Mar 30th, 2006, 06:59 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 78

Hi All! I am taking a trip to Uganda this Christmas and can't wait! My tour company is Travelust. Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) with this company? I welcome and appreciate all comments.

Thanks in advance!


drgough is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2011, 02:52 PM
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Hi Debbie - what was your experience with Travelust? I write this post as a warning to anyone else considering booking your trip through them. We also took a trip to Uganda very recently and used Travelust. Quite simply, they gave us the best price - we should have realized why. I understand that this is a budget operation and we were in Africa. However, that is no excuse for the poor and unprofessional manner in which we were treated by James at Travelust. Our first warning sign was that for the duration of the 3 months we spent planning the trip, it would often take several emails and phone calls to James to get any responses to our questions. Then we would receive one quick response to the ten questions we had posted. A week prior to our vacation we had no confirmation or reassurance that any of our trip had been booked. He also was untruthful about drive times within Uganda. We were told that, for example, one drive time was 6 hours. In actuality, it took 10 hours to reach the hotel from which we would be doing gorilla trekking. We had to trek on 2 hours of sleep due to his dishonesty. Also, on the second to last day of our trip, our driver got into a car accident while we slept in the backseat. Though the accident was in Kampala, where Travelust is based, it took them 3 hours to get us a replacement car. We missed an entire day of our vacation, and then had to cancel white water rafting the following day due to whiplash we experienced. Finally, when we asked James for a small refund or some other way to partially make up for our negative experiences, he absolutely refused.

Moral of the story - STAY AWAY from Travelust. They are unprofessional and dishonest.
hazlis is offline  
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Sep 26th, 2011, 02:40 PM
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Hi. Sorry for the super long delay, only just saw your post now.

We enjoyed Travelust. We had some minor issues, but chalked them up to "that's Africa".

We may have had some delays in hearing back from James but he delivered on everything he promised. And we paid a fraction of what others did by using an African tour group.
drgough is offline  
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Sep 26th, 2011, 04:58 PM
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What a weird thread.
Original posted 2006, a negative reply on first of 2011. Now a positive reply from OP 6 months later about their 2006 trip.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2011, 07:55 AM
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Duh! Tres tres strange!
sandi is offline  
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Nov 10th, 2011, 11:41 PM
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I've never understood why people book a company, and THEN ask for experiences others have had.

"My tour company is Travelust. Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) with this company? "
CaliNurse is offline  
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:15 AM
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OK, then. Yikes. Someone had a fine experience. Someone else, recently, did not; and possibly made some flaky decisions while on their trip then chose to blame the booking agent for things beyond their control. Fodors may want to blank out some of the directly identifying info on the agent's response, but Ouch.
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Feb 6th, 2012, 01:57 AM
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The couple in question did not pay us for their trip since they chose to pay for all expenses as they traveled. They requested a price breakdown of all the costs and we emailed them this.

Having failed to honor their reservations at places they asked us to book(Ngamba Island and their rafting trip with Adrift), they came back with a black mailing scheme for a 20% compensation. The reasons they gave for this were:

1: Their airline into Kigali was delayed by over 4 hours.

2: It took them longer to arrive Bwindi when their driver guide suggested use of an alternative route due to road works. Secondly, since they started late, the drive in the dark takes longer than day time driving.

3: A minor car accident(as they slept) in the heavy morning traffic involving another vehicle.

Most issues being raised were clearly out of our control and were dealt with by the local police and Insurance company.

It was so embarrassing that hazlis and boyfriend could not afford their already reserved activities that we booked for them.

Otherwise, email correspondences tell a very different story.
uganda is offline  
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Feb 7th, 2012, 04:19 PM
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well, in 2006/2007, after an extensive internet search, I signed myself and 3 others (including my daughter) up with Travelust as they offered the best itinerary for the least amount of money. I have traveled extensively and this was the best, best, BEST trip I have ever taken. We designed our itinerary to include trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda. We stayed at the same hotels as the bigger touring companies, but for much less money. James was very helpful in helping me determine where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. If there was a lag in emails, it was most likely because he had to work on the travel time and revise the cost. I always try to use a local company when I travel as I find I get the best service and a great price.

This is Uganda folks. The roads are a mess, the conditions can change from day to day or moment to moment. We got stuck in the mud 3 times, and one time our driver had to drive on top of a submerged bridge (which had been washed out the night before because of flooding in Kenya), to cross a small river. If he had not been able to do this, we would have had a 10 hr detour. LOVED it all! And for the poster who said it took 3 hrs to get a replacement car, I can tell you that I had to wait almost 2 hrs for AAA to come and tow my car here, in NJ, on a bright sunny summer day. Given the conditions of the roads and the distances, a 3 hr wait is pretty good.

Thank you James and Meddie. Hope I can travel back to Uganda again sometime.
annergizer is offline  
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 03:04 PM
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I just returned from my trip (June 2013) I would please ask that anyone considering employing this company take the time to read this... we were told the drive from Kibale Forest to Bwindi would be 6 hours, it took 7 1/2 on a dirt bumpy road lined with villagers who were not happy to see us , we drove past the refugee camp for the Congo ,mud shacks , with no water or electricity, each family with 8 children , make shift mosques in each community, distain on everyones faces including children. we only learned later from talking to Travel Agents at the Victoria Hotel in Entebbe and talking to Abercrombie and Kent the trip between Kibale and Bwindi should be only 3 hours {2 1/2 on paved road 1/2 on gravel}in a completely different direction.
We were told by our Travelust driver who stopped at a dirt road / paved road intersection that the military there had told him what road to take, our driver made a few other stops which we questioned the purposes of . This not a company to do business with , go with A & K or have the Victoria Hotel book for you or better yet , see if the people in Rwanda are friendly because you wont get any smiles in Uganda.
The Bwindi Gorilla Resort has no screened protection in the bathrms, {they lie and say theres no malaria}when the clinic a few mud shacks down is burdened with MALARIA and HIV we were the only ones who stayed there that month , 1 st clue.
The Kibale Primate Lodge is located at the chimp trail head , only reason to stay there, food is carb/cafeteria slop and no one there is friendly or helpful , charge for drinking water and gouge you on bill at end.
CindyElephantLove is offline  
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Jun 24th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Poor baby. Dirt roads, mosquitoes, refugee camps. Just too much to ask for a tourist in Uganda.

I used Travelust several years ago and experienced most of those problems. I don't blame Travelust.

At least you did not get robbed and murdered by the Congo rebels from across the border at the A&K lodge in the not-too-long-ago.
JaneB is online now  
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Oct 19th, 2014, 04:04 PM
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Sorry, I have just seen this.

In response to CindyElephantLove and a followup to the soliciting emails requesting for compensation in exchange for good publicity on Travel Forums,

I will still confirm that the driving time from Kibale to Bwindi is between 6 and 7 hours depending on the stops. The so called A&K consultants you met at the upgraded accommodations we offered you in Entebbe, were probably impersonators that tried to make you feel good. Otherwise, It doesn't make economic or safety sense to drive through the Congo refugee camps if transiting from Kibale to Bwindi as per allegations.

We are not sure what problems you were experiencing during your trip, but it would be really unfair to blame the experience on the country at large. You were given options to stay at luxury accommodations and budget accommodations and you personally chose to take the budget option.

We will however agree with you that the community hospital at Buhoma takes care of the communities living around the park and some of these may or may not be suffering from malaria or HIV. Your tent should have had some extra netting other than the standard nets that are fitted during the manufacturing process. Bwindi is no longer considered a mosquito free zone due to global warming and the extra bug screening is now in place at most accommodations at Bwindi.
JamesK is offline  
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Oct 19th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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JamesK: Cindy won't see your post. She registered and posted that one time back in June 2013. She hasn't been back on Fodors since (and likely just posted on lots of different travel boards)
janisj is online now  
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Oct 19th, 2014, 11:42 PM
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Many thanks janisj.
JamesK is offline  
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Oct 22nd, 2014, 07:05 AM
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I would just like to add that you will get plenty of smiles from the people in Uganda (and Rwanda for that matter). How Elephant Cindy managed to interpret "distain" (sic) from her comfy car is beyond me.

Also Kibale primate lodge - the food is fine (you wouldn't expect haute cuisine in the middle of the rain forest in one of the poorer countries in Africa would you?), and the people who work there are very friendly and helpful.

As for her other comments about mud huts, mosques, mosquitoes etc - what on Earth was you doing going on holiday to Africa for? How bizarre.

If you want more info - read our trip report here
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