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Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Gillingham, United...
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Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

A word of warning about Suntrek Safaris, who operate from the Safari Centre, Waiyaki Way,P.O. Box 48146, Nairobi, K E N Y A. Web site is http://www.safari-kenya.com

Earlier this year we booked a ten day August 2011visit to the Masai Mara with this company. There were four of us in the group and our primary aim was to try and photograph the Wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River. A member of our party had used Suntrek the previous year for a family safari and found them satisfactory. A secondary aim was to photograph birds. With this in mind we specifically requested two camps, one to be near to the Mara River, a driver with good knowledge of birds and with a driver/vehicle which would be available for full day game drives. All these were promised and upon confirmation a deposit of 50% was paid to Suntrek and International flights booked in the UK. Months later we were told that the camp near to the Mara River was not available- never had been- and we were offered alternative accommodation miles away from the river and next door to our first camp. Having paid the deposit and booked flights we had no alternative but to accept the situation.

The driver/guide Lawrence turned out to be an elderly man who had no intention of spending all day on safari, had no interest in birds, had poor eyesight and little interest in most wildlife saying that he had seen it all before. He said that his favourite activity on safari was “sleeping”. Luckily the four of us have been on safari many times and were able to spot wildlife for ourselves. The ten days was fraught with confrontation and Lawrence went out of his way to be as difficult as he could be. We missed several crossings solely due to him deliberately taking a longer route or just driving very slowly. Following our return to Nairobi, the same driver failed to pick us up from the hotel for our International flight.

Complaints were made to Patricia in the office (she had handled our booking from the outset) when on safari and we followed this up when we returned to the UK. Apart from one quick acknowledgement from the owner, a Mr Lakhani, who promised to investigate the matter, we have heard nothing more from the company.

I would strongly advise to take care if you are booking a safari with this company. You may not get what you expect.

Nairobi, Kenya
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1. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Sorry to hear of your experiences. I look forward to hearing the company's response; they have a superb and long-standing reputation here in Kenya so I would imagine this is a one-off.

Please update us when you hear from them.

410

London, United...
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2. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Peter,

I too sympathize with your plight and obvious frustration in the lack of response. As the company is a member of KATO, you can complain directly to them, in fact I encourage you to. Read this thread

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294206-i9216-k4…

I too would love an update in time.

GJ

Oakland, CA
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3. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Suntrek gets very good reviews here and on Fodors, although nothing as Peter's. Even WORSE when you have seen reviews, had a personal recommendation, and thus been expecting a good experience!

Sounds like Lawrence is getting old. Here's a 9 yr old review from Lonely Planet:

"We used Suntrek Safari's in 2002 & they were amazing.

"Our Travelogue is at -- http://travel.masterpiece-cs.com/

"Lawrence was our driver/guide and if possible try to get him.

Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Bad luck Peter. It should not happen. Sadly it does from time to time. Only once in many Safaris have I been lumbered with a duff guide. A bit of a sleeper too. Quick phone call to HQ and he went home and we got somebody else. No need to put up with wrong uns for 10 days. It's your $$.

Leeds
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5. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

To reiterate what GJ has recommended, please lodge a complaint with KATO and, if possible, keep us updated on any replies from the company.

Gillingham, United...
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16 posts
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6. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Thank you,

I have received a quick response from the MD who says that he has been unable to deal with the matter for the past two months. I have asked him to do so without further delay and will keep you posted.

Gillingham, United...
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7. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

Thank you for your advice. I have already sent a copy of my complaint to KATO and will keep you posted.

I would just mention that the four in our party are very well travelled, indeed one actually ran trips for a well known nature travel company for a number of years. He actually arranged the trip. We have all had the usual problems on this sort of trip but none of us has ever come across this sort of unpleasant situation which despite speaking to the office on several occasions we just couldn't resolve. In my 40 years of travels this is the first time I have ever had to make serious complaint of this nature. Had the MD addressed the matter 2 months ago this posting would not be there.

Peter

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

I am really pleased it has been posted. These folks think they can take our money and stck two fingers up once we are home. (And they wonder why so many people are hesitant in paying up front!)

Press your claim Peter and keep us advised.

Nashville, Tennessee
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9. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

I agree with mfuwe and leeds. Press this issue so others are less likely to have this frustration.

Also, I think we can tell by the nature of your posts and description that this is not a "vindicitve" posts or an "unrealistic expectation" that was not met.

Thanks for taking the time to posts and we will see how they respond. Also, thanks for passing it on the KATO.

Gillingham, United...
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16 posts
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10. Re: Suntrek Safaris- A Word of Caution

A quick update for those interested. The MD e-mailed on 16th to say that he was taking this matter very seriously, would complete his investigations and report back within 48 hours. He also said that my report was hurting his business and was offering compensation (unspecified). I told him that my complaint never was about compensation. We just don't want others to go through what we experienced. A week later no further contact.

KATO replied on 15th saying that they were taking the matter up with Suntrek and would come back to me. I have heard nothing more