Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

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  • Reviewed March 2017
    Penelope Westmoreland

    Johannesburg to Cape Town AZJ

    The game drives were fun as we never knew what we would come across, e.g. white rhinos crossing the road and elephants with calves... There were beautiful national parks but different highlight(s) every day with ever-changing scenery - amazing views e.g. at Cape of Good Hope and panorama from Table Mountain. Swaziland was charming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing hippos play-fighting in Lake St Lucia.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marvellous - Petro was hard-working, fun, patient and more, ably assisted by Andrew, equally good, and both good cooks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We drove well over 4,000 kms so, some days, long hours were spent in the rather small seats of the minibus but I wouldn't have wanted to miss anything we did see - luckily reference books and drinking water were provided, and stops fairly frequent. It was hot and humid in almost all regions we visited in February (fewer mosquitoes than I'd expected, lucikly) but there would no doubt have been lots more vehicles in the game parks in the dry, high season when there is less vegetation in a few months' time, so pros and cons. A couple of optional walks were tough-ish (I later heard) but I had opted out as there were alternative easier walks to do and nice places to wait.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing special to add - do go!
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Geraldine Yates

    Johannesburg to Cape Town

    A great trip, having thoroughly enjoyed the Cape Town to Victoria Falls some years ago, I was keen to experience a different part of South Africa. I was not disappointed. This was a great trip saw and experienced so many different and wonderful views of wild life including whales, good walking , a variety of accommodation and great food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing leopard on one of our first game drives.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Justin was great he has been leading this trip for many years and his knowledge of the countries the people and the animals was amazing. He kept the trip running smoothly and never seemed to get tired despite the early mornings and long drives.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lots of early starts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One last the best Exodus trips l have done enjoyed every moment of it. Thank you.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Susan Gorman

    Jo'burg to Cape Town

    We travelled almost 4500k around Southern Africa; with wonderful scenery and experiences, knowledgable guide, fabulous cook. Highly recommend it as a great way to see loads and get a feel for the various regions and peoples. Lovely place to finish (Cape Town). Felt very safe throughout the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Scary - being 3 metres away from 3 rhinos (on foot). Thought provoking - visiting Lesotho and staying in the lodge which supported the local community. Different prospective - guide at Rookes Drift with his insight and knowledge Ahh moment -stroking a full grown cheetah, as a surprise visit! OMG - so many fabulous elephants, and a massive herd of 3/400 buffalo!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous, very well organised, caring and knowledgeable. Always ready to answer questions, give advice etc...... Cook also needs mentioning as she was able to feed all of us with amazing meals three times a day! Her morning fruit salad was always different and fresh (better than many hotels).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do this trip! Don't take sleeping bags, not needed, but take. Swimming costume as you will swim in some amazing places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take advantage of clothes washing, so you won't need to pack so much. Use mozzie stuff. Be prepared for no internet or phone reception in some places, make the most of it!
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Philip Hill

    JO'BURG TO CAPE TOWN

    The trip was everything we hoped it would be. Loads of animals, birds, wonderful scenery and fantastic people. The success of a trip is is dependant on many things but we were fortunate to have a great itinerary, a group of like minded travellers and, most importantly, outstanding guides. It is a trip full of superlatives.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many high points. There was a good set of walks included on the trip with the option of others at several of the stops. In particular we enjoyed our stay in Lesotho, the game drives, seeing the big 5, the beauty of the Garden Route and of course Cape Town and all it had to offer.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Justin, David and Fiona were 'awesome and amazing'. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They worked so very hard making sure we got the maximum from our trip, even visiting places not on the itinerary (where possible). Fiona provided a exceptional range of meals which were plentiful and tasty. Their knowledge and enthusiasm added greatly to the enjoyment of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the brochure carefully. Some of the days were long but they were always split into more manageable blocks with stops for meals, shopping, border crossings or 'mini visits' but don't be put off by the trip notes. Experience the scenery, smells, sights and people and enjoy this fantastic trip. + be prepared for inexpensive, amazing food in the restaurants.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We note that this trip will change in 2016 with the removal of the tented camps and the inclusion of extra meals. While this may be more comfortable for the targeted clientèle, the camping was one of the reasons we chose this trip. We feel that a chance for the group to gel more fully and the chance to get out into the community may be lost. However we recommend beautiful South Africa and this trip completely.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Alan Chapman

    Jo'burg to Cape Town Oct/Nov 2015

    An excellent trip involving 8 nights camping. The camping is being replaced by lodges/chalets in 2016 so the venues may be the same in some wonderful locations such as the shoreline at Tsitsikamma but the experience will be different. Some long drives in order to cover 4400 kms in less than 3 weeks but the roads are very good with adequate toilet/coffee stops at petrol stations and supermarkets for stock-ups. Great variety of wildlife, scenery, history, and people. Borders crossed quickly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a night-drive in Kruger, seeing a leopard walk past the vehicle, lie on the road and then move when two hyenas approached. On a night-drive in Swaziland, two lionesses and two cubs walked past the vehicle as though we weren't there. In contrast, the visit to Robben Island guided by two former inmates, and the scenery and people at Malea-lea in Lesotho.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Justin Barr of Mask Expeditions was excellent; couldn't have been more helpful, sociable and knowledgeable. Fiona, the cook, provided a great quantity, quality and variety of food.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the occasional disappointment such as no whales seen from the cliffs at Hermanus although a few were seen on the boat-ride. Take sunscreen for the many hot and sunny days but also rain-gear for the occasional day when the heavens open. Be prepared for some early starts and long days on a very full but extremely interesting and enjoyable journey, and be rewarded with some spectacular scenery.
  • Reviewed February 2015
    Catherine Naya

    Johannesburg to Cape Town

    This was a wonderful three week trip full of variety, travelling down through most of the eastern side of South Africa. Nearly 4500km over three weeks takes some doing so there are some long driving days. It covers beautiful scenery as well as the wild animals and varied plant life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspiring was the Berghouse cottage in the Drakensburg, away in the hills, with its peace and tranquility. Other memorable things were the animals in Kruger and Swaziland, especially elephants coming right up to our vehicle on a game drive and the 8 rhinos in the early morning by the pool at the Ndlovi campsite in Swaziland; stroking a wild cheetah; going up Table Mountain on a clear day without a cloud in the sky.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wynand was a fantastic leader - full of energy, always very helpful and considerate and lighthearted. He is an absolute encyclopaedia of information and there was very little he did not know about, of relevance to our trip. Together with our driver, Sofiso, they both worked tirelessly to make our trip comfortable and we were able to relax after a long day whilst they put up camp and cooked food. Sofiso was also a very good careful driver and at no time did we ever feel nervous, despite a few quite bumpy roads.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes were very accurate so they give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Although the days were often long on the road they were broken up with fairly regular stops for loo/drinks/food, to see the view or watch animals/birds. I think having had experience with these kind of long distance driving holidays is a help. Very early morning starts have to be accommodated and it helps to have had some experience of camping.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although the camping was a little challenging to start with, it became easier as I got more organised. The camp beds with mattress were comfortable. I was apprehensive about the walk in the Drakensburg as I am not a walker but managed it well, with the help of a walking pole, although was slower than the group going back. Wynand was always there to make sure we were alright. The group of 9 gelled very well and there was often laughter and banter. Our truck would have taken 12 but we were glad to have the extra space to spread out. The lodges were good with decent basic facilities. The trip was all I had imagined it would be - a fantastic holiday I would recommend to anyone who likes to see a lot in a comparatively short time and is prepared for the long days.
  • Reviewed October 2014
    Sandra Barrett

    Fantastic experience

    This is a most fantastic trip with plenty of wildlife viewings (although not as many in numbers as the Masai Mara). Lots of travelling through beautiful countries - South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland - where there are some tremendous views. This is a trip where you really NEED TO READ THE TRIP NOTES. So many of our group were not prepared for the long days travelling or the many nights camping. One person hadn't even brought a sleeping bag with her!! If you want luxury lodges this is not the trip for you. The more you read up before travelling the more you get out of this trip. The campsites were in some superb locations with tremendous views and most had excellent shower facilities and most even had places to charge batteries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many inspirational moments on this trip but for myself it was myself spotting a leopard at the side of the road in the Kruger and the driver backing the vehicle so that we could take a photo. I just managed to get one in the scrub but then it was gone. St. Lucia would have been better if there had been water but there had been water shortage for several weeks so washing with wet wipes was needed. The time in the Drakensberg was superb with excellent views yet again.Camping in Tsitsikamma was fabulous on the sea front in an excellent campsite watching the dolphins close to the beach and Whales further out and of course the sunsets. In Lesotho staying in a Rondevel and going on the walks to the gorge and the Bushman's caves with the locals. Even children sang for us in the Echoing cave. Whale watching in Hermanus was an experience especially as the sea was so rough on our return. We quite liked Cape Town but would have preferred a better hotel. The flora was incredible as was the scenery. Too many moments and I must have missed loads. GO AND ENJOY

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wynand our guide was very knowledgeable and helpful. If he couldn't answer a question he would willingly research it for us. He had a lot to put up with on this trip with people complaining about camping, long distances etc. and not having read the trip notes. Sofiso the driver was excellent, never felt worried about his driving, very good at spotting animals and always so helpful, full of fun. Joannel trainee guide was super company, had a good sense of humour and a very good wildlife spotter, a delight to be with. Should make a good guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    READ THE TRIP NOTES you really must read the trip notes, this is a camping holiday mainly with small hotels as well. Lots of driving to be expected as we were covering a large area from Johannesburg to Cape Town, via Swaziland & Lesotho. Be prepared to be flexible, this isn't a luxury holiday but one to be really enjoyed being one with nature. One thing we weren't told is that in Lesotho the people would appreciate any clothes, also feminine products and schoolbooks and pencils. We were able to stock up on the latter items before we entered the country and some of us left clothes behind. In Cape Town, the hotel only has European charging points as its owned by a German, this some people found rather annoying when you have travelled all the way with SA plugs. Fortunately I threw in a worldwide plug at the last minute.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Please try and take more interest in your surroundings. Its amazing that people just fall asleep and don't bother to look around. Take an interest in the locals when you can, they are interesting to talk to. Be prepared to be cramped on the vehicle used, it was a brand new mini bus and wasn't particularly comfortable and no pockets in front to put bits and bobs. I felt that a truck would have been a much better vehicle for animal spotting and photography, but we were spoilt last year. GO FOR IT
  • Reviewed August 2013
    Anonymous

    JOHANNESBURG TO CAPE TOWN

    An excellent trip slightly ruined by the lack of support vehicle which added hours to already lengthy days and meant we nearly always arrived at new places in the dark having spent whole days on the bus on occasion. It is clearly a trip which involves long journeys but at least 2 hours were added onto the normal journey times which is not acceptable on an expensive trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Township visit in Cape Town; Cape Peninsula; camping at Tsitsikama; Lesotho - could have spent much longer there; walking in the Drakensberg Mountains; rhino walk in Swaziland; seeing a baby rhino in Kruger.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rob was an excellent leader - he coped very well with being let down by his company (Mask expeditions) who failed to provide a support vehicle after the original one broke down at the start of the trip. It was out of respect for him that we didn't kick up a fuss about the extra hours this cost us on the bus which was not suitable for the weight it had to pull (us, all our bags, all the tents, all the food etc).  He is unfailingly upbeat and calm and has a wealth of knowledge about southern Africa.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insist that Exodus/Mask provide appropriate vehicles for what is an expensive trip.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wouldn't want my comments to put anyone off what is an excellent and varied trip but I do think we deserved more for our money! Exodus should insist on better from Mask - I think profit was clearly put above our needs. Personally Mozambique could be scrapped from the trip - it is a long way to travel for what it is and  I would have preferred longer stops in other locations (pick any from Cape Town, Lesotho, Drakensberg, Swaziland, Kruger)    
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    JOHANNESBURG TO CAPE TOWN

    Had a great time , pity there were only 6 of us on the trip. South Africa is a great country and this trip gives you a great view of it.There were a few hiccups on the way like when the truck got a puncture and no one could get the wheel nuts off, guy had to come and burn them off for us . But, that's travel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking around the Drakensbergs .  And finally getting that last wheel nut off !!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rob was a good leader, did everything for us, drove, put up the tents and cooked.  Never seen a harder working leader. Rob loved his birdlife and not just the feathered varity. There was this Polish girl who wore the shortest of shorts and tightest of tops. It was funny listening for them to go from room to room & tent to tent.But, he spent most of his time with her and didn't give us his full attention.Tsepo was a great driver and a nice bloke.  Had a lot of fun with him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Spend more time after the trip in Cape Town.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We have never done an Exodus trip but would certainly do another one.Had a great time with some nice people.  Isn't that enough.!!
  • Reviewed October 2012
    Anonymous

    JOHANNESBURG TO CAPE TOWN

    This was a fantastic trip that gives a real taste of what this part of the world has to offer - stunning scenery [mountains, deserts and coastline], interesting walks, an enormous variety of flora and fauna, and fascinating culture and social history. The trip was well structured, and offered something for most interests. There is a good balance between camping and staying in small hotels and guest houses, and some of the camping sites were in amazing locations - notably the Drakensberg and Tsitsikamma. One of the really good things about the trip was how well the group of 15 gelled together - an essential element when you are spending three weeks at close quarters - and the fact that generally we had warm and sunny weather.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The things that stood out for me were seeing leopard in the Kruger and lying awake in the tent listening to lions roaring in the surrounding bush [I hope that they were further away than they sounded!!], watching a group of rhino walk by the waterhole close to the campsite in Swaziland [they really were almost close enough to touch], the gorge walk in the Drakensberg, Lesotho [an unbelievably beautiful mountain kingdom - it was great to get out and walk through the countryside and the local village to see ancient bushman art], Tsitsikamma [a campsite right on the shoreline, so the constant sound of waves breaking, the chance to see dolphins swimming past, and a wonderful walk along the shoreline to a waterfall] and finally Capetown. All amazing, and each one worth seeing in its own right. But what was truly inspirational was seeing Robben Island and Nelson Mandela's cell and then standing underneath the balcony in Grand Parade picturing him raising his fist and shouting "Amandla" when he was finally released. Don't miss out on either.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rob was an excellent tour leader - knowledgeable, competent, very hard working, good on the logistics and excellent at spotting game. You could ask him anything - if he couldn't immediately identify something that you had seen [which was rare], or give you an answer to a question, he would find it out pretty quickly and come back to you. He was easy going and good company, making sure that he spent time talking to everyone, yet maintained a quiet authority over the group such that everything ran smoothly and everyone was generally in the right place at the right time. However, he was only one element of an excellent team of four [expertly aided and abetted by Sifiso, Tallis and Petros] who all worked really well together. All four of them pitched in and did whatever was needed - driving the bus, pitching and dismantling the camp and cooking excellent and varied meals. The four of them worked tirelessly to make sure that we were all able to sit back and enjoy ourselves to the maximum.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The general concensus is that the trip is best done from Joburg to Cape Town, which is a great place to end up in. My one real regret is that I didn't add on some extra time there at the end of the trip - there wasn't enough time to cover everything that I wanted to see and do, and Cape Town is a very cool city where it would be good to spend a few days after the trip ends. I would definitely recommend doing so.Travel light - there are plenty of opportunities to get laundry done easily and cheaply [notably Bilene in Mozambique and Lesotho] and it is unnecessary to haul around a large and heavy bag. A lot of the hotel/guest house accommodation is on first floors, and it is so much better if you can carry your own bag up and down the stairs.Don't be put off by the camping - most of the campsites are in stunning locations, and it really is the best way to enjoy the landscape. The tents are put up and taken down for you, and the beds are really comfortable. Similarly, don't be put off by the thought of a day of walking in the Drakensberg. The gorge walk passes through amazing scenery and is really not to be missed - although it ascends gradually on the way there, it is mostly contouring, and there isn't a huge gain in height, so not particularly strenuous. Finally, as the trip notes say, there are some long driving days. But they are a necessary part of covering all the ground and seeing different places, and are usually enjoyable in their own right because of the ever changing scenery that you are passing through, and the one-off spots - baboons, antelope and mountain zebra by the roadside and the people and villages that you pass by. There are plenty of coffee/toilet/leg stretching stops. Sit back and enjoy it, take an iPod to listen to and a book for the rare occasions when you don't want to just sit and take in the scenery.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this trip, and it certainly met if not exceeded my expectations. There is so much to see and do that you are often spoilt for choice. However, one of the things that surprised me is that I thought that Mozambique, which was an initial draw f0r me, turned out to be much less interesting than I thought .... and arguably expendable. With the benefit of hindsight, I would probably opt to miss out Mozambique and spend more time in some of the other places, such as Lesotho and Swaziland. We also had very little time in Graaf-Reinet and Stellenbosch, both of which are historic  Cape Dutch towns, that are certainly worth spending time in.The game in the Kruger isn't as prolific or as impressive as is the case in the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, but we nevertheless saw all of the Big Five and a lot more besides. A great leopard sighting and a lot of interesting and colourful birds at close quarters.All in all, a wonderful experience and a great intro to South Africa and its neighbours.