2AFRIKA is a nightmare

Reply

Dec 27th, 2011, 11:58 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
2AFRIKA is a nightmare

I booked a trip with 2Afrika with a large group of friends in late 2010.
I just discovered this site for comments and was compelled to write.

Members of our group met with Kenneth Heiber on several occassions. He is charming and knowledgeable about travel to Africa (or so it seemed.) We booked a 3 week trip to south Africa and Victoria Falls that was supposed to be on the moderate to high-end and it was a tailor made trip. In addition, some people were taking additional pre and post trips in conjunction with the main trip.

At some point after paying for the trip, Kenneth just got tired of us and stopped communications. No matter how much we attempted to communicate, he just refused to speak to us or answer emails. When some members of the group had to cancel their trips within the cancellation period, their deposits were not refunded until they threatened legal action.

Just before leaving, he charged some members large additional charges. If not paid immediately, he said he would cancel our trip. We felt like hostages.

Frankly, the trip was awful, many promises were not delivered, it was very disorganized, and again no communications except a few angry and idiotic messages.

I would go back to South Africa but would absolutely not with Kenneth Heiber of 2AFRIKA again. He and his staff are seriously unhinged and unreliable.

Customer service - Non-existant
pompanotvl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 27th, 2011, 05:53 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Unfortunately, there have been a few threads on Trip Advisor similar to yours. Also, reporting: routing changed, as well as lodging, services that were not provided, lack of communications once booked and the money issue.

At one time, maybe 5-6/yrs ago, 2Afrika was considered good for what they offered, but appears no longer so. Maybe they're offering more than is reasonable, expanding to cover too many destinations... beats me.

So sorry to read this.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 28th, 2011, 07:05 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
So sorry for your bad experience. I hope you can return some day to South Africa under better circumstances.

Too many reports like these on 2Afrika.

If you pop back here, Pompano,can you elaborate on why this is your first post here and how you came to this forum? It will give your comments more credibility. You might even share some of the positives about South Africa or specifics on where you stayed, how you handled the bad situation you found yourself in, etc.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 28th, 2011, 11:18 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,510
I think this is sad. As Sandi said a few years ago this company appeared to be doing a great job for the price point they were at. We actually used them in 2007 & had no issues. Since then we have arranged private safaris so have not had reason to have contact with them since.
So sorry about your trip. I hope you can get back there some day.
jules39 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 28th, 2011, 02:31 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,199
Atravelynn, good question. Note however, that the OP says
"I just discovered this site for comments and was compelled to write."

People find sites like Fodors most often while doing google searches--in this case, possibly something like "2Afrika comments"

I have read both good and bad about 2Afrika, when doing initial research on prices, itins, etc.
But i every much wanted to use local companies--one in Kenya, one in Uganda--so didnt pursue farther for an out-of-country place.
CaliNurse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 29th, 2011, 02:17 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Sorry for your one time negative experience if real but
http://www.bbb.org/.../2afrika-in-je...ty-nj-90121675
Has an A plus rating with BBB.org so the majority of experiences are good.First time time 100% negative "grudge" posters who join just to slam/defame a good operator as a "nightmare" are ALWAYS suspect to me not real jealous competitors etc. Have seen good reports will stick with BBB.org A plus rating far more valid than one defamatory post.Have seen MAMY good posts on them over the years.
qwovadis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 29th, 2011, 07:33 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 199
We used 2Afrika in 2006 for a custom trip to Botswana and found them to be quite reliable. Of course personnel changes could account for some of these problems but perhaps there is another side to this debacle?
QueenofDaNile is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 29th, 2011, 10:21 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 728
since pompanotvl has not replied to this or on Trip Advisor is there any way to make this go away?

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 29th, 2011, 01:00 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 10,462
Craig, it's only been 2 days since the OP and as they're new, it's entirely possible that they don't know that they should (or how to) follow up on the topic.

Beyond that, there's no reason to "make this go away". It shouldn't be deleted just because it's a bad review, those are just as important, if not more so, than good reviews. There's no solid reason to believe that the OP is a fake review from a competitor. I'd be interested to see the 2Afrika side of this situation.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 30th, 2011, 08:59 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 728
Hi Iowa_Redhead. My concern is that this exact same review appeared on Trip Advisor and Frommers as well. The OP has never come back to provide more info. I have taken no action but agree that 2Afrika may want to jump in.

Right now, I would say the credibility is low because of the OP built the profiles on all three travel sites on the same day as their one and only post.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 30th, 2011, 09:29 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Craig, your assumptions might very well be correct. And, I too wonder about these OPW (one-post-wonders) and will sayy so.

That said though, there was a recent thread on TA about similar issues with 2Afrika, where (if I recall correctly), they were advised the Sopa Lodge reservations (2Afrika rarely uses other than these), were cancelled as the 'government' had taken over the lodges for some conference and thus changes had to be made. This individual did check with Sopa and found the statements by 2Afrika were outright lies. Then, I believe something about having to cancel the entire itinerary, being advised only a few days prior travel after poster had tickets, Visas, etc., all of which were lost. There was more to that particular thread which very much sounds like issues the OP encountered.

Hey, it's Christmas week... maybe OP is on holiday. Maybe they'll get back.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 30th, 2011, 09:54 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Somebody could send this link to 2Afrika so they can respond. I recall something like that happening in the past and a thread WAS pulled from Fodors that contained baseless criticism.

If OP never returns here, the reliability of the comments goes down in my mind.

If you do return OP, tell the BBB! And your credit card company if you used one!

Either way this post is outrageous whether 2Afrika is screwing clients or Pompano is libeling an innocent agent.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2012, 05:31 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2
Yes, I am real. A real live customer. Not in any way connected with the travel business.

I discovered this and other travel forums while discussing my travels with a friend at a holiday party in December. You are right, I have never posted before. And I may not post again judging by the fine welcome.

I am a very experienced traveler by the way. This was a custom designed trip for a large group of friends in South Africa and Victoria Falls spanning over 3 weeks.

My sole purpose was to warn other people about 2Afrika and its owner. It's a crummy organization. You can believe it or not. It really doesn't matter to me. Go ahead and book a trip with them. But I tried my best to warn you! Yes - I am blowing off steam. Ranting? I don't think so.

I have a business, a family, lots of interests and hobbies and activities in my life. I don't have the time to check other people's comments disparaging mine. I have a life, I have no plans to be making 2000 or 20,000 comments (most of which are useless) nor do I expect to try and get some free advertising for my company. I will not put my name, address, phone number, social security number, or credit card number here no matter how many times you ask. I simply won't be doing it. If you want to do, it's fine. I see that very few other people have done so, why single me out.

I have posted on several other chat boards and I have been criticized for it. Yet, the same people also post on the exact same chat boards. Isn't that funny!

My post is just as valid as any of yours. It is truthful and accurate, I have tried to include some detail without going overboard. Why do you demand that my post be removed? Are you connected to 2afrika. Do you work with them?

As for the BBB, I just checked their site. There were 3 complaints against 2Afrika in 2011 with the Jersey City BBB.
When I was planning my trip, they were located in New York City at 111 John St. They have apparently moved in 2011. Maybe that's why there are so few complaints. And to be honest, I have not filed a complaint, at least not yet.

To sum up - my experiences with 2 Afrika were all negative. I would not recommend them. You may discard this advice. It's your choice - book at your peril!
pompanotvl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2012, 05:52 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Very interesting about the change in address and BBB.

Sorry if you interpreted my mention of a credit card as requesting you post your credit card number. I agree you should never do that. I just wondered if the credit card company might be able to get some money back for you. Please try that angle if you have not.

No legitimate post should be pulled and bad news about an agent is useful to future travelers just like good news. Unfortunately sometimes competitors post fabricated negative comments, which is not fair. What happened to you and your party is certainly not fair either. I hope 2Afrika offers you at least a partial refund for unacceptable service.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 4th, 2012, 06:00 PM
  #15
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,358
I'm hoping to take a safari in the next couple of years and I have looked at this company but I will probably book elsewhere. Thanks for the review.
P_M is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2012, 12:59 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 38
Sorry POMPANOTVL,I take note of your complaint and is at pain as I read your second comment.Thanks for this advise and please do not stop stating your views on this forum.Several other people have had similar experiences with other unfair tour operators.I have read the same comments on TA.P-M take op's advise as you have enough time to plan and source for a reliable operator.
cheers
pody22 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 5th, 2012, 10:29 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
From what I recall back about 8/yrs ago, 2Afrika was located in NJ (believe, Jersey City), then about 2-3/yrs ago moved to John Street in Manhattan/NYC as stated by OP. So was surprised to learn/read that they're back in NJ, where I guess the rent is more favorable.

Pompanotvl - thanks for getting back to our comments and clarify concerns. I second the suggestion you report this to the BBB (NYC or NJ).
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2012, 01:51 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4
Ah – who could forget this group … I used to work for Kenneth Hieber and found him to be one of the most personable people I know. I remember this group very well for it was the deciding factor for me to LEAVE my short-term stint in the travel industry – it was a gay group from Florida that expected EVERYTHING for NOTHING. BUT – let me be the first to point out that this group did not book with 2AFRIKA, it booked with GAY2AFRIKA which I was employed to operate.

I know that the group organizers met with Kenneth Hieber on more than one occasion. I remember that well for they were planning a 50th birthday for 2 of them in Cape Town and wanted to invite 30 of their friends so that they up the selling price and could travel free of charge with their friends paying for them.

Ultimately, there were not 30 people in the group, which would explain why they were charged a higher price prior to departure. No one was held hostage, it is simple business. Coming from a financial background, it made perfect sense to me that if this group started as 30 passengers for a certain price, when the group dropped to 15, there would be a different, higher price.

I have not ever posted on any forum but I cannot help but post here for actually, this post is attacking me personally for I was the one who wrapped up this tour. I cannot understand how this person has the cheek to post about not receiving a deposit back when they cancelled. Trust me, again I am the one who handled this, these cancelations came within 90-days prior to departure, but the writer omits telling you that. Why then would they receive a deposit back for canceling?

Also, some members were charged a last minute fee. Yes, that is correct. What the writer fails to point out is that one of the couples broke up. They were to have shared accommodation. Only one was going to travel and there was a single supplement to be paid due to their break up. Why would one expect that the company should pay for a single supplement due to a romantic break up that it had nothing to do with? I find it strange that we post stuff like this online that can severely damage the reputation of someone, or a company and then do not supply all of the appropriate facts. We do not need to post our names and we can say anything here that ruins others.

Which is why I am posting this and I will post it all over. This group was unruly. You cannot start of by asking for a quote on 30 people and telling the company to not tell your friends for you were having them pay for your birthday. Then when the numbers reduce, you cannot expect to pay the same for 15 as you would for 30. Also, if some people break up, you cannot expect the company to pay for a single room for the single passenger. That is all improper and to add that CUSTOMER SERVICE – NON-EXISTENT, well I resent that for I am the one that had to deal with all of the hysterical drama that surrounded this group and frankly from one gay man to another, you are the reason that I quit my job at GAY2AFRIKA for I am not prepared to spend these years of my life putting up with rude insults from consumers who, as it is obvious from this post, tend to tell their side of the story only, and then fabricate it.

Think about what you just read. You read that this group was charged a higher price. YES – they were. I decided on that for their size had dropped from 30 to 15. You read that there was a fee charged prior to departure – yes that is right. One of the couples broke up their relationship and since one still decided to travel (and was not wanted in a room with any of the other couples), he needed a single room. Why should GAY2AFRIKA be held responsible for that and why did this writer FAIL to tell you the cause but rather leads you to believe that 2AFRIKA is to blame.

I wish that Kenneth Hieber reviewed these posts and I wish that he would respond. But knowing his as I do, he is far too much of a gentleman to do so.

I will remain anonymous until the original poster ‘outs’ himself after which time I will do the same. And then, let the fists fly for to call me unhinged is perhaps a true reflection of yourself. Thank goodness I left the travel industry. I would not go back for a million dollars. I am only sorry that Kenneth Hieber has clearly been tainted by this venomous post. Oh and in closing let me remind you dear reader that this group did NOT deal with 2AFRIKA, they dealt with GAY2AFRIKA, a subsidiary of 2AFRIKA for the gay & lesbian community which I believe does no longer operate since my departure.

So, you really cannot believe everything that you read.
john56 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2012, 05:36 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,199
Thanks for giving YOUR side of the story, John.
CaliNurse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2012, 06:26 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Wow, thank you John for the other side.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:36 PM.