Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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  • Reviewed August 2019
    John Orton

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    Great challenging trip but one that's well achievable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the optional extra peaks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kevin Stewart

    Our first Exodus trip; it'll be hard to beat!

    This was our first trip with Exodus and, whilst I had heard good reviews from friends, there is always an element of the unknown; the challenge level, the food, accommodation, the other group members etc.. This trip was excellent in all respects and has set a very high bar for future Exodus trips I will be taking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our guides were the most inspirational part of the trip for me - two very different characters who complemented each others skills and personalities and really made the trip the great success it was. You wouldn't have known it was their first trip together. Of course going to the summit of Mt Toubkal was a challenge achieved, and doing the trip with my son was great. One lovely memorable moment was an exchange a couple of us had with some children who were selling buttermilk/kefir on the path into Imlil on our last day of walking. Rashid chatted with them in such a genuine, open way that we were all quickly smiling and laughing and left with a delicious drink!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outsanding

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If, like me, you're too old to like sleeping on hard ground, get a portable camp cot. Folds down well into your kit bag. Mine is FE Active branded, (other makes are available, no recommendation implied or paid for!) and is light and sturdy enough for a 90kg man. It made sleeping a pleasure. We took a couple of extra days in Marrakesh after our trip, which I would recommend, but probably not in July or August! The daytime heat forced us to spend our days by the hotel pool, so we only went out in the early morning and evenings.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Phil Page

    Toubkal climb.

    Unreal trip. Didn't know i'd get such holiday blues from a trip like this one. I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up but it surpassed all my expectations. Unbelievably organised, we were well looked after, well fed and well informed of everything that was going on and what to expect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Although getting to the top is a moment i'll never forget, the optional climbs were amazing, even the walks just to get to our next destination were awesome and it was great to take in the surroundings.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lachen and Rashid were our guides and they went above and beyond their duties. Keeping everyone safe, making sure those who were struggling made it to the top and generally making sure everyone was happy and as comfortable as we could be.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is a challenge, but doable with a good amount of fitness. I would make sure you have a bit of experience with hiking before taking this one up.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Katherine White

    Mountains, Mules and Moroccan Memories

    A perfect holiday of exploration for anyone who is fit, adventurous, has a sense of camaraderie and can revert to the true nature of what it's like to really live , be at one and experience the wilderness of the surroundings and not be concerned with unnecessary luxuries we take for granted at home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cloud inversion and breathtaking views from Mt Toukbal and the optional summitting of Ouanakrim on our summer solstice with its isolation and equally jaw dropping panorama while watching the incredible dawn track us on our ascent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lahcen our leader was incredible. He was there for absolutely everyone on the trip, the novice to the experienced mountaineer. To watch him enable the least confident to flourish and for all to reach way beyond their own personal goals was humbling. His pacing was spot on, slowing the potential 'bolters' from burning out and thereby encouraging us all to acclimatise slowly so that no one felt excluded from the chance of getting to the top. People made their own decisions on summitting Ouanakrim, two 4000m peaks in 24 hours with 03:30 am starts or similar is not for all but Lahcen ensured the decision was our own. His local knowledge was incredible and we felt safe at all times with his skills and acute perception of any struggling. A true leader and mountaineer.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some basic camping and toilet facilities. The heat and destination meant some of us needed the odd emergency stop by a boulder (shrubs are very scarce at altitude) so forget the shyness. Take some hand sanitiser. The fitter you are the easier it will be. You will be 'carrying' yourself upwards in heat and at altitude and despite any pacing 'extra baggage' is 'extra baggage' ! Embrace the wilderness ,the cameraderie of working as a group and remember everyone of the group wants to have the chance to get to the top . We found our filter water bottles extremely useful, we were guided on which streams to use, plastic disposal is a big problem for any country.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The camp meals were pretty amazing ! Always plenty of it and lots of vegetables. Vegetarian and Coeliac requirements were catered for. Bring your own snacks if you like . Phone signal is very limited, a great way to escape . The mules are part of the team and great entertainment! Marakesh is a full on sensory experience after the wilderness. Not showering was not a problem. For me.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    steve roberts

    Great introduction to trekking and altitude

    I was using this as a bit of a practise for my trip to Everest Base Camp, it provided the practise I was looking for and so much more. The walking was a good steady pace that suited the group, with meals almost magically appearing from nowhere. Considering all the food had be transported on the mules, the food was good, even a few welcome surprise snacks. The scenery was stunning , with some part surprisingly green. The time spent in Marrakesh was a complete contrast to the solitude of the mountains, but still great fun. The sights and sound on markets will stay with me for ever

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Toubkal was more emotional than I expected, but so worth the effort

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of wet wipes, you will go a few days with out proper washing facilities. Take plenty of layers , temperature in Marrakesh was in the mid 30, and we camped on zero degrees. Don t forget sun hat and a warm hat and gloves. You can leave some clean clothes in the start hotel so you have some clean clothes when you get back to Marrakesh Keep a pen handy to fill out forms at the airport.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only negative was the camping at the refuge , there was a lot of rubbish lying around, the staff there need to make an effort to clean the area up. Appreciate this not in direct control of Exodus but as a repeat customer they may be able to put pressure on them to take more responsibility for the environment at the site.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Elaine Collins

    Toubkal Long Trek

    Epic experience, very well organised and a great group of people

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view from 4000m was amazing, didnt expect it to affect me the way it did, I i will never forget it! Our guide was fantastic, he took time to work out our abilities and tailored the walking so that we were all able to keep together. The summit day was excellent thanks to his pacing and care.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were lucky with the weather but if it would have been wetter then the sleeping mattresses could have gotten damp so take a binbag or something to form a barrier with. Food was great but a little light on protein for my metabolism, though it would be so I took some sachets of protein powder to add to my porridge. Carry and drink lots of water, 3 l per day
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Mary Tebb

    Great trip.

    We were a large group of 16 but all got on well. I would say this is a great trekking trip with a serious mountain to climb. Morocco is an interesting country with a very different culture to ours.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing a different culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lhasan was really patient with us and made us feel very looked after and safe. He clearly wanted us all to experience the summit and enjoy his country. Despite being on Ramadan, we had no concerns about his ability as our guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please do prepare physically for this trip as it is frustrating to be held back by slower group members who didn’t appreciate the leg work needed. We had a 12 hour walking day on the mountain so you should be prepared for that on mountainous terrain. Temperature ranges were huge on the trip from the high 30s in Marrakesh up to just above freezing overnight at Toubkal refuge.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It’s Morocco. Accommodation is basic and toilets are usually the squatting type. Strengthen those thighs before you go!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Amber Atouguia

    The most amazing experience of my life

    Going on this trip had to be the best decision I've ever made regarding a holiday. Everything was perfect- the weather, the scenery, the route, the accommodation, the food, the guides. I've never been trekking before or climbed a mountain or anything along those lines, the rating Exodus gives the trip for difficulty is very accurate. It was a challenging trip, with two 12-hr days of trekking (this only happened because the route had to be changed as the pass we were supposed to take was blocked by snow (we were also walking quite slowly as had an older gentleman in the group)) but it was certainly do-able and 100% enjoyable. The food was amazing the whole trip, the best food I have ever had- nobody in the group complained about the cooking, the portions were incredible also. There were 16 of us and there was always plenty of food available, they are very good at catering for different diets. Around 50% of our group was vegan or vegetarian (I am vegan myself) and I have to say I was worried before we started the trip that we wouldn't have enough food available but there were certainly enough! The guides and even the locals we interacted with were the most friendly group of people I have met, the were all lovely and easy to talk to- most had extremely good English and spoke around 4/5 languages themselves so very interesting and intelligent people. It also cannot be put into words or even captured in a picture how beautiful the Atlas mountains are, you'll just have to go and see them yourself!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the summit of Toubkal was just incredible. After 4 days of walking, finally being up there was so fulfilling. It was amazing to think that 'I just climbed a mountain'.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Lahcen Idblaaid really made the trip! He had so much knowledge of the area that you could ask him anything. He was extremely attentive throughout the whole trip, we never had to ask for anything because he would already have it covered. Even after our 12-hr summit day, when we got back to base camp he was running around making sure everyone had enough hot water for their tea etc- even though it was during Ramadan so he hadn't had anything himself the whole day. He also made sure that everyone was comfortable at the pace we were walking and that nobody needed any special assistance. When my auntie was struggling with the hills on a few of the days, he even carried her bag for her along with his own. He was altogether a very lovely and hardworking chap- I could not think of someone more deserving of a holiday themselves! Will definitely miss him!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    They weren't kidding when they suggest you bring hat and gloves for summit days, I thought 'Nah I'm from England it won't really be cold' but it's actually quite chilly. Especially as we woke up at 5.00am to get an early start up Toubkal! I just wore my sun bandana instead of a wolly hat and this worked fine but I would recommend gloves, especially if you end up using crampons and ice axes as we did.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Paul Walter

    Amazing hike

    We had a great trip with a really good mixed group of people (ages ranged from 23 to 63). It was a quite a hard hike over mountain paths but the views and scenery reward your efforts at every turn. Being early in the spring season we encountered snow and ice on summit day but was provided with crampons and ice picks to help our assent. Climbing at altitude was very hard but the whole group made it by adopting a slow but steady pace and we had blue skies and great visibility at the top so could see for miles. It took us 7 hours to get up and 2 hours to come down and I would recommend building up your stamina before the trip as it is quite strenuous. The camping was good and the guides and porters did a great job. Temperatures vary enormously from day to day - we saw + 35 mid day and -10 at night - so take lots of clothing options, layers and the best sleeping bags you can afford (we hired ours). Overall a great experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summit day was great - starting at 5.30 am in the dark, watching the sun come up and finally summiting. Having to use crampons and ice picks was actually very interesting as well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader was very good on the Mountain keeping us all motivated and together. Two of the ladies had some trouble along the route and the guides kindly took their packs to make sure they could complete the hike.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack lots of layers and clothing options as the temperatures vary so much day and night. The best sleeping bags you can get are really worth it - some on the trip had the 'cheaper' 4 seasons bags and clearly they were not as good as some of the more expensive ones.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was better than I expected and I was really amazed at what they could produce in the middle of a mountain!
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Paul Walter

    Amazing Experiance

    We enjoyed an amazing week in the Atlas mountains culminating in the climb to Mount Toubkal's summit. As it was snowy and icy on the peak we used crampons and ice axes but that just added to the overall experience. It was a very hard climb (9 hours up and down) but all of us in our group made it. The food on the trip was great and we were amazed at how such good meals could be made with limited cooking facilities (even freshly baked bread every day) and no-one got sick or had any problems. Camping at altitude was cold so make sure you take really good sleeping bags and have plenty of layers and down jackets for the assent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many great moments including the summit, using crampons for the first time, clear blue skies, clean air and wonderful vistas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was great in supporting us all and guiding us on the mountain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of layers of clothing as it can be - 10 with the wind chill before the sun rises and we saw + 33 mid day so you need to be able to take off and put on clothing as required. Take the best sleeping bag you can get hold of as night temperatures in the tents are low.