Please note this is not for the 18th Spetember 2009 trip, but the website defaults to this.
This will probably be one of a few poor reviews / complaints from the latest Botswana Wilderness Safari that returned on Saturday 29th August, relating to the vehicles provided and a few other items of note that do not seem to be correct. The trip was good, but for the money we would have expected a better standard of vehicle to allow us to enjoy the trip and get to all the areas that all the other vehicles in Botswana were able to get to.
I quote from one of the responses by Karen Finlay (Africa Regional Manager) to a review of the trip from last December that reinforced my view to book this trip 'All our vehicles are regularly serviced and must all pass road worthiness tests, they have therefore confirmed that all vehicles are up to the job. However, it is recognised that the vehicles are coming to the end of their useful life in terms of comfort for clients which I apologise for, we are therefore in the process of upgrading all our vehicles for this tour for the 2009 season'. This was not the case... Our vehicle had 330,00 on the clock by the time we finished the trip and was definitely not new with a range of faults listed below some of which the group regarded as very serious (e.g. no emergency communications or equipment to get you out of a river quickly). It also seems that many of us who enquired as to the numbers on the trip and occupancy in the vehicles were all told the same story...
'each vehicle carries a maximum of seven people, one in the passenger seat and three rows of two, to allow for a maximum of seven per vehicle'. This was not the case. We had nine people, in three rows of three which restricts your viewing / photography greatly and was a big letdown. Botswana Wilderness Safaris (incidentally not the company we were given as the emergency contacts in the joining instructions) always it seems intended to use one vehicle of nine people for this trip. These two facts leave to me feel that we were somewhat misled over the trip. Here is a provisional list of faults that I will add to my review to be posted on your website some of which would in my opinion be not regarded as “roadworthy”.
The activities in Zambia at the Waterfront should be booked in advance (Exodus shoudl provide contact details). Of the two I really wanted to do only one space was available on the day we were there and one was cancelled. These may to be booked in advance or you will miss out. In addition the trip notes / joining instructions need to be updated, e.g. emergency contact details are wrong and breakfast on the last day is not included.
I have complained to Exodus and was told it may be a while before my complaints woudl be addressed. Personally I thought they shoud be addressed straight away as they replicated what had been said the year before and had obvioiusly been ignored.
We are investigating the comments by Mr Pearce on this trip and will be responding in full in due course; a summary of the actions we have taken will also be posted online. For all clients booked on departures on this trip later in the year I kindly ask for your patience while we work with our local suppliers to ensure that all future departures run to the high standards that we expect from all our trips.
Head of Product
Botswana Wilderness Safari
Further to Mr Pearce’s comments (above) a number of actions have been taken to ensure our operations in Botswana deliver the standards of operational quality we expect in all the destinations we operate. A summary of these actions is provided below. All vehicles used in 2008 where completely overhauled for 2009 operations. These passed tough ‘roadworthiness’ tests in April 2009. Unfortunately, due to an internal administration error our literature was incorrect and the maximum number on each trip was in fact nine, not seven as previously stated. This will however change in 2010, when we will be using larger vehicles; the maximum group size in 2010 will be 12 clients.
Away from the vehicles we will be reviewing whether we can provide links so that our clients can book their preferred optional activities in advance.
Head of Product
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