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Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

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Seattle, Washington
posts: 462
Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

I am in a real pickle.

After doing a lot of research, and checking previews I decided to book a camping safari with Absolute Safari.

I already paid the deposit and will be picked up by them on Oct 3 in NBO to head out to the Safari.

However, someone just posted a response to an earlier posting I placed asking for reviews about this company.

I need some suggestions what to do next.

1- confront them tell them of the bad reviews

2- cancel and walk away since I have more than 30 days before starting the tour

I have asked permission to the person that just had the bad experience if I could quote and forward their complaints to the tour company and see what they have to say. Read below here complaints:

The biggest problems were I didn’t get to go into the parks I booked – totally missed Lake Manyara to see all the flamingos, got 2 hours in Lake Nakuru when it was supposed to be 1.5 days. Didn’t stay in the accommodation I was supposed to – I booked camping. In one hotel I got electrocuted in the shower! The campsites I actually got to stay in were not the ones booked – the guides pocketed the money and took us to the far side, outside of Serengeti then asked us for petrol money! They didn’t give us the water promised, took us to crappy parks without many animals e.g. Tarangire. They were totally irresponsible when it comes to protecting/respecting animals and our safety. In Kenya the driving was really reckless – our guide even let some trainee cook from a campsite (where I had to sleep inside a green concrete block worse than Alcatraz) drive – he stalled at least 50 times and insurance would not have covered us had we crashed. I ordered vegetarian meals – no one knew! In Tanzania the Land Rover broke down SO many times. We were put into other trucks without our bags, camping gear, food, warm clothes (on way to cold Crater). Then about 6 hours later our stuff turned up – everyone else had gone to bed so we finally ate and could get warm and sleep. In that time no one communicated with us to explain what was happening. It is Africa but they can still communicate. We would go for up to 20 hours without food – again the guides obviously sold the food off or didn’t cater enough for us. We’d get tea/coffee and one biscuit at 5.30am then not return to camp for breakfast/brunch/lunch until mid afternoon, no snacks were in the van for us. The lunches we did get were all yellow- off banana, muffin, sweet rice cake, sponge cake and white bread sandwich (4 slices of bread) with one slice of cheese in it.

Good luck, if you need more info just ask. I have blocked most of the bad things out. I have reported Absolute Adventure Africa to KATO. In between the Kenya and Tanzania parts I met with the owner of Absolute Adventure Africa who promised Tanzania would not go wrong – it was worse! There will be no refund. Such a shame for a once in a lifetime holiday to be so terrible.

manchester, United...
posts: 965
reviews: 46
1. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

Oh dear. Hw much do you stand to lose if you do cancel? There are so many good operators its a real shame to have a bad experience. even if it doesn'y turn out so bad for you, you already have all the worry and anticipation.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 462
2. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

Not much only $150 dep. i don't think I'd have to pay all since the trip doesn't start until Oct 4th. I'll be willing to leave the dep on the table period.

Ironically, I sent an email last night before I got the email about the bad review because I had some questions, and they haven't responded.

I think this is a case of the economy. I know that some people in Kenya and TZN traveling solo are having a tough time trying to join a safari due to the lack of tourist. I looks like the tour co are struggling and they spent all the money, for food, fuel etc.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 462
3. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

I just read their Terms and conditions about cancellation and here it is.

Reservations/Payments

A non-refundable deposit is required on booking and the balance 4 weeks before the booking date, although in certain circumstances larger deposits are required. If a booking falls within 4 weeks of the booking date, the whole amount is payable at time of confirmation. Notwithstanding any prior confirmation of arrangements, the right is reserved not to undertake a booking if payment is not made in accordance with the foregoing.

Keep in mind that I already paid the dep way before the 4 weeks period and my departure is not until Oct 3 at the airport but the safari suppose to start on Oct 4.

I'm almost tempted to contact them to cancel

manchester, United...
posts: 965
reviews: 46
4. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

Hopefully others will be able to offer info about this company. Maybe better to write off your deposit than waste more money. Good luck.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 462
5. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

I just got an email from Absolute answering my questions. I asked if I could be taken to a local school on the way to the safari since I wanted to donate some school supplies. Well, that won't happened they said they are on a tight schedule. That made me a bit upset.

She gave me so excuse being out of the office, etc for not responding promptly.

So I spilled the beans, and told everything and my dilemma about going with them. No, I didn't quote or gave any names but told them about the bad experiences. It won't take a genius to figure that out.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 462
6. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

Thanks I hope so but at the moment I have a very uneasy feeling about this company

It looks like they are having some financial problems. Here's a typical case being a member of KATO its totally meaningless. Its like being a member of the local Chamber of commerce

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 31,595
reviews: 196
7. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

My advice for what it is worth? Walk away now. Do not get in any deeper with these people. They maybe legit but it is simply not worth the risk.

Write the $150 off to experience and book with an outfit that has a decent track record. KATO membership is of little value. Go on personal recommendations from a reliable source.

I am sure plenty of Kenya fans on here can help. (ignore flycatching posts that will surely come on)

Seattle, Washington
posts: 462
8. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

I just got a response to my amazement they are offering to refund my deposit even without my request. This is what they told me. I haven't responded yet will tomorrow.

There's always 2 side of a story. As I said, I checked their reviews and even contacted some via PM from this forum and they were all positive.

I do understand that operators mix passengers in order to have a vehicle full w/o empty seats, but my biggest concerned (according to the person that wrote the report) is the fact, she was left out in the open, and had to pay for fuel

I know the whole scenario which was written by one of our Australian Lady – who happened to have her own personnel issue, she complained of everything and I was unable to understand her from day one to the last

I did my level best to see her safari was smooth but she end up write all that, in this world we have different people and it’s not easy to fight against – unless she clear the air, us as the company we will not be able to let the comment erased!!

Some words on her trip advisor article were unbelievable our drivers don’t ask for money for any service when client has paid

Before you book, know it’s a joining safari your booking for

- Mixing on Safari with different tourist

- Joining is a Budget package – where, we as operators help clients to visit the parks with discounted rates

- Our Joining are operated by one operator – but clients come from different companies

As you know as a company, at where we are we are asking especially those clients who are doing Joining Safari to understand it’s not PRIVATE PACKAGE – Where you have to be with one driver

You can be at Mara with one then you will be given another vehicle driving to Nakuru, as the other vehicle drive clients back to Nairobi if they were doing 3 Days 2 Nights at Mara – sometimes there changes of transport

Kindly be open to us, if you ok with us we will go ahead and offer the Safari – if not, we are free to refund the Money paid as a deposit

Good moments

Parksville, Canada
posts: 250
reviews: 4
9. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

That sounds like an honest enough reponse to me. It shows that one disgruntled guest can put the boots in for any company.One outfit I used had 1 vitriolic review out of over 160 and it was so bad I felt obligated to contact the owner personally, having had oustanding service from them. When I received his response it put the whole incident in a totally different light and showed the complainant to be removed from reality.

While all reviews are somewhat subjective, if there's a number of decent reviews I think they indicate that at least the chances of a satisfactory trip are

in the cards.

Glasgow, United...
posts: 307
10. Re: Urgent help bad review about Tour Operator already paid dep

looks like this operator took one booking too many and left the tourist in an unforgiveable mess, i would not continue with this operator and they have a duty to answer to this complaint and make amends with their clients loss,

and maybe you could plan your safari in one country, or if you still go for multiple safaris and cross multiple borders then be very cautious (look for longer established operators and with greater positive reviews) and also plan it generously...