Multi-Day Tour | Private

President’s Pick: Historic Routes of Ethiopia (10 days)

Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Inc.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia To Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Valid for Departures Now Through: 14 Nov 2018

President’s Pick: Historic Routes of Ethiopia (10 days)

Day 3

Debark, Ethiopia

Day 4

Debark, Ethiopia

Day 6

Axum, Ethiopia

Day 7

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Day 8

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sheraton Addis Ababa Lunch, Dinner

Welcome to Addis Ababa, the capital of the African Union and Ethiopia. Begin your Ethiopia adventure right from the airport as you enjoy your first glimpse of the city. Begin at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, built to commemorate the country's liberation from Italian occupation. It is also the burial place for many famous people and was once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox cathedral. The next stop is the Ethnographical Museum with its main exhibits covering local crafts, regions and people. It is an ideal place to begin to discover Ethiopia's rich ethnic diversity. The museum has an impressive array of religious crosses, triptychs and murals. It also features former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie's bedroom and bathroom. Finally, visit the National Museum, which houses the famous skeleton of Lucy, discovered in 1974 by Donald Johnson. This 3.1-million-year-old skeleton was found in the Great African Rift Valley. This excellent museum has many ancient exhibits that reflect the importance of Ethiopia as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’. There is also an historic room featuring finery worn in the wars, including crowns, weapons and pictures of wartime heroes and kings. Then, discover Merkato, Africa’s biggest open air market, where you can try your hand at bargaining.

Day 2
Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Kuriftu Resort & Spa Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following an early breakfast, you transfer to Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport for your flight to Bahir Dar, “by the side of the sea.” After check in your resort, you set out on a cruise of Lake Tana, the largest highland lake in Ethiopia. Lake Tana is also the source of the Blue Nile, a fact that may explain many of Ethiopia's links with the ancient world. Even today, the papyrus tankwa that sail the lake bear a striking re-semblance to the boats of Ancient Egypt.

Visit the Zeghie Peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals. The Azoa Mariam Church and the Ura Kidane Mehret Church have an architectural style typical of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with mud plastered round walls and conical thatched roofs. Ura is known especially for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, ecclesiastical objects like crowns of various emperors dating from the 14th century CE, processional crosses of silver and gold, silver-drum and royal vestments.

After lunch, visit the Blue Nile Falls is known locally as Tissiat – which means “Smoking Water.” The Falls are 328 feet wide and the water plunges some 150 feet, giving rise to picturesque stream clouds and rainbows.
Day 3
Debark, Ethiopia
Limalimo Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, travel to the magnificent Simien Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. En route, visit the former Felasha (Ethiopian Jews) village at Wolleka. Most of the Felasha or Bete Israel, as they prefer to be called, were taken to Israel in the 1980s. Also, you stopover at Kossoye viewpoint, about 40km/25 mi from Gonder on the way to the Simien Mountains National park. At an altitude of about 2,300 m/7,546 ft, this beautiful spot provides magnificent views of the Simien Mountain range and as well as of the lower ridges and valleys. Queen Elizabeth II once stopped here while traveling to Axum. The Simien Mountains National Park presents perhaps the most dramatic scenery in Africa great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago.

Here, you can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding-heart baboon, the lion monkey, the Walia ibex, the Semein wolf (the rarest canid in the world) and rock hyrax, and endemic birds such as the thick billed raven, black headed siskin, white collared pigeon, wattled ibis, white billed starling, spot breasted plover and white backed black tit. Cruising Lammergeyers are often seen. The park is also famous for its Afro-Alpine flora, meadows and grasslands punctuated by giant lobelia and flowering red hot pokers.

The rest of the day is spent at Sankaber, the first camp sight of the park. Enjoy the beautiful landscape and the flora and fauna before driving to Debark and checking into your lodge, which is perched on the edge of the escarpment. This is a perfect place to experience Ethiopia's Simien Mountains National Park. Combining simple luxury and elegant design in a stunning setting, the lodge promotes sustainable tourism with minimal environmental impact, and provides new opportunities to the local community.
Day 4
Debark, Ethiopia
Limalimo Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, drive to the Hyena Meda (field) to enjoy the view before continuing to Chenek, at an altitude of 3,620 m/11,877 ft. The campsite offers spectacularly scenic mountains range, an impressive escarpment, and varieties of plant and animal species. Spend the day discovering the ecosystem and your surroundings at Chenek. It is a home for the endemic Walia ibexes. Return to your lodge.

Day 5
Gondar, Ethiopia
Mayleko Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, drive to Gondar, savoring the views and countryside along the way. Gondar, “the Camelot of Africa,” is famous for its medieval castles and churches. Gondar was founded by Emperor Fasiladas in 1636 as the royal capital of Ethiopia. For several centuries, Ethiopia had been ruled from a succession of temporary capitals and Fasiladas recognized that a permanent capital might help provide greater internal stability. By the time of Fasiladas' death in 1667, Gondar was the largest and most important city in the empire. It retained its position as the capital of Ethiopia for 250 years, though this status was largely nominal from the late 18th century onwards. Visit the Royal Enclosure or Fasil Gibbi, encompassing the castles of various Gondarene emperors. The Fasiladas Palace, and the Quskuam Church (believed to be the home of famous explorer James Bruce during the 1770’s).

A short drive from the town center is the bath of King Fasilides. The pool is now the central stage on which the Timkat or Epiphany festival is celebrated in Gondar. Debre Berhane Selassie church with its remarkable walls and ceiling is completely covered with murals. The angels’ faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian design. Mayleko is a luxury lodge surrounded with breathtaking beauty and nature. It blends traditional elegance with modern luxury and will offer cuisine and service of fittingly standard.

Day 6
Axum, Ethiopia
Sabean International Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Axum. Check in to Sabean International Hotel and enjoy the sightseeing in Axum, which is renowned for its cathedral of St. Mary Zion, where, as legend has it, the original Ark of Covenant is housed. There are several standing monolithic stelae made of single pieces of granite of which three of them have identical decoration. The Queen of Sheba’s Palace is believed to be the oldest building in Axum. The site contains the remains of what was once a massive palace with finely mortared stonewalls, deep foundations and its own impressive drainage system.

Day 7
Lalibela, Ethiopia
Mountain View Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. Ethiopia is one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity early in the fourth century CE. Its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles. Lalibela is famous for its rock-hewn churches that date from the seventh to 13th centuries. Known as the "New Jerusalem,” the town is recognized for its renowned rock-hewn churches. Each church was carved from a single piece of rock to symbolize spirituality and humility. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is stunning to investigate. After checking in to your hotel, set out to see the first group of churches; a group of six churches that lies in rock cradles, one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika-el, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem.

Bet Medhane Alem, the largest, is built like a Greek temple. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant and majestic of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. Later, take part in a traditional coffee ceremony.
Day 8
Lalibela, Ethiopia
Mountain View Hotel Breakfast, Lunch

Following breakfast, travel by road about 40 km/25 mi to the cave church of Yemrehane Christos, built by the king of the same name before the reign of King Lalibela. The church is constructed inside a cave, in Axumite style, similar to the church at Debre Damo, with alternating levels of wood and stone. This afternoon, explore the group of four churches south of the Jordan River - Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercuiros, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el. Bet Emanuel's elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians.group of four churches south of the Jordan River. Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercuiros, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el. Bet Emanuel's elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians. Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant and majestic of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached threw a tunnel.

Day 9
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sheraton Addis Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day leisure at your hotel. Tonight, you will have a wonderful cultural evening at one of Addis Ababa Restaurants. Ethiopia is a mosaic of people with more than 80 languages, different lifestyles, costumes and cultural dances. Take a chance to experience some of these cultural dances and traditional meals with a drink of Tej, a type of wine made from honey.

Day 10
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
None Breakfast

Transfer to the airport for your onward international flight.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing

Description

Discover the capital city of Addis Ababa, its Ethnographical Museum with its impressive array of religious crosses, triptychs and murals, and the National Museum, home to the famous skeleton of Lucy, a 3.1-million-year-old skeleton from the Great African Rift Valley. At Bahir Dar, cruise Lake Tana, the largest highland lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile, and visit the Zeghie Peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass roofed churches with their magnificent wall murals. Take in the magnificent Simien Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for distinctive wildlife including gelada or bleeding-heart baboon, the lion monkey, the Walia ibex, rock hyrax, and the rarest wolf in the world – Semein wolf, as well as endemic birds such as the thick billed raven, black headed siskin, and white collared pigeon. Visit Axum, renowned for its cathedral of St. Mary Zion, where legend has it the original Ark of Covenant is housed; several standing monolithic stelae; and the ruins of Queen of Sheba’s palace. Explore Lalibela, famous for its rock-hewn churches dating from the seventh to 13th centuries; and known as the “New Jerusalem.”

About Us

Since 1973, Big Five has created life-affirming journeys to some 44 destinations worldwide. Our Destination Specialists, award-winning adventures and premier 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance combine to present the journey of a lifetime to individuals, families and small groups. Sustainable travel is at the heart of Big Five. We have seen how the power of travel can change the world for the better. Sustainability benefits both the traveler and the places visited. Whether the focus is cultural, wildlife or adventure, we tailor each journey to the interests of guests traveling in Africa, Asia, Latin America and South Pacific.

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Valid for Travel Now Through 16 Nov 2018
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Reviews and Recommendations for Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Inc.

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Highly recommend

By: Jsquared


Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2013

In Chengdu our guide, Amanda, went above and beyond her responsibilities and made our stay there the highlight of the tour. We did not go through the locks on the Three Gorges Dam. Apparently the locks were shut down because of wind. However, when we reached the locks there was not even a breath of wind. We will be obliged if you could confirm the reason for the locks being closed,and in future pick a cruise ship that goes through the locks in daylight.
Travel Advisor:  Jodi Fox
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highly recommend

By: Sandy Z


Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2013

We used them for our most recent trip. The arrangements they made were very good. We had a few problems with flight time changes, but each time I emailed them and they were able to confirm the changes and reassure me that we would be picked up at the appropriate time at the other end. THey made good choices for hotels, and the cruise boat down the Amazon was fabulous!!
Travel Advisor:  Birgit Navarre
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Hardworking and experienced tour group

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

We've used Big Five Tours twice. The first experience had one or two bumps in the outcome but they corrected what could be done at the time and were attentive. We had doubts about their competency and experience but spent time going over the issues with them after the trip. After detailed discussions, we found them to be truly interested and they took our comments seriously. We decided to give them a 2nd chance with another large trip and they did a fabulous job!
Travel Advisor:  Sharon Cooper
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Very Accommodating

By: TGC and MJC


Reviewed on: 24 Nov 2013

Our trip to the the Galapagos Islands and Machi Picchu was fine tuned to our personal needs and time restrictions. The local tour companies in Ecuador (Klein Tours) and Peru (Fiesta Tours) were outstanding. Their staff and guides could not have been better. It was a trip of a lifetime.

Recommend

By: jpriest


Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2014

Travel Advisor:  Patty Calvert

Professional and timely

By: pelisons3


Reviewed on: 12 May 2015

Big Five provided a professional and individualized travel experience for us. Our guides were timely and informative and really seemed to want us to have a hassle free vacation while enjoying the beauty and culture of their country.
Travel Advisor:  Michele Vogel

Ditto previous comments

By: Jim


Reviewed on: 03 Nov 2015

See my other review that contains the same information -- altogether excellent!
Travel Advisor:  Honey Mistry

Thailand Myanmar

By: Been There


Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2016

Had a thoroughly enjoyable 17 day excursion to Bangkok, Amphawa, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake areas. Travel connections were made without complication. Transportation (buses, vans) were comfortable, drivers and assistants were up to the task, Guides were knowledgeable, helpful, flexible, personable and communicated effectively. Accommodations for the most part were in keeping with what we expected. The restaurant in the Baan Amphawa Resort accommodation should not have served us supper as their kitchen was closing. The breakfast meals were good and set one up for the day. The accommodation in the Inle Lake accommodation (Inle Princess Hotel) has very weak internet connection for those needing to receive email. A travel companion had her US dollar cash reserve eliminated as the internet failed and she could not pay by credit card. Their water system pulses and surges giving uneven pressure when washing/showering. Had restful sleep in all hotels.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Ferragine
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Comprehensive trip planners

By: Pamela


Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2016

This was our second trip with Big Five. We also travelled with them in Peru, where we had one guide for 10 days who was one of the most remarkable people we've ever met. This trip included safari, Victoria Falls, and a few days in Cape Town. Our trip had many logistical elements (we are a family of 5) and it went off pretty much without a hitch. We had multiple guides and drivers, all competent and timely, some more expert or personable than others. The safari camps chosen exceeded our needs and expectations. We would do the trip again in a heartbeat.
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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Great tours

By: Jax


Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2016

Our vacation to Tanzania, Africa was fantastic. Big Five Tours did not disappoint. We did not know what to expect and they did a great job in every way. The tented camps were more than anyone could have imagined. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett
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Amazing Company

By: Monica B


Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2016

Working with Ashish and Big Five Tours was a great experience. Every aspect our our tour was outstanding and we would not have changed anything with our itinerary. Ashish took the time to get to know what we wanted and expected and was bang on with everything on our trip.
Travel Advisor:  Sue Pechtel
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Great Tour Company!

By: Holly


Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2017

Everyone was on time and where they said they would be in our itinerary. We had amazing guides and drivers who took such great care of us. I would highly recommend Big Five to my friends and family!
Travel Advisor:  Courtney Regan
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Five

By: Jimbo


Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2017

Very good. Almost everything went off as planned. When there was a problem, a call took care of it. The guide was great: pleasant, knowledgeable and punctual. I would definitely recommend Big Five Tours.
Travel Advisor:  Steve Kuriga
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Uruguay

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2017

This is our second time using Big Five. We were faced with an emergency situation of coming up with a 10 day itinerary for Uruguay with 2 weeks notice. They came through with a great program at a price point we were comfortable with. The planning and fine tuning was done quickly and efficiently. A great company for a good travel experience.
Travel Advisor:  Natasha Rhodes
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A boundary pushing vacation

By: Jann DH


Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2017

Having never been to Central America, it was important for our family to work with an experienced operator with trusted connections. Our amazing travel advisor Sheila Gallant-Halloran recommended Big Five, and together, we experienced our best vacation ever. Our accommodations were fantastic. While living in the jungle without electricity, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys and rappelling down 100ft waterfalls definitely pushed our personal comfort zones, it was always done within the parameters of safety, fun and new experiences (in addition to push comfort!). Having Gisele and Asheesh thoroughly explain the uniqueness of our vacation choices only added to the excitement upon arriving. The finely-detailed itinerary made for no surprises. Logistically, it was great to have people waiting for to take us to our next destination. Their local contacts Jose and Jannie checked in with us throughout our vacation, making sure all was well. Top marks for another great family vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Sheila Gallant-Halloran
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Good

By: Jimbo


Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2017

Most of our experience with Big Five was good. A couple of times drivers were not there but they recovered quickly. Guide was great. Trip through the canal went very well. Hi light of the trip.
Travel Advisor:  Steve Kuriga

Peru 2017

By: Mark B


Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2017

Another great trip with Big Five - every detail attended to, wonderful guides and destinantions.
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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South America

By: Jay


Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2017

We could not fault the Big Five. We travelled to amazing places in Peru and Ecuador over 3 1/2 weeks and were looked after very well all the way. we had good accommodation, excellant guides and very good drivers with comfortable cars which all made for a good holiday.
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Extremely professional and knowledgeable

By: ConstantlyCurious


Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2017

While I still get a bit confused about the role of Big Five vs. the local agencies in Peru (not to mention my personal agent), our overall trip was extremely well managed. The guides were all incredibly knowledgeable, to the point where they could have been professors! Everything was extremely efficient. We always felt like someone was watching out for us - which was important to us in a country where we don't speak the language. And most importantly, we were able to experience some truly amazing things. Thanks for a great trip!
Travel Advisor:  Tisha Neufville

Big Five Tours

By: Neal


Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2017

Excellent.....most impressive was the Tour Guides we experienced throughout the five different Camps we visited. The Camps were well managed and efficient.
Travel Advisor:  Toni Lanfrank
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Great tour provider

By: Neets


Reviewed on: 19 Sep 2017

Big Five made sure our experience was exceptional. Our first experience in Africa was made memorable by Big Five. We were met at the bush plane by Michael our guide and from the minute we left the airstrip we felt safe and secure in his presence. Over the next several days he demonstrated his knowledge of the wildlife and their habits and made our experience a true adventure. He is more than a guide, he is an ambassador for Tanzania and a dedicated conservator of the wildlife resource. We saw and photographed so many different animals and had so much fun with Michael as he has a very developed sense of humour. The rest of our tour with Big Five was to the Ngorongoro Conservation area and was also memorable. Words cannot truly express the experiences provided us by Big Five you have to go there yourself. Big Five live up to their name and reputation and are the professionals they say they are.
Travel Advisor:  Geordie McDonald
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A Little Bit of Heaven

By: bus driver


Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2017

We couldn't have asked for a better experience. We were looked after right off from the start. During the whole trip we felt safe. The staff couldn't have been more accommodating,friendly caring people. The bus driver and myself highly recommend the Big Five to all who want a trip of a lifetime. try them you will never go to another.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett
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Asia

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2017

Very good. Have used Big Five on three different occasions and they provide an excellent service and itinerary leading to a very satisfying experience.
Travel Advisor:  Natasha Rhodes
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South America

By: big blue


Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2017

Wonderful experience with Big Five. The guides were uniformly excellent, both knowledgeable and very friendly. I would recommend them to anyone thinking of going to South America.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Jenkins
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Patagonia

By: OMM


Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2018

The guides provided by the tour operator were amicable, yet professional. They were there for us all of the time from arrival to departure. Alvin was the best in Santiago. Joaquin was the best en El Cajon del Maipo. Remota Hotel provided great facilities with great guides. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
Travel Advisor:  Misty Jones
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Thank you Big Five

By: Frequent Travelers


Reviewed on: 14 Apr 2018

Big Five was awesome! They kept our family busy in Costa Rica with hiking, fishing, zip lining, horseback riding and more. Big Five seemed to have the insight on where to go with the time we had. The tour services booked were wonderful with very kind and knowledgable guides. The accommodations chosen were top notch and our family would love to return one day with Big Five as our event coordinator once again! Thanks Big Five
Travel Advisor:  Jeannie Sauleau
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Excellent Tour Operator

By: Bill


Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2018

Big Five Tours is a great agency to work with in providing on the ground travel experiences. As part of our cruise, we did a pre-cruise to Hong Kong and India and post cruise to Egypt. Via our travel advisor, Clare Isquist, Big Five made it happen. The hotels and guides and the itinerary in country were excellent. No complaints. Their in country representatives were always available to assist if needed and were a great help with plane reservations and airport formalities. Without Big Five we do not think our trip would have been the experience of a lifetime that it was.
Travel Advisor:  Clare Isquith
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Great tour guides and drivers

By: Trendy Traveler


Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2018

We used Big Five for our trip to Peru the end of May 2018. Each of the drivers and guides were so accommodating and knowledgable. Freddie and Erika, our guides in the Urubamba Sacred Valley really bent over backwards for us. Freddie even came all the way back to the train station to deliver my husband's reading glasses that he had left in the car. We had so much fun with them that we got a group picture with them at the end to put in our photo book. I would use Big Five again, but my only complaint is that we had a small issue come up and when we tried to use the "White Glove Service", they did not respond to us. The problem resolved itself, but if it had been a big deal, this would have been very upsetting because we were paying for the service. Otherwise, all was taken care of and we had a great time.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Brant
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Very good... in line with expectations

By: Steve


Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2018

we didn't really have much contact with them... they seemed to help on the itinerary... had a problem with a bag in Arusha and their ground operator Tandela helped with that
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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Wow!

By: Happy Hamster


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

I was nervous about going on a photo safari, but we were in very good hands with Big Five. We were met at each stop along the way by courteous and professional representatives even when our flight was 5 hours late on arrival. Our lodging at Kings Camp was the absolute lap of luxury and the guides, trackers and hotel staff were wonderful. We were also pleased with other arrangements at Victoria Falls and Chobe. We saw all of the 'big five' and so much more - birds of every color, animals small and large. I would definitely use them again.
Travel Advisor:  Joan Smith
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Flawless

By: Tom


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

We have done two trips to South/Central America planned by Big Five. Both have been filled with activities and multiple destinations. Big Five provides a detailed itinerary which is flawlessly executed. Representatives are on hand and on time when promised. Reservations are in place and we are welcomed upon arrival. Transportation from jeeps, to rafts, to small planes are in place and on time. Everything comes together perfectly. I'm confident there is a lot of behind the scenes calling and confirming going on during the trip but we just experience the wonder of the locations with no logistical responsibilities or problems. Oh, and the trips themselves have been amazing, activity-filled vacations delivering what we requested and more than we expected!
Travel Advisor:  Mary Jean Thompson
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Great trip

By: sai


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

This was our first time traveling with Big Five. They were very responsive from the planning stage to during the trip. Could not have been better!
Travel Advisor:  Jane Rosenkrantz
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Africa

By: Sunny


Reviewed on: 10 Sep 2018

Very good-all experiences were favorable-tour guides were good and on time and very pleasent
Travel Advisor:  Pam Anderson
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