Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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100 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Steve Braysher

    Walking, Thunder and Wildlife

    Another outstanding trip from Exodus. It is very cleverly consrtucted, gradually building to the climax in the Drakensberg mountains. There were huge contrasts in scenery, passing through industrial and agricultural areas, the expanses of fairly dry national parks to the much greener hills and mountains of Eswatini, the lakes and Indian Ocean at St Lucia and the stunning mountains of the Drakensberg. The wildlife watching was good, not as easy as places such as the Massai Mara in Kenya, but we did see the big 5 and a lot more besides; on all of the walks there was also the opportunity to see wildlife. If birding is your thing, this is a great trip especially at this time of year as the migrations are just starting. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Isandwala and Rorkes Drift, the scene of major battles during the Zulu Wars together with walking the Fugitive's trail between the two. Weather is never predictable and we went from close to 40C one day in the game reservers to weather and scenery that could have been Scotland the next - but it did give us a chance to make use of the open fires in our accommodation in the hills of Eswatini! (Later in the trip we also experienced the most spectacular thunderstorms I have ever seen - very impressive) The Last four nights were spent in the Drakensberg, two at Thendele and 2 at Witsieshoek. The scenery was stunning and the walk up from Thendele to Witsieshoek showed a different aspect of it - more reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales. The views from the top are wonderful but unfortunately, as is the way with mountains the weather, it closed in for the last day and the inside of a cloud looks pretty much the same wherever you are! We were a group of 12, thrown together at the start of the trip, who rubbed along pretty well and had some great times together, so a big thankyou to all concerned.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a trip as varied as this there are numerous experience that are memorable. The time spent at Letaba Ranch, especially the early morning walk through the bush and the chance for some 'down time' watching the river is one. Although not part of the programme, experiencing the ferocity of a series of dramatic thunderstorms was quite something! However the stunning scenry of the Drakensberg mountains (they are so much more than the Amphitheatre) was the highlight for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santjie was an excellent leader. Constantly cheerful, organised, knowledgable, thoughtful, a good sense of humour and with that special ability to get on with everybody. She worked incredibly hard to make sure that we had the best time possible. On the days when she cooked for the group she produced meals that were remarkably good on some very basic fsacilities. Perhaps the bast way of summarising how good she was is to say that if I would certainly be delighted to do another trip with her as leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a brilliant trip but you need to be prepared for a lot of early starts (often up by 5a.m.) and some long days - especially on the major driving days. Bring your sense of humour with you - especially if you are going to be there on the day England losese to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a brilliant introduction to South Africa, and one that makes you realise just what a big place it is. Everybody we met was very welcoming and friendly. The one downside was the vehicle we travelled in. Great for viewing wildlife from but very slow up hills - which extended our driving times significantly. The air conditioning was broken pretty much from the start and it leaked from several points in rain, much to the embarrasemnet and frustration of both our leader and excellent driver. But despite this I would still recommend this trip to anyone with the interest and stamina to do it.
  • Reviewed October 2019

    Good experience

    It was an extraordinary excursion with changing scenes, atmospheres and pressed with new encounters. The course extraordinarily catches the wide scenes and the natural life of South Africa. I adored it and would prescribe it to anybody.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A visit to Kruger
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Shirley Bell

    TZS walking and wildlife

    Great trip saw lots of wildlife and great walking

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we saw a family of lions feasting on a wilderbeast and we got so close to see them. Walking out of my tent one morning and seeing a family of elephants crossing the river so close amazing. The views in the mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leaders were fabulous

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long bus journeys. It's cold when the sun goes down Bring binoculars Bring waterproofs it does rain sometimes in Africa It's Africa be prepared for anything to happen.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Martin Hodgkinson

    South Africa: Walking, Landscapes and Wildlife

    This trip is a great way to See South Africa across a variety of landscapes, mainly through National Parks and game reserves. There is a range of environments from the Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean beaches at St Lucia with spectacular walks. There are long drives, over 3000km in total, in a reasonably comfortable 14 passenger minibus. Travelling in May, the weather was dry, sunny and warm, except at night and the highest walks. The accommodation varied between basic and very comfortable, but always clean.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most of the scenery was striking but the Drakenberg mountains was probably the most spectacular, especially at sunrise. The walk from the historic battlefield at Isandlwana to Rorke's Drift was very atmospheric and fording Buffalo River was an certainly an experience in waist deep water (take a dry bag for valuables just in case). Although I have experienced better safari drives elsewhere in Africa, the night safari in the Kruger was memorable after seeing a pride of 8 lions on the move.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sku and Morrison looked after us well with good knowledge of the areas and wildlife. They set a good pace on the walks for the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are practised and fit for hill walking with a backpack as some walks are steep and most of the terrain is rocky, not prepared, paths. Good knees and ankles are essential! Walking poles can be helpful on some walks. The chain ladders on the final walk are not demanding unless you suffer from vertigo. There were laundry facilities at St Lucia. In May there were no or few insects although covering in the evening is still advisable, also for the cooler temperatures. Periodic stops at good supermarkets allowed replenishment of snacks or anything else. Food and drink at restaurants is very good and excellent value.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group was a good range of ages from 29 to retirees which made the mix more enjoyable. South Africa is a spectacular country and, for any who has not yet been to Africa, this trip is great way to start. Be prepared for the inevitable tips. ATMs are available in towns and most places are happy to take card payments.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    shaun bowler

    Excllent leader but disappointing trip

    A beautiful part of Africa. The trip would have been so much better of some proper road bikes. Town hybrid bikes make the cycling up and down never ending hills very hard work. The accommodation and food was extremely average. The rand is so weak, it was cost so very little more to eat in some nice places and stay in some really nice guest houses we passed. It felt that we were on a budget! The food in SA is exceptional and we never got to experience it. The saving grace was our guides who also were good cooks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    the Views in the Drakensberg's, especially when going down hills.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    they were both excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some nice food with you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    please review the accommodation, food and bikes

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Shaun for his review. We were pleased that he found this part of Africa to be beautiful and the tour leaders to be excellent, but we are sorry that he was disappointed with the bikes, accommodation and food. We are very confident that the bikes we use are the most suitable for this tour, as they are robust enough for some of the rugged conditions. The route offers spectacular roads and we select the best available accommodation along these routes for groups of this size. The feedback we usually receive about the accommodation and food on this trip, which visits rural parts of South Africa, is usually very positive, as are the reviews for this trip overall, but we nonetheless regret Shaun’s disappointment. John Penge – Product Manager

  • Reviewed March 2019
    David Hill

    Disasterous week 1; OK 2&3

    Supplied with the wrong vehicle which was both unsafe and very uncomfortable and guides who didn't know where they were going. It took a week to replace both.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wonderful Africa

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First week useless, second and third weeks brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ask questions : 1) is the vehicle safe?; 2) is there 'working' air con?: 3) how old is it?; 4) has the guide/driver done the trip before?; 5)are the trip note 'driving' times reasonably accurate?; 6)if you are tall, how much leg room is there? 7)is there room to move on the bus?.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Potentially a brilliant trip ruined by Exodus' attitude to our complaints.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Chris Williams

    South Africa: landscapes, wildlife and battlefields

    The Exodus holiday in South Africa was a wonderful introduction to African landscapes and wildlife. I have travelled widely in my life but with little experience of Africa. This holiday exceeded my expectations in two ways: the remarkable opportunities to see wildlife at close quarters in Kruger; the amazing landscapes of the Blyde River canyon, Swaziland and the Drakensurg Mountains. My enjoyment of the holiday had a lot to do with the way it was organised and led by the group leader. I have been left with many great memories.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was inspirational to be in Kruger National Park for a few days and to see the great variety of wildlife. I'm thankful that there remain a few places on earth that have this rich ecosystem. A three hour walk just after dawn was especially exciting - being aware that large animals were around us and that we were walking through their natural habitat, their world

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Rowan Moon, was excellent and I rate him highly. His enthusiasm and energy was infectious. He is natural leader and developed a close relationship with us as a group and as individuals. Organisation and time-keeping was excellent. He has developed a very good working relationship with Sofiso, the driver, and I felt safe and well-cared for at all times. He has remarkable wildlife-spotting skills and was able to detect the presence of animals (including many species of birds) and identify them accurately and instantly. He also has very good hiking skills and was confident at route-finding and care of people who struggled on more challenging parts of the mountain trails. The driver, Sofiso, was superb: very safe driving at all times on some challenging road surfaces, very well organised for luggage and food preparation and hard working & reliable in all ways. He is also friendly and good company. Betz, a trainee guide, worked hard assisting with food prepapration. A few times she gave information when we were touring in the minibus but I found it really hard to understand her because she has a very strong South African accent. This would have been a big concern for me if she had been our group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice for travellers buying this holiday is to ensure that they are as fit as possible for the days of walking. And to be aware that while the trails are not over-long, nor are the altitude climbs significant (about 700m maximum), the routes are very rugged at times, there are parts when there are steep or near vertical sections on or near the route, there are a few quite tricky river crossings and there are very challenging metal ladders on the last two days (see my comments below). The guide Rowan, and the driver Sofiso, gave excellent support on these walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would definitely say that there is a walking activity grading problem for this holiday. The walking grade 'Moderate' says 'general underfoot conditions will be fair'. However, on all the days there were sections of the trail which were more demanding than 'fair' - the Blyde River canyon to some extent, but especially the Tugela Gorge hike, the Witsiehoek 'Crack' hike and the Sentinel Peak hike to the ladders. These three days, if fully completed, including ascent (and descent - you have to come back down the same way) of the frankly hair-raising 20 metre ladder up to the Tugela Falls viewpoint, would clearly fit into a Challenging category in my opinion. So, the length of the walks are Moderate (about 2 to 5 hours max) but the trails are rugged and challenging at times. Should the holiday be given a Moderate/Challenging rating? Or the last 2 days only could be given Challenging. Please note that Day 13 description should make clear that the Crack is demanding for those with vertigo and has a 7 metre ladder which is in quite poor condition. My wife was made aware of the ladder just the evening before and had to miss the day's walking for this reason. Our guides, Rowan Moon and the local guides hired were superb at all times helping us with these routes. Thank you.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Janice Eastman

    Cycling and Safari in South Africa

    This was a good trip with a great balance of cycling and safari. However, there are some really long transfers between days, not just the transfer to and from the airport. With 14 in a 14 seater mini bus it was not the most comfortable of journeys, especially for the men with their larger shoulders. Make sure you do some training before you go as there are some long hills, which require endurance. The guides were most helpful and encouraged everyone. They also prepared some good meals, taking into account everyone's dietary needs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting really close to some of the animals in Kruger

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley was informative and helpful, also a great cyclist.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train for the hills. There are many and they require endurance, especially in the heat. If you take your own bike, like I did, it would be preferential to have a 11-32 cassette. I only had 28 and it was very hard work at times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus could improve the experience if a bigger mini bus was used. It was very tight with 14 passengers in the back in a 14 seater bus, when some of the transfers are over 4 hours long.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Frances Burman-Mueller

    What does this mean?

    Varied itinerary, unusual overnights. Food quality very mixed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The game drives

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Pleasant, helpful, everything went to plan

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You definitely need a torch: no electricity in some places. Be prepared for very infrequent Wi-fi Some laundry opportunities are in fact self service launderettes.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Julie Knuckey

    Trip from Johannesburg to Cape town

    This was a very memorable trip which took in so much of South Africa's wild life, past histories and south Africa as it is now. Our guides were excellent in their information about South Africa, the animals and the cultural and political shaping of South Africa. We traveled very long distances and experienced several game drives where we saw most of the larger animals including several close sightings of lions. Visits to Lesotho and Swaziland were a pleasant contrast to the seemingly more affluent and efficient South Africa. Rouke's Drift visit brought the film Zulu to life, The landscape changed from fertile farm estates to scrub land and desert, everywhere though needed rain, they hadn't had good rains for several years. We traveled by minibus and a larger more comfortable safari bus and the air-con didn't work, so it was hot & tiring , however all the accommodation was different but comfortable and adequately equipped. Food was mainly very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A horse ride in Lesotho through the villages. Seeing the penguins and a visit to Robben island to see and learn about Nelson Mandela's incarceration there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader & driver for the 1st week tried hard to give us an enjoyable experience, however having not lead a trip to where we were travelling before, she and her driver were replaced in the 2nd week by excellent group leaders with fantastic knowledge of all aspects of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for very long drives, the roads are good but it is important to remember that this is Africa and things do not always go to plan! Take plenty of sun screen etc. enjoy all the experiences.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think if I did it again I would stay longer in some areas as there was so much more to see.