We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“21 Day - East African Explorer”
Review of Acacia Africa

Acacia Africa
Book In Advance
More Info
US$1 110,61*
and up
11-Day Overland Cape Desert Safari Tour from Cape...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Acacia Africa offers value for money Overland & Small Group Safaris, Adventure tours, Treks and Private Day Tours in Southern and East Africa. We operate tours and safaris with passion and over two decades of experience, ensuring high standards allowing us to grow successfully in a socially and ecologically responsible way. Owner managed team and dedicated guides guarantee passionate attention to quality.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Not long back from this tour and I had a great time so I thought I'd let others know. Overall, the tour was well organised and the guides ensured we felt safe at all times. The truck was well equipped and I was surprised at how comfortable the seats were - so comfortable I was able to sleep despite the 'African massages' along the way. Despite the fact that some of the journeys were quite long, being able to sleep certainly helped. Some of the journeys on this trip are quite long but they are unavoidable if you want to see these parts of Africa. Anyway, the route was quite scenic and the guides provided info about the surrounding area along the way and we stopped every so often to stretch our legs. The main guide, Sammy, also informed us when to stock up on snacks and drinks at the better supermarkets as a lot of the local shops were poorly supplied as you can imagine. Most of the stops had some form of toilet however my group found that the bush toilets were generally cleaner (this is Africa after all). The tents provided were pretty good and the mattresses were spot on too. I have to say, one of the things I was anxious about before going on the trip was the quality of the meals as catering for large groups often leads to small portions of massively overdone food but both Sam and Ali were great cooks and we always had plenty to eat. We also stopped at local kitchens to try some of the local cuisine for lunch which was another good experience. Our particular group had lots of allergies/food intolerances (seafood, nuts, dairy, gluten and shellfish to name a few) and Sam always provided options for these people - to the extent that one person had to reject his meals so they could use up some of their own food to create some room in their suitcase. Finally, our guide Sammy was excellent along the way and his local knowledge was invaluable for us between helping getting currency changed to recommending where to buy gifts etc. One of the more negative reviews says to do this trip on your own steam which seems like a very romantic idea but without being able to speak the local language (Sam can speak 8 apparently) and knowing how to deal with the corrupt policemen you will only end up wishing you had someone like Sam guiding you.
Bad point: When I was at Lake Malawi the lake was quite rough so snorkelling wasn't going to be worthwhile but I guess it's just one of those things and Acacia can't exactly control the weather
Highlights of the trip: South Luangwa - we were fortunate to get VERY close to a pair of lions in heat The Serengeti - seeing The Great Wildebeest Migration was spectacular
Overall, a fantastic trip and would highly recommend travelling with Acacia

Thank rcrozier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Dear Rcrozier

Thank you for taking the time to post about your experience on our 21 Day East African Explorer travelling from Livingstone to Nairobi. We'll be sure to pass the compliments on to Sammy & Ali as I'm sure they'll be thrilled to hear their hard work was appreciated, and that their local expertise helped share some of the special magic of the African continent. It is unfortunate that some of the days on this tour are quite long in terms of driving, however, as you say, it's the only way to get to see the highlights throughout these 4 countries. We hope to have you travel with us again. Regards, Sabine

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (59)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
All reviews
"okavango delta"
in 12 reviews
"tour leader"
in 6 reviews
"vic falls"
in 13 reviews
"small group"
in 8 reviews
"long driving"
in 3 reviews
"long days"
in 3 reviews
"chobe national park"
in 3 reviews
"blyde canyon"
in 2 reviews
"gweta lodge"
in 2 reviews
"camping safari"
in 2 reviews
"namib desert"
in 2 reviews
"white rhino"
in 2 reviews
"day tour"
in 5 reviews
"life changing experience"
in 2 reviews
"year olds"
in 2 reviews
"sand dunes"
in 2 reviews
"other companies"
in 2 reviews
Filter

4 - 8 of 59 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I travelled from Livingstone to Nairobi with Acacia. The service provided was second to none. I was worried about travelling to Africa due to safety but at no time did I feel unsafe.
Our tour leader and driver were very professional and offered a lot of information and went out of their way to help with anything we needed.
The camp sites were all great. I loved there was an option to upgrade for a small fee in a lot of locations. The food was awesome and there was always plenty available.
I would highly recommend Acacia Africa. I would definitely travel with them again.

Thank jessicalpulver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Jessicalpulver - thank you for taking the time to review your trip with us. It's always great to hear that our crew were able to show you how special this part of Africa is and that you enjoyed the facilities in Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania en-route. We make every effort to ensure safety of our travellers, and to supply good wholesome food along the way. We hope to see you travel with us again! Regards, Sabine

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2018

This is my 2nd review for Acacia Africa as I decided to go back and do another tour as my first tour was life changing and they did not disappoint.
I did a 9 day tour from Kampala to Jinja around Uganda - the main reason was to see the Gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The tour was run by Masai and Maja and they were incredible! They are both such lovely people and made the tour run smoothly and ensured we got the most out of our trip. I would highly recommend Acacia Africa for an incredible life changing experience. It is great value for money and you will honestly experience things that you will never forget.

1  Thank Tej_Chau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2018

Dear Tej_Chau - thank you for the great feedback. We are thrilled to hear that Masai and Maja helped make this trip so memorable and that you enjoyed your tours with us so much. We look forward to welcoming you back in future. Regards, Sabine

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2018

We heard the lions roar! The "7 Day Best of Botswana" tour had us camping inside the National Parks. No fences! Inside our tents with elephants roaming around outside... and lions. When a lion roars at night you wake up - instantly. They can be heard up to 8kms. One night after the elephants had passed us by maybe 100 meters from our tents I started to hear a male lions deep roar... that kept getting closer... I must have dozed off till a hugely loud roar seemed just meters away. Later roars told it was moving away. We jumped up early into our LandCruiser and quickly found the lion tracks as close as 300 meters from our camp.
If a close up adventure with the animals is what you are after there is nothing I can recommend better than camping right along with them.
I booked through African Budget Safaris - Bronwyn is great - our Acacia Tours trip through Ocavango Expeditions. It has an expert driver/guide (Morgan) and a chef (Noga). All we had to do was put our tents up and they did the rest, from feeding to educating us.
We had 7 on our trip which is just about full so there's not a whole gaggle of tourists but a small group of really interesting people.
My memories of sleepless nights under the stars with wild animals so close to camp will remain with me the rest of my life. At any price a life-time memory is worth it... that this safari is one of the cheapest available is a gift to the adventurous traveler.

Thank AussieMark1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2018

Dear AussieMark1 - it is always a pleasure to recieve a review such as yours. Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience and including the details of what to expect on this tour. The Best of Botswana camping trip is a firm favourite and we agree, well worth it in terms of experience and value for money. I do believe those memories last a lifetime and hope that you'll consider visiting Africa again soon. Regards, Sabine

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 8 June 2018

Please read before considering Acacia. I know the discount they are offering seems like a great deal, but it's not.

My husband and I are seasoned travelers who have spent time in Africa before this tour. We know the value of a good tour, and we appreciate the 'This is Africa' mantra. The tour we experienced, however, was a massive disappointment. Upon expressing our dissatisfaction with the way we were treated, one of the company's co-founders, Vivian, who is also the head of customer service, reached out to us to tell us that 'overlanding isn't for everyone.' Here is a list of our complaints:

1. Our tour group was sexually and verbally harassed by a patron at our hotel in Zanzibar to the point where we feared our safety. Upon telling Acacia and asking them to work with the hotel to make sure the offending drunk man didn't return, Vivian replied that he doesn't personally know the man who harassed us and that this location has 'high approval ratings, a good facilities, and a great location.' Nothing else was done to help anyone in our group feel at ease. The drunk man returned to threaten us while we were laying on the beach at the hotel.
2. The majority of the optional activities weren't available to us. Because of drastically downplayed travel times in the itinerary, we would show up to our campsite hours after intended, set up our camp and have to go to bed in preparation for another early travel day. This left little time to explore our surroundings.
3. The itinerary was basically a lie. Drive times were sometimes double what was stated. For drives up to 15 hours, you are given one bun to call lunch, with few, if any, stops for additional food for purchase. Bathrooms were rarely available so you will be reliving yourself in a bush on the side of the road. OK, fine, but why not tell us that in advance so we can pack toilet paper and hand sanitizer?
4. The truck lockers leaked and our things got *really* moldy. Vivian simply blamed rainy season and was not willing to provide funds for new pillows. The windows also leaked on us while we drove and the seats were ripped. No A/C also means it's hot and smelly when you can't put the windows down due to rain.
5. Our tour leader did not provide us with any valuable information. He told us at our welcome meeting that he didn't like to talk so we'd have to ask questions if we wanted to know anything. Then he scolded anyone for asking questions. This made for a long 3 weeks with no one telling us what we were looking at.
6. The vegetarian lunch options sometimes consisted of moldy bread, shredded carrots, and cheese. When someone in our group was served something that she had stated many times she was allergic to, she had a severe reaction and Vivian's exact reply to her was, 'choices were very limited.' No apology.

Overall, I would NOT recommend Acacia Africa for any tour, due to their lack of empathy for their customers and the subpar quality of their equipment and tour. You are much better off planning your own itinerary, buying a tent and renting a car (or even flying and staying in hotels!). You will save a TON of money and have a much better experience, as you will actually get to explore the places you visit rather than just sleep there and get right back on the road.

Thank dan77706
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sabine_Acacia, Manager at Acacia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dan77706 and her partner /husband are bloggers who travelled on our 21-day East African Explorer, which departed Livingstone on 30 March. In return for providing images and social media content they received a generous discount off the tour price. Unfortunately they did not enjoy the trip and emailed a complaint shortly after finishing. We investigated what they said and emailed them a reply. I then spoke to them on a Skype call, in a friendly conversation that lasted over an hour. Most of what follows is drawn from my email reply sent to them or from the Skype conversation.

Dan77706 mentions an incident at the hotel in Zanzibar where a local man attached himself to the group and wouldn’t leave when asked. She says it was a case of sexual harassment but that is not how we understood it and not how the female passenger involved described it. She told us the man asked her out for a drink and then became offensive and rude to other members of the group when she refused. Eventually he did leave. Nothing sexual was alleged and the police were not called. The man was not a staff member at the hotel and not known to Acacia. The property was our regular hotel, superbly located just off the beach at Kendwa. I don’t wish to minimize what happened but Acacia has groups on Zanzibar regularly and frequently (5 groups in the time since their trip plus a 6th group due this week): incidents are very rare. Most people love being on the island and Zanzibar is a real highlight.

Dan77706 writes the tour itinerary is ‘basically a lie’ and refers to long driving times. In fact their tour stayed at the regular scheduled campsites each night and all major highlights were seen or visited. It is therefore not correct to make such an allegation. What is correct to say is that some of the driving days were longer than estimated because of the wet weather experienced and there were several incidents of flooding. Estimated driving times are calculated from previous season’s averages and are as accurate as we can make them but they are subject to change and Acacia drivers are instructed to drive to the conditions, in particular when it’s wet: they drive more slowly. Needless to say anyone hiring their own vehicle will have been affected the same way, possibly more so if they were not experienced driving in such conditions.

Dan77706 mentions water leaking into the truck, pillows getting mouldy, and no air-conditioning. Air conditioning is not something we provide on overland tours but leaking can occasionally occur if the rain is persistent enough (it’s due to the vehicle chassis twisting on the poor roads) and I regret anyone’s belongings getting wet. Drivers made running repairs and that is what their driver did when he was alerted to the problem.

Dan77706 says the tour leader did not give sufficient information each day. The tour leader (whose name was Philile) on this tour was an experienced crew member but I said to Dan77706 we would talk to Philile so he knew what had been fed back. It was good to have her view and Philile said he would try harder. I did point out to her that her fellow group members had given both Philile leader and his driver (Khumbu) positive reviews on the feedback questionnaires. It was also positive for meals but it’s true - vegetarian options can be limited in some areas of Africa. The situation has (however) improved greatly over recent years and it quite normal nowadays for us to have clients with various dietary requirements (vegetarians, gluten-free, vegan etc) on tour. The allergic incident she mentions was an isolated matter. Flooding in the Serengeti caused considerable delay and the group was temporarily accommodated at a private lodge and a meal arranged at short notice. The message re the allergy was not properly understood but fortunately the items were spotted in time and no harm resulted. (I should add that staying at the lodge that evening meant our group could relax in relative comfort in the lounge while the flood waters subsided; it was far more comfortable than other companies’ clients that evening who were stuck in their vehicles all night.)

Dan77706 believes you are better to not to do a tour. She suggests hiring your own vehicle or flying to each country and ‘doing it yourself’. She is entitled to her view but I think she is wrong – at least in Africa where most of the highlights are outside the cities, sometimes in remote areas. To me, overlanding is unbeatable. It gives group members, many of whom book and travel from their home country alone, the means of travelling through areas they would never see any other way. Driving a hired vehicle from Zambia through Malawi and Tanzania to Kenya is not as simple as it might sound, and indeed can be a challenging experience even for experienced travellers. Flying from country to country is possible but is expensive and you still need ground transport when you arrive. Far easier is to join an overland group which will carry you in one main vehicle throughout, help manage the culture shock, deal with border crossings and local officialdom, and take you through some very remote areas (often with little or no phone signal) to some of the best gameparks in the world. Many of our clients have never camped before and almost all are new to Africa, and even experienced travellers often treat Africa differently because of the lack of local infrastructure in rural areas. For some clients, overlanding is a one-off experience, for others it is the first of many such trips and they return to Africa repeatedly. The East African Explorer is one of our most popular trips because it passes through a range of landscapes, cultures and peoples and visits 3 of the best game-reserves in Africa – the South Luangwa, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater (their group reported some really wonderful game-viewing). Like many overland tours the trip covers a lot of ground and conditions can be difficult at times but one point must be borne in mind: if travel is difficult for your Acacia driver and vehicle, it will be doubly difficult for someone driving his /her own vehicle (or a hired one) along the same routes.

In finishing I want to emphasise what I stressed to Dan77706 and her partner when I spoke to them. It is that we welcome client comment and feedback, and genuinely appreciate anyone taking the time to write to us following his/her tour. Positive comments are received with thanks; criticisms are taken more seriously and read by myself and senior colleagues. They are investigated and a reply sent once investigation is completed. Information received about a particular area is used to benefit future groups; and notes are made so itineraries and tour dossiers can be updated periodically. This is a continual process; Africa is always changing and overlanding is a dynamic business. It is our task to stay ahead of the changes: client feedback helps us do that.


Vivian McCarthy, Director

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Acacia Africa also viewed

Cape Town Central, Cape Town
Cape Town Central, Cape Town
 

Been to Acacia Africa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing