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remo maria   –  
Italy IT
Visited: July 2023 Reviewed: Sep 6, 2023

Email remo maria  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of remo maria and not that of SafariBookings.
terrible experience

These are the serious problems, defaults, and contractual misrepresentations I had to endure that ruined my vacation.

1) I had booked the trip in 2020 before the covid. I paid an advance of $1000 in February 2020. As you know, due to covid the borders were closed, making it impossible to make the trip. Mr. Mack of Killiholidays told me that I could reschedule it later. HE NEVER Mentioned any costs to reschedule the trip, EVEN IN HIS MAIL OF 2022 IN WHICH HE HAS GIVEN ME THE POSSIBILITY TO SCHEDULE IT FOR 2023.
When I rescheduled the trip for this year, when there were finally no more problems tied to COVID, Mr. Mack told me that he was only recognizing $500 of the $1000 ALREADY PAID. Never before had Mr. Mack told me that I would lose that money if I rescheduled the trip.
I repeatedly asked for explanations but the information I received was very vague. Just not to lose another $500, I still decided to book the trip with him, but subject to recourse.
By reason of the fact that Mr. Mack has never documented to me any expenses incurred by him for changes in travel dates and has since proved himself to be non-compliant in various other respects, which I will explain below, and which suggest how he decided to withhold $500 for no reason whatsoever) I consider it incumbent upon him to return this $500 to me. On closer inspection, in fact, $500 (i.e., 50 percent of the advance) is a penalty for cancelling a trip and certainly cannot be withheld where the trip is actually made instead.
It should also be considered that the cost of the trip compared to the original cost has increased a great deal from what was agreed upon in 2020. In 2020 we had agreed on a total of 3800 euros, while the request for 2023 was a whopping 4600 euros!

2) Mr. Mack sold me the lodge in Nierere Park as a lodge with a swimming pool. It is the Mloki Lodge, as shown in the brochure. In fact, the lodge does not have a swimming pool and never has. To prove my point I attach the brochure of the trip where there are photos of the nonexistent pool and the link of the mloka lodge where it can be verified that there was never any pool.
Moreover, I immediately wrote to Mr. Mack astonished at the incident, but he did not reply, shutting himself in an embarrassed silence. This too is a serious breach of duty by Mr. Mack and shows his bad faith and his attempt to deceive me. I should add that almost all the photos in the brochure sent by Mr. Mack do not correspond to the Mloki lodge booked, which is much less luxurious.

3) The program Mr. Mack sent me states that the transfer from Nierere to Mikumi was 4-5 hours. This is a route that took as many as 8, and this is the time normally needed, as can be seen from Google Map. Knowing this, I would never have agreed to do such a demanding program, or to do it under the conditions indicated to me by Mr. Mack.

4) Mr. Mack charged me, due to his mistake, for an extra night at the Ruaha River Lodge. Realizing the mistake, acknowledged by Mr. Mack himself. I then repeatedly asked for a refund (this was the not insignificant amount of $650) but the cash money never arrived, despite Mr. Mack's continuous reassurances that I would receive a refund as early as August 15. Upon not receiving the refund, I immediately assumed that I would never see that money again. This was also due to the fact that I had asked Mr. Mack to transfer it to me via Paypal, while he said he did not have Paypal, while in the emails Mr. Mack claims to have a Paypal accounT.

5) also in the brochure sent to me, it mentions a transfer from Ruaha to Dar es Salaam on August 28 with a leisurely departure at 10 a.m. (note that the next day we had a plane at 5 a.m. to return to Turkey, where we then continued to Italy), for 6 hours maximum travel time. I later found out from the driver (a very serious person) that the trip from Ruaha to Dar is an 11-12 hour drive, which is also confirmed by Google Maps, which estimates the trip at 10.47 hours (without the stops needed to get gas, go to the toilet, etc.). 12 hours of travel time by car was never on my radar, and I also find it risky to subject the driver to such grueling hours. If I had known, of course, I would never have agreed to such a schedule, which, as can be seen, is clearly false in some places and neglects crucial information;

6) The 12 hours of never-announced travel could easily have been avoided, since Mr. Mack could have had me leave for the safari a day earlier, and break the return from Ruaha into two days: in fact, I had expressed all willingness to anticipate our arrival. Not only that. He himself had said that he would study this possibility.
Finding myself in this situation, I asked Mr. Mack to book me a plane from Ruaha to Dar es Salaam, asking him at least to use the $500 advance unduly withheld. He refused, of course, and demanded instead to use the $650 he owed me. To that $650 I then had to add another $135 because the plane ticket cost much more.
I agreed to pay this amount for the following reasons:
1) because I was sure that the $650, otherwise, I would never see it again for the reasons already explained,
2) because without the plane flight, the last day of the vacation would have been a massacre (imagine a 12-hour drive and then having to catch the plane at 5 a.m. the next day)
3) I would also have run the risk of missing the return flight from Dar to Istanbul, should there be any problems.

However, this is a cost that I could easily have avoided if Mr. Mack, without overlooking the very relevant circumstance that the trip from Ruaha to Dar took 11-12 hours (and not 6), had anticipated the safari by one day, as I had repeatedly requested.

Again, then, Mr. Mack attempted to con me into more money. Think about the fact that after the same man forced me to pay the $135 for the airfare, he called me and told me that the flight from Ruaha to Dar was no longer available, and that I would have to leave from Iringa. This is a much cheaper and much less comfortable flight. Clearly, Mr. Mack wanted me to take that flight so he could keep the $135 already paid, and also profit from the difference between the lower cost of the flight to Iringa and the $650 used to buy the flight from Ruaha. I objected strongly, and after I threatened him, suddenly the flight from Ruaha came up.

I have submitted all these facts to the Arusha Police.

Margarita   –  
Latvia LV
Visited: November 2017 Reviewed: Dec 5, 2017

Email Margarita  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Margarita and not that of SafariBookings.
A horrible journey and attitude

I regret the day I got in touch with this company. It was my expensive and pointless sport in my life - walk to Mandara Hut. 380 dollars (for 2 persons) for bringing you to a place from where you can not see anything beautiful.
The terrible experience began when it was time to start a new day with new adventures. We got up early in the morning to have breakfast before Kili Holidays arriving to the hotel to pick-up us. They arrived instead of the time (at 7:00) with an hour's delay (at 8:00), and only when they were called. There were 3 men in the car: a driver, a guide and a person who was collecting money. Nothing was arranged. We all went out to lunch boxes. It was only then that the journey began (from Arusha for more than two hours until Mandarin trail).
When we get there, a guide was no money to pay for the entrance. I need to pay this, although it was included in the price (we get back money when we arrive, but it shows the attitude). Upon starting the route, the guide said that we could not get up to the end, because we had to be back in time (although they were the ones who delayed). We went up to Mandara Hut, because we climbed quickly (there's nothing to see). The guide does not even lead us to the magnificent waterfall 200 meters from Route (the Mandara waterfall). I only noticed this when we returned (watching a photo on the Internet).
On the way home, I heard that the guide told the driver about the company and then I understood that none of them was working at Kiliholidays. They have been taken from the edge at the last minute.
Upon returning to hotel, a man who at start of the day charged money from us, was waiting us. (To make sure about how we liked, but in reality - he did not care. He thought he would get some tip, or something).

No one spoke to us either during the trip or during the climb.
We paid a lot of money just to be able to climb the beautiful trail and see and find out exactly nothing.
This company is badly organized.

Elisa K   –  
United States US
Visited: May 2015 Reviewed: Jul 24, 2015

The review below is the personal opinion of Elisa K and not that of SafariBookings.
I would advise you not to book this company. Seriously, you'll thank me later.

We booked a 4 night budget safari to see the Serengeti, Ngorogoro Crater, and Lake Manyara. While the wildlife did not disappoint (thanks to our freelance drivers, who were excellent guides), the rest of the experience was pretty awful.

We got quotes from a bunch of different safari operators and Kiliholidays came in the cheapest. This should have been a red flag, but we are broke grad students so we decided to hire them. Unfortunately, we got what we paid for.

The vehicles were in a sorry state of disrepair and one of them lost a wheel - twice. The bolts were rusted and after hitting a big bump, the wheel would tear loose and bounce off into the bush. Instead of getting new bolts to fix the wheel, the drivers simply borrowed bolts from other wheels. We saw a couple vehicles from other tour operators get flat tires, but no one else on the road had a wheel come flying off.

We also had some customer service issues with the company owner, Mack. You may have noticed that he has written responses to the other bad reviews from our group (there were 8 of us total).

Feel free to read his responses, but as you do, remember that this is how he would talk to you if you had an issue on safari with his company. It's a lot of blathering and blame shifting, which is really not what you want to deal with when you're totally dependent on your tour operator and just trying to have an enjoyable vacation with friends.

In summary - we felt unsafe in the vans and we felt that Mack took advantage of the fact that we were (stupid American) tourists, dependent on Kiliholidays for food, shelter, and transportation. Don't make the same mistake we did - book with someone else!

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Rating Breakdown
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  • 4 star 25
  • 3 star 1
  • 2 star 1
  • 1 star 3
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