Bulgaria: Realm of the Brown bear Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Bulgaria
Programmes:
Wildlife
Trip Code:
WBB
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Spend a week in the Rodopi Mountains discovering the realm of the Brown bear. Joined by European Brown bear expert Julian Perry, this holiday gives a unique insight into the behaviour and ecology of these most iconic yet secretive carnivores.

During the course of the week we take daily hikes through the heart of prime Brown bear habitat, recording tracks, scats and other signs of bear activity as part of an on-going Brown bear conservation project.

On two evenings there will be the chance to visit a specially constructed bear watching hide from where there are good opportunities to see some of the bears whose activity we have been monitoring during our days in the mountains. In addition, we will also be collecting and collating images from several camera traps that will be set up in the surrounding forests.

By the end of this holiday we hope you will not only have seen Brown bears in the wild but also have an understanding and appreciation of the fascinating way of life of these mysterious and often misunderstood animals.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights hotel, all rooms en suite
  • Travel by private minibus, 4WD and on foot
  • 6 days centre-based bear tracking walks
  • Normally 5 to 12, plus leader. Min age 16 years

Trip Highlights

  • Become directly involved in a Brown bear conservation project
  • Informative daily bear tracking walks
  • Two visits to a hide for wild Brown bear observation
  • Elusive mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and rare orchids
  • Remote landscapes in the Rodopi Mountains
  • Delicious traditional local cuisine

Is This Trip for You?

The trip is Activity Level 3 (moderate) and has a Safari Rating of 4.

This exciting holiday is focused in core Brown bear habitat, dominated by remote forested ridges and gorges, studded by glades and some stunning rocky karst terrain. It offers a unique opportunity for those wanting not only to observe truly wild Brown bears but also to discover more about the daily life of these secretive animals whilst at the same time contributing to their conservation. Guided throughout by Julian Perry, a bear researcher from the local NGO ‘Wild Rodopi’, you will learn how to find, identify, interpret and record signs of bear presence and activity, including footprints, scats, rub trees and feeding signs, helping to gather vital data about their ecology and behaviour as part of an on-going conservation project.

Our daily bear tracking activities and wildlife observation will involve exploring the mountains on foot. Although the pace of walking will be mostly relaxed and leisurely, allowing time to search for and record signs of Brown bear activity, and provide opportunities to observe and photograph any other wildlife we may encounter, the holiday also involves some strenuous walking in fairly rugged mountainous terrain, where trails are rarely flat, and typically rough and stony. To get the full enjoyment out of this holiday, therefore, you should be prepared for some long steady ascents as we climb over ridges, and in particular confident and comfortable in your ability to make steep descents over rocky paths as we drop down into deep valleys and gorges. 

The reward for this effort is a unique chance to venture into remote bear habitats and observe a wonderful variety of rare European wildlife, including secretive mammals, elusive birds, beautiful butterflies, unusual reptiles and amphibians, plus many endemic plants, including several scarce orchids. Needless to say, the flora and fauna varies from season to season, and it is impossible to guarantee what wildlife observations one will be lucky enough to make on any day or week.

Furthermore, although Brown bears and other wildlife are regularly seen at the bear hide, it is important to remember that these are truly wild animals foraging freely in their natural habitat, and in no way reliant on the small quantities of maize put out as a supplementary snack for them, so there may be occasions when they do not show. However, our guide for this holiday will enthusiastically pass on skills and knowledge not only about the bears but also the other flora and fauna of the region, thus ensuring a highly rewarding, memorable and informative wildlife experience.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

The holiday is scheduled to be led by Julian Perry, founder and research director of the NGO ‘Wild Rodopi’. Julian is a member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management and an expert on Brown bear ecology and behaviour.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
12

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Sofia Airport. Transfer to the village of Yagodina in the remote Rodopi Mountains

    Setting off from Sofia airport we begin a long but interesting 4-hour transfer to the Rodopi Mountains. Our destination is the remote mountain village of Yagodina, where we will be based for the next 6 nights. During dinner, our leader will give an opening briefing about the week ahead and the work of the local NGO ‘Wild Rodopi’ whose Brown bear research and conservation project you will be assisting.

    Hotel Yagodina or similar

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Visit the caves at Yagodinska Peshtera. Circular bear tracking walk in the forests above Yagodina; evening visit to bear hide

    After breakfast, we start the day with a visit to the nearby Yagodinska Peshtera to discover the rich variety of cave formations and cave life that are found within, including some rare cave invertebrates, several species of bat, and a family of Fat (or Edible) dormice. Part of the cave system was once utilized as a prehistoric dwelling, so provides the ideal place to discuss the evolution of bears and their relationship with early Man.

    Returning to the village, we then set off on our first bear tracking walk, which will lead us into the surrounding forests searching for, recording and interpreting evidence of Brown bear activity such as scats, prints and various feeding signs. During the walk, there will be an introduction to safe bear/human interaction and behaviour. In the evening, half the group will have their first visit to the bear hide. Visiting the hide usually necessitates having an early dinner so that we can be in position before darkness falls. Bears are attracted to the hide by the presence of corn but are not dependant on this for their diet. Depending on the amount of activity in the clearing we may stay until around 11 pm, or with permission of the group earlier or later. 

    Hotel Yagodina or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    450
    Total descent (m):
    450
    Activity (hours):
    2.5
  • Day 3

    Circular bear tracking walk through forests and meadows; evening visit bear hide

    After breakfast, a short drive brings us to the trailhead for the start of a beautifully varied walk in a little-visited part of the region. Having forded a shallow stream, we then follow a series of old forestry tracks that are also used as a convenient network of trails by Brown bears. This area is not only rich in butterflies and birds, but is also of great historical interest. During our walk, we will visit a site which, according to some historians and archaeologists, was the place where Orpheus was torn to pieces by the wild Maenads, the female followers of Dionysus. It certainly seems a suitably mystical and atmospheric spot that fits in well with Ovid’s poetic description of these dramatic events. After dinner, the second half of the group will have its first visit to the bear hide.

    Hotel Yagodina or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 8 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    635
    Total descent (m):
    635
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 4

    Panoramic walk in rugged and rocky karst terrain, rich in birds, butterflies and orchids.

    Setting off on foot from our hotel, we make a steep, steady climb up the stony flank of the mountain ridge above the village. Here in spring and early summer, there are several interesting species of orchid to be found, as well as numerous butterflies. On reaching the ridgeback, we climb up to the highest peak where we are rewarded with a wonderful cliff-top viewpoint. The rocks here are home to several typical cliff-dwelling species of bird including the beautiful wallcreeper, Peregrine falcon, Rock thrush, Crag martin and Alpine swift. It is also possible to spot other raptors gliding over, such as Golden eagle, Short-toed eagle, Booted eagle, Long-legged buzzard, Eurasian hobby and Common kestrel. The wonderful views remain with us throughout the day as we continue our walk, zig-zagging steeply down into the depths of the Buynovsko Gorge on a rough and stony path that leads through a favoured feeding region for both Brown bear and Balkan chamois. This evening, the first half of the group will have their second visit to the bear hide.

    Hotel Yagodina or similar 

    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    560
    Total descent (m):
    725
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 5

    Bear tracking walk through a mosaic of bear habitats in the mountains south of Yagodina; evening visit bear hide

    Having made our way out of the village on foot and crossed an area of rolling open pastures, we begin a steady climb into the forest, following a route that is frequently used by both wolves and bears. The further we climb, the wilder the landscape feels, and in places, the forests are punctuated with clearings and meadows that are often grazed by Roe deer and Wild boar, and where in early summer a variety of rare flowers and butterflies can be seen. Later in the day, we drop into the dappled shade of a river valley, a favoured place for bears, and also a suitable habitat for more interesting plants and butterflies. After supper, there will be another visit to the bear hide for the second half of the group.

    Hotel Yagodina or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    620
    Total descent (m):
    565
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 6

    Circular bear tracking walk through remote carnivore habitat

    After breakfast we set off from the hotel on foot, beginning a strenuous but highly rewarding bear tracking walk. Having left the village pastures behind, we begin a long steep climb that sees us enter a densely forested region that is roamed not only by several Brown bears, but as our camera traps have shown, a variety of other carnivores including Wildcat, Grey wolf, Red fox, European badger, Pine marten and Stone marten. Especially exciting is the fact that Balkan lynx, a species considered extinct in Bulgaria for almost a century, has very recently been recorded here again! The forests here also harbour many secretive birds such as Hazel grouse, Black woodpecker and Crested tit. The midpoint of our trail brings us out onto some wonderful rock outcrops from where there are stunning views towards Greece, across waves of forested ridges that make a perfect trans-border corridor by which the large carnivore populations of Bulgaria and Greece can intermix. Our descent then leads us down through more silent forest, and what is the heart of core Brown bear habitat. Here we should see plenty of signs of bear activity, including several trees that they have bitten, scratched and rubbed, giving us a chance to learn more about other fascinating aspects of Brown bear behaviour.

    Hotel Yagodina or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    750
    Total descent (m):
    750
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 7

    Forest and riverside walks in search of orchids, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians; transfer to Sofia

    Leaving Yagodina on foot, we start the day with a short walk along a beautiful forest path, which in spring and early summer is renowned for its exceptional variety of orchids. Formerly an ancient Thracian packhorse route, this path is often used by bears when feeding in the surrounding forests on beech mast and ants. After meeting our bus, a 45-minute drive brings us to the beautiful valley of the Devinska Reka, where we will spend a couple of hours walking a delightful riverside trail. As well as being home to Eurasian otter and a variety of typical riverine birds such as Dipper and Grey wagtail, the valley also forms the heart of a specially designated Prime Butterfly Area and provides the perfect habitat for many rare and beautiful butterfly species. Having enjoyed a picnic lunch beside the river, we then complete the transfer (3 hours 30 minutes) back to Sofia.

    Hotel Hill or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    215
    Total descent (m):
    315
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • Day 8

    End Sofia.

    End Sofia.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel

Our base for six nights will be the village of Yagodina, a traditional rural settlement famed for its self-sufficiency and the hospitality of its inhabitants. The village lies isolated and tucked away in the Trigrad Karst region, one of the most remote parts of the Rodopi Mountains. Here we stay in the ‘Yagodina’ Family Hotel, a small village hotel offering comfortable twin and single rooms with en-suite facilities and Wifi. The hotel is owned and run by a local family and most of the food (including milk, cheese, butter, jam, honey etc.) is either home produced or locally sourced. Our final night will be at Hotel ‘Hill’, a conveniently located 4-star hotel in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £160.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Hotel ‘Yagodina’ is renowned for its delicious traditional local cuisine, offering generous sized servings of hearty, healthy food, much of it made from home-produced or locally sourced products. Typical meals whilst in the mountains will comprise of:

Breakfast: tea, coffee and milk, with bread, jam, honey and cheese, supplemented in Yagodina by fresh home-made yoghurt and traditional local specialities such as thick pancakes known as 'katmi' and a rice-based dish called 'rodopski klin'.

Lunch: picnic lunches will be eaten in the mountains and typically comprise bread, cheese, salami, salad, a chocolate bar and fruit. Many guests also like to take with them an extra portion of the local speciality that was served up for them at breakfast.

Dinner: will be taken in our hotel restaurant, and will normally include three courses comprising either a salad or vegetarian soup, followed by a main course, and a dessert of fruit, ice cream, or cake/pudding. The cuisine reflects a mixture of Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish and Slavonic influences. We sample many traditional local specialities including 'smilyanski fasul', a delicious bean soup, and 'patatnik', a local delicacy made with grated potatoes, onions, and cheese, then seasoned with mint and other herbs. Jugs of tap water will be provided on the table with the evening meal. Bottled mineral water, soft drinks and alcohol are not included but can be purchased.

There are several Bulgarian wines that you may wish to try, including an excellent red 'Mavrud' from vineyards on the northern slopes of the Rodopi Mountains.

Vegetarians and Vegans: Bulgaria is famed for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so vegetarians are usually well catered for, although in the mountains the variety may sometimes by limited to what is seasonally available. 'Vegans need to be aware that eggs and dairy produce, especially cheese, form the staple part of the diet in the Rodopi region, and occur in the vast majority of traditional meals, so they may find their daily menu somewhat more restricted and less varied. Likewise special gluten-free products are not available, so those clients with wheat/gluten intolerance should, if needed, bring with them something to replace the local bread and pastries that make up the breakfasts and picnic lunches.

Transportation

A private minibus with dedicated driver will be at our disposal throughout the holiday for transfers to and from the mountains, and as and when needed at the start or end of daily walks. To access the bear hide in the evenings, we will make use of locally provided jeeps and off-road vehicles, the only vehicles capable of coping with the often rough and muddy forestry tracks. 

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

In normal years, Brown bears are active in the region from mid-March until the end of December. Rain does not normally interrupt bear activity and in fact can make finding footprints more likely, so our bear tracking walks are not usually adversely affected by bad weather unless it is very severe, in which case routes may be shortened or amended. Patches of late-lying snow at the end of April and beginning of May also offer a good substrate on which to find prints. During late spring and early summer, wildflowers in the Rodopi Mountains reach their peak, the meadows a patchwork of colours, and the edges of forest paths often holding a selection of rare and beautiful orchids. This is also the time when the variety of butterflies on the wing becomes most striking, and at the height of the nesting period, many of the birds become most conspicuous. With the onset of autumn, the deciduous trees start to change colour and the mountain landscapes are at their most picturesque and photogenic, especially after a frosty night and with the typically golden morning sun. The forests and scrubs are full of wild fruits and nuts at this time of year, with the bears busily feeding on them, fattening up for the winter, as are many of the resident birds, especially thrushes and finches. If one is lucky, autumn is also the time when one may catch a glimpse of an unusual raptor migrating south along one of the gorges. Many attractive fungi also start to appear on the forest floor and are harvested not just by the locals, but also by Roe deer, Balkan chamois, Wild boar, Red squirrels and many other smaller rodents. 

Weather Information

Spring and summer days are usually warm and sunny, with a refreshing mountain breeze that moderates temperatures; but please note that changeable weather and cold temperatures can be encountered at any time in the mountains. Occasionally during spring and summer, there are sudden short violent storms, which require that suitable waterproof clothing is always carried on all walks, and which may force minor amendments to the itinerary; however, after such storms, there is often a prolonged period of settled weather. Later in autumn, overnight frosts and misty dawns typically give way to beautiful sunny days, but it is always worth keeping a pair of gloves and a spare warm layer in the pack for shadier paths or when picnicking on breezy rock outcrops.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Bulgaria Air (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Sofia

The start point for this trip is difficult to reach on your own, as our hotel is approximately 3.5hrs drive from the airport and is impossible to reach by public transport. The only option would be to order a taxi to Hotel 'Yagodina' from the 'O.K. Supertrans' taxi booking stand in the airport arrivals hall. A taxi will cost approx €200. The hotel is situated in the centre of village of Yagodina, please make staff aware that you are part of the Exodus group on arrival. With this in mind we strongly advise you to join the group at the airport in Sofia, please note that this must be arranged with our office in advance. Group flights this year are with Bulgaria Air, they fly into Terminal 2, as do BA and other national airlines. Low cost airlines normally fly into Terminal 1, so if you fly with one of these carriers you will have to transfer to Terminal 2 in order to join the group. There is a free airport shuttle bus connecting the two terminals which departs every 30 minutes.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Sofia
Location end:
Sofia

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Rucksack (25-30 litres capacity)
  • Comfortable walking boots with good soles and support, as trails are often rough and rocky, and sometimes become muddy after rain.
  • Waterproofs
  • Sunhat & Sunglasses
  • Water bottle
  • Binoculars (a good pair greatly enhances wildlife observations from the bear hide)
  • Torch 

Optional Equipment

Walking poles can be very useful especially when negotiating some of the steeper and stonier trails.

Water sources in the Bulgaria are generally very good, but those who wish to purify their water should bring their own supply of purification tablets.

Plastic sandwich boxes are useful for picnic lunches and are much more environmentally responsible than simply putting food into new plastic bags every day.

Please note, bathrooms in Bulgaria are typically 'wet rooms' without shower cabins, thus their floors often remain damp making a pair of flip-flops very useful to have in your room.

For the nights when you are not visiting the bear hide, those staying back at that hotel may like to bring some reading material or other forms of after dinner entertainment. However, when the weather is fine, many clients enjoy taking an evening stroll to the meadows and pastures at the edge of the village, where Roe deer, Red fox, Northern white-breasted Hedgehog and a variety of bats are sometimes seen. 

Reading List

Lonely Planet Mark Baker (2017) Latest updated edition for Bulgaria

Practical Information

Passport

Bulgaria

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Bulgaria

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Bulgaria

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Bulgaria's Timezone:
Europe/Sofia EEST (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Bulgaria's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Standard European adapter requied. You will be able to charge a phone/camera etc on every night during this trip.

Money

Bulgaria's Currency

The national currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2017) of approximately 2.2 to the GBP,  1.7 to the USD, 1.3 to the CAD, 1.9 to the EUR, 1.3 to the AUD and 1.2 to the NZD.

 

ATM Availability

There are no banks or ATMs once you enter the mountains. There is a couple of banks in the arrivals hall at Sofia Airport, but please note that the bank located within the arrivals hall is typically closed at the weekends, so if you plan to exchange cash please make sure you obtain Bulgarian Lev in your home country.

If ordering your Bulgarian currency, it is advisable to request the smaller denomination notes possible. Shops and restaurant in Bulgaria rarely have much in the way of small change and often refuse to accept larger denomination notes. Euros will not be accepted.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You may wish to exchange approximately £65 into local Bulgarian currency to cover the entrances to caves, purchase of drinks with meals, plus traditional handicrafts and local produce (such as honey, jams, herb teas, dried mushrooms) as souvenirs.

Tipping

If you receive good service it is customary to tip staff in Bulgaria in appreciation of their help and friendliness, although this is in no way compulsory.

Most clients wish to leave a tip for the driver and the local staff at Hotel ‘Yagodina’.  For the staff at the hotel  we recommend you budget approx. 10-15 EUR per person for the week, and for the driver 10 EUR per person for the week.

Tipping of leaders is entirely at your own discretion; however, if you wish to show your appreciation for his/her efforts a tip of around 40 EUR per person for the week is suggested.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.