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Scott   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: September 2023 Reviewed: Sep 24, 2023

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

The review below is the personal opinion of Scott and not that of SafariBookings.
Sold an incorrect itinerary
1/5

My recent experience with Gemfinders, specifically with Brian, left me pretty disappointed and frustrated. I had been eagerly looking forward to my safari trip to the Serengeti, which I had carefully planned with Gemfinders. They had advertised a budget lodge accommodation in the itinerary, but as soon as I started the journey, it was clear that something was off. Instead of budget lodges, I found myself camping, which was definitely not what I had signed up for. It not only messed up my expectations but also made the logistics a bit of a headache.

What really irked me was that I had double-checked with Brian before the trip about the accommodation, and he had confidently reassured me that it would indeed be budget lodges. To have that promise fall flat was disappointing and left me feeling like I had been misled.

To add to the confusion, I later found out that Gemfinders had outsourced the safari to another company in Tanzania. This explained the disconnect between the original itinerary and what actually happened during the trip. It also raised some questions about how much Gemfinders was actually involved in planning and executing the trip.

Another bone of contention was Gemfinders' payment policy. Unlike many other safari operators who allow you to pay a deposit and settle the rest on-site when the safari begins, Gemfinders required full payment upfront. This put extra pressure on travelers, especially when the services didn't match what was promised.

What frustrated me the most, though, was Gemfinders' response when I raised these issues. Even though it was crystal clear that they had misrepresented the itinerary I paid for, Brian refused to offer sufficient compensation. He simply said I had already completed the safari, as if that somehow justified the misleading information.

I tried going back and forth with Brian, hoping for some sort of resolution, but it felt like hitting a brick wall. And when I asked for more information about Gemfinders' business (i.e. the business license number), Brian was quite uncooperative and didn't provide the details I requested.

Overall, my experience with Gemfinders and Brian left me unsatisfied and disappointed. Their misrepresentation, inflexible payment policy, and lack of accountability for their mistakes make me hesitant to recommend them to other travelers. The lack of transparency and professionalism in dealing with these issues, along with the outsourcing to another company without proper oversight, raises concerns about Gemfinders' commitment to customer satisfaction and ethical business practices. If you're thinking of booking a trip with them, be cautious and consider these shortcomings carefully.

Reply from Gemfinders Tours and Travel
Reply from Gemfinders Tours and Travel
Posted on Sep 26, 2023

Hello Scott,
We acknowledge your review and sincerely apologize for not meeting your expectations. We have discussed the events surrounding your safari with Brian and clearly this was a case of misunderstanding of the itinerary. Your initial request was for a private safari which turned out to be way beyond your budget. You were offered a cheaper version of it, with accommodation in budget lodges, which was also outside your budget. Finally, you requested that we find a group for you to join. We found one operated by our partners in Tanzania, Kilibeyond, which you accepted. We did not say we operate this shared safari and we clearly stated that accommodation was to be in tented camps, and yes, that is camping.
We are committed to ensuring our clients enjoy their safaris and we draw very important lessons from your disappointing experience which we deeply regret. Most importantly, in light of this, we have issued new strict guidelines to Brian and our other staff, especially regarding how they present various tour options to travelers, to ensure they set realistic expectations around the tours.
Once again we are very sorry for the bad experience and we will take all steps necessary to ensure no other traveler goes through such disappointment.

Average User Rating
4.6/5
Rating Breakdown
  • 5 star 20
  • 4 star 3
  • 3 star 0
  • 2 star 1
  • 1 star 1
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