- Located In:
- 50-100 employees (Founded in 1999)
- Member Of:
- IATA, ASTA, SATSA & CTT
- Tour Types:
- Custom luxury tours that can start every day
- Price Range:
- $500 to $1,400 ppper person per day (USD, excl. int'l flights)
Average User Rating
Email Jerry | 65+ years of age | Experience level: first safari
Too many problems -- but the best guide
We booked our safari with Giltedge through Mangata Travel based on a recommendation from a friend. Things started off well and we built a terrific itinerary. Shortly after we made our deposit (which pretty much locked us in), Mangata became less responsive. As we poured over the itinerary in detail, we found several holes and contradictions. Some of our questions were answered but some were ignored. We started communicating directly with Giltedge in order to get answers.
When we landed in Africa and met with the local Giltedge representative, he was working with an outdated itinerary. The next morning, we met our guide/driver and discovered that his itinerary did not fully match ours. For example, at our first stop - Lake Manyara National Park - we had purchased four game drives, but he was only given passes for two. Not a good start.
From our first contact with Mangata, our #1 priority for our trip was to experience the great migration of wildebeest and other animals. Having never been to Africa, we relied on the experience claimed by Mangata and their partner, Giltedge Africa. Mangata placed us at a lodge in central Serengeti. When we met our guide/driver at the beginning of the trip at Kilimanjaro airport and reviewed the itinerary, he told us that regardless of how much or little rain there was, the migration is NEVER in central Serengeti in August. He offered to take us to the Masai Mara, but that would entail an 11-hour round trip on terrible roads just to fight the crowds to spend a brief time to see just a small part of the migration. I didn't think it was worth it. But thanks to our great guide, we had a wonderful week in Tanzania where we saw everything there is to see, except for the migration -- for which I will always resent Mangata and Giltedge.
After our safari, our plan was to go from the Serengeti to Uganda for gorilla trekking. It seemed the most direct way was to fly from Seronera to Entebbe. But Mangata told us that such flights don't exist. So Mangata routed us from Seronera to Kilimanjaro, then to Nairobi, and then to Entebbe - all in one day. About 2 weeks before our trip I noticed we were not yet given our tickets for the first leg to Kilimanjaro. (Note: this is something I believe the travel agent should have caught.) I asked for the tickets. When they finally came, it showed an additional stop in Arusha. This didn't seem to bother our travel agent. But four flights in one day seems excessive to us. One slip-up and we could miss a connection. Since we had expensive gorilla trekking permits for a specific day, we could not afford any problems. After we complained, miraculously we were booked on a flight from Seronera to Entebbe. Mangata and Giltedge said they were"calling in a favor" to get this flight. But once in Africa we learned that this is a regularly scheduled daily flight! This entire run-around was totally avoidable and caused a lot of unnecessary angst for us.
Apparently, Mangata does not have the experience claimed and adequate attention to detail needed to arrange a trip like this. We will not be booking through them again.
The biggest positive by far, though -- and for which we are thankful to Giltedge -- was our guide/driver, Meshack Godson from Arusha. He must be the best guide in all of Tanzania! His knowledge and instincts were top notch. And I learned quite a bit of Swahili from him. What we realized is that no matter how much you plan your safari, your guide is truly the key to it all. And we lucked out big time with Meshack!!!
Reply from GiltedgePosted on Dec 23, 2019
thanks for leaving us a feedback.
We immediately went back to your travel agent (Beth at Mangata Travel) to get further information & address some of the points you raised.
We're sorry to hear that your safari didn't turn out as you had expected but trust that Giltedge Africa always strive to deliver the best experience, as per the hundreds of positive feedback we have received since we've been in operations for the last 20 years.
Once again, thanks for delivering this feedback so we can improve where possible.
The Giltedge Africa team.
Email Marjorie Rivero | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
I travelled alone, but never felt lonely because the agency took such good care of me!
Communication was fine, accommodations too (everywhere I stayed). The safary had great accommodations, animal sightings, food, etc. Everything was on time. I would definetely return!
Email Emily and Brian | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Blown away by the thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
Philippa was amazing to work with. She paid careful attention to what we wanted and made sure to deliver. For example, my husband Brian told Philippa I wanted to see a lot of elephants, so Pippa booked us at Savute Safari Lodge which has a fabulous view of a watering hole where elephants gather all day long.
All of the safaris really exceeded our expectations. We loved our guides and enjoyed bonding with them continuously throughout each of our stays. The accomodations at Camp Xakanaxa, Dulini River Lodge and The Royal Livingstone were particularly excellent. Everywhere we went, the staff reminded us we were on our honeymoon and showered us with love and sparkling wines!
We would go back to Camp Xakanaxa and Dulini River Lodge in a heartbeat. The people there are some of the warmest and kindest we've ever met, and everyone on staff remembered your name at both locations. Accomodations were excellent in their unique ways. Both set you right in the middle of the action, with hippos, elephants and even rhinos within view. Dulini is a must for honeymooners - after many communal meals in Botswana, it was lovely to have our very own safari vehicle and romantic private dinners.
Our only criticism of the trip was our ending location at Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique. We had put most of our budget into the safaris, and we knew that Massinga would be more of a 'no-frills' location, but I would recommend Giltedge pause before sending future clients there. Whilst located on an absolutely stunning stretch of gorgeous turquoise beaches, the facilities were not safe or well cared for. For example, steps down to the beach (of which there were at least 100) were barely tended to, with cracks, crumbling concrete and broken handrails. They were not lit at night. The lodge has a pick-up truck with seats on the back to transport 4-6 people between the beach and main lodge, but that felt even less safe than the dark footpath. One night the truck stalled and almost began rolling backwards. At the pool, most of the toys, games and floats were broken or missing key elements, such as a ball to play paddleball with. When it came to mealtime, service was simply bad. One night, we were asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu, when we hadn't yet had our first course or even any drinks served. There was always a long wait to get any drinks served. The highlights of this location were the incredible beach, relaxing pool scene, skilled massage therapist and romantic private lodges with decks and plunge pools.
Email Dwight | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Vic Falls plus Linyanti, Khwai, & Sanctuary Stanley's safari camps in Botswana
For this trip we compared four different tour operators in order to find the best option for our interests and timeline, Giltedge provided the best package that matched all our needs. The overall experience was fantastic and just as advertised/communicated to us up front. Very impressed with the Giltedge team and their attention to detail, what was promised was delivered. All of the connections, transfers, accommodations, and activities occurred without any problems or delays.
A special thank you to our consultant Sandi Bird who did a marvelous job of packaging this trip to meet our cost, schedule, and destination requests. I would highly recommend Sandi and Giltedge, their efforts made our first trip to Africa a truly special experience.
Email Pamela Loper | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Giltedge & African Travel Expert, Sandi Bird, surpassed ALL of our expectations! This was not a basic trip plan logistically, we had 4 small aircraft flights into bush camps, two commercial flights in and out of Maun, road transfers, greeters at Johansburg International to walk us through customs to get on another flight to Livingston, Zambezi river cruise, helicopter ride over Victoria Falls and all of this was done flawlessly! I mean not a minute delay, someone was always there to coordinate and greet us. The communication remained constant as all the bush flights are arranged the evening before. Sandi was extremly responsive during our booking process offering various suggestions and recommendations which all were an A+. This was our second Safari but our first with Giltedge and I would not hesitate to book with them and of course Sandi again! Sandi also recommended 2 different African Bush Camps as our tented camps (Linyanti and Khwai) and they were incredible-from the staff, guides, location and accommodations. They really made you feel special. We ended our trip at another of Sandi's recommendations, Stanley's Sanctuary, where you can have a real experience with two rescued elephants from culling operations. Very well worth it! I will be back Africa!
Email John | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Our second African safari with Giltedge and another excellent experience with them.
We worked with Sandi Bird of Giltedge. This was our 2nd African safari planned with her expertise. This time we went to Botswana for the incredible wildlife. Sandi was flexible with our requirements and proposed a fantastic itinerary for us. Everything worked out very well in the end and this allowed us to fully enjoy a worry free safari. Her itinerary allowed us to see and experience a range of environments and habitats in Botswana that maximised our time and wildlife encounters in this amazing country. Charter flight transfers between camps were seamless and hassle free. We would not hesitate to recommend Sandi of Giltedge Africa to any of our friends and in fact we do plan on traveling to Africa again in future with Giltedge.
Email Karen & Tom | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
The most amazing people to work with that created a once in a lifetime custom experience for us!
Nikki is an amazing asset to Giltedge and delivered service beyond our expectations. Every little detail of the trip not only was successful but truly enhanced our experience and allowed us to enjoy our vacation without worry. I shared our experience with our friends and they also booked a trip with Nikki/Giltedge and equally had an amazing experience. Thank you for giving us a trip of a lifetime.
Email Tom and Beryl | 65+ years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Excellent tour experiences, thanks to our agent, Nikki's direction, efficiency and professionalism.
Our agent, Nikki Theron, was always prompt with her replies to our research questions. This enabled us to formulate a series of safaris that suited our wishes. Nikki always contributed valid options, if requested, which resulted in our 4 safaris (over 9 years), to various parts of Africa, being top quality. On each adventure, the accommodation, camp locations, transportation and guides exceeded our expectations, leaving us with the continued desire to return to Africa.
Email Helene | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Great planning/ providing sufficient time each excursion (scenery, history, safaris) & communication
Excellent experience! Communication before, during and after the trip was most helpful and timely. The varied excursions were wonderful and well planned (individually or in a small group). The 2 safaris offered two different, wonderful experiences. The trip definitely lived up to my expectations (and more)! Thank you to Nikki Theron.
Email Callie | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Easy and extremely profession. Everything was taken care of for us with all attention to detail.
We had the most excellent trip of our lives! Giltedge took amazing care of of and we could not have asked for anything better. This trip was absolutely epic from our transport arrangements to our accommodations. Every detail was managed to perfection. We can't recommend their services enough. If you want the trip of a lifetime, use Nikki and her team!
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