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 November 2018
    Jenny Williams

    First time in Africa

    This was my second trip with Exodus, and I was confident that I was going to have a good time, get good value for money, and a wonderful experience. I was not disappointed. The booking was effortless, including the add on of four days in Cape Town that I requested. All the information that I needed was in the trip notes,and I felt well prepared. Our guide, Innocent is very knowledgable, and keen to impart this to us, and for us to have as good a time as possible. JoJo, the driver/chef, is also very well-informed, and a very careful safe driver. A lot is asked of him, as he would often prepare a meal for 13 after a long day's drive, sometimes on pretty basic equipment. This he did, always cheerfully. Both were very keen to explain how we can help the local craft industries, but we never felt pressurised or uncomfortable. The variety of experience, each day something new, was a fantastic introduction to South Africa. One week essentially wildlife spotting, the second hiking in some very dramatic scenery. I strongly recommend adding on a few days in Cape Town, if you haven't been before. It is less than a 2h flight, and a beautiful, easy, interesting city, and a great contrast to the game parks and mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From the wildlife aspect: a troop for 8 giraffes crossing in front of our jeep. Or maybe the lion kill? Or the weaver birds in the reeds? A vast herd of buffalo? Not to mention two rhinoceros. From the hiking: climbing to 3165m in the Drakensburg, the last 40m by chain ladder.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I have said, Innocent is charming, reliable, knowledgable, and keen to help with any (reasonable) request.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Add on Cape Town!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus is, in my experience, a reliable, well organised company, which gives good value for money. It is not 5*, and if that is what you want, you will have to pay a great deal more! But for a 3* deal, with some accommodation above that, you will not be disappointed. When I got home, I turned the page of my Cicerone calendar to November, to see the photo of The Sentinel, in the Drakensburg Amphitheatre, take from the lodge we stayed in!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Audrey Henley-McCarthy

    Full on and very enjoyable

    Really enjoyed this trip even though we probably did not chose the best time of year to do this, April. Sayin that the weather was quite kind to us. Letaba Game Reserve was a lovely start to our tour, the rangers at Mtomeni Safari Camp were very knowledgeable and friendly, food, especially breakfast, was very good. Permanent tents were much better than expected. Found the safari section a little repetitive but still enjoyable. Early starts and then pretty full on all day but never felt rushed. Loved the beach at St Lucia, a relaxing few hours there was appreciated as allowed us to recharge our batteries. Battlefields tour very interesting and would suggest if possible that you try and get your guide to add in a visit to Rorkes Drift to complete the story. Drakensburg was the highlight for me, good walking and marvellous scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the Drakensburg, very atmospheric and beautiful

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Colly is a great tour leader prompt, helpful, considerate, accommodating, knowledgeable and an excellent cook. Catered extremely well for this vegetarian. Our driver Jojo is a very experienced careful driver who was a great foil to Colly. Jojo is fun and also very knowledgeable especially about recent South African history. A great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Walking for me was the top end of moderate as there are a lot of ascents and descents on fairly rocky paths. Walking poles would have been useful. Don't bother talking a lot of snacks with you as there are supermarket shops every few days when you find most of what you want. Sandwich box very useful for the packed lunches so that you do not end up with a soggy mess in a plastic bag at the bottom of your rucksack. Music for the long bus trips was very useful, recommend Graceland by Paul Simon.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Hazel Edwards

    South Africa Walking and Wildlife

    Well, what a trip! Soaking up the sights and sounds of South Africa and Swaziland was truly an amazing experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many unexpected inspirational moments for me. These included spotting both the white and black rhino and, at night in my tent, listening to hippos and other animals snorting and grunting close by. It was also a delight interacting with local shepherds in the mountains, and star-gazing at night. The vast dark sky made it easy to see the Milky Way. All fabulous!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing was too much trouble for Colly. He clearly enjoys what he does and was proud to show us South Africa and share with us his extensive knowledge of flora, fauna, local history and culture. He and Joe the driver made a great team. Both men were very kind, patient and friendly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're looking to do a 'big' holiday and can't quite make up your mind which one, then go for this trip. It offers incredible variety and an unforgettable experience.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Josephine Fish

    A challenging experience

    We chose this holiday for the combination of walking and wildlife offerred and the areas within South Africa that it covered. We love the Kruger and were also interested in seeing the Drakensburg mountains and Swaziland. Inevitably we spent a lot of time in the minibus as we covered very long distances, but it was worth it. We saw plenty of wildlife and fantastic scenerey. We stayed in some staggeringly beautiful places. My main concern with the holiday was always the walking, and whether we would be up to it? We are both in our 70s, but consider ourselves reasonably fit, as we regularly play 3 rounds of golf a week ( walking) and always take exercise every day. In the event, we found the walking very tough. In the main the terrain was difficult: narrow steep and stoney paths with tricky footing: there was a lot of difficult clambering across rocks and a head for heights was essential! I feel that a grading of “ moderate” for the walking was misleading: it seemed much more demanding than that. The altitude is high, and this adds to the difficulty. I would have preferred to have been given the option of easier walks from time to time, so that I could look at the wonderful scenery as well as my feet! Having said this, our guide was really helpful and got me through. I am glad we went.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having 4 male lions walk past us on an evening drive. We must have watched them for about 15 minutes as we stayed with them. Fantastic!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Really good. Very knowledgable on animals, birds, and plants. Very well informed. Learned alot from him. He was also very well organised and we kept to time, without feeling stressed or hurried. He is also a very good cook: the meals he prepared were well cooked and very tastey: again always on time, and hot! He also helped me a lot on the walks when I was struggling: he was kind and thoughtful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be tough! This is not a holiday for wimps: you need a lot of stamina. Some of the accommodation in the camps is a bit rough: this is not a holiday for softies. Comfortable walking boots are essential. You have to walk with a backpack, so a good quality one is a good idea.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were concerned whether everyone would be a lot younger than us. In the event, most people were retired or nearly retired! We had no need to worry.
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Irene Turner

    Great way to see SA

    An interesting and varied trip, including trekking in several locations, safaris in a number of places, a trip to a beach and a boat ride to see hippos and other wildlife. I like hippos and gazelles.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being woken by elephants at night whilst in my permanent tent in the first game reserve we visited. Being vegetarian and not being given pasta every night for dinner. The food was actually very, very nice and thoughtfully prepared - with a different menu every night!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The two leaders, Mira and Marco, were marvellous. They answered all my questions about the trip, the country and its history. Mira Is particularly knowledgeable about all the scientific names of the plants in the areas we went.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a SÁ travel adaptor (or be pleasantly surprised when your travel companions have one). Take clothes for all climates. Be prepared not to see any Baoba trees. It's best if you like wild animals, otherwise the safaris are a bit boring. Some of the walks are uphill, but in the Drakebsberg mountains you can do your own, flatter walks. The Swazi Candles shop in Swaziland is excellent: Stock up whilst you can. No need to bring half a suitcase of food with you: as it turns out, there are supermarkets in SA that sell edible vegetarian food! The group leaders also provide excellent food!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law for taking me on this fascinating trip. It was an excellent trip and highly recommended.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Pam Peers

    Superb, fun-filled trip with lots of variety

    This trip covers a lot of ground! I can't believe how much we managed to do in just two weeks, and needed my photos and videos to remind me. The accommodation was of an exceptionally high standard and we slept very well everywhere. Our own guides were brilliant, and the external guides at various locations were excellent and very knowledgeable about their specialist areas.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were too many to list them all! Crossing Buffalo River (near Rorke's Drift) was quite an adventure - certainly very memorable. Michael Caine would have been proud of us :-) The Sentinel Path walk, in the Drekensburg range, was wonderful and the ladders weren't too challenging - well worth the effort to reach the escarpment with superb views for miles in all directions. Watching hippos at close range, from the safety of a sturdy boat, was an amazing experience. The wildlife encounters were fantastic everywhere - I never imagined we would be able to see so many varied species at such close proximity.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had an amazing team! Colly, Skhu and Farai were all fantastic and worked hard from morning to night to ensure that we all had a great holiday. It was a privilege to share their insights into the fascinating culture, history and landscape of South Africa. They were very good at judging when we needed a break on the long days travelling, and made sure we had plenty to eat and drink at all stages. They prepared varied and interesting meals, and there was always more than enough for even the most hearty appetites.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully. Take plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. Don't take too many clothes - the laundry service in Swaziland was very good and excellent value for money

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    South Africa is a wonderful country and this trip provides an excellent introduction to a small part of it. We added a few extra days in Johannesburg at the end of the trip, and visited Soweto, Kliptown and the Apartheid Museum. I'd recommend it very highly and wish we'd had longer.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Madeleine Newcomb

    South Africa Wildlife and Walking

    A good mix of wildlife watching in a number of areas and walking in the Drakensberg Mountains

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view of The Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Colly, and his assistants were excellent. They were patient and knowledgeable. It was great to witness young men with such a passion for their surroundings.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My only reservation is that I didn't get to the ladders on The Sentinel climb. My advice is to NOT LOOK DOWN at the exposed sections (I didn't do this). Your leaders will make sure you are safe the whole way.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Stephanie Walker

    South Africa: Walking and Wildlife

    Difficult to sum up as we were offered such a wealth of experiences on this holiday. However revelling in the wonders of the natural world, whether specifically looking for wildlife, or walking in the mountains and hills, was a constant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Again, there were any number. However, getting out a a 4X4 in a game reserve, walking cautiously and quietly in line behind our ranger with his rifle, to come over the top of a rise to find hippos and crocs in front of us in the river.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three leaders who worked incredibly hard, driving, shopping, cooking, clearing up and keeping us informed about what we were seeing. They were all skilled, knowledgeable and thoroughly professional. They also guided and safeguarded us on walks with patience and understanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were very lucky to find ourselves to be a friendly and confident tour group so were able to rely on others for support as well as our guides. I found it useful to have a hydration bladder, rather than fumbling about with water bottles, in my backpack, and, having some concerns about my elderly knees, I used trekking poles for every walk; all was well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were fortunate with the support of our guides, our fellow-travellers and the weather, along with the amazing things we saw and did on this trip. It was a brilliant experience.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Nandita Nelson

    Walking and Wildlife South Africa

    A very varied holiday, filled daily with new adventures so that it felt longer than 2 weeks. The animal sightings on safari and the early morning estuary trip were thrilling and the views on the mountain walks breathtaking. The added excitement of panning for gold, the aspects of historical interest (Anglo-Zulu war) and a day at the beach whale watching made this trip truly memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a whale launch itself out of the Indian Ocean, do a somersault and land with an almighty splash. Seeing a leopard stroll past the rear bumper of the van. Seeing a group of baby elephants taking a mudbath and an oxpecker (bird) disappear into the ear of an Impala. Seeing the glorious Drakensburg draped in mist, which then melted away to leave a crystal clear deep blue sky. See an African Paradise flycatcher flit through the trees with its orange ribbon tail floating in the breeze. Eating the delicious S African cuisine prepared by our superb guides under the stars, washed down with some excellent S African vintage.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Colly was first class. He was so concerned about our welfare and worked so hard to make sure EVERYONE was having a good time. He never rested really. Also extremely well organized and everything was beautifully organized, on-time and under control. He did also chat and have fun with the group. Definitely "DANGEROUS" when it came to Uno.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a range of temperatures, the plains are very hot and the mountains cold. Some longish transfers, so be prepared with entertainment. Washing and toilet facilities everywhere were excellent-even in Kruger where there was a shared toilet block and an enormous bath. Mosquitoes were not too much of a problem, but some insect repellent needed. Don't forget some binoculars, or you will miss out. Birders, you will not be bored or disappointed! Not many maps provided, and I wished I had one to trace our route. Easy to purchase wine at supermarket stops--LOTS of good quality S African wine VERY reasonably priced. (Didn't sample the beer, so no comment there).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Relax and enjoy. If you want a varied holiday, not too strenuous, but not too idle, with good facilities and some adventure go for this. You won't regret it.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Eleanor Freckleton

    South Africa Walking and Wildlife

    I had booked this holiday because of the variety of activities on offer and it didn't disappoint. My main interest was the hillwalking and this was superb in all locations, however I found the safari part of the holiday just as enjoyable. The sights we saw, such as the cloud inversion at God's Window, were also stunning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of the walks offered something unique and I enjoyed them all. I was surprised by how lush the countryside was in Swaziland and it was a very picturesque walk. The scenery and views in the Drakensberg were stunning and all of the walks here were excellent. I particularly enjoyed our scrambling up the Crack. Unfortunately we were not able to go up the chain ladders to the top of the amphitheatre due to high winds. Our guide made the right call on this one but we still managed to get some spectacular views from the viewpoint slightly further down. The whole Drakensberg experience was awe inspiring, helped by the location of our lodge in the Royal Natal National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our main leader Andy was outstanding. He has a fantastic personality, which really helped to bolster our group spirit, and he was also passionate about all the activities and very hard-working throughout the trip. He was a great help to me personally when I needed medical attention halfway during the trip. Andy was assisted ably by Colly and David. Nothing was too much bother for them and they did everything with a smile.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are very informative. I would also add that walking poles would be very useful, albeit not essential. I think the walking part of the trip is fairly graded as a 3. The walks are not overly long, but do require a reasonable level of fitness. There was also a fair degree of scrambling required on our second last walk. I would reiterate previous reviews about some long transfers on the minibus. A good supply of reading materials and music kept me occupied. However, I personally would not change the itinerary as each of our stopovers had something unique to offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't praise this holiday highly enough. We had a great group spirit and one of the most enjoyable things for me was simply the companionship each night after the day's activities. Our nights round the campfire at the private game reserve are particularly memorable. Add to this an action-packed itinerary with splendid walking and sightseeing opporunities and it truly was a spectacular holiday.
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