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  • 5 star 72
  • 4 star 6
  • 3 star 3
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 6

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Aleksandar Zivic   –  
Serbia RS
Visited: March 2024 Reviewed: Mar 26, 2024

Email Aleksandar Zivic  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Aleksandar Zivic and not that of SafariBookings.
Zero star

I hope you guys who are interested in traveling in Uganda find this review useful and won't make the same mistake as me and my friend did. In this review i will share the part of my experience with Karumuna Safaris and it's owner Richard who we believe is a fraud and a thief.

From the first moment i contacted Richard he was very fast in answering my mails and whatsapp messages,which i liked because that is how an agency should behave with clients. I applied for the journey inDecember and was supposed to arrive in Uganda in March!! It was like that until the moment I paid him the 50% down payment which he requested because he wanted to make sure the gorilla tracking permits are secured. The same story was with my friend who applied for the trip one month after me.The moment I paid him the money,no answers no mails, nothing! Every info I needed I had to wait 3 or 4 days for a response i called him and told him this is not professional. I asked him to make me another trip plan because i had less days in Uganda because of my ticket.

He sent me the plan 2 days before my trip and also found a guide for me and my friend DAY BEFORE our arrival. When we arrived and gave him the rest of the money the problems started. In the Lodge in Queen Elizabeth our guide approached us and told us thar Richard had an accident and hit the boda boda (motorcycle taxi) with his car and the motorcycle driver didn't survived so Richard was detained in prison. My friend and me were concerned but as the gorilla tracking was approaching i was starting to be suspicious about everything because Richard couldn't be reached on any phone and they apparently didn't know which prison he was detained and he was the only one who knew where the gorilla permits are. Our guides brother was searching for permits in his office and he was able to find only one permit. This one permit was paid on March 8th the day we arrived! And he told me in December to pay so he can secure the permit. At this point we knew that we were scammed! With the help of our guide Herbert we managed to pay for another permit 700usd because we came in Uganda specifically for the gorilla tracking. Richard was not answering any calls from our guide and the warden in the gorilla tracking office told us that he know Richard and that the chief of tourist operations in Uganda are awared that he scammed people before.

There was a lot more happening which I could write and if anyone is interested in hearing this can contact me.

This is not a fake profile,which he claims on other reviews of people that were also scammed and according to him want to damage KARUMUNA SAFARIS reputation. If you look the negative reviews it was never his fault!! My name is Aleksandar Zivic from Serbia,my email is so anyone can contact me to hear every detail. The ranger in Kibale national park told us that his driver by the name Dona went to Chimpanzee tracking with fake permits left the clients there and ran away with the car keys. If you don't want things like this to happen to you avoid Karumuna Safaris and Richard because you are going to be scammed!

GOD sees everything,if Richard is really in prison he should stay there. But if he lied about hitting someone with his car in order to get 700usd speaks volumes about him as a person.

I tried to attach valuable photos (the payment of the permit,screenshots of our chats and more) but the site won't publish them,so if anyone needs to see them I can send them.

Leandro garibaldi   –  
Argentina AR
Visited: March 2024 Reviewed: Mar 12, 2024

Email Leandro garibaldi  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Leandro garibaldi and not that of SafariBookings.
Worst Nightmare Ever

Avoid this company. The owner/manager Richard, lied to us. He did not respect the contract, put me in different accommodation, much cheaper and very low quality , than i have paid for. I have paid for gorilla habituation but instead of that i just got the regular 1 hour trekking, he ripped me off u$s 800, which was never refunded to me. The driver Dona who was part of the scam, tried to make me pay for a hotel in the middle of nowhere and when i talked to the police the money magically was sent to the hotel.

Please go with someone else to make you trip of a lifetime unforgettable.
Other companies will make your dream come true.

(images removed for privacy reasons)

Javier   –  
Spain ES
Visited: July 2022 Reviewed: Jan 17, 2023

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Javier and not that of SafariBookings.
Stress, lies and nature

I booked (and paid) a Safari in 2019, which would happen in 2020, for 5 days including: chimps in Kibale, gorillas, climbing lions safari, and birding in Mabamba Swamp.

Obviously, COVID came and we couldn't make the trip in 2020. Richard (the owner), said that it was OK and that we could postpone everything to 2021, but he wasn't able to return the money. 2021 arrived, and we were not yet vaccinated, so at first, we decided to go but then we postponed again. Richard said that it was okay, with no penalties for postponing to 2022.

2022 arrives and around April I start moving everything for July of that year. We fix the dates, I buy the planes and everything seems to be okey. A couple of weeks later, the first unpleasant surprise, Richard tells me that the gorilla permits have expired, and we need to pay again. Even though he was explicit on the opposite a year before. We were angry, but what could we do, we paid again. Starting from that date, I asked like 6 times during the coming months for an official itinerary of the Safari, with the specific dates and what was included. Richard didn't send anything. A week before going to Uganda, he sends me the itinerary, and it was wrong!! The gorillas were booked for the day I was supposed to leave the country. Imagine my stress, ONE WEEK EARLIER with no gorillas, because Richard told me even in April that we should book the gorillas right away because it gets sold out very very quickly.

He said a couple of days later that everything was ok with the gorillas, but the chimps were not going to be in Kibale, but in Kalinzu. I paid 150$ for Kibale and the fee for Kalinzu was 45$. I didn't receive back any money.

We arrive in the country. The planning (roughly) was:
1-. Arriving + Transfer to Chimps zone
2-. Chimps + boat trip
3-. Safari + transfer to gorillas
4-. Gorillas
5-. Birding + departure flight

First day, everything OK.

Second day, chimps. We were alone in Kalinzu, I suppose because it's way worse than Kibale. Terrible surprise, Richard ask me on Whatsapp to borrow him 500$!!! Something about his mother. WTF I thought. Very angry, I answer him that no, I would not give him any money and he ask again for 100$! At that point, I was equally upset and surprised.

Third day. We arrive at Ishasha, and the guide tells us that the national park is closed because of an injured animal. I tell him that then what about the money that I paid for the entrance and how is it possible that an entire park closes without prior notification causing inconveniences to all the visitors. After insisting a couple of times, he said that we could try on the other entrance. We go to the other entrance, and after a couple of minutes of speaking with the people in the park, the guide comes out of the reception tent of the park with a soldier, and the soldier tells us that it was some elephant in the middle of the road that the veterinaries were healing. Big lie, and the soldier was for increasing credibility, I suppose. We arrive at the end of the day at Bwindi. The accommodation was super amazing, and because of that I was a little bit disappointed because we were supposed to start our day at 8 AM, but the guide eventually changed it to 9, and that hour in the balcony of the accommodation would have been amazing.

When we were having dinner, another terrible moment. Richard WhatsApp me, telling me that we were not going to make it to the Birding because watching the gorillas + transfer to Entebbe is too much for one day. Obviously, I was mad again. I asked about the money, and he refused to give anything back. The only option we had is to drive a long long time during the night for arriving on time. This was a bad option because the driving in Uganda is crazy, and even worse at 2 AM with a guide that has driven for 10 hours already.

Forth day. The guides make sure that we were with the group that would arrive quicker to the gorillas. Luckily, we saw the gorillas early and we started heading to Entebbe. We arrived at our very late in the night and we woke up at 04:30 to make it to the birding.

Fifth day. Woken up at 04:30, went to the birding and then to the airport. End of the trip.

The guides made everything that was on their hands to make our trip comfortable, they drove uncountless hours and were very nice to us, but the owner is a very unprofessional person that made our trip very unpleasant for moments, so I can't recommend him.

Priya   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: August 2022 Reviewed: Dec 23, 2022

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

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

•Cancelled tour 1 day before flight from London and we PAID OVER $1000 USD to reschedule flights and accommodation, because he did not disclose that he failed to get the permit
•Booked SUBPAR accommodation and transport, from what was agreed.
•Still OWES US MONEY (waiting 6 months) for the disorganisation and troubles.
•Lack of communication and updates
•CHANGED OUR INTERNAL FLIGHTS without telling us resulting in stopovers and delays.

I have email proof of all of this for anyone who still wants to book with them.


Reply from Karumuna Safaris
Reply from Karumuna Safaris
Posted on Jan 3, 2023

Thanks Priya for the review but be informed that changes came in due to permits sold out we informed the company paid extra costs on your domestic flights, paid extra money on the accommodation and rescheduled your gorilla permits to make sure your trip is done accordingly we sorry for what happened but we give services even paid more money to make sure your trip is done in proper way and you do not owes us money. you did your successful trip in September but you talking of six months

Latvia LV
Visited: August 2021 Reviewed: Oct 20, 2021

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

The review below is the personal opinion of DZINTRIS and not that of SafariBookings.
Be careful with this company

It's very sad because previously travelling with Karumuna (we did it three times) had no big problems. This time, however, the unpleasantness overcame everything. A number of services were not paid. So we had to pay for a second time in several places for accommodation and food. There were also no paid hikes for chimpanzees and gorillas. The owner of the Karumuna kept promising that the money issues would settle. Right away. An hour later. Two hours later. Tomorrow. Even now that we are already returning home, it is still promising that the money will be returned. We don't believe it anymore. It is a great pity that the visions of many travelers of the beautiful country, Uganda- Pearl of Africa, have been ruined.It's not exactly a clear reason why our money was missing. The most unpleasant, though, are the empty promises. I now i will travel Uganda again. Becose of very beauty and nice country and friendly people. But not with Karumuna. Never.

Reply from Karumuna Safaris
Reply from Karumuna Safaris
Posted on Nov 30, 2021

Yes it true Karumuna safaris could not reach your expectations but we also believe it was not our first time working together. As a company we experienced scum which i tried to explain and i hope you also understand the situation which was in the country due to covid19.
we had worked together three (3) consecutive safaris without experiencing hardships but as we said the company always do refunds in incase of such experiences and we are looking forward to refund.
we are really sorry for the bad experience but we promise it will never happen again.
Thank you.

Rasmus   –  
Denmark DK
Visited: August 2019 Reviewed: Oct 29, 2019

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Rasmus and not that of SafariBookings.
Worst Tour Operator Ever

We had ordered 11 days round-trip to Uganda. We met with the owner Richard who brought an itinerary and a contract stating that everything we payed for in the trip was based on the itinerary. However, during the trip, half of the nights the accommodation was changed last minute. The worst thing was that the accommodation change was often for the worse, and some nights we stayed in so filthy and bad accommodation we rather wanted to leave and pay for accommodation elsewhere by ourselves. In the trip we had also booked Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale as the big highlight. We arrived in a town near Kibale at around 3 pm the day before the trekking, where the tour operator (Richard) calls us to let us know that we are not able to make the Kibale chimpanzee trekking because he failed to get the permits, THE DAY BEFORE WE HAD TO GO. Additionally, the itinerary stated that lunch and drinking water would be included all days which we rarely got.
Besides these problems, there were a lot of other issues about Richard miscommunication with the driver/guide and confusing us and our guide several times. Richard does not care about his customers, he just wants their money and will thereafter ensure that you have a completely disorganized trip. We managed to get the money back from the chimpanzee trekking permits, but honestly, with all the change in accommodation and all the last minute changes he put us through, he should have compensated us a lot more money for a failed trip in many regards.
If I could, I would NEVER book this tour again and would AT ANY TIME pick another tour operator. Its one of the most stressful trips and dysfunctional tours I have ever been on even though we payed to have all inclusive in order to relax and not mind anything. Even though I go on vacation 4 times a year and have been pretty much everywhere in the world, I have never tried anything like this.
Luckily, the driver and guide Paddy was an extremely polite and nice young man. We had a very nice time with him, and we felt bad for him that he had to endure the constant miscommunication and our anger about the trip due to Richards incompetence.
LASTLY, there we some parts of the itinerary which was completely wrong and falsely stated. One of the days it was stated that you get to the park, go inside (which cost 40 dollars per day per person) and go for safari. This was not the case, and Richard would not pay to let us stay inside the park and go for safari even though he acknowledged that it was wrongly stated on the itinerary, so we ended up paying ourselves.
Lastly but not least, it got so bad at one time we went to the police in order to charge Richard and make him pay some of our money back for the failed experiences. We found out it was a very long process and did not want to spend vacation time on it, but I would wish now that we would have filed a complaint and charged him so he would hopefully learn that you cannot take tourists money and then piss on them afterwards.
Otherwise, Uganda is a lovely country and the nature and the parks a breathtaking.

Reply from Karumuna Safaris
Reply from Karumuna Safaris
Posted on Nov 1, 2019

Dear Rasmus,
We are sorry to hear that you did not have a good experience on your trip with us.
Please note that you who booked two days to safari which did not provide ample time for us but we were okay with it because we really wanted you to go for it,

Secondly, you made the payment through bank transfer when you were already in the country and it was over the weekend of which the money took one week to be active on the account but we decided to use our own money to start your trip which was starting on Monday and additionally to that we openly told you when we met you at the hotel that it was peak season meaning that we might find some of the lodges fully booked therefore in case of any change in accommodation, be aware and you said you were okay with everything and we kindly explained about chimps permits that "WE HOPEFULLY TO GET THE CHIMPS PERMITS" which failed and later agreed to refund you the money for the permits at the end of your trip which is against our company terms and conditions BUT WE DID IT FOR YOU (WE REFUNDED YOU) as you stated it in the review.

As our other clients testify from the 5 star reviews, we pride ourselves in providing excellent services to all our clients to make their safari experience memorable.

Best regards
Karumuna safaris

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