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Feedback on AA Safaris and Tours

edited April 2011 in - East Africa
Dear all,

I’ve been planning to visit Rwanda for a few months now. As many people here, I was looking for a local tour operator I could trust.
“AA Safaris and tours” was one of the companies I read good reviews about. First good point.
I send an inquiry to a few companies and they were the only one to answer my exact requests. Second good point.

We kept writing and I felt confident enough to pay the Initial Deposit (wire transfer).
A few days later they confirmed it was on their account.

No problem.

It was about 1 month ago and we had a written agreement: they had to use part of my Initial Deposit to secure my gorilla’s permit and email me a scanned copy. Sadly, we all know that some companies do take the money but never buy the permit so it was reassuring.

After waiting one month (as I fully understand this could take some time), I asked for my scanned copy.

First, they told my they only send it after getting the balance.
I replied and included a copy-paste of their written promise.

Then, they told me that my Initial Deposit could not cover the cost of the Gorilla’s permit.
Wrong, this is a pure lie as it could cover 1,6 permit.

I’m waiting a follow up from them.

I fear to things:
1) to be the victim of an Internet scam and lose money. Not much to do, we know it’s a risk.
2) to ruin my vacation as I would have to find another company on a very short minute notice.

Why do I post now with 6 weeks to go to sort out the problem?
1) Maybe someone has a good advice
2) Maybe they’ll read it and see that I’m serious about going public about it.

Whatever happens with “AA Safaris and tours” (good or bad), I’ll let you know.

Thank you and enjoy your trips,


  • edited 12:39PM
    Hello Paul, I was browsing into the net and then I found this comment . It is really not so good however , I dealt with AA safaris and tours and I assure you that all our 10 gorilla permits( trekking twice) were secured . We had a very good guide called Farooq and every thing was well handled - AA safaris handled our safari so professionally and all our exceptions were over fulfilled . The safari with AA safaris and tours was more than our expections . Tanah was always fast in responding to my questions and she never got tired until the last day of the farewell dinner we had with their representative. I am not certain if what you require( scanned copy ) is possible or issuable before the payment of a full amount because all I also asked for scanned copies of our permits and I was told that it was against their policy to send a copy of the permits since this may lead to forgeries of gorilla permits . I agreed with them on this and trusted them. I think there is a fault some where and I suggest that you give us an update when you get back from the gorilla tour . Cheers Faith
  • edited 12:39PM
    Hello Henrik,

    Thank you for your feed back, really positive and really reassuring :-) I can hardly wait to meet the team … and the Gorillas!!!!

    First of all: I seeked some advices on various travel forums; I insisted a lot and finally … good news :-) they did send the copy.
    Of course, this was a relief :-) but to this point we “just” both have done what we had written we would. No less, no more. I understand your comment but please remember that we had a written agreement BEFORE making the deal: I pay the deposit and they send the scanned copy. They tried to change the rules AFTER getting my money and that’s why I felt so uncomfortable.

    But so far so good and, of course, I will give a report early July when I’m back. Hopefully as good and positive as yours :-)

    Still … and prior written agreement set aside … I really do not understand what they are scared about. My deposit was MORE than the value of the permit (1,6 times more). Why would I “steal” something of less value that the amount I’ve send. Sorry … but it just doesn’t make any sense.
    And if the problem really is forgeries and fake permits used by OTHERS that the buyer... they should never send a copy, not even after paying the balance. Again, I might be missing a piece of the puzzle, but - to me - it doesn't make any sense.

    Thanks again,
  • edited 12:39PM
    Thanks for feedback Paul. Please drop in again and let us know how your trip went. And say hi to the gorillas for me!
    ~ Dave
  • edited 12:39PM
    I am intending to do a gorilla tour with AA safaris and tours in August . I also do not agree that sending a copy of the permits would work . I think it is better to research on a company in another way . You can look at the organisations that it is affiliated to . For example , when I found out that AA SAFARiS and tours was a member of ATTA and AUTO( association of Uganda tour operators) that was enough to assure me that it is a credible company.

    You will all agree with me that the criteria through which most companies go through to join these companies is bureaucratic enough to trace a fraudster. I am glad to you later received the permit and I respect the fact that you had an agreement .


    Many fraudsters have forged permits and ended clients into jeopardy . I advise those who intend to book gorilla tours not to ask for scanned permits because in case you do so and any thing happens to the gorilla permit , you are liable .

    I believe that it is all about integrity and I do not think a fraudster can stay and work on line for more than a month. AA safaris and tours is a credible company and I know some people intend to just sabotage it because it is new.
    I cannot wait to do my safari with them and I hope to post a feed back .

    they are professional in a way that they have agreed to tailor a tour to my interests and given the necessary advise in situations where I needed help .

    I am anxiously waiting for our feed back .
  • edited 12:39PM
    Dear concerned,

    This is just to assure you that AA has been and is still credible safari service provider and Ms Tana is professional Tour manager with vast skills in outfitting clients and with excellent guiding, usually they strive to provide services beyond clientele expectations. Due to their professionalism, though relatively new-comer in safari arena, their are doing very well already outshining the older tour operators. As professional guide and conservatonist it is out of order to insist for scanned copy of gorilla permit for the reasons you have been told already, but healthy to be give the serial number, with your passport details that you may confirm with the issuing authority (Uganda wildlife Authority or the reselling agency). Please, gorilla tracking experience is exhilarating and more than repays the attempt to secure the permit. I assure you that when with the gorillas, depending on which group, you even have the opportunity to be in three countries , in the clouds at the same time; one of the 5 places in the world, without visa requirements. Please, kindly reconsider your stance and visit the gorillas, your once life time african jungle safari, trust that it will go well. Use AA Safaris!

  • edited 12:39PM
    Dear all,

    I do confirm that AA Safaris met me on time (even earlier) and had secured reservations and permits.
    So, if you consider a booking on the net, you can put this name on your “safe list”.

    I confirm (again) that you can trust them but I do not regret my first post because, at the time, I had reasons to worry. Hopefully good will comes out of it in the future (either by doing right away what they agree on; or by not promising things they don’t really want to do).

    It’s not the topic but some may wonder about the primates:

    The various encounters with them (Chimps, Golden monkeys, Colobus, …) were just … amazing!! Nyungwe forest is definitely an incredible place and if you were planning just to see “just” the Gorillas, do take an extra few days to check it out.
    And with the Gorillas??? ;-)
    Well … it was “one of those moments” and it leaves you speechless.
    I have been very lucky to see 3 weeks old baby TWINS !!! :-)
    At one point, we had a hard time to obey the “stay 7m away” rule because … we were surrounded and had no were to go back :-) :-)

    The park fees seem well used, with obviously some of it getting back to the local communities + to the guides and guards salary, training and equipment. Sure, not everyone can afford such fees but tourist money is probably the only chance to give parks and animals a “greater value” than farming and poaching.
    So, if you dream about being along those incredible animals, do it. You’ll do a favour to yourself and to nature conservation.

    FYI, Rwanda banned the use of plastic bags and it shows!!! :-) No trash to ruin the beautiful landscapes and Kigali is one of the cleanest capitals I have ever seen.

    Finally, the genocide memorial is very informative; it is of course heart breaking but also full of hope.

    Enjoy your trips,
  • edited 12:39PM
    Great feedback Paul, and thanks for the update on AA Safari's.
    By the way, what is current daily cost for the permits?
  • edited 12:39PM
    Thank you :-)
    Current daily cost in Rwanda :
    Gorilla's : 500us$
    Golden, Chimps, Colobus : between 70 and 90us$ each
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