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Bramwel Safaris reviews

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Warning complete fraud and nightmare safari

Views: 1006 Visited: Oct 2016 Reviewed: Mar 09, 2017

Complete fraud and nightmare safari:

I am a researcher who has been living in Tanzania since 2014. I have booked several safaris with different agents since 2007. I warn you never to book a safari with Bramwel Safaris, owned by William Amon in Arusha Tanzania, because he is a sincere fraudster and criminal. We booked the safari with Bramwel as he got recommended to us by a friend (expat living in Tanzania, working for a foreign embassy) who thought to know William Amon well, also he was shocked after hearing what happened to us and tried to pressure William to give us our money back. We wanted to support a local Tanzanian small safari agent, but after this experience sadly have to admit that next time we will book again with a big one like Leopard Tours as we never had problems with them. So William Amon’s business practices also will have a negative impact on all the other small local Safari agents in Tanzania as he spoils the reputation of them all.

So here is what happened to us when we booked a safari with him last October 2016. After getting in contact with William via email, we arranged our safari program and then paid 1450USD per person, so 4350USD in total, in advance for a 5 days safari (Ngorongoro and Serengeti) for 3 people in a 3-beds room. After we arrived early in the morning at Kilimanjaro International airport we first had to wait about an hour until the driver arrived at the airport. He said he had a flat tyre on the way to the airport. The car was a very small (not a safari vehicle) car in a very bad condition, with barely any space for the luggage, and about to break down every moment. We arrived after a 3 hours drive at our hotel Meru hotel Lekisilai a bit outside of Arusha as the car was only able to drive very slowly and the driver had to call William and the hotel several times as he did not know the way to the hotel. Usually it takes only 1 hour from the airport to Arusha town. The next day we expected the driver to pick us from the hotel at 9a.m., as we had arranged via phone with William on the day of arrival. But the driver turned up only at around 10a.m. He also did not come inside the hotel to greet us and tell us that he is here. He also did not make a very friendly and reputable impression, rather looking as having a night of weed smoking behind. No we had to go outside and tell him that we are ready.

So then we drove to Ngorongoro where it was planned to stay for 2 nights at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. It was planned that we would stay the afternoon at the lodge to relax and then have a full day game drive the next day in the crater. To our surprise when we arrived on the crater rim the driver did not drive to the lodge but drove into the crater as he told us that he thought we had an afternoon game drive as well. Well at that point we accepted as we were sure we’ll get our full day game drive the next day as well. So we drove around in the crater for about 2 hours. But to our surprise we were getting late, I knew gates close at 6p.m. and by that time you are not allowed to be in the crater anymore, however our driver was asserting that it was 6.30, saying they won’t say anything and that they say it’s 6p.m. just to be sure people are out on time. So when we arrived at the gate it was closed, no ranger there anymore. The driver was honking but no one there. So he had to call the park rangers to send someone to open the gate. About 45 minutes later a ranger turned up and opened. He was very angry and we felt very insecure. The driver had to pay a fine of 50USD that was clear. Then we drove to the lodge. To our surprise when we arrived at the lodge they said there is no reservation of a hotel room for us and that there was no payment received for 2 nights at the lodge. And that they only have a free room for 1 night but we would need to pay for it directly at the hotel. But we already had paid for all the costs (car, driver, hotels, park fees etc. in advance to William).

So I called William to ask what is happening and then he asked me if I can help him and pay the hotel as apparently his cashier went on holiday and he realized now that he did not make any hotel reservations and did not pay any hotels but ran away with the money. I refused, and William assured that he’ll find a solution to transfer the money until the next day. However the next day we were kept hostages the whole day at the hotel because they did not let us go anywhere until they received the money from William. After a full day of waiting and making phone calls, instead of our paid full day game drive in the crater that we lost, we were released at around 4:30p.m. as the money was transferred. As there was no space at Sopa lodge we had to find another hotel. William arranged a room for a night outside Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Karatu at the Karatu country lodge, which was actually not the standard we booked and payed for, this is rather a 2 stars hotel and not 4 stars like Sopa lodge. Also it is outside the park, and we had to hurry again to be outside the gate on time again. Well the next day same story, the hotel was not paid and our driver said his credit card that was supposed to be filled with money by William was not filled and was left with around 20’000Tsh (around 10USD). Well then William said he’ll send someone with a cheque. Meanwhile he ensured he’ll go to the bank and fill the card with money while we were waiting. But then we had to wait again for about 4 hours until around 12 o’clock until that cheque arrived, it came from Arusha. Keep in mind we were supposed to be at Serengeti the same day, which is about a 4 to 5 hours drive from Ngorongoro Gate. But next shock, the name of the hotel on the cheque was wrong, it said Karatu lodge instead of Karatu country lodge and the hotel manager refused to accept the cheque of 200USD because of that as he said there is another lodge in Karatu with that name. So trying to safe our safari I said I will pay these 200USD so that we could go, as one of my friends came to Tanzania for the first time and maybe never will have the chance to see Serengeti again. I called William, complained, told him that I don’t accept all this, etc. and said that I don’t want to arrive at Serengeti gate without having the entrance fee etc. paid, so he needs to assure me there will be money on the card. Also I said I guess Serengeti Sopa lodge is also not booked. William said yes, not booked but he said the hotel is no problem. He has another hotel than Sopa and gave a name, and said this hotel he knows well, he often brings customers there, he can just call and we’ll have a room (respectively a tent,it is a tented camp), so they also give him credit, he can book on credit, he asked if we are ok with that hotel, we said yes. So William ensured that this problem will not happen again, and that he is not going to loose his face again and that I can be sure that there will be money on the card when we arrive there (at Serengeti park you only can pay with credit card, tour agents usually have that card called tembo card, it’s a kind of credit card).

So I thought ok, he can’t be that brash, and hoped he will not cheat again, having in mind my friend who came from Switzerland for seeing the Serengeti. But keep in mind William let us depart from Arusha, knowing there is no money on the card. So he was completely aware of that there is no money to pay, and speculated that once we were at the gates and hotels we anyway are going to pay as we didn’t want to return or could not cause it was too late. So we departed, had to pay a transfer fee again at Ngorongoro gate, even though the driver told us he had paid the day before for 2 days but once you go outside this ticket becomes invalid. We waited there another half an hour as we had to wait for a number from William we had to give to the Ngorongoro administration. Finally we arrived at Serengeti gate at around 4:30p.m., remember you have to be at the hotel by 6p.m., not allowed to drive around in the park after 6p.m. But when we arrived at the gate, no money on the credit card, the driver started to be angry, told us he can’t understand that, he called William telling him he cannot treat his customers like that. I tried to call William and he did not pick up several times. I refused to pay. Waited. Did not trust about the hotel anymore as well. Finally the driver gave me the number of a friend of William of whom the driver said he is helping William sometimes with the business.

So I called him,complained, said I am not going to pay, but we had in the end no other possibility than to pay and enter, as there is nowhere else you can go, no hotels outside the gate respectively between Ngorongoro and Serengeti, 5 hours back to Ngorongoro and it was 4.30p.m., you have to be outside the gates at 6p.m. So no chance. The friend of William apologized and said he’ll do his best. I asked about the hotel. Meanwhile the hotel had changed as well. He said we are going to Ang’ata Camps now instead, which was another hotel than the one he told me we are going when we were in Karatu. So I said now I am going to call the hotel to ask if that hotel was paid before I am going to pay the entrance fee. The hotel then confirmed the payment. But I had to pay the park fees for all us people plus for the car, plus Ang’ata Camps is a special campsite with extra fees. I just paid for 1 night which was around 400USD, hoping that there will be money on the card the other day. But the other day still no money arrived. So the next day had to go to the gate again and pay another around 400USD. So total around more than 800USD we had to pay again, even though we had paid for it already in Switzerland (2 nights were planned at Sopa lodge) to William, so we paid double now. But we had to, no chance to go back. So what he did, he let us drive from Karatu to Serengeti ensuring me that there will be money on the card, but there was no money, so he let us drive there completely aware of that we will need to pay ourselves on arrival as no chance to go anywhere. How bash is this. We thought it cannot become worse when we were in Karatu but it came worse. Can you imagine, what kind of person you must be if you do this to other persons, completely without moral, conscience and just criminal. He just let us drive there, he set a snare for us. Then after the 2 days in Serengeti we drove back to Arusha. At Ngorongoro Conservation Area Gate the driver asked me to give him another 30USD as he told me there is another fine/fee to pay. We told William we will meet him in Arusha at around 5p.m.. He is so brash he said 5p.m. is ok, but from 6p.m. to 10p.m. he has a church meeting and no time. He is a Pentecostal and pretends to be a very religious person. Imagine he is owing people money, has messed up the safari of people coming from far away, paying a lot of money and then you have the gall to say I have a church meeting then and only time at 5p.m., drive from Serengeti back to Arusha and Tanzanian roads are unpredictable, we were not on time, and William sent me the message that he has left Arusha hotel already for the church meeting. So I decided to go directly to his church. The driver knew where it was. So we went there. William came out, apologized and asked us what we want. We told him the sum we thought would be appropriate, which was 1200USD which was very very very kind, we could have asked much much more,not only the money back that we paid double, the 1 day we lost at Ngorongoro, but also for the stress and trouble. We said he can also pay the rest in a voucher that I maybe can use when I go to Zanzibar, as I live in Tanzania. He agreed, but said at the moment he has only 600USD available. He gave us the 600USD and said the rest he’ll pay in November 2016 as he’ll waiting to receive a credit from the bank then. He said otherwise he would need to tale the money from his own bank account. We said well we also had to take the money from our own bank account and you are the business owner, so it’s anyway your account. I mean how can you come to the idea to argue like this. He also said he’ll write a written contract/agreement about the sum he owes as well as a voucher. Until now we have whether received the money nor a written agreement/contract nor a voucher. In November I called, wrote email etc.- nothing. I said ok I give you a last chance until December, end of the year, if I don’t receive anything, I’ll going to make it public and will write to the Tanzania Tourism Board, Tanzania Investment Centre, etc. as well as on diverse travel forums. Then he said in December he is going to receive a credit from a friend in the US and he’ll pay then, saying that we are an absolute priority. Then on 31.12 I got this email: „Business have been very, very difficult, and I real feel bad. I am kindly asking you to give me extension and propose a way to pay by installments?“. I agreed for a last time and got this answer: „We start getting bookings for this year, and I am checking my markups, I think I can be able to pay twice, 16th Feb 1st instalment and end of Feb second instalment, Let me know you are okay with this, I am so so sorry for all the ups and down I have caused!“. Until now nothing.

The last email I got when I asked about the money mid of February was: „Thanks,This is real a priority, wish me lucky.“ So time is over, I don’t let him fool us any further. We will also take legal measures. We were more than kind, understandable and had hope until today, but this guy really thinks we are idiots, and speculates that at some point we will give up or forget. I could somehow see it in his eyes when we met that he thought „now I got away very easily“, I also think he thought he could treat us like this because we are women. Thought wrong! Now I think I should have asked all the money directly when we met and don’t make concessions and compromise. He never had the intention to pay back, it was a fraud from the beginning. So never book with him.

Visited: Tanzania Tanzania
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