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

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  • Reviewed November 2018
    John Hirons

    Kayaking the Lower Zambezi

    This was definitely a trip to get me out of my comfort zone (wild camping and kayaks instead of hotels and minibuses) and certainly did not disappoint. The fact you get so close to the wildlife far outweighed the fact you are wild camping (which I though I would struggle with). The sense of achievement at the end of the week was overwhelming, having travelled such a long distance in a kayak. The safari element far exceeded anything you would imagine and felt far more real than if you were in the back of a safari jeep (which I have done in South Africa). Animals spotted included elephants, hippos, lions, warthogs, buffalo, impala, zebra, baboons (and other monkeys), fish eagle, kingfisher and lots of others too much to mention. The group I was with was amazing and everyone got on so well and helped each other. The food was good throughout the week and we even had a celebratory BBQ on the last night. All in all I can safely say if I can do this holiday (and enjoy it) then anyone can!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting so close to the elephants (which is the main reason I chose the holiday). the sense of achievement for actually getting to the end without breaking!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    CB was amazing. Very knowledgeable, humorous, kind, professional and clearly enjoyed his job. It is no wonder he is an award winner. Best made the perfect assistant guide and is clearly learning a great deal from CB. Both together looked after us so well and work brilliantly as a team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    sunscreen. I ran out of 2 tubs (although half of one ended up at the bottom of the safari truck). Deet - I had 2 and ran out although I was probably the one with more bites than anyone else. Bite cream offers a major relief for the bites. Head torch (with a red light), gloves for the rowing. Prepare for no showers until the comfortable camping half way through but we were able to cool off and kind of clean off in the river a couple of times. It is proper wild camping so there are no toilets until the comfortable camp but the views you get when behind the bushes are literally stunning :-) If you can, add on a quick trip to Livingstone for the Victoria Falls. You are so close it would be a shame to miss it. As well as bringing a load of school supplies bring an extra suncream with you if you can. They give any spare suncream to a charity looking after albino children as it is prohibitively expensive in Zambia.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bring your sense of adventure with you and you will not go wrong.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Lynne Bateman

    Best. holiday. ever

    Best. Holiday. Ever. I cannot recommend enough. CB is bloody amazing as a leader and guide. He's one guide I will always remember - most guides on adventure holidays are great but instantly forgettable. But his humour and patience meant I felt like he was a friend! Great knowledge and communication skills. A really well organised trip. Group size perfect too. Tents and mattresses perfect. Plenty of water and fruit. We were pleased that upon arrival we didn't hop directly in the canoes - we stayed at the mainland campsite (sunrise! Honking hippos!). This was fab because there is a shower block there and you are hot and dusty from the transfer/flight. The canoeing is awesome. The campsites were perfect. The food brilliant (I'm veggie). But the animals! My god! So many incredible experiences. I don't know if we struck lucky but every day got more amazing than the last. It's so much better to see animals from a canoe than from a Dusty 4x4. Lastly- the group were brilliant!! Tips: We got a kaza visa online, no drama - but you only need this is you are travelling after to Zimbabwe. You need a sticker in your passport not just a stamp! (Our first mistake). By the way, Livingstone is well worth a visit and CB organised a local bus for us. You need minimum kit - we washed in the river every day. As suggested, carry your canoe stuff ready to go in hand luggage. Bring a red light torch (for bugs) gloves (just in case) and definitely binoculars (We were so stupid!) And a zoom lens. And a bottle of rum?! We took a 10 litre dry bag each for clothes and another for the sleeping bag and then shared a camera bag.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The animals!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was just wonderful.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Phill Dixon

    Paddling adventure into nature

    This is a great active safari that will get you close to nature and sleeping out under the stars. We saw lions, birdlife galore, paddled past hippos and were able to stop the canoes and get close to herds of elephant. The canoes are the perfect vehicle for the journey, yes you need to be relatively fit and have a bit of knowledge about a canoe ( they can provide advice or in uk go on a simple paddle start of 1 star canoe intro), but you get so close to animals and they were often relaxed. Also you have great fields of view across the water front. Yes the campsites are basic - pitch a tent on a sandy island but the food is great and plentiful, you don't need a shower you can dip in the safer shallows of the Zambezi, and you get to wake up to beautiful African sunrises. You do have early starts and early nights but what you get back is worth it. Advice is to have plenty of drybags and try and get a paddle suitable for your height. But anyone with a sense of adventure, a desire to see wildlife and reasonable fitness will enjoy this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Paddling to one of the islands to watch the gorgeous sunset with elephants eating 50m away. Then listening to them as drift off to sleep. Seeing a pride of 5 lions on a game drive was also pretty special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    CB was well liked by everyone, right combination of humour, knowledge and always there with advice or a calming reassurance. He clearly loves the job and all the guests agreed he was as much like a friend on the tour as well as never stopping in looking after us. If you needed it then CB would have it or find a way to get it for you. First class guide and especially nice to see him teaching Best the assistant guide in any downtime.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Packlight but bring an extra t-shirt or top. Antibacterial soap can wash hardwearing clothes if want to do that too. Plenty of bug spray and sunscreen as you will use it. Bring a good point and shoot as well as dslr as in the canoe wielding a big lens isn't always practical. Change about $50 at the airport and get a few bonus items at the shop on the way - you will need about 1 - 2l for the drive in the heat. Try and find a right sized paddle Lastly have most of your stuff for the first 3 nights ready to go in a separate daysack in your softbag. When you reach the 1st camp it is often dark and you don't have much time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an incredible adventure and feels like a true old style safari up river. It isn't for people who want air con lodges and to be sat 200m from the animals, but if you can skimp on the mod cons it is worth every penny
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Helen Risdale

    Amazing Trip

    Excellent wildlife viewing and outstanding accommodation make this trip stand out from the crowd. The bushcamp accommodation was especially good. Where else can you lounge in your bath watching elephants and other wildlife? The camps are laid out to offer absolute privacy when in your accommodation so it feels like your own private paradise. All of the staff work really hard to provide excellent service from 5am to late at night.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a pack of wild dogs, including 11 pups, at their kill. We have spent many an hour on previous trips trying to find these elusive animals so it was amazing to see them at such close quarters. Spotting a leopard and her young feeding on a Kudo on the final game drive.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kelvin was exceptionally good. He was not only knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife, but he was also very personable. I must also praise the bushcamp managers and trainee guides who all supported Kelvin and helped to make this such a memorable experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You really do need to pack light as the laundry service is quick and efficient and available everywhere. You also need to be aware of the tsetse flies which can be quite a pest.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All of the group had been on safaris previously but all agreed that this trip was far superior to any of the others. This was due mainly to the accommodation and the exceptional level of service provided which we felt fully justifies the cost. Aside from the trip notes there were a few unexpected treats.I won’t ruin the surprise element by saying what they were, but they also lifted this trip beyond the ordinary.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Carole & Neil Mahoney & Bowman

    Truly beyond superlative!!

    We have worked on several wildlife conservation expeditions in remote parts of Africa wild camping, and have experienced close encounters with a range of wildlife. We have resisted safari trips, particularly of the 'luxurious' variety.........until now. In summary, this trip has utterly changed our minds. It was superb in every way!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many, but here are a couple: 1. Adult elephants coralling and protecting their youngsters in close proximity to two wild dogs on the lookout for their leader to return from a lone chase and kill. When the third dog returned, blood-stained, we subsequently followed the three dogs and witnessed them feeding on the carcass of an impala. 2. On the last morning, watching 200+ buffalo sharing a shallow lagoon with 200+ fishing pelicans and some storks. Even our guide, Kelvin, in seven years working in South Luangwa, had never witnessed such a rare scene.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leaders, James & Kelvin, were local Zambians. They were professional, unbelievably knowledgeable about EVERYTHING they saw, expert communicators, sensitive to both the environment and our safety, not to mention having an infectious sense of humour. Our thanks to them is boundless.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light - we went hand luggage only and never regretted it. There's a free and efficient laundry service in all the camps we stayed in - Mfuwe, Bilimungwe & Chindeni. Taking your own water bottle is unnecessary - the company provides half-litre vacuum water bottles and all the Land Rovers carried top-ups. They also carried insect repellent sprays to deal with the sometimes pesky tsetse flies.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We've only mentioned elephants, wild dogs, buffalo and pelicans. However, all told, we clocked up 144 bird species and 30 mammal & amphibian species. Almost entirely down to the observational skills of our leaders and spotters. The camps provided every comfort we could have wished for. Spacious chalets/tents, extraordinarily plentiful, healthy and nutritious food and drinks. And the camp hostesses and staff couldn't do enough for you. THANK YOU ALL!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sue Beesley

    Walking Safari

    An amazing trip for anyone who loves the African bush and wildlife while enjoying creature comforts. We stayed at Mfuwe, Bilimungwe and Chindeni. All unique. Bilimungwe has own resident hippo - Harry - who seemed to love being near to the camp and resided in one of the lagoons where animals come to drink. Chindeni has most glorious sunrises and sunsets with Chindeni Hills as a backdrop. Amazing colours.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention. We lived in Zambia over 40 years ago and went on walking safaris in 1977 and 1978 so this was a very emotional experience. It was wonderful to see how Zambians have gained confidence and are now the leaders. Walking through the bush and learning from the extremely knowledgeable guides about the "smaller" environment. Seeing elephant groups, lions, leopards, hippos, wild dogs, kudus, impalas, warthogs, puku, bush bucks, civets, genets, porcupines - plus a multitude of bird life. Sunsets and sunrises. Bush camps where you have to wait for an elephant to stop eating by your chalet before returning to your room! Knowledge of all the guides was phenomenal. Sundowners sitting cooling our feet in river. Unexpected musical farewell at Bilimungwe.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We didn't have the usual Exodus group leader but were looked after by Bushcamp Company employees who were all marvellous. Our guides - Kelvin, James, Thomas and Mulenga - were all very professional and expert. The camp hosts - Amy, Alex and Lena - made sure everyone was comfortable and well looked after. All staff were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not take a lot of luggage - laundry service free and very efficient. Toiletries provided. It was very hot end of September/beginning of October. Never any need for even a thin fleece. One warning - you would be very lucky not to get bitten by tsetse flies at this time of year and there were mosquitos at Mfuwe so take cure as well as prevention ointments, etc. Can thoroughly recommend the sausage tree fruit potion sold at the spa in Mfuwe if you do react badly to bites. Water bottles are provided by Bushcamp Company.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a truely amazing and inspirational trip. Small numbers (only 7 of us) was a huge bonus compared to otherExodus trips where there have been up to 18 camping. If you are at all interested in wildlife and Africa but want a unique experience - this is a fabulous trip to go on.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Sally and Tony Chewter

    AMAZING!

    One of the best wildlife experiences ever - to get so close to the hippos and elephants on the river in the canoes was incredible

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sat in the front of the canoe looking a huge male elephant in the eye just 19 feet away

    What did you think of your group leader?

    TK and his assistant Beste were fantastic - helpful, knowledgeable, encouraging, great cooks and brilliant sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take rowing gloves to prevent blisters

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You do get very close to the wildlife and the hippos and elephants graze and walk through the camps at night - magical moments but not for the faint hearted. And this really is wild camping - no creature comforts but absolutely brilliant .
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Andrew Hankinson

    Just Wow!

    Since coming back from this trip, I am finding it extremely difficult to put into words just how amazing it really was, so writing a review is going to be even harder. The wildlife is exceptional and not in short supply. The scenery both in the day and in the night is just phenomenal. And finally the whole experience is once in a lifetime!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Jumping out of the minibus just hours after we landed, in the pitch black night, and looking towards the sky to see the brightest sky I have ever witnessed

    What did you think of your group leader?

    CB and Besty were amazing group leaders. We did not have to lift a finger at all over the 6 days.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I wouldn't worry about taking too many clothes as everyone is in the same boat (excuse the pun!) I would take shoes that you don't mind getting reasonably wet or ones which are easily dried Buy your alcohol at the store on the way to the first campsite (For a 6pk it is around 80 Kwacha)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go and enjoy it!
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Francesca Woodman

    An amazing camping and canoeing trip

    This trip was a truly wonderful experience, canoeing on the Zambezi and camping out under the Milky Way on sandy islands in the middle of the river. We saw very few people and it almost seemed like we had the mighty river to ourselves - only sharing it with hippos, crocodiles, elephants and birds. Paddling downstream with the current the route varied between wide stretches of river and between reed beds on narrower channels, which enabled us to get close to the wildlife. A great group, great guides and a fantastic trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping on the islands under the stars surrounded by the river and wildlife.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not for people who want constant social media contact or a hot shower every day.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Chrissie Coyle

    Zambezi Valley - Awesome

    This really was roughing it for 4 days and nights wild camping and canoeing, 2 days in a fly camp with comfortable beds and showers/toilets and 1 night at Zambezi Breezers with a Bar! An awesome trip with great people and a fantastic guide and assistant guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching and experiencing wildlife as it should be. Hippos, elephants, antelope and deer, warthogs, a variety of exotic birds, just amazing. Being outdoors and on the river, experiencing sunrise and sunsets which photos just can't do justice. Waking up and looking out of your tents to see wildlife wandering nearby. Drifting along with the river, soaking up the sun, breeze, atmosphere, scenery was simply bliss.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    CB (Cuthbert) was truly amazing, he worked like a trojan, was knowledgeable, looked after us all extremely well, kept 12 novice canoeists safe and all with a brilliant sense of humour. His assistant Best, whilst quietly spoken, worked extremely hard and with CB made sure we were very well looked after.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There isn't much time to re-arrange bags and it could be dark when you arrive so pack enough for 4 days in one bag and pack light, you don't need loads of stuff. Be prepared for long transfers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We canoed for 4 to 5 hours a day for 4 days and met a lot of headwinds and so it was really tough but definitely worth it.
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