Good Earth Guides

Old Nov 8th, 2007, 06:17 PM
  #21  
 
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Four of us females went with Good Earth in June 2006. I read this forum got names of the good guides (Raphael,Abdul,and Saidi)and decided where I wanted to stay. We did'nt get any of the guides above that I requested .....we got Ben. He was a shovenist,not a good spoter, and not knowlegeable about animal behavior. My sister and I knew more then he did.The first night we had a night drive set-up with Narry. Ben said there wasn't a night drive in our itinerary....so I showed him my copy ( we got a night drive). We were suppose to stay a Gibb's Farm, I had confirmed this the Mon. before we left with Narry.....no Gibbs Farm. We Stayed at the Serena Manyara instead.I do have to say because I was the bitch-from-hell we did get a $300 refund at the end of the trip
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Old Nov 9th, 2007, 12:53 PM
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Lovintravelin,

Sorry about your poor experience. Same as Sandy222. Hopefully Ben is gone.

If you realize after a day or two that the guide is just no good, what can you do? Refuse to continue with that guide? Demand a refund on the spot? Document and demand a refund at the end? Or are you just screwed?

Just wondering for the future and hoping it never happens.

Fortunately the worst guide I ever had was only good, and fell short of the excellence that most of my guide usually exhibit.

I'd say book with a reputable agent to avoid losers. But I consider Good Earth a reputable agent and they still employed a loser. With 2 groups being upset about Ben, I tend to think it was Ben and not unrealistic expectations or a personality conflict.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 11:21 AM
  #23  
 
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Hi Atravelynn...Fireing Ben wasn't an option. When your on vacation what is the lesser-of-two-evils, having to endure a poor guide, or waiting around for a new guide.I don't want to waste my time. I agree with you that Good Earth is a good company......we just got a bad guide.Happy Travels
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 08:07 AM
  #24  
 
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Narry has told me that Ben is no longer with Good Earth. We leave in 9 days and can't thank everyone who posts their experience and advice enough for their help!
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Mommag: Look forward to reading your trio report. We will be going with Good Earth this summer. I hope you have a great trip!
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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We had a great experience with Good Earth. Our puide was Good Luck and he was great. We had one change that was an upgrade and Were very pleased with it.
Good travels.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 01:46 AM
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Dear all,

I felt a strong need to contrast sandy222's comments regarding BEN MOREMBWA and Good Earth Tours. I flew with my wife to Northern Tanzania 2 months ago for 15 days ; and that was probably one of my most pleasant travel experience, and precisely mostly thanks to the exceptionnal guiding we were provided by goodearth and specifically by M. Benedict Morembwa, whose knowledge of the northern parks, outstanding animal spotting & tracking ability, extreme kindness and availability have highly contributed to the success of our trip.
Ben took us to numerous unspoilt places ; we were lucky enough to see the Big Five several times in just a week safari ; and learned more with him about animal behaviour than with a 24 volumes encyclopedia !

My wife and I are both quite demanding and accustomed to good service ; all I can say about Ben & Goodearth is that they made the impossible real; setting up the safari in less than one week, with the very same accomodation than we had asked for in spite of poor availability (Mbuzi Mawe, Kirimuru Tented Camp, Tarangire TreeTops, Swala Camp, various Serena Lodges).

I am extremely surprised to hear that Sandy222 had a poor experience with Benedict ; as I would not recommend going to Tanzania with somebody else. I even advised several of my investment bank partners, as well as my parents & some close friends to take that trip with him; which they all will do in the forthcoming weeks or months.
Ben was never late. Most other guides we met when we coincidated with other groups used to take advice from him. Discrete, Humble, extremely professional and with a tremedous sense of responsibility, he only deserves our friendship and recognition.
I would strongly recommend any person travelling with goodearth to ask for him as a guide ; and would consider it very unfair if the bitterness of a disapointed traveler outbalanced the excellent opinion of others. Letting Ben off would, in my view, be very serious mismanagement.
I wish you all an excellent trip ; the country is wonderful ; you can only love it !


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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 02:08 AM
  #28  
 
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Hi everyone,

We actually went on vacation for 15 days to Tanzania. We had Ben during a week. He is an experienced guide, who spotted everything. He was even calling his colleagues to allow other visitors of the parks to see what he found. We saw the big 5 within 2 days of safari, when no one else that we asked, saw them after a week of safari. Afterwards we spend some time seeing very special things: hunting, copulation, distribution of food among different species…. . The explanations about animals, their behaviour and habits were rich and detailed. He even led me a book to get more scientific information about what we were seeing. He was caring all the time about how we felt and he was making sure that everything was fine for us, including our security.


It is hard to believe what Sandy222 and loveintravelin are saying, because Benedict drove us around through small roads, where we were completely alone, where we saw things that are privileged for regular tourists. However, we let him do. We were not bossing him around, changing plans or telling him where to go or what to do. This way, we got the best out of him. He communicated us the passion, the love and the interest of everything that we were seeing and admiring in his country.

About being late, I must say the same. He was always on time, but we are not the kind of people that need to hurry on vacations.

I really believe that firing him is a very bad idea. We liked so much our trip that we plan to come back on 2008 and we want to go with Benedict. We have some friends that want to come and we have seriously recommended Ben as a guide.

GOOD EARTH was so helpful with everything since the very beginning and took care of us even that week of safari, when we had problems to book other hotels.

I strongly recommend traveling with Ben.




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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 03:57 AM
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Nice try
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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We had Ben as our safari guide in August 2007 and have nothing but great things to say about him. Quite frankly, we are shocked at some of the negative comments regarding his behavior. We experienced none of that and he was always really professional.

What we loved most was that he didn't follow other drivers around the park and went out and hunted for animals for us on his own. That was much better than always being surrounded by 10 safari vehicles looking at the same boring things. We saw baby lion cubs, a cheetah kill, and other very interesting things that other people did not see on the safari.

He was incredibly accommodating and very knowledgeable. Unless you are a zoologist, chances are he has more knowledge than you and we are avid watchers of animal planet and the discovery channel. We did a second part of our safari in Kenya with 2 different guides and they were horrible. They were unprofessional and had their own agenda so we know what horrible guides can be like.

We would highly recommend Ben and plan to recommend him as a guide regardless of whether he is with Good Earth or not.

martharodmore did make a good point in stating that we did allow Ben a lot of freedom to do what he felt was best for us on the safari. He was the expert and I think perhaps that was why we had such a good experience.

We did have a good experience with Good Earth though and would recommend Bura and Bariki as mountain guides for Kili.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 10:59 AM
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I would have to agree that Ben was a great guide! I would absolutely use him again. He was excellent at spotting animals, incredibly knowledgeable, and truly kind. We had a wonderful trip with him and I am already planning on going back to Africa and would love to use his services again. It is rather unfortunate that several people have had differences in opinions and I wouldn't in the least want someone as genuinely nice and kind as him to be the one suffering from these differences. Not only did we enjoy our trip, but I considered Ben a lasting friend. My family and I have done trips all over the world and he was one of the best guides we have ever had.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 09:28 AM
  #32  
 
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My husband and I did a week long private safari with Good Earth in September 2006 and Aaron was our guide. I had requested Raphael as another poster had recommended him so highly. Good Earth told me that they could not guarantee a particular guide - end of story.

I went back to them and explained that my husband and I had spent two weeks in New Zealand on a private trekking tour and from day one we did not like our guide. Not because he didn't know his stuff, he did, we simply didn't click; he rushed from place to place; he didn't stop when I requested to take photos; he kept a major clip ahead of us on tramps; and he seemed to be full of himself - a rock-n-roll star wannabe. I exlained to Good Earth that I did not want another repeat experience and supported my plea by noting that the the couple who had used Raphael were similar in nature to us.

Although Aaron was a very good guide,spotted animals on a dime, and stopped every time I requested, we did get the impression he was always up to something. Once we would arrive at camp (camping safari) he would need to leave ... to get a haircut, to go to a lodge, to get gas, and who knows what else. Not that we needed hand holding, we just felt his disappearances were odd since most all of the other guides were still in camp, usually talking amongst themselves. He used these excuses to cut out quickly after lunch and dinner. After the first time he had to get gas, the next time we checked the gas gauge before he left, then checked it again before our next game drive. There was no change. This happened a second time as well. For us it was no big deal that he left, but he didn't have to make excuses to get away from us.

Before we arrived in the Serengeti when we needed ice to keep our beer cold we were told there was no ice in the town we stopped at. Then when we said we could pay for it, there suddenly was a lead on ice. We offered a $10.00 and never got change back. It was not a huge issue and we pretty much expected it, but it certainly made us wonder what else we would be taken for.

All in all, he did a fine job and would get a recommendation from us. I am only guessing but I did get the impression that Good Earth told him that I was a shutter bug and to stop whenever I requested. And he did. For his efforts and his dedication to the preservation of the park and animals, we gave him, and our cook Reuben, a nice tip.

Reuben was also a wonderful cook and had a genuine quality to him. He was fun to chat with and he seemed to really like his job. We encouraged him to dine with us but he only did once preferring to spend his time in the cooking hut with the other cooks. He wore a Jerry Springer t-shirt a couple of days which made us laugh. We tried explaining who Jerry Springer was, but we knew he would never fully understand without seeing his TV show. We also loved the fact that his suitcase for a week on the road was not much larger than a laptop computer case.

But before I conclude, I do want to say that Good Earth did a very nice job for our safari and our climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Everything went very well. If I were to return to Africa to do a similar trip, I would use them again. I would also recommend that for the small extra fee for a private safari ($180.00 for us), it was well worth it. There was no sharing of windows, we were able to recharge our batteries when we needed, stop when we wanted, spread out our gear, and no waiting on anyone else.
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Old Jan 24th, 2008, 11:42 PM
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I'm really surprised to hear the negative comments about Ben from Good Earth, and join all the others who posted their compliments. We travelled with Ben last summer and he was simply excellent. You can read a full account at http://www.african-safari-journals.c...ng-safari.html
I would take issue with every one of the points that sandy222 made. Ben was efficient and helpful, an excellent driver and above all, a superb guide and very knowlegable - oh, and onesweetearth, I *am* a zoologist . He was attentive to our wishes and planned each day's itinerary with an emphasis on what we wanted to see. Having said that, I should strongly point out that a safari is not like a tour of the sights in Manhattan. Absolutely central to a successful safari is to let the guide lead; he knows what is the best thing to see and where, and you have to trust him. If you go with the attitude of, "Now take me to a lion. Now I want to see a cheetah. Go now to a rhino", you'll only be disappointed. Several times, Ben started off looking for one thing, and then would change direction an go off somewhere else; with decisions like that, we never argued, and we ended up seeing a lot more like that. Sometimes he advised us to sit still, even for up to an hour, and we were rewarded with the most amazing sights. On the other hand, sometimes we'd ask to stay a little longer in the middle of a herd of zebras, and he'd happily comply.
So just keep cool on your safari, go with the natural rhythm of the Serengeti and let your guide lead. I strongly recommend Ben, and GoodEarth as a whole.
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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Ben was awesome! I am pleased to see that there has been supportive comments regarding Ben.

My husband and I were in Tanzania in June 2007 and Ben was our guide for nearly a week. We have nothing but positive things to say about Ben, and we would absolutely recommend Ben as a guide to any of our friends and families. He is a very skilled safari guide, any bird and animal we asked about he was able to quickly identify it and would tell us interesting facts about the animals. He had a quick eye and pointed out animals during the drive that my husband and I were not quick enough to see. We saw all big 5 animals AND, twice did Ben locate leopards (which were very difficult to spot) hidden amongst the trees.

Ben was very pleasant, went out of his way to ensure our trip was most enjoyable and in the end, after the safari, he was kind enough to pick us up from our hotel in Arusha and dropped us off directly to our bus stop.

Ben always wore a smile, always asked us what we wanted to do, what time we wanted start and end each day. He want to some pretty obscure places where there were no other cars about - which was great!

I do have a general advice for people going on a safari, generally speaking in a game park as large as the Serengeti, seeing a lot of animals is a hit and miss. Afterall, they are animals and they roam about freely and tourists should not necessarily be quick to blame their guide if they didn't end up seeing as many animals as they would in the zoo.

My husband and I have travelled around the world and have had our fair share of tour guides. Ben was one of the best guides we've had! I will be greatly disappointed if I learn that Good Earth tours let him go. If so, I would not recommend people to go to Good Earth tours as it would appear that the company did not do an appropriate level of research before making such a decision!
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 09:06 PM
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I just wanted to add another thing. I wonder how people can sleep at night knowing that they may have been the reason someone got fired and that someone lives in a third world country with a young family to support. And that posting such aweful comments may have an impact on how they can find employment elsewhere.

I personal think that if you have an issue with a particular guide, you should deal with the company directly and from there, the individual can learn from their mistakes and become a better professional. I'm all about sharing travelling experiences - I think its great, but not at the cost of potentially destroying someone's career!
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