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Tom   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: June 2018 Reviewed: Aug 12, 2018

Email Tom  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

The review below is the personal opinion of Tom and not that of SafariBookings.
Safety, Planning, Transparency and Trust were at the heart of it...
1/5

Prime Safaris Uganda gave a good first impression. Cate wrote in a welcoming and professional manner with strong salesmanship. The emails were filled with ‘exciting’, ‘thrilling’, ‘adventure’, ‘amazing’, ‘rewarding’ and many more positives. It was to be a 21 day custom trip starting in Rwanda and traversing throughout Uganda using budget accommodation. I was swayed to pay an average of £300 a day for the trip. I had high hopes.
The trip didn’t go well at all. I’ll start by describing safety concerns then describe some of the days in relation to the accuracy, transparency and planning. At the end is a series of tips worth reading to prepare for a safari in Uganda or nearby.

3 of the lodges had Mosquito Nets which were torn, with holes in or not properly attached to the bed. Both the guide and myself frequently ended up with stomach problems so I gave him some of my medicine to help
The car was in serious disrepair. Loose electric cables and faulty air conditioning which worked half the time and regularly leaked onto the feet.
Later on, the speedometer and other instruments stopped working. The guide mentioned that we’d be lucky not to be stopped by the police.

One of days early in the trip was a visit to Lake Bunyonyi. We reached at midday and the guide left me at a lodge on an island while he looked for accommodation on shore. He soon messaged me to say the car’s axle broke and he'd search for a replacement part. I did not see or hear from him until the following day. When I raised this with Prime Safaris, they responded with a defensive email denying the breakdown happened at all. I couldn't tell if the guide was lying or they were. Two days later, I was left alone again while the guide said he would take the car to get the AC repaired. Later, in conversation, he mentioned that he tried repairing it using tape so I'm not sure where he went that day. It wasn't repaired and began leaking again.

A day on the itinerary had a briefing of “amazing cycling experience traversing the Fort Portal Crater field with scenic crater lakes and hollows. From the activity, transfer to Lake Albert enjoying the views of Albertine Rift valley including the scenic flats, escarpments and the Blue Mountains of Congo. Enjoy a thrilling bush dinner under the lush tropical sky.”
The day had under an hour of cycling along a city road. It was really disappointing and made worse by all available bikes having grave faults including some with nonfunctional brakes. I went with working brakes but faulty gears.
Before we set off along the road to the Amabere caves, I asked for a helmet for safety but they said they had none. We cycled at a leisurely speed but, strangely the bike guide needed to pause every few minutes to regain his breath. The remainder of the trip, cycling up to the crater lakes, was cancelled due to lack of time.

After driving back to town, we had a rushed lunch and the Prime Safaris guide admitted he was surprised all this activity and distance to travel was planned for a single day. We set off at 1pm and drove at full speed to reach by 8pm, luckily sooner than expected because the guide managed to find out about a shortcut from speaking to locals. When we reached, the reception said it was too late for the bush dinner and we would have needed to have arrived by 6pm for it to be ready. Later, while waiting for a meal, I conversed with a member of staff and learnt that they hadn’t even received a request for the bush dinner in advance. I raised concerns with Cate by email and she responded again with hostility, asserting that I was an hour late to breakfast and took multiple stops of 30-40 minutes. “The guide advised against such stops which would cause late arrival but you said it was okay for late arrival”. I was taken aback as it wasn’t true. It became clear that they phoned the guide and he came up with these lies to try and defend himself. It shows that Prime Safaris are not interested in listening to their customers, only in defending their mistakes.

Another surprise was a day described in the itinerary as “Take up a lasting authentic cultural to the indigenous Karimojong on the great hills of Mount Morungole.” “It’s an active adventure to the Mountains and it’s a whole day experience with great sightseeing as well.”
It turned out to be a short drive to a nearby small town where a local gave a brief spoken tour of their customs. It was all there was to do so we drove back to the lodge to rest before having lunch. The guide said he knew that this was what to expect and he’s unsure why the office described it as a full day with active adventure.
A similar falsehood occurred earlier in the trip with the activity at Lake Bunyonyi described as “do canoe paddle exploring the Island Communities & the fishermen”, “a canoe ride exploring this amazing lake, hopping between Islands and visiting the Islands to view the way of life of the Islanders and their traditions.” It turned out to be a motor boat trip with a member of staff from the lodge talking a bit about the history of the area. He didn’t know what else to offer so stopped at a nearby market and chatted to locals he knew.
There are many other examples of the experience not matching the itinerary that was sold.

To conclude, the initial customer service, exciting itinerary and great expense gave me high hopes. When things started going wrong and Prime Safaris put me at great discomfort, I raised the concerns with Cate by email. I asked her to focus constructively on the remainder of the trip and hoped for the best. Surprisingly, I received defensive and hostile replies, dismissing all the concerns. Prime Safaris were not interested.
Following each email, the office phoned my guide a number of times and became very aggressive with him. It made him visibly upset, trying to defend himself, and the trip deteriorated as a result. Feeling we were both victims, I chose to confide in him and mentioned that I might request a partial refund.
When I returned to the UK, I received a very hostile email from Cate who stated she was disappointed I did not want to meet her and her peers at their office, revealing that they gathered “a comprehensive day to day report about what transpired during your tour, photos, voice recordings and videos which we had intended to share with you”. Realising that they wanted to intimidate me with recordings made behind my back, I was relieved I did not meet them.
The email ended with Cate stating that Prime Safaris “are satisfied that you got your moneys worth and are not giving back any refund what so ever. Wishing you a wonderful stay back home.”

By no means am I trying to say the entire experience was awful but, when you consider that I spent £6000 for a 21-day trip and could have realistically hired a quality guide myself, BOUGHT a car that was reliable and had a much better experience for a lot less money, it was a huge regret going with Prime Safaris.

Tips
• Remember insect repellent and lots of anti-diarrhoea medicine.
• Bring a few lightweight long-sleeved shirts to protect against insects and sun
• Bring something warm if you’re visiting high altitudes.
• Use a walking stick if going walking; many paths aren’t maintained and can be very slippery. They’re often provided.
• Brace yourselves for small lizards about the accommodation – might find them moving across the walls in your room. If you’re in a sealed tent, have a look around to make sure one didn’t get trapped in.
• Two weeks max is more than enough to see the best bits.
• Check the route planning if you’re using a customised itinerary and watch out for days where there’s a tight squeeze for participating in activities and making long drives.
• Avoid Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda. Guides I spoke to said many companies leave it out because the growth of nearby towns caused wildlife to migrate.
• Many guides are primarily experienced in driving and networking, not wildlife. If you’re concerned with competency of the guide, don’t hesitate to ask for a new one. Part way through the trip, I lost trust in the guide and requested a new one. Steven Ashley replaced him and turned out to be a brilliant guide with great enthusiasm and experience. He told me he’s happy to arrange safaris directly. Message me if you’d like his email.
• If you do go with Prime Safaris, ask for Steven Ashley as your guide. Steven is someone who always has a smile on his face and his positivity makes you forget about the failures the company makes.

Reply from Prime Safaris & Tours
Reply from Prime Safaris & Tours
Posted on Aug 24, 2018

Hello Mr Shawn,
I thank you for having travelled with Prime Safaris BUT without a choice let me give a background of your safari with us then letter respond to your grievances. You paid very little money -5800 pounds (276 Pounds per day) opposed to what you stated, for a 21 Days days safari to ALL Rwanda parks, ALL Uganda`s parks. This money included gorilla permits, Chimpanzee permits, ALL park entrances, boat cruises and all safari activities, safari Landcruiser (upgraded from a safari van for your comfort for free), fuel, driver guides` fees and full road accommodation for 21 days in standard safari lodges. This was way too cheap price for such a trip BUT we did it for the good of your health as you told us that you needed our help to offer you this safari as part of your therapy to treat your epilepsy disease and seizures as recommended by your doctor. You didn't seem interested in having a wonderful trip BUT rather you were much bent on achieving a premeditated refund demand right from the start to end of your trip.

You kept on altering your trip itinerary, cutting it short and demanding for extras that we gave you where we could. The drugs you consumed throughout your trip made you rough to your guide at all times, hindered you from enjoying your trip, caused some stops that caused changes in the itinerary, greatly inconvenienced your guide and kept you not sober and hostile to your guide to an extent of threatening to hurt him as well to some lodge staff e.g at Gorilla Mist Camp where you dragged a waitress into your bed (a lady) after she had put a hot water bottle into your room and she screamed for her life until other staff members came to her rescue. We did our best to ensure a great trip with all that was in our power including protecting you from imprisonment but you frustrated our efforts at most of times in order to pursue your premeditated refund but we are convinced that you got your monies worth and much more.


You requested for a very understanding gentle guide for your safari to ensure you recover well from your mental sickness. We therefore allocated Mark Elliott one of our finest guides with credible reputation, professionalism, tourism knowledge, customer care and a man whose service has earned a commendable number of excellent client reviews on our TripAdvisor, Safari booking and other review platforms.

You made your safari very difficult to execute due some unique demands you made that neither Mark your guide nor our office staff could offer you due to their illegality OR unacceptability: -

Please have this detailed response: -

Mark Elliott- your guide could not sleep in the same bed with you to keep company in your hotels as you requested him for personal & professional reasons. Guides stop being with clients after dinner OR after dropping them off at their hotels when the day`s activities are done then go to their guides’ rooms. On Day 2, even when you threatened to call Cate to demand for another guide that would do what you want, Mark still couldn't do it. On day 4 when you sent Cate an sms saying that Mark abandons you alone at hotels and drives away yet you want him to stay with you, she called him only to get surprising stories. He requested to quit your safari because on Day 1 you had told him to work with you to achieve your intentions of claiming for a minimum of 1000$ refund (a share of which you promised to give him but he rejected your request & offer) as you had done to the last 10 safari companies you did safaris with plus a computer selling company (back in the UK ) that you threatened to blackmail if they didn't give you a new laptop (you had messed up the one sold to you but they didn't know) and you even got a better brand. We requested him to hang in there even when you started to show him your black mail review to Prime safaris and himself, copies of which you started sending Cate day by day starting from Day 3 showing how you intended to blackmail Mark & Prime Safaris OR else she meets your demands which she rejected to your wrath.

On Day 4 when you accused us of neglecting your epileptic condition by Mark refusing to sleep in the same bed with you, Cate told you Mark is a married man & it was unethical for a guide to sleep in a client’s bed but also that if you wanted a nurse she was willing to organize one for you at your expense BUT you insisted that it had to be your guide cause you had paid a lot of money for your trip. Like with ALL your allegations against Mark including but not limited to negligence to your life, lack of tourism knowledge, bad driving and a car that breaks down every time, you requested Cate NOT to tell Mark about your complaints which was impossible because we can never keep quiet when our clients safari in messing up.

Your Safari Car broke down several times:

Like Cate told you the first time you made this allegation, your guide deferred from your allegation and said there was no moment at any one time when the Landcruiser (a bonus upgrade given to you instead of the safari van you paid for) got faulty otherwise you would not reach to all your hotels and parks, done all your safari activities on time let alone have no garage time OR a replacement for 21 days from Rwanda parks to all Uganda parks.

Earlier in Bwindi on day you got so angry cause Mark told you he couldn't track Gorillas with you since he had no Gorilla permit, you sent Cate a WhatsApp message demanding for a refund cause of this accusing us of not taking your epileptic condition serious and we left you go in the bush without your care taker (Mark). Like she told you earlier, you were in the hands of the professional government rangers who carry out this activity and Mark had fully briefed them about your condition as required. On the day you tracked Chimps in Kibale forest you forced us pay for Mark to track chimps with you if at all we cared about saving our company from a getting a 1 star review that you again showed him already drafted a copy of which you emailed to Cate (this very one you edited and posted on our TripAdvisor page), Mark advised us to pay for his Chimp permit (which we did) so that he could go with you as you were not mentally stable and he was afraid you could cause chaos to the rest of the group during tracking which would cost our company a lot with the authorities.

As you remember, you cut the chimp tracking short ( as you did so to other activities during your safari that prompted Cate to request you put in writing all activities you didn't want to do to avoid future claims that is was us who offered less that what you bought but you refused) and told him to drive you to you to a town and you restock your marijuana if you are to stabilize and continue with the trip, this we refused Mark to do as its illegal and unprofessional and this is when he told you that `you would be lucky if the police doesn't arrest the both of you with the company car if you went for those drugs. He therefore drove you to lodge but still you asked him to take you to a local bar and you smoke some Shisha, again we refused him to do so cause of the obvious illegality and risk of hanging in a local bar at night in your health condition not forgetting you had a cycling activity early morning that required energy. He excused himself to go at the guides accommodation and rest as he had a long day the following and it was already 10:00pm. You got Angry and sent a WhatsApp sms to Cate accusing Mark of being a bad guide less your expectation and he can’t take good care of you as he always lives you sleep alone late in the nights & he always leaves you alone at the lodge and he drives away claiming he is going to wash the car, among so many other complaints BUT demanded she doesn't tell Mark your guide anything for you were just telling her about how bad you experience is in order for her to start thinking of a some compensation since you had seen many of our cars in the parks and Prime Safaris is a big company.

Cate refused to honor your demands and told you that according to her you had gotten all you paid for and much more such as the extra meals you demanded for and never ate them at ALL lodges at our expense, a bonus car upgrade etc . When she told you that Mark should not wait for you take your medicine at 12:00 am as you had subjected him to doing, and advised you to stop pressing him sleep in your room daily cause he had to rest after dropping you at your lodge to freshen up, eat and sleep in order to drive you safely and guide you better with activities. You got so angry that Mark had told Cate lies about you yet these demands you had made known to her earlier yourself. You accused her of trusting her guide more that our clients instead of listening to her clients` demands.

In your refund demand WhatsApp on Day 12 to Cate you stated that ALL bikes were faulty and your cycling guide stopped at various points fixing his bike and yours, which is very untruthful. Now in this review you say that helmets for safety were not available and he always ran out of gas and you had to stop for him to regain breath. Honestly you had a helmet on, watch the attached video of you putting on a blue helmet on your head cycling behind our guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCbRWz4hXSU. ALL our cycling guides are very physically fit and they do this activity for a leaving, it’s very unlikely that they can run out of oxygen and a client waits for them to regain.

Regarding the missed bush dinner, you woke up late from your Fort Portal lodge at 9:00am due to body weakness from your drugs (Marijuana) despite several wake up calls, you finished your breakfast at around 9:30 am and got to cycling point at 10:30 (2hrs 30 min late) this made the day’s activity start at 11:00 am, late by 2hrs which forced the cutting short of the cycling experience at around 1:40pm and you did not cycle to top of the hills (not the caves as you stated because you began with cycling to very caves), to enable you have lunch and proceed on a 5hr drive to Lake Albert Lodge where you arrived at 8:00pm. Due to the 2 stops you forced the guide ( Mark ) one for 30min and another 40min to smoke your marijuana (please watch this video of one of these stops you now deny forcing Mark to makehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWxHsT207OA ) against his advice that you would get late for entry in Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve and even miss your bush dinner (as you clearly told him you did not mind missing the bush dinner), you made it late to the park and we had to negotiate with the park authorities to let you enter. The dinner was very pre-arranged but because you arrived very late no one would risk serving a client bush dinner at 8:00 pm to avoid being attacked by wild animals.

Mark Elliott tried to also advise you to avoid stopping on the road and smoke Marijuana to avoid the risk of being arrested (the both of you) and damaging our company reputation BUT you threatened to hurt him if he didn't stop for you to smoke your drugs and you started narrating to him a series of ways of how you murder your prey. It was at this moment that he drove off road, parked for 40min, followed with another of 30min along the way, as you embarked on smoking your drugs he called office to let us know that he was going to be late and miss the bush dinner due these stops and he requested office to call the park authorities to request for your late park entry BUT further he requested to strictly be recalled from your safari due to accumulated stress from you during this trip that had caused him sickness.

We had decided to call off your safari BUT remembered you may not have a ticket for that day to fly back home, we also thought of handing you over to tourism police of Uganda then we remembered they would imprison you right away having been under the influence of illegal drugs, so Cate suggested we call your Next of kin -your mother (name withheld) to let them organize for your flight back home but also call you and advise you to stop the gross misconduct.

After taking your mother through the full story, she asked us not to allow you smoke Shisha BUT she admitted awareness of your marijuana smoking for medical reasons but was worried that you are abusing it. She further requested us not taken you to police, not to call your Dad (he would be too mad with you) about it and not to tell you we called her otherwise you would worsen. She further requested us to persist with you to complete the therapeutic safari to help you improve your health as she figures how to let your sister call you and come you down.

As you remember when you got to Murchison Falls you turned very violent to Mark we withdrew him and gave you a Father figure guide -Stephen whom you told upon arrival to drive to Pakwach (a nearby town) & you buy marijuana BUT he told you that it was illegal and he couldn't.

The final 4 days of this trip with Stephen were a little better as we kept in touch with your family who tried to restrain you from misconduct.

After your trip Cate wanted to meet and debrief you but you told her that you know she had recordings of you in a bad state and she wanted to press you with them so you asked Steven to drive you to the airport because Cate had already sided with Mark instead of attending to your requests.

My appeal to you is for you to appreciate whatever we did for you in thin and toil to ensure your safari was completed than black mailing us.


It is regrettable that this great review platform Safaribooking is being used by dishonest greedy travelers to force refunds from innocent service providers and if they resist this, a terrible review is posted on their page to blackmail them.


Samuel Makanga
Managing Director
Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd

Socrates Vlahakis   –  
Greece GR
Visited: January 2019 Reviewed: Jan 10, 2019

Email Socrates Vlahakis  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Socrates Vlahakis and not that of SafariBookings.
Terrible experience with Self Drive Safari/Vehicle rental
1/5

We selected Prime Uganda Safari as we through it was one of the best car rental companies in Uganda. Unfortunately we were so wrong.
Firstly, our poorly maintained and serviced vehicle broke down on New Year's day, and the company blamed us for a series of damages which of course were not created by us.
Then, the next day, they sent another vehicle with a driver to continue our journey in Uganda because they could not trust us. So on 2nd of January 2019, the driver, during an overtake, crashed the car into oncoming vehicle from the other side.
Not only the company did not apologize or provided another option (to leave the accident spot or to be moved elsewhere), but the only communication we received is an email with the costs of the alleged damages. They never reimbursed us for the daily rentals for the days that we did not have the car, and they also charged us for filling up two fuel tanks, while the delivered two car fuel empty.
I am really sorry to say that you should not trust Prime Uganda Safari as the whole altitude was completely inappropriate and unprofessional, let alone that they put our lives at risk twice without taking any responsibility.

Reply from Prime Safaris & Tours
Reply from Prime Safaris & Tours
Posted on Jan 25, 2019

Dear Sokratis,

It’s unfortunate that you did not enjoy your self-drive trip experience in Uganda. This concerns us as a professional company as our primary aim is to offer lasting memories for our esteemed travelers’ world over.
However at times, the guest experience is affected by issues of own making even when we are committed to surpassing their expectations.

On Dec 28th 2018, the vehicle Station wagon Land cruiser was delivered by our Driver Mike and our office staff Sharon to you at Entebbe International Airport upon your arrival. You inspected the vehicle, agreed to it, paid the remaining balance and signed both vehicle delivery form acknowledging the reception of the vehicle along with the self-drive car rental contract.

You embarked on your self-drive journey in Uganda dropping off the Company staff at the Office junction at Bwebajja along Entebbe road 24km from the Airport and proceeded to drive without any complaint on Dec 28th, 29th & 30th across the Eastern and the far eastern parts of the country. On Dec 31st, you transferred from Matheniko / Moroto in the far north east of Uganda and took 12hrs drive to Masindi town in the West of the country without any stop to allow the vehicle cool or check lubricants including water levels.
At some sections, the vehicle movement report shows the vehicle speeding beyond the Uganda’s speed limit of 80km/hr. even reaching 120km/hr. This was great pressure to the vehicle as the first section of this journey was on a rough murram road in the Karamoja region. On this long drive, you only enjoyed the acceleration and never bothered to check the water levels causing great damages to the engine system.
Even before starting the drive on the morning of Jan 1st, basic things like checking water levels and oil wasn’t done. No wonder, at only 17.22km drive on that morning from Kabalega Resort to Murchison, the vehicle stopped shortly at Kidwela (07:39am – 08:05am).

We received a call around 9:43am from you while in Masindi and we were informed that the vehicle had gradually stopped moving while in Murchison Falls NP due to overheating. That upon the vehicle stop at this point, you poured Oil in the vehicle (not necessary in this case) and water after which you returned to Masindi town and handed over the vehicle to the people at the gas station to start working on it.
It is at this time when the gas station people had removed the oil and opened the vehicle engine system that we received this call letting us know of this matter. It seems you wanted to patch up the damages caused to the vehicle and proceed on the drive without letting us know and unfortunately, they were colossal and your hired people / “mechanics” could not handle.
We halted the proceedings on ground and arranged the travel of expert mechanics from Kampala to go and work on the vehicle as the engine system is very sensitive. But also not to delay your movements, we dispatched an alternative vehicle TX Land cruiser from our office with a professional and an experienced driver called Robert to transfer you to Fort Portal as we ascertain the cause of vehicle breakdown after which you would be informed and if you are responsible, meet the repair costs as per the vehicle hire contract and then, your self-drive vehicle finds you at the next destination.
The mechanics ascertained that while driving, you had hit a strong instrument (presumably a hard rock along the murram roads) damaging the radiator leading to water leakage and hence the rise of temperature which you even failed to notice thus going beyond normal leading to the stopping of the vehicle on the next day. As seen above, you remembered to check the water and add when the vehicle had already stopped. Regrettably, the radiator, gasket, cylinder head & water pump had been destroyed.
The vehicle was put on a carrier and transferred to an established garage in Kampala to get the spares and replace accordingly.

Regrettably, when you had reached near Kyenjojo en route to Fort Portal a speeding self-drive traveler driving a hired car from Alpha Rent A car failed to control his vehicle and rammed into you causing damages to the vehicle. Fortunately, no bodily injuries happened and the Police came to the scene to generate a report. Even when everything was clear that the self-drive traveler had failed to control the vehicle resulting into hitting of your vehicle from its side, it came to everyone’s shock including Police that you choose to shift the blame to your driver at a time when the driver of the other vehicle had obviously acknowledged the mistake and making apologies. Could it have been motivated by the desire to disqualify chauffeur driven over self-drive as we had not given you a self-drive vehicle for that transfer!
At this stage, as we were arranging an alternative vehicle to transfer you after the accident to Fort Portal as the driver had to remain behind to finalize with the police, you got a passing vehicle and proceeded. You wrote to us while in Fort Portal.
At this stage, you also brought to our attention in e-mail that you had another passenger by the names of Panos whom you had not informed us about right from the start of the booking process. We had actually hired the vehicle to you and you had not communicated that you would be traveling on this self-drive trip safari with other people which you later did at your own making and decision.

In response, we were sorry about the accident, informed you that we are still finalizing with the Police in Kyenjojo but we would be dispatching another vehicle to find you in Fort Portal and proceed with the rest of the journey. In the same e-mail, we also provided an update about the mechanical findings from the initially hired self-drive vehicle regarding the damages that you had caused including repair costs. You retaliated by noting that you were no longer interested in our services, an action that must have been driven by your unwillingness to meet the repair costs which you had caused as they were higher compared to the amount for number of days that were remaining and since then, you disappeared and completely ignored our requests to have this harmonized as it would never be our wish to end with a guest in such situation.

It is from this basis that this review is motivated by the desire to blackmail and creating bad impression other than a genuine ground. Prime Safaris remains committed to professionalism and serves its esteemed guests with trust and responsibility.





Joanne   –  
New Zealand NZ
Visited: March 2020 Reviewed: Nov 6, 2022

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Joanne and not that of SafariBookings.
Disapponited with overall attitude of company
1/5

Booked to go on safari in MARCH 2020 for a 25 wedding anniversary. We had planned to travel but sadly our borders were closed one week before our travel date., sadly being in New Zealand our Borders were closed for a considerable amount of time. When trying to reschedule this safari the price increases were large, some aspects of safari such as internal flights could not be confirmed or prices increase confirmed, we were told a refund was not possible and because they had already paid the various hotels a refund would not be considered. Several times in order to get a response messages had to be left on the facebook page. An e mail was sent to Prime Uganda Safari several times stating the price increase was substantial per person and that we were doing our best to confirm rebooking. In all e mails it would be re iterated to us that it was our fault as we only postponed the safari one week before travel, the International orders were closed one week before our safari commenced so we had very little choice. An e mail was then received stating our safari had been cancelled by Prime Uganda Safari and could not be rebooked so the total cost of our safari has been lost and cannot be rebooked. Whilst the e mails from Cate were polite no consideration was given at all to this mile stone safari that has been booked or the fact that an extra $7000 could not be found immediately to pay the increased costs or indeed borders were closed one week prior to our safari so we had no choice but to postpone. I would not recommend booking with this company at all, sad fact is other people have had their safari's honoured with other companies with no price increases, not the case with this company. Our only way forward is to complain officially. I would recommend being cautious and book internally within your home country as this company have had little compassion or consideration to our covid situation as we are abroad.

Reply from Prime Safaris & Tours
Reply from Prime Safaris & Tours
Posted on Nov 10, 2022

I’m honestly shattered that after all the efforts over the years in postponing your trip and giving a credit note to try ensure that you enjoy your safari once travel resumed has ended this way.

We’ve never been a fan of “he-said she-said” situations, but given that this review is public, I feel the need to respond and help shed some light on what happened here.


Change in Rates;

Please note that following were your changes in dates for your 15 days Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania safari that amounted to an increment of 3000$ not the 7000$ you indicated in your review, yet you did not even pay it since you were supposed to pay upon arrival.

Original safari dates : 23rd March to 6th April 2020

1st Rescheduled to Dates: 2nd to 16th Oct 2020

Final Dates: 27th September to 11th Oct 2022

As explained to you in my email dated, 24 March 2020 , the season rates that applied to your original safari quote were based on the low season rates for 2020.

When you rescheduled, the new dates given fell in the peak season for lodges in Uganda ,Kenya & Tanzania, which peak season starts from 1st July – 31st Oct 2020 thus the additional charges communicated to you on 9th June 2022.

The increase was due to seasons and the time difference of 2 years during which all operational costs increased worldwide.

As you are fully aware Covid-19 and other global challenges increased operation rates in all travel related operations. This was 2 years in between and inflation has affected most sectors worldwide.

Additionally, Gorilla & Chimpanzee Permits fees were revised by the Government of Uganda, starting July 2020 from 600$ to 700$ for Gorilla tracking permits as well as 150$ to 200$ for Gorilla tracking permits.

I have also noted that the increment figure you indicated in your review is exaggerated and not true, although you were supposed to pay it upon arrival but did not show up for your safari.

Flights & Communication:

Please note that since your trip was an inter country trip connecting from Uganda , Rwanda Tanzania then Kenya. You were to cross from Uganda to Rwanda using the land borders to take your flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Unfortunately once most countries closed their air space and land borders due to Covid-19 all flights including yours were cancelled .

As we constantly kept updating you, the Rwanda Uganda border remained closed up until Monday 07th March 2022.There was no way we could utilize the flight before the border reopening.

Our efforts of getting information from the airline during that time to ascertain the new dates you had suggested to us didn’t yield much to give you immediately responses since all boarders were closed and people were in quarantine.
Most public offices were closed, we couldn’t committee on anything until we had heard from the service providers.

Lastly, regarding communication, we have a track record of giving fast responses to our emails and all our other social media platforms, I have personally been handling all company emails and have answered back immediately as testified by other travelers that have reviewed previously.
For your case, I don’t know why you preferred/personally chose to send communication on both email and Facebook as you did so even after emailing you back that I was working on you and would get back to you after getting the required information.
You always wanted immediate confirmations from all the 14 lodges, spread in the 3 countries, yet I would have an immediate response from them since majority were under lock down. Like I kindly explained to you always, the conditions were difficult due to forces out of my control, but I endeavored to pass on to you the needed information whenever I got it.


COVID 19 & Refund:

Covid 19 was a nightmare and came as a shock affecting all sectors worldwide and everybody. It wasn’t anyone’s fault thus we didn’t mention it as being your fault like you stated above.
As a company we had about 50 affected booking but did our best to ensure that ALL our clients didn’t make losses.

As explained in the various emails, I really wasn’t intentionally refusing to refund back the deposit of the money paid for the safari but due to our Terms & Conditions and those of the partners with whom we operate these safaris.

As you are fully aware, a refund when the safari trip date was only a week away was impossible because;

1. It was past our refund period. All terms and conditions of service providers like lodges, flights etc. don’t allow refunds once its within 15 – 0 Days to the safari start dates and for this case yours was just 7 days to its start date.

2. Since it was a pandemic session and borders where closing, they termed this as being under “force majeure” / forces beyond their making thus couldn’t make any refunds.

Kindly note that it was for this reason that we lobbied for ALL our affected clients and Government of Uganda plus other stake holders accepted reschedules.

Again as you are fully aware, we utilized this opportunity for and we rescheduled your trip until it was impossible for you to determine your most suitable travel dates. We then went ahead and asked for a credit note for you to do your trip when you were ready.

As earlier explained to you, the credit notes had Terms & Conditions which varied based on the various destinations.ie. for Tanzania & Kenya, it was valid until June 2022 and for Uganda it was valid until Dec 2022. That is how after you failed to get back to me with new dates I managed to request them to extend it to until October 2022.

All this was aimed at ensuring that you could utilize the safari deposit that you already paid.

As you can tell from the rest of our over COVID-19 inconvenienced clients' reviews on this platform and other trip review platforms, it is clear that I put so much effort into making ALL our affected travelers have their safaris successfully at later dates unconditionally.

Together with them we kept on tailoring their trips to accommodate their challenges until they ALL enjoyed their safaris successfully apart from you.


Your Trip cancellation:

You went silent for long after being given the credit note. On the 14th June 2022, you emailed me and informed me that you will be starting your safari on 21st September and I went ahead to reinstated the safari to start on the date communicated.
On 15th June ,you emailed me again and informed me that you were to re- confirm availability of your home keeper and that you were to notify me by 8 July in case of any changes of dates.

I didn’t hear from you again, but remember that everything had been moved to the new dates and all lodges notified about your coming.

On the 16th September 2022, I wrote a follow up email to you regarding the status of the booking since you hadn’t communicated your arrival time for the 27th September and days were really getting close. I still got no response.

On 4th October 2022, a week after not showing up for the safari that was scheduled to start on 27th September 2022, I sent you an email explaining that the trip had been cancelled because you didn’t showing up which got you very upset and you informed me then that you had been hospitalized.

It was very unfortunate to know that you hadn’t been well although this was the first time I had been informed of your sickness as previously you had mentioned that you had a challenge of getting a house keeper/sitter to confirm if they would sit in for you and that this was to be confirmed by 8 July, unfortunately you didn’t get back to me.

As I earlier explained to you, on the 4th October 2022, unfortunately, we couldn’t reverse the decision made by ALL stake holders including lodges of featured countries whose credit statements had expired due to your no show, lodges that had kept the rooms for you as well as the flights for which you didn't show up.

This therefore meant the trip had expired due to your failure to come OR even get back to us with new dates onto which to shift the trip had you realized that you were not able to come for the 4th time in 2 and a half years.
As explained in the various emails we exchanged earlier, rescheduling a trip required that you provided us with new dates, determined independently by you the traveler. Had you done this, though it was difficult, we would have still done our best to try reschedule your trip, but this didn't happen and hence it was beyond our control. Your trip was therefore regarded a 'no show' by all stake holders.

Please remember that our company operates these trips together with other partners/suppliers that provide services that we can’t provide independently e.g. accommodation facilities, government wildlife entities, airlines etc. and thus we came up with some booking polices/ terms and conditions based on theirs since we have no control over them despite us working together.

In your case they couldn't push your safari for a 4th time in 3 years worse still without and timely request from you and dates to which to reschedule. You only started to think of dates after I wrote to you requesting to know why you didn't show up for your trip and to officially let you know that it was cancelled.

After receiving your review, we have reviewed all guest who had trips affected by COVID and all of them have successfully been done, the last one being the family group of 13 people, and 1 of the traveler's review is just below yours, why would we exploit you!!

In inclusion, We regret that your trip was cancelled after all we did to make it happen. We did what we could to reschedule your trip 3 times, but you did not show up for your safari and didn't notify us before it's expiry either, to plan for a 4th reschedule in close to 3 years time.

Even if you had booked internally with a company within your home country, I am most certain they too would have cancelled your trip for not showing up. How I wish you had notified me in time before the trip dates expiry that you weren’t going to make it, I would have tried to do something about it!!
We share your pain and are willing to organize a memorable trip for you in future should you want one and surely we shall ensure that you get the best African safari experience as we always do for all our clients the world over.

Kind Regards,

Cate

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