Turtle, Ecuador

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

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112 Reviews

  • Reviewed May 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    A great climb out to Mt Toubkal, and with a really good group of people as well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the most inspirational moment was getting to the top of Toubkal, which was definately hard work and quite a struggle.  To do that after nearly four days of hard walking was certainly rewarding.  I just about amanged to hold back the tears a few times when the emotions overwhelmed me - although perhaps it was just the altitude sickness!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was a really good leader.  He was extremely welcoming and clearly wanted us all to enjoy our week in Morocco.  He even invited the group to his house for tea and some snacks towards the end of the week. On the walking aspect he kept a very good pace which wasn't too fast, but certainly pushed me hard.  He was perhaps a bit hands off to the extent that he expected you to sort yourself out most of the time and take resposibility which I think is exactly right.  He is a mountain leader after all not a nanny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for cold night especially in April/May time.  Remember to bring plenty of strong suncream.  The toilet facilities on teh nights when you are camping are very basic and consist of a small tent over a hole in the ground - so bring wet wipes and toilet roll.  Make use of the nearby refuges when at the high base camp.  You don't have to be super fit to do this one, but it is several days of long hard walking so you should have a decent level of experience on mountains.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Before setting out it was a bit concerning to see what all the other people in the group would be like, but actually it was a really great group of people and we all got on.  I really think that is what ended up making the trip.
  • Reviewed May 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    This trip was everything that I expected and more. The ascent was inspiring alone but I hadn't anticipated such an intimate glimpse of the Berber people and their villages too. My guide was A1 and the food was fantastic. A great adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without a doubt my most inspirational moment would have to have been the ascent of Mt Toubkal itself. The sense of achievement and the views were both incredible. However, the trek 'upwards' through the Berber villages would have to come a close second. Culturally the trip was quite mind blowing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I was travelling alone so was instantly comforted by the organisation, communication and skill of our guide. He was a Berber and had been guiding trips to the summit of Mt Toubkal and the surrounding areas for over 20 years so had a wealth of knowledge to offer. He took stock of all of our varying abilities and waited, listened and understood, which is really important I think. He was a really decent guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice for this trip would be to not underestimate the effects of Altitude Sickness. Thankfully I wasn't effected by this but some others in my group experienced some symptoms. Also, plan for the extremes of temperature as it can be very hot during the day but freezing during the night. So on both counts, be prepared!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first Exodus experience but definitely not my last. It's left a lasting impression on me and now, most evenings I reach for my Exodus brochure....... where to next??!
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    Every bit as amazing as I was hoping for - it was hard work and rewarding in equal measures and for anyone who enjoys mountain walking this is a trip worth doing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Mount Toubkal would be the obvious one and it is definitely up there on the list but to be honest reaching the summit of Mount Ouanakrim, the second highest peak, was probably the best part of the trip especially as we did this the day after Toubkal so we had great views across to the summit of Toubkal and it was a great reminder of what we had achieved.  We were the only group on Mount Ouanakrim which was great after the comparative bustle at the summit of Toubkal and made the trek up worth the effort.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was friendly, approachable and a competent guide. He looked after the group well and provided all necessary advice and information on what to expect each day. All the other support staff on the trip were also fantastic, setting up camp, transporting bags and equipment and cooking up a storm every mealtime ensuring we were fully fuelled for our mountainous escapades. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring plenty of sunscreen and use it! It feels a lot cooler in the mountains but it is so easy to get sunburn!  Gloves, hats and a warm fleece were also invaluable for a couple of the early morning starts we had as well as for the windy summits. Wearing two pairs of socks will help prevent blisters but remember to bring blister treatments just in case and look after your feet - take advantage of cold streams to soak them at the end of a long day walking. Get money before leaving Marrakech on the first day and if possible change large notes for smaller denominations and coins so you have easy money to pay for bottled water/snacks/showers at the refuge. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I had wanted to do this trip for a number of years but had put it off time and again - all I can say is I am so glad that I eventually managed to do the trip and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this sort of thing. It is hard work, with a lot of walking but the structure of the trip means that there are opportunities to skip a walk and simply relax at camp with a book if you like. The Neltner refuge provides the opportunity to have a hot shower and also has a well equipped shop where more than one of our group indulged in a Mars bar. Camping in the mountains may not be everyones idea of a relaxing holiday but for me, it was a perfect way to experience the Atlas mountains and I cannot wait to make a return trip - next time in the snow!!! 
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    An excellent trek at a very reasonable price.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlight was definitely reaching the summit of Toubkal but the views throughout the trek are spectacular and it’s hard to pick just one thing. The climb to the summit Ouanakrim was also was also great fun (a little more scrambling required than for Toubkal) and well worth the early start.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was fantastic, very well organised, very funny and always looking out for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The second summit (Ouanakrim) was optional for us and did involve an early start but it was really worth it - would strongly recomend you sacrifice the potential lie in for what is one of the highlights of the trek.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    The trip was a wonderful experience. The weather put a bit of a dampener on things, but that's always the risk with outdoors activities. On the first day of the trek it was misty and drizzly, and then it started hammering down. The next two days were mostly lovely and warm, and we got some lovely views. We were fighting snow, winds and freeeeezing temperatures on our climb up Toubkal, which was apparently very exceptional for the time of year. It was a great group of people and an experience I'll never forget!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Toubkal was pretty great, especially as I was frozen solid and pretty tired. But unfortunately there were no views to give us the top of the world feeling!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was great. Friendly, informative, helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go prepared for all weathers, it's cold at the top - especially if snowing! I was nervous about my fitness, but coped absolutely fine. To put this into context I do aerobics once a week, and run 5km, so am not exactly wonderwoman. I wasn't sure how I would find walking at altitude, I only noticed any effects above the Neltner refuge at Toubkal base camp. I noticed that while walking slowly I was breating rather fast. At one point I tripped over a rock, which interrupted my breathing and found myself gasping for air. Hassan was amazing, he ran back and helped me to breathe steady again and I got my breath back. Concentrate on where you put your feet! If you're new to altitude don't worry, just walk slowly and steadily.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One thing that did let the holiday down was the condition of the tents. While the downpour on the first night was unexpected, and no one's fault, the tents were in no fit state to deal with it. There were holes in fly sheets and ground sheets, and the guy ropes were so knotted that the fly sheet could not be held away from the inner, meaning rain came stright through. We were told the tents were due to be replaced. So I hope Exodus will consider replacing tents more often. The tradional matresses used by Exodus would have been lovely - but when sodden they provided no comfort at all, and unlike rollmats or thermarests they soaked up and held onto water.  It is unlikely to happen to you, but if rain is forcast I would consider bringing a thermarest. Also two of the groups bags broke en route to the trek (broken zip, and bottom came out of bag), if I go again I will be buying my own kit bag!  The second night at Toubkal Refuge Exodus provided us with buks in the refuge. While very basic and crowded it was such a relief as it was pouring down again, and some of the tents were in their own lake! We woke up the following morning to find our tent had collapsed in the wind and snow! Phew!  I wasn't too keen on the time in Marrakesh, especially as the tour notes had said there would be a tour of the souks - and this was not running. I am not a city person, so would have preferred another day trekking.   I don't mean to sound like I am grumbling, because it was the most awesome holiday ever. Had the weather been better I cannot imagine how great it would be! If you are going towards the end of the season go prepared for anything!
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    I Had a great time on this holiday. Food was fantastic and the walking pace was perfect. The guide was calm and confident and told us about the areas we were in.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Mt Toubkal was amazing. The views were great and overall it was a brilliant experience. There was a 60 year woman on our trip and she made it to the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent, very calm, confident and collected!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    bring food sickness tablets
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    A really breathtaking landscape with that wonderful Exodus combination of good company, great food and plenty of fresh air and exercise.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The marriage proposal at the top of Mt Toubkal was a really wonderful climax to a great climb.  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader was a genuinely nice guy who wanted everyone in the group to enjoy getting to know Berber life. He worked hard to ensure that everyone had a good time, although his goat like fitness & energy left some of us shame-faced!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was my first trip with Exodus for about 12 years and I had worried about whether I would be up to the trip. Although the pace was demanding at times (many of us later confessed to doubts after the first two extremely hot hours!)  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Being alcohol free, eating very healthily and walking every day was a great detox from ordinary life and I would defy anyone not to enjoy the experience.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    We've now been back from Morocco for some time, so it's about time I contacted you again to thank you and your team for organising what was, I believe, a most successful adventure. All the Chetwynde School Sixth Formers, and Gill and I, loved it.Mohamed and Abdullah, the local mountain guides, were great andinspired the group with confidence. I must also mention the cooking staff who did a brilliant job at all altitudes! Please see below for the comments on our wonderful group leader Rich Astridge. Again, thank you.Andy

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Mt Toubkal, I don't think any of us had climbed anything like as high as this.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I wish to compliment Rich Astridge, our Principal Tour Leader, on theexcellent job that he did for the group. Rich is a great advert for Exodus. He is clearly a most experienced and talented leader, who wasmodest about his achievements and engaging with his anecdotes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's very hot in July, up to 50 C when we were there, but we all survived. Make sure you wear some headgear, however dodgy. Anything from stylish Berber wrap arounds to upside down shorts will apparently do!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If anybody found a Cropredy Fairport Convention bush hat at Toukbkal base camp, you can keep it, and if you can prove that you found it there, contact me (Andy Taylor) and I'll buy you a drink at Cropredy August 2013!
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    A good all round experience complemented with a good 1st and 2nd Guide

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A good team spirit

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All round a good bloke, good fun who led well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of warm clothes and 4s sleeping bag a must as Hut is very very -2/3 cold with only one small fire where all the guides well '3 sit directly infront' so no heat enters the room.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip all round, make sure you have crampon and big boot experience before hand along with a good level of fitness otherwise you may suffer!!!.
  • Reviewed October 2012
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    This was a very enjoyable trip which i would be very happy to recommend to others.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of Mount Toubkal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was brilliant. Could not fault him at all. A lovely guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect snow!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The tents were not suitable for rain and need replacing.