What should have been a trip of a life time for my Mother and I at Lalibela turned into a nightmare only a few hours after arriving. We were staying in one of the “Tree Top” lodges, which are accessed by a raised wooden walkway. After some very light rain that afternoon we found the wooden deck of the walkway very slippery, even though we were taking the greatest of care as it was dusk, to my horror my mother slipped and fell more than 6 feet into the bush below. Although there is a wooden handrail, the gap between the hand rail and walkway is open! My mother sustained head injuries, a broken nose and various abrasions to her face and body. If this was not enough, no management staff were available or willing to attend to the incident!! I had to insist that my mother be taken to hospital, it took nearly 30 minutes before anyone arrived with keys to vehicles. When we arrived at hospital it was left to me to negotiate my way around an African hospital late at night to get medical help for my mother. It is a miracle she survived a fall from that height, I can only put it down to the fact that she is extremely fit and robust, my worry is this could and probably will happen again and could result in a fatality. I have been in contact with Lee Philips who is one of the Directors at Lalibela who seems totally disinterested and sends emails from her lawyers with veiled implications that my mother fell deliberately and friendly warnings not to contact the media . Numerous emails have been batted back and forth, but Lalibela are not interested, they have offered us a complimentary 2 nights stay to be taken later in the year, this is totally inappropriate given the circumstances and the fact that we live in the UK. We have never asked for compensation, simply for our stay to be refunded and the safety of these walkways to be looked into before there is a fatality, Lee Philips seems happy that they comply with SA regulations even though the majority of their visitors are European and would expect their safety to be of paramount importance. The staff at Lalibela are great and can’t do enough to make your stay comfortable however, there is a total lack of care on behalf of the management, and my real fear is that this will happened to someone else.
My recommendation is to stay in any of the other game reserves and give this one a miss!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
It is natural to be disappointed when holidays don't go according to plan and the guest's mother falling was obviously one of these. Whilst we were, and remain, sympathetic to the lady who fell, it is regrettable that the guest chose words in her description that do not accurately reflect the events and actions and which therefore show Lalibela in a bad light. We do not believe this is a forum to engage in tit-for-tat. This is a forum to give readers the other side of the story so that Tripadvisor readers can make up their own minds about a product.
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Tree Tops Lodge opened in 2004 and this incident is the first of its kind. The guests had been on evening game drive and had had alcoholic drinks on their return. The guests then walked on the raised wooden walkways to their room and the lady (in her 80's) fell through the railings. Our staff were present at the time of the incident but management decided to bring in a person qualified in First Aid to take the lady to hospital. This took some time.
It is entirely untrue to write that Lee Phillips was disinterested - Mrs Phillips took the matter both seriously and personally. Mrs Phillips reported the incident to our insurers, as we are obliged to do if an incident like this occurs. Mrs Phillips had no option but to take instructions from our insurers. They arranged for an independent assessment of the Tree Tops and its walkways and the findings were that Tree Tops is 100% compliant with all health & safety and building regulations. Accordingly, the finding was that Lalibela was in no way negligent and our insurers prevented us even from making a goodwill gesture of a refund. We are able to maintain our offer of a free stay for the guests.
Should anyone have concerns at all about Tree Tops, I encourage them to contact me directly via the Lalibela phone number.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.