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 August 2015
    Christopher Meredith

    Cater Capers - August 2015

    A great mix of walking, local culture, Safari and Beach. The way the holiday moved locations was great and the accommodation was all good quality. Arrangements went to plan and we were well looked after. A great holiday well suited to teenagers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The numbers of Elephants in the Tarangire national park and the Ngorongoro crater views were spectacular

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John looked after us well. All the arrangements went to plan and he made sure we were informed of the schedules etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your own water bottles because the hire/purchase prices are crazy on the walk on Kilimanjaro (disposable plastic bottles are not allowed on the mountain). Take care with bag weight because the flight from Arusha to Zanzibar is only 20kg including hand-baggage !.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Lily Shanks

    The holiday of a lifetime.

    We had an amazing holiday with loads of memorable moments and it really was the holiday of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment of our trip had to be walking through the village and seeing how everyone lived. it made me realise how lucky we are, even just to be able to go on such an amazing holiday. Another extremely inspirational moment was after our optional dolphin tour we saw some children and couldn't eat our food in front of them so fed them. Then we saw them playing with their football which was a very old ball with a massive hole in the top which they put an old rag inside to try and make it more inflated. Eventually my family and the two others that came with us on the trip took them in our bus with us to go and buy them a football or two. Unfortunately we could only get them a drink but promised to buy them one in Stone Town and give it to them through Abdul who was with us at the time. My dad also learnt some Swahili as they spoke very little English and some of them, none. We are looking forward to seeing a picture of them with their new footballs that Abdul said he'd send us and we are also hoping to send some old football kit as he said he might start a team. That was definitely an inspirational moment for all of us on the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John was loads of fun. He was always playing with us, singing, teaching us Swahili and local plant remedies/medicines and having loads of fun on the Kilimanjaro day walk. He made sure we got the correct information for the optional tours and was very helpful to my parents. We also really liked our other guides, Safari, Brown and Ricardo but our safari driver, Mody, we liked the best. He was knowledgeable, fun, kind, clever and very helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Everyone is right, it is very cold at Kilimanjaro so warm fleeces are needed. You get bitten by a lot of mosquitos so watch out! I got very tired on this trip though still thoroughly enjoyed it but younger children might get extremely tired as there are lots of late nights, early mornings and a lot of travelling (I am nearly 11). Don't bother with Tanzanian shillings as they were always happy to convert to US Dollars if it was needed. Be warned on the dolphin tours as the driver (not Abdul) chases the dolphins round the sea and it felt like a hunt. There were also loads of boats just on one or two dolphins so sometimes they were scared away. Despite that we still had the amazing experience of swimming with dolphins and got very close to them. If you can, bring your own wetsuit shoes for sea urchins at Kichanga as although they provide them there is not a wide range of choice and you will be extremely lucky if one pair fits you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I recommend this holiday to families with older children who are interested with the way another country lives not just the animals (which you also learnt loads about). The hotels were luxurious especially Kichanga lodge which had lagoons at high tide which we spent one whole day in. It was literally white sand beaches and green sea. You need lots of sun cream though and maybe even a T-shirt/rash vest for sunburn. This was an amazing place to go and as I said before, the holiday of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Joanne Mckinney

    Tanzania Crater Capers

    A brilliant combination of mountain, safari, beach and culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each part of the trip is so different, that it's impossible to pick just one that stands out:- The first monkeys and lush rainforest of Kilimanjaro, followed by the beautiful waterfall on the village walk. The huge male lion that wouldn't move out of the road on safari in Ngorogoro. The stunning tropical beach at Kichanga Lodge in Zanzibar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John was great right from the moment that he collected us at Kilimanjaro airport. He made us feel that we were the most important people he had ever met. He told us all about the local culture, as well as the animals and plants on Kilimanjaro. My daughter will always remember him for the 'monkey faces' he taught her. We didn't want to say goodbye to him when we left for Zanzibar. On safari our guide was Protus. We couldn't have asked for better. He was very knowledgeable about all the animals we saw, and he made some great spots, especially the Rhino in the distance. Throughout, he went at our pace, and wasn't bothered if we wanted to take 100 pictures of the same animal!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Kilimanjaro is quite chilly at night, so some warm clothing is needed. You're not allowed to take disposable bottles onto the mountain, we didn't bring our own bottles, so ended up having to rent them from a shack at the start of our walk. Long trousers and tops are needed in a couple of places because of insects. I took all my money in dollars and didn't use local currency at all. In a couple of places the bill was in Tanzanian Schillings, but when asked they would convert it to dollars. Expect to tip everyone, both guides, all drivers, bag carriers at every lodge and the lodges themselves had a tip box. We did a walking tour of Stone Town, which was organised through one of the porters at the hotel. I found it interesting, but it isn't really pitched at children, so my daughter found it a bit boring. We also did a spice tour, which was well worth it, and the prison island trip to see the giant tortoises.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There's not really very much to do for children in Stone Town, and you do get hassled quite a lot by street traders. If we hadn't done the extra trips, I think we would have been bored there. Despite this, we loved every minute of this holiday. We were the only family booked on the tour, but we're never made to feel any less important. This really is the holiday of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Gina Eckersley

    Tanzania Crater Capers

    Fantastic multi centred trip combining mountain, safari and beach! A perfect combination!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to count really. As a family, I think it was making it to camp 1 on Kilimanjaro. It was a fairly long walk, but the whole group managed it, the excitement of seeing so much wildlife and the delicious lunch definitely helped! A personal highlight was watching a group of elephants playing in the mud in Tarangire Park, their behaviour and the relationships between the animals were so touching to observe. We all loved the snorkelling trips we did in Zanzibar - one from Kichanga, and one from Stone Town

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John was with us for the initial part of the trip. I thought he was very attentive and excellent with the kids - they loved the song he taught us! I thought the addition of the local guides was great, it's always good to meet people who really know the local area. For the safari Benny was brilliant. He was extremely observant, some of the spots he made I've no idea how he saw them! He was also really good at answering any questions we had about the animals and giving us further information on them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was cooler than we expected around Kilimanjaro so I'd advise taking a couple of fleeces to keep warm. It's important to take smaller denominations of US Dollars for tips - we had a few big notes that we ended up changing into local currency, but it can be very confusing! We took plenty of hand sanitiser, and the guides always had a bottle handy for meal times when we were out with them.Take plenty of insect repellent, although all the hotels have mosquito nets. It's useful to do a bit of research on Stone Town before you get there - there is no guide at this point and there are a lot of options when it comes to activities. We went to Chumbe Island which was brilliant for snorkelling, but quite expensive. The staff at the hotel are great at helping you organise tours and activites, and will give you directions to the recommended restaurants - we ate at Monsoon and House of Spices - both are highly recommended!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was really impressed with the standard of accommodation, the tasty food, and the friendliness of the people in Tanzania. The guides and the hotel staff looked after us so well, we didn't want to leave! I think the combination of the fast paced mountain walk and safari followed by the beach stay was an unbeatable combination.
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous

    TANZANIA CRATER CAPERS

    A really great holiday with a good variety of activities & scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the best bit was the family of elephants stopping just by the safari jeep then crossing over just in front of us. Feeding the giant tortoises on Prison Island off the coast of Stonetown was also fabulous. Also the amazing white sand beach, turquoise sea, warm breeze and palm trees at Kichanga Lodge in Zanzibar. It was genuinely like being in a postcard!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jackson was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Our safari driver Benny was really good and went out of his way to help us get as much as possible out of the safaris.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We found it frustratingly hard to get good information about getting the right malaria tablets (especially for the kids). It wasn't as warm as we expected on the mainland so make sure you have a couple of jumpers/fleeces. We used US dollars pretty much all the time. Make sure you have some small notes to give as tips (e.g. for airport porters who can be quite aggressive).We didn't need the money for the departure tax as apparently this was included in the ticket price. Also the baggage limit flying from Arusha to Zanzibar was very confusing. It's a tiny aeroplane (18 seater!)  The paperwork said 15 kgs but apparently it was 18kg. It didn't seem to be a problem that at least one of our bags was over this though.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All the accommodation and food was really good. We were a bit concerned about food hygiene/tummy upsets but this was not a problem at all for us. We did the Prison Island tour from Stone Town which was well worth it. Also the snorkelling tour from Kichanga was very good - amazing starfish and really good views of the coral reefs. We also did the swimming with dolphins tour which was interesting but probably less successful - we saw dolphins close up but also were bitten by squid and stung by jellyfish - so be aware!
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous

    TANZANIA CRATER CAPERS

    I had a wonderful experience which has unforgettable memories for our family, our two teenagers thought the variety of experiences made the whole trip constantly exciting and varied. The family thoroughly loved the walk, meeting the local children as well as the breath-taking experiences of the safari.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    for someone who likes variety and many different activities on a holiday this holiday has it all. We were able to walk in  the foothills of Kilimanjaro. The snorkelling at the beach resort was thrilling to do  and the variety of the three different National parks allows you to experience many different landscapes.For me one of my most inspirational points of the trip was seeing my children's calling out  when they could see a baby elephant in the wilderness looking for its mother.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leaders that we had were very engaging and informative.  On the safari the vision that the guides had helped us to see all the animals that were in the parks. The knowledge of each animal that he informed us about was really exciting and kept the children really fascinated throughout the safari. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The three different national parks were all very exciting which was great because you were able to see many different animals in each of the parks.  To ensure that your children enjoy the visit to the village take some small gifts for the children, as they have very little and every small things is very well appreciated.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We really loved  staying as a group at the beach resort and felt that there was not so much to do at Stone town. fortunately we had met a family before we went so we stayed for the whole day at the beach rather than travel early. We still had the opportunity to go to the island in stone town and visit the market and did some shopping so the group was very happy to enjoy the beautiful beach resort. 
  • Reviewed August 2013
    Anonymous

    TANZANIA CRATER CAPERS

    Massive thank you to a fantastic trip with so many memorable experiences and memories formed that will last me and my family for the rest of our lives. Once in a life time holiday that I will never experience again!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment of this trip was safari in Ngorongoro crater! After a long day seeing hundreds of zebras wildebeests flamingos elephants hippos rhinos gazels and hieeners and much more as we where desperate to find a lion! Coming to the last half an hour or so we saw a swarm of jeeps about 1km away! We followed the trail leafing to these jeeps and then we saw 2 lions sleeping peacefully on the African plain! A speechless sight that will stay in my head for a long time to come! A breathtaking moment that I will never forget!!! To be honest every day an inspirational moment occurred! I was fortunate to experience my birthday on the first night where I was able to get a true African celebration dancing and singing around the table and baking me a tasty cake! This was truly a birthday to remember!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    For the first 5 days or so we had a group leader named Emmanuel! He grew up in the area based on Kilimanjaro mountain! He was very cheerful and always laughing! He welcomed us and was kind and friendly. He took us for a tour around his village and we met his fellow friends and family! Seeing the faces of the children as we gave them cheap presents that in England would mean so little was another wonderful moment I experienced in this trip! Then our second leader was called Ben! He took us on safari and was full of information to do with the wildlife and nature in Africa! Overall without these group leaders the experience would not be anywhere as good as it was!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In this trip as my parents have had a lot of travelling experience they knew to bring a few old shirts and pen and note pads and other bits + bobs on this trip to give to the children! As a result we where able to give them away to the kids which was an inspirational moment! I brought 11 old football shirts that I donated to the local football team aswell as that our family along with another family brought balloons pencils note pads pens and little toys! I strongly advise for you to bring these type of presents for the children! Also bring mosquito repellent! A lot of it otherwise you will get bitten alive in certain areas and anti bacteria liquid which should be used before every meal as I didn't use it for 3 days and ended up ill with a bug for a few days!!!!! Luckily with the other 2 family's we where with we had the expertise of a nurse, doctor, vet and surgeon so I was in very safe hands!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a must go trip that I would difinetly repeat again! We experienced climbing to base camp of kiliamanjaro mountain, meeting other children and family's who live in a completely different culture and living from us, SAFARI, endulging on a beach with blue warm water and golden sand, also snorkelling in the coral seeing star fish and many other colourful fish and finally stonetown however I was I'll for this part of the trip! Along with this we where with two other family's and we all got along great! They definitely made this trip even more special as they're was another boy my age who I'm still in contact with and we got on great aswell as that all the parents got on very well and all the children ranging from 7-14 got on together and played brilliantly all holiday! My sister got on with all 3 other girls who where great fun aswell as sweet 7 year old boy who was always great fun to be around!! Thank you to exodus for making this trip the best one I've ever experienced and I reccommend everyone to go on this holiday!! Thanks again --Ben
  • Reviewed August 2013
    Anonymous

    TANZANIA CRATER CAPERS

    This trip was amazing and really well organised. It felt like we'd done many different holidays and fitted in so much. There were so many amazing experiences and I've never done anything like it before.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many memorable moments such as getting to base camp of Kilimanjaro, seeing the expressions on the local children's faces as we gave them gifts, seeing two lions basking in the sun, seeing an elephant ripping up plants to eat just metres from the jeep and snorkelling over the reef in the crystal clear waters of kichanga.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a few different leaders. Firstly we had Emmanuel who was really welcoming and really brought the village walk to life for us. The Kilimanjaro guides were also really helpful offering to carry your rucksack if you looked at all tired. For safari we had Ben, he was really knowledgable about all the animals and had evidently taken time to learn a lot of facts. Overall they were excellent and the staff at the hotels were also very friendly and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I wouldn't recommend taking a 5 year old on this trip, even though the cut off age is 5 as there's some long journeys to safari and the Kilimanjaro walk may be tough for some of them. Having said that my 7 year old brother was first up to base camp! I also wouldn't recommend taking a non-swimmer on this trip as you would miss out on a lot of the activities in Zanzibar such as snorkelling. Take extra money as there is lots of tipping and some of the costs written in the trip notes have changed and are more expensive. I also recommend taking antibacterial hand gel and wet wipes as there aren't always hand washing facilities. It's also nice to bring some small things for the local children such as pencils, balls and balloons. Also be prepared if you are a women to cover up a bit in Stone town, we travelled just after the attack of two girls in Zanzibar which made us extra aware.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am 12 years old and went on this trip with my parents and my younger brother and sister 11 and 7 years old. We went with 2 other families both of which we hadn't met before and I found it great that they had children my age to do stuff with. There was also a bit of chaos around our flights but I think this was just because Nairobi airport had set on fire two days before and I'm sure this wouldn't usually happen. The accommodation all had good food and beds and all had running water which was supposedly hot but not always! I recommend going to the Serena hotel whilst in stone town for drinks to watch the sun set you can also have food there although it is expensive.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    TANZANIA CRATER CAPERS

    An amazing trip of a lifetime! Looking back its hard to imagine how we fitted it all in, but we did. The trip was so well planned and organised, with everything thought of and planned for. We saw so much of Tazania and Zanzibar every bit of it stunning. The guides we brilliant, hotels were lovely. As cheesy as it sounds we had the time of our lives.  

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It will have to be a few as there were so many inspirational moments: Walking through the rainforest on kilimanjaro was eerily beautiful and the sense of achievement for my son to get to the top of where we walked to was great.Meeting the Chagga tribe was really nice and visiting the hidden gem of the waterfall, where we walked across to the bottom of the waterfall through the river with our trousers rolled up!The safaris were incredible I was delighted to see so many different animals including; a herd of over 50 elephants so close they touched the landrover, a cheetah basking in the sun and on a hunt, lions lazying about, a warthog getting chased by and fighting off 5 hyenas - to name but a few we saw so many others.The Kichanga lodge on Zanziba was gorgeous, the beach was pure white sand, the sea was warm and full of fish (if you want out to the lagoon with a snorkel -definitely recommended) and the pool with hammoks ready for when the kids want to plat and you want to relax.The history of Stone Town is fascinating and well worth taking a tour if you can and we also took a trio over to Prisoner Island where we saw the giant tortoises, then we went snorkeling in the reef, it was fab!          

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emmanuel was brilliant, very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, professional and great with kids. Even with my sons continuous questions and requests for collecting 'stuff' he remained the same never tiring or seeming fed up with him. That also goes for the guides who took us up kilimanjaro and round the village, Alex the safari guide - who again knew so much and worked hard to find animals impart his knowledge and answer a never ending stream of questions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have comfortable footwear for walking. Take warm clothes as well, I only took one warm top thinking I wouldn't need them, the nights and mornings are cool enough on Tanzania to need something. Plenty of insect repellent and suncream.I was really pleased that I decided to buy and take a really good camera with a good zoom, well worth it.I regretted not taking a book with me as the nights lent themselves to some reading. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An incredible experience for me and my son, as a single parent I was worried that I would be left out or that my son would be bored or lonely, I didnt need to worry everyone were friendly and welcoming. Just fantastic!
  • Reviewed September 2012
    Anonymous

    TANZANIA CRATER CAPERS

    This was a great trip and the itinerary had been thought out very well with lots of varied trips and accomodation designed for families. There was something for everyone from shopping in Stone Town, walking, beach and safari, fab.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were numerous inspirational moments on our trip from getting to Killi base camp, spotting 2 rhino on safari and swimming with a sea turtle!!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We only had a leader part on the time then a driver on safari and no-one in Zanzibar. John our leader in the beginning was very helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some warm clothes for climbing Killi. Also be aware of the tipping which you need to do constantly, we were told what to tip by our tour leader to the main people but everyone expects something all the time! We spent around $300 per family of 4 on tips. Also the flight Arusha to Zanzibar the luggage is 15kg pp and this should include all hand luggage so beware.
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