EASTCO safari trip report

Sep 12th, 2006, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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If you want to apply pressure on the operator you can contact TATO (Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators), which has 110 members ... dunno if this company is one of them, if not that probably tells you something. Also dunno if there's a way to settle disputes thru TATO but at least there will be a negative letter in his file ... http://www.tatotz.org/

Also you can threaten to write a complaint letter to the Arusha Times. For instance in this week's edition there's a letter from a Frenchman complaining about his trip under the title "How a knife attack in Arusha almost ruined my holiday" (yep, that might do it for me too).

Basically if you want a partial refund (which is all you're likely to get) focus on the days lost when the driver didn't take you on game drives and ask for a reasonable refund for those or say that you'll complain to TATO and to the Arusha Times. Once you actually escalate it and write the complaints you'll probably find the company won't listen to you any more, figuring the damage to their reputation is done (typically they'll just change the name and continue on).

Sometimes the cheapest safari isn't a bargain after all ...

Sorry for all your problems, our Tanzania safaris have all had minor glitches but nothing like this.

Bill_H is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Forgot to include the URL for the Arusha Times ... http://www.arushatimes.co.tz/
Bill_H is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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"Arusha Times... "How a knife attack in Arusha almost ruined my holiday"

Was the knife carried by a rampaging angry elephant?
waynehazle is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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I don't think EASTCO is a TATO member. I don't know if the Tanzania Tourist Board takes complaints about operators but you could try that too http://tanzaniatouristboard.com/
Patty is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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I am so sorry to hear about your woes, this is unbelieveable and I for one, to help, will get this into the East Africa index pronto-zippo tonight and let everyone know right up front about 'truth in travel'.

No beating around the bush in short reviews in your case - I will mention outright that EASTCO will have to come a long way to gain back any believeability they had with people on this forum. However, as I know others have had good experiences with EASTCO I will do it diplomatically and will just make sure that people considering them will at least read your thread to draw their own conclusions.

I believe this forum is a very powerful tool for marketing (or not, in this case...), and also believe that writing to Ombudsman is a good idea to try to get some compensation which you rightfully deserve. I personally - my two cents worth - think that they should refund your ENTIRE trip - air fare and all so that you can try it again with another company.

My jaw, like others dropped - especially about being left alone on the road for 4 hours. That could have been downright dangerous.

LyndaS is offline  
Sep 12th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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I am so sorry you had to go through this.

I felt your helplessness and could put myself in your place with your comment, "I couldnít believe that this trip weíd planned for almost a year was turning out to be like this."

You can take comfort in the fact your decisions and actions--as well as inactions--were responsible for it turning out as well as it did and for providing some magical moments. As others have stated it just goes to show how Africa comes through no matter what.
Again, I credit you for recognzing this and not falling apart.

Thanks also for your measured and lucid posting of these unfortunate events. Reliving those bad experiences I am sure is no fun but the rest of us will be wiser for it.

With the approach you've demonstrated so far that you could make some headway with the organizations and agencies that have been suggested.

You mentioned how you everyone else's safaris seemed to go so well in comparison to yours. That's all the more reason to complain further. The treatment you received is unacceptable.

Thank you again for sharing. It is important that we all learn of both the positive and the negative.
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 03:29 AM
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Thanks for all your responses. Actually after I put the posting up last night all the stress of the trip came rushing back to me and it wasn't pleasant to think of, we have spent the last 6 weeks just trying to remember the best parts of the trip so reliving the bad parts hasn't been fun. Having said that all your feedback has been much appreciated. So thank you.
I checked and EASTCO aren't members of TATO, and for some reason they aren't listed in the Tanzanian tourist board's directory of tour operators http://tanzaniatouristboard.com/dire...tour_operators
All this is surprising considering that EASTCO is recommended by all the big guide books. I'm just wondering why this is. Also would there be any point in complaining to the tourist board if they don't list EASTCO as one of their operators?
My husband and I were discussing sending Simon an email directing him to this posting and seeing if he responds. Especially mentioning that if he doesn't we'll take next steps and contact the guide books. Do you guys think that's a good idea? I could try the Arusha times as well, could I use that as a threat against Simon?
Thanks again, Sam.
samscomps is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 08:51 AM
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EASTCO has a TALA license which is by far the most important! To be listed as a TATO member a company must provide listing information (in addition to the application).

No I haven't turned into a real expert overnight - I am channeling posts of Eben past(climbhighsleeplow who posts on this board - very occasionally recently unfortunately)

Eben actually seems to know a lot about EASTCO and it wasn't all positive so he MIGHT be willing to give you some information or he might well consider it unethical to say anything with regard to a competitor. He also seems to know Simon personally so that might be another complication. I'm really not at all sure he'd like to be advertised in this context so you'll have to find his contact details yourself. It's not difficult. Worth a try.

So, TALA and I'd definitely go for threatening them with Lonely Planet since I understood from a previous post that is their claim to fame? Maybe do it good cop (reasonable and concerned about Simon) bad cop (enraged and ready to pursue this to the death) but only if he's not a worldy or sophisticated character.

I still can't get my head around your story.
kimburu is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 03:42 AM
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Thanks kimburu - i like the good cop bad cop routine
samscomps is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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This is the first time while reading a trip report I am actually glad to be post-safari. How heartbreaking this must be for you, I am SO very sorry for all of your misadventures. I went knowing a few gliches were possible along the way, but had no idea any of this proportion or quantity could occur.
Even if you are able to reclaim some of the money stolen from you, I can't help but think of all the wonderful memories you were cheated out of.
AUGH, again...so very sorry!
countingdown is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 08:45 PM
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My goodness!!! I feel really really bad for you. Until now, i thought my experience with Ranger safaris in 2002 was awful.....but, this is terrible!!!

With Ranger Safaris, i had the worst guide that i have ever been on safari with (sorry, i can't call him a guide, just a driver).....i dont complain much on these public forums, but, regarding Ranger safaris i will......dreadful!!! to the point that, i have been afraid to return to East Africa after my travels to Southern Africa were far better experiences. Anyways, the guide i'm talking about was abnoxious, lazy and even went to the extent of telling me that he was assigned to me because i was from India and the other guides were assigned to Western tourists.

Anyways, painful memories!!!

Sep 15th, 2006, 05:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 267

This site www.dreamweaver.co.uk/eastafricansafri seemed to suggest that EASTCO and Letís Go Travel are partners. Maybe you can contact Lets Go Travel... If nothing else, it should make them aware of what kind of company they are partnered with.

I am going to Kenya with Eastern and Southern Safari next August and am horrified with your experience. I actually e-mail ESS to request copies of reservation confirmations for lodges/camps. I am so sorry that your trip didnít turn out well (an understatement), but I truly admire your attitude, wish I can fare as well under similar situations.

Pat_Rick is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 05:09 AM
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Sorry, typo, this is the site:


Pat_Rick is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 04:46 PM
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Hey Sam,

What is happening with this? Have you followed up with your complaints? I just got my latest issue of Conde Nast and I thought about you.

I flipped to the Ombusdman even though I knew it was too soon for them to have your letter
waynehazle is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Hi Wayne, its been ages since I've been on this site! The latest news is Simon has agreed to refund us $500. Considering it was a $3000 trip its not much, but its something. He also apologised. So dont know if the complaints would help more than this. Do you think it would be worth it to take this further? I also picked up the latest edition of LP Tanzania in a bookshop - and I couldn't find Eastco listed in it (unless I missed it?). So perhaps they've received complaints about this company from before. Sent letters to Bradt and Rough Guide though, so lets see if they take them off their listing. Thank you all for your responses to my report. I'll make sure to run my trip past you guys on this board before making any bookings next time!
samscomps is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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I wrote to CN Ombudsman complaint dept. once re: a car rental in France and I sent a copy to the rental company who promptly resolved the problem-hope your luck is as good because your problems were immense!
moremiles is offline  
Oct 18th, 2006, 07:26 AM
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Well if you really do get $500 back that'll be something. Well done, I'd say, considering you started with him denying there was even a problem. I'd get the money first and then consider taking it further. However, for peace of mind, probably better to write it off and start building on that $500 towards the next trip... I can't se how you are going to do any better than a few hundred dollars more, max. Simon is actually taking a bit of a risk writing that email since you could send it on to LP, Bradt and etc. to validate your report to them - of course you wouldn't do that after he paid you the money.... ;-)

kimburu is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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Sooooo sorry you had such a rotten experience. I have been going to the Masai Mara for the last 12 years for 8 weeks a year and NEVER heard of such an awful experience. Please, please don't let this jaundice you experience in the future. It truly is a magical place that I could never get fed up with......unless I had a safari like yours, I suppose. You are truly a most generous spirited person to have borne this whole ghastly affair with such fortitude. Most of the people I have met have been most helpful, courteous and happy souls who cannot do enough to make sure you have a good time, but I will certainly make sure all my travelling companions and people I meet on safaris are aware of this posting if they are going on to Tanzania - and avoid EASTCO at all costs.

Good luck for the future, and in getting your $500 refund which seems paltry for what you have gone through
canary111 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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HELP ME!! We are supposed to go on a EASTCO trip in six weeks. Should we cancel our entire trip? Try to get a refund. What do you think? We're obviously so upset...
JEStraveler is offline  
Apr 12th, 2007, 02:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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I have just returned from a safari organised by EASTCO. I came across this thread once I had booked it but decided to go ahead after contacting Simon about it. Obviously, I can't comment on other people's experiences but I am glad I didn't cancel the trip. I really thought the service was great. I have written more details of my trip in this thread if anyone is interested

manekineko2 is offline  

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