This Tour Is Offered by Giltedge Africa
- Offices In:
- 50-100 employees (Founded in 1999)
- Member Of:
- IATA, ASTA, SATSA & CTT
- Tour Types:
- Custom luxury tours that can start every day
Giltedge Africa is an award-winning, luxury inbound tour operator with an in-depth knowledge of Southern Africa, East Africa, and the Indian Ocean islands. We create tailor-made itineraries to the best safari destinations in Africa.
Blown away by the thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
Philippa was amazing to work with. She paid careful attention to what we wanted and made sure to deliver. For example, my husband Brian told Philippa I wanted to see a lot of elephants, so Pippa booked us at Savute Safari Lodge which has a fabulous view of a watering hole where elephants gather all day long.
All of the safaris really exceeded our expectations. We loved our guides and enjoyed bonding with them continuously throughout each of our stays. The accomodations at Camp Xakanaxa, Dulini River Lodge and The Royal Livingstone were particularly excellent. Everywhere we went, the staff reminded us we were on our honeymoon and showered us with love and sparkling wines!
We would go back to Camp Xakanaxa and Dulini River Lodge in a heartbeat. The people there are some of the warmest and kindest we've ever met, and everyone on staff remembered your name at both locations. Accomodations were excellent in their unique ways. Both set you right in the middle of the action, with hippos, elephants and even rhinos within view. Dulini is a must for honeymooners - after many communal meals in Botswana, it was lovely to have our very own safari vehicle and romantic private dinners.
Our only criticism of the trip was our ending location at Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique. We had put most of our budget into the safaris, and we knew that Massinga would be more of a 'no-frills' location, but I would recommend Giltedge pause before sending future clients there. Whilst located on an absolutely stunning stretch of gorgeous turquoise beaches, the facilities were not safe or well cared for. For example, steps down to the beach (of which there were at least 100) were barely tended to, with cracks, crumbling concrete and broken handrails. They were not lit at night. The lodge has a pick-up truck with seats on the back to transport 4-6 people between the beach and main lodge, but that felt even less safe than the dark footpath. One night the truck stalled and almost began rolling backwards. At the pool, most of the toys, games and floats were broken or missing key elements, such as a ball to play paddleball with. When it came to mealtime, service was simply bad. One night, we were asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu, when we hadn't yet had our first course or even any drinks served. There was always a long wait to get any drinks served. The highlights of this location were the incredible beach, relaxing pool scene, skilled massage therapist and romantic private lodges with decks and plunge pools.
They listened to our criteria, designed a fabulous trip tailored to our interests and v responsive.
After interviewing a few tour groups we decided to go with Giltedge Africa and are we glad we did. We explained our interests to our agent, Tamera, and she came up with a fantastic itinerary. Our interests took us to four different accommodations and five countries in Southern Africa. Tamera's suggestions of how to schedule our trip were on the money. We visited each area in just the right sequence for maximum enjoyment. The accommodations, guides and drivers Giltedge arranged for us were first class, we were very well taken care of.
We had excellent communications with our agent who was on call 24/7. She promptly returned emails and texts and always answered our calls. She was very obliging even when we would repeat a question that she had already answered. Thanks to Tamera listening to our interests she developed the most wonderful, varied and fulfilling vacation we have ever had.
We look forward to scheduling our next trip with Giltedge Africa.
Tanya made all the diffrence. She is an excellent professional
Too many problems -- but the best guide
We booked our safari with Giltedge through Mangata Travel based on a recommendation from a friend. Things started off well and we built a terrific itinerary. Shortly after we made our deposit (which pretty much locked us in), Mangata became less responsive. As we poured over the itinerary in detail, we found several holes and contradictions. Some of our questions were answered but some were ignored. We started communicating directly with Giltedge in order to get answers.
When we landed in Africa and met with the local Giltedge representative, he was working with an outdated itinerary. The next morning, we met our guide/driver and discovered that his itinerary did not fully match ours. For example, at our first stop - Lake Manyara National Park - we had purchased four game drives, but he was only given passes for two. Not a good start.
From our first contact with Mangata, our #1 priority for our trip was to experience the great migration of wildebeest and other animals. Having never been to Africa, we relied on the experience claimed by Mangata and their partner, Giltedge Africa. Mangata placed us at a lodge in central Serengeti. When we met our guide/driver at the beginning of the trip at Kilimanjaro airport and reviewed the itinerary, he told us that regardless of how much or little rain there was, the migration is NEVER in central Serengeti in August. He offered to take us to the Masai Mara, but that would entail an 11-hour round trip on terrible roads just to fight the crowds to spend a brief time to see just a small part of the migration. I didn't think it was worth it. But thanks to our great guide, we had a wonderful week in Tanzania where we saw everything there is to see, except for the migration -- for which I will always resent Mangata and Giltedge.
After our safari, our plan was to go from the Serengeti to Uganda for gorilla trekking. It seemed the most direct way was to fly from Seronera to Entebbe. But Mangata told us that such flights don't exist. So Mangata routed us from Seronera to Kilimanjaro, then to Nairobi, and then to Entebbe - all in one day. About 2 weeks before our trip I noticed we were not yet given our tickets for the first leg to Kilimanjaro. (Note: this is something I believe the travel agent should have caught.) I asked for the tickets. When they finally came, it showed an additional stop in Arusha. This didn't seem to bother our travel agent. But four flights in one day seems excessive to us. One slip-up and we could miss a connection. Since we had expensive gorilla trekking permits for a specific day, we could not afford any problems. After we complained, miraculously we were booked on a flight from Seronera to Entebbe. Mangata and Giltedge said they were"calling in a favor" to get this flight. But once in Africa we learned that this is a regularly scheduled daily flight! This entire run-around was totally avoidable and caused a lot of unnecessary angst for us.
Apparently, Mangata does not have the experience claimed and adequate attention to detail needed to arrange a trip like this. We will not be booking through them again.
The biggest positive by far, though -- and for which we are thankful to Giltedge -- was our guide/driver, Meshack Godson from Arusha. He must be the best guide in all of Tanzania! His knowledge and instincts were top notch. And I learned quite a bit of Swahili from him. What we realized is that no matter how much you plan your safari, your guide is truly the key to it all. And we lucked out big time with Meshack!!!
Meg listened to what we wanted and worked with us to provide the perfect African Safari experience!
Meg was very prompt with her emails. We emailed several tour companies and she was the only one who listened to what we wanted and went above and beyond to provide it for us. She knew this was an anniversary trip for us and communicated that to the resorts/camps who then provided us with special treats. That was totally a surprise! She sent us specific information on what to expect and how to prepare for the trip. We felt like we were better informed than some of the other guests at the resorts/camps. For example, clothing, tipping, attitude toward the locals, etc. The tour itself was everything we anticipated and more! We wanted to be able to experience seeing the animals in their natural environment, take pictures of them and enjoy the scenery and different cultures. The guides were amazing and well prepared, knowledgeable and very accommodating. The hotel/camp staff were so friendly. They went out of their way to remember our names and treat us like family. We can't thank you enough for the amazing time we had. Thank you!
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