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

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17839 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    David Kempson

    Probably the best holiday we have ever had

    The whole trip was inspirational, from the pilot pointing out 'the smoke that thunders' - Victoria Falls original name - as we made our descent, through camping at fabulous sites by rivers and in the desert, seeing the Falls close up, the vast National Parks, the Namib desert, kayaking 13km down the Orange River, meeting the Himba people, chatting to locals in a Namibian village (very handy that English is the official language there) and ending up walking over the cliffs at Cape Horn.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being the first group up Dune 45 in the desert at Sesriem on Boxing Day morning, owning the sunrise over the dune. Christmas morning with thousands of flamingoes at Walvis Bay. Enjoying Timon's brilliant braai cooking of our Christmas meal. Experiencing Victoria Falls as a rainforest with electric blue swallowtail butterflies fluttering around. Watching hippos and crocs from dugout canoes. Seeing so many types of birds on a rivertrip on the Chobe. Watching lions and hyenas, catching sight of an African wildcat hunting, as well as a rock lizard and a water monitor. Dancing with our guides and the locals at Marcos African Place in Cape Town on New Years Eve.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Timon was brilliant, really well-organised and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the tour, from the administration necessary to cross three borders in the most trouble-free manner, to the ability to explain and illustrate local politics, economics, and social issues, animal and bird spotting, and helping and instructing in the practicalities of camping. Best of all, he is the most magnificent cook, able to provide marvelous vegetarian food as well as catering fantastically for carnivores. Further, he ensured that he, alongside Malifie, our principal driver, and Jonathan, our additional guide/back up driver, worked seamlessly and tirelessly as a team to give us the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The standard tours are Cape Town to Victoria Falls, but the reverse itinerary, which we did, enables you to finish in a lovely guest house, which is a much better place from which to sort yourself out for flying home than camping at Victoria Falls Rest Camp. The tents are great (and you don't need to bring a mosquito net, as the fine meshes on the door and windows mean that the tents provided effectively have integral mosquito nets so long as you keep them zipped up) but with two beds inside them, you don't have much room, and we found that the less room we had, the more difficult it was to find anything or to sort ourselves out.
  • Reviewed January 2020

    A Fascinating trip

    Fast paced trip from north to south Vietnam yet with time to explore the places we stayed in. We slept in a great variety of places from lovely hotels to sleeper train via three great homestays and overnight on a boat and enjoyed the varying sights and tastes of the country as we travelled.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say; there were so many. Experiencing the street life in Hanoi where traders carried their wares on paniers balanced on their shoulders as they wove between the traffic. Sharing a long house with all the other members of our group on only the second night of the trip. Wondering why there was a large boat travelling towards an end of the Da River reservoir and then later finding in moored by our homestay and discovering it was the mobile supermarket; stocked with almost anything you might wish to buy. Kayaking amongst the rocks in Ha Long Bay. Eating in a restaurant across the road from our hotel in Hoi An where we were the only western diners, live fish swam in plastic bowls at the side of the restaurant and we enjoyed the best seafood noodles of the trip (and we had enjoyed quite a few) Trying the many variations of Pho. The cooking lesson in Hoi An and helping to prepare dinner at our wonder Mekong Delta homestay ……………………………...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tuyen was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. He opened his country up to us with great enthusiasm and supported all of us throughout the trip. The mix of history, culture, food and personal experience was amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I ignored advice from other travellers to take your own bike saddle and regretted it as I couldn't cope with the narrow saddles and had to give up after a few miles; which was a shame as I had been very much looking forward to the bike rides.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Expect some hot weather and some humid. Take lightweight waterproofs for the occasional wet day, we had one but it was a great day nevertheless, and then enjoy it's a great trip.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lucy Hockenhull

    Extraordinary landscapes and fabulous snowshoeing.

    Loved the snowshoeing. Each of the walks held interest and the challenges increased as the week progressed. We enjoyed the opportunity to sled down from Taistner Alm near Lutterkopf. Hotel Adler is wonderful with a lovely spa, fabulous 4 course dinners, picnic packed lunches and extensive breakfast buffet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every walk was unique and had its own appeal, but we especially enjoyed Monte Piano as the weather and views were superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Jenny had extensive mountaineering experience but was new to this area and trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone with reasonable fitness can enjoy the walks but you really do need to be pretty fit to make the most of this trip.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Katie Szkornik

    A wonderful , relaxed week of walking on the Almalfi Coast

    I really loved this trip to the Amalfi Coast, and it was just what I was looking for in terms of a relaxing, but active, New Year break. A nice mix of walking and culture, with no early starts or late finishes and plenty of time for a relaxing coffee or two after walks had finished. The Hotel Due Torri where you stay for the whole week is a family run hotel with a nice atmosphere, delicious food, and a fabulous range of cocktails (the limoncello spritz was the 'drink of the holiday'!). Enjoyed the opportunity to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as a trip to the crater of Vesuvius. Thanks also to our tour leader Teresa for helping to make this a fabulous week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to Pompeii. Fascinating guided tour and Pompeii really exceed my expectations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teresea was great. I especailly enjoyed all the local food treats she shared with us during our walks! It was also nice that she sat and ate dinner with the group every evening, and made an effort to really get to know everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not always warm in southern Italy! I wore four layers the day we went to Pompeii and was just about warm enough. If you go over Christmas and/or New Year make sure you pack some warm clothes, and hats and gloves.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be great if Exodus could offer a greater range of trips over New Year. I've met many poeople who want to spend Christams with family, but then like to get away shortly after for a week or so. Most companies only offer a limited range of trips at this time of year.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    JENNIFER WOODHAM

    A Winter Treat in the Mountains

    This mid-winter festive season trek in The Anti Atlas transported me into an unspoilt world of spectacular beauty with a extraordinary sense of isolation. We wandered these mountains without any sign of tourist life and only Berber life when reaching our lunchtime oasis and evening camps. We experienced beautiful sunny days, perfect for comfortable walking and in contrast very cold nights in this mountainous terrain that each day brought a different rock formation, landscape and views. A great group of people led by Youssef our guide and fed by Hasan the chef and his 2 helpers that managed to surprise us for 7 days with delights from his simple portable kitchen.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement at the end but probably the most memorable image is the clear and glistening star-filled night skies seen on essential night wanderings!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Youssef is a highly experienced guide who managed our group with diverse ability and age with great skill. As the oldest member of the group I would especially like to thank him for the attention he offered me during the times that I was struggling. Youssef was happy to talk about Moroccan history and culture and proved to be a great ambassador for his country. This was my first visit and I feel inspired to return.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A thermo-rest to aide sleeping on sometimes uneven terrain.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jonnie Treharne

    Annapurna, Thorong La and Excellent Guide

    Completed the Annapurna Circuit in December 19, as I had previously done the EBC trip and was aware of just how great Nepal is. The ACT did not disappoint and I was again amazed by the scenery, wildlife and the friendliness of the local people. The trek uses tea houses for accommodation with hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhora at the start and finish of the trip. All of these provide good accommodation with acceptable amenities and I could not fault the food. 3 weeks in duration, it contains about 17 days of treking. Despite being graded “tough” it is the crossing of the Thorong La pass at 5,416m that gives it this rating. The trek to Gohrepani and Poon hill are less difficult as they are not at altitude. Therefore, it is eminently achievable, even if you are not that experienced at altitude. Most days are between 5-8 hours treking, but the pace is sedate enough to allow you to acclimatise and get the most from the environment. Our guide - Dorjee Sherpa was outstanding. A young man full of enthusiasm and knowledge Who enhanced the entire experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Thorong La pass. This is a demanding climb if starting from Thorong Pedi (base camp) and can be made more difficult by the weather conditions. Therefore the sense of achievement in attaining the pass is well deserved. It should be tempered by the realisation you still have 8 hours of treking left to reach Muktinath!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee Sherpa was a very knowledgeable and capable guide. He fostered an excellent relationship with all of the group and also facilitated the development of relationships between the group and porters. He was hard working and ensured the experience of each individual within the group was enhanced. He provided an excellent service at each and every tea house ensuring that the needs of all were met. He imparted his knowledge of the area, fauna/flora, religion and legends and was simply outstanding. He conducted dynamic risk assessments when required and I even witnessed him carry the rucksack of a struggling tourist across the pass! He has a bright future in this field and I cannot sing his praises highly enough. Well done!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring snacks for the long walking days - despite good food and multiple tea stops I could have done with carrying more carbohydrate/energy bars such as H5. I would carry a few travel squashes as you need to drink a lot of water which becomes boring Read the trip notes concerning tipping and allocate the appropriate funds for this - this is only moral and just for the work that has been done to support you. Bladders and tubes will freeze so Nalgene bottles are essential

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The strength of any tour company is in its people, particularly those indigenous employees who deliver the holiday and enhance the experience through their knowledge, approach and good nature. Dorjee Sherpa and his team were second to none and without them the ACT would not have been the success it was. They were outstanding and should be given just recognition for their efforts from Exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Mike MacRae

    Fantastic scenery, challenging cycling

    A challenging 3 with plenty of uphill. Some quaint places to visit and stay. Luckily the majority of the group were like minded people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the section over Chapman's Peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley did a good job of keeping a difficult group together and was flexible in his approach to the itinerary. Sifiso, the driver was a great support to him. Bikes were fine tuned daily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to read the trip notes before signing up. People on our tour potentially ruined this through lack of preparation. If need be I.e being more than an hour behind the leaders get in the bus and listen to the leaders advice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the experience come with an open mind.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Euan Stanwix

    Absolutely Amazing Scenery

    This was my first trip to the Annapurna region and chosen because I'm not sure what it will look like in even 5 years time with all the road development going on. Yes, there are a couple of days where you're walking on a dirt road which used to be the trail but the lasting memories are of the spectacular scenery, the fantastic Nepalese people, the great camaraderie in our group and our leaders who were superb organisers and really good fun as well. The first time you catch sight of the Annapurna range is just awe-inspiring as the snow-capped peaks tower above you. You could never tire of that amazing panorama. Other obvious highlights are crossing Thorong La pass at 5,400 metres (it got tough above 5,000 metres!), the sunrise on the top of Poon Hill and the numerous river crossings on suspension bridges. However, I will also take away the warmth of the local people, the great food, the little insights you get into Nepalese village life as you walk through the mountain villages and a better appreciation of the people and their culture. They have far fewer material possessions than people in the UK but seem to smile a lot more - a lesson in there I think. I would recommend this trip to anyone who has a love of mountains and different cultures but don't wait too long because the 'development' of the Annapurna Sanctuary area continues at a pace so the landscape is changing, and not necessarily for the better if you like your trekking without too much traffic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Thorong La pass at 5,400 metres. We got up at 2:30a.m. at around 4,500 metres and set off with head torches for the top of the pass. After a tea stop at 5,000 metres it started to get tough and our group had a collective feeling of relief and achievement when we reached the top of the pass in glorious sunshine. How people climb 8,000 metre peaks without oxygen I do not know. The trek is very well organised inasmuch as you gain altitude slowly in the 8-9 days before Thorong La and so most of the party didn't need Diamox and only had occasional headaches which is quite normal. The sunrise at Poon Hill also deserves a mention as it is absolutely spectacular and not at all arduous compared to Thorong La.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Tsering Dorjee Sherpa. I've been on numerous organised tours with various travel companies and I can say that Dorjee was one of the best leaders I've had teh pleasure of meeting. He was mature beyound his 23 years, extremely well organised, very passionate about Nepal and his Sherpa heritage and went out of his way to ensure the trip ran smoothly and that everyone enjoyed it. He was ably backed up by other guides and a team of porters, all of whom interacted with our group and collectively we had a great experience. If you're lucky enough to have Dorjee as your guide you will have a great trip and will learn a lot about Nepal, it's people and its culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    (1) Changing money in Kathmandu - the Himalayan bank will give you a much better rate if you bring new £50 notes. Any used £20 notes were scrutinised and any with writing on, slight rips in etc. were not accepted. It's also difficult to change the Rupees back to Sterling in Kathmandu so leave time to go round a few bureau de change. The rates are pretty similar across the bureaux de change (2) Most of the tea houses have power of some description to charge electrical items (USB or Mains) but power banks to charge phones / camera batteries are useful. Take a bag to put all your batteries in and put it in your sleeping bag at night to prevent them losing charge (3) The Exodus sleeping bags / down jackets tend to be on the heavy and bulky side and as weight/bulk is at a premium it's good to bring your own if you can. We had sleeping bags rated down to -2c (comfort) which were fine coupled with merino baselayers at higher altitudes (4) We had a Steripen, as did a number of our group, and they are the best thing for these types of trips as they probably cost the same as all the chlorine dioxide tablets you would need instead but you don't get the nasty aftertaste of tablets. Be sure to bring spare rechargeable batteries and a fast charger to keep the batteries charged. (5) We bought diamox in Kathmandu (£1 compared with £30 for a private prescription in the UK). We didn't need them in the end but we did use Ibuprofen for the occassional headache. Drinking lots of water is essential and a number of the group thought the garlic soup of the trail may have helped alleviate altitude issues

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You don't need to be super-fit to do the Annapurna Circuit as most days don't exceed 12 miles but the altitude can be debilitating. As you can't train for altitude just ensure you have a good base level of fitness, your boots are well broken in and you are very familiar with all your gear. For the photographers I took my Canon EOS with a 10-22 and 70-300 lens. Yes, the long lens weighs a fair amount (1 kg) but you get some fantastic close-up photos of the Annapurna range. Also make sure you take a polarising filter because the glare can wash out your photographs.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Dennis Deminchuk

    Challening but rewarding

    I am rating this trip as "poor" only so that people will read this and get an idea of whether or not it is for them. If you are looking for a leisurely cycling experience, this is not for you. If you want a challenging, sweat-inducing experience, then this is it. The roads are mostly gravel which is hilly, loose, dusty, and very bumpy. If that is what you are looking for, then take this trip. That said, the rest of it - sleeping in tents, fireside meals, safaris on bikes, using fat bikes, seeing the wild animals - is well worth it. I did end up riding in the support vehicle a lot, and so I got my enjoyment from the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I quite enjoyed getting up at 4:30 and climbing a high dune to watch the sunrise - on Christmas Day. Also enjoyed riding fat bikes over the dunes and cycling on a safari.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader set the pace according to the fastest cyclists, so I was often the last one or I rode in the bus. Also, he was not entirely clear on the activities of the day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read what I wrote above. Don't forget a torch; you'll need it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The vehicle had charging capabilities and they usually worked. It accommodated the 3-prong Namibian plugs as well as just USB ports. Most of the campsites had charging stations as well and access to wifi.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Emlyn Jones

    Essential Peru

    We were on the same trip as Neil Thomas and agree with everything that Neil has written in his detailed review. One part of the trip that Neil didn't mention was the Nazca Lines. From ground level these look like very uninteresting scratches in the sand, if you can see them at all. From the air they are amazing. But to see them from the air you have to fly in a very small plane, which is not for everybody. If you are happy to fly in a 7 seater plane that banks steeply from side to side to show people sitting on both sides of the plane the "lines" below you then go for it, it is well worth it. If you don't fancy the flight, there is a tower that you can climb to get a good view of .a couple of the lines, and a new much taller tower was being built.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first sight of Machu Picchu. It really does exist!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano Gallesi was an excellent leader. He is very knowledgeable, but also knew when to stop talking and just let us soak up the view. He took extremely good care of everybody on the trip and was available from first thing in the morning to last thing at night.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Peru is a big country, so to see the Nazca Lines, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and see condors flying close up in just two weeks involves a lot of travelling. That combined with the altitude at Cusco and Lake Titicaca makes it an exhausting trip. It is well worth the exhaustion and I wouldn't want to have missed any of it.