2AFRIKA is a nightmare

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Mar 6th, 2012, 06:11 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Thanks J56 for your reply.
Well, the internet is a blessing and woe for many industries. I have heard many stories of hotels or such being lambasted on the internet. They then have to respond in self defense, wasting much time and effort. It was Ben Franklin (some time before the internet) who said - "You should only believe half of what you see, and none of which you hear”.

regards - tom
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Mar 6th, 2012, 07:36 PM
  #22
 
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Thank you John for providing the "other" side of this story.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 12:01 AM
  #23
 
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Fantastic post, John!

Too bad you decided to drop out of the business because of this.

J.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 04:34 AM
  #24
 
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a nice post and your side of the story john.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:18 AM
  #25
 
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I have thought long and hard about these forum posts in light of the one that I came across which was very negative (indirectly) about me since I was the person taking care of the group mentioned. As I stated previously, I have nothing to lose for I am no longer involved in the travel industry but it annoys me to see that someone who gave me a chance when I needed it most being butchered endlessly on these forums.

I worked for Kenneth Hieber for 4 years and in that time, I learned exceptional lessons about how to treat people with dignity and respect. You can tell if you read this initial post, and then mine, that there is no congruency between what was written and what was actual. Yet the tour operator bears the brunt of such posts. There is clearly lost business and an enormous amount of ill will.

Look at these remarks which will never go away.

Iowa_Redhead (on Fodors) writes

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.

My point of view

Of course it SHOULD be deleted for it is inaccurate on every level. It is not a bad review, it is simply a bad vindictive post from someone who believed that he should not have lost money that he believed that he earned by fleecing his friends. This is not a REPORT to which anyone ought to pay any attention, it is an act of victimization.

Safari_Craig (on Fodors) writes

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.

My point of view

Look at the fact that this malicious inaccurate report is not only on Fodors, it is on Trip Advisor and Frommers also. How damaging is that for any business, particularly now since you know my side of the story and can fully comprehend that this entire post is untrue.

Atravelynn (on Fodors) writes

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 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.

My point of view

I would have thought that in all fairness, it would have been good to let 2Afrika know about this post. Perhaps that did happen but as I pointed out, Kenneth Hieber no longer visits these forums nor posts on them for as he used to tell me, they are extremely demoralizing and damaging, and now, I see why he always said that and I agree with him. What bothers me about this post is that it has been suggested that pompanotvl tells the BBB and a credit card company. Can you imagine the stress that would have on a small business trying to prove these facts against an improper post?

Atravelynn (on Fodors) writes

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.

My point of view

Without the facts which I have supplied, I understand why one would state that “What happened to you and your party is certainly not fair either,” however inappropriate that is now. And on the partial refund for unacceptable service – again I resent that for my service was more than acceptable. Their behavior and incessant changing and canceling and required upgrades into single rooms is in fact the unacceptable factor in this regard and they should not earn one penny more than they already did. In fact, if I were still at GAY2AFRIKA were it still operational, I would invoice them for unpaid costs.

P_M (on Fodors) writes

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.

My point of view

What a shame that one can base a travel decision on the absolute deceit of a malicious post. This is not a review – it is a defamatory malicious post. I hate the fact that P_M referes to this as a REVIEW for that’s the last thing that it is. Sad that a well standing company loses business due to this post.

Pody22 (on Fodors) writes

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.

My point of view

DO STOP – you are not accurate in what you are posting. When you decide to tell the truth about your behavior and the entire truth, by all means yes, come back and post. But as long as you continue posting improper inaccurate posts, you’re better off staying away and not misleading other people with your deceit.

Sandi (on Fodors) writes

Pompanotvl - thanks for getting back to our comments and clarify concerns. I second the suggestion you report this to the BBB (NYC or NJ).

My point of view

If the BBB spends time wading through clear and evident lies like this, can you imagine their day and their workload – all at taxpayer dollars? Can you imagine the stress on small business trying to defend itself? Frankly, I should communicate with Kenneth Hieber myself and IF pomanotvl does report this to the BBB, I will undertake to respond to them myself with the accurate facts and not this nonsense which has been written.

QUESTION

I know that this group departed in October 2010 for as I pointed out, I was responsible for finalizing them. Why does this post appear 14-months later then? If this was such a disastrous tour, why was this not commented on immediately upon the groups return home? If these forums are to be for the use of other potential travelers, why wait 14-months to advise them? Is this just someone waking up in a bad mood one morning and deciding to ‘get someone’? My question makes perfect sense to me after such a long period of silence.

OBSERVATION

To state that “He and his staff are seriously unhinged and unreliable” is an insult on myself that I will not take kindly to. I am extremely hinged and very reliable with all that I do – and so I for one will not tolerate rudeness and inappropriate behavior from anyone. Furthermore, note how this entire post is aimed directly at Kenneth Hieber when I have made is perfectly clear that I was the one dealing with finalizing this group.

REVIEW THE POST

“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.”

I resent this remark also for I was the one communicating. To insinuate that I was not doing my job properly is entirely inaccurate. Of course Kenneth Hieber did not respond for the entire file was handed to me to take care of and I did.

“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.”

My point of view is that I hope he and his group would not travel with 2AFRIKA or GAY2AFRIKA again. As I pointed out to Kenneth Hieber on many occasions, this is not the type of business he should be doing under any circumstances. It is BAD business. I hope that this group never travels with Kenneth Hieber again and if they do approach him for services, I hope that he has the sense to turn them away. No one needs to be treated like this at all.

“Customer service - Non-existant”

I am reminded how inappropriate we all can be when we do not get our own way every step of the way. I worked my best for this group and to read this insults my intelligence on every level.

BAD NEWS FOR 2AFRIKA

If you look at how this post displays on these forums, you will see that it is tagged to Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania which means that anyone going to any forum to try and find an unbiased opinion and a true reflection on the 2AFRIKA I know will be tainted by this vicious post and the company which previously supported me by way of employment will no doubt feel the impact of that. Again I think that this is immoral and improper and very unfair since these people only traveled to South Africa and Zambia but yet they chose vindictively to deface the company in all of the marketplaces that it promotes. That is simply wrong in my opinion and should not be allowed at all.

CLOSING

If you might be wondering why I am so vocal about this post, may I remind you that this is a direct slander at me. Unfortunately Kenneth Hieber and his company are the ones taking the brunt of it. I am the one that is annoyed that 2AFRIKA did not respond to this post and set the record straight. My point of view is that they should have but since I am no longer employed there, I have no say other than to post this which I believe is the right thing to do, not only for myself but also for my former employer who treated me very well indeed.

It makes me realize that coming to these forums for knowledge is not necessarily the right thing to do, particularly since I came across this inaccurate derogatory post. Perhaps there are many more out there which might be the same against other companies which are being held as ‘true’ and otherwise causing other organizations unnecessary issues. I will spend the next few days reviewing the posts on 2AFRIKA and GAY2AFRIKA and Kenneth Hieber and where I know them to be inaccurate, I will have no hesitation in pointing them out. Where I know that they are legitimate, I will point that out also.

I will not but I do hope that someone does forward this entire thread to Kenneth Hieber for him to review. I will however forward this entire thread to the BBB of New York and New Jersey ahead of the poster in the hope that both of those offices realize too how their time can be wasted.

To those of you who acknowledged the well intended spirit of my initial post, my thanks to you. J
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Mar 7th, 2012, 09:55 AM
  #26
 
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Thanks for the other side of this issue.

But may I ask,
1) Was it clearly stated, in writing, to the group's rep*, that prices would change up/down, if the number of participants changes? Also, the need for single supplements, if as you explained, one couple, became a single?

*there should be only one to gather all info and sole person with whom you communicate. Sure hope you weren't being contacted by each participant... ugh!

2) at what point in the process was the deposit for this trip due? When it was decided the final number was 15 and they had already agreed to the new higher price (all legitimate) or still when it was 30/paxs?

3) if no deposit had been received till final number of paxs confirmed, and you already noticed this would be 'a problem group' to just advise that "we can no longer work with you?" and return deposit to them, and let them go elsewhere.

I know this is difficult to say or you to hear, besides the fact that it is a chunk of money, but sometimes.... doing so is necessary for your peace of mind and less anxiety. Certainly to avoid a post as above, though who knows what else they'd do/say... but, that's business.

My 2-cents.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 10:37 AM
  #27
 
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ANSWER TO SANDI

Hi and thank you for your input. I will do my best to answer as accurately as I possibly can given the fact that I have not had access to any records (nor can have) to be 100% accurate (and I do not want to add any insult to injury on behalf of my former employer).

1.) No Idea – I hope so but I cannot be sure. What I can be sure about is the fact that the initial contact on this group was in July 2008 for an October 2010 departure.
2.) What I learned was that there is no way possible to secure rates 26 months out and so whatever was discussed price wise that far in advance was under review until accurate pricing would have been received.
3.) What was most unfortunate back then was no one in South Africa was sticking to any contractual rates (even in mid 2009) due to the upcoming World Cup which took place in South Africa.
4.) I know that some form of price was agreed on in mid-2009 (again I assume that this was to have been reviewed appropriately) as deposits were processed at either the end of August or into September 2009. Again I cannot be 100% accurate on dates without the files which I do not have access to and I am just applying logic as best as I recall it.
5.) What I do know is that at the time of deposit there were 30 passengers traveling as space was held in 15 double rooms.
6.) No single supplement was discussed (this I know for sure) as these were all couples or friends who would share and so the single supplement was never an issue. However, when the final headcount came in under the 30 mark and then when the unfortunate break up happened forcing me to make use of a single room, I advised the group leaders immediately and was told that there was no way that they would pay that amount at which time I said (not Kenneth Hieber) that I would cancel that passenger and NOT the entire group. This I know for sure as those were my words.

I understand and respect your last comment and if I were still in that industry, I would pay more attention to it. However I am back in the world of finance which is where I came from and so that is moot to me. I hope that someone else might in time read your recommendation and take such action should he or she find it necessary. I guess though that that too would have had its repercussions unfortunately based on the original tone of the post.

J
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Mar 7th, 2012, 10:56 AM
  #28
 
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26/months in advance? OMG! No way anyone could confirm prices. Unless you guestimate at 10-12% per year, not even taking into consideration statutory increases for which you have no control... fuel surcharges, park fee increases, etc. And, no doubt, that too may have been an issue with the group.

Again, sorry for this mishap.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 01:46 PM
  #29
P_M
 
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Thank you for posting the other side, it's very rare we get to hear both sides of the story. I still have yet to book a safari and your point to me is well taken, I will reconsider.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 02:52 PM
  #30
 
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Thank you P_M for your courteous response. I am glad that you might reconsider 2AFRIKA to be your outfitter when you do take a safari. Having worked there, I know that you will be treated with enormous respect from start to finish - I hope that you will travel someday soon. J
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Feb 5th, 2013, 11:35 PM
  #31
 
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My husband and myself also booked our 'trip of a lifetime' with 2 Afrika in 2011 for a May safari in 2012 to Kenya and Tanzania.My husband had previously used 2 Afrika for a trip and was very satisfied with the experience. He was also very excited that Mr. Hieber would be traveling with the group. Our safari was cancelled a week before the trip was to start.To be fair, there had been a heightened alert for travel r/t a recent event in Nairobi. However after doing some reading on travel sites recently,the last minute cancellation without re imbursing clients appears to have happened more than once. We initally rescheduled for the November trip,still trusting in the very charming Mr. Hieber. Because of illness we were no longer able to go and Travel Guard did re imburse us for part of our travel expenses. I don't believe they would have otherwise paid a penny. We are still owed several thousand that KH agreed to repay in writing. He has since gone silent. I believe that Mr. Hieber may have done a great job for his clients a few years ago judging by glowing reviews but that is no longer the case.
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Feb 6th, 2013, 02:29 PM
  #32
 
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There are more threads on this company on Trip Advisor... negative.

Frommers has finally removed 2Afrika from a rating of B+ (or was it - ) to an F. One of the posters on TA has finally got a suit in with their Attorney General. And there was mention that Ken Heiber has a blog that supposedly assists 'abused women'... duh!

Too much about how this company conducts business is just off. STAY AWAY!
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Aug 13th, 2013, 04:54 PM
  #33
 
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I have also had a bad experience with Ken Heiber and 2Afrika. On the night before we were supposed to depart on the trip of a lifetime to Kenya, we were contacted by Liberty Africa (the company that would be actually doing the tour in Kenya) to notify us that Ken had not paid them and that the trip had been cancelled. The trip had been cancelled due to non-payment approximately 6 weeks prior to our departure but we were never notified by 2Afrika. If it weren't for Liberty Africa, I fear we would have boarded our flights and been left stranded in Nairobi. If you are considering an African safari, please do not contact Ken Heiber at 2Afrika. There are many other reputable companies. We are currently pursuing legal action with the NJ attorney general. Ken is no longer responding to emails or phone calls. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!!!
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Aug 14th, 2013, 06:53 AM
  #34
 
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As follow-up, just want to make sure folks see this ABC News story here in New York about the fraud that 2Afrika perpetuated... http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?se...ide&id=9000115
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Oct 9th, 2013, 09:41 PM
  #35
 
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Finally something will be done legally. Ken Hieber was arrested recently and hopefully will be getting his day in court. For all those who never got to take that trip of a life time, or had a dream trip turn into a nightmare, or who lost money that was never recovered and for all of us who spent months having to deal with the stress of the aftermath of his lies and fraud...it's a good day.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 10:03 AM
  #36
 
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Brittravelor - Good to read. But from where did you learn of this? Suggest you post this also on Trip Advisor on either the Kenya or Tanzania or both forums, where there are long threads on this subject from many who were burnt by this thief - Ken Heiber.
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Oct 21st, 2013, 02:34 PM
  #37
 
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As reported in the October 2013 "International Travel News" (ITN) "Ground operator stiffed, travelers stuck"

ITN did a gathering of the facts of the case including the travelers, 2Africa, and the Vendors in Kenya. Both the travelers and Kenyan vendors responded. Mr. Hieber of 2Africa did not respond to inquiries by ITN.

The end of a detailed response by the Kenyan vendor ended with:
“We all together are victims of 2AFRIKA.”SHABBIR KHAN, Predators Safari Club

"ITN sent copies of Mr. Fink’s emails to 2AFRIKA (444 Washington Blvd., Ste. 2518, Jersey City, NJ 07310) and received no reply

Read the entire story: http://www.intltravelnews.com/2013/1...ravelers-stuck

Bottom line, buyer beware. Anyone who books with this company after reading this ITN article better not be surprised when they are left on the side of a dusty road like the unsuspecting travelers in this article who were duped into thinking they were booking the trip of a lifetime.
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