Sleep Beneath the Stars

On an Exodus cycling holiday, we make it possible to travel further, and deeper into your destination. When going ‘off road’ means heading into a hinterland where lofty plateaus recede to a vanishing point where sky meets steppe. A land where ‘gravel track’ means more ‘gravel’ than ‘track’. Our sort of place. And yours too. This is cycling at its most elemental. Add a night or two camping under canvas and the great outdoors never felt so close.

 123507003 - "Vast , echoing and God-like" T.E Lawrence

For Exodus customer Natasha Templeton, our Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike trip opened up new horizons. In more ways than one...

"I’d never been to the Middle East before and Petra particularly looked like it would be a magical place to visit,” Natasha says. “Combine this with an activity like cycling, and it just seemed perfect for me.”

Natasha, who describes herself as a ‘competent, but not frequent’ cycler, enjoyed the trip’s regular refuelling stops, photo opportunities and rest-ups on the support bus. “Our cycle guide was fantastic. We were lucky enough to have one of the Jordanian national cycling team taking us around! What a great guy!”

And when the day’s cycling was over? What did Natasha make of bedding down in a makeshift camp for one of the trip’s evenings?

“I’m not a natural camper, it’s true,” she laughs. “But the option of sleeping in a purpose built tent or outside in the open in the desert really intrigued me. The idea of sleeping under the stars was something I was really looking forward to. And it lived up to my expectations – it’s fair to say it’s an experience I’ll remember forever. The traditional Bedouin camp was fantastic – such a privilege to experience. I don't want to spoil it for future trip goers by revealing all the details, but our Bedouin hosts treated us so well it was a wonderfully unique evening. We were given blankets and slept on mattresses. I vividly remember falling asleep to the magnificent sight of the canopy of stars above my head. When I woke during the night I loved looking up. To be honest, I was quite sad when dawn broke and the stars were no more. More camping is definitely on my trip wish list from now on!"

Not only did this trip represent a first taste of desert camping - there was another first Natasha was keen to experience too...

"This was the first trip I've ever taken by myself. Travelling solo with Exodus is fantastic, everything is organised, down to the last detail and I had all of the other people on the trip as company so I never felt alone, yet equally I could have time by myself on the coach journeys and by paying a little extra to have my own room. The set up gave me so much confidence to just take off and go anywhere without needing to depend on friends or family being available. As a solo female traveller I always felt safe. I'd highly recommend it to others."

Natasha travelled on our Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike trip.

Mongolia

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“The camping in Mongolia was the highlight for me,” says Exodus’ Marcus Nicholson. “Wild camping means there were no facilities at all. The guides chose the campsites that feel right for the party. Yes, the plains do get cold at night – but the campfires and the warming evening meals help, and the sleeping bags keep you toasty,” he adds.

“We had two man tents for solos and three man tents for couples, and the nights are really a case of eating, socialising with the group and heading into the sleeping bag,” Marcus says. “But the experience of camping beneath Mount Chingeltei, the lakes of Khairkhan and the remote Steppe is the best way to see this beautiful country. Quite simply, the parts of Mongolia you explore on this trip are places most people never see. That’s why camping is such a brilliant way to get close to the culture of a place like Mongolia.”

All sites and accommodation are locally owned and run, too - with proceeds having a really positive effect on the local economy, increasing employment opportunities, and enhancing skills for young people.

Marcus travelled on our Cycling in Mongolia trip.

Namibia

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“It’s not glamping by any means – but it’s fantastic!” Exodus’ Andy Gibbins tells us, of his Cycling in Namibia trip. “Evenings spent sat around in comfortable camp chairs admiring the sunset and the views and chatting over a drink – nothing comes close.”

“The remote locations (all with decent facilities), great views and stunning scenery make the experience unforgettable,” he says, of a trip that takes in the country’s excellent conservation projects, the spectacular Waterberg National Park with its red sandstone table mountain, and Etosha National Park, one of southern Africa's best game-viewing parks. When in camp, you’ll even have the opportunity to sit by the watering hole which is floodlit at night. “The living theatre, every evening, of animals coming down to the water to drink, is pretty special,” Andy says. “The whole experience is fantastic. Yes, camping is basic – don’t expect any frills. But thrills? There are plenty of those. Great views, good company – evenings spent sat around in comfy camp chairs admiring the sunset and chatting til late. What more could you ask for?"

“Oh, and the camp cooking was pretty impressive too. One of the recipes will be in the new Exodus cookbook – check it out!”

Andy travelled on our Cycle Namibia trip.

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