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Donna P   –  
United States US
Visited: March 2016 Reviewed: Mar 24, 2016

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

Choose ANY other company!
1/5

The guide Simon is a tourist who moved to South Africa to do tours and it shows in his arrogant, opinionated, disrespect of the South African people (he made fun of the way they talk), disrespect of the animals (he was gleeful at the thought of witnessing a kill in stark contrast to how the local guides respectfully handled the same situation and he even defended poaching saying "poachers are just people trying to feed their families") and his disrespectful comments about americans which he repeatedly made. Kruger National Park was amazing, the South African people were wonderful-- do the tour, just do it with ANY company but this one!

Reply from Wild Wings Safaris
Reply from Wild Wings Safaris
Posted on Apr 5, 2016

Hi Donna,
I take great pride in my job and in offering people the best safari experience possible. I am, therefore, greatly disappointed that you feel your safari didn’t live up to that standard. I am also sorry for the way that you feel about me as a person. I am passionate and enthusiastic about the Kruger and its wildlife. This shows up in the fact that I get excited about the animals and their behaviour. I always try and get close to the action and position the vehicle in the best possible way for the guests to see and photograph. If that is considered gleeful, then I’m guilty as charged. Most guests realise that this puts me in stark contrast to other guides, for whom guiding is merely a job. For me, this is my life, and I love seeing animals live and act in their natural environment, and showcasing that to the guests who come on my safaris.
Conversation around the dinner table often turns to relevant issues such as wildlife management, conservation, poaching, hunting and culling. I never condoned poaching and never will. It’s one of the more serious issues that we are currently struggling with. Perhaps you didn’t quite understand the context of my poaching statement. I mentioned that poachers are often killed in Kruger, to which you responded: ”Great, I hope they shoot more.” I continued saying that shooting poachers is not the real solution, many are merely doing it to feed their families. The fight of rhino poaching is much bigger than merely eradicating poachers. I’m not quite sure how you interpret this as me defending or condoning poaching.
I’m baffled by the fact that you think I’m a “tourist” when I have in fact been born and raised in South Africa and have lived my whole life here. I am also not quite sure what you are suggesting by saying that me being a “tourist” shows in me supposedly being arrogant, opinionated and disrespectful. What does that say about other tourists?
With regards to making fun of people, I do like to look at the lighter side of life. Most people refer to it as having a sense of humour. I guess it takes two people with a sense of humour for a joke to work. I can’t quite recall where I made fun of the way South Africans talk. After all, I am South African and I talk like them. I might talk funny, but I’ve learned to live with it. I have had many Americans on safari before, and most of them don’t take the things I say so literally or personally. I’ve made the same jokes before without anyone ever getting offended.
In the end, I still tried to make the safari a success, as far as possible. I went out of my way to cater to your vegetarian and gluten free requirements (unfortunately I was not told in advance that your husband also does not eat other things like onions or garlic). It appears my best efforts were perhaps not enough, or not appreciated by you.
We were lucky to have many great sightings including various predators such as lion (even the rare white lion), leopard, cheetah, wild dogs, etc. By sightings alone you were very fortunate, but it is a pity that normal and natural predator behaviour was disturbing to you. I also purposefully did not go to sightings that I knew would get you upset, like the lions feeding on a buffalo kill. For the sake of the other guests, I also tried to keep things light-hearted. I believe I had some success in giving them a great experience, despite the tension caused by your obvious displeasure, as can been seen in their review of the same safari (by Mary, dated 4 April 2016).
I leave you with the same words I said when I dropped you off, “I know this safari might not have been the best experience for you, but at least I hope that you can take some good memories home with you.” I always think one should hold on to the positives, rather than the negatives.
Personally, however, I do not think going with any other company would have made the experience any less miserable for you.
All the best for your future.
Regards,
Simon Vegter
Wild Wings Safaris

Average User Rating
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Rating Breakdown
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