Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed May 2018
    Mike Frampton

    A great safari, definitely to be recommended.

    Botswana is a country the size of France or Texas, but with a population of just over 2 million and some of the most stunning scenery and wildlife. We arrived at the beginning of May, just after the rainy season, so much of the country was still green. It was also the rutting season for some animals. Our safari was in the northern half of the country, starting in Maun and then taking a mokoro (canoe) journey through the waterways of the Okavango Delta to the wild campsite (ie a clearing in the trees with no other people or facilities around). Our arrival was livened by the hippos in the pool by the campsite. Hippos came be my favourite animal, for my wife it was the many colourful birds. Hippos spend the day in water if they can, coming out after dusk. Whilst in the water, they come up for air, grunt, yawn, play and make the occasional belly flops when not sleeping: they just like to enjoy themselves. After our time in the Delta, we took an optional 40 minute plane ride over the Okavango Delta and realised the vastness of it, particularly as we only saw part of it in that time. There were great stretches of waterways, grasslands and scrub with herds of animals scattered across it. No wonder it takes time to find the animals, they are all there but just scattered over this vast area. During our journey in Botswana, first east to the salt flats near Nata, then up to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, before returning via the Chobe, Savuti and Moremi national parks in Botswana, we saw herds of zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, buffalo, baboons and assorted types of deer, as well as ostrich, tortoise, puff adder, elephants, lions and a leopard up a tree with a lioness underneath waiting for her dinner to come down. We saw two Impala challenging each other and two giraffe fighting, using the horns on their heads to hit their opponent's side, as well as the amorous attentions of male impala and kudu for their females, and a lion kissing a lioness behind her head. We had elephants walk past our campsites and saw a den of hyena with the pups playing outside. On another occasion we saw an elephant thoroughly enjoying her bath, rolling in the water and throwing water over herself. At Victoria Falls, we organised our own walk to the bridge, which straddles the gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. At the Zimbabwe customs we got a bridge pass which allowed us to visit this 100 year old bridge and see the gorge, as well as bargain with the many pedlars of wood carvings and copper bracelets. Then it was on to visit the falls, with its 17 viewing points. Start at the first viewing point, which looks over the Zambesi river, before it plunges over the falls. From there on the viewing points get progressively wetter and the views more spectacular - so go expecting to get very wet. After that we dried out at a cafe, with magnificent views of the bridge and Zambia across the gorge. Our return was diverted by elephants on the footpath and rewarded by seeing a warthog on route as well as monkeys and a family of mongoose. That evening we joined the dinner cruise on the Zambesi, for some more hippos, a four course meal with plenty of wine and another great sunset. Our team of four led by Ngande and Melo (our cook), set up our tents and kept us well fed and looked after, even providing "pottys" for some of the wild camps where a night time walk might not be advisable. We all got used to the bush toilets, even the occasional collapse when the sand gave way! Bush showers were also provided, with a water bag slung over a branch and suitable enclosure. Mello's ability to provide three great meals a day in the bush was outstanding. He even provided "home" cooked bread with "Welcome to ... " moulded into the bread, something most of us would struggle to do with a fully equipped kitchen, let alone on a camp fire. This is a great safari, with superb staff, scenery and wild life. And one that all ages can enjoy, our oldest member was 80.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day provided new inspirations, from punting in and flying over the Delta, to each game walk and game drive, the road side wildlife, the sand and dirt roads through the game reserves, the trees ripped up by the elephant, the many colourful birds, and not least the Victoria Falls and bride. Not forgetting the team that looked after us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngande was a superb group leader, very knowledgeable of the wildlife, the people and areas through which we travelled. He made sure that each campsite was left spotless when we left, with fire embers buried and all rubbish remove. Even apple cores were collected up to ensure that the local flora was not challenged by a foreign plant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the likely weather for the season you are travelling. We were there in May, the days were hot, but the nights were sometimes cold. You needed a sleeping bag and warm top. The vehicle is open sided, with four rows of three seats. On the long journeys, you need a warm top at the start and end of the day, as well as long sleeves and and a scarf or hat to protect you from the wind and sun. Think about tips. You have two people looking after you for the full two weeks and another two for the last 10 days. You also have a group of locals looking after you in the Okavango Delta. Also recommended are the optional flight over the Okavango Delta, the dinner cruise on the Zambezi (for the occasion) and the afternoon cruise on the Chobe river (for the animals).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We spent five days in Cape Town on our way back to London and can thoroughly recommend this if you have opportunity. At the moment you have organise the Cape Town end yourselves, but we were able to extend our group flights to do this. Hopefully, Exodus will provide this as an option in the future.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Jane Firth

    Loved it!

    Our first Exodus holiday and it will certainly not be the last. Everything ran smoothly even though we had to have a replacement guide due to illness. Dan, our guide, had a great sense of humour and was knowledgeable about the region. The walks were varied and the scenery was beautiful. Hotel Los Bérchules was comfortable and very clean. Wendy, Alejandro, Csilla and Omar made us all feel so at home. The food was super, tasty homemade bread and marmalade at breakfast, satisfying packed lunches and generous portions at dinner with always a homemade pudding. Finally our fellow travellers were a great group of people, so interesting and full of fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Managing to keep on walking whatever the weather threw at us!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dan is a great leader, calm and confident with a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an extra day for Granada, so much to see, so little time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No complaints at all! 😊
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Shahina Ahmed

    Top of the world.

    This trek was a difficult one because of the high climbs in metres. Dealing with high altitude was to take it slow and easy. I was very satisfied when completed and the views were amazing. It was not a well trodden path so it felt like we were the only people around. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Even though it was my first time camping the food was really good and freshly prepared. Seeing Michu Pichu was the icing on the cake.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Inca architecture and thinking how it was all achieved. See Machu Pichu was a dream come true. Meeting the lovely people in the group and our group dynamics that developed made the difficult situations so much easier.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very knowledgeable and no job was to big or small for him. He was a caring individual and a great motivator when the mood was low. Looked after us all very well. Thank you Thomas.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a high altitude trek and not easy with the large height gains. No matter how fit you are it is best to take it easy and slowly. No rushing as the altitude can kick you in the teeth when you think you are ok. Stick with the group and do t go rushing off even though you are fast.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Have.a great time. I know I did.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Diarmuid Mulherin

    Challenging but worth every turn of the pedals

    The distances covered are in the 60-70 km range most days, and it is a warm place, with the accommodation in towns that the locals have a penchant for putting at the tops of hills and cliffs: great views but a tough cycle to get there at the end of the day. Despite all that, the distances and climbs are worth it. You get a real feel for Andalucia. Wide open plains, olive groves, vineyards, etc. The accommodation is very good and it is not difficult to find good places to eat your evening meal. Mostly the roads are quiet, but there is quite a bit that is off-road/unpaved and a few kilometres of that is pretty technical (soft sand or very rocky). The trip directions are generally very good but there are some tricky bits which require some prior study to avoid cycling on motorways! The bicycles were sturdy though a bit heavy and we had no technical issues throughout the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are some awesome views from the Paradors and the new Parador in Cadiz is a stunning building.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not relevant - self-guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Study the trip notes carefully: there are some tricky junctions. Worth looking on Google Maps and Streetview.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food and wine in Andalucia are excellent. The weather is generally dry and usually warm to hot.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Ian Buxton

    A thought provoking journey

    Iran was an amazing trip– a real eye-opener. it is a country with a long and complicated history. The people are very friendly and the food is out of this world. We covered over 4500km and saw a lot of variety of scenery. It was a great experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our visit to Persepolis

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Navid was very efficient and friendly, his English is excellent and he is well read on the history of Iran. The trip went smoothly without any problems

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a bit of time to read up on the history of Iran beforehand.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A trip well worth doing
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Richard Williams

    Full on adventure

    A busy itinerary covering both rural and city environments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The contrasts between Odessa, Lviv and Kiev; each unique in their own way. However, this was overshadowed by Chernobyl. The local guide, Anastasia, kept our small group away from the crowds; and was clearly passionate about the area, delivering the tour with warmth and humour.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomi was very good. Though not a tour guide and relying on locals as advertised; and having never been to either country; he sourced good restaurant recommendations, managed the group and most importantly, was excellent company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is so much to see in Kiev, if choosing to go to Chernobyl add a further additional day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Mildly concerned that some travellers may be disconcerted by the openness of escorts in the foyer of the Hotel Ukraine every evening.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    David Wells

    Walking Cinque Terre and Porofino

    A very well organised trip and excellent guide who was always decisive and unruffled when there were changes forced on her by weather or authorities. The hotel in Moneglia was very good, serving a good evening meal on the first night and a wide selection of breakfast food in the mornings. Moneglia was certainly quieter than the places we visited during week, so was quite restful. Travelling by train to each start point was enjoyable and quick in comparison to road travel around the area. The walks I would have said were graded a bit low at 3, certainly the steps and rocky climbs and descents needed a good set of knees and or walking poles, walking boots essential. Not a set of walks for trainers, though one did see idiots in insubstantial footwear attempting them. Wonderful views of the villages of the Cinque Terre and coastline as the walks progressed. Walk to Portofino was pleasant but the place was quite crowded even in May as we experienced . Three cruise ships anchored in the bay on one day would not have helped matters. If you don't mind being organised by someone and can go with the flow this is an excellent trip. We did not have to pay for anything in terms of travel during the days apart from lunch on the those when packed lunches were not provided. On the basis on this trip which was my first with Exodus I would definitely consider other tours with them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking down on the villages of the Cinque terre from 600 metres.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent could not fault her. Organised, unruffled with a good command of English and great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't chance this walk without walking boots and if you have them walking poles and get some practice going up and down steps (384 just going up from Corniglia station to the village, ok one could have caught a bus up but where's the fun in that and at least you get a work out!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    David Penny

    Fantastic holiday experience

    From the very start my wife and I were warmly welcomed by our guide Emanuele and our other 12 cycling companions. We had done a couple of other cycling holidays but this was our first with Exodus and with a leader who cycled with us along the way. Emanuele was fantastic - nothing was too much trouble for him, he has a great sense of humour and knows when to use diffent options when things might not go as expected. His vast experence meant that we visited places we would never have found ourselves - absolutely beautiful villages, landscapes and places to enjoy Italys wonderful food and drink. The cycling was on mainly good surfaces and well paced each day so that no one felt left out. Our group quickly became friends enjoying each others company and watching out for those inevitable potholes! We will definitely do another Exedous trip - we throughly reccommend it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful scenery particularly the coast along the Adriatic Sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele is a very experienced guide who knows thlocale network of roads and trails in the area very well. But most importantly he made sure that everyone of us was ok whether it was the set up of the bike or having trouble with translating the menu. I would describe him as a real leader and gentleman who really made the trip a success.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We would definitely recommend this trip to potential travellers - it s a beautiful area with great friendly and engaging local people and amazing food and wine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to all who cycled with us -we loved your company it was a memorable holiday.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Frances Wilson

    LESSER KNOWN MAJORCA

    An excellent route through parts of Majorca that most tourists never visit. Three hotels of a very high standard, two with outdoor swimming pools. The third, in the centre of Alcudia, was handy for the old town although a 20 minute urban walk from the beach. The food was of a high standard throughout and as a non-meat eater, I enjoyed some excellent fish and vegetarian dishes. There were two long days at the beginning but nothing that is not grade 3. I was impressed by the patient way that car drivers treated us on the narrow roads.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day at Formentor - wonderful views and a real sense of achievement

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alberto kept everything going smoothly without appearing in the least bit hassled. Very good English and able to communicate on a social as well as organisational level.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to see the 'real' Majorca this is the trip for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There were 16 in the group but 7 had locally hired drop handlebar road bikes while the rest of us were on the hybrid bikes provided by Exodus. This immediately separated the group into 2 as those on the road bikes were much faster than us particularly on the climbs. I feel this type of situation should be avoided as the group was often strung out over long distances which was very difficult for the leader to control.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Anne Thirkell

    Bulgaria Rodopi Mountains: beautiful and brimming with wildlife

    I am so glad that a friend suggested this holiday to me, as it surpassed all of my expectations. The Hotel Yagodina is a splendid base: the staff are very friendly and the food from local sources is served in generous portions. Some of the local specialities cooked for breakfast were eagerly taken in lunch boxes to supplement the sandwiches and salad (which we made up ourselves from a table of ingredients, including fresh fruit and chocolate bars!). Maria's cheesecake and apple strudel were memorable. All of the walks were enjoyable in themselves, for the beautiful scenery, the diversity of flowers and butterflies, however having Julian as our leader took this holiday to a higher level. Every day he showed us evidence of the bears living in the area and told us interesting facts about brown bears; he is also very knowledgeable about birds, butterflies, moths, reptiles and amphibians, as well as the plants unique to the Rodopi Mountains. One of the best holidays I have had.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears from the hide, and especially the evening a herd of wild boar entered the clearing, followed by a female with six tiny piglets.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian is an excellent leader, very knowledgeable about the Rodopi mountains, he is passionate about the bears and educating people about these gentle animals and their true nature. He was very patient and good humoured at all times of the day and night.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks involve some steep ascents and descents on some of the days and limestone can be slippery at times. Good walking boots are essential. On the free evenings, do walk up to the chapel on the hill and sit quietly enjoying the sunset; you may spot roe deer or even a hedgehog.
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