Witnessing the Aurora Borealis, seeing an Orangutan deep in the Malaysian rainforests and riding through the hazy streets of Havana in an open-top Buick are incredible moments that are worth sharing with others. And luckily, with our Exodus guided group tours, you don’t have to experience these things solo. Way back in 1974, when Exodus first began with two friends who took a group of travellers on an overland truck to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush – we’ve ensured to instil that original sense of adventure and camaraderie in every one of our trips. Delving into new cultures is much more exciting when you get to share the experience with other like-minded travellers. So, read on to find out some of our top moments that often forge friendships which last a lifetime.
Fat bike through the desolate Namibian desert
From the rust-red dunes and dead petrified acacia trees dotting the landscape in Sossusvlei to the lush watering holes that attract Flamingos and Elephants in Etosha National Park, Namibia is a place of sheer natural beauty and stark contrasts. And on our Cycle Namibia adventure, you get to see the best of both worlds.
From Windhoek, you’ll make a transfer to the Kupferberg Pass and begin cycling along winding roads, past private farms and local wildlife before heading towards Solitaire. The following day, you’ll get to climb Dune 45. Named for its position 45 kilometres from Sesriem gate, you could say Dune 45 is one of the most famous dunes in the world. The sand in this part of Africa is estimated to be around 5 million years old and its striking red colour is all thanks to its iron oxide content.
After you’ve explored this area, it’s time to kick things up a notch and enjoy the thrill of biking over some of the largest dunes on the planet with our modified fat bikes on day 6. And trust us, sharing this activity with a group of like-minded travellers is an experience you’ll treasure for years to come. The fat bikes make it easier to travel on diverse terrain with their traction, extra grip and low tyre pressure. You’ll spend approximately 3.5 hours taking in the views and riding towards the nearby moon valley landscape.
Gaze at the Milky Way in the Wadi Rum
On A week in Jordan with us, you’ll spend two full days in the Red Rose City of Petra, explore the ancient Roman streets of Jerash, enjoy a floating experience in the Dead Sea and visit Mount Nebo, the burial site of Moses. On top of all of this, you and your group will also spend a magical night under the stars learning about the nomadic Bedouin lifestyle, in one of their campsites. On day 6, you and your friends will jump in the back of a 4×4 for a two-hour exploration deep in the Wadi Rum desert, before heading back to your private camp for Bedouin tea, live music and a traditional Zarb dinner. To prepare this meal, they use an underground “earth” oven in the soft sand and leave the meat and vegetables, including potato, carrot, onion, eggplant and sweet pepper roasting for a couple of hours until it’s ready to serve. This evening offers a great opportunity to swap travel stories and tales with your group as you gather around the fire come sunset. It’s also the perfect time for star gazing.
Nicknamed, “Valley of the Moon”, the Wadi Rum is one of the world’s top stargazing destinations, boasting perfect visibility for around 300 nights per year. Thanks to its high altitude and absence of clouds in the sky, this region also enjoys little to no light pollution which means that travellers who come to Jordan can see the core of the milky way – even without a telescope. The stars are at their most visible in the summer months from March to October. With the help of our expert guides, you may also be able to make out the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia and Polaris (the North Star).
Come face to face with Orangutans in Borneo
Our Borneo Wildlife Discoverer trip packs a punch. You’ll watch a bat exodus in Mulu National Park, spot Proboscis monkeys in the Kinabatangan rainforests and witness herds of Borneo Pigmy Elephants grazing in Danum Valley – and yet, for many, one of the most unbridled encounters may be the time you spend with the Orangutan.
You wouldn’t know it to look at them, but the Orangutan is one of humankind’s closest relatives with scientists saying that we share nearly 97% of the same DNA. In Malay, the very word Orangutan derives from “orang hutan” which means “human of the forest”. These fascinating primates can weigh up to 100kg and live between 30-40 years in the wild. However, sadly, Orangutans are on the endangered species list due to deforestation and illegal hunting, but luckily thanks to avid conservationists and rehabilitation centres, their numbers are starting to increase once again.
On days 8 and 9 of our trip, you and your group will visit Sepilok, home to a well-known orangutan rehabilitation centre. Known as the largest orangutan sanctuary in the world, orphans and captured orangutans are cared for and rehabilitated by animal experts before being released back into the wild. With the chance of visiting when the morning and afternoon feedings happen, you’ll also get an opportunity to see the orangutan nursery where babies are trained to climb and forage for food, so they can be safely introduced to the wild.
Stay up late to watch the Northern Lights
On our Iceland Northern Lights trip, the Northern Lights are never guaranteed, but when they happen, those fleeting and enigmatic moments where celestial lights dance across the sky in vivid shades of green are a sight you’ll remember forever with your group. To maximise your chances of catching the Aurora Borealis, you should travel to Iceland during the winter season from September to April, as the nights are dark and long, which offers the best conditions to spot solar activity and enjoy this spectacular display. But even if you don’t get to see the Northern Lights while you’re in Iceland, you’ll find that the “Land of Fire and Ice” has a lot more to offer.
On our trip, you and your group will complete the Golden Triangle of Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park. Enroute, you’ll encounter otherworldly landscapes including Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, the Reynisdrangar black lava sea stacks and the massive Skeidararsandur floodplains. During this adventure, you’ll also have the chance to kit yourselves out with crampons and ice axes to explore the Falljokull glacier. Finding your feet with crampons on is a bit of a struggle at first, but a funny experience we’re sure you’ll look back on fondly with your group. This glacier is also perfect for grabbing photos with your friends, behind a backdrop of bright blue ice. Next up, you’ll see Diamond Beach – a peculiar sight of ice structures, that glisten like diamonds against the black, volcanic sand. On the last day of your trip, you have a free day so why not rest those legs with a group trip to the Blue Lagoon?
Take a ride in one of Havana’s classic cars
Very few other places in the world can locals proudly say that their cars are regarded as true landmarks of their country – but on the vibrant streets of Havana, Cuba, you can see why their colourful vintage cars have become akin to statues of historical importance.
Today, you’ll find classic American models like Buicks, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles and Chryslers to Soviet-era GAZ Volgas and Ladas in Havana – and shockingly about half of these cars probably date back to the 1950s. But instead of these beautiful cars being locked away in temperature-controlled garages or museums, the locals still use them, daily, to get themselves and others from A to B. Why? Because in 1959, Fidel Castro’s revolution banned all American car imports and brought in strict laws on Cuban car owners. So, with no way of buying new cars, or getting spare parts into the country, the locals got creative with their mechanical skills to keep these 50’s cars going, no matter what just for a practical means of transport. But when tourism kicked off, they realised these spectacular cars were now a historical attraction in their own right, with travellers keen to transport themselves back to the 50s when famous authors like Ernest Hemingway and celebrities like Frank Sinatra would ride in open-topped Chevrolets around the streets of Havana.
Get A taste of Cuba for yourself on day seven of this trip, where you and your like-minded travellers can join our very own Havana classic car tour in the early evening to explore the capital in style. Regardless of whether you’re in an open-topped Chevrolet or a classic Buick, there’s no better way to see the city. Exploring both old Havana and emerging new areas of the city, your expert local guide will regale you with legends, stories and fascinating facts that will make Havana feel like one of the most interesting cities you’ve ever visited.
If you’re keen to travel with a group of like-minded travellers, check out our collection of guided group tours here.