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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 June 2019
    Ann Burnett

    Inexperienced guide

    I have had to give this trip a 2 star because of the guide, although I take no pleasure in doing this. He was inexperienced and quite unfriendly at times. This was my 6th Exodus trip and this was my worst ever guide by a long way. See group leader section.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I absolutely loved swimming in Aidarkul Lake and the desert scenery on the way to and from the yurt. I also loved Samarkand and particularly Shah-i-Zinda.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakh appeared to be inexperienced, he lacked friendliness at times and he showed a complete lack of interest in the fact that I was very badly ill twice. I had arrived a few days earlier (as a solo female traveller) and the day before I met the group I suffered sickness and diarhoea. On first meeting Shakh at the group meeting I mentioned this to him and I could not believe the almost complete lack of interest. In fact, I thought this so unusual, that I repeated myself in case he had not heard. We later went on our tour of Tashkent and I very nearly fainted (as I had not eaten due to the bug). Again Shakh was barely interested, pointed to a door where I could reach the outside and left me to it. Only when the other members of the group asked me if I was OK did Shakh very briefly check on me. A few days after that the bug returned and I was up all night with the worst illness I have ever encountered. The next day I again mentioned this to the guide and he was still uninterested (and no offers of pharmacy stops were made). Other problems with Shakh were:- not having sufficient water for our group in the first few days of the trip (at the desert fortresses we had run out of water completely in the heat and we also run out of water in the morning at Khiva). In fact, at the desert fortresses, I asked Shakh where the water was and he snapped back that he had not picked up the 10 litre bottle yet. As we had driven from the airport at Nukus there had been plenty of opportunity to pick up water. After that I no longer trusted Shakh to provide water and just bought my own to make sure I always had a supply. I have been on 5 other Exodus trips and on all those trips the guide has eaten with the group and the guides have been good/fantastic. This guide did not eat with us on the first night in Tashkent nor the first night in Samarkand and on around 4 or 5 other occasions. He was not always very friendly or smiley, which I think is the requirement of a guide. In fact one time we passed him in the street during our free time and he did not even smile or acknowledge us. The restaurant chosen for our final lunch in Samarkand was appalling in terms of service and again Shakh sat at a neighbouring table. Some of our food took an hour and a quarter or more to arrive and no complaints were made by him, to my knowledge. Then when the bill came the prices had changed markedly, for example the soup price had increased by over 50% and all the other prices had changed. This situation was awful and was handled very badly by the guide. The coach was not always asked to collect us, e.g from right outside the airport, so we were left with quite long distances to drag our cases. This was not really a problem for me as I had a rucksack (albeit a heavy one) but some of the other travellers were in their 70's and I am sure they would have benefited from being picked up. Shakh gave out his mobile number in case of emergency, with instructions NOT to ring him at night. Whilst I am sure most people would not ring the guide at night, emergencies can of course happen at night. On a more positive note Shakh was very knowledgeable about the history and geography of Uzbekistan and I very much enjoyed his commentaries, especially when he told us about his wedding. He also improved as the 11 days progressed (except for the final lunch incident). However I think being completely uninterested in the health of your travellers is completely unacceptable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sadly a number of people in our group were ill. Take plenty of rehydration salts. The bread is at least delicious, so you can survive on that! Do get out for a walk in the area around the yurt. I had a couple of little walks and it was so peaceful and the wildlife great.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary is great for this trip with a lovely combination of nature and cities. I would however definitely check on who is the guide.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    John Wallace

    A wonderful country - but an indifferent leader

    The journey, the country, the route, the accommodation, the food and drink - all faultless. However, one relies very much on the tour leader to provide insights, explanations and observations of their native country, in order to bring that country to life and bring greater richness to the experience than mere observation, as a visiting stranger, can rovide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling amidst spectacular scenery redolent of Middle Earth in a time of innocence.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Poor. He did what he had to and no more. He kept a distance from the group, erecting an impenetrable wall comprising his mobile phone and an attitude that clearly communicated that it would be best for us if we didn't trouble him by talking to him more than absolutely necessary. He had no contact with me throughout the trip, and I felt too intimidated to dare to ask him any of the many questions I had about his wonderful country. I have been on many other Exodus trips on which the leader become a friend, adviser, support and encouragement - and all-around hero.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure that they get an Albania guide who truly loves their job - most of the Exodus guides I've encountered have given their hearts and souls to the execution of their duties.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hope the gentleman in question can be persuaded to give more time to his paying guests and less time to his mobile phone.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Sue Moody

    Calves of steel

    A fabulous week in the Cinque Terre - not to be missed! The uphill sections can be a slog but the views are so rewarding that it really is worth it. Walking between the villages of the Cinque Terre is the best way to see the beauty of the area and, on the less used paths, see fewer tourists! The group was great fun, we all got on really well. Hotel Piccolo offers great breakfasts and the rooms are clean and adequate - it's easy to find walking from the station.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the walk from Corniglia to Manarola. Once we were up on the path through the terraced vineyards, the views were spectacular and there was a real sense of achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michela is an excellent guide who checks on everyone and gives plenty of rest periods which are essential as there are lots of uphill sections, many with steps of varying heights and condition. She provides alternatives for people who do not want to the full walk every day as well as inspiration for the free day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you really don't like walking up hills or struggle with long down hill walks, this isn't for you! If you are fit but are slow either uphill, downhill or both - don't worry as Michela makes sure that the pace works for everyone and the views are superb and worth it! Moneglia has lots of restaurants with plenty of choice so if you don't want to eat with the group you have lots of options.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Moneglia is easy to get to by train and if you opt for land only, consider flying into Genoa and catching the train from there as I did. It's just as easy as travelling from Pisa. The hotel has an agreement with a private beach at Moneglia so you can use that for a discounted price, but on our trip there wasn't much time for swimming in the sea unless you did half a day of walking and caught the train back from the halfway point.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Amy Kuhn

    Great hikes + comforts of home

    This was my first trip with Exodus, but it won't be my last. From the moment we pulled up to the chalet we were greeted by our hosts Zoe and Ben who immediately grabbed our stuff and showed us to our rooms and made us feel right at home. The Chalet Chocolat is very cozy and homey with a view out the back that never gets old. Our hikes were terrific, challenging but so worth it. Every day was different. The terrain, the scenery, the challenges... and the views. Our leader, Egle was great! Fun, sociable, knowledgeable and very organized. We very much enjoyed her leadership and had alot of laughs along the way. The food is amazing. Having cake waiting for you when you get back from a long day of trekking is even better than it sounds once you've done it. And these are real homemade cakes that are to die for. 3 course meals every night? So spoiled!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think it was our 4th hike, up to Aiguillette des Houches. It was a big hike and our group had been struggling with altitude and general malaise. There is a section that is very narrow and tricky just before summiting and everyone got through it like a champ. Being up there all together was something special. Also, crossing a heavy flowing stream forcing us all to get our feet wet and Egle helping everyone across by standing in it and other members of the group assisting as well. Very cool.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Egle was a great leader. Smart, organized, sociable and fun. She kept an eye on everyone and always had our safety at the forefront. I would love to trek with her again.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is still quite challenging physically. There are some significant ascents and descents on some tricky terrain and narrow passages. The altitude can also play a factor. Not to be underestimated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you for a fabulous week!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Elaine Collins

    Toubkal Long Trek

    Epic experience, very well organised and a great group of people

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view from 4000m was amazing, didnt expect it to affect me the way it did, I i will never forget it! Our guide was fantastic, he took time to work out our abilities and tailored the walking so that we were all able to keep together. The summit day was excellent thanks to his pacing and care.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were lucky with the weather but if it would have been wetter then the sleeping mattresses could have gotten damp so take a binbag or something to form a barrier with. Food was great but a little light on protein for my metabolism, though it would be so I took some sachets of protein powder to add to my porridge. Carry and drink lots of water, 3 l per day
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Mark Davey

    You Never Know What Is Around The Next Corner

    Wow, Just Wow. Our first Safari experience and the whole trip had different and memorable highlights on each day. From seeing Elephants in family groups, Lions, Leopards, Cheetah, Black Rhino, in fact the list goes on and on. At the start of the trip we were shouting out having seen an animal only to find that it was a tree or a termite mound but as the week progressed we were far better at spotting the local wild life. Being out each day on safari helps and ensured we saw as many different animals as possible. At each site we stayed at, we received a friendly welcome and the facilities were excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Far too many to mention, but just a few: Seeing elephants at a water hole at dawn The sounds of the Hippo pool Having Lions walking down the track passing within touching distance of our vehicle

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jackson our tour leader was excellent. He was friendly, approachable and informative and ensured the tour was enjoyable for all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go on this trip I would ensure that you take binoculars to ensure seeing animals further from the vehicle (at least x24 zoom)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A lifetime of memories from just eight days
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Karen White

    Whale & Dolphin Watching in the Azores

    A great holiday. Islands were beautiful, lovely group of people to travel with and our Guide, Nuno, was second to none. It was clear from Nuno and other guides we had on other trips that not only were they all very knowledgeable on their subject (in Nuno's case this was everything!) but everyone was wonderfully passionate about the islands and the environment. The holiday packed a lot in but Nuno built in a bit of "down time" for us too. You just have to be prepared that SATA Airlines are not too good with their time-keeping!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting on a rib boat with dolphins racing right by your boat and the most breath-taking scenery inland especially on Sao Miguel. On Faial, I also loved the evening trip to the cliffs to hear the Cory Shearwater coming home to roost. Sitting in the dark listening to the sounds around us was surreal and an experience I will never forget. And of course in June the hydrangeas are stunning. Thanks to Nuno the three nights in Faial in a hotel room facing the harbour and sea was another plus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nuno was amazing! Just one big bundle of happiness and a joy to travel with. He was everything - extremely organised; he tweaked the itinerary when required so that we got the best of everything; any last minute changes caused by airlines; hotels or other companies were dealt with efficiently so we never had to worry about anything; his knowledge of the islands was incredible; some of his stories hilarious and his sense of humour was just brilliant! The world would be a happier place if there were more Nunos in it!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    SATA airlines are not the greatest of time keepers On the rib boats for whale and dolphin watching it is tight for space and can be very bumpy so need to be aware of that if you have back problems. Also, you can occasionally get wet from spray so make sure you have something suitable to cover your camera.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just sit back and enjoy these stunning islands, wonderful and interesting people and if you are lucky the sheer fun of spending a week with Nuno!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    George Garland

    Fascinating Place

    The names of Samarkand and Bukhara have conjured dreams since my school days many years ago and I never thought I would have a chance to see them. The fall of the USSR and now visa-free travel has left this land of desert fortresses, caravan stops and the beautiful buildings covered in ornate blue tiles within reach. The land of Tamerlane, the vastness of the central Asian steppes and the magical cross-roads of civilisations and learning need to be seen to be believed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving in Khiva and seeing the Silk Road monuments for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shah is a young man fairly new to the industry. He is very knowledgeable but lacks some of the finesse and inter-personal skills that come with experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan is far easier to enjoy than imagined. Outside Tashkent English is widely spoken, particularly in the tourist industry and amongst the young. With a stay up to 15 days now visa free for tourists from a large range of countries including the UK this is the time to travel before too many people start making their plans and prices start rising.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The final 24 hours was wasted time which was a pity. The hotel in Tashkent was near the airport but 7 or 8 kilometers from the centre. There is no direct public transport between the two and with no Uzbek or Russian language skills travel could have been fraught, particularly as the return journey would be time critical. It would be far better to secure an hotel close to the city centre for the one night.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Christine Burnell

    Authentic Andalucia ADH190615

    Overall a fabulous experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Rhonda. This should be part of the itinerary not just an optional extra.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Micheal Newcomb was an outstanding group leader / guide. His passion for the region and his knowledge was outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is quite a bit of walking involved. So a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everything was perfect. Thank you.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Christine Burnell

    Authentic Andalucia ADH190615

    Overall a fabulous experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Rhonda. This should be part of the itinerary not just an optional extra.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Micheal Newcomb was an outstanding group leader / guide. His passion for the region and his knowledge was outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is quite a bit of walking involved. So a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everything was perfect. Thank you.
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