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

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  • Reviewed April 2019
    Jackey Phillips

    It wasn't all about the tigers

    A well organised and interesting trip but we had disappointing tiger sightings. All the hotels and lodges were of a very good standard for India and the staff helpful and pleasant. The food was good and not too spicy, though a bit repetetive. The lodge at Bandhavgarh was very good with an excellent swimming pool and beautiful gardens.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Giving my bananas to the elephants. Seeing the Taj Mahal Seeing the 2 tiger cubs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vijay organised everything very well and ensured we were all at the right place at the right time, though at times it was not easy to understand all he said. He took care of all the tipping, which made life much easier.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Plastic is not allowed in the parks, so take something else to protect your camera from the dust, which is worst in Bandhavgarh. You need the smaller 3 round pin plugs, but the European 2 round pin works everywhere. The lunches were all served buffet style at 500 rupees and were very similar to the evening meals. It was possible at Pench to order from the a la carte menu but the order took a long time, at Kanha it was buffet only, but at Bandhavgarh it was possible to get omelette and delicious chips. Take mosquito spray and anti histamine and hairdryer if needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We saw 3 glimpses of tigers in Pench and Kanha but it was not until the last day at Bandhavgarh (game drive 14) that we had a good sighting of 2 year old cubs. We did see other birds and animals but between the hours of 6-8am and 4.30-6.30pm the emphasis is all in the tigers as they sleep during the day. The trouble with this is that the drivers in Bandhavgarh are under so much pressure in the 3 days you are with them to get you a tiger sighting that they definitely do not keep to the 20kph speed limit and race around the park like rally drivers when they hear of a sighting. We reached nearly 80kph one evening in a terrifying 10 minute race to try and see a tiger! Also, elephants are used to flush out tigers and one time elephants were sent into an area of high grass where it was known there were 4 very young cubs. At Bandhavgarh the jeep allocations were not done evenly in the 3 zones. They had been booked months before, but we nearly ended up in the same zone 4 times.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    stephen roberts

    Worth every penny

    Its difficult to write this review without repeating what everybody else has all ready said. We had some fantastic tiger sightings that frankly left me breathless, we also saw sloth bears, leopard and fantastic bird life. Some people saw more some saw less, but that's always going to be the case on these types of holidays. The quality of the guides and drivers is hit and miss, but Exodus has little control over this as they work for the park. Hadn't appreciate that the jeep allocation was so tightly regulated. Who is what jeep, is decided when the jeeps are booked, and passports are checked on each drive to ensure that's the case.. but you are moved around so your not sat with the same people all the time. The accommodation on the whole was better than expected, although some people seemed to have problems getting hot water a few times. Being welcomed back of every drive with a warm flannel and cold drink was very welcome. Everybody gets a bit stressed just before the overnight train, but once we were on and settled it was okay, and I slept okay, and the bedding was clean, and didn't feel the need for a sleeping bag liner. There was a western and Indian style toilet in every carriage, been in worse on UK trains. Make sure you stock up on snacks before you get on the train as the packed lunch taken with you was uninspiring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was being eye ball to eyeball with a wild tiger walking towards me. Still get the shivers now, just thinking about it. For my wife, getting to touch and feed the working elephants as they passed our jeeps.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna has great, fed us loads on info on Indian culture, and the wildlife. Kept our spirits up when the tigers wern't playing ball. and took care of the minor problems quickly. My wife is Type 1 diabetic and found the brunches a bit late for her sugar levels. Once we had mentioned this , Krishna sorted out some extras to eat before we left in the mornings.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its cold on the first few hours of the morning. Take hats, gloves and a warm jackets. The one afternoon we didn't take waterproofs, we had a storm. So pack them every day. Yes its as dusty as they say, so be prepared for that. Getting small bank notes was an issue, buy some small items(sweets or water) in Delhi airport to try an get some smaller notes. Card machines at resorts not always working. Take cash. In two weeks we spent about £750, mainly on lunches, beers, snack and tips (and a couple of souviners). For info a beer was 350 rupees. We also tipped some of drivers and guides a bit more than suggested

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As the group had bonded well, we had hoped for a few goodbye drinks on our last night. But being a Friday the hotel was dry. If we had been warned we would have brought a couple of beers earlier and put them in the fridge in our rooms.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Maureen Mansfield

    Amazing experience

    Absolutely brilliant holiday. Have waited so long to see Tigers in the wild and this trip did not disappoint. Would definitely go again. We were so lucky as had good , even exceptional signings in all three reserves. All of our group had sightings some more and better than others , but no one was disappointed. We also saw a leopard , and sloth bears , jungle cats, and so much more wildlife. The lodges were all good, the food in Penchants being the best, although all were a bit the the same. Breakfasts were on the drive and were a bit uninspired I have never eaten so many boiled eggs. The one day we had samosas was great. Hotel in Agra good the one in Delhi not so . The overnight train trip was an experience! enough said!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing my first tiger in the wild of course, but also seeing a leopard albeit at a distance.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna was great, very caring and went out his way to help if anyone had a problem.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some protein bars for the breakfasts, the morning drives are cold so take layers , also all the drives are dusty so take covers for cameras and something to cover your mouth and nose especially if you have any respiratory issues. Be prepared for long bumpy drives, and lots of sitting around just listening for any alarm calls and waiting , and be prepared to be disappointed, as you will not see Tigers on every drive, they are elusive, and you may only see glimpses of them through the jungle . Enjoy the rest of the wildlife especially some of the beautiful birds. Take plenty of tissues , and be prepared for the Indian style toilets . Also remember to just watch the tigers not always through a lenses.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Evelyn Alpert

    Nothing short of amazing

    So first, I need to state unequivocally that if you love wildlife, and in particular tigers, then you need to do this trip. The tigers are exquisitely beautiful and the thrill of tracking them is fun in and of itself. I am already dying to repeat this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My first tiger sighting of course!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Vijay and he was great. He worked so hard to get everyone to see a tiger, and he clearly loves his country and is eager to share his knowledge with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think anyone doing this tour needs to understand clearly how it works to avoid disappointment and frustration. So tiger safaris are not at all like African safaris - the tigers are solitary animals ( not like the lions that gather in prides) and while their numbers are increasing, most of them reside in what is called the core area of these reserves. The tourists (you and me) are not allowed in the core, so the truth is you are looking for a very finite number of tigers that are residing in the tourist area of the parks. Finding them is no easy task, but your drivers and guides in the parks will (if they are good, and not all of them are) work hard to find them for you. Secondly, your tour group will be broken up into groups of 4 for the game drives, and each group does not necessarily go to the same place. The jeeps are given proscribed zones and routes, so it is entirely possible that part of your tour group will see tigers and some may not. In our group, we had 2 people that didn’t see any tigers till about 2 days before the tour ended, and there were 6 that went about 2/3 of the way through the trip with no sightings. Needless to say, for those not seeing the tigers, it is hard to enjoy the time when the others are seeing them. But if you understand how this works in advance (and I did not think this was at all clearly spelled out in the tour literature) then you will be better prepared for it. No one can control the appearance of the tigers, so to some extent it is the luck of the draw, but it’s best to fully understand how the game drives work. And PS since most days you have breakfast in the reserves, you will get tired of hard boiled eggs and cheese sandwiches, so think about packing some protein bars to take along instead!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Remember to put your cameras down and just look at the tigers. They are magnificent but if you only see them through a lens then you’ve missed the point. It’s hard to do, and one of the reasons I want to do the tour again.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Hugh Price

    First Class Trip

    Excellent opportunities to see not just Tigers but many other mammals and birds as well. Helpful staff and good lodges and time just flies by. Others have rated this trip highly and deservedly so.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Viewing a tiger fairly closely over a period of about 90 minutes

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vijay was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and his knowledge and experience was invaluable, even to the extent of finding a suitable battery charger in rural India.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes warn you it can be cold early am and late pm but it can also be cold during the day in February. Take layers, take a buff for the dust, possibly a bag to keep the dust off cameras. A head torch is quite useful too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Paul Tunnah

    India Tiger Safari

    I agree with all of the previous tiger trip review comments so I am not going to rehash them.. I saw 10 * Tigers, 3 * Leopard, 4 * Sloth Bears, 1 * Jungle cat & lots of other wildlife, deer, birds etc. I didn't see a tiger until 8/15 game drives so don't panic as everybody on my trip eventually got a great tiger experience. The morning game drives in February are cold so definitely bring Jumpers, hats, gloves etc. I would finally like to tell you the best months to see tigers according to the drivers which are April / May when the Tigers cool down at the water holes. Of course the temperature then is 45 degrees Celsius.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing your first tiger in the wild is amazing. I still don't know how our driver spotted him driving at 20 kmh & seeing him through the brush. The Tiger was 30 foot in the brush & just watched us as we took photographs. My digital camera struggled to auto focus (Did eventually & great photos) so I would advise anybody else to have knowledge of focusing methods for there camera. I certainly had to read the manual.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Vijay Chansoria & he war brilliant. Honestly he couldn't do enough for the whole party. His knowledge of wildlife was amazing, especially birds.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go on this trip in February then wrap up warm for the morning game drives as it is very cold for the first 2 hours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just enjoy the 3 NP's & all of the wildlife in them. NOBODY is guaranteed to see a Tiger ( 2 people in my group only had there tiger experience on the optional extra game drive) although in my tour party we all good sighting of a tiger.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Melissa Rainbow

    Absolutely Amazing.

    This trip from start to finish was just absolutely amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first time we saw a tiger. What an unbelievably beautiful moment that was. The first tiger we saw on this trip was in Kanha (we saw 2 cubs in the distance in Pench but they were spotty little blurs) was a male tiger named Chota Munna. Another jeep had seen him cross the road and pass into the forest when we arrived. We just saw the bushes move and thought we had missed our chance. After 20 minutes or so of alarm calls and driving around the area he was believed to be moving, there he was, all of a sudden, strolling through the clearing and then crossing the road in front of us and continuing down the road for a good 5 minutes or more. That just blew my mind. To see this amazing animal walking through his home in all his glory was magnificent. We were to be blessed twice more in Kanha. Once more that day as we were leaving the lunch area a female tigress Choti Mada was walking down the road, we were one of only 3 jeeps to have been lucky to see her. On our last morning drive in Kanha, we had what our tour leader Vijay described as a once a year sighting. We heard alarm calls, and then there she was the beautiful Dhwajhandi (daughter of Choti Mada), she crossed the road, scenting as she went and passed into the grassland, we sat and waited for quite some time and were super lucky in this time to also see a Sloth Bear bounding across the grassland, after the bear passed we sat and waited on the other side of the grassland, listening to her roar, most jeeps gave up and left, but we insisted on waiting, we knew she was there. And then, alarm calls, the remaining jeeps all started their engines and we went further up the grassland road to where the deer were now running and calling, and then she was there, strolling through the grassland and past the deer. She walked across the road near our jeep, stopped for a bit, then continued at this point she was behind us and we got to watch her and she sauntered down the road, scenting as she went, rubbing herself on a tree and then eventually going back in to the forest. This whole experience lasted over 2 hours. We were so incredibly blessed to have witnessed this amazing sighting. I will forever be grateful for this trip. We also saw 3 more tigers when we were in Bandhavgarh, Spotty, Solo and Tara. All female tigress. We were lucky to see Tara twice. In all we saw 8 tigers if you include the cub blobs, 2 sloth bear and so many deer, birds, monkeys etc. It really was the trip of a lifetime. I won't be coming down off that high for sometime.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Oh Vijay was just truly wonderful. He is the best group leader I have ever had. He was so knowledgeable, passionate and committed. Every time we saw a tiger, it blew him away too, which was really touching. We were lucky to only have a group of 7, but he just did a marvelous job. I would 100% do another tour in India if Vijay was the leader. His passion for wildlife and knowledge of birds was phenomenal. He is a complete asset to your company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack thermals. It's only cold in the morning game drives, but you will need it, that and also some sort of windproof jacket. They give you blankets, but don't rely on them. You will need something else to keep you warm in the early mornings. Another thing you should 100% pack is something to cover you nose & mouth as the dust is pretty crazy.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Guy Darby

    Saw a Tiger

    Great trip for wildlife lovers which gives you the best opportunity to see a Tiger. Visiting 3 National Parks allows you to see a variety of landscapes, the full range of Indian bird and wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We all saw lots of evidence of Tigers including paw prints and alarm calls, and even caught glimpses of Tigers as they crossed road, or were asleep in the bush. And then finally on game drive number 15, that's over 60 hours on safari, with 5am starts and getting bounced around and covered in dust in the back of a jeep...we had a great clear close sighting of a magnificent Tiger. Fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Krishna was excellent, helpful, informative and with a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We took up the opportunity to do two extra optional game drives. The more time you spend in the parks then the better chance of seeing a Tiger.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    the trip finished off with a visit to Agra, the Taj Mahal and Red Fort which were magnificent. We also did an optional tour of Delhi on the last day for which the Jamel mosque was great but New Delhi was a disappointment and covered in smog. We went out early and did a tailor made extension to Amritsar Dharamshala and Shimla which was excellent. If you have the time I would recommend doing an extension and exploring somewhere else in India.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Lorna Thomas

    L Thomas

    Wonderful trip. Just the right mixture of wildlife and culture. Can’t describe the feeling when we first saw a tiger at close range. At a loss for words. Sloth bear also made it a fabulous trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger at close range for the first time was awe inspiring. Literally couldn’t speak. X

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vijay was fabulous. Made us feel very safe and helped us integrate with the local people .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a bit more money than you think you will need. Most of our money went on beers each day!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fabulous holiday. Go with the flow. Train journey is not as bad as you think it will be. X
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Brian & Ann Lythgoe

    FANTASTIC TIGERS

    The trip was excellent from start to finish. We were met at Nagpur by Krishna who gave us information about the trip and introduced us to the other members of our group. It was a group of mixed personalities and could not have been better. We all got on very well. The drive to Pench Jungle Resort was a bit of a problem due to an accident in the road ahead meaning we arrived late at the Resort, but the staff had kept the Restaurant open so that we could have a meal before bedtime. On our first game drive we saw our first tiger, but saw no more tigers in Pench. We did see a leopard with its kill and lots of monkeys, deer and a large variety of birds. We saw one tiger in Kanha and another 6 in Bandhavgarh. All in all worth every penny!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the tigers in their natural habitat We also saw a leopard with its kill and two wild dogs chase catch kill and eat a fawn. It was exciting and you didn't want to watch - but you did want to watch! It was fascinating to see how the dogs worked to capture the deer. The tigers of Bandhavgarh were fantastic. On our first game drive in Bandhavgarh we saw a male tiger lying in the middle of the road, to be joined a few minutes later by a female. They both lay there for a while and we watched them as they moved from the road to the bush and eventually into the forest. We watched them for almost 2 hours. It was fabulous.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna was excellent. He made sure that we were at the gates of the reserves early so that we were among the first to enter. He was informative and extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife and especially the birds. It was clear that he loved his country and gave us information and insights of life in India, including the local villagers and their lives. At Bandhavgarh he managed to obtain an extra game drive, by getting up very early to go to the gate for tickets. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for him. He showed great concern for his party of guests.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a scarf or 'snood' to cover your nose and mouth on the game drives - it gets very dusty. Make sure you have the correct electrical adaptors - although the European two pin (round pins) do fit. It does get quite cold in the early mornings as you travel n the open-top jeeps. It is advisable to have several layers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In Pench there was a fridge in the room, but nt in Kanha or Bandhavgarh. A fridge in the room would have been useful for keeping water cold. The hotel in Agra was excellent but that in Delhi left a lot to be desired. Although the room was clean and comfortable the breakfast was very uninspiring The overnight train trip was not as difficult as expected. All in all, Exodus were a great Group to deal with and we would use Exodus again if we wanted to do something in their itinerary. The trip was worth every penny!
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