Not good experience with East African Safari and Touring Company (Eastco) in Tanzania

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After lots of research we contacted Simon King at Eastco, highly reccomended by the Tanzania Rough Guide, and were very pleased with the tour that he designed for us – although the level of communication (answering our questions, etc,) dropped dramatically once we had paid.
The price for the tour (of 8 people) was to include all expenses for transportation, food and lodging within Tanzania and admission to the parks and reserves selected (for 21 days between Dec 21 2013 to Jan 10 2014). Our initial flight from Dar to Mwanza went smoothly, but our first problem occurred when nobody met us at Mwanza as arranged: effectively we lost half a day before arrangements were evidently cobbled together to get us to our first stop, where our drivers met us the next morning.
The next problem occurred when without previous notice, our lodging was changed from Serengeti to tents at a mountain site closer to Ngorongoro – obviously an improvised solution, as we were unprepared for such a cold site and the camp had been hastily set up the day before, and there were insufficient blankets the first two nights; also, the isolation of the site required a long 2 and 1/2 hour drive over a bumpy dirt road to get to and from Serengeti for the additional two days planned there. This way it was impossible to get there early in the morning and we lost many hours in the Serengeti, one of our priorities. Things got worse when we got to Tarangire National Park and there was no money in the debit cards the guides had to pay entrances, and we stayed for three hours at the entrance trying to communicate with the company via email and phone, only after we called the Tourist Board did they contact us and told us to pay the entrance assuring they would reimburse us the following day (today 17 days later still no refund). That night when we got to beautiful Boundary Hill we where surprised with a New Year’s dinner of only rice, there where no provisions or drinks (not even water) in the lodge. After the same experience in Arusha National Park (we were stuck at the entrance with no money in the card to pay and this time only one car for the group of eight since Mr. King decided to change guides and failed to replace wonderful Edward on time.) At this point, we decided to pay a visit to him at his “office” (actually we never saw a real office or staff) in Arusha and refused to leave until we reached an agreement. We ended up paying the entrance to this park as well. Faced with the risk of being stranded without funds for entering parks, etc. during the remainder of our tour, we came to a compromise agreement with Mr, King: much against our will, we abandoned the remainder of our planned itinerary and instead would go to Zanzibar (which would be cheaper than completing the tour as planned) and that Mr. King would refund the entrance fees we had had to pay, the difference in cost between Zanzibar and our planned itinerary and would compensate us for the more than three and a half days lost. This all adds up to several thousand dollars, of which we have not received a penny so far. Perhaps the most irritating and frustrating aspect of this was the difficulty in communicating with Mr. King, and the fact that he offered different versions of the situation virtually every tome we were in contact with him.
He blames the drivers, the banks, the staff, …. we have absolutely no complains about the drivers or the staff in the camps, hotels and lodges whom where all wonderful and, which by the way, are his responsibility.
Unfortunately we are being victims of problems posted in the past by other travelers and probably will not see our hard earned money again. (Our time there is irreplaceable)
We feel cheated since we trusted Simon King and East African Safari and Touring Company giving lots of money months in advance and kept our word in all the parts of our deal and have not been corresponded.
We do not want other travelers to suffer the same luck.

Felisa2001 22/01/14    General travel chatTanzania & Zanzibar Link Report

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Hi there,

We are really sorry to hear about this very disappointing experience you had with Simon King at Eastco. Thank you very much for your feedback. I will pass your comments on to our authors for Tanzania to take into consideration when they work on the next edition of this guide.

All the best for your future travels,

Olivia

Olivia Rawes 23/01/14    Link Report

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Thank you Olivia, yes I think it would be good that the authors get this information.
Felisa

Felisa2001 23/01/14    Link Report

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Anonymous suspicious review, no profile!
I am disturbed that Rough Guides would leave this anonymous post accusing the tour operator of fraud and theft sitting there like a pile of steaming dung, without giving EASTCO the opportunity to reply and demanding to know who posted these accusations. The author left no tracks, no profile, and no name. We booked a trip with Simon King, owner of EASTCO and would do so again. We had one glitch; he sold us tickets for a flight that was cancelled and without question refunded our money.

Peter Enticknap 08/04/14    Link Report

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