Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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6 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Graham Wright

    The trip that just keeps on giving.

    Whereas nothing can be guaranteed this trip was one that just kept on giving. It surpassed all expectations and we were extremely fortunate to see and experience all that we did. Wildlife in abundance exhibiting some distinctive behaviour . The big 5 was seen in the first two days and with the animals being used to seeing traffic in the game reserves and National Parks they were almost within 'touching' distance from the truck. I have lost count of the many species of animals and birds seen throughout the journey. Equally spectacular was the scenery in the three very different countries visited. All the game lodges used enhanced the experience with buffalo even grazing outside (security procedures in place), Wild Waters set on an island in the middle of the Nile offered luxury not expected but was well received and was in the right place at the right time for our day of optional activities. The chance to meet and take part in local communities along with the extremely knowledgeable leader and driver all added to the 'adventure' of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many. A stand off with a rhino just yards from the truck. A similar approach from a bull elephant. A family of 4 cheetahs walking past the truck, lions asleep, hyenas at home in the mud by the track, a leopard resting within a tree posing for the photoshoot, visit to a Masai village and the work being done by Helen in trying to confront and re-educate a patriarchal society, a surreal experience of a hot air balloon safari followed by a cooked breakfast around tables on the Mara served with an abundance of Prosecco and herds of Zebras in the background. White water rafting down the Nile- an experience not to miss (even at my age). The spectacular Murchison falls, being charged by a hippo whilst cruising on the Nile. Don't forget the chimpanzees, the walk was easy and they made an appearance for us. I suppose the most inspirational moment was for our entire group to be in the middle of a family of 8 mountain gorillas with the babies playing at our feet, mother breast feeding just a few feet away and the giant alpha male less than 10 feet away demonstrating all the behaviour seen on documentaries. A truly special time and we were so privileged to be accepted into their environment. Last but not least, a sobering visit to the Genocide museum in Kigali, one should not avoid hearing about the history because one is on holiday, it helps to understand and see how far they have come.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was an extremely lively, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate person who was always keen to impart his knowledge about the countries, culture and wildlife visited. He was readily available to deal with any questions or issues that arose. He was keen to support and use local resources whenever and wherever available. At the same time he was able to protect himself from unnecessary demands of his time. It was noted that he was constantly trying to meet the needs of the group when changes were inevitable. His partnership with Stoney, our driver, was a perfect combination as they both sought to make the adventure as perfect as possible. Perhaps because he tried to keep everybody happy, he needs to realise that in all group situations, not everyone can be as reasonable or respectful or polite as they should be. That is the nature of people and groups- it is not a reflection of him and his abilities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of early starts, long drives along some 'bumpy' roads. Expect the Gorilla trek to be more challenging. Read the trip notes carefully and you will not be surprised. It is a group experience, be prepared to be respectful to the other members of the group. The more you share with the group, the more you will get out of the adventure. Acknowledge that some areas you will be going to are a very different cultural experience to what we are used to
  • 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 January 2018
    Pam Bell

    Totally amazing!

    The stunning scenery and the awesome wildlife were just two factors making this one of the best trips I have ever experienced. The four man crew were what made it extra special. The Masai Mara went well beyond expectations, with clear access to all of "the big five." Plus many many more species of birds and animals were on display throughout all of the national parks visited. The accommodation was clean and pleasant, the truck spacious and comfortable even over rough roads and on long journeys, while the meals were always made from fresh ingredients, very tasty and excellent quality.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountain gorillas were awe-inspiring, well worth the climb up to see them. The optional chimp safari was also an amazing experience. The close proximity to lions, cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, elephants - the list goes on and on; was extraordinary within such beautiful surroundings. I felt very privileged to share the pristine environment with them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob was an excellent leader; professional, extremely patient and efficient, always friendly and caring. His knowledge and enthusiasm was enhanced very ably by the other crew members; Albert, Stone Cold and Raymond (Dolly). All four created a wonderful team whose one wish was to make our holiday go smoothly and be unforgettably enjoyable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The padlock for the personal locker on the truck needs to have a thin, but long shank.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everyone should have this experience once in their lives. Thank you guys.
  • Reviewed July 2014
    Colin Roe

    Colin Roe Gorillas and Masai Mara.

    I have been on a lot of wildlife tours but this one blew them away.It was such an amazing trip the tour leader Often made us feel as though we had knew him for years his crew were also amazing.I would recommend this trip to anyone. The wildlife was outstanding but the gorillas made the trip finish off an amazing tour thank you Often and your staff.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tracking the gorillas for over 2 hours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Often is my idol I think the world of him even though I had never met him before he's a great leader and knows his job inside out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If your thinking of going just book it dont think about it and you will be writing the same reviews.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just could not fault this trip from start to finish I would definitely do this trip again.
  • Reviewed September 2010
    Anonymous .

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    This trip is packed with experiences.  Fantastic wildlife that will leave you speechless, friendly local people who will make you feel welcome in their home and teach you about their history and culture, and stunning scenery.  If you're in ay doubt about going on this trip, my advice is BOOK THIS TRIP!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can't narrow it down to one single thing.  There were lots of inspirational moments.  We went at the time of the migration, so the Masai Mara was teaming with wildlife.  A million wildebeest is quite a sight - as are the crocs and other predators waiting for them to stumble!  The lions were especially spectacular.  We saw hunting behaviour and kills, lions teaching their cubs to hunt, defending their kills from hyena, etc - and all at very close range.  We also saw cheetah, black and white rhino, and so much more.  The balloon ride over the Masai Mara is also an incredible experience.  The trip to Chimp Island is fantastic too.  To see the work people are doing to rescue and protect chimps is admirable.  We also learned a huge amount about this species and conservation efforts.  It's fantastic that Exodus are supporting this project.  The visit to the orphanage in Uganda is humbling, heart-breaking and joyous.  Again, well done Exodus for supporting this cause.  These kids need you.  Jinja (Uganda) is a great place.  The genocide museum in Kigali (Rwanda) is a sombre experience, but gives you a real unerstanding of modern-day Rwanda.  Finally,  the gorillas.  So much more than I expected.  The trek is interesting and well worth it.  Gentle, comic and incredibly human-like - I dare anyone to look in the eyes of a gorilla and leave unchanged.  A peak experience.  In fact the whole holiday is a peak experience!  When are we going back??!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader (JJ) was fantastic.  Knowlegeable, organised and a great sense of humour.  Is there anything this man cannot do?!  He worked alongside our cook (Bernard) and driver (Q).  As a team, they were simply Brilliant!  They definitely contributed to making this holiday an experience of a lifetime.  I miss them all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare yourself for quite long journeys in the overland truck on the road.  These are longer than mentioned in the Trip Notes.  However they are interesting and a really enjoyable part of the holiday.  Don't take too many clothes - there are opportunities to do laundry en route - and there isn't a huge amount of room in the lockers on the truck.  The truck (our lovely Isabella!) has recharging facilities, so take your phone, iPod, camera battery rechargers.  Speaking of cameras, go armed to the teeth with memory cards!  We got through memory cards at a phenomenal rate due to the amount of things we saw.  The weather can change in a nanosecond, so go prepared to be roasting hot, soaked to the skin, cold...!  And speaking of being wet and cold, not all the camp showers are hot ones!  Take plenty of wet wipes if you can't brave a cold shower.  There's lots of interesting nick-nacks to buy on the way, so take your dollars!  I'd also recommend taking a nail-brush.  I couldn't get my hands clean after several days of camping!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really is a holiday of a lifetime.  Kenya's Masai Mara is magical.  A wildlife lover's paradise.  Uganda probably has the friendliest people on earth (and The Source cafe in Jinja probably sells the best iced lattes in the world!), and Rwanda is stunningly beautiful.  Go with an open-mind, an open-heart, ready to learn, and a decent camera!  And prepare to fall in love with the people and the wildlife of East Africa.  I will definitely be returning....!
  • Reviewed July 2010
    Anonymous .

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    An amazing adventure that we will never forget! This has to be the best way to experience some of East Africa's most breath-taking scenery and meet some extraordinary people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the Agashya group of mountain gorillas! Getting all tearful as 3 baby gorillas came helter-skeltering over one another to get to within 2 feet of our group - per magic! You cannot help but be moved by the presence of these truly magnificent gentle giants. Remember to listen to them too - the noises as they communicate with each other are absolutely delightful!Visiting the orphanage which is a short walk from the Adrift camp-site in Jinga and meeting Justine who provides shelter for 29 children there. She is an inspiration! She has little money for food and to pay the much-needed teachers to come and educate the children, but she has barrels of affection and a desire to make life better for the orphans in her careComing within a couple of metres of a family of lions and having the utter privelege of watching and listening to them interact, play and have the occasional grumble. All this as the sun slowly sets over the Masai Mara. Bliss!Travelling along the roads of Uganda and especially Rwanda and being greeted by bright smiling faces and enthusiastic waving from children and grown-ups alike. The are wonderful and just thinking about them still brings a little tear to my eye!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Often is a SUPERSTAR! He was so helpful, organised, supportive, informative, flexible and good fun! He always provided us with clear guidance on the day ahead and we all genuinely looked forward to his post-dinner talks! He is clearly passionate about the people and places we visited on this trip, always urging us to interact with the locals and experience their culture. He also goes the extra mile - we adopt a gorilla who was a member of the Agashya Family. We were desperate to meet her and Often ensured we were included in the group visiting this family. Not an easy task when 50+ people turn up at the visitor centre in the morning all with their own preferences on how far they want to trek and which family they want to visit!JJ and Bernard were also fantastic! Bernard is the chef who every night informed us that 'dinner is calling for you to attack/terrorize it...'!! He never made the same meal twice and everything was fresh and well-prepared! He also has the best sense of humour!This team work SO HARD throughout the trip - they do everything to make sure your trip is perfect. They are a huge credit to Exodus!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long bouncy drives along rough dusty roads - we made some great friends on this trip so much of the time travelling was spent chatting, giggling and waving at the local people and children who never tire of smiling and waving to the passing 'muzungos'! Sleep is tricky on these journeys but not impossible!Bring books/pens/football/bubbles for the children in the orphanages - there are two which you can visit. The children absolutely love to play and the teachers are very grateful for any items that will help educate them.Try and 'muck in' and help your tour leader and his team. This is not expected at all but we found it impossible to sit back and let Often, Bernard and JJ do all the running around for us. We helped get the chairs out and put away for meals; preparing the vegetables/fruit; keeping the truck tidy; washing up and clearing away, etc. It generates a great team spirit!Enjoy every hot shower you can along the way! Showers are available in most campsites...but they may be nothing more than a lukewarm drip at times! Pack your wet wipes and be prepared to have a more basic approach to your morning routine!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't think about this any longer...BOOK IT! If I had the holiday time available and the money I would do this all over again tomorrow! I guarantee you will have some of the best experiences of your life!