We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

Which Nairobi hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Seattle, Washington
posts: 459
Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

I can't even call it company because is not a company.

Daniel Maina is nothing but a middle man. They don't have their own vehicles, drivers. This guy uses whomever he can find take you the a safari trip.

The drivers can't even find their way around Nairobi. What a joke. I just spend 4 days with this outfit a real joke. Stay away.

Here is my review/report

I couldn’t wait to write my Review Report about African Sermon Safari.

I booked a 4 days Budget Camping Safari with this Pseudo Tour company on the last minute because I had booked with Absolute Adventure Safari, but a about a week before leaving I read an email about a lady from Sydney, Australia that had a horrible experience.

So I went ahead and after contacting Absolute I decided to pull the plug and requested my deposit and cancelled.

Well my experience with African Sermon Safari was pretty bad. Here is my story.

Daniel Maina from African Sermon Safari greeted me. I had contacted them in the past but decided to go with Absolute. He came to the hotel I was staying in Nairobi to tell me that a van would be picking me up in a few minutes.

About 8:30 AM a van came to pick me up. First I noticed the van was filthy, it had no company logo whatsoever, first hint. There was another man from Korea already in the van.

I booked a Budget camping safari covering Masai Mara, and Lake Nakuru. I was willing to share a tent in order to save some money. Then we rode to another area in Nairobi and we were parked in a very busy area. We had no idea where we were.

All we know that the driver and his companion left us in the van without any notice. People started to hovering our van and looking into the van with not very good intentions.

About 45 minutes later, the driver came back. We asked why we were sitting there. He said that they were still trying to confirm some people that were considering joining us.

He also told us that they were trying to get the food supplies, but had not way of know how much they needed to buy until they had a complete head count. I asked him why they didn’t have all this figured out the day before.

He told me that’s they way they do it all the time. Oh that sounded very encouraging to us. We remained seated in the van for closed to another hour. I was getting very pissed off about the whole situation. I didn’t sign up to be seated in a van in a not to safe area in Nairobi.

Then they went ahead and loaded up the food supplies, and I thought well at last we are off to Masai Mara. They drove off and we ended up picking up a woman also from Korea. She was traveling alone.

I thought we would be on our way to Masai Mara. Wrong, then we went across town to the Westland neighborhood. I recognized the area from day before when I went to the Elephant Sanctuary.

The driver kept driving around, and around and it looked like he was lost. The driver and his companion kept asking people for directions. There were times that the companion got out of the van asking whomever he could find on the streets. This looked very discouraging.

They kept talking to the people they were trying to pick up on the cell phone. Then after almost 40 minutes they found the address. There was a couple waiting. They decided to sit next to me even though there was plenty of room in the van.

They kept pretty much to themselves. I found out later the man was from New York, but apparently originally from Finland. His girlfriend was from Finland. They spoke fluent English but continued talking constantly in Finnish. I thought it was very rude.

We didn’t get to the highway until almost 3.5 hours after I got picked up from my hotel. The road changed once we left the city limit. It became very bumpy, and dusty.

The entire trip was on a 2-lane road, and at times I thought we were going to have a head on collision. About an hour later, we made a stop along the highway to (trick us to buy some trinkets). We got out of the van looked at the Rift Valley. It was a nice sight. Nobody bothered to buy anything.

About 1.5 later we stopped at a roadside restaurant, it was a regular stop that a lot of Safari Tours made a stop. This was a quick simple buffet style lunch. It consisted of rice and very small pieces of chicken bones. After spending about 40 minutes we got back to the van.

We arrived to Rhino campsite around 4:30 PM. I had checked online this campsite. I already knew that this was a bear bone campsite, no thrills. It was a place to spend the night period.

There were four of us. Three solo travelers and a couple. My roommate and I got assigned to the first canvas tent at the campsite. We noticed that the zipper was torn. We requested to be transferred to another tent, and the girl at the camp gave us a huge rolling eyes.

We also noticed that the campsite was almost empty, so they had plenty of fancy. Later she told us that she didn’t want to have people scattered all over the place. After being very persistent, she obliged and gave us a cabin, which what the other people got.

This was a very basic cabin with a small porch, 2 full size bed and mosquito nets. It had a very basic bathroom.

We were told that we were going on our first game drive in about 30 minutes. We all got to the van and headed out to our first game drive.

We saw a variety of animals and afterwards headed back to the campsite. We showered but it was a challenge the water pressure was non-existent. We went to the Dinning area. It looked more like a Mess Hall.

We retired to our cabin for the night

Day 2

This was going to be a full day in the Masai Mara. We were leaving this morning early and would be gone all day.

We stopped for lunch and after lunch the driver told us that he was going to pick up a couple of people because one of them was going to be traveling until the next day when we were going to Naruk. He was going to be transfer to another van to go back to Nairobi.

The other person a girl from Korea was going to ride with us for the entire trip because she had some kind of snafu on her booking and they were trying to make up to her.

The first thing I noticed that the Korean girl was not with African Sermon Safari, she was with an entire different company, but somehow we ended up 2 additional people. Now we had a total of 7 people + the driver. Also the noticed the companion the driver had in Nairobi stay back in Nairobi.

They loaded up their luggage and they got on the van. It was very uncomfortable in the van. That was the second thing that I noticed bad about my Safari trip.

We continued our game drive and later back to the camp for the rest of the evening.

Day 3

Today we were leaving early about 6:30 AM for an early game drive, no breakfast just coffee. We were going to return later for breakfast and to pack our luggage.

We went on our game drive. During the game drive I noticed that the majority of the other vehicles were a lot nicer than our. Our van looked more like a city shuttle than a safari vehicle. It was cramped, dirty.

We returned for breakfast, and then we took our luggage to the van. As we were getting ready to board, we a new person a woman from Scotland, that was joining us as well. Now we were like sardines in a can a total of 8 people + driver.

We were told that she was going to be dropped at the lunch stop. But in the meanwhile, we continued our afternoon drive with 8 people in the tiny van.

We stopped for lunch and the people got transferred to their respective vans.

The four of us that remained in the van we were going to continue for the rest of our safari trip.

We were on our way to our hotel in Lake Nakuru. However, the driver suggested if we wanted to visit Lake Naivasha. But it would cost us about $23 US. We discussed it and decided that it would be a good opportunity since it was too early to be in our hotel.

We went to Lake Naivasha and it turned out to be a good decision. We all enjoyed very much.

Afterwards, we drove to our hotel Rivu Retreat Resort. The name of this hotel it’s a bit misleading, there was nothing about this place being a Resort.

As we approached the hotel, there were several armed security guards with at the gate.

It had a courtyard with small bungalows on both side of the courtyard. We were assigned our rooms, and were told by our driver that dinner and breakfast was included.

He would pick us up at 6:30 AM the next day. We went to our rooms and then went to the restaurant. We sat for over 30 minutes, and nobody came to our table.

We looked around us and we were the only tourists at the restaurant. The rest of the people were a bit intimidating. They kept starring at us from the moment we arrive, and they had not good intentions. They were drinking heavily.

We tried to bring attention to the 2 people at the restaurant but they pretended to be busy. Then we saw the girl that met us at the reception desk. We told her that we had been waiting for someone to take our order. She looked at us, and then walked away. We never saw her again period, vanished.

Then a couple of guys from the adjacent table came to our table pretending they knew us. We didn’t know what to expect it would happen. They got our message and went back to their table.

A few minutes later, a waiter came back with silverware. Not a word, no menu nothing. Very weird.

Then we brought our dinner, whether we liked it or not. After we finished dinner we went back to our room. I had traded room with my roommate because my room had an entire wall covered with mold.

He also heard a very loud music, and realized that the hotel had a bar. The music played very loud all night. It was Friday night so we knew it would not quite down.

Day 4

We got dressed and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. We didn’t know if we were going to have the same experience as we had the night before.

We sat down and had to wait about 30 minutes before they brought our breakfast.

We finished breakfast, and went to the reception area waiting for our van. There was nobody at the reception desk. It was totally desolated. It was kind of eerie.

After waiting almost 1 hour, our driver showed up. And he told us that he could not start the van. We didn’t know what was going to be next. He told us that he had made arrangement with another van to pick us up.

He told us that the van was at the shop, and he will be meeting us by the entrance to Lake Nakuru. We waited until the other van arrived.

The van arrived, it was a much nicer van, but it already had 6 people. Now we were back to square one a total of 8 people + driver. We got acquainted with the people in the van.

There was a couple from Sweden, a man from Thailand, 2 women from Spain, and a man from California. We proceeded to Lake Nakuru.

It was very disappointing visiting this lake. Not much to see. We didn’t see our van or driver by the entrance as he told us.

So I asked the driver of the van we were riding if he could call our driver to find out the status of the van. He did and told us, that our driver was going to meet us at the lunch stop.

We arrived at the lunch stop and our original driver told us that the van had not been fixed, and consequently we would need to ride back to Nairobi on the very crowded van.

This was unreal that we were treated like cargo. No wonder I noticed that this was not a Tour company, but a last-minute-who-can-you-find outfit.

At lunchtime, the driver kept rushing us because he had to drive his group to Tsavo Park, and he didn’t want to arrive in the dark.

The 3 of us felt rushed, and being penalized because we were not part of his schedule.

We arrived to Nairobi, but first the driver dropped off some of his people. Apparently, they were making another booking for anther trip. In the meantime, I had to wait until they finished their business before I was taken to my hotel.

This was horrible choice. Like I said the fact, they didn’t use their own drivers, their own vehicles those were the red flags that I should have noticed. But then again what can you do if you are already in Nairobi. What are the choices?

Daniel Maina from African Sermon Safari turned out to be a charlatan, a joke. He’s more of a middleman than a Tour Operator. Be aware especially if you are booking a camping trip (low margin).

I also have another issue with this company. I had paid for the shuttle service between Nairobi and Arusha. I specifically requested a shuttle service used by tourists. But he chooses the cheapest one in order to pocket the difference.

Consequently, the shuttle bus that he booked me with, it broke down in the middle of nowhere.

He has no regard for the safety, comfort for the people that book a safari tour with him. He treats people like cargo.

13 replies to this topic
Amsterdam, The...
posts: 384
reviews: 2
1. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

What a shame to African Sermon Safari!

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,270
reviews: 4
2. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

Yes, this was a fiasco. No doubt you're looking to get all your money back? A vivid warning that you should never book anything without knowing the full details, in writing of a) everything you're buying and b) who you are buying it from. If you're going to book direct with a Kenyan company, then iunless you are certain you're dealing with a highly reputable and long-esstablished agent, you should always deal direct with the company that owns the vehicle and empoloys the driver/guide that you'll be using.

There are an awful lot of "safari companies" in Kenya that are nothing more than websites. Many of their owners turn up on trip advisor, trying to drum up business with fake client requests and reports.

CAVEAT EMPTOR!

Richard

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 3,771
reviews: 3
3. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

"They kept pretty much to themselves. I found out later the man was from New York, but apparently originally from Finland. His girlfriend was from Finland. They spoke fluent English but continued talking constantly in Finnish. I thought it was very rude."

Why? Did you want to listen to their conversation? When abroad do you hold all your private conversations in your second or third language so as to please everyone else? I doubt it. By the way, it's "bare bone" and "no frills"...

"Wrong, then we went across town to the Westland neighborhood. I recognized the area from day before when I went to the Elephant Sanctuary."

The elephant orphanage is in Langata, completely the opposite side of town from Westlands.

As has been pointed out before, if you don't do your research thoroughly beforehand, you will get fleeced. TIA.

Nairobi
posts: 201
4. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

Cheap is always expensive as has always been pointed out in the past.

Surely the person concerned must have been enticed by the cheap prices on offer, a reputable tour operator would not have allowed picking other passengers from all over the place.

Were you briefed on what to expect before you arrived ?

How many people did they tell you were going on the trip ?

Any minimum and maximum numbers ?

This sounds very unprofessional and a big lesson to everyone.

We will be waiting with bated breath to hear if African Sermon will respond.

Allan

Qualicum Beach...
posts: 30
reviews: 28
5. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

We have just come back from a Safari in Kenya and Tanzania. All of the detail was worked out by a company from North Vancouver called "Safari Studio." Not being in any way familiar with Africa and what Safaris were all about , we made a phone call to Safari Studio to get some ideas .

We were given over to a young lady called Melissa Kooijman. Melissa gave us some ideas and said she would send us material and a very rough itinerary from which we could start planning.

When we got the itinerary we were able to use it as a starting point to plan our trip . We called Melissa and gave her our suggestions and she would then make some changes and price things up for us . We went back and forth many times and Melissa organised for us to take two tours back to back with us taking the bus from Nairobi to Arusha to save us about $1,000.00 on airfare.

We chose to stay at Serena hotels and lodges and Melissa arranged all of this for us. We were with Hemingways Expeditions in Kenya and with Leopard Tours in Tanzania.

When we arrived in Nairobi , there was a Hemingways representative at the airport to meet us.This was Elizabeth and she was fantastic. She gave us all of the information that we needed and had our itinerary and specific instructions all printed up. She told us that there would be just the two of us in the Land Cruiser with our driver guide Joseph.

Joseph collected us the next morning at 8:00 am and from there on for the next six days we went to all of the national parks including the Masai Mara. Joseph was so knowledgable about absolutely anything that we simply could not have asked for a better guide for Kenya. Thank you so much Joseph.

After six days we returned to Nairobi to stay in the Stanley hotel overnight . Elizabeth was there at the hotel to meet us again and she briefed us on the trip by bus to Arusha in Tanzania for the next day. She also provided us with visa applications to fill out before we arrived at the border.

The next morning Elizabeth was there again along with Joseph to take us to the bus. They organised everything at the hotel bus stop with the office and ensured that we were seated in a good place on in the minibus. Hemingways Expeditions must be complemented on their organization and consideration of simply everything that we required. Everything was just wonderful.

When we arrived at the Impala hotel in Arusha , we were met by a representative of Leopard tours ( Luke) as well as the driver of the Land Rover (Salum) that would take us on the Tanzania portion of our tour. Luke was terrific again giving us a detailed itinerary , taking us to the dining room to have some lunch and generally filling us in on all of the details.

Then we were off again to look at all of the parks on route to Serengeti. Once again we were with our driver Salum alone and this made it very relaxing to ask Salum anything that we wanted to do. We had a lodge on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater , a lodge in the Serengeti National Park and our driver and guide Salum was wonderful. His knowlege of the area and of the wildlife was just terrific. We saw every animal that we wanted to and Salum catered to all of our wishes.

Then it became time after 5 days to return to Arusha where we arrived at about 1:00 pm . We had a day room booked and were to be collected by Leopard Tours and taken to Kilimanjaro airport to get our flight back to Amsterdam and then on To Vancouver. Luke was at the hotel to meet us and gave us all the details about being collected at 5:00 pm and taken to the airport.

In conclusion we cannot say enough good words about Hemingways Expeditions , Elizabeth and Joseph. They went way and far beyond what we had expected and for that we are so grateful. You made our trip of a lifetime an absolute pleasure.

Leopard Tours was equally fantastic. Luke and Salum could not have been any better if they tried. We are so grateful to you both and to Leopard tours for making this holiday a dream come true.

And of course Melissa back in Canada. Everything you did for us was perfect. All of our desires and requests of rooms was fulfilled. Every detail was taken care of and so to you Melissa a simple "Thank You" does not seem enough , but on here it is all we can offer. Thank you Melissa and Safari Studio in North Vancouver .

Anyone contemplating a Safari , you will not go wrong with Hemingways Expeditions in Kenya and Leopard Tours in Tanzania .

Seattle, Washington
posts: 459
6. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

I researched them and asked directly specific questions and they looked great on paper.

I asked about their vehicles and they pointed to their website . It must have been Photoshop

What can you do after you are trapped in the middle if the Masai and the dumped you into another van duh

I realize now that the van never broke down in Nakuru but it was a ploy to throw as many people in one van

Trying to get $$ would be tougher than winning a Lotto. But my review will make a bigger impact and save others from future disappointments

Now they tour outfit (not a real co) is trying to get gold of me cuz my review they ck this forum

By contrast my safari in TZN w Good Earth was the opposite experience. I haven't written my review .for starters I went on a private safari riding on LandRover went on non permanent camping safari

Now I know thee difference between a real Safari co and a fake

This was not my first rodeo . I was fortunate to cancelled and get a refund from Absolute safari due their lack of competency and that's when I contacted African Sermon (read the reviews

As far as the specifics about when the taxi driver got lost coming back from the elephant sanctuary I guess I did learn enough about the direction all I know it was around Karen area

kenya
posts: 49
reviews: 14
7. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

In deed cheap is expensive

Seattle, Washington
posts: 459
8. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

Keep in mind that this was not a bottom price tour

But I'm glad I had a better experience in TNZ

Nairobi
posts: 2
9. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

I feel sorry for you , but next time you have to vigilant on which company to take.

Cheap is expensive.

Paraty, RJ
posts: 2
reviews: 4
10. Re: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place

hi yankari, i see your name popping up on so many threads so i thought i might ask a question or two!

a friend and i are trying to find a 'budget' safari. actually, one of the finalist companies was this african sermon. how do we know who is reputable and who isn't? african sermon is a member of kato!

do you have any other suggestions? companies you might recommend? we are also looking at bush troop safaris.

thanks for any input, yankari or anyone!!

Reply to: Trip review African Sermon Safari stay away from this place
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted