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
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.
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.
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.
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.