Kenya Forum

Avoid Kenya safari!

Posted by sam10a on August 11, 2011

I have returned a while back from an independent 3 week holiday to Kenya. I saved up for nearly two years to be able to afford to go, and before I went, I booked a safari with Spirit of Africa safaris run by Josphine Muchiri (aka Josphine Kolongo) from her offices in Contrust House / Sonalux House, Moi Avenue, Nairobi. It is recommended in the most recent Rough Guide to Kenya, and the Lonely Planet Trekeking in East Africa guide. I paid her $1300 for a 10 day safari, but when the bus came to pick me up for the safari, she said it was only a 4 day safari and that she would give me a refund of $780 when I got back to Nairobi. I chased her for the money for days whilst I was still in Kenya, filed reports with both the Tourist Police in Nairobi and police in Malindi, made two visits with the police (she was tipped off both times and left the office before we arrived) and have been emailing her since I got back a few weeks ago, but she will not give me the money back that she owes me, keeps saying she has sent it electronically but it then doesn't arrive etc.. This kind of issue usually isn't covered by insurance (it isn't for me) and their legal cover won't cover proceedings either. This is a horrible situation to be in for anyone - avoid this company at all costs. She is apparently well known in Nairobi on the safari circuit for swindling people. She is a Kikuyu woman in her early 40's with chin length curly hair. AVOID unless you want to lose money!!

  • 6 Replies

Reply by Bmtravels on August 12, 2011

Hello Sam10a.

Very sorry for what you had to go through. Its always sad when someone spoils one's lifetime memories, and especially that you had saved for a lifetime holiday. Its good you have raised it here, so tat next time someone else doesn't fall prey to the same.

tip: pay a deposit before commencing on your ,holiday, then you can clear the balance on arrival, or shop around first before you settle on the supplier. Sometimes, there is more to a price than meets the eye. i would imagine you were paying $ 130 per day for your trip; which for sure is a bit unreasonable, but still will depend on where you will visit.( at the moment, most parks are charging an average of $60-75 per day park entrance fees.. if you calculate well, the price tells it all.

MilwVon

Reply by MilwVon on August 13, 2011

Yes it is unfortunate that you have apparently been taken advantage of and paid for something you didn't get. Yes at $130/day, I would have been suspect too of the validity of the quote.

There are deals to be had, however, but it does require doing your homework with a number of tour operators and past clients. We are paying $3,000pp (4 of us) for a private safari for 12 nights/11 days in Kenya and Tanzani . . . including all lodging + meals, game drives w/park admission and a private car w/driver-guide throughout.

As for the recommendation relative to deposits and paying final bill, that is good advice if you are comfortable paying cash upon arrival for your safari. In our case, 30% was due at the time of booking and the remainder is due at the start of the safari. Not wanting to carry that much cash while traveling prior to the safari, we all paid in advance via wire transfer to have the matter settled before arrival. Of course, if there are any issues, we will be in the unenviable position of haggling over it.

I would also encourage you to go over to Trip Advisor and look up this company and post a review there so that others are aware of the issues you had with them.

SailawaySue

Reply by SailawaySue on November 08, 2011

I have just joined this forum and as you can see from my profile doing a safari in Kenya is the place I am always dreaming of visiting. I'm really sorry about your experience but thanks for the heads up. If the money wasn't an issue would you have had a good time?

MilwVon

Reply by MilwVon on November 08, 2011

It is unfortunate that the title of this topic seems to be addressed to all Kenyan safaris rather than this one company that that original poster had an issue with.

Ironically, the safari company I booked with (MICS Safaris and Tours) was also less than honorable, ripping my group of four off of nearly $1,400. I've been trying to get resolution and in spite of their original promise to "make good" on it, they have since renegged saying they weren't going to give me the refund previously agreed to.

When traveling abroad and dealing long distance with travel companies, it is essential you do your homework. I thought I had, but apparently not since we were taken too by a Kenyan tour operator.

All of that said, Kenya is a fabulous destination and we thoroughly enjoyed our safari experience. It is something that I will remember for as long as I live!

Von

Reply by marrie11 on January 11, 2012

Hi everyone, I am new here.

Reply by digitt on June 10, 2012

OMG! thats horrible! i was so looking forward to take a Safari trip the next time i went down there! i hope the woman paid for what she did. Karma is one just *****.

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