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sunway safaris

Chico
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sunway safaris

Hi,

We are considering a walking safari tour that encompasses Kruger, Swaziland, Zululand, and Drakensburg that is offered by sunway safari, as well as, their rainbow tour that goes from Johannesburg to the Cape somewhat similar to the Drifters tour we also have been considering. Has anyone traveled with or know of Sunway and how reputable they are? I really appreciate the feed back I have received on this site. It has been really helpful.

Johannesburg, South...
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81. Re: sunway safaris

Dear twh2014 - Los Angeles.

My name is Richard and I am the marketing manager for Sunway Safaris and I saw your comments and feedback on Trip Advisor about your recent tour with us. We did not receive a feedback form from you, but did receive one from your wife, and it looks like she enjoyed the tour overall. In your review online it is also nice to see that you also enjoyed the overall experience of your trip with us. Thank you for this positive feedback .

I would like to address some of the negative points that you raised in your review. I have emailed you directly on 14Mar14 in response to your review on Trip Advisor. I hope that my explanation was to your satisfaction.

Invoices: I have been through the emails back and forth between yourself and our office, and there were some changes of what pre/post tour services you wanted included. An invoice was sent, and then additional services added after, and then removed after your payment.

The invoice we had on file included pre tour airport transfer, and accommodation, which amounted to US$ 204.

You made payment based on the tour costs only, and we therefore requested the outstanding amount for the pre tour services.

The request for the payment of the outstanding amount was made before we were aware that you did not require any pre tour services.

My apologies for this.

Accommodation changes:

Cederberg: We send out all of our accommodation reservations 18 – 10 months in advance in order to secure accommodation for all of our tours that we run.

We sent the accommodation request for Sandrift chalets in May 2013. We received a reply from Sandrift that they were fully booked for the dates required for your particular tour.

We then ask them to put us on a “waitlist” so that should the space become available, we would then have had your group stay at Sandrift chalets.

As Sandrift informed us in May 2013, that they did not have availability, we immediately requested accommodation at Jamaka so that we do have a reservation in place in Cederberg.

Unfortunately the space at Sandrift chalets did not become available, so the alternative accommodation at Jamaka was used.

On 03Feb14, an email was sent to you informing you that you would be staying at Jamaka instead of at Sandrift chalets. This information was sent to all participants on your tour.

Kalahari: Ghanzi Trailblazers: You are indeed correct. You should have been in twin, en-suite chalets, but you ended up staying in the grass huts with shared facilities. Our reservation office had booked and paid for the chalets, but unfortunately this info was not on the tour leaders reservation list, as such your tour leader did not query the accommodation that was provided. We have followed up with Ghanzi Trailblazers, the tour leaders and also our admin department to make sure that all future tours that stay at Ghanzi Trailblazers, will be accommodated in the correct rooms (twin en-suite rooms). I apologise for this mix up, and it was an error on our side.

Vic Falls (Zimbabwe) vs. Livingstone (Zambia) end of tour. There was clearly some confusion about this. On our detailed itinerary, and also the confirmation voucher it does state that the tour ends in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). It is a pity that you were unsure of where the tour was ending, and went ahead with getting Yellow Fever inoculations, but as shown on the documents sent to you it does show that the tour ends in Vic Falls in Zimbabwe.

Detailed itinerary: “DEPARTS: CAPE TOWN on Wednesday 08:00am ENDS: VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE on Tuesday at 08:00am”

Confirmation voucher: “END DATE: 04 Mar 14

END TIME: 8:00

END POINT: Rainbow Hotel - Vic Falls, 278 Parkway Drive, Victoria Falls, +263 (13) 44651”

I am sorry that you feel that the documentation is not clear. Please let me know where you saw reference to Zambia for this tour so that I can clear up any potential conflicting information.

Ending date of tour & hotel accommodation: I have searched all of the emails between yourself and our office for the email where you ask for clarification and cannot find any correspondence. We pride ourselves on answering all emails timorously but it seems that we did not get this email from you.

Your flight departed from Vic Falls 05Mar14 (a day after the end of tour), but as you did not request any post tour accommodation or airport transfer, we did not book this service for you. Because no additional services were booked with Sunway, we were not in a position to know that you needed a post tour nights’ accommodation.

As your confirmation voucher shows, the tour ends on the morning of 04Mar14 at 08:00 (after the included breakfast), and the accommodation at Rainbow Hotel is not included on this night.

The voucher also shows that no post tour accommodation was booked for you.

It is a pity that this caused some confusion and annoyed you. The confusion obviously is not the correct impression that we want you to have on the last day of tour and clearly left a negative impression on you when it seems that overall you did enjoy your tour.

Apart from the above issues, I do hope that the lasting impression of your trip with Sunway is a great one, and that the sights, sounds and memories of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe will stay with you forever and that you will travel with us again

Derbyshire
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4 posts
50 reviews
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82. Re: sunway safaris

I have written several reviews over the years on T/A and have just returned from a trip with Sunway to Zambia, Namibia and Botswana although haven't had time yet to place reviews of the lodges etc we stayed at. I would briefly like to say that depending on the tour yes you may have very early starts, travel for many hours and stay in basic accommodation and assist in making meals and washing the dishes. This is explained in the tour details and although we weren't 100% happy with a couple of things (no shower / room after a very dirty 2 day camping expedition) for the most part we had a great time. Our 2 guides were excellent (Albert & Jefius) and produced some evening meals far tastier than in some restaurants all on a bbq with a huge paella pan. Things don't always go according to plan but i wouldn't hesitate to use them again providing we could get the same 2 guides!. Hope this is helpful.

St. Paul, MN
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168 reviews
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83. Re: sunway safaris

We just returned from the 14 day Botswana Wildside Tour with Sunway Safaris. When I went online to post a review I was totally surprised by some of the comments in this forum. I can only think that the people who rated Sunway poorly did not read the description of the safari beforehand. We were met at the airport, knew we had to pay $300/person, provide some of our own drinks,set up tents and help with meals. And we also knew that we were in for a long ride, which included a stop at the rhino reserve, before arriving at Maun. No surprises so far. We did get stuck in the sand a couple of times going out to the delta........wow, a true african experience and we didn't even have to pay extra! We set up our own tents and helped with all meals. That was stated beforehand. Our guides were amazing with there knowledge of the animals. Elephants marched through our campsite......wow, another unexpected african experience we did not expect and we didn't have to pay extra!

Some things did cause our American hearts to race but NEVER did we feel the least bit that we were in danger thanks to our expert guides and drivers. The brochure said that we would have basic nutritious meals. This was probably our biggest surprise: Jonathan our guide was a graduate of a culinary school. We ate like kings and queens. He prepared (and we helped) several typical african meals and also baked bread on the campfire! And we didn't have to pay extra for the Kudu stew!! BTW We also had a vegetarian from Germany in our group. She was served lovely veggie meals. Our trip ended in Livingstone. Some in our group went white water rafting down the Zambezi. Our driver, Ende, volunteered to take us to town so that we could shop at the local markets. In conclusion, we hope to do the safari again with our three children in the near future.

Johannesburg, South...
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84. Re: sunway safaris

Dear Patricia

We are so pleased you had such a wonderful holiday with us and we can't wait to welcome you back with your children. I will pass on your comments to Jonathan and Ende as well as they will appreciate the great feedback. The Botswana camping tour you did is truly one of the greatest wilderness experiences. Thank you for taking the time to write your review and thank you for the wonderful feedback. We value all the feed we receive.

All our very best

Jayne Harley

Marketing Manager

Sunway Safaris

Surrey, Canada
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1 post
12 reviews
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85. Re: sunway safaris

I took the 16 day South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana trip starting May 20, 2014. Our tour guides were Panganini and Farai. We saw some amazing sights and Panaganini not only was a wealth of information, the two meals he cooked while we camped out on the Okavanga Delta were the best of the whole trip. I miss the kudu stew! The trip is an economy trip, so one should not expect four star accommodations. The accommodations were good for the most part, and in a few places where we received upgrades they were excellent. My only complaint would be that the trip tries to cover too much for the time allowed. Most days we arrived at our destination around sunset, which meant that we could not take advantage of the amenities there and while the itinerary listed several opportunities to go on night safaris, none was ever offered. That was very disappointing. Having some long travel days between parks was expected but most days began at 6 or 6:30AM and driving ended at 5:30PM or later. This same trip, if done over 17 or 18 days would allow for shorter driving stretches and more time to enjoy the sights. I also think the itinerary that is sent out needs updating. It is very generic and does not reflect the time of year. Having said all this, if you are budget minded, I would recommend this trip, but be prepared for frustrations in Zimbabwe, a beautiful country in decay and corruption.

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86. Re: sunway safaris

Hi

I went to Botswana with Sunway and it was great!

Great value for the price! the guides are 2 people so you have a far better personalized experience and can ask lots of questions. They do different tours with Sunway so I am sure it gives them more variety and so they won't get bored, LOL.

I would recommend them to anyone going to South Africa, or the other places they travel.

Neil

cjd
Townville, South...
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87. Re: sunway safaris

I just returned from the 16 day Sunway Accommodated Game Tracker - South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bostwana. Here are my notes. Overall a good experience.

The first 4 days of the trip, it seemed we were on a safari with a group of 24 and not twelve as there was another group of twelve that we were always with. We would even stop along the road and wait for them to catch up. We would wait at rest stops, groceries, etc... Moving two groups is much slower than moving one group.

We were on the tour for a week before we found out the truck had steps to get in and out.

We only had one guide and one trainee that could not do briefings nor drive.

We ate most of our meals standing up as they would not get out the chairs unless we were going to be there two days.

They skipped lunch twice even though it was on the schedule.

The rushed us up at 5am so we could be on the road by 6am, but when we got to our destination at noon, we were on our own the rest of the day with nothing to do. Crocodile camp in Bostwana.

Here are my overall trip notes:

Sept 13th: Met the tour group at 6:30am and received our briefing. Road in our big red truck all day. Took about 6 hours to get to Kruger National Park and then another 3 to our camp - Letaba. Nice tented camp with bath houses. Along the way in the park we saw Impala, African Fish Eagles, a few Hippo, Cape buffalo, Giraffes, 2 Lions, a great Cheetah, Elephants and Antelope. Group of 12 people - 4 Germans and 6 Aussies. Guides are Chris from Zimbabwe and Waulker from Netherlands.

Sept 14th: Road through the park for most of the day. Saw lots of Antelope, Zebras, Giraffes and Elephants. Lots of lower brush and scrub trees. A few others animals – Water Buck, Water Buffalo, Round Hornbills, Wildebeest, Jackal, Wart hogs and Kudu’s. Stayed at another camp in the park with ensuite facilities – Punda Maria.

Sept 15th: Road out of the park onto Zimbabwe via the Beit Bridge border crossing. 1.5 hours to cross border which was very good per the guides. On the way out of the park saw, Crocodiles, Elephants, Hyrax (rodent), Zebras, Impalas, Antelope, Wildebeest, Eland (largest antelope), Sringbocks (very small antelopes) and Cape buffalo. Stayed at a hotel – Great Zimbabwe.

Sept 16th: Got up and had a 2 ½ hour walk around the Great Zimbabwe Ruins before breakfast at 9:15am. OK stone brick ruins and some monkeys. Then road to visit a local village and then onto our lodge near the Matobo National Park. At the lodge walked up the hill for sunset. Great scenery. – no lunch.

Sept 17th: After breakfast we had an open air tour of Matobo Park where we took a walk to find Rhinos and found 8 White Rhinos. We were able to walk within 75 feet of the Rhinos. We then visited the World's View site (beautiful views, large rocks, etc..), where the colonial settler Cecil John Rhodes' is buried (what Rhodesia was named after – previous name of Zimbabwe). We then went to see ancient rock art by the semi-nomadic San Bushmen (14,000 years old and surprisingly very good). We then proceeded North to Hwange National Park and checked into our chalets just outside of the park.

Sept 18th: After breakfast we had a full day game drive in the park. Lots of Elephants, some Cape Buffalo, a few Zebras, Giraffes and Antelope (Impalas, Springbock, Kudu, a Sable with large sweeping horns). Also saw a Wildabeast, some Water bucks, Warthogs, some Ostrich, Guinea Fowl, a Jackal, Cortney Bastards (heaviest flying bird), Secretary bird, Crocodiles and a Marshall Eagle, No cats.

Sept 19th: After breakfast started toward Victoria Falls. Stopped along the way at a Wild Dog sanctuary - just ok. Saw a recent kill from a Lion of a Zebra (very cool). Arrived Victoria Falls and had lunch, checked into hotel and then went to the falls (Excellent!), Also saw the Giant Tree and some Bush Buck near the falls. Had a buffet African dinner at the hotel which was poor and quite expensive.

Sept 20th: Free day. Walked around Hotel Victoria (very old hotel, nice, good gardens, good views of bridge and mist/smoke of falls), past the falls to the bridge and around town. Relaxed. Shopped (two stone carvings, copper bracelets, hat and earrings).

Sept 21st: Road to Botswana. Easy border crossing. Guide got caught taking raw meat across border and bribed his way out with the meat for $2.50 (20 Pula) after some delay. Took a sunset cruise on the Chobe River. Saw lots of Elephants including about 250 crossing from one side to the island, Hippos and Crocodiles in and out of the water, Cape buffalo, Impala, Kudus, Water Bucks, Rone Antelope, stripped Mongoose, Molotor Lizard and lots of birds. Very nice!

Sept 22nd: Got up early and had a morning game drive in Chobe National Park. Saw lots of Elephants, some Giraffes, Zebras, Stripped Mongoose, a small herd of Sable Antelope, a 10 member pride of Lions, a great Leopard, lots of Impala, Wildebeest, a couple of Fish Eagles, Baboons, Guinea Fowl and Kudu. Then rode to Nata for a relaxing afternoon. Saw some Giraffes, Elephants, Antelope and Warthogs along the way.

Sept 23rd: Had an early breakfast and then rode to Maun. Saw some Elephants, Antelope and Ostrich along the way. Got to our Chalets along the Thamalakane River, on the outskirts of Maun and had lunch. Rest of the day free to relax.

Sept 24th: After breakfast we took a 45 minute drive through back country to the Okavango Delta. Here we waited an hour and 15 minutes while they loaded the mokoro canoes (fake wooden canoes made of fiberglass). We then went for an hour ride via poler (guy standing at the back of the canoe with a long wooden pole) to our camp site. We set up camp and had lunch and then waited around for 5 hours. Learned a new card game from Australia called up and down the river. At 5pm we went for a short canoe ride to another island and an hour walk before returning to camp. Saw some birds and a Zebra that had been killed by Lions about 3 days before. During the canoe ride we saw very small frogs on the water reeds. Very cool.

Sept 25th: Got up at 5am and had tea before heading out at 6am for a short canoe ride to another island and then a 3 hour walk where we saw Litry Antelope, regular Antelope, Zebra (from 100 yards away), Elephants (from 100 yards away), Birds (Jesus bird – walks on water, Fish Eagle, Watled Cranes and more), a Wildebeest and a couple of Warthogs. We got back to camp at 10am and had breakfast and then went for a swim in the delta. At 5pm we went out on a canoe trip to the Hippo pool and saw 6 Hippos (2 from only about 50 feet). Good sunset.

General: The stars in the delta are amazing. At 3am, the stars were incredible!

Sept 26th: Got up and had tea and then went for a walk for an hour and ½ near our campsite. Packed up and took an hour ride in the canoes back to the truck and back to our chalets. At 3pm we went into Maun for an hour to shop and see town (not much to see).

Sept 27th: After breakfast we headed toward Khama Rhino Sanctuary through the Kalahari Desert. Stopped a couple of times for a stretch break and got to the camp about 2pm. Had lunch at 2:30. At 3:30 we went on a game drive for 3 hours. Saw Zebra, Warthogs, Rinos (7), Impalla and Springbok.

Sept 28th: Road back to Johannesburg airport. End of tour. Got our rental car. Went to our guest house and then out to dinner and the grocery for supplies.

Tour general: Had some issues with communication (for the following day – did not always follow the published itinerary. The meals were acceptable (usually bread and jam for breakfast, cold meat sandwiches for lunch and some type of stew or stir fry for dinner). The truck was good and comfortable (no AC). The other guests were generally on time which was good. Only one guide could drive and was experienced. The other was quite new – a trainee. A couple of times we really hurried in the morning for no purpose as we had all afternoon with nothing to do. One was to get to a place with no AC and a dirty swimming pool.

Gold Coast...
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for Kruger National Park
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88. Re: sunway safaris

Hello

Thanks for posting your experience.

Sounds like there was a few ups and downs doing this type of trip however most importantly you got to see lots of wildlife, which is great

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89. Re: sunway safaris

There awesome. You get 2 guides for the price of one, rather than a guide and driver. There prices for the quality of service is great, I have not done this particular tour but they say Kruger is great and Cape Town is one of the great cities one has to visit.

I hope you have fun and all goes well

Johannesburg, South...
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90. Re: sunway safaris

Hi Jim, thank you for your feedback. We received your same response via email and our Director Shaun responded on 16Oct14. I have inserted Shaun's email response to you.

Dear Jim,

Thank you for your comprehensive feedback. Always good to get direct feedback from the the tours.

We take this feedback very seriously in order to make sure the standards are kept up and for training purposes, as well as to pass on congratulations and constructive criticism for the good points or bad points to the guides for the hard work they do. It also helps to make sure the other service providers, venues and accommodation establishments we use are up to scratch.

Guides: Chris Z and Wouter were your guides for your tour. Wouter is fairly new with our company and as such is still learning the ropes. However Chris Z has been with Sunway Safaris since many years think he started in 2006 / 2007. You are correct, Wouter does not have the correct licenses to drive nor the experience driving our Safari Trucks yet, Chris Z is experienced and does. Wouter had done the exact same itinerary two weeks previous to your departure, with Chris Z as his fellow guides so he might have fallen into the trap of relying on the more experienced Chris to do briefings etc. I will take this up with Wouter when he is in the office after his next tour.

When we have two departures that are travelling close together we always encourage the guides to remain independent of each other. So although you will see the other tour at various lunch, garage stops, and various overnight camps that it is better for the trips not to waste time waiting for each other or doing shopping together. Meals, briefings, activities, game drives should be separate. I will be taking Chris to task for this and encouraging him to follow tour protocol more closely.

The trucks do all have steps, again Chris should have "introduced" you to the truck on the first day, and most of the guides have the steps out on the first morning at the departure meeting. I will chat to Chris about this.

We operate participation tours and as such require a bit of help around the camps to set up meals etc. So we generally ask for some help to get the tables and chairs out, and to set up meal times. There is really no reason to have your meals standing up as the chairs and tables are easily accessible.

I am apologise for the itinerary skipped lunch twice, once was after your walk around the Great Zimbabwe monuments, however I don't think you listed the second lunch that was missed. I trust on these occasions that there was fresh fruit in the basket in the vehicle in case you became peckish. Again this is not an excuse and I will be bringing it up with Chris when I see him again. As well as I will have a look at their timing sheet to make sure they are following the plan with regards time at certain places.

From your daily comments below it sounds like you had a wonderful experience packed with interesting sitings. Lots of wildlife in Kruger, Matobos, Hwange, Chobe and the Okavango Delta. You are quite correct the stars in the Okavango Delta at night are an amazing sight. Walking, getting close and seeing the rare antelope in the Okavango Delta with Elephants only 100m away creates memories that last a lifetime. Seeing so many Rhino on a tour is very special as there is such pressure on the conservation of them from the poaching problems we have. Seeing the big game on tour of Lions Leopards Buffalo Rhino and Elephant, can sometimes be surpassed by the beautiful birdlife in the Okavango, the frogs, flowers and wonderful sunsets.

All in all I do apologise about the few operational issues you encountered on the tour with the chairs and stairs of the truck and the lunches, I trust that this will not tarnish your views of the beautiful countires you visited or the amazing wildlife you listed below.

I will definitely take up your points with Chris and Wouter on their return to the office so that we can improve the standard of the tour.

We appreciate your custom and I look forward to seeing you on tour again someday. There is lots still to see in Southern Africa.

Kind regards

Shaun

Sunway Safaris