I always hate reading these kind of things, but, it is an unfortunate event and I commend you for letting everyone know.
I always hate reading these kind of things, but, it is an unfortunate event and I commend you for letting everyone know.
Very disappointing to say the least.
I too was in Moz in July and also found flights through Maputo vary bad due to their lack of aviation fuel.
This years late rains also attributed to the long grass and excessive ground water.
At least I scored on the Buffalo although I missed out on Leopard and Sable.
This whole operation sounds dishonest!
George & Tom
This was a disaster from the get-go...I appears that writing letters from each of you (4 letters) will do more that from one...That will be your anger relief therapy. Plus it will create a paper trail for others to see.
Hind sight - One thing that i would like to add is that your group probably should have had a satellite phone.
I travel with a global phone and i have all my contact numbers and back up numbers for my use while traveling. (If the camp has a satellite phone and you have contacted the camp on the phone then you could by pass this .) The travel agent i use has a 24 hour hot line number with a person assigned to handle travel issues...
We have not received our refund of unused trophy fees yet & our hunt ended 8/8/11. Likewise, the other couple we hunted with have not received their unused trophy fees either.
SAFRIQUE's Response to our DIARY Email:
Dear George and Tom,
Firstly I would like to echo Matt's sentiments that we are deeply regretful that your trip did not live up the expectations that you had for hunting wild Africa. Secondly Safrique believes in the product that it promotes and delivers here in Mozambique, and you'll see a quote taken directly from a client that was in camp the day after you left who's opinions after leaving camp were in stark contrast to the sentiments that you conveyed.
The itinerary provided by Neil stated a 5:55 am arrival time, GMT +2 (Mozambique local time). I called and spoke to Delio at 6:07 am to confirm that he was waiting at the airport for your arrival. He confirmed that he was there and making his way behind customs to meet you. At 6:43 Neil called me stating that he had not found Delio yet, and I again phoned Delio immediately who by then had made contact with you at 6:45 am. For some reason the officials at the airport wouldn't let him behind the security check point which is why he was late getting back to you. I apologize that this was the case, but Delio is our office manager and speaks English fluently. Further taken from your context, and I'm quoting, using the phrase A Black fellow named Dalio who spoke some English came to meet us, is offensive and has racial undertones that we do personally take offense to. He left to collect the weapon for your PH as the office was not yet opened when you arrived since the hour was early, and did as was instructed to show you to the caf in the airport to wait. He also disputes the claim of asking you for monies to pay a bribe, however officials always do try to illicit bribes from us, but we never pay these menial amounts or ask clients to do so.
Unfortunately airlines are out of our control and we have little ability to handle updates or changes as this is done most often by travel agents or in your party's case directly by clients. For the PH firearm that we checked onto the plane with you Delio also disputes having asked you to pay for that since he was sent with specific instructions to pay the fee with a company check which he in fact did use to pay for it.
Due to the fact that the airline had changed the scheduling of your flight to Quelimane I'm aware that spending the night in Quelimane became a necessity. Per the pre-safari letter we advised of the cost and that we would arrange reservations if need be. I also specifically told Neil that if the flight was on schedule Thursday that we could possibly make camp that evening, but if there were delays it would be the following morning, so we'd be sure that rooms were available which they were. Also per your contract Safrique does not provide costs of hotels before or after the hunt. As you pointed out we were aware that the boat had broken down on its way to pick you up, and due to this we were instead going to drive out. Again the hotel in Quelimane was discussed and confirmed with Neil via email.
I did mention that there would be a shotgun in camp, which there normally is. However this was never pre-negotiated nor were we charging for this service and was meant to be a personal favour since you asked. You didn't book this with the expectation of there being any upland game bird hunting. However I do apologize for making mention of this and it not being available. I simply was providing assistance and answering afterthought questions through email correspondence as you and your party readied for the trip.
I do apologize that nets were not hung, but we did have them and could have provided that while you were there if mention would have been made to the PH's. The chalets are screened to keep insects out, which they do, and spray is provided to kill any that might be let in. Koos also specifically assured me that if there was a problem with the hot water no mention of it was made to him or brought to his attention. Your assessment of the plumbing is incorrect as the toilets are let into septic tanks dug behind each chalet. The waist does not simply flow directly into the well and the reason for water being brackish is due to the fact that there is no fresh water because of the high water table from the flow of the Zambezi Delta into the ocean. We advise the ground water is brackish and this is why we provide fresh bottled water for drinking, brushing your teeth etc., we have never had another client complain about this nor get sick.
We do serve game after species have been taken, again I advised to Neil in an email that, I will definitely serve you game that you shoot. Once Koos realized that hunting would be slow and tough he offered to let you shoot a couple non-trophy animals to be used as camp meat. This was done as you mentioned at no charge. However we don't charge people for eating camp meat as you made mention, and we do serve it as it is available. Again my email states that you would get to enjoy the game meat you shot. Unfortunately also being the first hunt there wasn't any stockpiled and we technically aren't even allowed to shoot non-trophy animals, so Koos favor was made at our and his risk.
I apologize that the beer and wine for your stay was held up because of the breakdown the truck had. We did all that was in our power to get it repaired and out to camp as quickly as possible. Unfortunately breakdowns happen, but this is our problem and we obviously understand your frustration with this.
The long grass still present in the area is due to abnormally late rains which made burning impossible before you arrived. I do understand that this hindered your chances of being successful. Koos had spent the prior two weeks trying to start significant burning to no avail. Matt, who Neil contacted and booked with advised him originally to not schedule until after August 1st, however Neil insisted on booking for the last week of July. We are at the mercy of the weather.
Hippo were absolutely available to Clive, and Koos and James both spoke to me about pursuing them for Clive, however the location that they were in proved difficult to track through. Your statement that Hippo was being dismissed for him as it did not state on his license that he had booked to shoot Hippo? is also false and we did pursue them, they were in the area, and we never made that statement. However we have been in contact with Clive directly and have come to an agreement with him personally.
With regard to your outbound flights I personally called LAM to confirm times and they told me that the flight was on schedule. We do check and try to anticipate any changes, but cannot help delays. Your international flight schedule change/scheduling of TAP is obviously also out of our hands, and again I personally went to the airport to try and find a representative which was not available, and made sure rooms were available and had transportation to the Southern Sun organized and pre-paid. The fact that the driver did not show up or left I apologize for.
Again I am sorry that your experience didn't live up to what you thought you'd experience in wild Africa, and again Safrique strongly believes in the product we offer in Mozambique, and the following is a direct quote from the clients that left our camp in Mahimba immediately after you, Neil and Clive.
I hope you have received the questionnaire by now. Here are some pictures of Richard`s Buffalo. What an incredible hunt...must be similar to hunting in Africa many years ago...you are right when you say "a Timeless Experience. We enjoyed our time in Mozambique and want to let you know how much we appreciate your staffs help. Frickie, James, and Koos are the greatest and we enjoyed being with them.
Thank you for "A Timeless Experience"
Richard and Rosemary
We do not wish this matter to drag on any longer and want to resolve this amicably and timely for all involved therefore agree, to refund you the requested 50% of your and Tom's daily rate along with your buffalo trophy fees. However if you do wish to receive your bushbuck trophy we must charge you for this. Please advise as how you would like us to proceed on that issue. Please also provide me with full wire details of where we should send the refund to.
Thank you for your time. Regards,
Hi Deputy Doc,
Just wondering if you or the other couple you hunted with had any joy with getting a refund from Safrique. I emailed AMOS but to date have received no response.
I live in hope,
SAFRIQUE RED ALERT
Attention All - Those of you who have been following this thread will notice how Safrique have jumped to claim the high moral ground (racism etc). We will presently post photos of the trackers etc sharing my pipe with me (enough said)........Still no monies returned despite promises. Safrique have stopped ALL communications with us.
No George - Sorry to report - both of us couples have receipts with amounts due from unused trophy fees and to date 11weeks - NOTHING returned.
By-the-way, who's AMOS?
Just a follow up on my trip. We did have some issues as others as far as people meeting us, (Not being on time mostly) at the airport in Maputo.
Dalio after the third time being late, especially when leaving at the conclusion of my trip not even making it to the hotel to take us to the airport. I made other arrangements as a back plan, and when he strolled in the airport an hour after he was supposed to pick us up, he got an ear full from me. I did hunt Mahimba for buffalo, I did take the 6.5 hour drive instead of the boat trip since the boat was still broken. Not fun.
I was informed the boat was still broken when I arrived in Maputo. Once at camp, I did hunt for buffalo and connected on the 2nd day. The grass was very high, sometimes over our heads which was a bit interesting at times. But I was out of there as soon as the buffalo was down to head to the L1 area in the Niassa. They were in the process of building new chalets at Mahimba, but we stayed in the older ones. The water situation they need to work on, Im not sure if I was dirtier before or after a shower. A sleeping pill helped a bunch on that end. A lot of these problems Safrique has been made aware of so the ball is in their court. At L1 I hunted with PH Paul Davies which I very much enjoyed. The hunting was hard, and it was 100 degrees plus each day. The camp was very nice, we ate game just about each evening which was a request before I even got there. Paul is very conservation minded and is trying hard to build the place to where it needs to be. I liked spending time riding around with him, and him explaining his plan. Now since August, I was told there was about 150 plus miles of additional roads cut. So we hunted some areas those who went earlier in the year probably didnt get a chance too. There were days we drove around and didnt see much at all game wise which is very discouraging. But then there were times we saw Eland,Wildebeest,Hartebeest,Reed buck,warthog,zebra and Cape buffalo in the same day. I was there to film a Leopard hunt, which consumed most of my time. We took a couple Zebras and We had 4 baits hanging and 3 Leopards feeding. On the 8th day I took a nice Leopard Tom with great footage. First night we decided to sit on one of the baits, the Leopard came in to late for camera light, to early for the flashlight, he ate and left before it was dark enough to use the light. So 12 hours sitting in that blind and him not returning that night, well that sucked. Next night he came in 20 minutes earlier and didnt need a light. Most of those days at L1 was checking baits which took all day to make the rounds. All in all I had a pretty good trip. Like I said there were issues, and I spent some time with Matt giving my two cents worth. Logistic wise to hunt Mahimba then L1, I wouldnt personally do again. You have to fly back from Quelemann to Maputo, spend the night, then fly back up to Lichinga simply because there are no flights. You lose two days right there. Having cash older then 2006 most establishments in Mozambique dont accept which would have been nice to know ahead of time, or reminded of. Paying off people at the airport for excess baggage weight seems to be the norm at a lot of places in Africa these days. But it still ticks me off. It depends on who you get at the counter on what the rule of the day is as far as shipping ammo. Once seperate in a box, once in luggage, and once ammo wrapped in plastic. Traveling in that country is nothing short of frustrating, from someone who spends most weeks on a plane. But I have to say LAM has nicer planes then when I was there 3 years ago. And you dont have to get off the plane during a stop when refueling which was a pain when I was last there. You really have to put yourself in a different mind set when traveling in Mozambique, or anywhere in Africa. And thats coming from the most impatient person on the planet. Ive read a lot on this blog about the problems they had. As I had a few myself and addressed them to Safrique. But that aside, I would go back and hunt with Paul Davies in L1 Niassa area in a heartbeat. A couple of those days driving around seeing nothing I was ready to go home. But Im glad I stuck it out because we eventually saw a bunch of game, and I took a great cat.
We are delighted that your hunt was a success. I note your comment that after a couple of days driving round you were ready to go home; try it for 8-9 days.
We are all very experienced hunters. One of our members had previously taken all plains game - 2 buffalo, elephant, leopard etc on previous safari and knew what to expect.
I have hunted all over Europe and North Africa. We can all read sign as good as most people. After 2 days we asked our PH; if we were going to get a buffalo - he replied that he was going to try his very hardest for us. We knew immediately that our chances were slim and none (cancel slim). He did try his very hardest for us. From our report you will see that we spent all our time in the long grass knowing full well the danger we were placing ourselves in; try that sometime for a rush.
We are not mega wealthy entrepreneurs - three of our group work in construction. One member had received a donation from his wife for his birthday, had saved for 2 years and borrowed the difference. We all work hard to get the money for what should have been the trip of a lifetime. Safrique told us nothing but lies and now we cannot get our money refunded from them.
Again let me state my joy that your hunt was successful. Just because the scorpion did not sting you too badly does not mean that others won't fare as we have.
James Grage - AH Fanatic
Thank you for your input. I intend to keep this live while any name associated with Safrique has anything to do with hunting or any other business in Africa.
Comment re. Satellite phone noted.
Enysse - AH Legend
Thank you for your interest.
Do warn your friends.
Thank you for your comments.
May we ask if you hunted with Safrique and if your trophy fees for Leopard and Sable have been returned to you.
Thank you for your support.
I am not doubting you had problems. I also work hard for my money. And no one likes to be taken for a ride regardless of the size of their bank account.
The issues I had with my Mahimba trip were passed on directly to Safrique. As it appears everyone else that had a problem, has done the same. I can only say there were both highs and lows and Im glad I finished off my trip in the L1 block. I was asked to do a follow up on my trip, as I have truthfully. Thats all I can do.
I have had the pleasure of hunting with Safrique LDA twice. Once for cats in their L1 Block, and once in Mahimba for buffalo. L1 was an amazing safari that reflected well on the company as a whole. However my second hunt was the first year that Safrique opened their Mahimba camp. There was a severe struggle to find game in areas where I could make a decent shot. In addition to that the government types took my rifles at customs upon arriving in country. The issue was that they wanted a different stamp of approval from their department of tourism. Safrique worked diligently for the next 24 hours and got my weapons cleared before I departed to Quillamane the next day. As we real hunters know there is always a fair amount of red tape that outfitters have to work around in any African country (Bar maybe South Africa to some extent.) Before I get off subject lets return to my Mahimba experience. We hunted for 8 days and "Heard" Buffalo as they crashed off into the thicker bush. In the end I did not get my buffalo but I did bag an amazing Bushbuck of which there were hundreds. I originally had issues contacting Safrique after my safari but come show season I did get a response apologizing for the delay in communications. They explained that during the closing months of the season they are hard pressed closing up camps and processing trophies. By January they had refunded my buffalo fee in full. Africa is a tough country to hunt and those who expect to kill everything on their wish list are going to be sorely disappointed no matter who the outfitter is. I did get some unique insight into their limited PH problems due to correspondence with a South African friend of mine. There is a small amount of back stabbing that goes on through outfitters due to PH's trying to poach clients for another outfitter in return for a commission. So don't believe everything you hear from the staff and by the same token don't go gunning for an outfitter because you had one bad hunt. Try and remain professional and if worse comes to worst I am confident that SCI will take steps to protect their members.
God Speed & Good Hunting:
Happened to be at a friends place that had an outdoor channel on. After receiving an email alert about Taylor's post I coincidentally watched a TV program "the rule", who knows how old the episode was, with this outfit "Safrique" guiding a 15 year old texas girl.
Lots of burnt grass when she hunted.
She got her boat ride to the camp.
Cape Buffalo; "while asking did I hit it" after her shot with her muzzle loader.
Hippo in a pond with one shot. Seemed to be baffled that "a village showed up" to help retrieve the hippo.
The PH started after it in a dugout canoe rifle at the ready! Interesting
Croc along a canal or small channel after cruising along in the boat!
Wonder if she got her trophies because it was a TV star hunting? :)
I do in fact know of the girl you're talking about. Caroline Pruitt is her name. The series was attempted early on in the season but due to the same issues I had, were unable to take their trophies. (Note they hunted just before me and we had a chance to chat on their way out.) However instead of requesting a refund the Pruitt's decided to return at the end of the season and just reuse their trophy fees then. The series I will imagine was the second time they went after the late rains had stopped and there was a bit of a chance to dry up and the only trophy they took that we talked about was here crocodile number 3 SCI Black Powder Record as Mr. Pruitt reminded me nonstop. And to my knowledge the Pruitt's did drive in and out both times for sure the first time. Seems like Mozambique is a hard place to find parts for a Master Craft (the boat looked beautiful when I was there.... Trailered near the skinning shed, haha.) Again you win some you lose some.
God Speed & Good Hunting:
I understand that you're from Ireland and probably don't get many opportunities to go out and do much hunting. I would like to make a suggestion for next time you go to Africa; If you want a relaxed hunt with a guarantee of game South Africa is right up your alley. Unfortunately "Wild" Africa can be unpredictable despite the best efforts of the outfitter, and what seems like a minor inconvenience to them is a major issue with us. I'm sure they will get you your trophy fees back, as I stated it took them almost six months to get me mine. (It would be business suicide if they didn't). And remember there is no such thing as a bad experience, only a learning experience.
God Speed & Good Hunting: