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Turtle, Ecuador

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

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  • Reviewed October 2019
    Jeremy Sackett

    An outstanding holiday

    This holiday is a great mix of mountains walks, wildlife encounters ( Bear hide and Sanctuary, Bird lakes ) , historic towns (Brasov) and visits ( Bran Castle, Byzantine monastery, churches and cathedral )

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up to high mountain meadows and then through virgin Transylvanian forest with the trees dusted with snow and sparkling in the sunlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas is an outstanding Leader for local knowledge and insights, great organisation and leadership and empathy for the group. First class English Up there with the best Exodus Leaders

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This holiday is a real mix of activities so wouldn't suit "hard core" walkers. Most walks were fairly easy but a degree of fitness needed to get up to high levels and enjoy outstanding views

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This holiday gives a great insight into the real heart of Transylvania and Romanian history and visits a really beautiful unspoilt area. Get there soon in case it changes
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Simon Knight

    Amazing wildlife viewings

    Amazing overall itinerary. Saw the big 5 in the Masai Mara in the first two days including iconic wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River. Followed by chimp trekking and gorilla trekking in Uganda which were amazing. The gorilla trekking in particular was superbly organised. Some long travel days but absolutely necessary to get between National Parks. Good safari truck and amazing food all cooked from local produce.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Silverback gorilla so close

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was excellent. The other three members of the crew, Stoney, Albert and James, were also excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a light weight inflatable mattress if you need that little extra padding, we took an adjustable walking pole each for the gorilla trekking and found them very useful although even more so was the porter who guided you over the worst bits of the mud and held you up when you started slipping. Go with an open mind about early morning starts and long journey times as they are all necessary and the holiday was unforgettable.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Kayleigh Provins

    A trip of a lifetime!!

    This trip was a once in a lifetime trip and the memories we made will last a lifetime!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara was incredible and the large numbers of young animals was simply great to see!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was so knowledgeable and only to happy to answer any and all questions on the locations and huge variety of animals we saw!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember to take something warm for the Ngorongoro crater it got a little cold that night. Although there are some long drives the views and potential animal sightings are well worth it. Our drive through the Masai Mara and onto Lake Victoria was lone but absolutely amazing with Lion, Giraffe, Elephants, Crocs, Hippo and much more!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Taryn Cooper

    Incredible wildlife experience

    Be prepared for a number of long overland journeys (you will become very familiar with the truck), but the Exodus team made it as smooth and enjoyable as possible and the wildlife experiences we had made it all so so worth it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was fully expecting to be blown away by the Gorillas (and they did not disappoint !) but as someone who has done safari before, I was not expecting the spectacular sightings that we had at the Masai Mara! We had a mind blowing first few days! So many big cats in such close proximity - including the ever elusive leopard ! 😍 We also saw wildebeest crossing and a kill which was bittersweet. Seeing the chimps in their natural habitat carrying on their business was also awe inspiring . When they start calling to each other and drumming the trees, it’s really quite intimidating but in the best possible way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was our Group leader and I thought he was fantastic! As well as being incredibly witty and good humoured throughout the trip, Gilbert was always explaining local culture, history, knowledge of the wildlife etc. I always felt very well informed and in safe hands! A very knowledgeable guy! Incredibly patient with a big group of big personalities! He and the broader team had a great bond and worked so well together!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The only consideration I would raise with potential travellers is around the camping. For me, I’m not a regular camper and so was a little out of my comfort zone at times. In saying that, whilst not all camps had hot water all the time, all of the campsites were lovely and indeed, I think my favourite nights were in the wild / unfenced camps. Truly an experience! I don’t at all regret the camping option as it was great fun but I did very much take advantage of the upgrade options, which were a nice break for a city girl at times (but i still felt part of the group and experience). I also thought upgrade prices were generally reasonable. Tents were clean and the team were very efficient with taking them up and down, but for a single traveller, I’d consider single supplement next time just due to personal space. In saying that, a number of single travellers and couples alike stayed in dual occupancy tents for the whole trip and loved it, so just personal choice. It’s nice to have the option of both though .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Beyond the above, I would like to commend the whole Exodus ground team (Gilbert, “Stoney”, Albert and James). They work so hard and so well together and were a pleasure to be around. Food is incredible and you will not go hungry! 😉 I always had seconds (and sometimes thirds!). There are some very long drives but there’s no other way of covering the distance otherwise. Well worth it overall though and I think the itinerary was well balanced. Can see how it’s been refined over time!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    kristina kelly

    A must for wildlife lovers

    Fabulous trip , so much wildlife : insects , frogs , snakes, wonderful birds , mammals and beautiful plants and wonderful rain forests Monkeys everywhere so lucky to see Orang Utangs in the wild and a Gibbon doing Acrobats. We saw the bats coming out of Mulu cave while we were still in it - amazing Our guide found the tiny dear-mouse crouching in the forest on our night safari. Fabulous river trips at Kinabatangan Manuel our guide was brilliant too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    so lucky to see Orang Utangs in the wild and a Gibbon doing Acrobats. We saw the bats coming out of Mulu cave while we were still in it - amazing Our guide found the tiny dear-mouse crouching in the forest on our night safari.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was brilliant wildlife guide and spotter

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring plenty of insect repellents! Long trousers an umbrella and rain coat
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Maureen Spinks

    “When I’m 64 .....”

    What a way to celebrate a birthday! Lunch at Palmwag Lodge then an evening round the campfire and a delicious meal at our remote campsite in the Palmwag Concession. We had looked at this trip in the Exodus brochure for some time and at last got round to booking it - it was brilliant! We have travelled extensively in Africa, but we now feel that we have been thoroughly spoilt by having the opportunity to travel and camp in this remote part of Namibia. Our enthusiastic leader, PJ, and the brilliant camp crew comprising Simson, Fritz and Asser, made this a memorable safari. Namibia, for its combination of desert scenery and wildlife, is unparalleled. It is a barren, beautiful country where, compared with other parts of Africa, wildlife can appear thin on the ground, but PJ, did an excellent job in imparting his knowledge on the flora and geology and increasing our knowledge of what makes this fragile environment so special and what makes it work. This is not a standard “big five” game-watching safari, but if you want a real safari in awesome scenery with quality sightings, this could be the trip for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tracking a desert lion for a couple of hours. A male lion has at last returned to the Hoanib River system. PJ spotted his tracks, but the lion kept disappearing into the scrub, and it was a case of trying to pick up the spoor again. At last we found him and had an excellent view of this majestic creature. A record number of black rhino sightings - the most exciting one being the one we tracked on foot. Lots of desert elephants with their huge feet. You can see large herds of elephants in other parts of Africa, but seeing these magnificent animals in the desert environment is a sight to behold. My husband, who went on an additional early afternoon ride with PJ and a few others, enjoyed a memorable hour or so tracking three giraffe across the plain. Seeing honey badgers in daylight in Etosha. The chance to experience wild camping in the Palmwag Concession - but with little luxuries like a bedside lantern, wash-basin outside the tent, a hot shower - oh, and wine goblets!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    PJ was an excellent leader - his sheer exuberance and delight when he was on the scent of a creature was very infectious. He was keen for us to have the opportunity to track animals on foot. No, I definitely wasn’t going to track a rhino when PJ suggested it, but somehow I found myself joining the eight others in our group to get closer to a black rhino on the crest of the hill. I would have missed out if I hadn’t gone. And, thanks to PJ who helped me on the rougher sections, I was able to make it to the top of the Waterberg Plateau.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A tip whilst on safari - If there are two of you sharing a tent, try not to take too much luggage. If you have booked to go on the Swakopmund extension, this is the format. You will be dropped off at the Hilton Hotel in Windhoek and collected by the Weliwitschia Shuttle, a minibus used by many of the locals, arriving at the guesthouse 6-6.30. The Walvis Bay boat trip, which was originally advertised in the Trip Notes, was replaced a couple of weeks before we left for Namibia by a Living Desert Safari. Whilst it would have been nice to have had more notice of this change, the Living Desert Safari was brilliant, going out into the sand dunes behind Swakopmund and concentrating on “the little five”. We then carried on with a further self-organised trip to Sossusvlei.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book this safari - you won’t be disappointed. If you have the time, we thoroughly recommend adding extra days.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Natasha Challoner

    A vegan in Romania

    A great trip that was as described in the trip notes, I felt the most relaxed I have felt on holiday. September is a good time to go as there is still some sun during the day & the leaves are starting to change. A great trip with a variety of walks and activities. The long hike through Coja & Pestara is particularly nice. The beech and pine forests were beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing wild bears from the bear hide. It is great that the forests are being kept wild and are protected. Every thing else was also great. The visit to the bear sanctuary was very emotional.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas had a great love for the area and he was able to share this with us. He was well organised.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is no need to take any local currency as the hotel keeps a drinks list. There is no shops nearby. You then change money in Brasov you don't need much, less than £100. May be useful to take Euros and to borrow a small amount if you want to buy some souvenirs in Bran. Take some snack bars etc for the walks. You make up a good lunch from the breakfast table. A walking pole is useful for some steep down hills.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We are vegans and were a bit worried about the food. The hotel catered well, with a different meal every night. The portions were good and very flavoursome. There was a good variety of non dairy milks. You make the lunch from the breakfast table which had 3 different spreads eg homemade Houmas & Beetroot pate. We took our own snack bars & nuts as well. The Romanian restaurant didn't have much choice, we just had chips, salad & sautéed veg, which was cheap & we were glad of a lighter meal so was ok. Brasov has a vegan café with raw cheesecakes. Our hotel room had a balcony with an amazing view of the mountains.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Debbie Moors

    An incredible fortnight

    Quite simply this wasn’t just the best safari I have been on, it was the best holiday I have ever had - I just wish I had done it sooner! I knew Namibia was special when I realised that even on the long drives I was just gazing out the window enjoying the incredible scenery which is unlike anything else I have experienced during my travels in Africa. The wild camping in the Palmwag Concession and Haonib River Systems was fantastic with us barely seeing another vehicle during the whole time. In Palmwag we were fortunate enough to see numerous black rhino one of which we were able to approach on foot under the careful supervision of our guide, PJ. In Haonib we spent time with the desert elephants and again made an approach on foot. The highlight though was our guides skill and determination in tracking a desert lion for two hours which paid off with a memorable sighting. Etosha was fabulous with plenty of wildlife ranging from the big (elephants and rhino) to the small (honey badgers and a leopard tortoise). Every day we were expertly looked after back at camp by Simpson, Fritz and Asser and kept well fed with fabulous meals. Whether you’re thinking of doing your first safari or are an old hand, I cannot recommend this trip enough. I’m already planning a return visit to this spectacular country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were two special moments. The first was the rhino approach on foot in Palmwag. Initially we simply got out of the vehicle and watched the rhino from a distance. PJ then assessed the situation and took us on foot to a closer vantage point. It was fantastic to watch such a majestic creature without disturbing it. The second was tracking the desert lion in Haonib. For the best part of two hours PJ followed the lions tracks before eventually we found the young male. Watching him walk along the river system was a sight to behold.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    PJ was the best group leader I have had to date. His enthusiasm and passion for Namibia and his job were evident from day one. His knowledge spanned not just the animals and birds of the area but also the geology and history. On those days where we had downtime in the afternoon between lunch and the scheduled afternoon game drive he would go the extra mile and take out members of the group who wanted to go on an additional drive. For the photographers in the group PJ did all he could to make sure the vehicle was positioned so that everyone got the best shot possible. He was also able to read where the animals were moving to so that we could be in the right place at the right time. In the evenings PJ was on hand to make sure we were all having a good time and made sure we knew the plans for the following day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t let the camping put you off. This is a full service trip so everything is done for you. The tents are comfortable (beds, duvet, pillows, blankets, lamp all provided) and the camp assistants are amazing making sure everything is ready when you get back from the game drives. Some of the drives between camps are long (and bumpy) but the views make up for it. Coffee lovers - pack a thermos mug with you for the morning game drives as it will keep you going on those early mornings. Ladies - pack a sports bra or two for the bumpy roads! If you do the Swakopmund extension (which is worth it) be prepared for a long drive from Windhoek (about 5 hours). I would also suggest adding on an extra night to give you more time to explore.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go ahead and book!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Mark Coates

    Madagascar in June

    This was our first holiday with Exodus and our first group holiday and looking back was probably one of the best holidays we have had. It was great to see such a wide variety of landscape and we were very lucky with the amount of wildlife we saw. We were in a group of 10 people and it was nice to share the experience with others. Our group leader, Rija made the trip so interesting. The final few days on the beach was very relaxing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the trip to the Chameleon research center which wasn't on the itinery but was great for getting up close to such a wide variety of chameleons.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Rija was excellent and what really made the holiday great. She was very knowledgeable, full or tales about the different tribes and passionate about her country. She made the trip special, organising birthday cakes, local dancing and when someone mentioned the beach would be a great place to have a camp fire, the next evening it appeared with more dancing. Thanks Rija.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The days were very full with lots of early starts, but it gets dark around 5:30-6:00 so plenty of time in the evening to recover. Make sure you have a good torch for the night trips. There are plenty around but it's better if you can direct it where you're looking. I had an old camera but still managed to get some great photos. I could have done with a better zoom for the lemurs but a lot of people had phone cameras which worked fine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We're now looking at other Exodus trips.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Nicola Ball

    Great holiday

    Really good mix of culture, wildlife and walking. Clean and comfortable hotel and all the meals were excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlight for me was definitely watching the bears in the wild, it is worth every penny, we were fortunate enough to see 8 adult bears and 2 cubs, I could have watched them all night.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Could not fault our group leader Sebi he was excellent - attentive, knowledgeable and extremely professional. He saw to it that everything ran very smoothly and he looked after everyone in the group equally very well (we had a full group of 16 people) he was quietly passionate about Romania and it’s wildlife and had a lovely sense of humour. On several days he was assisted by Radetch a guide in training who was equally delightful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip to the bear Hyde is a must, take some binoculars.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were very happy to have travelled with a group of really lovely people. Everyone got along very well, we had lots of laughs, many happy memories made.