Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    violeta maftei

    Mind-blowing experience

    WYU190630 Just returned from my first African wild adventure and i m still day dreaming of it! Couldn't have asked for a better crew team members and better group. Absolutely awed day in day out. This being my first experience camping and group travelling i must say it has been a blast! Do not let the camping put you off! It is a great experience and i loved every minute of it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From day one, every day was memorable! And just when i thought that nothing could top seeing the big five, here comes chimpanzee trekking, mountain gorilla trekking, the scenery all around were absolute breathtaking. Totally totally would recommend this trip to anyone who's ready for adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour guide Gilbert together with chef Albert, driver Stony and all around helper Charlie made our experience a memorable one. I could not have asked for a better crew! They were awesome and their hard work must be acknowledged. Absolutely stunned with Gilbert's knowledge in terms of culture, nature, wildlife; and throughout the trip he always kept us informed, always smiling laughing and ready to listen to everything we had to say. Driver Stony, hat down! His many years of experience definitely had a say and he kept us safe throughout the journey. 100% confidence is his skills. Chef Albert looked after our stomach affairs! The whole group were astonished how he always managed to come up with the most delicious dishes even when camping. Healthy and freshly cooked food, always a bonus. Charlie the man does it all!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a sense of adventure and a big smile and you'll have the holiday of a lifetime! I was nervous when i booked this trip as was travelling alone, and never done this sort of trip before, but words cannot express how amazing the trip was and how well the group and crew members integrated from day one! Be prepared for long drives on bumpy roads sometimes. Its part of the adventure package!:)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When we had to say goodbyes we cried....No one wanted the trip to end... I've created what am hopping to be lifelong friendships and its amazing!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Catherine Robert

    Amazing experience

    I really enjoyed seeing the chimps and gorillas and was very pleased I had booked the additional treks. There is a lot of driving, but I enjoyed seeing the countryside and the trip leaders were good at fitting in stops and short walks to stretch our legs. The trip is quite primate-focussed, so don’t come expecting to see lots of big cats (although we did see six lions). The birds are wonderful. I also loved the boat trips, as you get to see the wildlife from a different angle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely seeing the chimps and gorillas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders, Benjamin and David. They were both very good. Benjamin is a keen birder.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t bother bribing walking poles as they will be supplied. Wear your walking boots on the flight - two people in my group lost their luggage and all their walking gear and toiletries were stolen. Hiring a porter boosts the local economy, so I would get one even if you don’t think you need one.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Ross Bishop

    A myriad of wildlife in the heart of Africa

    This trip packs in a huge variety of wildlife experiences over a great distance in three scenic and friendly East African countries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many highlights. For this trip, the Masai Mara provided the greatest inspiration. Our group was so fortunate to see multiple close up lion sightings, a leopard up a tree and a successful cheetah hunt amongst many other animals. The Mara is totally worthy of its global fame as a premier game reserve. On this occasion, our good fortune in Kenya just pipped the excellent gorilla and chimp tracking days in Uganda.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Kenyan team, consisting of the tour leader driver, chef and camp assistant worked so hard evrry day and did so in cheerful spirit that made them a pleasure to be around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long drives on bumpy roads, particularly in Uganda. The gorrila tracking involves difficult underfoot conditions and the length of the hike to see the gorillas can't really be predicted in advance. No one in our group opted for the Kazinga Channel boat trip, this didn't matter as the included boat trip at Murchison Falls was outstanding, particularly for birds. Temperatures are generally moderate in this part of the world due to altitude, but Murchison Falls is lower and was therefore hot.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've been lucky enough to go on a few African safaris over the years and this one was definately the best. Anyone put off by camping should be assured that the tents are fairly spacious, the camping mats are comfortable and that showers are reasonable at the majority of the campsites.
  • Reviewed December 2018

    A great trip but.....

    We took the trip over the Christmas period and it was a good one, the crew (Jacob, Stoney, Silvia and Dolly) were all excellent and could not be faulted. The organisation was good, the driving excellent, (how Stoney gets that truck along some of those roads is unbelievable) and the food was good and plentiful. There were 11 of us on the trip and we all got on very well which is a good thing if you are stuck on a truck for 2 weeks. Do not worry about charging batteries as the truck has a plug by each seat which can be used anytime whilst the truck is moving. The White Water Rafting Option in Jinja was excellent and the safety precautions couldn't be faulted, you are almost guaranteed to be thrown out at least once but we all felt perfectly safe when we were. The campsites were in some cases very basic with no water in the toilets and cold or no showers but they were adequate and in others there were options for upgrades to rooms if required. On day 8 the trip notes stated a visit to the top of the falls, what they did not say is that it involved a boat trip and then a trek along an uneven trek and a climb up several steps of uneven height, which was a bit testing for some people, although I see that this might have changed now but you might want to check. The big but is that on our trip both the Chimps and Gorillas were unco-operative and people thinking of doing the trip need to be aware that there is no guarantee of seeing either. On our trip some of us trekked 5 miles along tracks and off track just to see 1 Chimp and for the Gorillas we left camp at 4.45am and drove for 3.5 hours to the start point and then split into 2 groups, the moderately hard trek group took 7 hours of hard trekking up and down steep slippery and overgrown hills there and back to see the Gorillas who were up in the trees and not all that easy to see, the easier trek group took 10 hours and 4 of our group needed stretchering out with exhaustion which cost them between $200-$300 dollars each. We then all had another 3.5 hour drive back to camp getting back between 20.30 & 22.30 hours, much to the relief of Jacob our guide. Although this is what happened on our trip, we were told that that was not the norm but.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the animals were amazing, especially the big cats in Kenya and it only took us 36 hours to see the 'big five', plus many others, ranging in size from Mongoose to Elephants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you do this trip, make sure you are really fit, for us the Leisurely/Moderate 2 rating in the trip notes was very misleading, a lot of the roads are really rough and can be very uncomfortable and the Chimp and Gorilla treks were probably 4 & 5 respectively. For the Gorillas, make sure you take good boots, a lot of water, money and do hire a porter as they can be indispensable. Make sure you take earplugs as you might have to share sites with other less considerate campers and with early starts most mornings (7am & earlier departures) you do need your sleep. As long as you are aware of the above and are willing to 'rough it' at times then you will enjoy this trip.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Anne Murgatroyd

    Disappointed

    A very expensive trip that didn’t live up to the perception of the trips notes. We had lots of changes to our accommodation which certainly was inferior and very basic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    That one very special hour with the gorillas, the sights of the Masai Mara, White Water Rafting down the Nile and Murchison Falls.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob our group leader was fantastic . He was very knowledgeable and great to be around. Stonecold our driver also needs a special mention.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If WW Rafting is on your list then check it out as a dam has been built and if open the rafting will be poor. If you really want to see Chimps be prepared for disappointment. Check how many on your trip. If not full then the bag situation doesn’t come into it. Be prepared for some very basic accommodation. After the Masai Mara the parks are pretty disappointing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highlights for me were as above but in hindsight could just have done those in luxury accommodation and better travelling conditions at a much reduced cost.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Anne for her feedback. Whilst we are pleased that she enjoyed seeing gorillas, the sights of the Masai Mara and white water rafting, and that she found her tour leader to be excellent, we are very sorry that she was disappointed with certain aspects of the trip. We regret that Anne's group was not able to see chimps in the Budongo Forest. This was the only departure in 2018 that did not see chimps in this location. Although there were an unusual number of accommodation changes to the trip notes on this departure, the words “or similar” are included in our literature because there is not one specific property that that is always used in each location. Whilst we consider these properties to meet the standard that we would expect,  we will continue to closely monitor feedback regarding the accommodation used on this trip. John Penge – Product Manager

  • Reviewed October 2018
    Elizabeth Eagles

    Simply Unforgettable

    Well where do we begin. This was simply an incredible holiday and our very first safari. The crew of four; Boniface aka Stony the driver; Ken head chef; Raymond aka Dolly head chef in training and Patrick our tour leader were all terrific, great fun and very hard working guys. They know their stuff and helped make our holiday. The trip covers a tremendous amount of miles around 1300 miles in total. Yes there are a few early starts the earliest being around 4.30am to hit the road around 5am but when getting up a little earlier than normal to go and visit the mountain gorillas the early morning start pails into insignifance. The whole itinary is brilliant. We were exceptionally lucky to have seen the big five (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, buffalo) and so what more could you ask for especially as this was our very first safari trip. The various stop overs were very good with some terrific campsites with options to upgrade to rooms or hotels along the way. The time spent trekking to see the mountain gorillas can vary we trekked for around two hours which went very quickly but do be prepared for a hilly walk and make sure you have the right footwear and waterproofs as you can come across some small brooks and it could be muddy if the rain comes, we were very lucky as the rain came once we returned back to the start. For sure this experience is likely to remain with you for ever. It does mention in the trip notes that helping out whilst not complusary, we believe it can go a really long way to get to know the crew and other members of the group you’re travelling with which adds to the fun around the campfires. The food was fantastic and plentiful each day and the variety was excellent. We thought the trip was really well planned and when things didn’t go quite to plan such as the overland truck breaking down at no stage did we feel concerned and our safety was the crews main concern. Everything was done to resolve the issue in a timely manner. We would highly recommend this trip to anyone with a love for animals you get to see so much it’s hard to put into words. Truly incredible and prividged to see these amazing animals in their own habitat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Again this is hard to put into words but two things come to mind. Spending an hour with the mountain gorillas has to be up there, they are such incredible creatures. Seeing the silverback and various mums with their 5 month old and 8 month old babies was mesmerising. In addition to this, continuing our game drive with Stony and Patrick as we decided on one occasion not attend a boat trip in the hope of seeing maybe more cats only to come face to face with an amazing bull elephant. This experience was both scary and incredible and again we felt hugely privileged to be in such close proximity to these beautiful wild elephants.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic! Patrick was very knowledgeable had a great sense of humour and made us feel safe at all times. Each evening Patrick would say the words ‘something about tomorrow’ which is when we were given the plans for the following day. Everything was clear, Patrick was very approachable and kept us updated if plans changed throughout the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind, be prepared to get stuck in, make sure you have the right footwear and a lightweight raincoat just in case as the weather can change quickly. There may be some early starts but equally there are plenty of opportunities for down time. Don’t let the early starts put you off. This trip has been very well thought out and worth every penny.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Both early on in the booking and late on we were also able to make some slight changes to flights adding a few days at the beginning and the end of the trip. All changes were made without any issues and the teams were all very accommodating. We would have absolutely no hesitation booking with Exodus again and hope to do so again very soon.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Helen Rome

    Great Trip

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. Saw loads of wildlife which was why I went. Everyone on the trip was fun as well and all went well on the whole. The gorilla and chimp walks were good and it is an amazing experience to be close to these animals. The people we came across were very friendly and welcoming. Some of the hotels were amazing, some less so but expected in Africa.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just being close to wildlife. Getting close up to gorillas, lions, elephants, cheetahs, and even a leopard.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Jacob and also our driver Stoney were amazing. Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and made the trip successful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long drives and some early morning starts. But the Exodus vehicle is excellent for this.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A brilliant trip, but I feel I was put in an easy walking group to see the gorillas because of my age in spite of the fact that I am fit enough to do a tough walk. I was disappointed in the lack of challenge in the trek and was expecting a much harder walk. Also when accommodation is not where it states in the trip notes and says the name of the place you are staying at 'or similar' this phrase 'or similar' was sometimes not correct. There was one occasion when we were supposed to be in one place for 3 nights. Two of these 3 nights were in a far more inferior place than stated and we were in the place we should have been in for only one night, which was a shame and I felt there was some economising going on at my expense. The holiday is expensive and a certain standard of accommodation and food is expected considering the cost of the holiday.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Helen for taking the time to complete a review of her trip. Whilst we are glad to read that she thoroughly enjoyed the trip overall, we are sorry that some of the accommodation left her feeling underwhelmed. Where our groups stay at Bwindi National Park is dependent on the gorilla permits that we are able to secure. Good accommodation closest to the gate is always preferable to minimise journey times on the mornings of the gorilla treks and this was the reason for the change. I have previously stayed at the accommodation in question and found it to be appropriate for our groups.  I am, therefore, comfortable for our groups to continue staying at this property. I regret, however, that Helen found the property to be of a lesser standard than what she was expecting. – John Penge, Product Manager.

  • Reviewed August 2018
    Kay Emblen-Perry

    A trip of a lifetime

    I believe there is nothing better than seeing animals in their natural habitat and this trip gave me the privilege of seeing a family of 10 gorillas in their home. It was a hard trek through the mountain forest (don’t underestimate the difficulty, my trek was 6 hours!) but spending time watching them was awe inspiring and will stay with me forever. The tour is full on with each day adding yet another highlight as we travelled through Ugandan and Kenyan game parks via Lake Victoria. The tour started with gorillas and ended with the migration in the Masai Mara which I saw from a sunrise balloon trip. The tour leader, driver, cook and assistant were fantastic; I have never travelled with such a fun, kind, efficient and professional team.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several; spending time in the company of gorillas, seeing lions, leopards and cheetahs in the Masai Mara and seeing elephants and hippos in the Queen Elizabeth National Pearl but perhaps the most thought provoking was visiting the genocide museum in Kigali.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob was excellent. He was calm, funny and had a very good ‘bush telegraph’ for spotting animals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Maria Dillon

    Savour the moments

    Excellent trip for both content and standard of Guide (David).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the Gorilla's interacting within their family group. But also the chimp treks were very inspiring.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring gloves and gaiters (to ward of the ants) The recommended wear on the gorilla and chimp treks is long sleeves and trousers with trousers tucked into socks (if you don't have gaiters) and proper 'jungle boots'. Water proof jacket (as you may need it) The gorilla treks were very strenuous. The short trek involved steep descents and ascents. The medium trek was along gentler tracks until the gorillas were sighted and then steep ascents and descents were required to get to them. Walking 'poles' (long sticks) are provided.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Christopher Barton

    Truly wonderful trip

    This was our third camping trip with Exodus and this is almost becoming our preferred trip type - being cheaper doesn't hurt either. We were amazed at the shear number of animals we saw in Kenya and Uganda long before we got to the Gorilla area. We saw the big five, and mostly with babies!, great scenery, wonderful lakes and rivers. Game drives were varied not only in the nature of the country visited but also sometimes in the 'bus' sometimes in 4X4s and sometimes by boat. There were some longish drives but with lots to look at, stops for snacks and toilets, and time to charge cameras etc for the next stop. We felt very well looked after the whole time, and guided through formalities of border crossings etc. We were a smallish group of nine which meant we had lots of space, and we got on well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I guess it has to be the gorillas - being so close and watching while they just got on with their lives. The babies were adorable and the silverback huge, but they seemed very peaceful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob was really great, as were the other members of the team - KFC, Stonecold & Dolly. They looked after us really well and bought great calm and humour to the whole trip. In many ways they made it possible for us to have the great time we had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I considered taking my walking gaiters but decided against it - almost the first thing Jacob said was "I hope you all brought you gaiters for the gorilla trek"! In fact we did well using two pairs of socks with the long pair on the outside and trousers tucked into them. It worked out fine. Do use a porter for the gorilla trek, it makes life a lot easier just having your bag carried, and the occasional hand up, but it also brings much needed employment to the local community.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would highly recommend this trip - Go prepared for some early mornings, some laughs, some drives but mostly some amazing sightings.
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