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African Big Five Safari's

Denver, Colorado
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23 posts
47 reviews
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African Big Five Safari's

Has anyone used African Big Five Safari's? http://www.africanbigfivesafaris.com/

I don't see any reviews for this company on TA and am considering using them for an upcoming safari. They are very competitively priced. Thanks!

HEREDIA
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1 post
3 reviews
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1. Re: African Big Five Safari's

i am also considering using them but have found little in ways of reviews - have you found anything more-?

Denver, Colorado
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23 posts
47 reviews
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2. Re: African Big Five Safari's

We're starting a 10-day safari with them tomorrow. I will share details. We were given several names to contact as references and all came back very positive and some even had the same concerns. All in all they have been great to work with and affordable. I'll post more once we have completed the adventure.

3. Re: African Big Five Safari's

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Denver, Colorado
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23 posts
47 reviews
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4. Re: African Big Five Safari's

Here is my trip report for our 10-day safari with African Big Five Safaris. Do not hesitate to use them! Everything was great, including our driver/guide, Edmund. If you use them, I highly suggest requesting Edmund as your guide. ourtravelmenu.com/1/post/2014/02/african-saf…

Forest Hills, New...
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5. Re: African Big Five Safari's

My wife and I just returned from a five-day trip with African Big Five Safaris. We traveled to Kidepo National Park, the South Sudan border, Murchison Falls, and the Zwa Rhino Sanctuary. I was referred to them by a friend and found their price to be reasonable. Overall, we were pleased with this tour company on a number of levels. First, Geoffrey, the owner of the tour company, was extremely responsive to my questions and concerns about our trip. Several days before the trip, we decided that we wanted to visit the Karamojong tribe near Kidepo and visit the South Sudan border, so I contacted Geoffrey to see if he could rearrange our itinerary to accommodate this last-minute request. Within several hours, Geoffrey had sent us a revised itinerary accommodating these new destinations while reducing the number of game drives (which was fine with us).

Second, Abdul, our guide for the five days, was a cheerful, friendly, and knowledgeable person--always eager to help us and answer our questions. He was always on time to pick us up in the mornings for our daily excursions. He was sometimes too punctual: we wanted to linger a little while longer at Murchison Falls, but Abdul said we had to make the last ferry across the Nile. We got to the ferry a half hour early. My wife also felt he drove a little too fast for her taste, but I did not share her concern.

Third, although Geoffrey does not take credit cards for payment (a major pain), he was flexible with alternative payment methods. Given everything that we did, the price was quite reasonable.

The accommodations were somewhat inconsistent: for the first night, we stayed at the Bomah Hotel Kitgum, which was a dump. I'm not sure why this tour company used this hotel, but if Geoffrey includes it in your itinerary, tell him to find you a different hotel. Dinner took over an hour for the food to be served. The room was dimly lit and not very clean, and the mosquitoes were quite aggressive. The second night, we stayed at a game lodge, Ngu' Mora Wilderness Camp. What a beautiful place! Our stay at Ngu' was as idyllic as our stay at Bomah Kitgum was awful. The room was enormous! Although the room had no electricity, the staff provided portable lights in the room. Dinner and breakfast were also excellent. The third night, we stayed at the Bomah Hotel Gulu (no relation to the Bomah Hotel Kitgum). This hotel was truly outstanding, reminding us of a nice Hampton Inn at home in the US. We took our first elevator ride in this hotel since leaving the US. Our best meal of our five-day trip was the evening buffet at the Bomah Gulu. Breakfast was also delicious. We spent our final night at the Fort Murchison Lodge, also a primitively luxurious facility that lives up to that oxymoron with a large, well-appointed room and balcony and an equally delicious dinner and breakfast. For lunch on the last day, we ate at the Paraa Safari Lodge, which was included in our overall safari fee but quite expensive if we were not with a tour company (for example, a milk shake on the menu cost $8 US). The lunch was adequate, but I would not recommend staying there if the high cost of the menu items is any indication of the room prices. I should also mention that before reaching the Bomah Hotel Kitgum on the first day, we stopped for lunch at the Gulu Churchill Courts Hotel in Gulu. We waited for over an hour just for our salads! The staff there were also quite unfriendly and did not seem to understand why we might question the delay with our food. Avoid this place!

I also want to review what we did on this trip. We visited the Karamojong tribe, went on a couple of game drives, visited the South Sudan border and saw the hot springs there, took a boat ride and hiked to Murchison Falls on the Nile, and visited the Zwa Rhino Sanctuary. All these experiences were well worth the effort, especially visiting the Karamojong tribe. These people live in thatched-roof mud huts and raise cattle, sheep, and goats to make a living. For a donation, Raphael Ojok, a guide from one of the villages, took us around his village. We even met the chief of this village and were able to look inside his hut. The women did a traditional dance for us and showed us their artwork (for sale, of course). We were allowed to take as many pictures as we wanted. We found Raphael, the chief, and the entire village to be warm and inviting. I got the impression that they were accustomed to visitors but not so accustomed as to be disillusioned or bored by our presence. We also went on two game drives in Kidepo. I actually was not that impressed, having also been to Kruger in South Africa and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. We saw two lions, a lot of giraffes, water buffalo, and various species of antelope and birds, but no cheetahs or leopards. We learned that there are only 15 cheetahs and 15 leopards in the entire park, so that was disappointing.

The other highlight was the boat ride and hike to Murchison Falls. The sheer power of the water crashing against the rocks on both sides inspired a feeling of awe. Bring your camera! As I mentioned earlier, I wish we had been able to linger at the top.

Visiting South Sudan was personally satisfying for us even though others might think it was boring. We were able to cross over into South Sudan before the official border crossing, so we can say we were in South Sudan even though our passports do not reflect this fact. There are some hot springs near the border that we also found interesting.

The Zwa Rhino Sanctuary allowed us to track and photograph wild rhinos on foot (accompanied by a guide). Seeing and photographing wild animals, particularly rhinos, is not something you will get to do on other game drives--in Uganda or elsewhere--so it was quite exhilarating to see them from 50 meters away without any barriers. Some might say we were mad, but I felt safe the entire time. For their part, the rhinos just seemed not to care about us humans.

Overall, the African Big Five Safari trip to Kidepo National Park, the South Sudan border, Murchison Falls, and the Zwa Rhino Sanctuary exceeded our expectations. Just be aware that we were responsible for paying for all our drinks at most locations (not mentioned in the itinerary). This trip satisfied our thirst for adventure without destroying our wallets.

Toronto
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2 posts
21 reviews
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6. Re: African Big Five Safari's

Hi Geoff,

First of all, we thank you very much for choosing African Big Five Safaris. It was a big honour having you and your wife as our guest.

We also thank you very much for reviewing us in this great forum and also in our review form which we give to all our guests. Both reviews have been very valuable to us. We are a much better company today because of people like you who spend their valuable time pointing out what is good and what did not please them. We shall always strive to improve on what our guests find wanting and where they feel we have performed well, we promise that we shall do even better.

I am happy to let you know that we have added a visit to the Karimojong tribe in our itinerary to Kidepo national Park as recommended by you and it is becoming very popular.

Regarding your stay in Bomah Hotel Kitgum, we are very sorry about the bad experience and we have brought it to the attention of the hotel management. We shall not book any of our guests until the hotel is renovated and they prove to us that it is up to our perfect standards. We have already made cancellations at this hotel including one for your friend.

We also regret to learn that your guide Abdul drove a bit too fast for your wife’s liking. We have taken the time to speak with Abdul and have requested that he slows down for our guests if they feel uncomfortable with the speed limits. He will now ask all of our future clients if they are comfortable with the speed and this goes for all of our guides as well. Also, periodic short courses about client satisfaction have been arranged for our guides. Indeed Abdul has undergone one. :) We know there is not much to do with our “African Massage” roads but we can certainly address our clients request to slow down and spend more time at certain areas which they wish to experience more of such as at the top of Murchison Falls.

In regards to the payment, we do accept Mastercard and VISA via PesaPal which is a secure online payment system which provides instant confirmation and notification to our clients. All details are secured with bank grade security and processes to ensure payments are immediate and safe.

Thank you again Geoff! It was a pleasure hosting you and your wife in Uganda and we hope your memories last a lifetime! It would be an honour to host you and your wife again in the near future!

Sincerely,

Nicole and the African Big Five Safari team!

London, United...
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4 posts
8 reviews
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7. Re: African Big Five Safari's

Hi ANDITODEHEREDIA, did you end up using this tour company? How were they?

Thanks,

Denver, Colorado
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23 posts
47 reviews
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8. Re: African Big Five Safari's

If you have any doubt, check my blog link ourtravelmenu.com/1/post/2014/02/african-saf… I had the same hesitations you did, which is why I started this thread. All the staff were amazing and we had a trip of a lifetime. We chose them because their price was very competitive and we liked their itinerary. They also sent us people to contact who had used them and sent us glowing reviews, which also helped solidify our decision. You can PM me if you have specific questions.

Karlsruhe, Germany
2 posts
2 reviews
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9. Re: African Big Five Safari's

Just traveled with African Big Five Safaris ( August 2014). I booked budget and my expectations were topped.

The accomodations were more than budget, the driver was nice, the management showed up in the beginning, the route was flexible and the price included everything. Book the tour and if you can ask for a driver, ask for Edmund. Nice guy.

W.G.

London, United...
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4 posts
8 reviews
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10. Re: African Big Five Safari's

Just thought is follow up after our initial query on the forum - thanks to those who had posted previously! We are so glad we went with African Big Five Safaris - they are simply outstanding.

We (my wife and I - aged 29) had a fantastic two week trip with AB5 in Uganda. From the moment we contacted them they were incredibly professional, very quick to respond to our emails and organised a great trip for us. Their prices were really fair as well - I got several quotes from other companies in Uganda and the UK and AB5 offered a great value trip. I couldn't recommend them highly enough for a trip in Uganda.

We had doubts about what parts of Uganda to visit, due to safety concerns and changing our minds on what parts of Uganda we wanted to visit, but Geoffrey and Maria advised us about different attractions and allowed us to change our trip itinerary right up to the last minute with no problems.

Our guide, David was really great. He was friendly, smiley, knowledgable and seemed to know everyone in Uganda! His driving was excellent in the face of some very (v muddy and bumpy) difficult roads. He drove at a sensible speed, used a hands free headset when he needed to use his mobile phone and got us safely across Uganda. He dealt with paying all national park fees, hotels, permits and really took the stress out of trip whilst we were there.

AB5 is a great family run business - they are genuinely the most caring company I have come across. I unfortunately picked up a bug for a couple of days. Geoffrey called from the AB5 office multiple times to check with me or our guide David and lodges we were staying at that I was ok / getting better and to check if I needed a doctor. This helped put any concerns I had at ease knowing that Geoffrey/AB5 would help us with medical care if I needed it - fortunately I didn't as it turned out to just be a short 24 hr tummy bug!

Geoffrey and Maria met us at our hotel on our first evening in Kampala, with a giant basic of fresh fruit for our trip (I don't know if this is standard or just when you book a long / certain standard of trip - but it was a really great touch!) and a local mobile phone for us to have in case our UK mobiles didn't work. They again came to the airport to see us off two weeks later at the end of our trip and presented us with a great picture by which to remember our trip.

Some practical information:

- We had a very comfortable 4x4 land cruiser which had a roof that opened up for safaris (also it had perfectly working seatbelts)

- our vehicle had a fridge with cold soft drinks and water for the journeys - we never ran out of cold water at all

-AB5 booked all Accomodation and our Gorilla tracking permits

- we were able to pay half (deposit) using a credit card via Pesapal (African payment system similar to PayPal in UK) and then paid half in cash when we arrived.

Overall a great trip, with a great company, organised by great people. Keep up the great work AB5!

Our itinerary:

Ziwa Rhino sanctuary

Murchison Falls NP

Kazinga Channel

Queen Elizabeth NP

Bwindi impenetrable forest gorilla tracking

Mt sabinyo mountain hike

Edirisa 3 day canoe trekking on Lake Buyonyi

Lake Mburo NP

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