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Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

London, United...
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Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

I have just returned from SA having rented a Toyota Hilux from Buffalo Campers 4x4 for a two week self drive safari through Botswana and would NOT wish anyone to have the same experience we did. Our group had three vehicles in total supplied by Buffalo Campers and its hard to say which was worse - the condition of the vehicles or the attitude of Vaughan Corlett the business owner. He ranks amongst the surliest, most rude and unhelpful individuals i've ever met, and his vehicles are without doubt the most hotch botch, poorly maintained, bodged i've ever driven. In the UK they would, without exception, all fail any MOT or road test. Perhaps a blowing exhaust, bald and irregularly worn tyres, broken lights and whining bearings are relatively unimportant when driving off road in Africa, but running on three cylinders, seized differentials, burnt out alternators, molten and bare wiring earthing on the body work and fridges that simply weren't wired in are surely major failings when venturing into the middle of the Kalahari. Not to mention missing equipment, a lack of tools, empty gas cylinders and very smelly tents. When questioned on the state of the vehicles (not to mention that we had booked and paid for three and he presents us with only two when we arrive), his complete lack of preparation for our arrival and only a fraction of the equipment we had specifically been promised, his attitude was 'like it or lump it'! In fact what he actually said on a Sunday morning when we arrived after a 12 hour flight from the UK was "if you don't like it, f**k off". Clearly we were a captive audience with very few options or alternatives. We managed to return to collect an additional vehicle from him the following day, at which point we also had to replace one of the vehicles that we had only just collected the previous day as the diff seized up - thankfully better then, than when we were hundreds of kms from civilisation! We also managed to nurse the vehicles along for the two weeks, but only as we had a couple of very handy guys with us that are quite mechanically minded and with the assistance of the Toyota dealership in Maun, who dropped everything to help us repair two alternators within a two hour window. However, unless you are a qualified mechanic, with plenty of spares, tools and wish to spend more time in the engine bay, than watching game, then take my advice, and steer very clear of Buffalo Campers - spend the extra money and get a decent vehicle!

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

That is really bad news Dom. Tourists deserve better than that.

You had booked and paid for three and he tries to fob you off wth two? Did you report this to the local Tourist or Trade body at the time? If what you say is correct the man should be shut down and possibly prosecuted for fraud.

Who did you book this through? An Agency or On line from a website. How did you learn of them in the first place?

Sorry your trip was ruined.

If you hired in ZA then I suggest you post on there too.

Edited: 10:26 am, May 16, 2011
London, United...
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2. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

We booked directly with them having found them online - http://www.buffalo.co.za/ - the guy organising the trip spent a lot of time communicating with the owner, ensuring that he was happy with where we were going and that the vehicles would be suitable for the job in hand, fully equipped, listing exactly what we needed and he came back to us confirming that it would all be there. Unfortunately, despite his original assurances, it must have gone in one ear and out the other, as when we arrived the vehicles had barely any of the kit we specified, he was completely ill prepared and despite spending nearly £4k, his manner suggested that he really couldn't be bothered with us. In fairness to him, the third vehicle we were supposed to have had returned the previous day with a broken gearbox. We did get a third vehicle from him the next day, but it wasn't an easy negotiation and we had to come back to jo'berg which was 200kms from our first nights camping stop.

We only returned yesterday so not had chance to report it anywhere and to be honest i'm not sure that he's done anything illegal, rather provide very bad service and not live up to his promises. The best course of action is to ensure that no one else is presented with the same issues as without the mechanical experience we had, and the fact that we had three vehicles, someone could very easily find themselves broken down in the middle of the bush, days walk from anywhere. There's no AA/RAC out there, and we drove for three days without seeing a single person or vehicle. You really don't want to break down out there! And we did.... many times over!

I'm not a vindictive person, rarely write reviews, and have no desire to put people out of business, but this guy really needs to buck up, or give up. Its very hard to research such things when so far away, and people are reliant on feedback provided by others, so in this case, I feel its important that our experience is publicised.

Isle of Man, United...
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37,865 posts
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3. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

Well I would call taking your money and not delivering as promised, until later, tantamount to fraud. You were left with a take it or leave it option after entrusting Buffalo with your cash.

I think you should also issue your warning on the ZA forum as that is where it happened. Lots of good advice on there too.

London, United...
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4. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

Yes I will do that to make sure people see it.

Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

I'm just back from 2 weeks in Botswana and Zimbabwe with a car rented at Buffalo and I didn't have at all the same experience. The car was an Hilux Diesel with 180 000 km. We didn't experience any issue and it was working perfectly well. The model was quite recent, I beleive 2007. Of course with buffalo the price are really very competitive compare to any other web site I have found. You cannot expect a more recent model. The equipmement was also used but ok and Vaughan provided anything I could that we requested and that was available. We were lucky that the sleeping bags were good because we had some cold nights and even ice in the morning on the tent in Rhino Sanctuary. The only surprise was the tank that was not 140L but rather 60L. It was compensated by 2 big jerrycans (I think about 50L in total).

Ghent, Belgium
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6. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

In July and August 2011 we rented two Hilux cars from Buffalo Campers. We travelled throughout SA en Mozambique. One car had 25.000 km and the other 125.000km. Both cars suited well. We didn't have any problem at all but a flat tyre. Indeed, Buffalo campers may hacve a policy if you don't aski you won't get answers, but in all fairness cars were OK and the accompanying gear was more than sufficient. Luk Bouters Gent

Ghent, Belgium
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7. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

In July and August we rented two Hilux cars from Buffalo Campers. We travelled throughout SA en Mozambique. One car had 25.000 km and the other 125.000km. Both cars suited well. We didn't have any problem at all but a flat tyre. Indeed, Buffalo campers may hacve a policy if you don't aski you won't get answers, but in all fairness cars were OK and the accompanying gear was more than sufficient. Luk Bouters Gent

8. Re: Buffalo Campers 4x4 Hire

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