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 September 2018
    Katherine Pagett

    Beautiful Botswana and Zimbabwe Lodges

    A truly awesome holiday! I can't stop telling people about it! We saw so many animals in the wild with memorable sights, noises and smells. We were the 'lucky lion group' witnessing lions feasting on a putrid smelling kill in Chobe in the morning and then seeing a prowling lioness on the banks of the river in the evening. Then while camping in the Okavango Delta, on our sunset walk return to camp, we came across 5 lions within 400 meters of our campsite! We also heard them roar later that night while we were sitting around the campfire and taking photos of the Milky Way...sweet dreams!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Hwange Park on the sunset safari, a herd of elephants of all ages crossed in front of us on their way to a waterhole. The closer they got to the water, the faster they ran and they put on a spectacular water show for us. They drank and splashed in the water and showered water in the air, they then rolled in the mud and the babies seemed to show such joy at rolling and splashing around. Next they threw dust over themselves which looked like they were finishing off their bathing session with powder. It really made me smile. Then at the next watering hole, the hippos finally showed themselves and opened their massive mouths - truly awesome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was good fun, a great cook with limited facilities and amazing at spotting birds and animals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The camping in the Okavango Delta is basic. I'm not a natural camper but just embrace it because the proximity to animals, the noises, the visibility of the Milky Way is awesome. I never thought I would use the bush shower but I did and I enjoyed it, so be open minded! Take a sleeping bag liner with you, wet wipes, torches and as little else as possible because you will probably just end up wearing the same clothes for the 3 days/2 nights you are there as everything gets covered in dust. Take something to do (e.g. book, puzzle book, magazine) during the heat of the day during siesta time as it is too hot to go out then and you couldn't wander off by yourself.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Animals we saw - lions, elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras; only one rhino; one hyena, warthogs, wildebeest, impalas, kudus, steenbucks; mongooses, jeckle, lesser spotted genet, baboons, monkeys; elephant shrew, lizards, ostriches, bushbaby; flamingos, vultures, kingfishers, lilac breasted rollers and lots of other birds
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Catherine How

    Memorable

    Fantastic trip with great contrasts not just of scenery but also animals and experiences One of the top exodus trips taken over the last 12 years and highly recommended Wild camping on the delta was an unforgettable experience Great guides!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The delta: the organisation of the villagers, their knowledge and skills awesome

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great guy Rowan along with Susifso who had guided and driven us so well on an earlier trip to South Africa and the drakonsburgs 9 years ago We didn’t forget him and it was great to see him again Rowan was all that you could have wished for and humorous with it They made the dream team

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Amanda & Martin Randall

    Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari

    This was our first trip to Africa and it far exceeded expectations. The itinerary was balanced and very well organised and we were fortunate to see a huge variety of wildlife - including four of the 'big five' on the first day! Although there were (by necessity) some long drives, the vehicle was comfortable and well-driven by Sofiso. Our guide Rowan both entertained us and still continued to point out interesting features and wildlife all along the way, making sure we didn't miss a thing! There was a variety of accommodation and even the tents in the Delta were comfortable. Our focus was the wildlife and the amount and variety were superlative.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were just so many highlights that choosing just one is impossible! The visit to the Okavango Delta via mokoros, camping and the game walks were inspirational. Whilst here, we watched an elephant approach our camp and then wander over to a palm tree where it proceeded to shake the tree trunk vigorously, causing the palm nuts to rain down. We watched it eat the nuts and then repeat the performance - magic. Watching a huge flock of vibrant lesser flamingos flying in the evening light at the Makgadikgadi Salt pans. In Chobe, seeing a leopard resting up a tree twitching its tail, guarding its impala prey. At Matobo, standing within a few metres from a mother white rhino and her baby (and her teenage calf) and then going to visit centuries old cave paintings which captured the wildlife so accurately (including rhino!). In Hwange, looking into the faces of lion cubs who were resting in the shade after a big meal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was very knowledgable, friendly, fun and enthusiastic and helped us to get the full benefit from all our trips. He quickly made sure that the group was a cohesive unit in which we were all equal. He was extremely well organised throughout the trip and at border crossings gave us all very clear guidance as to what we needed to do, making these parts of the trip go as smoothly as possible, too. Rowan prepared and served us some great meals after long days on excursions. We often enjoyed these sitting round the camp fire at night and he still had the energy to entertain us into the evening! Couldn't have asked for more!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were surprised just how cold the early morning game drives were in open vehicles (we were there in July/ August; winter). The blankets provided certainly helped, but we probably should have taken light windproof jackets as well as fleeces. We had hats and gloves and also neck buffs - the latter very useful to protect against the dust as well as to keep warm/ stop any biting insects/ protect from the sun! We weren't troubled by insects, as it happened! We took US dollars which were fine for Zimbabwe, but local shops & traders in Botswana preferred pula. There were plenty of opportunities to stop at ATMs for these so this was not a problem.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking about booking this trip - do it! It is worth thinking about what you hope to see and planning the time of year accordingly. (Victoria Falls still had plenty of water, even at the beginning of August). We certainly had an experience of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Susan Darnton

    One of the best African experiences!

    I am an experienced Exodus/Africa client as I love both the continent and the Exodus tours I have completed there. This present tour was outstanding in the scope, the experiences and the group: all influenced by our excellent leader Rowan. The itinerary encompasses game drives and walking drives which were very productive. We saw all the usual big 5 but had some special experiences- a leopard up a tree in full camera view with its fresh impala breakfast, wild dogs [our guides said we were VERY lucky] and a rare as hen's teeth caracal in the light of day begging from a parking attendant. WOW! The combination of two countries in one tour encompasses some amazing scenery, including the majestic Victoria Falls. Wild camping on the extraordinary Okovango Delta is a once in a lifetime experience. Our group shared interests and enthusiasms and we became addicted to the Millionaire Quiz app to which our leader introduced. Who thought we could be so competitive in such a jolly way!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The three amazing and very special animal sightings: leopard with kill, wild dogs and caracal. Last experience probably never to be repeated in a lifetime and special to me as my Abyssinian breed cat is descended ultimately from the African caracal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hi is ace!!!!!!! His organisational skills and enthusiastic love of Africa shine through. A really god shopper and cook too over very many meals. An Exodus tour marches on its tummy we know and we marched well and on time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not hesitate if you love the African experience: this is a very special tour.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sue Bowler

    Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari

    This was a fantastic trip, helped by a great group of people. Both the guide and driver were very knowledable and we all learnt a lot. The long drives were helped by Rowan our guide reading out who wants to be a millionaire from his phone and after several attempts we beat the odds! Some of the group were nervous about camping in the Okovango delta but it was glamping rather than camping and this proved to be one of the most enjoyable 2 days the trip. Mornings were chilly but we all layered up and with the help of blankets on the game vehicals managed to keep warm. The trip notes were inaccurate in the meals we had provided by the guide which worked out in our favour. Most of us felt that all evening meals with the exception of Victoria falls should be included. Rowan provided good meals and there was plenty to eat. We missed out on seeing lions and leopards but did see the most difficult cat to spot the cheeteh so that more than made up for it and as it is wildlife there are never any guarntees. When I booked this trip it was the animals I was most interested in but this has lit in me an interest in birds that I never knew I had and I hope to continue spotting and photographing bird in future. Victoria falls were amazing and I would recommend both the sunset dinner cruise and the helicopter flight over the falls both were superb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Coming face to face with a white Rhino whist walking with our knowledgeable guide, John. The evening cruise on the Chobe river was truely amazing with a wealth of animals and birds at close quaters.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was fabulous as was Safiso our driver. My only critisism would be that he did not ask far enough in advance if anyone wanted to fly in a helicopter over the Okovango Delta, this could also have been arranged by exodus in advance back in England. This meant we missed out on this but we did manage a plane flight.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes take a warm hat in winter months, this should be added to the kit list. Long jonhs or legging were useful too and a pair of gloves would have been welcome first thing in the mornings.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most of the accomodation was great but I would suggest exodus look for anothe lodge in Maun as River nest cottages is fairly run down compared to the other lodges we stayed at. The locks on my windows would not shut and others had issues with showers etc.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Sue for her review. We are delighted to read that she found her trip to be fantastic and that she found our local team to be very knowledgeable. It is also great to learn that Sue found the camping in the Okovango Delta to be a much more enjoyable and glamorous than she had anticipated. It transpires that during her group’s stay in Botswana, staff at the lodge offered the group complimentary dinners – we trust the group enjoyed this unexpected gesture! We can, however, confirm that the trip notes accurately described the number of included meals on the tour, but we would like to thank Sue for suggesting that all meals should be included in the itinerary; this feedback has been taken on board. We would like to apologies that certain aspects of Sue’s stay in Maun fell below her expectations. Staff at the property have confirmed that the maintenance crew have addressed the points Sue has mentioned and we hope that going forward future clients will find their stay to be comfortable – John Penge, Product Manager.

  • A fabulous African experience

    A wonderfully varied trip which combines the comforts from home whilst giving you a real wildlife experience. The lodges were each unique in character and all very comfortable, most of them with swimming pools, and the camping in the Okavango Delta was much more comfortable than anyone had expected! You get to see a good part of two quite different but equally friendly and welcoming countries and because the places you visit are so quiet you never feel that you are on a tourist trail.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many moments to choose, from standing close enough to rhinos to be able to hear them eat in Matobo, to watching an elephant walk past our camp in the Delta, and experiencing the exhilarating Victoria Falls up close. We also met some truly inspiring people who are very proud of their country and do amazing work to protect the natural landscape and wildlife. The two nights camping in the Okavango Delta were very special, made even more so by the kindness of the locals who looked after us so well. We were genuinely sad to say goodbye to them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Justin was simply brilliant and made sure this trip was as special as possible for everyone. He was our group leader, driver and cook and managed all this very well and would never accept any help. His insight into Southern African culture and wildlife really helped us to get the most out of this trip and gain a good understanding of the way of life in this part of Africa. He clearly has a good relationship with the local people and guides which was shown through the high level of service we received from everyone. We hope to be lucky enough to come across him again on future trips!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As someone else already said, just go! Yes, there are some days when you spend a fair amount of time on the bus, but there is always something to look at and otherwise you can use the time to catch up on some sleep from the early morning safari drives... There are also regular stops. If you travel in their winter months, from May on-wards, do bring a fleece or coat as the early morning drives can be cold especially when sitting on an open sided safari truck.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are a number of optional activities and we chose to do the scenic flight over the Delta, the helicopter ride over Victoria Falls and the sunset dinner cruise on the Zambezi. These are all personal choices of course but we didn't regret doing any of these and felt they each represented good value for money considering the once in a lifetime experience they gave us. This was an amazing trip and we are already looking to book our next one to Southern Africa. However, do remember that this is Africa so go with an open mind and just enjoy the experience!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    kim simkins

    Safari at it's absolute best

    Travelling with a group of friends who met in Botswana on a camping trip 7 years ago, and had so much fun and friendship that we decided to reunite the Botties for a rerun with a bit of Zimbabwe added on! Were slightly concerned that the lodges would lack the intimacy of the wild camping, however this trip was absolutely perfect for us and Exodus helped us fine tune the experience by switching a day in Vic Falls for an extra day in Hwange for our party of 6. And actually that was probably the highlight of the trip in the end, one of the greatest 24hrs safari experience of my life (and I've had a few)! I was in serious need of a break, but I came home from Africa a different and better person after one of the most amazing trips ever! I am an Exodus veteran but this had to be the best yet! Thank-you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many...hard to choose! 1. The Okavango Delta, the absolute isolation and peacefulness of wild camping, swimming amongst the water lilies and the fireflies spectacular light show at night whilst listening to the lions roaring and the elephants splashing in the water just yards from my tent. 2. Walking to track Rhino in Matobo and removing a poachers snare and the superb Hermits lodge with a great sundown dog walk with the zebra chasing the dog off! 3. The wonderful Hwange National Park. Superb game drives and even thought the landrover broke down, it meant our replacement vehicle had got wind of a leopard and we were lucky enough to see one descending from a tree. 4. Wonderful Hwange Safari Lodge hotel overlooking the waterhole, and a superb tracker guide who found us a cheetah with 3 cubs, a huge herd of elephant with a close encounter never to forget with a herd of 150 elephants doing what all elephants do best all around us. Just when we thought we had seen it all, he found us a pride of 16 lions right by the side of the road for an amazing encounter with some very relaxed and well fed cats! 5. Superb dinner cruise on the last night with great food, wonderful live music and the most amazing sunset. So emotional, it brought tears to my eyes, a perfect end to a perfect trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sheridan was very young and inexperienced and had her work cut out with some 'older' seasoned travellers. She was pleasant and helpful but didn't really add much to the experience as she didn't give us much information about the country or the wildlife. She spent a lot of time on the game drives asleep. Sometimes communication was not as good as it might have been. But I am sure she will improve with experience and has the enthusiasm to learn.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some very long drives on dodgy roads with strict speed limits and very few stops. The estimated timings were a long way out, 4/5 hrs was often nearer 6/7 so there was little down time. A significant amount of walking too on safaris so need to be reasonably fit, especially with the heat as some days were 40degrees. Zimbabwe is still quite corrupt, we had a few issues with police stops, it also has little cash so take small notes and don't expect change. If you are prepared to take old clothes, these can be bartered for goods. Things are expensive in both countries so take plenty of cash/credit cards. Don't expect luxury and its Africa and thatched accommodation so be prepared for bugs and meeting the outdoors.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just to say thanks for such an amazing time. Will certainly be going back to Zimbabwe once the furore dies down. It certainly rivals Botswana for wildlife.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Debra Dance

    Magical From Start To Finish

    Every day on this trip was like a dream come true. Over the two weeks we saw over 100 different wildlife species.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One of my highlights was watching a herd of female elephants and their calves run towards a watering hole to join the males who were already there. The 30 or so elephants drank, bathed and sprayed themselves with water with obvious joy. Seeing this close up felt like a real privilege. But every single day brought new delights, from seeing a white rhino and her two daughters during a walking safari and enjoying the polers' harmonious singing around the campfire to seeing a wide range of gloriously coloured birds, San rock art and rich sunsets.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leaders, Mira and Marco, were outstanding, enthusiastically sharing their knowledge with us about both countries and their wildlife. They were unfailingly hard-working and well-organised, as well as being great cooks, conjuring up a variety of delicious meals on basic equipment. Their love of their jobs constantly shone through. The guides in the national parks were equally passionate about their subjects and always committed to giving us the best experience. I suggest that you take more money with you for tipping than is suggested in the trip notes, as you will almost certainly want to reward the outstanding service that you receive throughout your trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Of the optional activities on offer, I recommend the flight over the Delta (120 US $) to get a sense of the Delta's vastness. And in Victoria Falls I wholeheartedly recommend the lion cub interaction (75 US $). This chance to stroke and walk with lion cubs is part of a conservation project and an incredibly special experience. I felt totally safe throughout the experience and given that the 'cubs' were 22 months old, that's really saying something! The Zambezi dinner cruise (78 US $) is also definitely worth doing: a delicious five course meal, watching an elephant on the bank and hippos in the river, bathed in the warm, golden light of the setting sun. It really did feel as if life could not get any better.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Debra for her review, and we are delighted to hear that she had a wonderful trip. We really appreciate direct recommendations from our clients for specific optional activities, however, we would discourage people from taking part in the lion cub activity in Victoria Falls. Animal welfare is an important part of the Exodus Responsible Travel policy; and there are a lot of unanswered questions about this activity (and other similar activities in Zimbabwe) and about the extent of how ethical they are. We would therefore advise against people taking part in this particular activity or if they choose to, consider the potential issues surrounding these activities.

     

    Tom Harari – Product Manager for Botswana and Zimbabwe

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Barry Tylee

    realise your wildlife dreams

    This tour is where you realise your every wildlife dream. This is where dreaming stops and reality takes over. From the beginning to the end, it is a non stop thrilling adventure. Poling past grumpy Hippos, listening to Lions roar while wild camping, seeing giant elephants wade across the water in front of you, Seeing the same cross a deep river with just their trunks showing. That's just for starters. No need to imagine standing just five meters away from a grazing white Rhino with her baby, it happened, with a few more sitting behind. Horn bills, Kingfishers and a variety of other water birds. As you drive along the road between stops view the Giraffes, Zebra, Elephants, the list goes on. Most nights "we" gather around a roaring fire to eat lovely cooked food, compliments of our tour guides (Marco & Mira) so knowledgeable, really in safe hands. You don't really want to sleep, because closing your eyes means that you will miss something. Just when you think its all over and the last day arrives, there are still some amazing opportunities to experience. Victoria Falls, just amazing. Try the optional safari, with luck you can view close up Black Rhino, again mother with baby. Mother walked right up to the jeep to check us out. Great photo opportunities. Last but not least, don't miss the optional sunset cruise, it is just simply an amazing sight.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many, but the four Elephants crossing the Chobe river, one after the other, snorkelling, then climbing on the back of the one in front as they arrive at the more shallow part of the river. Being so close to the Black and White Rhino, (sadly they have been de-horned) for their protection against poachers. But still guarded 24 hours a day. Sitting in the jeep looking at a 10 strong pride of Lions, relaxing in the shade The photos that I have from the sunsets are for me a great reminder of this wonderful, exciting adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader(s) were Marco & Mira, a husband and wife combination from South Africa. Really nice people. Always in control, whether driving or cooking or simply managing your day. Both extremely knowledgeable in respect of all the creatures that you might see and only to happy to tell you about them. I would be delighted to see them on any future tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not be put off by the 2 nights wild camping, bushy-bushy loos are not so much a problem. July in Botswana and Zimbabwe during the night and early morning is cold and I mean cold. Make sure that you have packed some warm layers, you will need them. When I did the optional early morning safari in Victoria falls (which i would not have missed for anything) I could not believe how cold it was until the sun came up. be prepared, its worth it. Hot tea/coffee and biscuits helped, followed by a cooked breakfast, while observing feeding Horn bills. Yes there are a couple of long drives, don't fall asleep !! Be patient when you arrive at immigration in Zimbabwe, it can be very slow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    To be honest, I could have written a book about this trip. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of what was a great group of people who all enjoyed the tour. Each will take home their own special moments. I'm pleased to have shared the time with them.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Isabel Draper

    Botswana and Zimbabwe Lodge Safari

    The fantastic experiences just kept coming! Each day felt as if it couldn't be bettered -- and then it was!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being punted through the Okavango Delta like a memsahib. Gazing into the eyes of a White Rhino from 15ft, who decided we were too boring to bother with and went back to chewing the grass. And the Victoria Falls -- words can't do them justice.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco and Mira showed the professionalism I have come to expect from Exodus tour leaders, and were quietly keeping on top of the whole show without the clients knowing anything was happening. Very impressed they got us to the Delta despite extensive flooding when other tour groups didn't manage to reach it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're not experienced at camping, get the advice of someone who is to ensure you take the right things to the Delta -- I forgot a torch. The spray at Victoria Falls is considerable and it is impossible to keep everything dry. As the return to the UK is not long after, think in advance about what to wear and carry.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Another fantastic trip from Exodus!
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