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

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10 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020
    Lindy Fozard

    An amazing country

    Recently returned from a wonderful trip , travelling with a friendly set of companions and Kibrom as our guide. It is a deeply spiritual country with amazing scenery and lovely people. The accommodation is generally good although not everything works ! The Ethiopians don’t have a culture of eating out so restaurants menus are simple and somewhat repetitive - and I didn’t really like Injera which is a classic staple in the Ethiopian diet. Our guide was very knowledgable especially about the church and Ethiopian history and it was interesting to discuss cultural differences with him, which often challenged the Western way of looking at life. Some of the days are very long , with early starts , toilets in restaurants can be a bit grim and you have to accept that “ bush stops” ( girls to the right and boys to the left ) are often required . I think the Exodus assessment of activity levels is an under estimate and a reasonable level of fitness and agility is required especially as many of the sights are at high altitude which can make you feel tired and breathless with minimal activity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the mountains, sitting with the baboons, and the walk to the waterfall on market day. We were humbled to be part of the Timkat festival and share in the excitement and fervour of the local people.The boat trip on Lake Tana was very relaxing and enjoyed stopping off at monasteries hidden on the islands.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kibrom was very knowledgable and once he got to know us was able to share jokes and stories about himself and his family . I wasn’t at the Timkat accident( when a neighbouring stand collapsed with multiple injuries to local people) but I gather he got everyone to safety very quickly. His religion is clearly very important to him and he was able to talk about the churches in great depth.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are lots of visits to various holy sites - so please bear that in mind when you book if you are not particularly interested in the religious part of the trip . You need to be fit and agile as lots of climbing up and down steep rocky paths, walking poles are a good idea. The suggested amount of spending money on the Exodus trip notes is too low, most people ended up looking for an ATM ( not that many available) Food , drinks and shopping are not expensive but there is a strong tipping culture .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Addis Ababa airport is very security conscious, we had to go through security checks 3 times. Don’t buy water in the departure lounge to take on the plane- there is another security check to get to the departure gate , and the water is confiscated immediately ( even when the bottle hasn’t been opened) Tourism is in its infancy and we feel privileged to have visited when we did.
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Nigel Pitt

    Ethiopian tour

    A very enjoyable tour. An interesting and beautiful country. The Ethiopians were friendly people. Our Tour Leader Yitbarak was a very good Leader all round. The hotels were better than I expected. The Group was congenial. My most enjoyable group tour so far.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The joyful exuberance of the Ethiopians participating in the religious processions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good all round.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Stomach upset minor but pack some immodium !
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Dorothy Latimer

    Ethiopia in Depth: Timkat Festivsl

    Interesting itinerary but too many long bus trips. Could have been better if bus trips were separated by days or stopped for more breaks. Simien mountains day were wonderful, would have liked longer there. Following day was a long day to Axum and the following day we visited the stelae - would have preferred to have a short walk included into this. Could have shortened the 2 days through Tigrai to Wukro and Mekele. A very long day with wonderful scenery but would have appreciated more and longer stops.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk up the Simeon mountains and the Lake Tana visit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good and pleasant but would have preferred much more information during the long bus trips. He did not have or did not use a loud speaker until more than half way through the trip. I would have liked much more information about the country during the long bus journeys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beware of very long bus trips!
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Angela Coates

    Ethiopia, everything starts from here...

    Ethiopia is a truly unique. Everything begins in Ethiopia. The trip takes you through the historical and cultural aspects of northern Ethiopia - tracing the beginnings of Christianity through different empires and kingdoms. The natural environment is spectacular and the long drives are simply a pleasure as you take in the magnificent scenery - when you step out and walk through it and meet the local flora and fauna - it just increases the impact - the Gelada Monkeys are a highlight for sure. This trip requires physical fitness to fully enjoy what it offers - if you are lucky enough to have this and have the chance - take the opportunity to discover a truly amazing place.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Participating in the religious celebrations - Ethiopians are welcoming and inclusive and they love it when you join in - so join in with an open heart. The people for me were the absolute highlight. The monasteries on the lake are incredible - I could have stayed there for a week! The churches in Tigray are also spectacular - well worth the climb - you will be rewarded. All the stories - this is a land full of human history.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kibrom happily shared everything with us - the history, culture, religion from the past to the present. He was funny and warm and is a great ambassador for Ethiopia. I am happy that he was our guide because of his knowledge and care - by the end of the trip we were a big family - a good group leader and a good group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip from my point of view is very comfortable - all the hotels were clean with good facilities. The trip notes were also correct and explained what to expect - so there are long drives and you do need to be physically fit to participate in everything that is on offer. Take the advice of the guide - they are there to ensure you enjoy your trip fully. Go now to Ethiopia - it is wonderful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The departure that I went with was witness to an accident at the Timket celebrations in Gonder. This was very upsetting. In these moments you learn a lot about life, your place within it and the resilience of the Ethiopian people. I have total respect for the Ethiopian people, they are proud and strong. I also want to acknowledge those that lost their lives during the ceremony, I will hold them in my prayers. This event should not deter any future visitors and my comments here are not to meant to cause concerns - but to acknowledge what happened and recognise that life continues.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Graham Ritchie

    Great trip!

    A mostly enjoyable trip. Gebre was a great leader, very knowledgeable of his country and kept us away from trouble when there had been rioting on the road to Axum. He also managed not to lose any of his clients during the chaos surrounding Timkat!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The devotion of the participants in the Timkat festival. Whilst I appreciate Christine's comments re the locals being "shut out", many tourists would simply not go if they were prevented from observing the ceremony. I do however think that that overcrowding during and after the ceremony is an accident waiting to happen.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, knowledgeable, efficient, etc etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    don't travel if you are over 5' 9" - seriously the bus was too small and the group was too big (18 people plus leader, driver and assistant and luggage in a 23 seater).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked a bit more physical activity, (maybe not as much as the Simien Mountain trek!)

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Graham for his feedback. We were pleased to read that he had a great trip overall but we are very sorry that he found the bus to be too small. We appreciate that with a full group, the bus may have felt compact, but it is considered to be the best vehicle currently available for the tour. We have, however, decided to reduce the maximum group size down to 16 people to ensure that there is more space in the vehicle. John Penge – Product Manager

  • Reviewed February 2018
    Christine Glossop

    Ethiopia in Depth Timkat Festival

    An incredible country: its history, geography and people!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mule trek up the mountain to monastery, with highly skilled and patient individual guide ,stopped me falling several times. Views all around were amazing. met some lovely local people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gebre: Fantastic. Extensive knowledge in many different areas, well read, intelligent, and clear interesting presentations and discussions on a wide range of topics. Took first class and courteous care of us, and dealt calmly and professionally with all problems that arose whether small or large.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If anyone has doubts about taking the mule trek on the final day, with the steep slippery paths to deal with when walking, the guides who lead the mules are also there to help tourists on the walks. Each tourist can have their own individual guide to literally hold your hand, arm, or whatever help you need. They are expert, gentle, and watch you all the time to make sure you are safe [see above]. Well worth the few dollars payment. Before the holiday I was really unsure whether I could cope with this trek. Had I known about the guides I would have had no hesitation, and it proved to be the highlight of the holiday.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Timkat Baptism festival was extraordinary. But some of us felt uncomfortable that the tourists were given the only/ best seating to watch the whole event, while all the local people were not allowed to enter the arena and had to stand behind a wall so could not see what was happening. This is their festival and has significant religious meaning for them, while for the tourists it is just a show. Even our guide was not allowed in as he did not have the necessary badge. I did feel the locals got their own back on the tourists in the end, as we all got sprayed +++ by water! However on balance I feel that the local people should take priority over tourists, even if it means we don't get to see it. Also, re mule trek [see above]. Please add in the trip notes the availability of individual guides to help with the walking as well as with the mules. Woul.d have saved a lot of worry!
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Seema Aggarwal

    Ethiopia Timkat

    Excellent guide Reasonable accommodation Coach could have been better

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our guide’s knowledge and patience The friendliness of the Ethiopian people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Excellent trip covering all areas of Ethiopia

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Transport was too basic. 18 was too large a group.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Anne Hillman

    Timkat Festival time!

    What a brilliant trip in an amazing country. Every day was different and full of surprises ...the scenery was awesome and the smiles of the Ethiopians lit up each day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day spent in the Simian Mountains surrounded by baboons and the Timkat Festival. What a privilege to be welcomed and made to feel so much part of such an important festival.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabre was simply the best tour guide you could want. He loved and was so proud of his country and people and his enthusiasm was catching. Nothing was too much trouble. He has so much knowledge of his country and never got tired of sharing it with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ethiopian will surprise and delight you, but it is in Africa so sometimes you just go with the flow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an emerging country very proud of its heritage and traditions. We hardly saw any other visitors which probably made our experience more intense , so do go soon.
  • Reviewed February 2015
    Tatyana Yegorova

    Fascinating country but challenging tourist infrastructure

    Ethiopia is a lovely country with fascinating history, beautiful people and very unique culture. The tour itinerary was well developed where it covered main points of interests on the historical circuit in addition to attending a colorul Timkat festival. The tour was very organized from the logistics perspective (buses, hotels, flights) and everything went very smoothly. The quality of the hotels were the downside of the trip; however, it was my understanding that there were not too many choices in Ethiopia. If you choose to go on the trip, you shall be ready to tolerate very poor (unclean) accommodations, lack (or poor flow) of hot water and unreliable electricity in many of the hotels. The weather tend to flactuate during the day so you may want to bring clothes that allow layering. All is one, the experiences of the trip were very interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Timkat festival was the highlight of the trip, where one can see the blend of Christian Orthodoxy with African tribal culture. I also enjoyed the painted churches on Lake Tana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader was a great tour manager and was able to keep the group together. I did feel on occasion that he didn't have sufficient expertise on some of the places we visited; however, he did a fantastic job in organizing the tour logistics and taking care of the little details on the trip, so all in all, I was very happy with him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready to deal with lack of hot water and dirty hotels. Bring wipes, dry shampoo, first aid kit, mosquito repellent, clothes to layer and your own sleeping bag or a set of your own sheets. And a sense of humor!

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Tatyana for her review, although we were sorry to read that she was disappointed with some of the accommodation. We use hotels which are typically the best available in the areas that we visit, but unfortunately accommodation options are relatively limited in Ethiopia. We are glad that despite this Tatyana found the trip to be interesting.

    Tom Harari - Trip Manager for Ethiopia

  • Reviewed January 2015
    Derek Holwill

    Ethiopia - Timket Festival

    For the most part, exceeded expectations. The festival in Axum was a wonderful experience - pleasingly haphazard! Wildlife (particularly birds) better than anticipated

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Timket

    What did you think of your group leader?

    V good - his English could perhaps have been slightly better

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    ,

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Worth considering doing away with the night in Addis after the return from Lalibela and heading straight for the south - perhaps with a hotel half way to Awassa? It's a long journey with lots to see on the way and I would swap the extra half day in Addis for more time in the south