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  • Reviewed October 2019
    Simon Knight

    Amazing wildlife viewings

    Amazing overall itinerary. Saw the big 5 in the Masai Mara in the first two days including iconic wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River. Followed by chimp trekking and gorilla trekking in Uganda which were amazing. The gorilla trekking in particular was superbly organised. Some long travel days but absolutely necessary to get between National Parks. Good safari truck and amazing food all cooked from local produce.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Silverback gorilla so close

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was excellent. The other three members of the crew, Stoney, Albert and James, were also excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a light weight inflatable mattress if you need that little extra padding, we took an adjustable walking pole each for the gorilla trekking and found them very useful although even more so was the porter who guided you over the worst bits of the mud and held you up when you started slipping. Go with an open mind about early morning starts and long journey times as they are all necessary and the holiday was unforgettable.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Taryn Cooper

    Incredible wildlife experience

    Be prepared for a number of long overland journeys (you will become very familiar with the truck), but the Exodus team made it as smooth and enjoyable as possible and the wildlife experiences we had made it all so so worth it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was fully expecting to be blown away by the Gorillas (and they did not disappoint !) but as someone who has done safari before, I was not expecting the spectacular sightings that we had at the Masai Mara! We had a mind blowing first few days! So many big cats in such close proximity - including the ever elusive leopard ! 😍 We also saw wildebeest crossing and a kill which was bittersweet. Seeing the chimps in their natural habitat carrying on their business was also awe inspiring . When they start calling to each other and drumming the trees, it’s really quite intimidating but in the best possible way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was our Group leader and I thought he was fantastic! As well as being incredibly witty and good humoured throughout the trip, Gilbert was always explaining local culture, history, knowledge of the wildlife etc. I always felt very well informed and in safe hands! A very knowledgeable guy! Incredibly patient with a big group of big personalities! He and the broader team had a great bond and worked so well together!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The only consideration I would raise with potential travellers is around the camping. For me, I’m not a regular camper and so was a little out of my comfort zone at times. In saying that, whilst not all camps had hot water all the time, all of the campsites were lovely and indeed, I think my favourite nights were in the wild / unfenced camps. Truly an experience! I don’t at all regret the camping option as it was great fun but I did very much take advantage of the upgrade options, which were a nice break for a city girl at times (but i still felt part of the group and experience). I also thought upgrade prices were generally reasonable. Tents were clean and the team were very efficient with taking them up and down, but for a single traveller, I’d consider single supplement next time just due to personal space. In saying that, a number of single travellers and couples alike stayed in dual occupancy tents for the whole trip and loved it, so just personal choice. It’s nice to have the option of both though .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Beyond the above, I would like to commend the whole Exodus ground team (Gilbert, “Stoney”, Albert and James). They work so hard and so well together and were a pleasure to be around. Food is incredible and you will not go hungry! 😉 I always had seconds (and sometimes thirds!). There are some very long drives but there’s no other way of covering the distance otherwise. Well worth it overall though and I think the itinerary was well balanced. Can see how it’s been refined over time!
  • A great adventure

    This trip is great for adventure, photography and wildlife. Be prepared for long bumpy journeys on the truck but driving through the towns and villages is interesting to.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting so close to mountain gorillas was an unforgettable experience. We were very lucky with all the wildlife we say. The hot air balloon safari was amazing to, watching the sunrise and seeing so much wildlife.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour guide (Gilbert) was very passionate knowledgeable and about the history and wildlife. He was also very helpful with any problems that came up like sorting out get peoples luggage back to them after the airlines lost them. He was always smiling and laughing with us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On the truck there are two uk plug sockets by each set of seats so don't worry about charging things. I'd highly recommend doing the hot air balloon safari, you will not regret it. Also there optional upgrades at some of the campsites. At Lake Bunyonyi campsite I upgraded to a tent with a bed and a balcony with views overlooking the river at a very reasonable price. I definitely recommend this.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The other people in are crew were great to. Our chef (Albert) made us delicious meals and made us laugh so much. Our driver (stone cold) was a really good driver and kept us safe on the roads, it must be an exhausting job but he was always happy. Charlie was helping out with everything, always smiling and great company.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Jim Best

    Oh My Freaking God I Want to Move to Africa.

    I have been fortunate to travel a lot. These countries were my 51st, 52nd and 53rd but this was the best time of my life. This was my 7th small group trip. I have never felt more grateful in my life—and it is all owed to this wonderful staff, Gilbert (our guide), Stoney (our driver), Albert (our cook) and Charles (his helper). I moderately injured my low back while rafting in Jinja and was very worried that if it worsened (from camping or the bumpy dirt roads) I would not be able to do the Chimp or Gorilla treks. The staff did everything in their power to help me through this and I’m very thankful for that; the injury never worsened and I was able to do everything that the agenda entailed. The safari portion of our trip was extraordinary, particularly in the Mara and Lake Nakuru. The boat safari in Murchison was also amazing as we saw everything in such a different ecosystem. The highlights: five lionesses in a tree, two leopards, a monster of a crocodile, a wildebeest stampede, a hippo and a family of warthogs at our campsite in Murchison, hordes of playful baby baboons, a pack of zebras hilariously chasing an territory-invading jackal and virtually every other large African mammal except the cheetah. A few other animal experiences to mention: —There are 1,388 species of birds in East Africa. I’m not a birder or anything but I was constantly in awe of the gorgeous, highly varied plumage patterns of these majestic creatures. —The chimps in the Budongo Forest were outrageous. We hoped to just see a few eating in the treetops. We saw that and about twenty minutes into our viewing session a highly-orchestrated colobus monkey hunt began with screeching, screaming and yelling. Chimps rapidly descended all around us, ran across the forest floor and ascended other trees nearby. The rangers claimed they killed three colobus. While we collectively only had one picture of a chimp eating his prey, it was an exhilarating, albeit terrifying and somewhat sad, experience. —I figured the chimps had stolen the show. But the gorillas responded. Extraordinary experience...we had no clue how close they were going to get. They say it’s a seven meter distance that we need to maintain, but not if the gorillas decide they want to play with you... One of the gorillas (an impish three year old boy) sprinted to me, stuck his head between my knees and patted the sides of my thighs in rapid succession. He then just lied there. No one got any of it on film because the silverback, Bweza, was waking right towards me as his son was pulling this stunt and everyone had to shuffle away quickly... Bweza was no more than two meters away from me before we could all pull back. It was terrifying but that early lesson taught us that these gorillas are extremely habituated and thus, totally harmless; I suspect Bweza was simply wanting to keep his playful toddler in check. Later on during the viewing hour, the same three yr old pirouetted three or four times right at our feet. It was adorable. That was followed by several minutes of wrestling with his same-aged cousin. One of the great memories of my life. Most importantly, our crew made the trip. Gilbert, our leader, was outstanding. Solid knowledge of the animals. He has degrees in tourism and social anthropology and it really shows. He not only has a good understanding of the countries we visited but the continent and the world as a whole. His education led to a bunch of really interesting conversations that I enjoyed. Very well organized, kind and funny as well. A great trip leader. Albert was our chef and did a damn good job prepping tasty meals for us. Most importantly though, he was ALWAYS in a good mood and lifted the spirits of our group constantly. I’ll never forget the guy. Stoney, our driver, was a great great guy. Sincere, kind and very hard working. He navigated some tough roads and kept us on time. I had several great conversations with him about all kinds of topics ... mostly his family, his childhood and Kenya’s hopes for the future. Another guy with a big heart I’ll never forget. Lastly, Charles, the helper, was just a damn hard worker. For a first timer, he really seemed to contribute a lot. Always dived in when he was needed. Again, what a great trip. I’m elated that I was able to do this with such a wonderful group of people. Thanks Exodus!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I should also mention that the people in Kenya and Uganda were wonderful. I’ve never seen so much road-side waving in my travels. It’s nice to feel wanted as a tourist and everyone we met along the way was very welcoming.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best I've ever had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a small lock for the lockers. A large lock won't fit in the hole provided.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Phill Dixon

    If I could do it again I wouldn't hesitate

    If you could gurantee the same team, group and even half the wildlife encounters I'd book it up tomorrow. We were very lucky with both the wildlife and to have such an enthusiastic and fun group of guides and guests - which made the trip all the better. The locations are stunning - in two days in the Masai Mara we saw the big 5 and had an epic balloon ride at sunrise. Then we were off to Lake Nakuru and the rhinos and flamingos took centre stage, with the smiles getting wider as the wildlife encounters got better. Sleeping within 300m of a waterfall in Nakuru was a highlight and despite being the most basic, was my favourite campsite - hearing lions and hyeenas calling in the night while sat around a campfire checking out all the stars. At Jinja even novice rafters got to experience the thrill of white water and again the provided photos and videos had us all laughing and reliving the day. The Adrift campsite was also brand new and had great facilities. So the experiences built, Murchison has impressive waterfalls and the boat trip was a good way to get out of the heat of the day. Gorilla tracking in Budongo again had us being lucky, being in the middle of chimps hunting, a once in a lifetime opportunity and not something to be expected, but if you get to experience time with the enigmatic chimps you cannot be disappointed. Queen Elizabeth has less diversity of wildlife but still provided lots of Elephants and on the river you see birds and elephants everywhere. Lastly the gorillas - I did two treks and they were both different but magical experiences. The first involved a long trek but we were surrounded by a group and followed them, experiencing interactions with several different family members. This would be a tough trek if you are not physically fit and used to walking up hills. The second trek involved spending an unforgettable hour with Xmas, the largest silverback in Bwindi and his 1 and 2 year old babies. We could not see other members of the family and the trek was shorter and easier, but a very close and magical encounter - when a baby gorilla looks at you from less than 7m you get a sense of how special and priveledged your time with them is. You are also given certificates to help remember your time with these beautiful animals The trip to the genocide museum was a very poignant reminder of what Rwanda has been through as well. Some facts - the trip involves a lot of early starts and quite a bit of travelling. Your reward is the trip of a lifetime. The truck is large and spacious but keep things in the lockers or that room fills up quickly. You will need to be able to walk up steep hills for the gorillas, but the team takes things slowly and chooses the best path for the group. Campsites often had showers, toilets and a bar so have some dollars for these. A lot of Ugandan service stations and almost all of Rwanda wanted local currency. Some things to note - the Rwandan border was the most difficult to cross, with a problem getting our taxi across taking 2hrs but providing a great side adventure - a sense of humour about delays and acknowledging that you may be asked seeminglystupid questions is par for the course. Get some snacks and drinks before crossing as there is nothing on the Rwandan security zone. The Exodus team were fantastic throughout, working hard to fix any problems ( airline lost bags), keep our trip moving smoothly and provide fun and share jokes over Albert's fantastic cooking ( his cooking may expand your waistline). Gilbert was the charismatic tour leader with lots of local stories and knowledge, Stoney the unflappable driver who always made time to help, Albert the fantastic chef with all the catchphrases and a personality larger than life, and Charles the youngest and ever smiling and helpful team member eager to greet and hear of our days adventures. A good team feels like family not a crew, these guys felt like family and helped knit the group together. I feel exceptionally lucky to have been on this trip, I've travelled a lot and this will remain a trip to remember. If I could do the same or similar trip with the group and crew I would book it tomorrow, if you promised me half the wildlife too I'd still jump at the chance. Thanks Exodus for another epic adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spending time with the gorillas and seeing the look on everyone's faces as they encounter these incredible animals up close.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was really good at bringing people together and engaging the group. He was also active in securing us better times for chimp trekking and minimising time on the truck / getting good plots on campsites. A lot of what he was doing behind the scenes in planning / logistics was while people slept on the truck so he could chat and sing songs when we were all awake. He also had excellent wildlife and historical knowledge and was happy to share The only problem we encountered was on the day the team weren't there at the Rwandan border - and over the phone he was working on a solution to get us moving

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a folder for certificates they give for gorilla trekking Have a sheet or blanket to sit on in the truck as the vinyl seats can get hot in the sun ( thanks Vio) Have some small Ugandan and Rwandan currency so you can buy things at service stations if they don't accept cards or dollars ( Rwanda the bars all wanted local currency). Pack some extra clothes in your daysack when flying - airlines lose bags so have at least a change of clothes to last you a day or two. Go to Carnivores in Nairobi it is a great meal and intro for the group. Don't expect glamping but this is comfortable camping and you get to hear lions calling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the team running this trip do any other Africa trips I'd gladly go on them
  • Reviewed July 2019
    violeta maftei

    Mind-blowing experience

    WYU190630 Just returned from my first African wild adventure and i m still day dreaming of it! Couldn't have asked for a better crew team members and better group. Absolutely awed day in day out. This being my first experience camping and group travelling i must say it has been a blast! Do not let the camping put you off! It is a great experience and i loved every minute of it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From day one, every day was memorable! And just when i thought that nothing could top seeing the big five, here comes chimpanzee trekking, mountain gorilla trekking, the scenery all around were absolute breathtaking. Totally totally would recommend this trip to anyone who's ready for adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour guide Gilbert together with chef Albert, driver Stony and all around helper Charlie made our experience a memorable one. I could not have asked for a better crew! They were awesome and their hard work must be acknowledged. Absolutely stunned with Gilbert's knowledge in terms of culture, nature, wildlife; and throughout the trip he always kept us informed, always smiling laughing and ready to listen to everything we had to say. Driver Stony, hat down! His many years of experience definitely had a say and he kept us safe throughout the journey. 100% confidence is his skills. Chef Albert looked after our stomach affairs! The whole group were astonished how he always managed to come up with the most delicious dishes even when camping. Healthy and freshly cooked food, always a bonus. Charlie the man does it all!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a sense of adventure and a big smile and you'll have the holiday of a lifetime! I was nervous when i booked this trip as was travelling alone, and never done this sort of trip before, but words cannot express how amazing the trip was and how well the group and crew members integrated from day one! Be prepared for long drives on bumpy roads sometimes. Its part of the adventure package!:)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When we had to say goodbyes we cried....No one wanted the trip to end... I've created what am hopping to be lifelong friendships and its amazing!
  • Reviewed December 2018

    A great trip but.....

    We took the trip over the Christmas period and it was a good one, the crew (Jacob, Stoney, Silvia and Dolly) were all excellent and could not be faulted. The organisation was good, the driving excellent, (how Stoney gets that truck along some of those roads is unbelievable) and the food was good and plentiful. There were 11 of us on the trip and we all got on very well which is a good thing if you are stuck on a truck for 2 weeks. Do not worry about charging batteries as the truck has a plug by each seat which can be used anytime whilst the truck is moving. The White Water Rafting Option in Jinja was excellent and the safety precautions couldn't be faulted, you are almost guaranteed to be thrown out at least once but we all felt perfectly safe when we were. The campsites were in some cases very basic with no water in the toilets and cold or no showers but they were adequate and in others there were options for upgrades to rooms if required. On day 8 the trip notes stated a visit to the top of the falls, what they did not say is that it involved a boat trip and then a trek along an uneven trek and a climb up several steps of uneven height, which was a bit testing for some people, although I see that this might have changed now but you might want to check. The big but is that on our trip both the Chimps and Gorillas were unco-operative and people thinking of doing the trip need to be aware that there is no guarantee of seeing either. On our trip some of us trekked 5 miles along tracks and off track just to see 1 Chimp and for the Gorillas we left camp at 4.45am and drove for 3.5 hours to the start point and then split into 2 groups, the moderately hard trek group took 7 hours of hard trekking up and down steep slippery and overgrown hills there and back to see the Gorillas who were up in the trees and not all that easy to see, the easier trek group took 10 hours and 4 of our group needed stretchering out with exhaustion which cost them between $200-$300 dollars each. We then all had another 3.5 hour drive back to camp getting back between 20.30 & 22.30 hours, much to the relief of Jacob our guide. Although this is what happened on our trip, we were told that that was not the norm but.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the animals were amazing, especially the big cats in Kenya and it only took us 36 hours to see the 'big five', plus many others, ranging in size from Mongoose to Elephants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you do this trip, make sure you are really fit, for us the Leisurely/Moderate 2 rating in the trip notes was very misleading, a lot of the roads are really rough and can be very uncomfortable and the Chimp and Gorilla treks were probably 4 & 5 respectively. For the Gorillas, make sure you take good boots, a lot of water, money and do hire a porter as they can be indispensable. Make sure you take earplugs as you might have to share sites with other less considerate campers and with early starts most mornings (7am & earlier departures) you do need your sleep. As long as you are aware of the above and are willing to 'rough it' at times then you will enjoy this trip.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Elizabeth Eagles

    Simply Unforgettable

    Well where do we begin. This was simply an incredible holiday and our very first safari. The crew of four; Boniface aka Stony the driver; Ken head chef; Raymond aka Dolly head chef in training and Patrick our tour leader were all terrific, great fun and very hard working guys. They know their stuff and helped make our holiday. The trip covers a tremendous amount of miles around 1300 miles in total. Yes there are a few early starts the earliest being around 4.30am to hit the road around 5am but when getting up a little earlier than normal to go and visit the mountain gorillas the early morning start pails into insignifance. The whole itinary is brilliant. We were exceptionally lucky to have seen the big five (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, buffalo) and so what more could you ask for especially as this was our very first safari trip. The various stop overs were very good with some terrific campsites with options to upgrade to rooms or hotels along the way. The time spent trekking to see the mountain gorillas can vary we trekked for around two hours which went very quickly but do be prepared for a hilly walk and make sure you have the right footwear and waterproofs as you can come across some small brooks and it could be muddy if the rain comes, we were very lucky as the rain came once we returned back to the start. For sure this experience is likely to remain with you for ever. It does mention in the trip notes that helping out whilst not complusary, we believe it can go a really long way to get to know the crew and other members of the group you’re travelling with which adds to the fun around the campfires. The food was fantastic and plentiful each day and the variety was excellent. We thought the trip was really well planned and when things didn’t go quite to plan such as the overland truck breaking down at no stage did we feel concerned and our safety was the crews main concern. Everything was done to resolve the issue in a timely manner. We would highly recommend this trip to anyone with a love for animals you get to see so much it’s hard to put into words. Truly incredible and prividged to see these amazing animals in their own habitat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Again this is hard to put into words but two things come to mind. Spending an hour with the mountain gorillas has to be up there, they are such incredible creatures. Seeing the silverback and various mums with their 5 month old and 8 month old babies was mesmerising. In addition to this, continuing our game drive with Stony and Patrick as we decided on one occasion not attend a boat trip in the hope of seeing maybe more cats only to come face to face with an amazing bull elephant. This experience was both scary and incredible and again we felt hugely privileged to be in such close proximity to these beautiful wild elephants.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic! Patrick was very knowledgeable had a great sense of humour and made us feel safe at all times. Each evening Patrick would say the words ‘something about tomorrow’ which is when we were given the plans for the following day. Everything was clear, Patrick was very approachable and kept us updated if plans changed throughout the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind, be prepared to get stuck in, make sure you have the right footwear and a lightweight raincoat just in case as the weather can change quickly. There may be some early starts but equally there are plenty of opportunities for down time. Don’t let the early starts put you off. This trip has been very well thought out and worth every penny.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Both early on in the booking and late on we were also able to make some slight changes to flights adding a few days at the beginning and the end of the trip. All changes were made without any issues and the teams were all very accommodating. We would have absolutely no hesitation booking with Exodus again and hope to do so again very soon.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Christopher Barton

    Truly wonderful trip

    This was our third camping trip with Exodus and this is almost becoming our preferred trip type - being cheaper doesn't hurt either. We were amazed at the shear number of animals we saw in Kenya and Uganda long before we got to the Gorilla area. We saw the big five, and mostly with babies!, great scenery, wonderful lakes and rivers. Game drives were varied not only in the nature of the country visited but also sometimes in the 'bus' sometimes in 4X4s and sometimes by boat. There were some longish drives but with lots to look at, stops for snacks and toilets, and time to charge cameras etc for the next stop. We felt very well looked after the whole time, and guided through formalities of border crossings etc. We were a smallish group of nine which meant we had lots of space, and we got on well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I guess it has to be the gorillas - being so close and watching while they just got on with their lives. The babies were adorable and the silverback huge, but they seemed very peaceful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob was really great, as were the other members of the team - KFC, Stonecold & Dolly. They looked after us really well and bought great calm and humour to the whole trip. In many ways they made it possible for us to have the great time we had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I considered taking my walking gaiters but decided against it - almost the first thing Jacob said was "I hope you all brought you gaiters for the gorilla trek"! In fact we did well using two pairs of socks with the long pair on the outside and trousers tucked into them. It worked out fine. Do use a porter for the gorilla trek, it makes life a lot easier just having your bag carried, and the occasional hand up, but it also brings much needed employment to the local community.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would highly recommend this trip - Go prepared for some early mornings, some laughs, some drives but mostly some amazing sightings.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    simon cappin

    Gorillas and Masai Mara

    This trip is an absolute must for any animal lover.The diversity of fauna that we saw in 2 weeks was absolutely incredible.The gorillas were absolutely adorable and it was fascinating seeing them so relaxed in a really beautiful setting.The rafting on the White Nile was absolutely increible and I would recommend this to anyone who is not scared of the water and is a confident swimmer as the likelihood of coming out is very high.I came out twice !!The Masai Mara was absolutely stunning and within a few hours had seen leopard,lions and cheetahs.The setting itself is also very dramatic.Our guide was absolutely brilliant.He had a great sense of humour and constantly had us in hysterics during the trip with his banter.The food was excellent and I am sure I have put on weight.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing gorillas so relaxed in the wild

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Overall absolutely brilliant.Enthusiastic,very informative,caring and had a brilliant sense of humour

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have time in Narobi visit the giraffe sanctuary and elephant orphanage