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11-Day Zanzibar to Serengeti (Adventure Camping Tour)
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Reviewed 11 January 2016

We recently used Acacia for their overland 14 day trip between Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. In short, it was a great experience which comes highly recommended.

Our favourite things:

The main strength of the Acacia tour was our guide, Sam. He was a wonderful blend of being helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and entertaining, without ever being overbearing or getting flustered by frequent questions or dodgy weather. I would recommend going with Acacia to secure his services alone, as we have encountered a number of poor guides during our round-the-world trip and know what an impact this can have. Our main driver of our large truck, Julius, also had a brilliant attitude and came across well. The various game drives were excellent, and the campsite at the Ngorongoro crater was a real highlight of our trip.

The camping equipment was of a decent quality, and even though we had a lot of rain we were generally snug and dry in our tents. We only had a small group so we could double-up on camping mats which was a bonus. The food was of a good quality throughout, and our favourite meals came from what we cooked at our campsites rather than at the restaurants we visited! The trip ran smoothly and the organisation and implementation was good.

Our least favourite things:
The safari services are subcontracted out to other companies. The driver and our vehicle for the Masai Mara game drive wasn't particularly good. Safari HQ, who run the Tanzania drives generally offered a good level of service. The Boulevard Hotel in Nairobi is realistically the only place you can stay at the start of the trip, due to the pre departure meeting being held after dark, and the departure for the tour being early. While the hotel is a pleasant place to stay it is ludicrously overpriced, and they know that they can get away with charging whatever they want as the companies such as Acacia leave this part of the organisation up to the customer. It would be appreciated if Acacia would do more to negotiate a favourable price for this hotel, and at least do more for their customers in this regard. The spice tour with Mr Saiidi on Zanzibar was terribly run, and a complete waste of money. We have already complained about this, and while our $35 per person charge is long-gone, we understand that steps have been taken to find an alternative supplier of this tour. Perhaps with a better guide this tour will be able to be recommended in the future.

A final gripe is about the "custom" of tipping. Basically, tipping would appear to be a system that benefits the tour companies more than the staff (obviously Acacia is not alone in its promotion). As a consumer, I don't mind paying for Acacia to organise my tour. I don't mind the fact that they will then pay their team of Directors a large salary. This is how capitalism works, and it is not really any of my business. However, it does really irritate that a profitable business such as Acacia then tells me that despite the thousands of dollars I have paid for my tour, I must set aside and pay more in tips to all of the people I encounter on my trip as wages in Africa are low. Why not set an example and pay them a bit more Acacia? Using the money I have already paid you?

I could frankly do without the awkwardness in having to work out a suitable extra payment for employees I encounter on the trip, who I am using while having been told that they aren't being given enough money. By the time you have thought about the three drivers, guide, chef, and supply driver, almost every day is filled with a potentially awkward discussion between the travellers as to what tip should be paid, if any. It put a bit of a downer on an otherwise great experience.

Date of experience: November 2015
Thank Mgsuk123
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 25 January 2016

Dear MS,

Thank you for taking the time to give us a review! We are pleased you enjoyed the tour and thank you for recommending Acacia. We pride ourselves on having some of the best crew on the road and will pass your comments on to your tour leaders Sammy and Julius, who we know will be grateful to receive the kind words.

In regard to the Maasai Mara and Serengeti / Ngorongoro, we work with local ground handlers to give a better service to clients. They provide local knowledge and expertise and more suitable vehicles for game viewing. Many clients tell us they also like the contact with local people (the driver/guides) it allows and knowing that they are helping support local businesses and communities. The ‘Mara’ is one of our most popular excursions and normally very well received. Client feedbacks returned to us at the end of the tour, or received afterwards, are reviewed and any relevant matters raised are taken up with local suppliers to ensure better service for future groups. We will review feedbacks received from your group to ensure that did happen on this occasion.

On the subject of tipping, ground handlers pay their staff a fair and decent wage which is one reason we continue to support them. Regardless, tipping is a custom in Africa and local staff have come to expect a small tip at the end of the excursion if they have delivered a good service. But it is not obligatory. As with tipping anywhere, it is entirely at your (the client’s) discretion and I regret if you felt ‘pressure’ to leave a tip if you did not feel it was deserved.

Thank you again for your feedback, we appreciate the post.

Kind regards,
The Acacia team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2015 via mobile

My boyfriend and I did a couple of tours with Acacia that linked up from Dar Es Salaam. We particularly loved our drivers Big Phil, Khumbu and guide Justin, they really made the trip! The trucks were great quality, camp sites have everything you need. There are some long driving days and I'd recommend looking into exactly where each tour goes so you are sure your willing to pay the visa to get in, as they add up quickly. Would definitely recommend acacia and travel with them again!

Date of experience: October 2015
Thank Melissa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 4 November 2015

Earlier this year I did the Capetown to Windhoek leg of the Acacia Africa overland trip with a friend. Having never done a trip like this, I had no idea of what to expect but it was an amazing experience. You sleep in tents in amazing locations like a South African vineyard, a campsite in a town with a population less than 100, next to a fence where there are cheetahs roaming and under the stars with a roaring fire to keep you warm. The landscapes of Namibia are staggering and the tour itself is a smooth operation that is sure to impress. The truck is packed like Tetris pieces, designed to hold everything from tents to food for the next few days, and pitching in with the daily tasks only adds to the experience. Our trip leader Elton was awesome, as was our driver Pili. This is a trip that you won't regret.

Date of experience: May 2015
Thank Anita L
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 15 September 2015

I recently had the pleasure of travelling with Acacia on a 19-day trip from Cape Town to Livingstone via multiple destinations in SA, Namibia and Botswana and then for a further 7 days down through Zimbabwe into Kruger.

The destinations were, unsurprisingly, fantastic but I did not expect the level of personal service and well-equipped travel arrangements we received.
First and foremost I must commend our brilliant guide, Henk and driver, Philip who were with us for the full 19 days of the first leg. Despite the grueling driving schedule Philip always made time to get to know the travelers. Henk regularly made time to sit in the back with us, spoke to each and every person and made a real effort to make sure the specifics and options of our trip suited everyone as best he could. He was also a wealth of knowledge about the region (and I say that as someone who, unlike my fellow tourists, actually lives in Africa - I learned a great deal).
Our guide and driver for the second leg, Darlington and Fortune, though I spent less time with them I was no less fond of them. We had a lot of fun and late night chats around the camp fire.
These guys are consummate professionals who are clearly passionate about the land they travel through.

Secondly, the trucks were remarkably comfortable and well-equipped, we had regular stops and were never that far from a store (if we were going to be isolated for more than a day or so we were always notified well in advance so we could stock up on necessaries).

I recommend this to anyone and in fact am surprised more of my fellow young South Africans (who perhaps don't own their own 4x4 etc) don't do it. It is a very cost-effective, fun and scenic way to soak up the continent.

Until next time!

Date of experience: August 2015
3  Thank Robin_Gilbert-Jones
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 1 September 2015

My friend and I did the 19-day Desert traveler tour from Cape Town to Vic Falls and has the most unforgettable experience ever. The organisation and hospitality of our tour guide (Darlington) and truck driver (Fortune) were faultless along with the food,camp sites,activities and experiences. With highlights such as Dune 45, Fish river canyon and Okavango Delta, there is never a day that goes by where you don't experience something incredible.
The only problem is how quickly the tour seemed to go- we wanted it to last forever!

Date of experience: July 2015
3  Thank colettew911
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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