Turtle, Ecuador

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61 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2019
    Derek Armshaw

    Peaks & Valleys of the Atlas Sep-2019

    Great trip. Could be renamed 'Peaks & Passes . . .' as most days involve significant ascent and descent. Scenery and walking was fantastic - rugged mountains, less-travelled paths, authentic Berber villages and summer pastures. Loop ensured good acclimatisation by the time Toubkal was reached, but I think the Lac d'Infi and the Ouanoums Gorge were the highlights for me.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Milky Way fill the sky at Iaabbasen; the pre-dawn start and sunrise on Tizi n'Likemt; camping in the wide-open valley at Aourai; swimming at Lac d'Ifni; climbing up through the Ouanoums Gorge and crossing the Tizi n'Ouanoums . . .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lachan did a great job of leading and managing the trip. He was always mindful of safety and well-being, and freely shared his love of the mountains and the Berber people and culture, including hosting us for afternoon tea in his own home.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of toilet paper, as it isn't provided in camp or in most of the gites/huts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tents are maybe due for replacement, most had broken zips, tears etc. Mess tent was a bit small for 16. Luggage and sleeping mats would have benefited from being bagged to protect from dust while on the mules.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Stephen Secretan

    This trek is no push-over

    A mixed trip - lovely valley walks, challenging mountains and a lively city to end.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was the feeling of achievement both at the top of a high mountain and then going into camp / hostel at the end of a hard day. The feelings were definitely enhanced by being with a good group to share the experience

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was great. Lhousine knows the area and the local people and explains everything well. It was clear that he had an eye open for anyone struggling / straggling. Very approachable and happy to talk with us and share his considerable experience of the great outdoors and listen to ours. Lhousine was also very much in control of the logistics - getting us, muleteers, mules bagage, food... to the right place at the right time. Our hard-working support team were truly brilliant in looking after us and our chef, Hamida, worked marvels in producing tasty and attractive meals even when we were miles from any resources

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found the sleeping mats too thin and would strongly recommend taking an inflatable or similar. Many of the paths we walked on were rock covered with small stones and easy to loose footing. Have boots that are right for that terrain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was sceptical about what the walking tour of Marrakesh would be. But I am so glad I did it because it was a highlight of the trip and, for me, the best part of our time in the city. Our guide there, Ibrahim, could not have been more informative
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Tracey Taylor-Preston

    Peaks & Valleys Of The High Atlas

    I enjoyed this trip immensely. Just the right level of challenging. A great fun mixed group of people who all encouraged each other through the trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a number of inspirational moments - the views are breath-taking, how the Berber people live was so far removed from the day-to-day life we expect - no electricity or running water, almost inspiring myself by how I could actually sleep in tents and achieve the high altitude climbs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Omar was excellent, his knowledge of the mountains extensive. I do feel as though he could have done with more support - ie a back marker. We did have one issue where a member of our trip became ill. It was thought to be mountain sickness - however this particular member was an experienced trekker and climber and knew his illness wasn’t that. They ended up paying a passing guy with a mule to get him to the refuge where that evening, he arranged for a taxi to Marrakech. He had to have stents in Marrakech as a result. I gel that had we had a back marker - that person could have got him to Marrakech sooner, or had Omar had a satellite phone -there could have been a quicker result. As it was it fortunately turned out ok in the end.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you take plenty of snacks. The food is good, but it’s amazing how much energy you use, and whilst camp food is also good, it can’t help but feel a little repetitive by the end of the trip. Food is fuel on these trips. Insurance - given the experience of a member of our trip. Make sure you have the correct travel insurance. Walking poles a necessity - a couple of members of our group didn’t bring them. I would suggest they are a necessity.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Michael Batt

    Atlas Peaks and Valleys

    This was a very good trek. Sadly had to miss out the most remote 4000m peak due to weather, but our guide did a great re-route. This is a good mix of trek and exposure to Berber culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed being with the group, but also enjoyed at the day's end taking a bit of time to sit and savour the views alone.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can't speak highly enough of our Berber group leader. A highly capable mountain leader who shared his culture with us, and was extremely thoughtful towards all members of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Brace yourself for drop toilets and sometimes unhygienic toilet conditions. Take t roll and sanitiser. Take a few of your favourite snack bars for the longer trek days. Take it steady at altitude. Be fit enough for 8 hours hill-walking in the UK without being exhausted and you'll be okay on this one. Can drop close to zero at higher camps at night - equip accordingly.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Andy Longden

    Superb trekking in the Atlas Mountains

    An energetic trekking holiday through the High Atlas with summits of Toubkal and Ouanoukrim as the ultimate goals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We enjoyed all of the trekking, but the climbs to both Toubkal and Ouanoukrim (in fair weather) were especially rewarding and enjoyable. We also enjoyed passing through Berber villages, along with the hospitality of several families who invited us for tea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I see from other reviews that this trip has very highly reviewed leaders, and our trek was no different. Youssef was a terrific leader - one of the best we have had on any trek. Calm, engaging, unruffled, yet authoritative when it mattered. Youssef is a young man with a great future, and he is a credit to both Exodus and his country. We particularly appreciated the pace he set, which served to both keep the group together whilst also allowing us to make good progress. Other leaders could learn a lot from this approach.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In September the weather can vary widely - we experienced very hot conditions, storms, driving hail, torrential rains, cold nights in the mountains etc etc, so come prepared. We’d also recommend you bring a Thermarest as the provided mattresses are dirty and thin. The food is excellent - no real need for snacks (the local trail mix is superb!).
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Gregg Raynor

    Amazing

    This is a massively rewarding trek with great views, truly impressive peaks and the fantastic opportunity to travel through Berber communities and villages. The trekking could be demanding at times but was manageable throughout and completely worth it. Our guide was superb and was able to answer all of our questions confidently and point out features at all times with a fantastic in-depth knowledge of the Berber region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The third and final peak was really incredible, the early start meant the morning twilight gave spectacular colours to the surroundings and make summiting the peak really special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Muhamed, was great. He was very easy to get on with and made sure we enjoyed not just the trekking but the time in accommodation too. He was able to support everyone throughout the trek as well as giving a great deal of information about the areas we visited and Morocco in general.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Training is important, not necessarily trekking (as I booked this trip quite late I did not get the chance do much long distance trekking prior to travelling) but certainly cardio, specifically running or cycling, was very important and made life easier once out there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Along with light technical walking clothing for the heat of the day it is well worth taking warmer clothing for the evenings when the temperature drops, I was very glad for taking a light down jacket, as well as some warm clothes to sleep in as it could get quite cold even in a sleeping bag.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Robert Dipalo

    Outstanding

    The trip was excellent with stunning views, demanding hiking and then travelling through interesting villages.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summiting the third peak of the trip. The day was cold and windy and it would have been easy to stay in bed and pass on the climb. I was glad a couple of others were motivated enough to go up that day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I thought the group leader Omar was excellent. The group had a wide range of ability and fitness levels and he tried to accommodate everyone and help them achieve their goals. He was very knowledgeable and answered every question we asked him. He was very pleasant with great English. He even invited the group into his home to enjoy a tea with his family.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Review the challenge level of the trip and the length and elevation of each day. Then honestly evaluate your ability before booking the trip.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Joanne Bartlett

    Fantastic

    Fantastic trek through remote Berber Villages, and the beautiful high Atlas mountains and valleys! Our guide, Omar, was very kind, patient, and organized and informative, briefing us each evening on what to expect on the following days trek, and teaching us about the Berber culture and life. He looked after our group very well, and took great care to attend to individual's needs. The cook, provided delicious meals which were always beautifully presented. The muleteers were very hard working and kind. I also enjoyed the wonderful group of fellow trekkers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on the summit of Mt Toubkal with its amazing panoramic view, as our guide pointed out our entire route.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Omar was a great guide, very friendly, patient and kind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit before starting this trek. Bring warm clothes, as it was cold at the higher camps at night and during our early starts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The guided tour of Marrakech at the end was too long. We visited a few interesting places, then spent several hours walking through the souks, which was a waste of time. The toilet tent was disgusting and unusable.
  • Reviewed October 2016

    Well paced trek off the beaten track (except Toukbal)

    An excellent trek. Well paced to build up to the altitude, early starts and big ascents and descents with more restful days following harder ones. Going to high peaks and high passes was followed by descent into valleys for the night. The first part of the trek was on less popular routes, the final few days around Toubkal were a bit busy. Toubkal summit is bit like Snowdon on a busy day, but hey, you have to do it. Enthusiastic and efficient support team of muleteers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably ascent of Anoukrim, final 4000m peak. Some impressive early morning light and sunrises. Some very nice winding paths over steep terrain.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Friendly with a humorous attitude. Very good at pacing the day's walk and keeping the group interested. Good local knowledge and obviously enjoys being in the mountains. I had the impression he managed the support team of muleteers very well and obviously got on with them very well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trek is quite physically demanding but should be within the abilities of anyone who is used to consecutive big days in UK. The main challenge is making a fairly big walk every day for 12 days. Altitude effect was perceptible but not debilitating and there were few if any problems with headaches etc, due to the well planned ascent profile. Excellent food considering the location and a very good support team.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It seemed unnecessary to subject the trek leader to the final day in Marrakech. The walking tour was good but it had a different guide and I felt his presence was superfluous and I had the impression that so did he! His mountian skills and knowledge are wasted in a city. I did not enjoy being rushed through the souk and only stopping at one shop. I think it would have been better to explain that we were going to make a rapid transit of the souk as a familiarisation and leaving us to go back later
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Megan Kaye

    Peaks & Valleys of the Atlas

    Absolutely fantastic! Loved every second of it and couldn't of wished for better trip. The views were astonishing and the pride after completing the peaks is overwhelming, everyone should do this trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of all of the peaks is just amazing, especially to complete them with the new great friends you make on the trip. Swimming in the lake is unforgettable, with views to die for.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was incredible, he was constantly checking up on each member of the group making sure everyone was safe and enjoying their time. He made the trip factual too and told us all about the places we visited during the walk and our time in the villages. He was just fantastic and made the trip unforgettable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't waste your time thinking about booking the trip, book it now and be ready to make some incredible memories that you will never forget!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Absolutely Awesome !