Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed July 2018
    Les West

    Best Ever Wildlife Safari!

    Ivan Pinto has given an excellent account of our trip so I have little to add.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our elephant encounters were thrilling but I was so pleased that Moses allowed us to spend quite a lot of time just sitting and watching a family of lions interacting with one another - magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - as acknowledged and described by Ivan.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ladies, in particular, if you're worried about needing to go for a wee during the night (when trips to the bushy-bushy are not recommended for obvious reasons!) take an old ice cream container with you. Mine had a lid so doubled up as a useful bedside table!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Ivan Pinto

    Nature Unspoilt!

    Botswana is the size of France but with just 2million people and an enlightened approach to conservation resulting in an unspoilt environment which benefits both local people and wildlife. Driver/guide Moses ably supported by chef Johnny and staff Ronny and Derek looked after all the needs of our group of seven with patience and good humour. Johnny provided fantastic food including freshly baked bread, cottage pie and fish & chips! The Okavango delta camp provided our first brush with elephants at close quarters as two bull elephants approached to within a few feet when we were on a walking safari with Moses and the local guides. Moses was the epitome of calmness as he gently shoed them away. We were still buzzing when a couple of hours later sitting back at the camp by a small pond another two elephants decided to have a ruckus and one chased the other straight through the pond to within a feet of us again. It was only the start of the trip and it was going to be hard for Moses to maintain that kind of experience for the rest of the holiday. But he excelled himself delivering honey badgers on two separate occasions, leopard, lions galore including one at an elephant kill not to mention the usual suspects- giraffes, zebra, buffalo, wildebeest together with various deer and antelopes. Botswana is a birders paradise even in its winter (we were there in June/July) and we saw a wide variety of eagles and smaller birds. Wild camping was a great experience with people comparing what animals they heard the previous night both in the surrounding area and in camp. We had leopard and hyena visit overnight! The only negatives related to our second night at the Audi camp, Maun when both electricity (needed to recharge camera batteries) and water were out when we arrived early evening. While the electric was eventually restored the water was not until we were leaving the following morning and the toilets were in a truly disgusting state. Also we arrived at Victoria Fall Rest Chalets to find our cabins had been given to others and we had to camp, again the toilet block was poor. One bright spot was the Nata camp site which was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our first full day at the Okavango Delta camp with the two close encounters with elephants (described above) was hard to beat. However, spotting a leopard as we rounded a corner on the road and hearing a male lion roar next to its elephant kill ran it close as did another elephant experience on the Chobe river cruise when an elephant in the water approached us while pulling up weeds, washing and chewing on them all within touching distance. Then there were the honey badgers including one in broad daylight and then ……... you get the idea!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Moses was a superb guide, a safe driver and never seemed to stop working, whether it was helping put up/take down tents or digging the bushy-bushy. He was very patient with the various demands made of him- a little forward or a little back (sometimes at the same time!) as people vied to get the best angles for photographs!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's been said before, in winter (June/July) it gets very cold especially in the open vehicle when travelling in the mornings or evenings. Take wind-proof jackets, warm clothes and even gloves. Opportunities to recharge camera batteries are limited especially in the second week so make sure you take spares to last at least four days and top-up the charge whenever possible. We were a group of seven so space on the vehicle was not an issue, however with a full or near full compliment of 12 space would be very limited especially if some people carry a large amount of camera equipment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it! It's a real adventure, you just don't know what nature will throw at you next. The wild camping was comfortable and the food excellent and plentiful. We did the flights over the Okavango and Victoria Falls as well as the Chobe River cruise and I would recommend them. We didn't go on the Zambezi River cruise but the group members that did had negative comments regarding it mainly because it was more of a booze cruise with some raucous clientele which spoilt the game viewing.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Mo Framptom

    What to do soon

    This was a trip of a life time in so many ways. It was a retirement present and a chance to prove we could still do it. It was a chance to see so many animals and different environments and to see a wonderful country determined to benefit from It's wildlife while protecting this precious resource. We were guided on the adventure by N'gand who was so knowledgeable and happy to share his love of the wild and his country. Melo, the cook, fed us amazing meals, whether in a layby on route or on an open fire in the bush, we were stuffed with fresh bread and tasty food. Timon and Derek just quietly work on our creature comforts putting up and striking tents, digging the "bushy bushy" and making sure that we were safe and left nothing behind except warm memories. We did games walks and drives and mokoro rides. We saw all the animals on our lists and more besides. Even the " its just a bird" traveller began to appreciate the diversity out there. There were changes of plan, 2 punctures, one dead rear axle and so much late rain that the salt pans were lakes but all was dealt with so we hardly noticed with Nata being a good substitute, even if meeting other not so well behaved groups reminded us that bird watching needs quiet. It is a trip in the wild with dangers that we are not used to and we had total trust in our team that they would make it the best they could but keep us safe. The Falls are impressive and Zimbabwe provides time to recharge batteries (ours and cameras) as well as washing clothes.The group pulled together well, loading this arthritic pensioner in and out of the bus. We will keep in touch to share amazing photos and memories of this wonderful trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too difficult to say. Drifting on the mokoro trip through the reeds, The polers singing round the campfire. The welcome of the people. Going to sleep in a tent with lion roaring in the distance.. Walking thro the bush. All of it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N'Gandi was a brilliant leader who was always polite and firm while encouraging us in the right way. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the animals and birds, an interest in people and respect for the countryside. He explained local customs and sensitivities as well as making sure all park rules were obeyed and that we took away only good memories. He was quietly always checking for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack less, bags get heavy and getting sleeping bags back into full cases each night is impossible. One wind proof top was all I needed, fleece was unused. Also only used trainers, boots were surplus luggage. Charging packs for cameras essential if like me you take thousands of photos. Our scarves were borrowed by those on windy hot seats!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do It!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Mike Frampton

    A great safari, definitely to be recommended.

    Botswana is a country the size of France or Texas, but with a population of just over 2 million and some of the most stunning scenery and wildlife. We arrived at the beginning of May, just after the rainy season, so much of the country was still green. It was also the rutting season for some animals. Our safari was in the northern half of the country, starting in Maun and then taking a mokoro (canoe) journey through the waterways of the Okavango Delta to the wild campsite (ie a clearing in the trees with no other people or facilities around). Our arrival was livened by the hippos in the pool by the campsite. Hippos came be my favourite animal, for my wife it was the many colourful birds. Hippos spend the day in water if they can, coming out after dusk. Whilst in the water, they come up for air, grunt, yawn, play and make the occasional belly flops when not sleeping: they just like to enjoy themselves. After our time in the Delta, we took an optional 40 minute plane ride over the Okavango Delta and realised the vastness of it, particularly as we only saw part of it in that time. There were great stretches of waterways, grasslands and scrub with herds of animals scattered across it. No wonder it takes time to find the animals, they are all there but just scattered over this vast area. During our journey in Botswana, first east to the salt flats near Nata, then up to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, before returning via the Chobe, Savuti and Moremi national parks in Botswana, we saw herds of zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, buffalo, baboons and assorted types of deer, as well as ostrich, tortoise, puff adder, elephants, lions and a leopard up a tree with a lioness underneath waiting for her dinner to come down. We saw two Impala challenging each other and two giraffe fighting, using the horns on their heads to hit their opponent's side, as well as the amorous attentions of male impala and kudu for their females, and a lion kissing a lioness behind her head. We had elephants walk past our campsites and saw a den of hyena with the pups playing outside. On another occasion we saw an elephant thoroughly enjoying her bath, rolling in the water and throwing water over herself. At Victoria Falls, we organised our own walk to the bridge, which straddles the gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. At the Zimbabwe customs we got a bridge pass which allowed us to visit this 100 year old bridge and see the gorge, as well as bargain with the many pedlars of wood carvings and copper bracelets. Then it was on to visit the falls, with its 17 viewing points. Start at the first viewing point, which looks over the Zambesi river, before it plunges over the falls. From there on the viewing points get progressively wetter and the views more spectacular - so go expecting to get very wet. After that we dried out at a cafe, with magnificent views of the bridge and Zambia across the gorge. Our return was diverted by elephants on the footpath and rewarded by seeing a warthog on route as well as monkeys and a family of mongoose. That evening we joined the dinner cruise on the Zambesi, for some more hippos, a four course meal with plenty of wine and another great sunset. Our team of four led by Ngande and Melo (our cook), set up our tents and kept us well fed and looked after, even providing "pottys" for some of the wild camps where a night time walk might not be advisable. We all got used to the bush toilets, even the occasional collapse when the sand gave way! Bush showers were also provided, with a water bag slung over a branch and suitable enclosure. Mello's ability to provide three great meals a day in the bush was outstanding. He even provided "home" cooked bread with "Welcome to ... " moulded into the bread, something most of us would struggle to do with a fully equipped kitchen, let alone on a camp fire. This is a great safari, with superb staff, scenery and wild life. And one that all ages can enjoy, our oldest member was 80.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day provided new inspirations, from punting in and flying over the Delta, to each game walk and game drive, the road side wildlife, the sand and dirt roads through the game reserves, the trees ripped up by the elephant, the many colourful birds, and not least the Victoria Falls and bride. Not forgetting the team that looked after us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngande was a superb group leader, very knowledgeable of the wildlife, the people and areas through which we travelled. He made sure that each campsite was left spotless when we left, with fire embers buried and all rubbish remove. Even apple cores were collected up to ensure that the local flora was not challenged by a foreign plant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the likely weather for the season you are travelling. We were there in May, the days were hot, but the nights were sometimes cold. You needed a sleeping bag and warm top. The vehicle is open sided, with four rows of three seats. On the long journeys, you need a warm top at the start and end of the day, as well as long sleeves and and a scarf or hat to protect you from the wind and sun. Think about tips. You have two people looking after you for the full two weeks and another two for the last 10 days. You also have a group of locals looking after you in the Okavango Delta. Also recommended are the optional flight over the Okavango Delta, the dinner cruise on the Zambezi (for the occasion) and the afternoon cruise on the Chobe river (for the animals).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We spent five days in Cape Town on our way back to London and can thoroughly recommend this if you have opportunity. At the moment you have organise the Cape Town end yourselves, but we were able to extend our group flights to do this. Hopefully, Exodus will provide this as an option in the future.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Susan Wiser

    Best ever❣️

    So many wonderful moments. First the people of Botswana are the nicest I’ve ever met. And I’ve traveled a lot. The guide, Ngande, was so knowledge about plants, animals, birds, reptiles and his country. He was professional, friendly and handle even breakdowns (there was one) with efficiency. The cook, Mello, ensure 3 delicious meals a day cooked on an open fire. And the assistants put up tents and made sure details were taken care of. Now for the wildlife - lions, leopards, warthogs, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippos, incredible bird life and so much more. My friend and I agree it was truly the best ever trip and worth our 39 hours of flying❣️❣️❣️

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not just one moment. We had an amazing group of 12 and we all continually had a fantastic time. From baby hyenas to elephants 20 feet away. Incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngande was the best. Shared so much, kept us safe and answered a zillion questions. He kept his staff moving and took care of them too. Perfect leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take less then you thought you needed (it gets heavy), winter is chilly, dryer wipes keep the mosquitoes and bugs away, buy a small, powerful camera, Amazon sells a very lightweight sleeping bag, a cotton scarf 🧣 for the dusty car rides, plenty of suntan lotion, and enjoy every moment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it. So worth it.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Martin & Pippa Hodgkinson

    Camping in the game parks and see a variety of wildlife

    This was an excellent opportunity to see African wildlife and experience camping in the National Parks. We had six nights 'wild' camping in the parks and game drives early morning and evening. The other nights were on camp sites with showers, restaurant and a bar (open to 2am so noisy), and 2 nights at Victoria Falls in a comfortable but basic lodge. The wildlife is varied and plentiful and met most of my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Travelling in Mokoros in the Delta was magical although the wildlife was sparse. The activities there were nature walks rather than game drives. The evening cruise down the Chobe River gave us our first real encounter with hippos and other game. Seeing the leopard and lions in Chobe/Moremi close up.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kenny was great at spotting and tracking animals and birds. His knowledge of natural history was extensive. He was a safe driver which is essential given the terrain and the state of some of the tarred roads. He sometimes had difficulty in herding 11 of us to what he wanted and I had to buy a map (Shell tourist map of Botswana is excellent) before he described where we were going. Botswanas are friendly people and the crew were keen to please.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long, uncomfortable journeys in an open vehicle not designed for long distance travel. Seating 12 it will not provide good seats for all if there is a full uptake of places. Wild camping is without any permanent facilities and animals close by so head torch (with back-up), wet wipes and insect repellant are essential! Take a South African plug adaptor for the camp sites and Victoria Falls as they cater for SA visitors. Quite a few extras for the 'optional' activities eg anything at Victoria Falls, Chobe River cruise and flights over the game reserves as well as camp site meals and the usual tips.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take a good camera and long lens and trust the guide to get you into the best positions.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Phillip Dixon

    4 of the big 5 in Botswana

    Of all the safaris I've done this is the most wildlife I've seen in a small period! 4 of the big 5 in one day. Then at night enjoy the sounds of the animals beneath more stars than you've ever seen. It is tent based but very comfy, food is amazing - fish & chips + baked fresh bread one night! They even do a bush shower so it isn't roughing it. The guides are excellent, wildlife and scenery even more so - this isn't a holiday it is an adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finding a leopard on the final day in Savuti, perched high above us and so well concealed. Our guide Moses found lots for us to see. Also heading out on the walks and being taught to pole a Mokorro canoe by Hendricks in the Delta - they were great guys and loved showing us their culture and wildlife

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Moses was fantastic, he dealt with problems calmly, adjusted plans to fit in with client requests and found us lots to see. Throughout we were sharing jokes as well as details of each area we visited.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The prices listed in the trip notes for optional activities can be quite far out. The Chobe River cruise is 410 pula for instance. If your main focus is Vic Falls then go in wetter months but other areas may be harder to get to, if you want lots of wildlife the drier months bring them to waterholes and the grass isn't so tall.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be aware wild camps mean exactly that, animals will be close to camp and despite being briefed some people felt they could wander about, then seemed shocked when a guide came running after them to make sure they were ok. Facilities in Nata and Audi camp are much like a holiday camp in the uk, with showers and facilities to use, and good restaurants.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Lois Pope

    Lois

    The tour leader Jamie really went out of his way to show us the best of game life. We got really near to the Big Game. He was a very good driver too on difficult terrain. Our cook Mellow produced wonderful food and always greeted us back to camp after a game hike, with a smile and the kettle always boiling! The trip to Salt Pans was a waste of time as there wasn’t much to see and 2 days of long long driving to this area and then all the way up to Victoria Falls. The lodge at VF was a disgrace, showers in appalling state and toilet with no plug to pull only wires sticking up! It wouldn’t stop running. The game life, food and tour leaders direction made this trip worthwhile but all in all, not good value. LP

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Game life, food, tour leaders knowledge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nothing to add to above

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Lois for her review, although we are sorry that she was disappointed with aspects of this trip. The salt pan excursion is included in the itinerary as it is on route to Victoria Falls, and feedback in the past has suggested that it is a welcome break from the cross-country drives. Regrettably, late localised rains on this trip made it impossible to fully explore the pans, and it was not possible to make alternative arrangements at such short notice. We regret that Lois found the Victoria Falls accommodation to be disappointing; we would like to genuinely apologise for this and we have discussed the concerns raised with the management team to ensure that improvements are made for the future.

    John Penge - Product Manager for Botswana

  • Reviewed October 2016
    Robert Howson

    Botswana Wildlife and Wilderness

    My partner and I had the most fantastic time on this tour. Of course there were a couple of long drives but then Africa is blinking huge so we expected that. Yes, it was dusty - it was the dry season. The range of environments was great, the pacing excellent and the encounters with nature and people were well managed and yet up close and personal at the same time. So much was done for us that we sometimes felt pampered but it is a tiring tour and we were grateful that the team, led by Sam, did so much for us with such good grace. A great bunch of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational? Big ask! Alice our poler in the Delta was brilliant, open and it turned out an amazingly talented singer. The vastly knowledgeable Jeremy who led our bush walks in the Delta and never tired of trying to find out what bug was what and was a talented comic turn and singer to boot. Moses our guide who became my nephew or was it my uncle (don't ask) was a genial, funny, kind, caring guy who never failed to spot a track or a bird or an animal at amazing distances at speed on bumpy 'roads'. Sam our tour leader was just great, there for us all in every way, good natured, quietly authoratative, knowledgeable and caring. He judges your wellbeing by the size and honesty of your smile. Meeting all these people and more besides were among the most inspirational moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I said but I'll add here, Sam's a man who can cook up a feast with seemingly little effort. He martialled his team quietly and was a calm, fun and efficient leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a thin scarf or a Buff for your nose and mouth on the dry and dusty drives. Trust your team - they know why you're there and they'll do a better job if you don't try to advise them about things, like where they should park up to get the best photos.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    With 12 of us in the 4 rows of 3 seats there were issues about the daily seating plans! I think that only 9 should be in those vehicles. The front 3 seats have such little leg room and because the sides join the floor at an angle the two outside seats in front don't even have a flat floor to put both your feet down. I'm only 5' 7" and I was uncomfortable quite quickly. We've travelled in similar vehicles that have been configured for 12 but much more comfortably, perhaps they were longer wheel-bases?
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Andrew Oldham

    Best wildlife experience, ever!

    A fantastic way of seeing a brilliant country. You get close to nature and there are plenty of opportunities to take some great photos. Excellent support from the staff.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last 48 hours of wildlife viewing was the best I have ever experienced. It was almost like a wildlife documentary (sadly David Attenborough was unavailable) as we met a cheetah and her cub at dusk, again in the early morning and then witnessed the cheetah make a kill. Later that afternoon (via wild dogs) we met the cheetah again but tragically there was no sign of the cub. Her calls would make even the strongest man blub, but then 2 lionesses stalked and chased the cheetah and we believe she escaped. Surely that was the big finale to the trip? Errr no.... 2 male lions vs a herd of buffalo the following morning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was excellent. He knew his country, the wildlife and how to run a brilliant trip allowing the customers to enjoy themselves. He coped with unexpected luggage issues and our constant demand for bigger and better sightings. Vasco the Botswana guide was brilliant getting us closer to the wildlife than we would have hoped for, without worrying the wildlife. He knew where to position the van to get excellent shots. Timon and Dodga (the assistants) were both hard-working, friendly and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As with all Exodus trips study and follow the trip notes carefully. It was cold on some nights (I took a down sleeping bag) and very cold for quite a few hours on the truck, so you do need lots of warm clothing until it heats up. The dinner cruise at Victoria Falls was a highlight for many of us as the service, food, drinks and views were all excellent - a touch of luxury. Take advantage of some of the extra activities. The advice on tipping in the trip notes was contradicted by Sam and this needs clarification, but allow more than is suggested for local staff as well as the crew.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wish I had remembered that the instant coffee in that part of the world is pretty rubbish and had known that you cant buy gin at Johannesburg airport to take into Botswana, but that's just me. This may help someone though!
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