Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

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  • Reviewed March 2019
    Sheila Morrison

    WONDERFUL NAMIBIA

    What a fantastic trip. Our wonderful guide Ronney and his assistant Jonas who both knew all the best spots to spot wildlife (leopard inside a roadside sign) (Pride of 10 lions at a kill) but could also produce 5 star lunches at the roadside under the shade of a tree, effortlessly change rooms to suit my disabled husband, drive with the utmost skill on bumpy roads and have none of us complain and generally do their job at 110% Highly recommend a trip to this most interesting country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a pride of 10 lions feeding on a kill (including 2 cubs) who then pottered slowly back to the shade of a tree right in front of our van. Amazing

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was just FANTASTIC. Great at wild life spotting, orgainizing, lunches, bird identification, friendly, always around to assist if needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is hot in February. Internet weather said 28-30c and 14 days of rain expected. One 10 minute shower and temps in mid 30's all the time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go and visit this wonderful country for yourself. it is cheap to eat and drigk when you are there. Quality of lodges js fantastic with fridges, air con, pools etc.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Tony Ruberry

    Beautiful Namibia

    This was a wonderful holiday in a beautiful country. Having been to South Africa and Kenya before, we had some idea what to expect from a holiday in Southern Africa, but if anything Namibia exceeded our expectations. The country is, of course, very dry and the land is beautiful in a stark, rather than a pretty, way. The holiday in general was well planned, with the first part concentrating on the deserts in the south, a break in Swakopmund on the coast, and a final few days on safari in Etosha. This gave a variety of environments and activities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was much to admire over the whole trip. The sand dunes of the Namibia-Naukluft, the strange rock scenery of the Kuiseb region and the salt pan in Etosha were all memorable. The majority of the lodges were excellent, especially the Ugab Terrace Lodge - one of the most spectacular places I've ever stayed. But the highlight of the trip must have been the sighting of two cheetahs in Etosha. There were lots of other vehicles there when we arrived, but, with the gates about to the park about to close, they all had to leave - apart from our vehicle and one other. We were able to watch as the cheetahs made their way to a waterhole and calmly had a drink for ten or fifteen minutes before wandering away in the opposite direction. A very special experience!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shane was excellent - a lovely man, very knowledgeable, an excellent driver, and full of enthusiasm for his country. Reuben provided us with fine food while on the road as well as sharing much of the work with Shane. However good an itinerary is, the success of this sort of holiday largely depends on the group of travellers and, especially, the leader. Fortunately this was a very friendly group, and Shane was an excellent leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes - there is a lot of time spent travelling on this holiday, and much of it is along rough roads - real African roads as Shane described them. There is some walking involved in the trip, although the walks are all optional; be aware that although none of these are long or arduous, the heat makes it harder work then you might expect!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This holiday is thoroughly recommended!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Yvonne M

    Unlike anywhere else

    A truly stunning country - vast open spaces, wide skies, sunsets, stars, sand dunes, and a national park crammed with animals and birds. We stayed in some wonderful lodges with huge views, saw the desert from above and came back with many memories, and even more photos.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The flight over the desert - and the night drive in Etosha - and seeing a hyena in daylight - and the sand dunes (such fine orange sand) - and the colours of the landscape (like a painting) - and the herds of elephants playing in the watering holes ... I could go on....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shane was great - knew his stuff, worked hard, good sense of humour. Maybe a little misleading when it came to the walks (Waterberg is not a stroll)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip does have some long days driving but the stunning scenery and some lovely accommodation (Sesriem and Ugab in particular) make it all worth while. Be prepared for heat and dust and some bumpy roads. Don't worry too much about the malaria tablets, half our group did not have them and Etosha turned out not to be a malaria-risk area. Some of the accomm. is more basic, but it is the location that counts. Take a good telephoto lens - and if you can afford the desert flight then go for it. Although the notes say water is provided on the truck, it wasn't; we bought water from supermarkets.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    yvonne m

    What a fab trip

    I cannot describe how amazing this trip was, Namibia is a stunning country, with wonderful scenery - 2nd most sparsely populated country in the world so there is lots of open space (and lots of driving) but the desert, the night sky, the ancient rock art and the animals at Etosha are so worth it

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing rhinos and hyenas in the red search light on a night drive - I was holding my breath, it was spine tingling to just catch them in the beam of the lamp, and to be close enough that we could hear the rhino's footsteps. And to then see a rhino and a spotted hyena at the waterhole in the daytime - a rare treat. But closely followed by the desert trip and the flight over the desert and coastline

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shane was very hard working,, knowledgeable and humorous

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long hot dusty days - and bumpy rides on the gravel roads. Mosquitos were not an issue in Etosha. Make sure your camera has a good zoom or telephoto lens - and heaps of memory. Binoculars are useful. you will not regret booking this trip, Namibia is a stunning place to visit. Namibia has a very meat focused diet - if you are not a meat eater, its not the best but you will get by

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    only to say thanks again
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Neil Thomas

    How many elephants does it take to fill a waterhole?

    I always hope that my annual holiday will deliver a "wow" moment. This trip delivered three. Firstly, the trip from Sessriem to Walvis Bay was astonishing, passing through several radically different environments in one day - from the fringes of the Namib desert, via plains and mountains to the sea; then the incredible views from Vingerklip - reminiscent of California; then best of all the proliferation of wildlife at Etosha - we had 40 elephants young and old playing at the waterhole just yards from where we were sitting at Okaukuejo. Then there were the walking lions, the sleeping lions, zebras, springbok, kudu and a dozen giraffes at another waterhole. Oh, we finally got to spot a family of wild cheetahs after a long game drive near Namatoni. Mustn't forget Dune 45 and Dead Vlei and the fact that often ours was the only vehicle on the road.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Etosha, Etosha, Etosha. I guess we were particularly lucky to visit during the dry season, but even though I knew our chances of seeing the "big" mammals would be good, I could not have predicted the vast numbers we actually saw. We ticked off more than 40 species of animal - birds and mammals - in Etosha overall.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shane was quite a character who clearly knows Namibia well and is proud of his country. He ensured everyone in the group got what they wanted from the trip. Our driver, Benson, was also a star, coping with the harsh African roads, despite having to repair a double puncture and a shattered window. He also proved to be a decent campsite cook.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you love spectacular scenery and spotting wild animals, then this is a must trip for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We took South African Rand to Namibia from the UK and this was readily accepted as if it was their own currency. We also flew out a day earlier than the group. This gave us a chance to look round Windhoek, but also meant we had the opportunity to recover from the overnight flight before starting the tour.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Paul Smith

    Noteable Namibia Trip

    Discover Namibia - Lodges, is a well organised and good value tour, taking in the main tourist locations of mid to north Namibia. If you are prepared for some long travel days on dirt/salt roads and go with an open mind about the sights and scenes you will encounter, you will not be disappointed. It is accurately marketed as a low to moderate activity level, even the ascent of Dune 45 at Sossusvlei. Accommodation is in 2-3* lodges, all of a satisfactory standard for 1 or 2 nights, some even memorable. Transport in a specialised safari truck with a push up roof provided the opportunity to view the landscape and game in relative comfort and from a high position. The driver/guide (Ronney) and his assistant (Jonas) were first class, very knowledgeable and took excellent care of our party.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many great experiences on this trip that it is difficult to single one out, so here's a few. Watching the sunrise on the crest of Dune 45 followed by the eerie scene of petrified trees at Deadvlei was remarkable. Watching sunsets across a desert landscape and the emergence of the southern hemisphere night sky in the desert at Sesriem were stunningly beautiful. Driving through Etosha N.P., seeing game close up and even coming across an old lion that had been injured in a fight and unlikely to survive was sad to see but a true reflection of what actually happens in nature. Above all, observing a male Cheetah on the prowl close to Namutoni Camp in Etosha N.P. was breathtaking. The Waterburg Plateau was like a lost world in the sky and despite the rain, a memorable place......and so many, many more.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was a first class driver and an excellent guide. While not a specialist in any particular discipline, his general knowledge of his country, its history, geography, geology, large and small animals, plants and ornithology to mention a few was outstanding. He constantly ensured our safety and well-being throughout the trip, kept us posted on the day's events and provided us with invaluable information on do's and dont's. He was very ably supported by his assistant, Jonas, who was also a very capable cook and prepared some excellent lunches and evening meals. They worked as a team and nothing was too much trouble for them. While in Etosha N.P., Ronney provided us with more game drives than we had expected and used his local knowledge and contacts to find us some great photo opportunities. I'm sure other guides and assistants are good but if you book this trip and get Ronney and Jonas, you've hit the jackpot !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You can't easily obtain Namibian Dollars before you arrive in the country (or exchange them outside) but you don't really need them as South African Rand are accepted everywhere at an exchange rate of 1:1 with no commission charged at banks or Bureau de Change. If you buy anything in Rand, change is often given in N$ which you can offload. My advice is to take some Rand to cover your day of arrival and get more when you are in Windhoek. We had the opportunity to do so before we hit the road on the first day at the Western Union office and again at Swakopmund using an ATM. Both gave very favourable rates compared to getting your currency in the UK, as did our Halifax Clarity and Revolut cards for other spending. This trip includes Swakopmund which appears on almost all similar tour itineraries in Namibia, so quite difficult to avoid. It is a former German colonial town but only a few buildings from that era remain. If you are not into high octane activities or do not have the budget for the rather expensive optional extras (most of which we had done elsewhere), do find time to visit the excellent small museum which contains lots of information and artifacts on the history, geography, geology, plants, wildlife, etc., and a particularly good gallery describing the various native peoples that are now collectively Namibians. It's run by volunteers who really help you to enjoy the experience. Next door, there's a great little café with patio seating where you can have coffee and cake while watching the Atlantic breaking on the shoreline. For a good value, quality meal with excellent service go to Kucki's Pub for seafood or game - book a table as it was full on both nights we went. Namibians do not consider a meal without meat a meal at all and it is served everywhere, with good portion sizes, which is good news for carnivores ! Try the Gemsbok (Oryx) - actually you'll find it difficult to avoid in the set dinners at lodges, Springbok and Kudu, all of which have a unique flavour. Vegetarians may find menus more limited and in some places even difficult to get a balanced diet. As experienced travellers both on business and leisure, in our opinion Himba (and perhaps to a lesser extent Herero) women are further examples of female exploitation. Our route took us past a Himba village just outside Outjo where stalls are set up and women in traditional dress sell cheap (plastic) souvenirs . It was only on our arrival and when apparently prompted by their male "minder" that they started their combining their hair, applying ochre and posing for photos (which we avoided by staying in the truck with another couple). Most were just teenage girls and this may be the only way they can make a living but it saddened us to see it. As stated, this is our opinion and you must make your own decision on whether or not it is acceptable in the 21st century.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our only real disappointment with the whole itinerary was the visit to the Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre on Day 4. It is described in the itinerary as "Cheetah tracking" but in fact we were driven into a fenced compound to observe a family of approximately 7 rather docile-looking cheetahs laying under a tree. In addition, the word conservation is not entirely accurate. The cheetahs are all orphaned or born into captivity and will remain in the sanctuary for life as they have not learnt any hunting skills from their mothers that would allow them to be returned to the wild. They must be fed regularly and although they could potentially be used for breeding purposes, any offspring would end up in zoos (or similar centres). That said, it was a couple of hours in a two-week itinerary, so not much to complain about. In all other respects, this is a highly recommended tour of a fascinating country.
  • Reviewed April 2018

    Discover Namibia - Lodges

    This trip combines the highlights of the Namibian landscape with game viewing in the parks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife was the highlight for me. The most memorable being the night drive when we found a lioness at the waterhole nearby, she got up and walked down the road in front of our truck roaring on the way. She then met up with a male and disappeared in to the scrub. On our return to camp that night, she was waiting at the roadside with her mate. My husband and I went to the camp waterhole on returning and found the male there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was extremely hard working as he also did all the driving on the trip as well as guiding and organising. He was warm friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Along with Jonas the cook the leaders made a good team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take any cash in South African rand, one Namibian dollar equalled one rand when I was there. Namibian dollars are only available in Namibia and not exchangeable outside the country. Also, whilst you are there take advantage of all opportunities - you may never go back to Namibian. My husband and I, went on the Dolphin cruise (a bit cheesy but fun) with sea lions and pelicans climbing on the boat as well as dolphins surfing in the wake. The flight, a very interesting perspective of the landscape. A full day and a night game drive and in Etosha, very enjoyable, the night drive was particularly interesting (my highlight of the trip). A game drive in Waterbury plateau which had rare species such as Roan and Sable antelope and rhino. Finally on the last day in Windhoek as our flight was not till the evening - we went to Okapuka Ranch - which was a delightful way to end the tour. The restaurant/ bar is beautifully designed with the seats viewing the grounds with animals grazing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I travelled at the beginning of April by which time the wet season should of and apparently normally would of ended. However, I did have some rain. This meant that in the parks the animals did not need to congregate around the waterholes as water was available all around. An additional game drive was also cancelled due to the weather. On the plus side when climbing for example Dune 45 the temperature was cooler than it would be in the summer.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    sofia graves

    photography paradise

    The country is large, the roads are long and bumpy, however not an inch should be missed. Etosha and the dunes are particularly magnificent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many inspirational moments. Enduring image three oryx racing towards the dunes, leaving their perfectly formed tracks in their wake. .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely great, Not only with his driving which on a rainy day got particularly difficult but also with his perseverance in searching for the big photo ops. He was also informative with his tips regarding what we should be expected to pay for local crafts or even toilet fees. He has built a great relationship with local people to ensure the travellers can get the most out of their trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make the most of the additional hikes and drives. I particularly recommend the 2.5 hour flight over the sand dunes which was absolutely fabulous not enough words to describe how extensive the desert is.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus, please add an extra day at Namib-Naukluft Park Desert, it was great and I would have enjoyed spending more time there, as would most of the other travellers on my trip.
  • Reviewed April 2018

    Discover Namibia -Lodges

    This trip combines the highlights of the Namibian landscape with game viewing in the parks. It did not disappoint!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife was the highlight for me. The most memorable being the night drive when we found a lioness at the waterhole nearby, she got up and walked down the road in front of our truck - roaring on the way. We must of followed her for almost an hour. She then met up with a male and disappeared into the scrub. On our return to camp that night, she was waiting at the roadside with her mate. My husband and I went to the camp waterhole when we got back and found the male there. Just the two of us stood in the dark at almost midnight watching this magnificent creature!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was extremely hard working as he also did all the driving on the trip as well as guiding and organising. He was warm friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Along with Jonas the cook the leaders made a good team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take any cash in South African rand, one Namibian dollar equalled one rand when I was there. Namibian dollars are only available in Namibia and not exchangeable outside the country. Also, whilst you are there take advantage of all opportunities - you may never go back to Namibia! My husband and I, went on the Dolphin cruise (a bit cheesy but fun) with sea lions and pelicans climbing on the boat as well as dolphins surfing in the wake. The flight, a very interesting perspective of the landscape. A full day and a night game drive and in Etosha, very enjoyable, the night drive was particularly interesting (my highlight of the trip). A game drive in Waterbury plateau which had rare species such as Roan and Sable antelope and rhino. Finally, on the last day in Windhoek as our flight was not till the evening - we went to Okapuka Ranch - which was a delightful way to end the tour. The restaurant/ bar is beautifully designed with the seats viewing the grounds with animals grazing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I travelled at the beginning of April by which time the wet season should of, and apparently normally would o,f ended. However, I did have some rain. This meant that in the parks the animals did not need to congregate around the waterholes - as water was available all around. An additional game drive was also cancelled due to the weather. On the plus side, when climbing for example Dune 45 the temperature was cooler than it would be in the summer. I had a fantastic time but in retrospect would go slightly later in the year.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Inger Griffith

    Namibia

    Namibia has it all. Wonderful diverse nature, with desert, mountains, sea and safari. Incredible number of animals including birds, and flora to match.Everywhere was clean, the people friendly and the food delicious. We experienced it all and the tourist industry is not overly developed so you got the impression of genuine life of the people.They have enjoyed a relatively stable government post independence, which helps.A great memory experience I will treasure .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to choose. I think the amazing light and colour in the almost three dimensional sky ,reflected in waterholes with wildlife and flora to offset contrasts. Truly breathtakingly beautiful. The desert and petrified forest were also awesome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was just perfect. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable without being intrusive. Jonas was an excellent cook and also friendly/helpful , but a bit more reserved as his language was not as fluent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took a trip in the small plane over the skeleton coast going north. This was enjoyable, but going south over the sand dunes going into the sea would have been a better choice. Both have shipwrecks and I would choose differently another time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Waterbury Park "walking trail" is more of a scrambling climb over rocks. This was not made clear in the itinerary. There really is no prepared path or trail. That nobody broke any bones particularly during descent, is more due to luck than anything else. Also the accommodation at Waterbury Park was decidedly the poorest we encountered. Tired with a lack of proper maintenance, and in some cases without air conditioning.
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