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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 March 2019
    Maureen Pearce

    Wacky Races in the National Parks!

    Our trip specifically aimed at maximum attention on wildlife was somewhat disappointing. The reason for the disappointment was especially the complete lack of control of the amount of safari vehicles allowed in the national parks and the drivers disregard for speed control (25K per hr) we must have been doing at least 35 - 40 mph and overtaking masses of other vehicles all racing to see either the sighting of a sloth bear or latterly the sighting of the leopard in a tree about 300 meters away in a tree. I wouldn't be surprised if all the animals scattered during visiting times of tourist knowing what mayhem was in store! Once in view of the leopard (only seen with binoculars at that distance) passengers then suffered from carbon monoxide fumes whilst drivers went past the area not once, not twice but three times!. It is difficult to know how you can change the culture of such behaviour of the guides/drivers as it seems to be inherent. Walks in the Udawala were along the road track leading to the eco lodge were ok but not astoundingly memorable. The birders in the group were enthused.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspirational moment of the trip was seeing a blue whale right up next to our tourist boat. We shared the morning sightings of our whale with about 12 other loaded boats, but having said that we saw our whale dive several times showing it's fluke and blowing before diving.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshan Chathuranga was the most uninspiring Exodus leader I have ever had the chance to come across in all of our trips. He did the basic essential travel connections without any problems but seemed to lack the passion of other group leaders. When asked a question by clients he would often retort "I have told you that, wern't you listening?". His English was OK but sometimes difficult to grasp. I know that he caused offence and anger amongst at least 4 of the clients, reducing one Canadian guest to tears because she complained about the inept guide on their safari vehicle! He took the complaint personally and attacked her verbally insinuating that she was making a fuss. "what is that in the tree?" a monkey - was the response by the safari guide! when they wanted the type of monkey. He also gave incorrect names to birds seen and had little knowledge. It is the first time I have been on an Exodus trip where there had not been a thank you speech and presentation of tips etc. at the last evening meal end of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Contrary to your trip note you do not worry about leech socks as the Eco Lodge provides them. The whale watching trip organisers also provide sea sickness pills.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The early morning safari trips waiting to get into the parks where unpleasant. Hundreds of vehicles all racing to get through the gates first and manoeuvring and jostling to get to the ticket office and pushing and shoving. It spoilt the nature of the whole reason for going into the parks and generally our eagerness to view wildlife. It was remarked by one witty guest that the best thing about the picnic lunches was the paper boxes and bags they came in. Content was very uninspiring - white bread crustless cream cheese or vegetable sandwiches, frankfurters in foil. Even though we were up at 4.30am and in our transport at 5am very few ate the packed breakfasts. It took one hour to drive to the parks on average which seems an excessive distance, even taking into account the drive through the buffer zone skirting the National Parks.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Cheryl Evans

    Wild Sri Lanka

    Wild Sri Lanka - this trip was really disappointing as a location for wildlife. We certainly didn’t see elephant herds in Uawalawe and I was horrified that on one occasion we were part of a group of 6 jeeps surrounding ONE elephant. This is not acceptable wildlife viewing. As a result of such a disappointing day I didn’t go on the morning game drive in Yale NP on Day 8. The transfers between places were far too long. For example: On Day 8 the safari trip started at 4.30am - a one hour drive to NP - 4 hours in a Jeep - one hour drive to return to the accommodation then after lunch a 3 1/2 hour drive to Talalla !! This was a day of nearly 10 hours in a jeep and coach. This is absolutely unacceptable. Finally, I was totally fed up with buffet food. We had just one hotel that offered us a choice in 15 days. The best food was provided by our visit to a local village. Superb!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Whale watching session. Cycling through the local villages with village meal. Visit to the rainforest. Visit to the Elephant Freedom Project.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshun was a good leader who dealt with any problems very efficiently.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Potential travellers should ascertain the exact length of the transfer journeys. I shall never book this type of trip again without confirming transfer times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was interested in the rain forest visit but I would have enjoyed learning about the biodiversity rather than bird watching. This was not advertised as a bird watching trip but we certainly spent a great deal of time trying to spot small brown birds!!!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Susannah Muldoon

    Amazing holiday

    I wasn't sure what to expect but wanted a holiday especially for the wildlife. I was not to be disappointed. We travelled between hotels in a large air conditioned coach. The food was excellent in most of the hotels especially the Hotel Insight and Kithala resort. I loved staying at the Eco Lodge but there was very little selection for vegetarians pasta with cheese or tomato sauce. The standard of hotels were very good although the service level at the Nil Days Mankada was poor. I would have preferred to stay a couple of nights at the Kithala resort instead of going to the Talalla retreat but that is just a personal preference. The whale watching was good and we did see blue whales dolphins a turtle and a ray but felt a bit sorry for the whales being converged on by so many boats. We had our on boat which was a lot nicer. The game drives were fantastic and we saw lots of birds and animals (even a leopard) and great to share the adventure with a lovely group of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the early morning drive in Yala as the wildlife was just waking up and it seemed less busy then the other reserve. Also the Eco Lodge and watching the birds all around and waking up to the sounds of the jungle.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group Leader and guide were fantastic and very proffesional taking such good care of us. Making sure we got the very best out of the holiday. Can't be praised enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I bought leech socks which are needed but the eco lodge did have them to lend to you so no need to buy in advance. Take binoculars and a camera.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book now !
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Catherine Stothart

    Wonderful wildlife, great food, friendly people and a lovely group

    We wanted a holiday where there was plenty of opportunity to see wildlife, and this lived up to our expectation. Whale watching (saw blue whales and pilot whales), lots of colourful birds, mammals and reptiles too - the bio-diversity, especially of birds, was staggering. We had a naturalist with us who was really good at spotting and identifying birds - that really made a difference. The hotels we stayed in were all different with their own character, and with one exception, were of a high standard. Loved staying in the rainforest and doing yoga at the beach. Enjoyed Sri Lankan food and especially having tropical fruit every day and fresh fruit juices. The group of people we were with were all great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking across a lake and seeing herons, cormorants, pelicans, storks, crocodiles, water buffalo, kingfishers.......just so much to see, all in one place. Hearing the birds and frogs in the morning. Seeing orphan elephants running to be fed. Doing yoga looking at the sunrise over the sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent - knowledgeable, organised, helpful, friendly, sense of humour. He told us bits about Sri Lankan history and society, which were really interesting and took care of all our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars - it's much easier to appreciate the birds if you can see them properly!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Kim Lester

    Wildlife Sri Lanka

    Thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Sri Lanka, the hotels are all unique, really enjoyed the container accommodation in the rainforest. The people all seemed very friendly. The Whale watching was a little disappointing as we only saw the one Blue Whale and it felt a little as if we were chasing after it when it breached, on the plus side we had the boat to ourselves. The driving is pretty interesting but we had total confidence in our coach driver. The food was very good, but you probably need to like curries! The game parks are good, initially i thought they were going to be really busy with all the jeeps queuing to get their permits, but it was surprising where they all disappeared to within the parks. Downside was when we found a leopard all the drivers communicate this to each other and everybody descends on the spot.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    hard to say which was most inspirational, all very good.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nakala was lovely, very passionate about sharing his country and culture with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A fantastic trip, although leisurely, 2 days at each hotel, there was enough to keep you entertained from morning til evening.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Vicky Campbell

    Well organised trip

    We booked this trip to make viewing wildlife easy for ourselves. We joined after 16 days of doing our own thing and looked forward to the group tour. The arrangements went according to plan except for the starting hotel which had been changed without our knowledge. On arrival at the correct place, we found it to be a pseudo-Egyptian monstrosity. The rest of the accommodation was much more as expected. The whale watching was tedious and involved 7 hours on a boat with a distant view of the tail of a whale. The boat race which ensued when it appeared that there was a chance to get closer to a whale was not productive and did not feel very considerate. There was a distinct lack of birds in Sinharaja and the attempt to see leopards in Yala was beyond belief with tens of trucks vying for position to see the tail of a leopard which was hidden in a tree. Not all of the hotels had much Sri Lankan food and there was limited vegetarian food at times. The packed lunches were poor.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making friends with two other couples Udawalawe Park was the most interesting, various birds, elephants and a few other mammals including a jackal. In both Udawalawe and Yala, we had good safari drivers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a very considerate person who took time to get to know each of us and to establish what our interests were. His explanations about various aspects of life and history in Sri Lanka were most welcome.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't go with any hopes or expectations as to what wildlife you might see. Do take leech socks for Sinharaja, although these were made available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We booked this trip as "Wild Sri Lanka" with no particular expectations but even with this outlook, we were disappointed. Sinharaja was, to us, a waste of time in terms of wildlife and one of the guides who is based there admitted it was not a good time for birds. Staying in containers was the saving grace here, a real novelty. Now that the trip seems to be called "Whales and Leopards" ( as in our final joining instructions) this would suggest that these creatures are more likely to be seen. This seems grossly misleading.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Emma Dart

    Great way to see the nature of south Sri Lanka

    This was a fantastic trip which gave great opportunities to see the diverse wildlife and landscapes of Sri Lanka. It was hot / humid when we went so the air con on the bus and the majority of the hotels was welcome. It was nice to have a couple of nights in most hotels. The stay in the rainforest lodge was incredible, and the rooms in the Talalla hotel were unusual and enjoyable. The bus journeys between accommodations were not too long, and the scenery was very enjoyable. There is so much birdlife and wildlife to see here.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a blue whale. We also loved seeing the fireflies in the rainforest and at Tallala. There is not much light pollution there so the stars were incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshan was fantastic. He was so engaging, knowledgeable and well organised. The naturalist on the trip, Devaka, was enthusiastic and highly skilled.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Many of the plug sockets accommodate do UK plugs. Where they did not, we were glad to have purchased an adaptor as our multi adaptor did not cater for Sri Lanka plug sockets. We did not see many mosquitoes, but were careful with using deet and covering up. The sun is very strong as well. The rainforest lodge provided leech socks, which seemed to work very well. There were only a couple of times where we encountered small leeches and the guide removed them easily.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food is fantastic, a lot of choice in the buffets.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Claire Howard

    Lovely country, lovely group but disappointing wildlife experience

    Sri Lanka as a country is gorgeous and the people are delightful. My disappointment with the trip relates to how the tour was delivered by the local company and the fact that this should be advertised as a bird watching trip with the odd mammal sighting possible. We did see elephants and the blue whale but 90% of wildlife sightings are birds.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing an adult male elephant with a prostetic limb play in the watering hole at the Udawalawe Transit Home followed closely by spending a couple of hours watching a blue whale.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a delightful young man who was extremely enthusiastic and good fun to be around but he failed to adequately deal with concerns/ complaints raised by the group. The game drives were poorly organised. There was 16 in our group. We were put in 3 trucks which they named AB &C and we were we told we had to stay in the same groups so that we all had access to the nature guide. This didnt happen. As a member of jeep C, for all 4 game drives were we the third jeep in the line with limited sightings and always late to the wildlife party. Concerns were raised but not acted upon by the tour guide even when these become complaints. My wildlife game drive experience was eating my fellow travellers dust, hearing out what they were looking at and often seeing things behind shrubs or flying away when disturbed. I’ve never beed on a trip where the game drives were organised this way. If you were in jeeps A or B which alternated being at the front you had a much better experience than the 6 of us in jeep C

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a bird watching trip. That was the emphasis of our naturalist guide and birds were in ambundance. Mammal sightings were limited. I didnt appreciate this and so was disappointed by the safari experience for this reason as well as how the jeeps were managed. I enjoyed staying in the rain forest and the ecolodge. The converted shipping containers were really cute and one of my hilights. They were hot during the day and cold at night but blankets are provided. We didnt walk along trails but walked up and down the tarmac road to the ecolodge. This limited the opportunity for wildlife sightings or should i more accurately say bird sightings as we were passed quite frequently by motorbikes. You need leech socks. These are provided so no need to bring your own. You need long trousers for this part of the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is my eighth trip and i have to say my worst so far by a long way. The group as always were lovely. Some of the accommodation wasnt great. An hour from the reserve on occassion which means if the drivers have set hours you use up precise game drive time getting to and from the national park. If there are 16 in your group make sure you have a spare seat in yhe jeep for a guide otherwise you are at the back of the line. This is a bird watching trip with a whale watching tour thrown in and visit to elephant sanctury.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Claire for her feedback, although we were very sorry that her experience was so disappointing. We have responded to Claire directly and in response to this feedback, Exodus has reminded our local partner in Sri Lanka to try to ensure that the naturalist guide in Yala National Park rotates between the vehicles, and that the vehicle order should also be rotated where possible to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of wildlife sightings.

    Jennifer Cox - Product Manager

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Jo Carr

    Wild Sri Lanka

    This was a wonderful trip that certainly lived up to its promise of plenty of wildlife encounters. Sri Lanka is stunningly beautiful and has a lovely relaxed vibe.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many - a blue whale popping up in front of our boat, the stunning scenery, the friendly people, the narrow streets of Galle and the pristine beaches

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a leader, Kingsley and a naturalist, Sunil. Both made sure we were well informed without being intrusive and were great company throughout the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are British take Stirling to change at the airport (loads of change bureaus as you leave). Don't change heaps because it's really easy to use atms as you go along and every hotel took credit cards for settling bills. Don't bother packing beach towels - every hotel had pool /beach towels for you to use. Pack light - you will be living in shorts and t-shirts as it is so hot and humid. An umbrella is useful for a sudden downpour or as a parasol. In Talalla have lunch on the beach at the seafood hut - it looks basic but the food was fabulous.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it - especially if you love wildlife and particularly monkeys, birds and elephants!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Rebecca Perman

    Wonderful

    A wonderful holiday. Well paced with the right mixtures of activities. All the accommodation was well chosen. The two guides, one especially for the wildlife were exceptional. Very informative, funny and welcoming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Sinharaja rainforest is breathtaking. The eco lodge was perfect. Sleeping in converted shipping containers in the middle of a rainforest was truly magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exceptional. He was organised, caring and highly professional. He was very informative and entertaining. Our second guide, for the wildlife was incredibly knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars, they say it's optional, but it should be a MUST.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful experience in a magical country all made even more fun by the leaders.
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