In January/February 2010 I visited West Africa. The tour was organized by Balanzan Tours, located in Bamako, Mali. I had designed an individual tour through Burkina Faso, Mali, Sénégal, and The Gambia for 23 days, and I was really looking forward to this tour.
95% of the trip was excellent, exactly what I was hoping for, so up until getting into Dakar I was very happy.
Unfortunately, there were problems with paying for my hotel as agreed when we arrived in Dakar. The owner of Balanzan Tours was not responding and didn't send money to my tour guide. I had to pay for the hotel in Dakar myself. I was also scheduled to go to The Gambia for a couple of days from Dakar. That didn't happen because of the missing money. After the tour the owner told me that he was in the hospital and couldn't get in touch with us. He eventually agreed to reimburse me for the extra costs that I had. It took till August for me to receive the refund, but eventually we were able to settle this issue.
This was a very unfortunate ending of my otherwise fantastic trip. Overall, I was happy with the organization of the trip. I would not necessarily advise against using Balanzan Tours. I think they have learned that such occurrences are bad for business and will make every effort that something like that won't happen again.