A very enjoyable trip overall. Madagascar is an interesting country and different to what I expected or to how it's presented to us on television.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
On a personal level, the hike up Peak Boby - especially as I think the trip notes don't give an accurate view of the difficulty of this climb.
Other than that, I think the people we met along the way who live in remote areas, with very little, yet were still interested in us being there and greeted us with smiles wherever we went.
Obviously the lemurs were a highlight.
- What did you think of your group leader?
I think Sol was great leader - although his sense of timescales leaves something to be desired. If he said something would take 2 hours we got to learn that actually it would be 4 hours!!
I also think that some of the advice given about walks was a little misleading, especially the advice that poles weren't needed on the first walk of the trip. They are!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The trip notes mention that the accommodation is in tourist hotels. I found this to be misleading as actually we stayed in eco lodges (which I prefer) - but some people might be disappointed if expecting a hotel. The accommodation is basic which is to be expected, electricity limited and on some occasions no water available - even though we had bathrooms. It's worth bearing this in mind if you haven't done this kind of trip before.
The camps are very basic so take plenty of wet wipes! We always arrived at camp too late to be able to bathe in the river.
Don't be fooled by the trip notes to thinking the climb up Peak Boby isn't difficult. I've done quite a lot of Exodus holidays and I think this climb was hard - probably due in some part to the heat. This day we climbed to the peak was also far too long a day and is something Exodus should look at. We left camp at 6am. It took 5hrs to get up and down Boby; we then had a short break for lunch and then had another 5.5 hour walk to the next camp. Again, I don't want it to sound like I didn't enjoy the holiday - I just think that some people might be misled and then not be able to physically do the walking.
If you can cope with the above then this holiday is excellent and well worth considering.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think that this trip would be better if all the meals were included and paid for with the trip. The reason for this is that the meals at the lodges were a set menu at a set price, sometimes with a choice of 2 things, sometimes with no choice. It would then save time as we wouldn't have everyone having to pay a bill. Also, it would be better if the leader organised bread, cheese etc for lunches rather than the endless stops at supermarkets which added time on to already long days. This then might mean that you arrive at your lodge a little earlier rather than always arriving about 30mins before dinner.
One last point, to Exodus - I really think you should stop letting more people on the trips than specified on the trip notes. This has now happened on our last 2 trips and makes the group too large, the buses too cramped and space round camping tables too squashed. I really hope that this isn't going to keep happening as it does take away from the experience of what an Exodus holiday should be.