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Ivy   –  
United States US
Visited: April 2023 Reviewed: May 8, 2023

Email Ivy  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

The review below is the personal opinion of Ivy and not that of SafariBookings.
Don't use go touch down

Wow, what a waste. Go touch down leaves you in the dark and wastes your travel time. We had a tour the day we arrived in S. Africa and were never given a time or location. Come to find out they never scheduled it. We had to call at 11pm US time to get information. The guide never knew he was taking us, so luckily he checked his messages. None of the guides had information about any flights til the night before departure, and the tourists did not have their flight information either. The tour guides were great, but Go Touch Down is worthless when it comes to collecting information or getting problems fixed. Another huge issue was the flights to and from Victoria Falls. We were unable to schedule our own flights and we spent 2 of our last 4 days in an airport. They claimed there were no flights available any other time, that they were afraid a later flight would be cancelled, and that we were given options, all of which were false. They don't realize we were in a group we stayed in contact with and they had the flights we tried to change to. We had to stand around for several hours before we could even check our bags, then we were stuck in the airport for 4 hours. It was 9 hours total between when landing and catching our next flight, information they knew and requested. They attempted to fix it with a tour, but that's not what we got. Someone picked us up at the airport, drove us 45 min. and dropped us off at a mall in Johannesburg telling us to go find a place to eat. That is something we could have done at the airport. We were also misinformed about Victoria Falls and not informed about tours that were available. I have never had such a disorganized vacation with such unlimited information.

Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Posted on May 9, 2023

Dear Ivy (we are not sure who you are - as we don't have a client by that name)

However - we are going to assume you are Mr. B. H. as this story only ties up with "one particular" client.

Your flight and layover in JNB was a mess. We tried to fix it after the fact. But we reminded you, that YOU sir selected this cheaper option. To make up for the delay, we arranged a private driver and van to tour you around JHB for 4+ hrs at a rate of $100 only. We know it doesn't take away the frustration. But this is exactly what happened.

You wrote to us today, and we quote: "Finally our complaint is with the logistics and not with the US office (which has been great)."

This matter has been referred to corporate who will email Mr B.H. direct.

Sincerely, USA office

Marion   –  
Canada CA
Visited: January 2023 Reviewed: Feb 6, 2023

Email Marion  |  Experience level: first safari

The review below is the personal opinion of Marion and not that of SafariBookings.
This was one of the worst travel and tour agencies I have ever dealt with.

My review is based SOLELY on the experience I had in booking my tour. The actual tour guides and other people in South Africa were amazing.

My mother had purchased the safari tour In 2019, but was unable to travel due to Covid. In July of 2022 she was advised that she needed to rebook her tour soon or she would lose her money. For personal health reasons, my mother was no longer able to make the trip, so we contacted GTD to make the transfer.

There was a lot of communication between GTD, my mother and I, and it took almost 2 full weeks before anything could be done. GTD would communicate with my mother, without cc’ing me on emails, and vice versa. She had been told to include both of us on all emails so we could ensure that we were all on the same page.

The biggest “bottleneck” was I needed to confirm that what I wanted to do and when I could do it would be available before we did the transfer. I was not going to confirm anything or assume a travel package without knowing if I could do what I wanted. I finally got an email apologizing for the delays with an explanation that there were protocols that needed to be followed.

A quick explanation at the beginning would have provided clarification and I would not have been compelled to follow up so often. And yet, GTD didn’t seem to understand that I wasn’t going to agree to take on my mother’s trip if I couldn’t confirm what I wanted to do

The transfer was finalized at the end of July.

When it came time to pay, I only had AMEX or through my bank. No one had mentioned this beforehand. I had paid off my visa to pay for this trip, and then had to wait until I got paid again, because I didn’t have the cash. Knowing this at the beginning of the conversation would have been helpful so I could have planned better. Not everyone has $3000 cash sitting in their bank account at a moment’s notice.

I chose the tour that I wanted – Johannesburg and Cape Town, and then chose the add-ons that I wanted to do.

I stated that I wanted to do the Cradle of Humankind in Cape Town and then the Lesedi Cultural Village. GTD emailed me back to say that the Cradle of Mankind is in the Safari region and I would need an additional day to do it. I asked if I could cancel one of my safari days while I am in Johannesburg doing the safaris, and she said it was not an option. She said that it was too far away. I was a bit confused and upset because I didn’t understand why I was being presented with an option that wasn’t viable. I was willing to give up one of my safari days to do this but was told it couldn’t happen. And yet, when I was there, I was told that it was closed to public because of flooding - so what was it? Too far? flooding?

On August 11 we discussed the add-ons again, and I heard nothing back from GTD until October 5th when I emailed her (a third time) and cc’d the general email address as well. GTD called me and apologised sating that she had Covid and the hurricane had caused delays. Then she said that she had sent my add on request to someone else and that they hadn’t done it, and that it was now coming back to her to do, and she was overwhelmed with everything. I indicated that I recognize that there are problems everywhere, but a response of any kind would have been appreciated. The hurricane and her having covid did not happen in August or September. And quite frankly, I was getting extremely fed up with the delays and excuses.

On Oct 13 we talked about two other add ons (endangered species and District 6 Bo Kapp) and the shuttle and hotel I would need to pay for as I was arriving early. On Oct 14 I paid for everything that we had talked about … or so I thought.

On October 18 I emailed GTD saying that now that EVERYTHING is paid for, could you please send me a detailed itinerary. She replied back that she was happy everything was in order, and my detailed itinerary would only be available about 30 days prior to my trip.

On October 20 I received an email from GTD with the information and price for the District 6 excursion. I emailed her back indicating that I was confused … we had confirmed on Oct 14 that EVERYTHING was paid for, and all I needed was my detailed itinerary. She said no, she would have discussed this with me before she got me to pay. I replied that we had had this discussion, and I had confirmed everything on October 14. She called me on the phone and I explained it to her again, and I sent her the email again showing her where I said EVERYING and it was in bold. She apologized and said she misunderstood. At this point my frustration level in dealing with GTD was at it’s peak. I was done. I told her to forget it, I’m done, I’m not booking any more trips. And that was the end of it.

On December 1, I received my itinerary and was reviewing it and all of the other information. I was VERY surprised to read that I would need to tip about $10-14 USD a day per guide / ranger. It would have been nice for me to be told this at the beginning when I was speaking with Marie. Not a deal breaker, but advance information would be appreciated.

I have travelled extensively in the last 30 years, and I must admit, I have never had a more challenging time booking a trip as I have had with GTD.

1. The lack of understanding / clarification
2. Missing out on two excursions that I really wanted to do (Cradle of Humankind – I still don’t understand why this was presented as an option and then removed, and then District 6, because she misunderstood)
3. The delays between emails, and no follow up from her end – I was always the one following up to make sure everything was completed
4. Not providing valuable information at the beginning – i.e how to pay for the trip (no VISA option)
5. Not providing valuable information during the booking – i.e extra things that I will be paying for $10-$14 USD a day = $14-$19 CDN for me at 10 days, that’s an extra $200 roughly.

The above information was provided to GTD prior to my departure (I have updated it with some current info) in November. I was told I would receive a response as soon as possible. I got nothing - absolutely nothing. I even followed up two other occasions. On the third occasion I "threatened" to leave a negative review if I didn't' receive a response by Jan 26.

I got an email from Deon Barnard at Corporate. His response? Oh sorry? I've explain to her what she should have done, and that Canadian files are complicated. She should have gone to her supervisor. I don't think she realized how frustrated you were.

His response was a slap in the face, and I emailed him back, itemizing in detail the inconsistencies in his email. I have yet to hear anything back from him, and I highly doubt I will.

The trip itself was fabulous - South Africa is a gorgeous country - the big 5 are enthralling and the people are wonderful. But do yourself a favour and book with a different travel agency. Save yourself the heartache of missing out of things you wanted to see because of lack of communication, mis reading emails and flat out ignoring you.

Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Posted on Feb 16, 2023

Personal reply drafted by the CEO.

Marion -

What a disappointing review to read after your feedback on the tour re Guides, Lodges, etc, was only positive.

I have also noted that after my office denied your request for any compensation, you posted this review on more than 5 social media platforms over the past week.

Here are some facts that I think the readers should know.

Your mother purchased in 2016 (that's almost 8 years ago), Not in 2019. We worked with her for close to 8 years and extended, year after year working with her (then covid came but nevertheless extended again). Never raising the price and always keeping her benefits and tour for her (what travel company does that??).

In mid-2022 you wanted to take the tour over. We said it was fine (not normal procedure, but we did). We told you that we could 'Not' discuss matters with you until she signed transfers and you did the same. *It's a Privacy issue and the LAWS in Canada are very strict.

Your mother's agreement was payment by AMEX or CHECK only. We told you that's the way it was set up originally - You didn't have an AMEX. We gave you full disclosure.

Re Bo-Kaap, Why did you not add this way in advance? The Agent told you to do that. See all her emails on Oct 18, 19, 20th (3 months before your trip)

As per my personal email to you. These transfer to Third-party docs in Canada is extremely complicated, and only TICO-registered agents are allowed to deal with them.

Now yes; I do agree that your Travel Agent was a little missing in action for a period after she became ill from Covid, and that Hurricane in Sarasota Florida that knocked her out for more than a week - No excuse but it was a tough 3 weeks for her, and she apologized to you privately.

Final note, as I've said before. Please know, that we were not aware of 'how' frustrated you felt about this transfer of ownership process until you returned back from the tour that you enjoyed so much.

I am sorry you feel this way about your process after you took the tour over from your Mom. I will see if there is anything we can learn from this and will discuss this with all my staff.


UrbanH   –  
United States US
Visited: May 2020 Reviewed: Aug 8, 2020

Email UrbanH  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

The review below is the personal opinion of UrbanH and not that of SafariBookings.

Do not use this travel agency. Go Touch Down and Deon Barnard have used the COVID-19 crises to defraud us of all monies we spent with them for a trip to South Africa. They essentially contend that because our trip, which was scheduled to begin on May 12, 2020, could NOT happen because of the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, they should keep all of the $24,513 we had paid to them in December 2019. When pressed as why we were not to receive a full refund, or at a minimum that amount less the Sales Agreement’s specified 20% cancellation fee, Barnard replied, “get a lawyer.” We will shortly be bringing a civil action against Go Touch Down, Barnard and all associated entities. FYI: we received a full refund from Delta Airlines for the airfare purchased for this trip.

Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Posted on Aug 11, 2020

Dear UrbanH

We are sorry to see that you feel this way. Your complaint and statement is incorrect and is simply not the case. Go Touch Down has under no circumstances defrauded you or any client. Go Touch Down has on several occasions confirmed in writing to you that a full credit without any penalties or change fees, has been applied towards a travel date of your choice in 2021 or 2022. In addition, we have provided you the option to transfer all your benefits to a third party should you wish. Furthermore, the USA and SA imposed travel restrictions (not just SA). It is very unfortunate that you have attempted to leverage Covid-19 into an exit from contractual obligations. We have addressed this on numerous occasions direct with you and your attorney.

Our statements, terms and conditions that you accepted are very clear regarding cancellation and refund policies. Your original tour purchase was $17K less 10% discount. The terms and conditions were supplied to you at the time of sale. Several months later; you purchased additional trips to Vic Falls and the statement and invoice you received clearly stated "No Refunds". It is important to remember that we recommended that you consider travel insurance, which you did not accept.

Please contact Go Touch Down any time to reschedule your future travel when you are ready. We repeat; You have not lost your travel investment.


Christy   –  
United States US
Visited: April 2019 Reviewed: May 2, 2019

Email Christy  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

The review below is the personal opinion of Christy and not that of SafariBookings.
Presentation, contract, itinerary, and actual experience never matched up, and no resolution.

We booked a safari in South Africa at a travel show in Dallas. We received an itinerary 2 weeks before the trip. On the trip our experiences were not what was communicated at the travel show, nor on our contract, nor on the itinerary. The contract says they can change anything they want at their leisure and as a customer there is no recourse. Many of our safari guides exceeded the 6 passengers, so that small group feel...gone, forget it. They only allow you to stay at their resorts so there is EXTENSIVE driving to and from every activity. Our itinerary said we would be on a jeep safari in Kruger, but once we arrived we were told we had to pay an additional 130 for the jeep. Our trip to Kruger took 3.5 hours to arrive, only got 3 hours on the jeep, then a 5 hour drive back to the resort (Hamala). It was a miserable day in the van and not worth the drive for such a short safari. Hamala is a nice resort but dinner is what they choose, not what the customer would like. They served a steak one night that was too tough to eat. I told the host the steak was too tough and his response was "your welcome", so needless to say I went to bed hungry that night (there were NO other food options provided). The safari's at Hamala were at 7 am, wake up call at 5:30, coffee at 6:30 and safari from 7-10, then breakfast is at 10am. I struggled with my blood sugar being up for 5 hours without any food. I finally had to buy snack cakes at the gas station during an outing. Persons on the Cape Town tour are flown into JBurg and they say a free night at Seasons resorts to recover from the travel, but all it is, is a sales pitch to buy into the resort, as they then have to fly from JBurg to Cape Town the next day. We also booked a shark dive with Go Touch Down, they charged us 350 per person. When we arrived at the shark dive operator we found out the cost is 186 per person. I assumed there would be a small up charge for Go Touch down to book it, but seriously, double the cost. Save your money and book your own shark cage dive directly with Apex Shark Encounters in Simon's Town, your cost will be cut in HALF. I will never recommend this company. I wrote 6 emails during my travels of my negative experience and received NO assistance, many emails I didn't even get a response. I wasted so much money with the company and want to ensure other people don't get scammed like I did.

Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Reply from Go Touch Down Travel & Tours
Posted on Aug 11, 2020

Dear Christy

It is with sadness that I read your review. Our clients travel far and the trip to South Africa is often a trip of a lifetime. We pride ourselves on our success rate and social media reviews.

You wrote to us 5 times during your tour in South Africa. I replied to you every time that you did. My replies were detailed and lengthy, even thou you were in destination. Four of your emails were about the same subject. I replied with extracts from your agreement and the itinerary you agreed on.

There is no point in going over each point you raised, as we have done so in detail in writing to you after this review. Your detailed itinerary you received prior covered the times, breakfasts, and driving. Instead, I want to say I am sorry that we do not agree on all the points you raised, as the other 3 people on tour with you enjoyed the experience. All the constructive remarks have been shared with the resorts/camps and they have taken your review to heart.

Please note that after much feedback, including yours, we no longer drive to Kruger Park as it is a long day, and instead now visit Pilanesberg that's only 70 min away. The reviews are fantastic.

Again, I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy our 8-day Safari and would like to offer you a travel voucher for $500 to use towards one of our other Exclusive Tours.

the COO

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