We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

northern NJ
Level Contributor
181 posts
166 reviews
Save Topic
Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

BEWARE ANYONE THINKING OF BOOKING WITH NEO DESTINATIONS.

We had an amazing safari a year ago in Kenya and Tanzania and Neo Destinations was our operator. We had a wonderful time and were generally satisfied with Neo.

A year later I recommended this safari to close friends of mine and they replicated the same safari in both countries with his family using Neo.

They just returned and I was shocked and dismayed to learn Naphtally (aka Larry) did not make any arrangements for them in Tanzania, provided them with fraudulent camp and airline vouchers and essentially stole a large amount of money from them. They were stranded in Kilimanjaro airport with no one to meet them, all the Tanzania camps had not been paid, and they had to rebook and pay again for the Tanzania portion, on a different itinerary due to the original camps being full. On their return to Nairobi Naphtally absconded. The Kenyan authorities should shut down Neo immediately.

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
6,703 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

ARK1 I am really sorry your friends had a "bad" safari.

There have been many bad reports over the years about Neo Destinations and even false posts and comments.

I would never recommend a person travel to Tanzania without a Tanzanian owned company with the owner actually living in Arusha nor would I ever suggest a person use a Kenyan Company for a Tanzanian safari especially now when you must change guides and vehicles at the border.

On another post we were talking and discussion payment and if should you keep 1/3 back to pay on arrival- The above would be minimised if this was the practice.

Things do go wrong on safari but the above experience is not accecptable.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

This should be reported to the Tanzania Tourist Board at once. If there are Kenyan operators doing this they should have their licenses revoked and not be allowed to operate in Tanzania, and if there are Tanzanian operators doing this they should have their licenses revoked also.

This company advertises that they have an Arusha office, or is it a briefcase office.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
36,624 posts
342 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

Sorry to say this is not unusual for this outfit. There are numerous posts on the Kenya forum, including now I believe one from your friends who learned the hard way that this man is not to be trusted.

Glad you have posted on TZ Forum too as this will hopefully warn others.

South Africa
Level Contributor
1,575 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

Very sad to hear this. I remember your positive trip report from last year, which was a great review for Neo. In Southern Africa we have an organisation called SATSA which most credible operators belong to and gives travellers a certain amount of reassurance regarding the reliability and credibility of the operator. SATSA membership includes bonding insurance, which means you would be refunded if the company defaults or closes down after you have already paid for your trip. Isn't there a similar organisation in east Africa?

nyc
Level Contributor
14,424 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

Unfortunately Kenya's /KATO and Tanzania's /TATO don't operate as does SATSA. These are simply voluntary membership organizations. And many very reputable companies don't belong to either and don't mess-up client safaris as did Neo.

Nairobi
2 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

KATO wishes to respond to the some comments posted in this forum.

Association membership is mainly about one wanting to identify themselves as a credible outfit and pledging to abide by defined rules. A problem however arises in that many travellers do not usually check either the association membership status or tourism license of the service providers they are engaging. Over 90% of all serious service complaints emanate from unlicensed companies who are very difficult to trace after the problems arise.

A key benefit of using KATO members is that all our members are vetted and verified to be legitimate, licensed entities and must be recommended by two existing members. We also have a very strict Code of Conduct (http://www.katokenya.org/section.asp?ID=5) which is enforced by the Ethics and Standards Sub-Committee. Where a member is found to have erred, the Ethics Committee recommends binding measures to redress the situation.

We highly recommend that visitors endeavour to make safari bookings with a member of a reputable tourism Association. However, in the event that one still wishes to use a non-member, ask for a scanned copy of their tourism license and request the Association to verity this for you.

South Africa
Level Contributor
1,575 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

Thanks KATO, no mention about NEO Destinations, can you confirm if they are or were a member? If so, what steps will KATO take?

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
36,624 posts
342 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

There is no protection against outright fraud. Neo's website boasts of IATA membership. IATA has never heard of them.

It is up to the Kenyan and Tanzanian tourist authorities to shut down these scammers or risk the ensuing damage to their fragile tourist industries.

Thanks for the response KATO. I commend the similar posts on Kenyan forum to your attention.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

TATO is a Chamber of Commerce kind of thing for the touring business in Tanzania. Those who wish can join, and I'm not certain if they do any vetting of their membership or not. They seem to be the kind of organization who if you have money to give them they will take it.

I have spoken to the director about offering a benefit to their membership in the form of a guarantee to clients that they won't be taken in by one of their members such as making certain they will show up when you contract with them, or that your deposit will not be lost; and using some insurance company to underwrite this. I didn't get anywhere, he was more interested in telling me of all the political leaders he was friends with and had recently made presentations to. Didn't settle well with me, as that kind of activity only leads to corruption there. I also tried unsuccessfully to get them to apprehend a person who was feigning a safari company there and I had him all set up to be at a certain place to get my deposit; all the Director had to do was to go with the police and a person I had hired to meet this person who was expecting the deposit payment from me. The director said he had too many meetings to attend that he couldn't do this at the required time. I told him that I didn't know what kind of meetings he had scheduled, but nothing was more important to the safari business there then to keep it honest and flush out those who weren't. This set up fell apart and I thought if they weren't interested in assisting their own tourist business, why should I invest more money in a lost cause.

I wouldn't trust TATO as anything other then a group which does lobbying efforts to the government for the touring business in Tz.

Edited: 15 July 2011, 13:35
nyc
Level Contributor
14,424 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Neo DEstinations- Operator Fraud- Beware

KATONairobi - Thanks for your response and I was glad to see when checking your Membership Listing that Neo Destinations isn't listed, if they ever were.

Thanks also for your clarification of how your organization and membership works, the vetting process and follow-up as regards "issues" with some of these do then arise. Do forgive my inclusion of you in my earlier comments.

Guess TATO has something to learn and a ways to go in order to provide more concrete details and support for those wishing to travel to Tanzania.

Get answers to your questions about Serengeti National Park