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Our experience with Access2Tanzania

Houston, Texas
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3 posts
22 reviews
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Our experience with Access2Tanzania

Given the number of positive postings on Access2Tanzania, we booked our trip with Karen and her team. We wanted to share our experience as we were vastly dissappointed.

1) We used one of her private guides which not only had a very sour attittude, but paled in comparison to the guides we worked with when at our tented lodge in Northern Serengeti. He was not able to spot animals (we spotted more animals for him than he did!) and spent his entire time talking to people in other cars. He was extremely lazy and felt that his only job was to drive through the park and had nothing to do with making sure our accomodations were set/ luggage was taken care of / lunch was ready and available. We were actually forced to pay two swindlers who took our bags from us in order to get the bags back because our guide was too busy chatting to notice our bags were getting taken by strangers. On top of this, he threw a huge fit and drove like a maniac because he was unhappy that we did not want to safari any more. Completly unprofessional and really angered us as we were still forced to tip him.

2) Karen, while very nice and responsive, is great for cookie cutter trips but not for specific itineraries. We had requested a safari where we could do more than just sit in a car - we wanted to do walking safaris and she promised the camps she suggested for us could do that. We specifically booked with her because she said she had found us places that would include walking safaris. We found out literally 10 min after we arrived at out first camp that there was no chance we could do a walking tour and that was a general understanding for anyone in the Serengeti Park. We also found out there was a specific area in Grumeti that catered to walking safaris / horse back riding etc and that was not an option that Karen had ever mentioned to us but it was well known to everyone at the camp. In fact, a number of the other residents we met did go to Grumeti and greatly enjoyed their time there.

We spent alot of money on this trip and really was just very dissappointed with what was promised vs. what was delivered. Sure the lodges we stayed at were nice, but we paid alot of money for a specific itinerary and having been there now, the itinerary I would have proposed as an agent would be vastly different than the one we ended up with.

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2,510 posts
95 reviews
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1. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania


Sorry to hear this, as you said they do get great reviews. Has Karen responded to your concerns as yet?

Who was the guide? and why were you forced to tip him?

Anchorage, Alaska
1 post
1 review
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2. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

I had to reply right away when I saw this message. Our experience with Access2Tanzania in late July/early August 2011 was entirely different.. Simply put , it was a fantastic experience, and we had not a single glitch nor miscommunication with Karen nor with the Tanzanian staff. My husband, our 14 -year-old daughter, and my husband's 88-year-old mother, spent 2 full weeks with our driver Maningo. Maningo was the consummate professional. A highly skilled and safe driver and a wonderful wildlife guide and spotter, Maningo was always cheerful, helpful and flexible in dealing with our diverse interests. We would not hesitate to recommend this organization for your trip of a lifetime.

Los Altos Hills, CA
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790 posts
77 reviews
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3. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing trip. Do you mind posting your itinerary?

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1,605 posts
1,064 reviews
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4. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

I'm sorry to hear that your experience did not meet or exceed your expectations. We used A2T last summer with Said as our guide and the experience was great. The excursions ie: canoeing, walks and biking were disappointing, but the actual safari and guide excellent. It's too bad that when you discovered the guide was not to your liking that a change could have been made and the remainder of the trip salvaged. Too bad.

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88 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

Sorry your trip wasn't what you expected. I found Access2Tanzania in the planning stages not as aware of what I wanted as other operators.

Edited: 26 August 2011, 03:49
Saint Paul...
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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1,826 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

I am so very sorry (and deeply saddened) to hear of your poor experience. Please contact me directly so that I can try to make this right for you.

Edited: 26 August 2011, 03:59
Isle of Man, United...
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37,436 posts
360 reviews
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7. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

I think more details are required here. Nobody is 'forced' to tip anybody be this the alleged swindlers with your luggage or your alleged manic driver. A tip is for service over and above the normal as a thank you. It is NOT obligatory.

Why did you not wish to Safari anymore? Please explain.

I have no vested interest in Access having never used them for my actual trips. However I have always found them excellent at providing the service I requested. Indeed on my last trip Karen went over and above what was needed in suggesting agreeable and better alternatives to what I (as a reasonably experienced traveller to Tanzania) had originally thought was a good itinerary.

In the end I placed the business, reluctantly, with another operator out of loyalty to him but Access and Karen came a very close 2nd on my shortlist of 6.

If you had concerns, surely the place and time was as they happened and not to come on here when it is too late?

Edited: 26 August 2011, 09:56
Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,484 posts
8 reviews
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8. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

Everyone going on a safari should have the telephone number of the local managing director of the safari company with them when they go on safari. When something like this happens then they should telephone the managing director and insist that they either straighten out the guide or replace him the next morning.

No one is ever forced to tip anyone. If someone tells you that you must tip them (this goes for everyone except for porters on Kilimanjaro) tell them to buzz off. The tip should never be provided until they leave you off at your hotel in Arusha or where ever the safari has it's end of service. Doing this you can't be held hostage for the tip, and if it is suggested before this then you should tell them that you will settle up with them at the end of service.

Contact Brian and see if something can't be worked out.

Edited: 26 August 2011, 11:49
9. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania

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Destination Expert
for Tanzania
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10. Re: Our experience with Access2Tanzania


I find your trip report interesting. Thanks for your honest comments. In particular I like "cookie cutter itinerary" I havent heard that term before.

However without siding with the operator very popular on this forum and a destination expert. I would like to ask you the following.

You must have known very early on that the guide wasn't going to work for you. Did you try and change him by a simple phone call? Guides can make and or break a trip. If the guide is not working for you the easiest way out is to get another fast.

Now generally speaking:

In July and August the safari season is probably at its busiest- companies can easily get caught out with last minute bookings. Or bookings at lodges that were confirmed and then suddenly not. Or a lodge chain can "bump" a tourist off because of over bookings.

What if your chosen company has 8 really fantastic guides and at the last minute, he falls ill and a replacement needs to be found- Do you cxd the trip as an operator or go ahead with a not so good replacement.

When I was working in the tourism industry in Tanzania a knew of a couple who had lost their luggage, KLM, they didnt get it for 5 days. This caused all sorts ot hassles, honeymoon, no dinner clothes to change into, the new bride couldn't look her best. etc etc. A simple thing like lost luggage then caused issues with the guide, he got upset and the whole safari was a mess.

As an aside another example:

What if an elephant "thrashes" a camp for example in the late afternoon, is it the operators fault. It did happen to me- "your cook should've know better and your guide should've been more experienced. You knew elephants were there you should have told them to put the tents in another less dangerous spot. I was in Arusha and they were in the Selous. As the manager I was responsible however.

With these two examples are the operators at fault. No.

People are human as are operators. When you have a really costly item-safari and a really popular operator you can have unreal expectations. Things go wrong on safari. Lets not gloss over that.

Be prepared for it and don't let it spoil your holiday.

For the original poster I would say. Before you did post your comments with the obvious intention of harming and hitting out ,have you contacted Brian or Karen. Did you contact them in Tanzania when you realised things were not going as planned. Did you contact them after the trip and express your concerns in Arusha before you flew out.

A report like yours to me should be a last resort after you have tried to sort out the issues you have with the company, failed then post it on an open forum.

Wego I am not saying you don't have a right to post your opinions you do and thanks for that

I always believe there are two sides to every bad post. But I have said before on this forum If you live by the sword then you can also die by it.