| 35-50 years of age
| Experience level: 2-5 safaris
The review below is the personal opinion of Kim and not that of SafariBookings.
COVID19 Cancelled our trip and this company took advantage of the pandemic
I do not recommend booking with this company. Anne was very friendly, but the savings of a few hundred dollars turned out costing us thousands. We had a safari scheduled for early June 2020, which we chose to cancel due to COVID19. We cancelled 3 months in advance. We chose not to wait it out because we feared losing all of our money if this safari company decided that COVID19 was not a good reason to cancel and to be honest it turned out that they didn't feel a pandemic was a good enough excuse to cancel anyway. Their policy of a 75% refund less the gorilla permits was better than losing the total $6600 I spent.
However the upsetting part was that I emailed Anne asking how they planned on dealing with COVID19. I was nicely told they would give full refund less the Gorilla permit that they tell you aren't refundable (which is not true by the way.). Needless the say when I took her up on her kind offer of giving full refund.... well, there was radio silence for over a day. So I emailed again and then she finally replied telling me... Oh sorry that full refund I mentioned we could do, well we can't because i talked to people who told me I can't give it. IT IS HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE TO DO THAT. Also their website states that they give 90% refunds if canceled more than 60 days in advance but their written policy doesn't say that. Also, please check out this link and never use a tour company like I did to book your Gorilla permits- Uganda Wildlife Authority does give refunds. It's just another way for these tour companies to SCAM you. https://www.bwindiimpenetrablenationalpark.com/gorilla-permits/cancellation/
After arguing with Anne over email that it was not okay to tell a customer full refund and then change your mind. I finally accepted the refund they would give and filed a dispute with my credit card company. The crappy part is my credit card company is so bogged down right now with other travelers. Anne failed to mention to them that she had told me full refund and then took it back. She also failed to mention, I never signed a contract. She failed to mention that the Uganda and Kenya are closed right now due to COVID19. Failed to mention that it's not possible to go on a trip right now.
Overall, my experience is I got scammed. When I didn't want to rebook my trip and took her up on her offer I think she freaked out and then said, oh no... By the way, rebooking the trip would have cost me more money. Why you ask? Because the Gorilla permits cost more next year and there is a fee to reschedule. And don't forget they aren't refundable. They are refundable, just not to you if you book with this company or one like it.
So the moral of this story is, I'm totally bummed I had to cancel my trip. Yet, there are better companies out there to work with. These guys are not fully honest. The policy stated on their website versus the one given to you are different. They can decide when they feel like it if they don't want to honor something they tell you.
I will likely not win my dispute for the other half of my refund, but I have not given up. One thing I've learned in all my travel is that you need to fight for your refunds. I travel a lot. I'm a digital nomad. I'm writing this review in hopes to save another person from this experience.
COVID19 or not... I would not trust this company. They have some good reviews and it's why I went with them, but don't be fooled. You could have a great trip with them or you could get total ripped off and scammed just like me. The choice is yours. I wish you all well.
1 person found this review helpful.
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are truly sorry that we failed to meet your expectations. Please kindly note that Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA), the only body responsible for issuing gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permits, does not offer refunds for unused gorilla permits and Chimpanzee permits but rather offers reschedules incase a customer is not able to track on their comfirmed dates. As such, the company was unable to offer you the refund for the already purchased permits because Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) did not offer us a refund for the permits we had already purchased for your tracking. Please understand that the Company issued you a refund in accordance with the refund and cancellation policy that was clearly stated on your invoice and agreed to by yourself prior to you sending the payment for the trip. We are however sorry that your experience did not match your expectations and we'll strive to do better.