Perhaps skip the Chobe Lodge. It was great for the first time but the andBeyond camps were much better. We actually found the staff quite unfriendly (with the exception of one or two) at Chobe. That being said, the spot was absolutely gorgeous.
[TRAVEL COMPANY'S COMMENTS]
We are delighted to see that the safari experience was amazing, featuring outstanding wildlife, wonderful local staff and luxurious family room accommodations that fit well for the desires of this family. For this safari we partnered with luxury properties that we felt confident would cater to the desired accommodation level, as well as pay careful attention to a serious nut allergy.
At our Travel Company we work as a team, and having sent thousands of travelers on African Safaris we find the best way to serve our guests is to work with our planning team to design the ideal trip and then our operations team takes the lead on preparing guests and providing customer care. Both planners and operations staff are available for traveler questions, and we work together for a well-supported and seamless experience. At the time of trip confirmation, we provide an extensive preparation packet that covers all the essentials to be ready for a trip. Then around 30 days prior to the trip we provide a specific brief, which is largely a repeat of the general preparation but, importantly, adds specific details including reservations and essential contact phone numbers. A lot goes on behind the scenes out of view of the guests including arranging for dietary and health issues. In this case, our operations team, in addition to sending over such information, made additional reminder contacts a week before the safari to ensure the safety for a traveler with serious allergy condition.
With regards to the last-minute change, the email request arrived on Friday evening after business hours and was seen on Saturday morning. Our Operations Manager replied soon as she saw it (about 14 hours after being sent) and quickly communicated with the South Africa after-hours team to expedite the request and effectively executed the late, on-the-fly change. We believe there is a misunderstanding of the intention of our communication. Our Operations Manager's email response pointed out that she hadn’t seen the email right away because it was the weekend, and was meant to explain why there wasn’t an immediate response. She then reiterated how to contact both the local ground operator and our team in the U.S. via phone to gain real-time assistance with the hope that she could avoid any further potential delays in communications. It appears this came across as reluctant to assist, but it was meant to avoid any further potential delays by relying on email correspondence instead of the more reliable recommended contact methods supplied in the travel brief. We have taken this as a growth opportunity and have featured this contact information in a more prominent location in the travel brief for future client care. Our Operations Manager is the original employee and has managed the care and logistics for approximately 500 clients per year for nearly a decade. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of African travel details, has the on-the-ground traveler experience in Southern and Eastern Africa, and has earned exceptional ratings for her detailed knowledge as well as her empathetic and patient client care from confirmation through until post-trip review. We understand how daunting a first time to Africa trip is and endeavor to provide thorough answers to all questions. With each trip being custom-tailored, working with dozens of partners across 15 countries and each guest having different needs, there are occasionally questions that need to be researched or double checked. We would rather take that approach than an immediate answer that we are not sure of. Perhaps that is what caused a feeling of being unprepared on a phone call. Ultimately, we want to be sure that each guest is supported and completely prepared for their travels. We are happy all logistics were achieved with this party, including the last minute request and they had an awesome safari.
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