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

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12125 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    JENNIFER WOODHAM

    A Winter Treat in the Mountains

    This mid-winter festive season trek in The Anti Atlas transported me into an unspoilt world of spectacular beauty with a extraordinary sense of isolation. We wandered these mountains without any sign of tourist life and only Berber life when reaching our lunchtime oasis and evening camps. We experienced beautiful sunny days, perfect for comfortable walking and in contrast very cold nights in this mountainous terrain that each day brought a different rock formation, landscape and views. A great group of people led by Youssef our guide and fed by Hasan the chef and his 2 helpers that managed to surprise us for 7 days with delights from his simple portable kitchen.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement at the end but probably the most memorable image is the clear and glistening star-filled night skies seen on essential night wanderings!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Youssef is a highly experienced guide who managed our group with diverse ability and age with great skill. As the oldest member of the group I would especially like to thank him for the attention he offered me during the times that I was struggling. Youssef was happy to talk about Moroccan history and culture and proved to be a great ambassador for his country. This was my first visit and I feel inspired to return.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A thermo-rest to aide sleeping on sometimes uneven terrain.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jonnie Treharne

    Annapurna, Thorong La and Excellent Guide

    Completed the Annapurna Circuit in December 19, as I had previously done the EBC trip and was aware of just how great Nepal is. The ACT did not disappoint and I was again amazed by the scenery, wildlife and the friendliness of the local people. The trek uses tea houses for accommodation with hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhora at the start and finish of the trip. All of these provide good accommodation with acceptable amenities and I could not fault the food. 3 weeks in duration, it contains about 17 days of treking. Despite being graded “tough” it is the crossing of the Thorong La pass at 5,416m that gives it this rating. The trek to Gohrepani and Poon hill are less difficult as they are not at altitude. Therefore, it is eminently achievable, even if you are not that experienced at altitude. Most days are between 5-8 hours treking, but the pace is sedate enough to allow you to acclimatise and get the most from the environment. Our guide - Dorjee Sherpa was outstanding. A young man full of enthusiasm and knowledge Who enhanced the entire experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Thorong La pass. This is a demanding climb if starting from Thorong Pedi (base camp) and can be made more difficult by the weather conditions. Therefore the sense of achievement in attaining the pass is well deserved. It should be tempered by the realisation you still have 8 hours of treking left to reach Muktinath!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee Sherpa was a very knowledgeable and capable guide. He fostered an excellent relationship with all of the group and also facilitated the development of relationships between the group and porters. He was hard working and ensured the experience of each individual within the group was enhanced. He provided an excellent service at each and every tea house ensuring that the needs of all were met. He imparted his knowledge of the area, fauna/flora, religion and legends and was simply outstanding. He conducted dynamic risk assessments when required and I even witnessed him carry the rucksack of a struggling tourist across the pass! He has a bright future in this field and I cannot sing his praises highly enough. Well done!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring snacks for the long walking days - despite good food and multiple tea stops I could have done with carrying more carbohydrate/energy bars such as H5. I would carry a few travel squashes as you need to drink a lot of water which becomes boring Read the trip notes concerning tipping and allocate the appropriate funds for this - this is only moral and just for the work that has been done to support you. Bladders and tubes will freeze so Nalgene bottles are essential

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The strength of any tour company is in its people, particularly those indigenous employees who deliver the holiday and enhance the experience through their knowledge, approach and good nature. Dorjee Sherpa and his team were second to none and without them the ACT would not have been the success it was. They were outstanding and should be given just recognition for their efforts from Exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Mike MacRae

    Fantastic scenery, challenging cycling

    A challenging 3 with plenty of uphill. Some quaint places to visit and stay. Luckily the majority of the group were like minded people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the section over Chapman's Peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley did a good job of keeping a difficult group together and was flexible in his approach to the itinerary. Sifiso, the driver was a great support to him. Bikes were fine tuned daily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to read the trip notes before signing up. People on our tour potentially ruined this through lack of preparation. If need be I.e being more than an hour behind the leaders get in the bus and listen to the leaders advice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the experience come with an open mind.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Euan Stanwix

    Absolutely Amazing Scenery

    This was my first trip to the Annapurna region and chosen because I'm not sure what it will look like in even 5 years time with all the road development going on. Yes, there are a couple of days where you're walking on a dirt road which used to be the trail but the lasting memories are of the spectacular scenery, the fantastic Nepalese people, the great camaraderie in our group and our leaders who were superb organisers and really good fun as well. The first time you catch sight of the Annapurna range is just awe-inspiring as the snow-capped peaks tower above you. You could never tire of that amazing panorama. Other obvious highlights are crossing Thorong La pass at 5,400 metres (it got tough above 5,000 metres!), the sunrise on the top of Poon Hill and the numerous river crossings on suspension bridges. However, I will also take away the warmth of the local people, the great food, the little insights you get into Nepalese village life as you walk through the mountain villages and a better appreciation of the people and their culture. They have far fewer material possessions than people in the UK but seem to smile a lot more - a lesson in there I think. I would recommend this trip to anyone who has a love of mountains and different cultures but don't wait too long because the 'development' of the Annapurna Sanctuary area continues at a pace so the landscape is changing, and not necessarily for the better if you like your trekking without too much traffic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Thorong La pass at 5,400 metres. We got up at 2:30a.m. at around 4,500 metres and set off with head torches for the top of the pass. After a tea stop at 5,000 metres it started to get tough and our group had a collective feeling of relief and achievement when we reached the top of the pass in glorious sunshine. How people climb 8,000 metre peaks without oxygen I do not know. The trek is very well organised inasmuch as you gain altitude slowly in the 8-9 days before Thorong La and so most of the party didn't need Diamox and only had occasional headaches which is quite normal. The sunrise at Poon Hill also deserves a mention as it is absolutely spectacular and not at all arduous compared to Thorong La.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Tsering Dorjee Sherpa. I've been on numerous organised tours with various travel companies and I can say that Dorjee was one of the best leaders I've had teh pleasure of meeting. He was mature beyound his 23 years, extremely well organised, very passionate about Nepal and his Sherpa heritage and went out of his way to ensure the trip ran smoothly and that everyone enjoyed it. He was ably backed up by other guides and a team of porters, all of whom interacted with our group and collectively we had a great experience. If you're lucky enough to have Dorjee as your guide you will have a great trip and will learn a lot about Nepal, it's people and its culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    (1) Changing money in Kathmandu - the Himalayan bank will give you a much better rate if you bring new £50 notes. Any used £20 notes were scrutinised and any with writing on, slight rips in etc. were not accepted. It's also difficult to change the Rupees back to Sterling in Kathmandu so leave time to go round a few bureau de change. The rates are pretty similar across the bureaux de change (2) Most of the tea houses have power of some description to charge electrical items (USB or Mains) but power banks to charge phones / camera batteries are useful. Take a bag to put all your batteries in and put it in your sleeping bag at night to prevent them losing charge (3) The Exodus sleeping bags / down jackets tend to be on the heavy and bulky side and as weight/bulk is at a premium it's good to bring your own if you can. We had sleeping bags rated down to -2c (comfort) which were fine coupled with merino baselayers at higher altitudes (4) We had a Steripen, as did a number of our group, and they are the best thing for these types of trips as they probably cost the same as all the chlorine dioxide tablets you would need instead but you don't get the nasty aftertaste of tablets. Be sure to bring spare rechargeable batteries and a fast charger to keep the batteries charged. (5) We bought diamox in Kathmandu (£1 compared with £30 for a private prescription in the UK). We didn't need them in the end but we did use Ibuprofen for the occassional headache. Drinking lots of water is essential and a number of the group thought the garlic soup of the trail may have helped alleviate altitude issues

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You don't need to be super-fit to do the Annapurna Circuit as most days don't exceed 12 miles but the altitude can be debilitating. As you can't train for altitude just ensure you have a good base level of fitness, your boots are well broken in and you are very familiar with all your gear. For the photographers I took my Canon EOS with a 10-22 and 70-300 lens. Yes, the long lens weighs a fair amount (1 kg) but you get some fantastic close-up photos of the Annapurna range. Also make sure you take a polarising filter because the glare can wash out your photographs.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Emlyn Jones

    Essential Peru

    We were on the same trip as Neil Thomas and agree with everything that Neil has written in his detailed review. One part of the trip that Neil didn't mention was the Nazca Lines. From ground level these look like very uninteresting scratches in the sand, if you can see them at all. From the air they are amazing. But to see them from the air you have to fly in a very small plane, which is not for everybody. If you are happy to fly in a 7 seater plane that banks steeply from side to side to show people sitting on both sides of the plane the "lines" below you then go for it, it is well worth it. If you don't fancy the flight, there is a tower that you can climb to get a good view of .a couple of the lines, and a new much taller tower was being built.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first sight of Machu Picchu. It really does exist!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano Gallesi was an excellent leader. He is very knowledgeable, but also knew when to stop talking and just let us soak up the view. He took extremely good care of everybody on the trip and was available from first thing in the morning to last thing at night.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Peru is a big country, so to see the Nazca Lines, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and see condors flying close up in just two weeks involves a lot of travelling. That combined with the altitude at Cusco and Lake Titicaca makes it an exhausting trip. It is well worth the exhaustion and I wouldn't want to have missed any of it.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Ruth Toller

    Great place to spend New Year

    Real getaway for New Year with a great group of people and excellent guides and support. Energetic enough to justify all the food we were presented with but plenty of time to relax.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lying on the frozen river watching the stars (unfortunately no Northern Lights that particular night). Optional snowshoe on the Little Bear Trail was really good and contained the hardest section of the whole week due to the previous days' weatehr conditions

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Good communicator, very knowledgeable and willing to give us some indepedence. went out of way to be helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for changes of plan if the weather conditions make the original impossible, but alternatives will be equally good. Take slip-on shoes to Russian End (outside toilet) to avoid having to put on boots every time

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very well fed and various dietary needs were well met but catering facilities mean there can only be one main dish for a meal. Mealtimes were "flexible" as the guides/leaders also did the cooking. Celebrating New Year in a cabin with no electricity or running water (but plenty of heat and candlelight and a sauna) was special.
  • Reviewed January 2020

    Colourful Rajasthan

    I went on this trip with my family and we all enjoyed a lot. The trip was amazing and we actually saw different colours of Rajasthan. We enjoyed most in Ranthambore and we are again planning to go Rajasthan in upcoming holi.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ranthambore
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Bailey Troccoli-Hughes

    Does not get better then this!

    I highly recommend this trip for anyone who loves the mountains, hiking and Spanish culture. Our outstanding, charismatic guide Jaime took great care of us from start to finish; from transfers, cultural knowledge, outdoors expertise I always felt we were in excellent hands. Jaime knowledge and love of the mountain range and culture added invaluable insight to our Spanish adventure. The cozy, family run hotel we stayed in was situated partially up a mountain providing breathtaking views. As well, the family running the hotel ensured we received delicious, authentic Spanish food every day... Easily the best Spanish food I have ever had! The 3 others I traveled with and myself are fairly active and hike regularly at home, as a result we did not find the 5 hikes challenging. However there was some technical spots and it was very rainy and windy (still lots of fun!) the last day so I would recommend proper hiking shoes and some hiking experience. This was my first exodus trip and after my outstanding experience I would definitely do another!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting people from different parts of the world of all ages! The 3 others I traveled with and myself were the youngest in our tour group and the only ones from Canada! It was very inspiring to see individuals in their 60s conquer these hikes with minimal problem! As well, it was a lot of fun to get to know the others in our tour group from other parts of the world that share the same passion for hiking and mountains!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Jaime was awesome! His outgoing personality and love for the mountains made the trip extremely exciting and memorable! I had complete confidence in his abilities and knowledge of the mountains. Jaime took great care of us throughout the week long tour by offering us support on our hikes, ensuring all our transfers were organized, sharing knowledge and advice on how to maximize our Spain trip, etc. All guides should take after Jaime's compassionate and personable ways... we loved our week adventure with him! :)
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jane Traveller

    Great trip!

    A well organised trip with lots of variety to keep everyone interested.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finally seeing a leopard!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.... intuitive to everyone’s needs, can resolve any problem that arises, works tirelessly to make sure everyone’s happy, all with patience and a great sense of humour. Nothing is too much trouble. The support team were also excellent, going about their jobs efficiently & discretely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack very little.... there are several laundry opportunities, I needed needed half of what I took. Train hard for the hills. Drink lots. Don’t expect to lose any weight.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Amanda Johnson

    Beautiful. Fascinating. Enjoyable.

    Excellent trip that covered the major sites in a short amount of time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra was always going to be the highlight for obvious reasons and it is everything I thought it would be and more but I was surprised at how big a site Jerash was and how little I knew about it. It was really surprising and fascinating. The mosaics in the churches dotted throughout Jordan are just breathtakingly beautiful. Wadi Rum was always going to be special too and the stars at night are amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ibrahim was a true gentleman. He was funny, passionate about his country, caring and patient. He was always concerned that everyone was ok and enjoying the experience. He tried to ensure everyone's needs were catered for in quite a diverse group. He was always available to listen and help and ensured that any problems were resolved quickly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To be honest the trip notes cover it and other travellers comments too help ensure you are prepared. I wouldn't be put off by others experiences of optional trips - I decided I was only here once (I would go back but too many other countries I need to visit) so did the camel ride at sunset at Wadi Rum and also the Petra at night and thoroughly enjoyed both. Basically you get out of them what you put into them - enjoy it! Also did the hike up the monastery at Petra and the hike behind the tombs to look down on the Treasury from above - both were worth it and a good workout!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is a beautiful country with beautiful, friendly people. The landscape can be starkly beautiful and the historical sites are amazing. The first few days are a bit full on but if you are of an average fitness they are not hard going at all and you can take it at your own pace. It is nice to relax at the end and do a bit of snorkelling or floating the dead sea.
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