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Nature Bound Africa

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Arusha, Tanzania
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About Nature Bound Africa
East Africa is a destination with something for everyone: Just tell us where you'd like to go, what you'd like to do, and how much time you've got, and we will put something together to suit your needs and budget. We go where YOU want, and depart when YOU want.
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Nature Bound Africa
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MrF wrote a review Feb 2020
1 contribution4 helpful votes
We had a very bad experience with this company. A member of the party has written a review previously, which I completely stand by. I won’t repeat all of the details again but they can be seen in the previous review. Nature Bound Africa responded to that review asking for evidence of the issues, the original reviewer is unable to add this to their review now, however I will attach this as part of my review so potential customers can make an informed choice on what information is true and whether to book with this company. Email contact prior to the trip did become problematic as Nature Bound Africa did not respond to two emails and only responded after contact was made through the website. The owner response to the previous review said these emails were never received; however, this was not what he said when he finally responded. He apologised for the delay and said he had not responded to the previous emails because he had been on safari (see photo). We insist that we transferred the correct amount of money and that this had to be transferred in GBP due to the bank not allowing a transfer of USD to Tanzania. The bank confirmed that this money was not exchanged into any currency in the UK and was sent as GBP to Nature Bound Africa’s account. As requested by Nature Bound Africa, evidence that the money was not exchanged prior to transfer is attached. We had provided this to Nature Bound Africa via email and showed Eliya and the airport staff copies from a phone, despite the owner response saying we had not. Despite asking Eliya multiple times to provide proof that he had in fact received 446 USD less, he never provided this. He said he provided this at the airport, but this is not true. If he had proved proof that the payment was not enough and that this was our fault, we would have resolved it. However, because we knew we had paid enough, and this was confirmed by the bank, we refused to hand over more money without evidence. Since returning and raising the concerns with the credit card company, they have also investigated and have contacted Eliya to provide evidence – he has ignored this and has still not provided this. When we arrived at the airport for our transfer to Zanzibar, as described in the previous review, Eliya was there refusing to hand over the flight tickets and threatening us with the police unless we gave him more money. Although the owner states in their response to the previous review that the police were there, they were absolutely not. Eliya also did not provide any evidence and no one phoned his bank to confirm this as he claims. The staff there were airport staff, and after seeing the evidence we provided of the SWIFT payment, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary from Eliya, they encouraged Eliya to give us the tickets so we could fly. Nature Bound Africa report in their response that we agreed to pay for our own flights from Zanzibar to Dar es salaam because we had not paid enough. This is not true, we had to buy these flights because Eliya refused to provide them unless we gave him $400. We refused to hand over any more money to Eliya because we knew we had paid the correct amount. We booked two double rooms for the trip (which was clear in the itinerary), however the accommodation Nature Bound Africa booked for us in Zanzibar was one, open plan family room. In their response to the previous review, they say they provided two double rooms, which is not true. We obtained a copy of the booking confirmation evidencing Eliya had requested and booked one room for us. The owner response suggests that because we left a good review for the hotel, our claims must be untrue. Our review for the hotel was based on our experience of the hotel, which was good; the issues we had was with what Nature Bound Africa booked and provided, it would be unfair to blame the hotel for this and refer to this in their review. The previous reviewer made it very clear in their review that our concerns were purely with Nature Bound Africa and not with any of the hotels or lodges we stayed in. Our holiday was ruined by Eliya demanding more money, threatening us with the police and government and behaving in an intimidating manner to us, not by any of the hotels/lodges we stayed in. We would have had a great holiday if it was not for Nature Bound Africa’s actions. We will only provide accurate reviews, good or bad, so will not give the hotels a bad review if there was nothing negative from their service. As described in the previous review, despite our itinerary showing a day game drive at Lake Manyara, we did not get this as we had to leave at 10am to get the flight they had booked to Zanzibar. The owner response claims ‘on the itinerary it clearly shows 4 hours of game drive in Manyara’. Again, this is not true, as you can see from the photo of this section of the itinerary attached. We are disappointed we have had to leave a bad review and justify ourselves when being falsely accused of lying. We would only ever leave an accurate review to help others, as we value the honest opinions from others when booking our holidays. You can decide from our reviews (including the evidence attached) and Nature Bound Africa’s responses (where he calls us a liar and makes accusations which the evidence attached contradicts) whether this is a company you want to travel with. I would advise booking with someone else.
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Date of experience: October 2019
4 Helpful votes
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Cornibx wrote a review Jan 2020
13 contributions
I had such an amazing experience with Nature Bound Africa group. They were friendly, professional and caring. The guide that stayed with us, Malaki, was extremely knowledgeable and attentive to every need we had. He always moved to assure we could make the big 5, and had the ability to take the best picture. The Jeep we used for a week was modern and well taken care. Power cords to charge cameras and he always had our “delicious lunch box” as he used to say. Elya was able to design our week as we requested, a tent night in Serengeti and nice lodges through the week. He was even helpful when I got in trouble with Expedia with hotel in Kilimanjaro. I really liked them, and recommend to two friends already! Next time I am definitely connecting with them directly!
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shelmw wrote a review Dec 2019
York, United Kingdom10 contributions5 helpful votes
Apologies for the long review, however I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake I did when I booked with this company. I therefore want to share the experience we had so you can decide whether it is worth the risk of booking with Nature Bound Africa. I strongly advise you book with another company. This review is specifically about Nature Bound Africa. Tanzania is a beautiful and amazing country; the hotels and lodges we stayed in were great and everyone else we met throughout our trip were fantastic. However, we had a horrific experience with Nature Bound Africa and the owner Eliya Tumaini and we would strongly advise you avoid this company so you don’t have the same experience we did. We booked a 15 day trip for four adults. Email communication with Eliya started well, he made a number of alterations to the trip to suit our requirements and we were happy with the itinerary. The few reviews the company had looked positive; however after our experience I have done a more thorough search and have seen others have had similar negative experiences related to money. The main negative issues we experienced were related to payment and Eliya then demanding more money during the trip and the tactics he used to try to get this from us. When booking he said we would pay a 5% deposit and then pay the rest of the balance 30 days before we travelled, and that this would be paid via a payment link he would send when the payments were due. The deposit payment worked well, he emailed the link, I paid via the link and there were no issues. 30 days before we were due to travel, I emailed Eliya (having not heard from him) and asked if he would send the payment link for me to pay the remaining balance. This is when communication became problematic and despite further emails, I did not hear from him. I eventually received a response after sending a message via the contact form on the Nature Bound Africa website. Eliya informed me that the payment service via the link was not working and he was liaising with his bank about it so he would send me the link once it had been resolved. Again, I heard nothing else and had to email again two weeks before we travelled (by this point we were starting to get worried about having not paid for the trip so close to going). Eliya said the link was still not working and asked if the payment could be made by bank transfer or by taking cash and paying on arrival. Both of these methods were not ideal, we had wanted to pay by credit card using the link and certainly did not feel comfortable carrying such a large amount in cash with us from the UK to Tanzania. As by the time we were given these payment options it was just over a week before we went, we had no option but to transfer the money using an international bank transfer. I made the transfer, sending the remaining balance (I rounded this up and paid extra to account for any variations in exchange rate) and paying my bank’s international transfer fees. Eliya confirmed receipt of the payment but claimed the payment was $446 less than the amount. I sent him evidence of the confirmation of the transfer from my bank and he eventually replied saying the discrepancy was due to his bank’s exchange rate being higher than the international rate and bank charges. I did not feel I was responsible for his bank charges/increased exchange rate, especially as these came about due to the payment method having changed from what was agreed at the last minute, and this never being previously agreed. I assumed Eliya agreed with this as after explaining it was due to the bank’s exchange rate and charges, he did not mention it again. He also never provided any evidence that the payment was indeed less than the agreed amount. We arrived in Tanzania and before our first day’s safari started, Eliya arrived at our hotel. He mentioned that he had received $400 less, but was now saying this was due to my bank. I again explained that it was not and reminded him I had sent him evidence of this. I also had this evidence on my phone and presented it again. He said he would get evidence from his bank. He then gave a different reason for not having sent the originally agreed payment link; this time saying that the Tanzanian government had stopped the ability to make payments in this way due to an increase in money laundering, despite up until this point saying the reason was that the bank’s payment service was not working. On our last evening on safari, I was given his telephone number by the hotel staff and asked to contact him. I contacted him via whatsapp and he again said that we owed $400, and unless we paid he would not purchase our flights from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, which were included in the trip. Through messages and a telephone call, Eliya became intimidating, threatening to call the police or the Tanzanian Government if I did not give him a further $400. He said he had not made enough profit on our trip (I reminded him that he had set he price not me and he cannot just demand more money if he later felt he had not made enough profit!). Our guide was present and saw how upset we were and spoke to him. Eliya informed our guide I had not transferred enough money to him and that I had been aggressive to him on the phone (this was definitely not the case. Eliya was not aware, but I had the call on speaker phone as he was the one being aggressive to me & I wanted to ensure the rest of my party and hotel staff were witnessing what he was saying). Luckily I could explain to the guide and show evidence that I had paid the full amount and show him all of the communication up until this point. Eventually we decided that if he was not going to pay for the flights unless we paid him more money, we would have to pay for our own flight. I did not want to pay him any more money, firstly because we had paid him the agreed amount, and secondly by now I had lost all trust in him and worried about whether we were going to get everything else we had paid for (airport transfers, flight to Zanzibar the next day, accommodation in Zanzibar). The following day, when we arrived at Arusha airport for our flight to Zanzibar, the guide informed us that he did not have our flight tickets and Eliya was meeting us in departures to give us them. When we went into arrivals, Eliya again became intimidating, and said he was also not going to give us these tickets unless we gave him more money. I felt like he was trying to get me (the youngest female in the group) alone and I found him very aggressive and intimidating. He was saying “this is very serious now, you haven’t paid me and the police want to see you”. He had told the airport manager that we had not paid him. Fortunately, after explaining to them the situation and showing them the proof of my payment, the emails and messages, they could see I had paid. They informed me that Eliya’s claim that the police wanted to see me was not true and they said that despite Eliya saying he had not paid for our flights from Zanzibar, he had and had been demanding a refund from them given we had now purchased our own. The airport staff encouraged Eliya to give us the tickets and allow us to get the flight. They also encouraged him to send me a copy of his bank statement as proof if he believed his payment was less as he was claiming – which interestingly he still had not provided and still never has. We were left feeling that Eliya was just trying to get more money from us and was willing to use any method to achieve this, including intimidation, threats of contacting the police, and repeatedly providing conflicting, incorrect information. He has never provided any evidence that he did not receive the full payment, despite repeatedly saying he would. I also have evidence from my bank who have investigated the payment and how much his bank received, that there were no issues with my payment. After this experience, it also made me reflect on and question other issues throughout the booking which could have resulted in us paying more than we should have. For example, Eliya provided the cost of the trip per person, then when asking for the total it was $2000 more – when I asked what the extra charges were for, he said it was a ‘typing error’. He also tried to charge $90 per person for an extra night accommodation saying we were there for a night longer, which was not the case – this was apparently another ‘typing error’ in the itinerary. As well as these problems there were a number of other issues with what we booked and what Nature Bound Africa provided. For example, we booked 2 double rooms for the trip, however Eliya had booked one open plan family room (with one double and two single beds) for our 8 nights in Zanzibar. This was not appropriate for 4 adults and not what we had booked. The hotel also agreed and said those rooms are intended for families with small children (and their website makes this very clear). Another example is that we had booked to have a day at Lake Manyara National Park. The Itinerary stated that we would have the day there and leave “later in the afternoon” to drive to Arusha for our flight to Zanzibar. However, he booked our flight from Arusha at 14.00 and we therefore had to leave Lake Manyara at 10.00 to get there for it! this only gave us 3 hours to spend there rather than the day as agreed. When I questioned this, Eliya said it wasn’t a problem as Lake Manyara is small so we didn’t need long there! Eliya also told me that our airport transfer from Zanzibar was booked for 17.00, however when we checked with the taxi driver (as by this point I did not believe a word Eliya said) he confirmed it was actually booked for 14.30. My advice would be to avoid this company. If you are in the unfortunate position that you have already booked with Nature Bound Africa (or if you think it is worth the risk), I would strongly advise that you take extra care. Check everything; make sure the calculations of the cost are correct; ask for confirmation of booking for all aspects of the trip; check that what has been agreed has been booked (e.g. that you have the correct number of rooms booked etc); get all flight tickets in advance so they cannot be withheld in an attempt to get more money from you. Also, do not pay in cash, ensure you have evidence of how much you have paid and make sure you always have this with you, along with copies of emails etc. If Eliya claims you have not paid enough, don’t just hand over more money without evidence that this is the case and always check with your own bank first. Tanzania is an amazing place and I wish we had booked with another company so we could have fully enjoyed it without the stress and intimidation experienced.
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Date of experience: October 2019
3 Helpful votes
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Response from NatureBoundAfrica, Owner at Nature Bound Africa
Responded Jan 22, 2020
PLEASE BEFORE I REPLY TO YOUR REVIEW BELOW HERE, COULD YOU PLEASE ATTACH A PHOTO ON OUR TRIPADVISOR OF THE BANK SWIFT TRANSFER THAT YOU MADE TO NATURE BOUND AFRICA ACCOUNT SO THAT EVERY ONE CAN SEE. THE SWIFT YOU GET IT FROM YOUR BANK, THEY WILL EASILY EMAIL YOU THE SWIFT You have said emailing became problematic and you only heard from us after having sent email through our contact form and this was because all the emails you claim you had sent previously we never received them, only the email from contact form. You were supposed to pay by Bank transfer USD 10,880, but you rounded up British Pounds to USD with out realizing your bank exchange rate will be different from yours and I told you 2 weeks before you arrived in Tanzania we have received USD 10,434 which was less USD 446. You did not send me the swift transfer receipt you only sent me a screen shot of the British pounds you were sending of which that was not the swift transfer and I clearly told you, your bank will convert that money into USD according to their rate of which will be less and I also confirmed that with my bank and they told me they have service charge of USD 7 on any transactions that comes through and the amount they receive is USD so they don’t do currency exchange, so if the money is less it must be with your wrong calculations that you did. You keep insisting you showed me on your phone the money you sent to us, that is not true, please put on our tripadvisor for every one to see the swift receipt from you bank , and its true the banking system has changed in Tanzania and some online service were not available for some time only bank transfer. On the telephone you became very rude and all the stuff were at the office and the call was on loud speaker and they had the conversation and you were very rude to me and that is why I decided to tell you it will be much better if we have the government tourism department / police get involved and help find a solution. When you arrived at the airport the police had all the evidence and they also called the bank to prove the statement I had given them if it was genuine and when you arrived at the airport the tourism police were there and there was no way I could have been rude to you, so again you are lying. As you can recall, you were asked to provide the swift of the money sent to Nature Bound Africa you only had a screen shot of you sending British pound to us of which it was clearly an error with your conversation rate and this is why the police and the flight attendants that were there in that office at the airport, it was agreed the money you sent was less because Bank exchange is different to internet exchange rate and that’s why we could not afford to pay for your flights from Zanzibar to Dar-es-salaam and you agreed to that and every one else in your group. You have also lied about Zanzibar accommodation of which the hotel we booked it was 2 double rooms and that is what you got for your accommodation while in Zanzibar, again the hotel could have called me about the wrong booking and do the changes. You have rated this hotel - Mnarani on tripadvisor as a LOVELY HOTEL AND GREAT STAFF. If your stay was horrible there there is no way you could have done such a lovely review for them. Also while in Zanzibar for 8 days you were in a family room ment for family with kids, Adults, that means you were not happy but I see that you have rated Mnarani Hotel very well, there is no way a h On the itinerary it clearly shows 4 hours of game drive in Manyara because its a small park, from morning then head to Arusha, arriving in the afternoon to catch a flight to Zanzibar. AS YOU HAVE SAID, TANZANIA IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE THAT IS VERY TRUE, AND I WILL ADD THAT, TOURISM IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR OUR ECONOMY AND THAT IS WHY OUR GOVERNMENT IS VERY STRICT ON HOW THE TOUR OPERATORS CONDUCT THEIR BUSINESS AND THIS IS WHY I HAD THE GOVERNMENT TOURISM POLICE INVOLVED. I WAS HONEST ABOUT RECEIVING USD 10,434, WHY RISK A BAD REVIEW ON TRIPADVISOR FOR USD 446. - PLEASE I KINDLY ASK YOU ATTACH A PHOTO ON OUR TRIPADVISOR OF THE BANK SWIFT TRANSFER THAT YOU MADE TO NATURE BOUND AFRICA ACCOUNT SO THAT EVERY ONE CAN SEE. THE SWIFT YOU GET IT FROM YOUR BANK, THEY WILL EASILY EMAIL YOU THE SWIFT
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Ian Baird wrote a review Nov 2019
Montreal, Canada3 contributions2 helpful votes
Going on safari is never cheap. But Nature Bound made sure that I understood exactly what I was paying for which is different from most operators who just gave me a total cost with no explanation as to how they arrived at that total. Everything about the operation was local and friendly so you know that your money was going back into the community. Overnight stay at KatiKati Camp is a must! African wildlife is stunning and everything was on display in November. Such an amazing experience.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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Nicolas S wrote a review Nov 2019
Glifada, Greece3 contributions2 helpful votes
Fantastic team. Eliya helped customize our trip to various parks and our two guides Moesis and Aaron were the best. Thanks for lifetime memories!
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Date of experience: July 2019
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