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

My wife and I did this Safari with 2 other couples last week. I went in with low expectations on this, as I usually do with trips so as to not disappoint myself.

I was SURPRISINGLY DISAPPOINTED with Acacia Africa. I consider myself a season traveler, having been to over 20 countries Europe, Asia, SE Asia, Caribbean, and about half the US States. This was my first trip to Africa.

First the Good Stuff:
The Game Drives. Chobe specifically was the highlight of the trip. It was the first day and nothing seemed to compare after that.

Flight over the Okavanga Delta- a must do. However, do NOT book this through Acacia, they had the price at $425 a PERSON. We had our guide take us directly to the airport in Maun and we walked into a shop with the exact same Company, it was Delta Excursions and booked directly there. The ENTIRE plane was $425, for 5 people. $2125 vs $425, Acacia is gouging is customers. Only 4 of us wanted to do it so we took our awesome guide Simon up with us and just split it 4 ways. This was awesome. Make sure you have a camera with a good zoom lenses.

Simon (our guide) was great. Very enthusiastic and friendly.

Karma Rhino was cool, but they purposely delayed the Rhinos to the end and they were kind of far away.

Basically, the game drives are the best parts, everything else was lacking.

The Bad Stuff

We did the Accommodated tour which is mostly hotels and one camp site. I wanted to do the camping, but my wife said no.

I actually really like the camp site despite the bush toilets and showers, the cots were not bad. The best parts of this were seeing the stars at night (thousands of them) and hearing the animals. The food here was amazing, campfire cooked African dishes-balboati specifically. We also had two game walks, pretty cool, but i like the drives better in hindsight because you see more.

The Mokoro was disappointing in a few ways. 1st, our guy rocked the boat a bit and I was constantly worried I would fall into the water, this made it difficult to relax.
2nd, the ride was short, only about 45 minutes.
3rd, we really didn't see any animals because of the tall grass, i can forgive this given the time of the year we went.
4th- THE WORST BUMPY RIDE out there. Nearly a 3 hour drive to get to the mokoro, only 45 minutes on smooth road and 2 hours of the worst ride ever. Bouncing off your seat literally a foot high and then getting your back slammed into the railing is not fun. The seats are wood benches which pop up from some of the bumps. I was trying to hang on and the bump popped my seat up and smashed my finger drawing blood. Nothing to ruin your "relaxing" mokoro like 2 hours of speed bumps. One lady in our group actually started crying with disappointment.

The other hotels were all ok. Maun hotel, which we stayed at twice was the worst one, the pool was green, the food was atrocious, they actually served as a cold "warm" breakfast because we got up and they forgot to make our breakfast and we had to leave. Their was nothing to do in this hotel or nearby.

Gweta sucked-pool area was nice and it had a bar which was the only salvation. We arrived here late and "just missed" our sunset activity to see the Balboa trees or meerkats, so we sat around the pool. I can do that at home. I didn't fly halfway around the world to lounge by a pool. The shower was outside which i didn't mind but my wife didn't like it.

The "traditional village" was, pardon my language, a HELL HOLE. I was thinking like wooden yurts with tribal elements or something. No, this was a ghetto, slum, "modern" cinder block houses, not to mention it was a holiday so the town was deserted. its the village you see when you drive into the hotel area and everyone was looking uncomfortably at each other. Thank god it was a holiday and it only wasted an hour of our money and we left. I looked on the price board and they charged $15 to literally walk us down one street and look at a slums. No thanks.

This trip to Gweta caused us to miss our sunset activity, see a slum, and waste almost 2 full days of our 7 day safari, take into account the 7th day is all driving and now our 7 day safari is really only 4. Advice to Acacia, take this part out or make sure the Game drive truck is there to take your guest on tours. I asked our guide if their was anything we could do, if we could take the bus on our own and he said yes. We could go see the trees in the morning before we left. Needless to say this didn't happen b/c of "road conditions"

Yes I was aware of the drive times, but I had accounted for being able to do all the optional activities and i was fine with paying more to do so.

Karma Rhino sanctuary was neat, but its in the middle of the afternoon in the hottest part of the day so not a lot of animals are out, but we did get to see the Rhinos.

Pretty much basic sustenance to keep me alive everywhere. Poor choice of options, we basically ate chicken every meal, and had cereal for breakfast. Lunch several times consisted of "chips and cookies" we bought at gas stations. They don't have a lot of selection. The best food was at the camp because they actually cooked stuff.

Ah the bus, no AC, which was fine for being late autumn early winter, we just threw open the window, temps were in the low 60's at night and high 80's during the day it wasn't to bad, but we only had 6 people taking up a 22 seater, so everyone had their own row. Had it been packed it would have been much less pleasant. Now the bad part is, our bus shocks went out on the good ole bumpy roads.

Our bus got downgraded to an 11 seater also with no AC. Worse it only had 4 windows in the back and only 2 of these actually opened. The seats where smaller, and we were much more cramped. All of us agreed we would have preferred the other bus without "shocks" over this cramped bus.

In summary, knowing what i know now, i would NOT recommend Acacia Africa. Maybe its just the experience I have travelling on my own, but the "tour safari package" was definitely NOT worth it, and I can see easily that their is probably a 50% markup on the cost after asking the hotels and game drives directly about cost.
There was way too much down time on this trip, im not talking about driving to places, im talking about sitting around waiting to do the activity. I like to be doing stuff, 2-3 activities a day, this only had 1 thing a day, with driving half day and about 4 hours of sitting around on average per day in your room. What a waste.

The food certainly wasn't expensive either. (My wife and I ate at 4 star restaurants in Vic Falls and Johansburg and had meals with drinks for $50- and they were damn good)

Next time I will rent a car or guide and drive on my own, stay at hotels on my own which would be cheaper and arrange the game drives at the hotel, which is basically what Acacia has your guide do when you arrive. I can do all that on my own.

Save yourself half the time, half the money and see twice as much and just do the planning before you head out. You will have a much better time than joining Acacia on their "safari."

Date of experience: May 2016
1  Thank Benjamin H
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 17 May 2016

We are grateful for feedback from passengers following a tour. On a small number of occasions it is critical we look at what may have gone wrong and how we can continue to improve the services we offer to our customers. The Okavango Wilderness Trail tour is one of our most popular small group tours and has been so for many years. If the correspondent above writes to us we will be pleased to reply in detail.

The Acacia Africa team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2016

I had a wonderful time on the trip. It was a lot of driving but the excursions were amazing. Walking rhino tour and a visit to a local village were two big highlights.

Also we had a great crew.

Justin was an amazing cook. Our Driver Gerhard was hilarious and all around great company.

Date of experience: April 2016
1  Thank Natureguy28
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 26 April 2016 via mobile

As a solo woman traveler I would totally recommend booking with this company! You get to meet a lot of people on the truck and the tour guide makes everything so much easier and pleasant. Our tour guide Bella and driver George were absolutely amazing from day one! They were friendly, entertaining and super helpful. The campsites in Tanzania and the hotels in Zanzibar were amazing! The food cooked by Bella and George was really good, as were the tents and all the equipment. Would definitely do this tour again with Acacia.

Date of experience: April 2016
1  Thank andreaperezdeacha
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 6 April 2016 via mobile

I want to give a huge Thankyou to Richard and Colin who took myself and only two others for the whole 58 days from Kenya to cape town via Uganda. Pick a few people here and there but having a smaller group we were lucky enough to have spare space in the truck.
The whole trip was spectacular from the border crossings to the safaris in the truck every bit of it was cultural and enjoyable. The scenery is something from a story book, from lush rainforests to salt lakes and sand dunes it's incredible that you get to see so much in one continent.
This is a perfect trip to get some recon on Africa. See what you like and enjoy and come back later to spend more time there.

The food on the tour is ridiculously amazing. From easy pasta salads to game meat I mean really! Open fire and the Africa way of cooking will widen your tastebuds for sure.

The knowledge of our tour leader and expert skills of the driver was well recognized during the whole tour. I can't thank them enough and and just sad I couldn't give back what they've given me.

You'd won't be disappointed. And if u are, then wake up ur in Africa!

Date of experience: February 2016
1  Thank Alex M
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 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

Date of experience: March 2016
1  Thank K M
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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