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Mike & Teresa   –  
Australia AU
Visited: September 2017 Reviewed: Oct 23, 2017

Email Mike & Teresa

The review below is the personal opinion of Mike & Teresa and not that of SafariBookings.
Truck unbelievably uncomfortable. Transfer didnt eventuate Joburg & Sunway refused to pay us back!

Wrote a long review to Sunway but they never even replied!
Happy to take your money but no after sales service.
Bus unbelievably uncomfortable, hot & seats terrible.
Food not great.
Wouldnt refund our transfer despite saying they would - waited Joburg airport for an hour & gave up!

Reply from Sunway Safaris
Reply from Sunway Safaris
Posted on Oct 25, 2017

Dear Michael

Thank you for the detailed critique of the Wild Parks Botswana Tour that you recently completed.

I am happy that you found the itinerary to be well planned and executed. However to get perfection is always the goal so I am pleased that you have brought up areas where you think we can improve the service and performance.

Spring in Botswana can get very hot before the rains arrive in late October. I take your comments about the tour not being suitable for the over 60's, and although we have successfully operated for many years in Botswana this period of the year is the best for game viewing.

I have read through your detailed recount of the arrival situation and I offer my perfuse apologies for the delay and uncertainty caused when the transfer company did not make connection with you. We subcontract to a reliable transfer service when we are unable to do the transfers ourselves. We have very few problems with this service and the transfer company have given their report. I will refund the taxi fare for the extra expense which you incurred on top of you pre-booked airport transfer. Once again my apologies. This is not the way we wished your Sunway journey to begin.

Safari Vehicle:
We do not advertise air-conditioning in the safari trucks for various reasons, primarily because of the issues of reliability and servicing availability in Southern Africa. There are only a few options available to us in Southern Africa for maintenance of the air-conditioning systems, and although these options are slowly expanding we cannot guarantee the service. On this occasion the vehicle you were in had air-conditioning, according to our pre tour check lists this was working. The majority of air conditioning systems, when the temperatures of 40 degrees, would only be able to take the edge off the heat. The vehicle is back at our operational base now and we will have the air con company looking at it in the next few days.

I will however be looking into how we can support our agents with information so that it is for those booking in the hot months the temperatures that they could be travelling through.

We have found curtains become a hazard, take up space and become a contentious point among our travellers.

We go through regular guide training sessions with the operational issues for the cool boxes in the vehicle. So if there was only 1 resupply of ice in the 14 days of the tour for your clients cool box then I apologise. I will go through the receipts returned by the guides to make sure that we are supplying the correct amount of ice for the drinks cooler.

I am happy that the majority of the accommodation in Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Rivernest, Pelican Lodge and Rainbow Hotel all and the camp in the Okavango met your expectations. The prime motive for being in the Okavango Delta is for the mokoro journey and the wildlife game walks. Both of these activities get us closer to part of the wilderness that you cannot do on a vehicle based activity. The guides or polers suggestion of learning to pole is often an entertaining way to spend the afternoon in the Okavango. I am sorry that this although mentioned did not eventualise for you, the two nights in the itinerary dedicated to the Okavango offer a chance to get into the wilderness, we will concentrate on the cultural aspects of the Okavango for the next guides training session.

Hyena Pan: The actual game viewing drive in the morning in Moremi is extended so as to remove the backtracking back to Hyena Pan for lunch and allowing more time to explore Moremi Game Reserve as well as its surrounds. I am sure the flight back to Maun would have given you an excellent view over the edges of the Okavango.

The congestion in Chobe National Park is an unfortunate problem which is why we emphasize more of our wilderness experience in Moremi and have included the River Cruise to the itinerary. It is a major problem for the Botswana Wildlife Parks, Tourism Department and for the Botswana Government and they are all aware of these issues you have raised.

Food prep and storage: I am glad that the hygiene protocol of hand washing before meal preparation was adhered to. I will discuss the issues of the length of time food is left out particularly on hot days with Willard and Alois.

Our trucks store water in specifically designed stainless steel water tanks stored under the passenger compartment. The guides do not use engine water to wash food and produce. While I am glad that the hygiene protocol of hand washing before meal preparation was adheared to, I will make sure that the water is provided for hand washing at toilet stops as well.

We do guides training to help the guides become "time" efficient. I will redo this training with Alois and Willard to make sure that minimal time is wasted refuelling or shopping or banking during this tour. I will discuss this with the guides to make sure that they are aware when planning the following day. Good suggestion and we will follow up on this.

Thank you for your suggestions on making all the clients pre purchase their currency.

Tipping while not a cultural norm in Australia is a norm in many other parts of the world. All of the staff at Planet Okavango (a company which I own) and my staff at Sunway Safaris are paid well. Our guides partake in a bonus scheme dependant on performance and client satisfaction. They are all paid considerably more than many other sectors in Southern Africa. However gratuities are exactly that. It is a voluntary suggestion to show your appreciation of their hard work during the tour. We do not suggest at any point that it is compulsory. However if you enjoy the service and if you appreciate the guides role in the safari then we give a guide line for tipping for those uncomfortable or unsure of the amounts to tip. I am sorry that you felt pressured to tip the polers in the Delta after they had looked after you.

The Local payment is used for operational expenses during the tour and in retrospective payment at various points after the tour finishes in Victoria Falls. The guides are also carrying cash to cover the following tours which do not go back to South Africa.

Thanks for the suggestion of the Boma being included in the tour as a final meal celebration.

We appreciate your suggestions and feedback. I would have replied sooner however we never received the email or letter with your suggestions. The first I knew of this was when you posted the negative review on Google on Sunday / Monday. Once I received the email through our website and following letter correspondence I have endeavoured to reply as soon as possible. I would like to reiterate my apologies for the

Please can you send me your banking details and I will deposit $100 refund for the transfer taxi directly into your account by Thursday. Once you have received the refund for the taxi, I would kindly ask you to reconsider the review.

Kind regards
Shaun Waring-Jones
Sunway Safaris

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