Reviews

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Cassandra Lister   –  
Hong Kong HK
Visited: August 2016 Reviewed: Aug 13, 2016

Email Cassandra Lister  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Enjoyable!
4/5

Communication during the planning phase was excellent. Less than a 12-hour turnaround time (allowing for time zone differences). Instructions on pick-up location, what to pack, what to wear, etc was all very detailed. All the drivers we had were pleasant to deal with and confident regarding what they had to deliver. Professional yet friendly.

Belinda   –  
Australia AU
Visited: July 2016 Reviewed: Jul 27, 2016

Email Belinda  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

A great family experience!
4/5

Reasonable all round. Eveyone was friendly. If there were issues they were minor and was all sorted out.

Thor   –  
Denmark DK
Visited: February 2018 Reviewed: Feb 13, 2018

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Thor and not that of SafariBookings.
Good, but could be better
3/5

First of all, I enjoyed the tour a lot and I had so much fun with the other people attending the tour. I got to see the different animals and got some good stories to tell when I go back home.

However, I have a feeling that the tour could be much better because:
- Pick-up the first day arrived more than 1 hour late and I didn't get any notice. I called their office, but they weren't helpful at all.
- The engagement of the staff seemed to vary a lot. Some were very engaging and were able to tell about the animals and plants, while others didn't really seem to care too much and just drove/walked us around to earn their money.
- Most of the staff at the Tresmina lodge didn't seem happy. There was a weird atmosphere at the lodge and there seemed to be some tension among the staff.
- The atmosphere at Marc's Tree House was more happy, but the staff didn't seem to care too much for their customers. I got electric shock in the shower the last morning (probably due to a short circuit). I told the staff and they didn't apologize or anything. I just got the answer "Ok, we will take a look at it".
- The quality of the food could be improved a lot without much effort.

Just to summarize: I had a lot of fun and got to see all the animals even though they we had to drive for quite a while to find them. It was a great experience, but I believe that it could be so much better if the staff where better trained and more engaging.

Sharon   –  
United States US
Visited: May 2017 Reviewed: May 29, 2017

Email Sharon  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Sharon and not that of SafariBookings.
Good Value But With A Few Problems
3/5

We just returned from a 5D/4N safari at Tremisana Lodge. The pre-trip communication was very good. It was easy to make the reservation 6 months ago and reconfirm it just before we left. We were on another safari in South Africa before meeting up with Viva Safaris and so had asked them to arrange a hotel for us, near JNB airpirt, on the night before starting this part of our trip. Even though we provided the with our domestic flight number, they were confused and went to the international terminal instead. The accommodations at Tremisana look as pictured. The Lodge is nore rustic than you might guess. All meals were served outside and there was only one meal time. The food was okay at best but we did not go there for the food anyway. The AC in our room shorted out and we were placed in a similar room. We felt it was odd that no other people on safari stayed at Tremisana more than one night but us. They all went on to other places, mostly Marcs Treehouse. This gave the Lodge the feeling of a halfway point instead of a social place to discuss what we had seen on safari that day. The game drives were always great. We did see the Big 5. We got close up to the animals and the experience was wonderful. All game drive leaders were not the same, however. One in particular (Alias - Smiley) was very good in explaining animal behavior. The game drives always occurred on schedule and lasted 2-4 hours. Transportation that was provided to/from the lodge from JNB airport was not at all what we expected. The drive from JNB to Tremisana Lodge is very long and takes about 5 hours! The minibus used to transport us from JNB to the Lodge broke down 45 min into the trip. The water pump gave out and we had to wait at a rest stop for 3 hours before a replacement minivan came to pick us up. Then, as came time for different guests to be dropped off at different lodges, a tactic of having other mini vans stationed along the route, where you and your luggage were transferred was used. This meant that we had to change mini busses several times, each time transferring our luggage as well. This was not expected, never communicated, resulted in one persons luggage being misplaced and left most people feeling the need to keep tipping drivers. On our trip back from Tremisana to JNB we were the last ones to be picked up and found ourselves crammed ito the last row of a small minibus that held 14 passengers. Again, we had to transfer to another mini bus three times before we got back to JNB airport.

Yazid   –  
France FR
Visited: July 2023 Reviewed: Aug 1, 2023

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Yazid and not that of SafariBookings.
Disappointed
2/5

we booked for 5 days. We have safari experience. unfortunately we were disappointed. The group is too big, the cars are not comfortable, some drivers seem inexperienced and so you don't see much. And the meals are catastrophic and not generous. In short, everything was counted. and shortened safari times. After Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania, we are disappointed. especially since the Balule reserve is really not terrible with electric cables crossing the area and which takes away the charm of the real safari.

Ruben Garcia   –  
Ireland IE
Visited: June 2023 Reviewed: Jun 14, 2023

Email Ruben Garcia  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Ruben Garcia and not that of SafariBookings.
Overpriced for what you get
2/5

TLDR: Overpriced for what you get.

Starting with the good part, company was very accomodating since our flight got cancelled and we could change our safari from 4 to 3 days and all people working there were very nice.

Now, it's horribly overpriced given the quality of the accomodation and food received. Tremisana lodge is old, not very well maintained and just clean enough. The food was very dissapointing, one of us was vegetarian and the options given were "well, you just don't eat the meat, eat everything else", that's by all means not catering for vegetarians. We were lucky we had some food with us because portions were quite small, also lunch not included in the package.

Safari itself is ok but streamlined for tourists, there's an adjacent private reserve were they take you twice to see some lions. It's basically a big private zoo but not at all a safari experience. The full day in Kruger park is more real, nice 4x4 jeeps to travel around and we got to see some animals but the fact that these vehicles travel alone and without radio leaves you to your own luck finding animals (in other safaris cars would talk to each other if they see something).

Given South Africa prices, ~1200 EURO for 2 nights accomodation and a bit of safari this is hugely overpriced.

John   –  
United States US
Visited: July 2019 Reviewed: Jul 31, 2019

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

The review below is the personal opinion of John and not that of SafariBookings.
The Wisconsin Dells of Safari operators - a bit of what was promised, but not much. Disappointed.
2/5

My wife and I completed the 5 day Kruger safari. We are seasoned safari tourists and have been blessed to go on safari in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. We have never been left dissatisfied until now. The accommodations were fine and the food was as well. But that’s not why most of us go on safari – it is the game drives after all.
Every game drive was shorter than advertised. Day one night drive was two hours instead of three. Day two four-hour Bush walk was just one hour of bush walking. When we got in the vehicle, we were told it was really just three hours including drive time there and back but overall it was about 2.5 hours. Worse, the 3 hour afternoon game drive started an hour late and was only two hours. Also, how many tourists who spend thousands to come all the way to South Africa really want to receive a pitch to allow elephant culling when they are viewing elephants? We've gone from 600,000 elephants to 450,0000 in seven years according to the 2015 Great Elephant census across the continent. We are in the midst of elephant genocide. We see our first elephant and the arrogant young guide starts talking about culling them and feeding the meat to local villages. Not exactly what we expected to hear. Day three - all day at Kruger National Park - no complaints. But geez, we thought this was a 5 day Kruger trip. Only one day was spent there – the rest in reserves, some of which allow hunting. Day 4 - a major disappointment. The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre did not espouse conservation. In addition to culling and legal ivory sales, we were told that rhino horn should be legalized to discourage the black market. Really? Rhino horn? I still can't believe we heard that. Back to Mark's Camp by noon. Yummy lunch. But no afternoon game drive. Our itinerary showeda 3 PM drive. Nope due to reserve restrictions, it was a 5 pm drive. Actually 530 as driver had to wait for more customers coming in from Johannesberg. Big difference in night drives versus day drives – photos aren’t good at night, and many animals are stressed especially since it is a hunting reserve. This last drive was also just two hours. Driver didn’t speak to us, and drove incredibly irresponsibly into a thicket of acacia thorn trees in the dark. I was actually injured and had to get antibiotics for a needless eye injury. Last day we spent $400 to spend the entire afternoon at Mark’s Camp. Pathetic. We did our own bush walk that was longer than the ones Viva did. And we didn’t need guns.
My advice is focus on quality game drives. No bait and switch on what you advertise. There are far better safari companies in Africa. I highly recommend Kenya’s Gametrackers for a genuine safari experience or any Exodus trip. Very disappointed. Emailed owner of Viva safaris and no resolution. Don’t get suckered.

Nichole   –  
United States US
Visited: January 2019 Reviewed: Jan 25, 2019

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Nichole and not that of SafariBookings.
Great safari experience until we discovered we were robbed.
2/5

Great safari experience, we saw the Big 5. Accommodations and food were as you would expect for the price point. We stayed one night in Tremesana and two nights at Marc's Treehouse. Ivy and Pretty were fantastic hosts. The only reason I am giving this two stars is because we discovered after leaving Marc's Treehouse that almost $600 (yes, I know we shouldn't have had that much on us) was missing from our wallets. We were not informed that cleaning people would be entering our rooms to make the bed and that is likely when it happened. So make sure to keep your money or valuables on you at all times.

Ronna   –  
United States US
Visited: September 2018 Reviewed: Oct 13, 2018

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Ronna and not that of SafariBookings.
Mixed bag but overall disappointed
2/5

We went on a 4 day, 3 night Marc's treehouse lodge. The first night was at Tremisana Lodge, we had a sunset drive and a dinner at the boma. This experience was fine. The lodge is budget, so it's nothing fancy but it's sufficient for what we needed. The second day we went on a bush walk, which was ok but one bush walk on the trip is more than enough. It was good to stretch our legs but otherwise it was not really value added to our experience. Then we sat around the lodge for 5 hours doing absolutely nothing...this was frustrating since we paid so much money to be on game drives and having more opportunities to see the animals. Logistically this was terrible scheduling and a waste of my time and money. In the evening we went on a short 90 minute drive and then were transferred to Marc's Treehouse lodge. The treehouse lodge was a cool experience, we really enjoyed the lodge. The staff were helpful and knowledgeable. The day we were scheduled to be in Kreuger park was very frustrating. We know that you cannot control the animals and it's always a game of chance when looking for them. What you can control is when you are in the park and making sure you're there at the best times possible - which is sunrise and sunset. We did not get to the park until after 10am which is when most of the predators are resting for the day - hence we saw NO cats on our day in Kreuger. The final day was a short bush walk (which was not any value added and we wished we could have spent that time doing something else) and our transfer back to Johannesburg with a stop in the Blyde River Canyon which was beautiful. We were back to Johannesburg OR Tambo airport in good timing, just before 5pm.

Andrew   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: March 2016 Reviewed: Apr 11, 2016

Email Andrew  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Andrew and not that of SafariBookings.
Overall good experience but very dependent on which safari guide you are given
2/5

The tremisana lodge was a little tired and basic (compared to other lodges I've stayed in before).but the staff at the lodge were very friendly and helpful. The Dutch lady (I can't remember her name) who was the manager at the lodge was absolutely lovely and very warm and friendly. The safari guides were very variable. We had a day safari to Kruger with James who was absolutely outstanding. He is the best safari guide I have ever had. He was knowledgeable and worked tirelessly to find wildlife for us. He was truly excellent. I can't recommend him highly enough
Murray, was also an excellent guide and knowledgable and enthusiastic.

We had a morning safari walk with Philip, however, which was very poor indeed. He seemed totally uninterested and the entire morning was very dull and I would not recommend doing this with him.
We also did a sunset drive with Rex. What should have been a nice evening safari drive was ruined by our guide, Rex. He was obviously upset at the vehicle he had been assigned and spent the drive complaining about the organisation of the company and the poor state of the vehicle. We then stopped for a drink to watch the sunset and he spent this entire 30 mins or so complaining to us about viva safaris, their organisation, the staff, the lack of investment and how he had used to work in 5star lodges that were much superior. I found this odd and very unprofessional. If he had an issue with his bosses etc then I would expect him to discuss this directly with them and not spend a few hours moaning to us about it. In summary, I think safaris are good here if you are lucky and get a good guide (James or Murray from my experience). But I would be careful because if given a poor guide in my opinion it can really spoil the safari.

Average User Rating
4.9/5
Rating Breakdown
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