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  • 5 star 166
  • 4 star 10
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Vimal   –  
Netherlands NL
Visited: September 2023 Reviewed: Sep 22, 2023

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Vimal and not that of SafariBookings.
Professional and helpful, Tanzanian side not very good!

We had a 11 days private Kenya and Tanzania safari. Silas is very professional and helpful. He was in his car in the carpark when we arrived. The flight arrival was delayed by one hour but after contacting him on the phone he promptly arrived to get us to our hotel.

The Kenyan part of our safari was excellent. The driver/guide Samuel is a very knowledgeble and a nice guy. But the disaster started the moment we crossed over to the Tanzanian side. We were made to pay $50 each to get the yellow fever certificates at the border. The person just took cash in Euros and filled in the yellow booklet. No vaccination was given. Upon asking for a receipt they gave some vague reasons saying that the internet was not working and that we shall get it by email, which, of course never happened. A Tanzanian driver received us and we started our Tanzanian journey to the Serengeti park. Within about one hour the left rear wheel of the rickety Toyota Land Cruiser just came off while we were driving! Luckily no one was hurt. We were in the middle of nowhere on a village road. The driver managed to change the wheel with the help of few villagers and we resumed our journey. After every 15 minutes of driving the driver had to tighten the screws of the wheel. This happened a few time. Then suddenly that newly changed wheel had a flat tyre! The driver just could not change it. He had to arrange an alternative private transport for us from the nearby village, who was kind enought to take us till the Serengeti gate. In the process we lost many hours. Ultimately we could reach our camp site after 8PM, eight hours after the border crossing!

The new Tanzanian driver gave a very unprofessional and unfriendly impression. The game drives in Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater were excellent. On our fourth night in Tanzania we were dumped in an extremely low level hotel near Lake Manyara. A very depressive place indeed. Certainly the lowest level of acommodation we had during our entire trip. The driver did not know that we needed to make a game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. There was no time for that any more. The next day we had to leave for Tangerine National park. The only solace on the Tanzanian side was that the national park game drives were really worth the trouble.

We had a sigh of relief after crossing over to Kenya without much trouble. The last two days in Kenya were very good with game drives in Amboseli, and transfer to Nairobi for our return flight home.

I requested Silas to reconsider his contract with his Tanzanian partner "Seven Wonders Safaris" in Arusha, Tanzania, which prompted him to end his contract with them. Thank God.

I hope this small review is helpful.

Fabio   –  
Spain ES
Visited: August 2023 Reviewed: Aug 8, 2023

Email Fabio  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

The review below is the personal opinion of Fabio and not that of SafariBookings.
Good price and good experience overall in Kenya, but not a professional and kind service

In general, I give Apodiformes a 3/5 because the trip through Kenya as a whole has been a spectacular experience, and all the hotels included in the package and the drivers and guides were very professional, friendly, punctual and helpful.

Also, I found the total price for the package to be very good, beating many competitors' offerings, so if you want to save money, Apodiformes might be worth it.

But I have to reduce the score because all the interactions with Silas -responsible for Apodiformes- during the trip were rather a disaster, showing little professionalism and little kindness at all times. Although he was always very efficient before the trip, answering quickly via WhatsApp and adapting the schedule to our different requests, everything changed as soon as we arrived in Kenya:

Things already started badly with our arrival at Nairobi International Airport at 4:00 am, when there was no one to pick us up at the arrivals gate. Silas did not answer the phone, so after half an hour of waiting in the cold and with a 3 year old we had to take a taxi on our own to the booked hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, where we were very well received, we were finally able to contact him and he arrived minutes later. There were no apologies, just bad excuses that he was waiting “at the wrong terminal” (so why was his phone turned off?).

The next day we were going on safari. We had agreed with Silas to have a guide who spoke Spanish, but when we met the assigned guide he barely knew a few words. In the end it wasn't a problem because we were able to communicate well in English (and the guide -Leroy- was otherwise a fantastic person and a very professional and concerned guide that took very good care of us), but this lack of compliance with what was committed in the case of a client who didn't speak English would have been a big problem.

On the other hand, we had requested a child seat in the car that we would use to travel to Nakuru and Masai Mara and carry out the safari. The child seat was there, but it couldn't be attached to the car seat belts. We solved the ballot by buying a rope in a shopping center and tying the child seat with it. A messy solution that of course made us travel through the dangerous roads in Kenia feeling constantly anxious for the safety of our three-year-old.

In addition, that same day Silas told us he had unilaterally changed our accommodation on the Naivasha stage (from Sopa Naivasha Lodge to Simba) because at the Sopa lodge "there had been complaints of food poisoning". In the end it was not a problem because the Simba turned out to be very good but it seemed unprofessional to inform us of this at the last moment and base the change on a reason that sounded like an invention (no one else mentioned these problems in the hotel's opinions on Internet) .

At the end of the Safari, when we had scheduled a visit to a Maasai village, they wanted to charge us again for the visit even though the agreed program specified that it was included. We had to advance the payment and then claim the refund from Silas.

At the end of the Safari and going to the beach, we arrived at the Baobab Resort hotel, finding a standard room booked, although a superior room was specified in the agreed plan. We had to speak with Silas to demand that he negotiate with the hotel for an upgrade as agreed in plan.

On our return from Diani Beach to Nairobi, despite our flight being late, we had to wait almost an hour in the Wilson airport exit car park for Silas to show up to pick us up. It seems there was "traffic" but no other drivers who came to pick up the dozens of people who arrived on that flight had any trouble getting there on time.

Anyway, despite all these messes the thing could be forgiven if there had been sincere apologies and explanations in each case, but Silas did not consider to apologize for any of these inconveniences even once. He even did not ask us how the safari and other experiences had gone at any time, nor did he write to us to ask how the return home was, being unfriendly and showing total disinterest. A pity that our main contact and organizer of the trip was the least kind and considerate person that we have encountered in our trip to Kenya, otherwise fantastic.

Andre   –  
United States US
Visited: January 2021 Reviewed: Jan 13, 2021

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Andre and not that of SafariBookings.
So and so

I did a slight variation of the 12 day safari that the company offers in January 2021 as a solo traveler. I paid $2820 + 3% credit card fee. The trip included 3 nights in Masai Mara, a day at Lake Nakuru, a day at Mt. Longonot + Hell's Gate, a day in Amboseli, and 3 days in Tsavo (1 in West, and 2 in East). I had previously done a safari in Tanzania in August 2017 for 8 days in Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngororongoro, and therefore I will compare this safari with the previous safari experience. There were both good and less good things about this safari in Kenya.

First, I think that visiting Kenya out of the high season in Masai Mara, which is July to October, may not be a good idea. I knew that the wildebeest will not be in Masai Mara in January, but I was expecting that there would still be many other animals. The wildebeest also had left Central Serengeti when I visited it, but there were still many other animals left there. In Masai Mara in January, though, there were very few animals with the exception of a small area near the gate. You could drive around sometime for an hour without seeing any animals. On the other hand, the animals migrate much less from the other parks, so the experience there was probably as expected.

The second issue to consider is that while the safari was advertised as 12 days, and there was some sort of game drive for all days except the last when we traveled from Tsavo back to Nairobi, the actual number of 24 hour periods for which permits were purchased was in fact 8. This is partially due to the long distances that need to be covered between parks, but also because the company wants to minimize the number of permits it has to purchase, so it includes quite a good amount of downtime in the itinerary, which is not evident when booking a trip. For instance, in the first day starting from Nairobi at 8AM, one could do a half day game drive in Masai Mara starting maybe from around 1-2PM at the latest. Instead, because of several stops along the way, including a half an hour stop a tourist shop right before the 1 hour stop for lunch, and also a stop at the lodge right at the gate of the park, one enters Masai Mara only at 4PM, for a relatively quick game drive. Similarly, on the day when we entered Amboseli coming from Naivasha, we could have entered the park at about 1PM, but instead, we entered at 4.30PM (we got to a lodge right at the park entrance and then stayed there for 1.5 hours). That was so that the next day, which was supposed to be a full game drive in Amboseli, we would not have to exit the park too early, because the company only wanted to pay for one 24 hour permit. These are just some examples - the whole schedule is affected by this. On top of that, the driver further cut the available time in the park. For instance, for the full day Amboseli game drive, he exited the park at 3.15PM, although the permit would have allowed exiting at 4.30PM. And he cut other days short as well. These being said, it is likely that other companies use the same strategy when setting itineraries in Kenya. What I can compare with is the itinerary that I had in Tanzania, where out of the 8 days I paid for, we actually stayed in parks for 7 days because they were very close to each other, and once we entered Serengeti, we stayed there for several days continuously, with the camps being right in the middle of the park.

Third, the accommodations that were offered varied quite a lot in terms of quality. The lodges where I spent 5 nights near Amboseli and Tsavo were very nice, while the rest where I spent the first 6 nights were much less so, with the hotel in Naivasha barely meeting the minimum for a tourist grade hotel. The food at the good lodges was good, but for instance, at the hotel in Naivasha, the breakfast was one fried egg, two pieces of toast and a little bit of fruit. This is very poor for an almost $3000 safari. In general, for the first 6 days, the food was quite poor in terms of quality and quantity, and I had to buy myself more food even though I don't usually eat a lot. The packed lunches during these 6 days were also insufficient. For instance, in Masai Mara, they were consisting of a small chicken leg, a banana, and a small vegetable sandwich the size of a closed fist.

Fourth, the van that was offered, while not a 4x4, as stated in the tour description, was relatively new and reliable. And since there were Land Cruisers to get us out when we got stuck a couple of times in Masai Mara, I would say that it was perfectly fine. In Tanzania all tours are run by Land Cruisers.

Fifth, the experience with the company's manager, Silas, also had good and less good parts. The communication prior to the trip and during the trip was very efficient, most times with almost instant responses. However, there were some things that were not as expected. For instance, he agreed that I would make the payment with the credit card upon arrival in Kenya never mentioning that he would expect me to pay a 3% fee until right when I had to make the payment, even though there were plenty of opportunities to do so during our prior communication. Normally, if the seller expects the buyer to pay that fee, that is clearly stated when agreeing on a price and payment method. Second, while he promised prior to the trip that I would be able to set my own game drive schedule during the trip since I had booked a solo trip, in practice that did not happen. As mentioned above, that was partially to avoid paying too many park fees, but also because the driver, Nelson, did not really care about what Silas had promised even if I mentioned that to him, and exited the park when he wanted to exit it even when I explicitly said that I would want to stay more on that day. The driver basically said that whatever I discussed with Silas has no bearing on him and I should talk with Silas if I have anything to discuss on that topic, that "this is Kenya and promises don't mean anything", and so on. While I can say that I did see enough of each of these parks, maybe except for Amboseli, I would have liked to make the most out of the time in Kenya and spend it in the parks even if sitting around looking at some animal, rather than in lodges. In Tanzania, I had no problem accomplishing this, unlike this safari in Kenya. However, for people who are fine spending more time in lodges, this may not be an issue.

As for the guides/drivers (I had two of them since the first one had a family medical emergency after the first 5 days), they also had good parts and less good. They were both very knowledgeable of the parks and of the behavior of the animals, and while in the parks, did their best to show me the animals and the various landscapes. The first guide, Jackson, was also perfectly fine to interact with. The second guide, Nelson, was quite weird. Much of the time, he was a perfect guide, but when contradicted or disagreed with using some objective facts, he was starting to say some really unpleasant things that I had never heard on any other guided trips I was on. Like if you were to tell someone that 1+1=2 instead of 3, as they claim, and then hear him telling you some unpleasant personal things because you dared to contradict him even if you do it in a casual way. I tried to not be too affected by these and I was mostly able to accomplish that, but it may ruin the trip for people who would be a little bit more affected by such discussions. Also, worth mentioning that both drivers were saying at times things that were clearly not true when it was serving their purpose, as I could tell from other sources of information, like asking other people there. But probably this is not too surprising.

Overall, I obviously enjoyed this trip through Kenya, although it could have been better on several dimensions. However, for people who think that they may do only one safari in their lifetime, I would personally recommend to do that in Tanzania in July-August, with time in Tarangire (which is a really special park even if less known), Serengeti (including a day in the North part at the Sand River to see the wildebeest crossing) and Ngorongoro Crater. You can do that in 8 days for less than the cost of this 12 day Kenya safari. That safari I did in Tanzania was perfect - it couldn't have been better - and was probably 10 times better than the one I did now in Kenya. On the other hand, if you have already been to Tanzania and want to also see another country, then Kenya also has interesting places and somewhat different landscapes and it is also definitely worth visiting if time and money allows you. As for the operator I booked with, it may well be that in that price range, all companies offer similar services, but just prepare yourself to be a little bit disappointed every now and then relative to what you would expect or was promised. However, you should still be able to enjoy the trip eventually if you can get over these issues.

Traveler T   –  
United States US
Visited: December 2019 Reviewed: Dec 18, 2019

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Traveler T and not that of SafariBookings.
A budget tour and you get what you pay for

Definitely a budget option, and you get what you pay for. Accomodations were a little run down, but functional. Food was good East African fare. I had two drivers/guides during my trip. The first was not very social and his van was very rickety. We almost broke down and got stuck multiple times. He got us to the animals, but also tried to talk us out of a morning game drive. The second driver was much more personable and I really enjoyed riding with him.

Overall, I would consider booking with them again, but will probably pay a little more and go for a smoother experience.

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