The email or password you entered isn't correct. If you've forgotten your password, please reset it. Click here
This is difficult to assign stars to as parts were 5-star worthy and others barely eeked out a single star. Keep in mind this is marketed as a LUXURY safari so that's where our expectations were set. To start, we were told the evening before our safari was to begin that the itinerary had changed. After conveying concerns to our driver that we would miss expected safari time, he was able to have the original, published itinerary reinstated.
A major item here, not indicated in the advertising is that this is a shared safari, which would not have been that big of a deal had the other party been on the same safari instead of a budget accommodation safari. We calculated that we lost approximately 8 hours over the six days due to taxiing back and forth and her tardiness. The tour company can't be held responsible for the other party's personality but she was painful to be around and added nothing positive to our experience. Also, because of lodging issues at one of the parks, she was upgraded to the luxury accommodations at no extra cost while we'd paid for our luxury accommodation.
Another disappointment was the vehicle. We were in an older Landrover that was not suitably prepared for punctures two in one day!. Our tour stated that we would enjoy our safari experience from the comfort of a 4x4 Landcruiser. The Landrover was an old workhorse with a 4 dial dash, nothing like the Landcruisers we passed in the game parks. Indeed, the taxi we took after our safari was a Landcruiser equipped with seat cushions, padded headrests, padded roof and padded opening edges to lean against would have been nice to have while taking our photographs, along with minor details such as binocular holders at each seat, air conditioning, and windows opening with little effort. This was our expectation for the safari vehicle. Our no-frills Landrover had basic seats, hard to open windows some didn't open at all, and old underinflated spare tires...a simple work vehicle, devoid of all accessories.
There was a discrepancy between the tour description and what our driver believed we were to have on Day 5 of our experience. Our driver told us that he provided us a mini-safari on this day to make up for our having to wait for nearly two hours due to issues with the other party not being where she was supposed to be at the scheduled departure time. The description states that Day 5 is our last safari in the Serengeti National Park before heading to the Ngorongoro Crater so we didn't exactly feel that the few hours spent as a favor were additional but rather that we were shorted safari time in fact, on this day while we were waiting around, other safari goers enjoyed viewing an early morning kill by a lion, a leopard eating up in a tree, lions sitting on rocks, and more.
The Sopa and Serena lodges in which were stayed were lovely, however, the first two nights we were placed in less than desirable rooms one looking out at a brick wall. After that, upon check-in at each location, we specifically requested rooms that had unobstructed views and were booked into appropriate rooms. Service was impeccable, everyone at each location was exceedingly friendly and eager to serve. The box lunches became a bit boring and repetitive but they were not lacking in portions so we were never hungry. At the lodges, food was presented buffet style except for the first night Valentine's Day where we were served an exceptional 8-course dinner.
Our driver/guide was extremely adept at navigating the roads bumpy dirt trails at times, no paved roads to speak of and a font of information. He scoped out many sights and was patient in allowing us to take nearly 4,000 photos during our 6-day adventure. The only animal we did not get to see was the Black Rhino and we could have seen the Black Rhino had we been afforded the full allotment of time in the Ngorongoro Crater.
We saw amazing sights, such as a teen male lion chasing a zebra, 4 lioness and 6 cubs feasting on a cape buffalo, ostrich, birds of all sorts, copious amounts of zebra, wildebeests, elephants, monkeys and baboons, and even the rare sighting of honey badgers fighting off a black mamba snake. The experience of seeing all of these animals in their natural habitat seemingly unphased by our presence is difficult to put into words. We can simply say that a safari is something that we feel blessed to have experienced.
We went with Viator because prior tours booked in London and Paris were exceptional. There were other companies, some less expensive. Would we recommend Viator and this safari? Probably not, for the reasons we outlined above. Would we recommend a safari? Without a doubt, YES!
It should be noted that prior to posting this review we sent an email to Viator outlining our disappointments, giving them an opportunity to address our concerns and received zero response. That should speak volumes to whoever considers booking with Viator.