Malindi Guest House is slightly paradoxical. When you first walk in and up the stairs to reception you feel like you are in an ornate and very tall house owned by a very rich person. The decorations and decor are ornate and reflect Zanzibar history and culture. A long walk all the way to the top reveals an amazing open roof bar and restaurant area. This is one of the best places for a cheap ice cold beer to see the sunset and the port area at night.

The other side? The rooms are very basic, but you do not pay much to stay here. You get a comfortable mattress on the floor with clean sheets, a very good mosquito net and a large fan overhead. No furniture, but a great low price to stay here. The only other odd thing is that it is a semi-industrial site near the port, which is not that nice at night. It is a reasonably safe area at night, but you may want to take a taxi back at night. At the very least go for the cold beer visit! I did when I visited someone staying there who felt their stay was excellent. The staff are friendly and helpful!


Great bar at the top and wonderful views of the Port.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Adventure Travel, Backpacking
  • Written January 25, 2014
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MALINDI GUEST HOUSE

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  • Reviews: 1

1 out of 5 starsUser Rating

The Palace Of Sun City: The Unlawful Hotel In Africa

"During my stay at the Palace of the Lost City in Africa on 13th May 2013, my 13,500.00 USD, two vertue and one Nokia Lumina mobile phones were stolen from a locked suitcase that was placed on the chair in our room.

Even though I have raised an official complaint to the hotel authorities, they have not yet come up with a positive response to me. It is really unfortunate that they have neither been able to identify the suspect nor any negligence or wrong doing from the staff there.

From my personal experience, my advise is not to select the Palace of the Lost City in Africa for your stay or any other purpose in order to avoid such disappointing incidents happening to you too.

"During my stay at the Palace of the Lost City in Africa on 13th May 2013, my 13,500.00 USD, two vertue and one Nokia Lumina mobile phones were stolen from a locked suitcase that was placed on the chair in our room.

Even though I have raised an official complaint to the hotel authorities, they have not yet come up with a positive response to me. It is really unfortunate that they have neither been able to identify the suspect nor any negligence or wrong doing from the staff there.

From my personal experience, my advise is not to select the Palace of the Lost City in Africa for your stay or any other purpose in order to avoid such disappointing incidents happening to you too.
Babumoopan
Chairman & M.D.
X1X/9C, Nippon Towers
NH 47, HMT Junction
Kalamassery P.O
Ernakulam – 683104
Email : babumopan@gmail.com

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Business Travel
  • Written November 28, 2013

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  • Reviews: 3677

2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

QUARA HOTEL: BUDGET CENTRAL - GONDER, ETHIOPIA


The Quara is a budget hotel, more of a hostel, which is right in the middle of everything. The staff are friendly and helpful. I asked if I could use the toilet and have a look around and they said ok, no problem. Rooms are small, but clean and have a sink. The beds seem comfortable enough. Toilets and showers are communal, but they are clean and you will find a pair of flip-flops under your bed. When I was here in Gonder, they had no website or email, just a telephone number. They do now and seem to have redecorated a little. Unless it’s the high tourist season, you will easily find a room at this rather large hotel. They have a nice pastry shop downstairs, but you have to come back up to the hotel to wash your hands or use the toilet! Gonder is not a large place, but if you want a budget place a stone’s throw from the Royal Enclosure, you found it. Ask for a room on the back, as the front overlooks the busy/loud main roundabout.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Singles, Road Trip
  • Written May 28, 2013
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QUARA HOTEL - GONDER, ETHIOPIA

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  • Reviews: 3677

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

RIAD CHOUIA CHOUIA: SIMPLY WONDERFUL - MARREKECH


OK. So the first time you take your own mother (in her 70’s) to Africa – you want to make sure that the accommodation is safe, quiet, well located, well decorated ,had good staff and be easy to book. Well done Riads Morocco people! The accommodation looked like the website. How often does that happen? To be fair there was some confusion about ensuite rooms and we were offered non-ensuite in the main building with the small pool. We were accommodated in the building across the alley and we loved it.

Let me rewind for a minute. When we arrived my Mum was trying to take in the chaos that is Marrakech. We took a while to find the place. When we did we were greeted by a large, ornate and ancient wooden door. When it opened we were ushered into a beautiful and tranquil courtyard and the pool. Tea was brought immediately and we were made to feel like long lost family returned home. Our rooms were sorted out and Mum had a red room on one floor and I had a blue room on the next.

Soft beds, air-conditioning, good showers and absolute silence at night meant a great night’s sleep every night. Breakfast (included) was a carb lover’s dream on the very sunny terrace. The staff could not have been more helpful. The building we stayed in allowed rooftop glimpses of the nearby area.

The location – once you figure out the alleyways – was amazing. 3 minutes walk to Jemaa El Fna Square and the heart of Marrakech. It is also a 1 minute walk to the Ouarzazi Bar in the hotel Les Jardins De La Koutoubia. I love my mum, but you need a drink or three after a long day of entertaining anyone’s mum.

So in addition to the excellent décor they also have a TV room with satellite TV and loads of games. You can sunbath on the terrace in complete privacy. The best part is sitting in the bottom of their cosy pool after a long and very hot day in the morass that is Marrakech. Not many riads have one. This is perfect. I had it all to myself thank you.

I loved my stay here and my Mum says its ace! And the price is nice for what you get.

Riad Chouia Chouia has rooms for about 14 to 20 guests with both ensuite and non-suite rooms. They also offer:

• Mini bar (some rooms)
• Airport transfer 10.00 € (You can haggle a taxi a little cheaper)
• Breakfast 3.00 € (unless you book it in the room deal)
• Massage : 35.00 €
• Lunch : 15.00 €, Dinner : 15.00 €
• Baby sitting : 40.00 €


They have an excellent video of the property here:

Riad Chouia Chouia Video

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Family Travel, Photography, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written December 30, 2012
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GREAT STAFF AND A GREAT STAY

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MYOSOTIS RÉSIDENCE HÔTEL & SPA: COOL WITH A POOL IN BENIN


Before you ask, no, I didn’t stay here. I just happen to come across it when I was walking around the Ganhi Market area. I realised that it was a tall hotel that might give me a good overall view of the area. I didn’t realise they had a rooftop swimming pool and bar until I reached the top. That was cool. Very cool, so I stayed for a beer and took photos. This is a very nice looking hotel offering suites and apartments in an excellent location. Throw in the nice looking restaurant, pool and spa – and you have a very good accommodation option for families, business people or large parties.

The hotel was built in 2010 and has 39 fully furnished studios and apartments. Each one comes with:

• Air-conditioning
• Ensuite bathroom with a bathtub
• Fully equipped kitchen
• TV’s with CANAL +, CANAL Satellite and CNN
• WIFI
• Breakfast served poolside

They also have:

• Rooftop pool and bar overlooking Cotonou and the ocean
• The first Spa in Cotonou, called Jouvence
• Le Huit gourmet restaurant specialising in Mediterranean & French cuisine
• Modern conference room for 60 people
• Underground parking (30 spaces)
• Cyber Café

of 60 seats, a vip lounge, a spa, a swimming pool on the eighth floor, a lounge bar, a gourmet restaurant and a cyber cafe.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Luxury Travel, Spa and Resort, Family Travel
  • Written December 8, 2012
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THE POOL ON THE ROOF

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  • Reviews: 146

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Harbour House: Watch the whales from your window

I made booking via e-mail and was pleased with the helpfulness of the people I dealt with.

I stayed for 5 nights, which is longer than most people visiting Hermanus, but ideal for my relaxation requirement and to see plenty of whales.

I reserved room 32 whic looks out over the bay ad even from the room's balcony I was able to spot Southern Right Whales in the bay.

The room, which seemed typical of the others, was furnished to a high standard and very comfortable.

I, and others, had problems with the in-room wi-fi. To be fair there was free internet available next to the Spa/Massage area. However as somebody staying longer I was impressed that as a way to speed up my connectivity they provided me with an in-room hub which was connected to the main hotel's broadband link for free access during my stay.

All the hotel staff were helpful and friendly.

Dining options in the hotel were limited, but with so many good restaurants within a few minutes walk it did not matter. Breakfast was "ok, but nothing special".

A great pool area that overlooks the bay.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Whale Watching, Luxury Travel
  • Written October 19, 2012
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Hermanus sunset from Room 32 at Harbour House

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5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

SHANGWE HOTEL BELAKOM: GOOD IN D.R.C.


This is a reasonable hotel in Goma. It is not cheap by local standards, but it does the job. Almost every room is $40. That’s per room, not per person. This being Africa, you could probably haggle the price down if you speak to them (in French). It is relatively clean, well organised, safe and I had no problems getting to sleep. It is on the outskirts of Goma, but that is one of the reasons it is safe and quiet. It is located in a nice residential neighbourhood and you have views over (very) nearby Lake Kivu from the upper floor.

The hotel is run by several polite men and they are on duty 24 hours a day. In addition the nice garden area out front has a very high fence. Inside you have a fairly open fronted dinning room and a full service bar. The menu is not vast and it’s not cheap, but your don’t have to take a platoon of Army troops with you into town at night. I enjoyed my fresh spaghetti and my cold beer. They do make it up from scratch so it does take a while. The bar is essentially open 24 hours a day. You keep buying and they keep serving. The bartender sleeps behind the bar and I accidentally woke him up once. He did ask if I wanted anything to drink.

My room was small and there wasn’t a lot of room once you accounted for the large bed. It was a reasonable mattress and I slept quietly and soundly. The room did have a closet, TV, table and mosquito net. I don’t remember the room having air-conditioning, but it did have a fan and it was cool.

The bathroom was ok. I had a big tub, shower attachment, modern flush toilet and a reasonable mirror. Worryingly I had a hair brush. I did not take advantage of its use. The water was hot although the water pressure was a little weak.

The remote control TV had some French TV channels including 24 hours news.

Breakfast (included) was a mini - feast. Toast, bread, jams, fruit and even a fried tomato with tea and coffee. They even asked if I wanted more.

If you do want to sit and sip beers on the lake – there is another hotel almost opposite. Best to ask the price of the beers there first. I didn’t and they charged me a lot.

All in all this is a very reasonable mid-price option in Goma. Budget options may involve some very real safety issues.

Welcome to Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


* Safe
* Quiet

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Women's Travel, National/State Park, Adventure Travel
  • Written October 8, 2012
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Shangwe Hotel Belakom, Goma, DRC

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  • Reviews: 3677

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

ASTORIA HOTEL: CHEAP IN KAMPALA


The Astoria is a simple, concrete, tower block hotel just across from the shared taxi ‘station’. It is a couple of floors above a shopping precinct and goes on for what seems eternity. Only people who are physically fit to climb stairs with luggage should stay here. What do you get in return for this climb? The rooms are big, clean, have good beds, the staff are nice and security is armed at night. You also have an almost roof top bar with music and cold beer where you can definitely mix with local people. You can also see a fair amount of Kampala.

I stayed in room 538 which overlooks the shared taxi area. Needless to say it was loud, especially during the day. I suggest you contact them ahead of timer and ask for an odd-numbered room and specify a mid-level floor not facing the 'Old Taxi Park'.

The rooms have comfortable beds, cleaned daily, closet space, TV, fan (no need for A/C), refrigerator, modern toilet and shower. They also have some flip flops for you to use to prevent slipping and athlete’s foot. Towels were also changed daily.

All in all, it’s a cheap hotel by downtown Kampala standards – but a good hotel. I paid 90,000 for 4 nights. With the exchange rate at the time I wrote this tip that would be about $12 (US) a night. I am good at haggling and time has moved on. Definitely insist on a discount if you stay multiple nights. Just get a single night price and start haggling!


• Low price
• 2 blocks from the main Market and Post Office
• Clean and comfortable
• Staff are friendly
• Has a high rise bar with live music (you get in free)
• Clean
• Safe

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Beer Tasting, Singles
  • Written September 29, 2012
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ASTORIA HOTEL - KAMPALA, UGANDA

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  • Reviews: 3677

2 out of 5 starsUser Rating

NATA LODGE: NATA LOTA LOVE


I ended up here by accident late at night. In fact I ended up here after a car accident. And after having to pay a bribe to drunken Policemen. So needless to say I was having a very bad day and I asked for some sort of cheap room or reduced rate as I was late, had been in a car accident and the chalets were above my budget. I didn’t receive any sympathy or help. In fact I had 2 ladies making faces at me like I was wasting their time. I was told they only had a chalet left and the options were yes or no. When I asked about food – I had another look like ‘how dare you speak to us’. Trying my chances I asked if they had a bar. “Yes – it closes very soon”. OK.

Wow. I am having a bad day and the reception staff were absolutely charmless.

I pulled my car around to my chalet and I have to say it looked ok. There was an outside screen door to keep the zillions of bugs out. Well most of them. The chalet was open plan except for the bathroom. It looked great. It has an outside porch, large sliding glass doors, a large bed in the middle, 2 mosquito nets and a large ceiling fan. The bed was very plush and I expected at least a good night’s sleep. That’s when I started to notice something not quite right. The bedding was full of insect parts and bits of other debris. To be fair the sheets were laundered, but full of dead bugs and parts of dead bugs. The laundry people were great, but the housekeepers have a lot to answer for.

I then went to have a look at my bathroom. Not bad. All modern and a few rough edges. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except more dead bug parts. And a few live bugs. And the massive spider web covering a third of the wall where the sink and mirror were. Oddly the sink and tubs were clean. Bizarre. I know there are a zillion bugs just outside, but there is no reason for them to be inside. Luckily I had my own can of bug killer – so I did Housekeeping’s job for them.

Because I had arrived late and needed to leave early – I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every last possible facility I could at the hotel.

So I ran to the bar.

Yep, they said they would close soon, but a small tip and a few nice words and I was told they could give me a few extra minutes. I would have just ordered a bunch of drinks anyway. I was told the pool was now closed. Given that this was a poolside bar and the pool looked very physically open to me….I planned to go and change the second I finished my last drink.

I did jump into the dark pool later after a very long, hot sweaty, horrible day. It was freezing and the chlorine content was shocking. But at least it kills the bugs. I can respect that. So all in all I went to bed with a slight buzz from a few drinks and a cold dip in the pool.

And I slept well.

The next morning I made sure I promptly dived back into the super-chlorinated pool and then went for my breakfast. That done I looked through the small (slightly expensive) gift shop and then packed my car. So off I drove as I needed to be elsewhere and was now a day late.

I hope you have a better experience than I did. The place looked ok, but was expensive by local standards for what you get. I did see a few birds outside my back door, but that’s it for wildlife here. The rest you have to drive to see. The reception staff should have all been made to report to the drunken Police I had to deal with in Nata. Their attitude sucked.


The same company offers 5 different accommodations in different locations.

Nata Lodge offers:
• 22 chalets on stilts with an en-suite bathroom, fans and air-conditioning
• 10 Meru tents with wooden decks, en-suite bathroom and outdoor showers
• A camp site with semi-open ablution facilities (M,F, hot water) showers
• A swimming pool with kids slide
• Open air, covered bar next to the pool
• Restaurant
• Gift shop

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Related to: Road Trip, Family Travel, Luxury Travel
  • Written September 23, 2012
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MY EXPENSIVE ROOM

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  • Reviews: 3677
CHOBE MARINA LODGE: LUXURY IN BOTSWANA


A Marina Hotel in Botswana? Well it sits on the Zambezi River front. In fact only a very small section of the Zambezi flows through Kasane and the Chobe Marina Hotel is in prime position and even offers a restaurant over the river. You get what you pay for and the prices of the rooms are even more mouth-watering than the food in the restaurant. This is a luxury hotel with shocking prices for Africa. All rooms have all the amenities like Air-con and mini bars. It is a beautiful hotel, but it is very expensive. If you have the money – have a blast.


Well appointed rooms, pool, riverfront location, 2 restaurants (1 is over the river) and 2 bars (1 river, 1 poolside). Minutes from Chobe National Park.

  • Opinion of Price: most expensive
  • Related to: Food and Dining, Luxury Travel, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written August 21, 2012
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CHOBE MARINA LODGE


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  • Reviews: 3677

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

CHEAP IN RWANDA


If you are arriving by bus in Gisenyi, the Presbyterian Guest House virtually in front of you. They offer some nice gardens and budget accommodation. They have dorms with individual mosquito nets for $4. If you want a room in the lower gardens with shared bathroom then its about $7. They actually have a nice little restaurant in the grounds with a cheap buffet at night and a reasonable breakfast at a low price. Just don’t expect any alcohol and you will hear choir singing in the late morning in the near distance. The receptionist, Innocent, was a cracking guy who let me charge up my batteries and cell phone in his office. Security is on the gate 24 hours a day.

My room has a comfy enough bed(s), mosquito nets and screens on the windows. It is set under lots of trees and the rooms stay cool during the day. Hot water is not an issue. The lower rooms are actually near the main road, but traffic virtually stops at nightfall and the town is quiet at night.

I stayed here twice and was made to feel very welcome. My room was inside a locked building and I only shared the bathroom with 3 other rooms – mostly unoccupied. If its clean, cheap and well located accommodation you want – this is it. If you need a drink, the bars are 50 meters away. The beach area is a healthy 15 minute walk or cheap moto-taxi ride away. The market is 75 meters and the bus station on your doorstep.

Please note - it is called the Centre d'Accueil de l'Église Presbytérienne - in French

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Road Trip, Backpacking
  • Written August 9, 2012
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Centre d'Accueil de l'��glise Presbyt��rienne

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2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

THURINGER HOF HOTEL: NOTHING GREAT - NAMIBIA


This hotel is part of the Protea Hotel chain which has some beautiful lodges near game parks that offer breathtaking beauty. This hotel is the ugly sister. It’s a nice 3+ star hotel right on the main street of Independence Avenue. All their rooms offer air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, satellite TV, radio, telephone and facilities to make coffee/tea. That’s about it. No swimming pool. You could stay around the corner for $20 less at a Bed & Breakfast set in its own gardens with a swimming pool. This is more of an easy business hotel to use. Breakfast is included in the room rates. Their website is very useful.



Food and drink:
Cigar bar, Butchers Grill restaurant (www.butchersgrill.com), outdoor beergarden, outdoor lounge area, room service
Services:
Laundry service, safety deposit box, car rental/transport can be arranged.
Conference Facilities:
Several modern conference rooms and theatre
Copy/Fax/Internet

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip, Family Travel, Luxury Travel
  • Written August 6, 2012
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THURINGER HOF HOTEL

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CARDBOARD BOX BACKPACKERS: BEER MONEY IN NAMIBIA


The Cardboard Box is a classic Backpacker place that claims to have been started in 1992 in order to get some beer money. Fair enough. They are the oldest such establishment here in Windhoek and they provide a range of services. They can accommodate 45 people inside and 12 in tents (w/mattress) outside and spaces for 20 other campers. They have a bar and restaurant which always serves game meat. Outside they have a small swimming pool and braai area. They offer 24 hour reception and very secure car parking. Back inside they have internet/phone/fax facilities, laundry, self-catering kitchen and travel information. They can also arrange anything from car hire to hotels elsewhere to full blown safaris.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Backpacking, Road Trip
  • Written August 6, 2012
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CARDBOARD BOX BACKPACKERS

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