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“Trip of a lifetime” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Acacia Africa - Day Tours

Acacia Africa - Day Tours
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US$994.51*
and up
7-Day Small Group Kruger and Victoria Falls Safari from Johannesburg
Ranked #106 of 321 Tours in Cape Town Central
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Attraction details
Owner description: Acacia Africa offers value for money Overland & Small Group Safaris, Adventure tours, Treks and Private Day Tours in Southern and East Africa. We operate tours and safaris with passion & two decades of experience, ensuring high standards allowing us to grow successfully in a socially and ecologically responsible way. Owner managed team & dedicated guides guarantee passionate attention to quality.
Penrith, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Trip of a lifetime”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 April 2016

I recently returned from the 19 day trip from Cape Town to Livingstone with Acacia Africa and I could not recommend it more!
Myself and a school friend joined 10 others on the Truck Mara with guide Darlington and driver Sam. What a group! We couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people to travel with. Darlington was incredibly knowledgable about all of the sites that we visited, an AMAZING cook (the food was incredible - healthy, varied, tasty) and always up for a laugh. Sam had some really long driving days during the trip, but was always happy, relaxed and willing to chat when we were on the campsites.
The itinerary was incredible, a trip of highlights. There was one small change from the itinerary I had been sent, but I don't think this impacted our enjoyment at all. I can't pick my favourite moment - Sleeping under the stars at Spitzkoppe, skydive in Swakopmund, swarms of elephants in Chobe, rafting on the Zambezi, bushman walk in the Kalahari, scenic flight over the Okavango Delta.
These incredible experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you Acacia, and thank you Team Douche Canoe!! #PABU

Visited March 2016
Helpful?
1 Thank K M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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39 reviews from our community

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Petaluma, California
Level Contributor
600 reviews
221 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 254 helpful votes
“Big Disappointment Poor Value”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2016

The 11-day Chobe Waterways excursion by Acacia Africa Tours was, unfortunately, a big disappointment.

We paid $4,750 for two people, averaging $431/day, and expected better accommodations, especially in Botswana.

It seems as if the bulk of the money was spent on transport costs, since we traveled long distances between attractions. Though the transport was comfortable, we think the tour would be vastly improved by starting and ending in Victoria Falls.

I know, I know, the dossier clearly states the driving times each day, and we were certainly aware of this. But, the dossier also stated we were traveling through Elephant Sands in Botswana, not Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, a fact not disclosed until 5:00 AM the day of departure.

The 13-hour drive from Johannesberg to Bulawayo (with 1.5 hours at the border) was not worth the effort. Although we loved the rhino walk with Andy, the 13-hour drive to get there was not a good investment of time.

Moreover, we drove right by Hwange Park on the way to Victoria Falls on the third day, which we thought should have been incorporated into the tour. Why not stop and spend a night in the park?

On a positive note, the two nights in Victoria Falls were wonderful, and we really enjoyed that part of the tour. Our accommodation at Cresta Sprayview was quite nice.

However, things started downhill after leaving Victoria Falls.

We wasted two hours in Kasane before arriving at the Thebe Safari Lodge - you know, the place with the burned down restaurant and bar and no pool (see attached photos). Why am I paying $431/day and being booked into this disaster? At least the excellent evening Chobe River Cruise mitigated this poor choice.

The next day, we went on an early game drive (which was extra, by the way), before driving another 6 or so hours to the Greta Lodge, another forgettable lodge, though the pool and bar were good and much appreciated.

After a lackluster early morning village walk, a short 2.5 hour drive took us to Maun, where we were booked into the Sitatunga Safari Lodge.

The first night there, I became ill, and declined to participate in the Okavango Delta excursion the next morning. That was unfortunate, because it meant we had to spend three nights at this lodge.

I suppose if you were camping, this lodge would appeal to you, but the concrete bunkers lacked ambience, and the mouse droppings along the top of the wall were unsanitary and unappealing. And at $431/day, could have been improved. Fortunately, the bar and pool were not burned down and we were able to laugh over it.

Then, another long day of driving to the South Africa border, where we were booked into the Kwa Nokeng Lodge, notable in that it was an improvement over the prior three places. And that's not saying much.

Finally, another long drive into Johannesberg, where we arrived at the Safari Club early afternoon.

I would not recommend this tour to anyone for two reasons: poor value for the money and too much driving between attractions. We spent, by my estimation, 43 hours in the van - more than twice the amount of time it took to fly from San Francisco to Cape Town (21 hours).

It would have been better to start in Victoria Falls, include Hwange, maybe drive to Bulawayo from the north, then do Chobe (with better accommodations), and maybe some closer-in parks to Victoria Falls.

If people wanted to do the Okavango Delta, fly them there as an option. Since we did not participate, I can't comment on whether or not it was worth it. However, driving three hours in an open vehicle, then another two hours in a 'mokoro', just to get to the campsite seemed excessive. And doing that with an upset stomach after being up all night was not possible.

Basing the trip around Victoria Falls eliminates much of the driving, and, I suspect, much of the cost. Since the best attractions are in the Victoria Falls area - emphasize those, reduce transportation costs, and upgrade the accommodations.

This tour, as it is now constituted, costs too much, and travels too far. Buyers beware when booking this tour with Acacia African Tours.

When booking your excursions, choose short tours out of Victoria Falls led by local companies. Chobe is close by and has wonderful lodges along the river. Save yourself a lot of money and book those yourself. Acacia African Tours will put you in the cheapest, low cost alternative it can find - you can do better, easily.

No more organized tours for this couple. We felt ripped off by the time we got back to Johannesburg. We just don't want this to happen to other travelers seduced by the evocative descriptions of the itinerary on your website.

If you want cheap, go with Intrepid or Nomad. At least they advertise as budget tours and you pay accordingly.

As a side note, both Sam and Simon were great and made the trip fun and entertaining, as well as providing safe transport with their excellent driving. Acacia just dropped the ball on the lodging and itinerary.

Visited February 2016
Helpful?
2 Thank pfefmeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
White Plains, New York
Level Contributor
34 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Safari magic at an attainable price”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2016

I did the Johannesburg to Livingstone tour and it matches the description but the experiences you get are beyond words. There are lots of early starts but worth it to get extra time at campsites and other activities. Overall the campsites all have showers and bathrooms. It is worth upgrading in Zimbabwe first camp as it is not expensive and you get the experience of sleeping in a hut and on a bed. The kruger tour was fantastic and we were able to see the big five and some other uncommon animals. Matopas drive was my favorites you get to experience up close time with white rhinos. The staff was professional and knowledgeable and went above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of and having a great experience. Talk to them on the drives and you will learn lots. Tips buy snacks food you like in between meals. The prepared meals are fantastic.

Visited January 2016
Helpful?
1 Thank Crickyla-rue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa - Day Tours, responded to this review, 25 January 2016
Dear Crickyla-rue

We are thrilled to hear you enjoyed your African Instight Tour with us and thank you for taking the time to send us additional feedback.

Hope to see you back in Africa soon!

Kind regards,
The Acacia Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great experience, brilliant guide!”
4 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited November 2015
Helpful?
Thank M S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa - Day Tours, responded to this review, 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
1 review
“We loved our tour!”
5 of 5 bubbles 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!

Visited October 2015
Helpful?
Thank Melissa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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