Jovago.com – the site budget travellers in Africa use to book their hotels

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Jovago.com is a relatively new hotel booking machine, launched in Nigeria in 2013. Despite its short history, it is already considered a leading online booking service in much of Africa. While Africa-centered, Jovago has listings worldwide (probably through other booking machines). Their primary markets are in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in some Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. Jovago.com has already gained popularity among locals, but few western tourists have heard of it yet. Anyone travelling in Africa, especially those on budget, should make use of the service.

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The advantage of Jovago over well-known international sites (eg. Booking.com, Hotels.com) is larger selection of hotels in its core markets. The Nigerian capital Lagos alone has 1366 properties listed (compared to 55 on Booking.com). Many guest houses and budget hotels, and any accommodation in smaller towns are listed only on Jovago. While some of the cheapest places are really rudimentary, there are all levels of accommodation available to suit travellers’ preferences.

The site provides good deals on various hotels, typically 10-50% discount on normal prices. They also provide seasonal promotions, usually 10% discount on all bookings (keep an eye on promo codes!).

Some hotels on Jovago require or allow pre-payment, which can be done either by credit card or mobile payment. Otherwise, a booking can be made to be paid at the hotel, without having to enter credit card details.

Having used Jovago.com a few times, I have only positive experiences on it so far. In contrast, there are number of negative reviews of the site by other customers.  This may be due to hotels not recognising bookings, being full, asking higher price (especially if western tourist), or not having promised facilities. These issues arise most likely when booking with small guest-houses, whose staff may know little how the service works, or they are unaware of it.  The way these places get listed is often that Jovago staff travel from town to town, visiting hotels on the way, and signing them up. From then on it is up to the hotel how they deal with the service.

Overall Jovago.com should be considered a reliable service, but advance payment should be avoided unless booking a high-credibility hotel.

(the writer’s only affiliation to Jovago.com is being a customer)

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