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“Our guide was good, this Company and it's broken vehicles are bad”

Great Lakes Safaris - Day Tours
Ranked #34 of 171 Outdoor Activities in Kampala
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Owner description: Welcome to Great Lakes Safaris, where the journey into the wild begins! Great Lakes Safaris is a specialized safari company offering tailor-made safaris and small group tours to the heart of East Africa. Explore Uganda’s hidden pearls, from the mighty river Nile to the lush green rainforests home to Africa’s highest density of primates. Follow in the footsteps of the legendary Dian Fossey and come face to face with the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. Travel through the vast open spaces or climb Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. Discover the land of the great migration and its large herds of wildlife in Kenya. And why not end your safari adventure by unwinding at one of the tropical paradises along the Kenyan coast or magical islands?
Reviewed November 7, 2013

I would not use this company or it's camps. Everything is bad and service is horrible. They are only concerned about the budget and not the guest comfort.

1  Thank Chanaka_Crystal_E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UgandaLodges, Guest Relations Manager at Great Lakes Safaris - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded February 26, 2014

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your feedback on Great Lakes Safaris, we do appreciate all our guests feedback and go out of our way to ensure we learn from their experiences to give our next guests always a better experience.

Running a safari company and lodge in Africa, especially in an emerging destination is always a challenge and different persons achieve different levels of success but I am not making an excuse for failing to meet some of our guests expectations – we honestly take guest service very seriously and that we and our mother company are among the leading Uganda Safari operators and the choice of many international operators of high repute and hundreds of tourists every year.

That we were number 27 out of 100 of the best Ugandan SME’s as mentioned below- while just 10 years old, is not an indication “everything being bad and service horrible” by any measure but instead a thriving business- where some are even failing. But like I said in the service business we do not have space for making excuses, our guests test us every day and we are so pleased to serve them extremely well.

In light of your comments however, if you can kindly re-confirm to me the specific dates when you stayed with us, in what names you booked with and I can find your guest evaluation form and would be please to send you a personalized apology and address each issue you may have raised specifically and agree on an appropriate compensation for your poor experience.
Again, we thank you for your review and ask you to please accept our most sincere apologies for not having met your expectations and can rest assured that it is an honor to serve each and every one of our guests- we do not take it for granted that they choose us.

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17 - 21 of 21 reviews

Reviewed August 24, 2013

We booked our chimpanzee trek from Kampala (3days/2nights) through Great Lakes Safaris before we left the U.S. Email correspondence with Doreen and Angel was very prompt and professional. My husband and I were on a tight budget, and although we realized the chimpanzee trek was slightly more expensive (the permits alone to see the chimps are $300 per person, plus driver, vehicle, accommodations and food), but we thought the $1700 would be worth it based on what our friends said about the chimpanzees. Doreen and Angel emailed an itinerary, and we were excited.

Girard, our driver, picked us up at the airport even after we arrived on the next flight. The vehicle, a land rover, was very nice. Although we had requested to be combined with other visitors, we were the only two on our trip, so we got to know Girard very well. He was an excellent guide.

We drove from Kampala to Fort Portal, which takes approximately 7 hours, to reach Kibale National Park (where the chimpanzees reside). When we arrived at Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve, the place looked deserted. They showed us the most basic accommodations (which we later learned would have cost $20/night). Although they had a restaurant, they told us we would have had to order by 3pm; at 4pm when we arrived, they had no food except for beef and vegetables.

My husband and I were upset. We had paid $1700 for 3 days; we did not expect to stay in such poor accommodations. Girard made a few phone calls and got our reservation changed to Primate Lodge. Primate Lodge was significantly better (greeting us with a hot towel and juice, fine "glamping" accommodations, and 5-star food at the restaurant.)

Girard convinced us to not cancel our trip. Our reservation for the chimp trek, according to the itinerary and everything we (myself, my husband, and Girard) knew, was for the morning. But when he gave it a second look, he realized the reservation was for the afternoon. He pulled some strings and switched the reservation for the morning. We trekked with the chimps the following morning and instead of staying another night, Great Lakes reserved a hotel room for us in Kampala.

We met with Angel and Doreen after we got back. That was when we learned the reservation at Lake Nkuruba had been mixed up, and also they had neglected to send us the preparation documents. We had no idea what clothes to bring, how to prepare.

We expect some discomfort and minor glitches when traveling, particularly in East Africa. We had just come from a 3 day safari in Kenya which we loved (and which cost $700 total to see Africa's big 5), so we had reasonable expectations. They refunded us a portion of our tour, and were very empathetic. However, this was a negative experience overall. If it hadn't have been for Girard, we would not be able to recommend Great Lakes Safaris due to lack of communication, disorganization, and cost.

1  Thank Lauren R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UgandaLodges, Guest Relations Manager at Great Lakes Safaris - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2014

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for choosing to travel with Great Lakes Safaris and for sharing you experience with us.

We are delighted to note you that you were happy with your vehicle. I am happy to report that since your visit last Uganda Great Lakes Safaris have extended our fleet of Land Rovers and added mini-bus as well, making sure all our guests experience the same comfort you did.
Despite Lake Nkruba being a budget range lodge we do expect that they do everything in their power to make sure our guests expectations are met and even surpassed. It is as disappointing for us that this was not the case. We now only recommend his lodge for back- packers as our other guests seeking a more upgraded kind of experience have also had complaints about this lodge and we had to seek alternative accommodation such as Primate Lodge Kibale. We are very pleased to know that our guide managed think on his feet and offered you this, where you confirm the reception was warm and the food was at a 5- star standard. Another advantage of Primate Lodge Kibale is it is located in the heart of the forest, right where the chimpanzee tracking and habituation experience begin.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the mix up in times and lack or pre- departure information. I assure the entire company has been under-going and continues to do an almost complete transformation in all sections, all across the board. We continue to keep ourselves updated by ensuring our Tour Consultants attend refresher courses, ensuring they have sufficient knowledge appertaining to creating excellent itineraries that fit our guest’s budgets, considering suitable accommodation and restaurant facilities, meal plans and activities. All communication should be clear, pointed and courteous with known and expected with good customer service expectations. We have implement the necessary checks to ensure that all itineraries are double checked and agreed upon prior to receiving guest payments so the guests, tour consultants and guide are on the same page. Your right, all our guests deserve to get value for their money and the least is ask the lodge to refund our guests. However, as our recent reviews show our services have continued to only get better and more recognized through the years. A fact confirmed by the various awards we proudly boast, including recently being recognized as Number 27 in the Top 100 Mid-sized businesses in Uganda awards, November 2013.

All in all, again we thank you very much for getting back to us, we really apologize for the inconveniences caused and appreciate your being open and forthright with your feedback . We are highly committed to our guests and deeply appreciate feedback both positive and negative in order to better our services and improve on the areas our esteemed customers point out, without this feedback we would not continue to grow like we have and surpass our guest’s experience. We hope too that we will have the opportunity to host you in the future and that you will experience a huge improvement.

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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
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1  Thank JuanL875
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uganda L, Guest Relations Manager at Great Lakes Safaris - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago
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Reviewed August 28, 2016
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Thank annvh2016
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UgandaLodges, Guest Relations Manager at Great Lakes Safaris - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded September 19, 2016
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Reviewed March 10, 2013
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