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

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69 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    A packed week of real safari experience long days but that the only way to get amazing sightings If you look at the price and think it costly compare it with the other safaris every moment there is a full morning/afternoon safari or even out for the whole day just returning for the evening meal, with no lost time we arrived had lunch and had a full afternoons safari, the same on the last day a full morning before lunch and off home

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many- cheatah cubs only days old,the cheatah chase/kill the wildebeast crossing where they literally just dive into the crocodile infested waters,the jackel young so entertaining

    What did you think of your group leader?

    So much enthusiasum and drive he wants everyone to get that amazing image

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Since a laundry service is included at no extra cost and the internal flight has a 15kg hold luggage limit bear this in mind as I took many more changes of clothing than I needed as I was unsure of washing facilities.Take plenty of memory cards a laptop/netbook or device to download the cards to as you have so many opportunities to take photographs that it would be a shame to run out during the holiday. Make sure you drink plenty of water as since not humid the heat is deceptic 
  • Reviewed October 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    If you don't like to sleep much on holiday, don't mind getting really dirty, are not afraid of strange noises in the night, and want to stimulate all of your senses, then this is the trip for you! From start to finish the trip was perfectly organised, by a team dedicated to getting us to take better pictures than we thought possible, and everything served with a smile! Impeccable, inspirational, unforgettable!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As a beginner photographer, it was easy to feel intimidated at first, but Paul and the rest of the group made me feel at ease. I saw 23 species of animals which I had never before seen in the wild, and took over 2'000 photos! The most inspirational moment was seeing a male lion being mobbed by hyenas at 6am and hearing the collective howling of the pack. I will never forget that sound. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul Goldstein is nothing short of a force of nature. He runs a boot camp for photographers. If your ego is easily bruised, it would be best to choose another trip. However, you have to admire someone who denies the existence of time and space (as in cursing at everyone when it takes more than 5 minutes to cross 20 km of off road terrain). This trip is not for the faint hearted, or the prudish, but if you want to be pushed to your limits, then Paul is the best man to do it with. In a very weird way, he grows on you, I guess that is why all the other members of my group were repeat travellers. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sleep before you come, bring warm clothes for the chilly mornings, bring high factor sun screen, bring more memory cards than you think you will need, be prepared to go with the flow...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Emma and Darren are charming, the Masai staff are extraordinary--they never stop smiling. They remembered every one's name from the first day...how is that for amazing! And you have to admire the Masai driver guides who can spot animals from incredible distances, and who can drive those land cruisers through absolutely anything. Food was great, and those sundowners...I have brought the tradition home to my house. Thank you to everyone!
  • Reviewed October 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Fantastic location deep in the bush. The camp is unfenced so we had the wildlife 24/7 and as this is a photographic safari you can stay with the animals, if they are doing something interesting - you're not racing from beast to beast with a tick list!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the last morning we found a cheetah beneath a thorn bush with two week-old cubs. To watch them and then to see her stalk off a howling jackall was a real taste of 'wild Africa'

    What did you think of your group leader?

    So entertaining and yet brilliant at helping us to take good photos. Anyone who has been on a holiday with Paul Goldstein will know exactly what I mean!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack sun block,insect repellant, plenty of memory cards and batteries plus anything you could take to boost your energy levels!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thoroughly recommend this trip...it was worth every penny
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    Memories staying for ever...!!

    What can I say...? There aren't probably enough words to describe this unforgettable experience!!! Being welcomed in the Mara on the way to Kicheche Migration Camp by a leopard with her cub, devouring a wildebeest, to the spectacular crossings of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, fearing for their lives, but attracted by chances of rain on the other side of the river bank, to the privileged moments we had to spend some special time with new born lion cubs... We were speechless at times, excited at other moments...  We left with lots of questions and a promise to come back!Meanwhile only one thing I can assure you... The memories will stay for ever!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The huge numbers of wildebeest, grazing happily, at times not aware of the dangers surrounding them, the exhilarating moments of lions chasing the wildebeest and narrowly missing their catch, the confused impala, probably realising too late, that one step in the wrong direction would cost her life! But on the other hand the cheetah being rewarded after a short pursue with a delicious meal whilst the sun set.This all happened during the course of 1 day!!! Unbelievable!  And when you think it can't get any better anymore you are wrong...  Only minutes after the sun had risen again, 3 generations of leopards passed our vehicles, on the way to consume, just in front of us, their kill.Not long after, we were enjoying the sight of some 4 months old lion cubs, basking in the sun, followed by the playfulness of some smaller ones, only 1 months old. The interaction of the cubs with one another was just a joy to witness.  Meanwhile thousands of wildebeest would attempt to cross the river, hoping to find a more promising land. For lots it would be a real test of their strengths as crocodiles would be luring in the water and other predators would be wandering on the other side, waiting for the weakling who would struggle to reach save ground.  Nearing the end of the week, but not of the excitement... Three 2 week old lion cubs, looking so cute and small, soon seemed to have grown up dramatically in comparison with their two 2 hours old cousins!!! Yes, you are reading this right, sitting in the pouring African rain, 2 tiny new born cubs where shivering as they tried to find protection near the young, inexperienced mother. Unaware of how fragile the 2 little ones where, the 2 week old ones looked monstrous and our hopes weren't too high, considering the cold, wet weather and the day drawing to a close. No surprise there that - first thing in the morning - we were back at the same place as the night before. Huge relief when we discovered that both new born cubs were still alive and were doing well...With mixed feelings and lots of questions we had to leave them several hours later, aware of all the dangers around. Will they survive? Will the mother be able to protect them to the full? Will we see them as fully grown lions next time we come back to the Mara? Please keep us updated...  One thing is for sure... Going to the Mara ensures you moments NEVER to forget!!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This is my second trip with Paul and I hope it won't be the last one. Through hard work and an enthusiastic approach he manages to transfer his interest and passion of nature resulting in an unforgettable time in an amazing place... the Mara... and a desire to come back...  Special thanks also to Donna, her hard working Kicheche team and our three fabulous, knowledgeable drivers, who really went the extra mile!!! Much appreciated! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are one of the lucky people going to the Mara, don't forget to put - just once in a while - your camera on the side and enjoy the moment through the naked eye. Treasure these moments... they are special!  If you are still unsure... don't hesitate too long... Places are limited. You wouldn't want to be the one missing all these wonderful, magnificent moments, would you...?! 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    Wow. What a week. So much packed into such a short time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had it's stand out moments, from a leopard and cub feeding, a succesful cheetah hunt, a Mara crossing with over 100,000 wildebeast, month old playful lion cubs, three generations of leopard together, a hidden lion ambush that caught everyone in the vehicle by surprise and the two week old lion cubs. All of these would be candidates in a "normal" week. However it has to be the discovery of the lion cubs born only a few hours earlier, cold wet and shivering in the rain. Helpless, seemingly unable to suckle and being the victims of overzealous play from their two week old half-siblings, giants in comparison. The highlight for me was retuning to the site before dawn the next day, expecting the worst, but discovering that the two tiny cubs had not only survived their first night but has obviously fed well and seemingly increased in size and strength in those few short hours. Enough to make grown men shed a tear... 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I doubt if there is a person who works harder for his clients than Paul. If there is then please book me on one of their tours.  Special mention also has to go to Donna as well as the Kicheche guides, Joseph, Jackson and Amos who's contribution to a fantastic week can never be overstated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're undecided on which sweets to take then narrow the choice down to jelly babies and sour squirms.Wildlife is unpredictable, a sense of humour is essential,  as is patience. Also don't forget to sometimes put down the camera as sometimes the lens cannot do justice to the sheer magnitude of some of the events that you may witness.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Once you've been on an exodus photographic safari you won't want to go on a "normal" safari again.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    My first safari and my first trip with Exodus, but definitely not the last safari or trip. An amazing trip which packs a lot into your time in the Mara. The early starts are well worthwhile e.g. the family of leopards that we saw at just after 06:40, there's plenty of time to watch the wildlife and take photographs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The family of three leopards playing within a few tens of feet of our vehicle, being one of the first people to see the lion cubs who were only a few hours old, as well as older cubs playing. A huge migration crossing, whatever you've seen on television doesn't do it justice.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul's energy, enthusiasm, and passion for wildlife and the Mara shine through. He wants you to get the best photographs that you possibly can.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some easily removable footwear in case you need to stand on the seats in the vehicles. Bring a sense of humour and a flexible approach. It can be quite chilly early in the morning so bring a fleece or a jacket, however it can get very hot later in the day so bring a sun hat and sun screen. Drink plenty of water as it's easy to get dehydrated.I brought two camera bodies to minimise the need to change lenses in dusty conditions and in case one camera failed. Bring plenty of memory cards and batteries, and something to backup your photos onto. The camera backpack that I had with me kept out the dust but was tricky to open quickly and quietly, so it's unlikely to be going on any more wildlife trips with me. A faster telephoto lens would have been useful around dawn and dusk, on a few occasions I switched to video mode.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The guides (Joseph, Amos & Jackson) must have incredible eyesight, they spotted wildlife whilst driving that I had trouble spotting with a zoom lens when stationary. The staff at the camp looked after us superbly. The location of the camp next to the river was great and I liked the impermanence of the camp, by now the site has been returned to nature.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    Magnificent Mara - photographic safari

    I’ve been going on safari since I was 6 years old, but the wildlife sightings on this trip (both in terms of variety and number of game) surpassed everything I have ever experienced; I now worry about how/why I will ever go anywhere other than the Mara to photograph wild animals. Add the exclusive position of the migration camp, the fabulous guides, excellent food, the wondrous photography opportunities and the infectious, nay, rabid, enthusiasm of our great leader… well, it was off the scale!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the felines of Africa is always a highlight, and we had sightings every day including a thrilling cheetah kill (just in front of our vehicles), two attempted lion kills, a successful lion kill and a leopard on a hunt. The Mara was one big lion nursery with many tiny cubs cavorting in the sunshine – even climbing trees. A particular highlight was to see a lion cub estimated at just two or three hours old. To be the first people to see this cub stagger out of its den to feel its first rays of sun was an incredible privilege, a moment to treasure.  We also witnessed the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. For me, the most extraordinary and inspirational moment was the migration crossing at the notorious Cul de Sac on the Talek River. It was an utterly visceral experience: true drama played out right in front of us as some of the estimated 2 million migrating wildebeest struggled across the river, dodging crocs in the water and predators waiting on the other side. The river turned into ‘wildebeest soup’ as the animals thrashed their way across and then came to an abrupt halt as the steep banks of the river barred their way up to freedom. I could have sat there for hours … oh, I did.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have never been told off quite so much on a trip before… mostly justified as Paul was always faster than me to get his camera ready for action. But – no pain, no gain: I have also never taken as many good photographs before. And I have never guffawed so much either: one particular morning’s barrage of filthy jokes had me weeping with laughter. Paul’s boundless energy, his passion for wildlife and his love for the Mara are all incredibly inspiring; his mission was to make sure that we got the best sightings, the best positions and had all the tools and tips we needed to get the best photographs possible (slow-panning shots notwithstanding!).  Mission accomplished.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I had a Canon 7D with a 300mm lens and I hired a 1.4 extender (via lensesforhire.co.uk) and that served me very well. Also I had a 70-300mm zoom plus a wide-angle lens. A laptop for downloading pics is advisable: I took more than 3000 photos in a week (now edited to a manageable 400)! Take a spare camera body as swapping lenses is a pain and the dust gets everywhere. My main camera body developed a fault just before the big migration crossing, so these photos are sadly kaput. Fortunately I was taking wide angles with the spare 400D body so I have something other than just memories. Take layers as it is chilly in the mornings, and the temperature can plunge if it rains heavily. Take a scarf/bungie so you don’t end up with a fright wig instead of hair. Sweetie supplies are appreciated – wine gums particularly. Try to arrive fully rested as sleep is not really on the agenda! Oh, and bring a thick skin and a few good jokes that would rate on a smutometer!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The migration camp was run like clockwork by Donna and her amazing team. Our wonderful guides were all great company and very informative as well as being excellent drivers. This was my first trip back to Kenya after 34 years having lived there as a child; I didn’t want to return on a ‘tourist’ trip. I am glad I waited to do a ‘proper’ Kenya safari – ie serious hard graft accompanied by lots of laughs. Flying home was utterly miserable – but I will be back.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    I had waited two years to join this trip led by Paul and it was definitely worth the wait. Backed with a passion for wildlife and photography , I wanted a trip that would ensure every moment in the Mara wasn't wasted. This was it.   

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just being in the Masai Mara is inspiration in itself. There were too many moments to account for but three stand out: spending 6 or more hours with a pride of lions, watching them interact with each other and their lion cub was truly special, seeing a python swallowing a male impala out in the open field was a first for many, but the moment of the week was in our final hour – seeing thousands upon thousands of Wildebeest & Zebra crossing the Mara River eagerly awaited by the crocodiles. I had always wanted to witness a crossing but nothing prepared me for how emotional I would get. One of nature's wondrous spectacles we were all extremely lucky to see. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There is no one word to describe Paul. His passion for the Mara is contagious and his drive to get us to the right place at the right time made for some incredible shots.  For a beginner photographer like myself, there is a lot to learn from him but he will only say something once, it is for you to retain! He is a true entertainer and storyteller and you will never get bored in his presence. Be warned, his photography skills may leave you on the jealous side!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a sense of humour and a thick skin! Make sure you have all the essentials with you: a hat, a light scarf or sarong can come in handy for protection against dust, sunscreen etc. Know your equipment well before you go, I only had a small lens 55-250mm, may have been worth hiring a lens for my first trip.  Ensure you have a wide-angle lens and your polariser with you.  Ensure you bring a second camera body to be on the safe side, lots of memory and extra batteries, as you will need it. Try not to drop your camera outside the vehicle, however much amusement it provides the lions…. Sweets and a few good jokes if you know some, never go amiss during the long days.. But most importantly, learn to put your camera down from time to time and take it all in. You will never forget it. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Paul, Donna and the team were fantastic. The guides, Joseph, Amos & Jackson worked tirelessly to show us something new everyday. They have eyes in the back of their head and can spot game miles away when we were still struggling with our binoculars.  Polite and friendly, they would constantly inform us about the animals’ behaviours and their encyclopaedic knowledge never ceased to amaze us. Migration camp was fantastic, the location right on the Mara River unbelievable. Camp facilities were pretty luxurious for where we were and the food was of 5* quality! A special mention to Rasmen, who provided impeccable service all week. A huge thank you to you all.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    If a well known beer did safaris, then it wouldn't be possible to surpass this one.  The only reason not to recommend it is that it books out so fast that if I say how good it is I may find myself unable to get on the trip again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I love Africa and its wildlife.  I've travelled there quite a bit and seen some amazing things.  However, seeing herds of wildebeest battle across the Mara river is something I will never forget.  First, you wonder, will they make it across?  How will they get out?  Then the crocodiles start moving - and the tension increases even further.  In the wildlife programmes they tend to show crocodiles winning out every time - in real life, they are known to miss - will they succeed this time?  The great thing with this trip, whilst you know you will never forget what you see, you end up with some incredible photos to record it all.  You get to spend the time out on the plains that means you have the best chance of seeing, and photographing, Africa's animals at their most interesting - a black rhino taking a morning stroll, a leopard checking a scent, a lion cub battling to climb a tree stump, a cobra eating a Thomson's gazelle - and much more. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This trip is made by Paul.  His passion for Africa and its wildlife and photography is obvious to all and he is determined to make sure that everyone has a trip they will never forget and that they get to go home with the best photographs they could take.  His knowledge of both animal behaviour and photography makes him a brilliant leader for this trip. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want a trip where you spend as much of your time as possible on the plains of Africa looking to see in real life some of the action you have seen on the wildlife documentaries then I would definitely recommend this holiday.  It's important to remember that wildlife is unpredictable and that therefore it's necessary to be patient - there are times when you may begin to think that every animal in the Mara has gone into hiding.  Overall, you will come away with some amazing memories.  Pack a sense of humour and remember "hakuna matata" and you will have a fabulous time. 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    I've been exceptionally lucky to experience many incredible things on my travels but no way did I expect this holiday to trump every one - and by some margin! Without doubt, a photographic safari like no other.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Far too many sightings to list them all but suffice to say that they were both frequent and breathtaking. I expected long days of patient waiting with small rewards but was totally unprepared the endless stream of sightings and jaw-dropping action. Coupled with the remarkable guides and attentive hosts it was a holiday where you felt totally indulged and spoilt in equal measure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    !!!! For those unfamiliar with this unique specimin of a man I can only say that his methods may take a little getting used to but persevere and you will be rewarded with photographs you never thought possible. His unrivalled knowledge and enthusiasm for the Mara remain unsurpassed. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As Paul often likes to remind us - it helps to know your equipment inside out before you go. There certainly isn't time to faff about with camera settings when you have a beautifully back-lit lioness strolling towards you carrying a 3 week old cub from her mouth! A woe-betide anyone found dropping bean-bags and fumbling with memory cards when you are witnessing a sun-rise river-crossing of four majestic male lions!In terms of practicalities, and to only reiterate what has already been said by others, a large lens is imperative. Although with Paul's ability to get up close and personal anything over 500mm is a waste, especially when on many an ocassion the animals decide to brush past the vehicles as closely as possible, leaving everyone scrabbling for their wider lenses. I would say the perfect kit in terms of size and weight would be a 300mm f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, a 1.4x converter and if possible a wide angle to soak up the truely majestic landscape - especially the sunsets.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I should also mention that the Kicheche Mara camp is truely beautiful, as are its staff. The tents are comfortbale and wonderfully equipped. The food laid before us at every meal was exceptional. The whole experience from start to finish was truely worth every penny.