I hired a 4x4 Hilux from this company for 3 weeks in September 2011. The truck was to be used in part of a geophysical research experiment being conducted in and around the Maun area. As part of the experiment, we would be driving the truck on dirt/sand/gravel roads through the bush. We were informed during the rental process that general wear and tear, minor bush scratching, etc., was expected and perfectly acceptable.
Through daily use for 3 weeks in these conditions over approximately 5,000 km of driving, the vehicle acquired the aforementioned wear and tear, 6 flat tires, and a minor dent in the front plastic bumper.
All four of the trucks original tires, and both spares that were provided with the truck had blowouts within the first week due to being old, worn, used tires. At least one of the tires used an inner tube to support a tire with glaring sidewall damage that had been hidden on the vehicle-side of the tire.
We purchased 4 new tires for the truck out of our own pocket, and never had another flat tire for the remaining two weeks of the rental.
When the vehicle was returned, the agent collecting the truck made no remark about issues with the wear & tear or bush scratches, and seemed genuinely pleased with the condition of the truck, aside from the minor dent in the front plastic bumper.
One week later, the day before we were leaving Maun to head into Zambia, I discovered that Travel Adventures had charged my credit card nearly $2,500 US Dollars without my knowledge or consent. They had sent me emails with quotations for repainting the vehicle and for replacing the front plastic bumper, the side mirrors, and the snorkel, but at no time called my local cell number even though they knew I had limited internet access and had not acknowledged their correspondence. They had arranged our lodging during this period, and did not attempt to contact the lodge to reach us, even though the lodge is located only 5 minutes from their repair shop.
When I discussed the charges with the company, the manager was extremely rude and confrontational, accusing me of reckless and negligent driving. I attempted to negotiate a minor reimbursement for the purchase of the new tires, and the manager blamed my driving abilities as opposed to the condition of the original tires. When I remarked that we had no new flats after replacing the tires, I was told that I should have kept the original, ruined tires as they have some value and are now mine.
I should also mention that during this project we also rented two Hiluxes from Bushlore of South Africa for a period of 6.5 weeks. We drove them through the same conditions and more, had no similar tire issues, and upon returning the vehicles were only charged a nominal cleaning fee with some minor repair fees for bumper dents, totaling approximately $500 US Dollars.
Travel Adventures Botswana will rip off foreign customers without hesitation. BE WARNED.