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

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17627 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Douglas Johnston

    Petra and so much more

    An excellent introduction to a welcoming and fascinating country. There are varied landscapes and fantastic historical sites.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many, Hadrian’s Arch at Jerash, St George’s Church in Madaba (don’t miss the chapel at the rear with the painting of the Madonna and Child with the ‘helping hand’), the Treasury, tombs and Monastery of Petra. I did love Wadi Rum however, it’s a special place.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Muayad Mesmar. He has great pride in his country and the very few times he didn’t have an answer to our endless questions he quickly found out. He did everything to make our stay enjoyable and ensure that we experienced everyday Jordan as well as the sights.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You’ll need mosquito repellent at Aqaba and the Dead Sea, not too bad elsewhere. We didn’t find the walks at Petra to the Monastery and High Place of sacrifice difficult; but you do need to carry plenty water 1.5 – 2 litres, buy it before you go in.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We felt totally safe the whole time we were in Jordan; and the people are very friendly.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Jenny Aitchison

    A wonderful experience!

    The sites we visited were amazing and being able to witness the Mayan celebrations for the Day of the Dead was very special.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Mayan buildings rising above the jungle was awe-inspiring; snorkelling off Caye Caulker was wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco de Leon is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the Mayan civilisation and able to communicate this to the group. He is very friendly and got on well with us all. He has great organisational skills and ensured that all arrangements went very smoothly - no easy task, I think!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some really long (but interesting) travel days and lunch is sometimes very late (mid-afternoon or even later on occasion), so it is advisable to take snacks with you or be prepared to buy biscuits/crisps at the service station toilet stops.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go! It was a fascinating trip.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Steve Braysher

    Walking, Thunder and Wildlife

    Another outstanding trip from Exodus. It is very cleverly consrtucted, gradually building to the climax in the Drakensberg mountains. There were huge contrasts in scenery, passing through industrial and agricultural areas, the expanses of fairly dry national parks to the much greener hills and mountains of Eswatini, the lakes and Indian Ocean at St Lucia and the stunning mountains of the Drakensberg. The wildlife watching was good, not as easy as places such as the Massai Mara in Kenya, but we did see the big 5 and a lot more besides; on all of the walks there was also the opportunity to see wildlife. If birding is your thing, this is a great trip especially at this time of year as the migrations are just starting. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Isandwala and Rorkes Drift, the scene of major battles during the Zulu Wars together with walking the Fugitive's trail between the two. Weather is never predictable and we went from close to 40C one day in the game reservers to weather and scenery that could have been Scotland the next - but it did give us a chance to make use of the open fires in our accommodation in the hills of Eswatini! (Later in the trip we also experienced the most spectacular thunderstorms I have ever seen - very impressive) The Last four nights were spent in the Drakensberg, two at Thendele and 2 at Witsieshoek. The scenery was stunning and the walk up from Thendele to Witsieshoek showed a different aspect of it - more reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales. The views from the top are wonderful but unfortunately, as is the way with mountains the weather, it closed in for the last day and the inside of a cloud looks pretty much the same wherever you are! We were a group of 12, thrown together at the start of the trip, who rubbed along pretty well and had some great times together, so a big thankyou to all concerned.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a trip as varied as this there are numerous experience that are memorable. The time spent at Letaba Ranch, especially the early morning walk through the bush and the chance for some 'down time' watching the river is one. Although not part of the programme, experiencing the ferocity of a series of dramatic thunderstorms was quite something! However the stunning scenry of the Drakensberg mountains (they are so much more than the Amphitheatre) was the highlight for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santjie was an excellent leader. Constantly cheerful, organised, knowledgable, thoughtful, a good sense of humour and with that special ability to get on with everybody. She worked incredibly hard to make sure that we had the best time possible. On the days when she cooked for the group she produced meals that were remarkably good on some very basic fsacilities. Perhaps the bast way of summarising how good she was is to say that if I would certainly be delighted to do another trip with her as leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a brilliant trip but you need to be prepared for a lot of early starts (often up by 5a.m.) and some long days - especially on the major driving days. Bring your sense of humour with you - especially if you are going to be there on the day England losese to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a brilliant introduction to South Africa, and one that makes you realise just what a big place it is. Everybody we met was very welcoming and friendly. The one downside was the vehicle we travelled in. Great for viewing wildlife from but very slow up hills - which extended our driving times significantly. The air conditioning was broken pretty much from the start and it leaked from several points in rain, much to the embarrasemnet and frustration of both our leader and excellent driver. But despite this I would still recommend this trip to anyone with the interest and stamina to do it.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Hilary Droy

    Tigers WOW!

    We had such a good holiday, it was wonderful seeing tigers in their natural environment and visiting the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal at the end of the holidays was a special experience. There were only 6 of us in our group and our fellow travellers were lovely friendly people and we all got on well. Our trip started a day later than usual because of Diwali so we didn't get the chance to do an optional game drive (we'd have done a 16th drive just to maximise any tiger sightings) as Bandhavgarh park is closed on Wednesday afternoon so our 15th drive was on the Thursday morning before leaving for the train. And, again because of the day's delay, we went to the Taj at sunrise rather than at sunset and were treated to a beautiful blue sky and lovely light. We saw tigers on our very first game drive, a mother and her cubs were resting on rocks at a bit of a distance but easily spottable once we got our "eye" in. We saw a glimpse of a stripey back on drive 2 but then nothing tiger-wise until drive 8 when a magnificent male briefly stepped out in front of our jeep before melting back into the bush. We saw a leopard in the far distance on drive 14 and then on drive 15 at the very last minute we had a tiger dash past all the waiting jeeps into the bush. The other jeep with our fellow travellers had a wonderful tiger sighting in Bandhavgarh (the jeeps did different zones) and, I must admit, it's hard not to be envious when others have an experience that you don't. We were happy for them but.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing tigers, especially when the sightings were so hard-won. A pair of wild dogs following our jeep was also special and sitting underneath an Indian Roller preening herself in the sunshine and flashing her beautiful iridescent feathers made for an excellent photo-op.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Himanshu (Bagde) was just the best group leader. He was professional, charming and cheerful at all times and worked tirelessly to ensure our holiday went without a hitch. What he doesn't know about tigers and photographing them isn't worth knowing. He took us to the local village so that we could see the Diwali celebrations and we also visited the market in full swing which was an interesting experience. He looked after us and made sure we had the best experiences possible on our holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although this is classed as a "leisurely" holiday as you don't actually walk anywhere, it is full-on as every drive day starts before dawn and the jeep rides in the parks are extremely bumpy (not a trip for anyone with a bad back!). It was also cold early in the morning (November) so warm jackets were needed until the sun came up. There is downtime between morning and afternoon drives which we used to rest rather than have lunch as you get plenty of eat for bush breakfast. Lunch is Indian buffet-style at the lodges but there is the chance to go a la carte and order omelettes/fried eggs if preferred. Tipping is an art-form in India so a group kitty managed by the group leader is definitely the way to go, it made life so much easier. We changed money up at Nagpur airport after landing, you get fleeced on the exchange rate but there really isn't an opportunity to change up sterling after the airport as you don't hit a city until the very end of the holiday and, obviously, the rural villages don't have ATMs. Shops air-side at Delhi airport on the way home take rupees (contrary to what we had read) but as rupees are a restricted currency you need to change them up pre-security if you'd don't want to spend them. Prices air-side are typical of airports world-wide, not Indian prices. You need to carry your passport on all game drives as they are taken and checked against the register of who's in which jeep. Do not take a bag/handbag to the Taj Mahal as you have to put it through a security scanner and then leave it to go through the separate frisk queue which can take some time and you can't see where your bag has got to. Put your camera round your neck and your valuables securely in your pocket and you'll be able to bypass the scanner queue. You can take a bag to the Red Fort as it's checked manually rather than through scanners. The local people in small towns (and on game drives) will ask to be photographed with you. Most people were upfront and friendly about this so it really isn't a problem, just smile and go along with the experience. Some people were a little more sneaky, filming "surreptitiously" but as you'll never see their photos/videos ever again it doesn't matter. The train to Agra is an experience but one that shouldn't put anyone off this holiday. We were in 2nd-class sleeper berths, the bedding and (western-style) toilet were clean although the beds were rather hard. Some of the group slept, some didn't. We were grouped together so, apart from people passing by doing a double-take on seeing us, we weren't disturbed once the curtains around the bunks were closed. Luggage is stowed under the bottom bunk and a packed dinner was provided by the lodge to eat on the train as you really do not want to purchase food from the vendors at the station. After the peace of the countryside the train is full-on India so is a good addition to the holiday. All the hotels used were all of a good standard, no-one got ill on our trip, just a few rumblings due to innards getting used to curries at every meal. We were told when water was filtered and drinkable (the water at Bandhavgarh smells strongly of iron so bottled water is provided). Wine was expensive, soft drinks and beer were cheaper options.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect to see tigers so that when you do it's a bonus. Tigers can melt into the bush surprisingly easily for big animals. Remember to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the jungle and the other animals rather than focussing just on wanting a tiger/leopard (the leopards are more elusive than the tigers!) and have a good time.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Hilary Droy

    Tigers WOW!

    We had such a good holiday, it was wonderful seeing tigers in their natural environment and visiting the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal at the end of the holidays was a special experience. There were only 6 of us in our group and our fellow travellers were lovely friendly people and we all got on well. Our trip started a day later than usual because of Diwali so we didn't get the chance to do an optional game drive (we'd have done a 16th drive just to maximise any tiger sightings) as Bandhavgarh park is closed on Wednesday afternoon so our 15th drive was on the Thursday morning before leaving for the train. And, again because of the day's delay, we went to the Taj at sunrise rather than at sunset and were treated to a beautiful blue sky and lovely light. We saw tigers on our very first game drive, a mother and her cubs were resting on rocks at a bit of a distance but easily spottable once we got our "eye" in. We saw a glimpse of a stripey back on drive 2 but then nothing tiger-wise until drive 8 when a magnificent male briefly stepped out in front of our jeep before melting back into the bush. We saw a leopard in the far distance on drive 14 and then on drive 15 at the very last minute we had a tiger dash past all the waiting jeeps into the bush. The other jeep with our fellow travellers had a wonderful tiger sighting in Bandhavgarh (the jeeps did different zones) and, I must admit, it's hard not to be envious when others have an experience that you don't. We were happy for them but.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing tigers, especially when the sightings were so hard-won. A pair of wild dogs following our jeep was also special and sitting underneath an Indian Roller preening herself in the sunshine and flashing her beautiful iridescent feathers made for an excellent photo-op.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Himanshu (Bagde) was just the best group leader. He was professional, charming and cheerful at all times and worked tirelessly to ensure our holiday went without a hitch. What he doesn't know about tigers and photographing them isn't worth knowing. He took us to the local village so that we could see the Diwali celebrations and we also visited the market in full swing which was an interesting experience. He looked after us and made sure we had the best experiences possible on our holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although this is classed as a "leisurely" holiday as you don't actually walk anywhere, it is full-on as every drive day starts before dawn and the jeep rides in the parks are extremely bumpy (not a trip for anyone with a bad back!). It was also cold early in the morning (November) so warm jackets were needed until the sun came up. There is downtime between morning and afternoon drives which we used to rest rather than have lunch as you get plenty of eat for bush breakfast. Lunch is Indian buffet-style at the lodges but there is the chance to go a la carte and order omelettes/fried eggs if preferred. Tipping is an art-form in India so a group kitty managed by the group leader is definitely the way to go, it made life so much easier. We changed money up at Nagpur airport after landing, you get fleeced on the exchange rate but there really isn't an opportunity to change up sterling after the airport as you don't hit a city until the very end of the holiday and, obviously, the rural villages don't have ATMs. Shops air-side at Delhi airport on the way home take rupees (contrary to what we had read) but as rupees are a restricted currency you need to change them up pre-security if you'd don't want to spend them. Prices air-side are typical of airports world-wide, not Indian prices. You need to carry your passport on all game drives as they are taken and checked against the register of who's in which jeep. Do not take a bag/handbag to the Taj Mahal as you have to put it through a security scanner and then leave it to go through the separate frisk queue which can take some time and you can't see where your bag has got to. Put your camera round your neck and your valuables securely in your pocket and you'll be able to bypass the scanner queue. You can take a bag to the Red Fort as it's checked manually rather than through scanners. The local people in small towns (and on game drives) will ask to be photographed with you. Most people were upfront and friendly about this so it really isn't a problem, just smile and go along with the experience. Some people were a little more sneaky, filming "surreptitiously" but as you'll never see their photos/videos ever again it doesn't matter. The train to Agra is an experience but one that shouldn't put anyone off this holiday. We were in 2nd-class sleeper berths, the bedding and (western-style) toilet were clean although the beds were rather hard. Some of the group slept, some didn't. We were grouped together so, apart from people passing by doing a double-take on seeing us, we weren't disturbed once the curtains around the bunks were closed. Luggage is stowed under the bottom bunk and a packed dinner was provided by the lodge to eat on the train as you really do not want to purchase food from the vendors at the station. After the peace of the countryside the train is full-on India so is a good addition to the holiday. All the hotels used were all of a good standard, no-one got ill on our trip, just a few rumblings due to innards getting used to curries at every meal. We were told when water was filtered and drinkable (the water at Bandhavgarh smells strongly of iron so bottled water is provided). Wine was expensive, soft drinks and beer were cheaper options.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect to see tigers so that when you do it's a bonus. Tigers can melt into the bush surprisingly easily for big animals. Remember to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the jungle and the other animals rather than focussing just on wanting a tiger/leopard (the leopards are more elusive than the tigers!) and have a good time.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Kevin Goody

    A brilliant holiday with some great hikes

    I've done several trips with Exodus and none of them have disappointed! The Zagori region was not an area I had heard of before, but the holiday really lived up to its billing. The mix of locations and accommodation was great, from hotels in the bigger towns to guest houses in the villages and the overnight stay in the mountain refuge. The hikes were really good, with some spectacular views especially of the Vikos Gorge and around the Dragon Lake. The guide, Stavros, was very friendly and knowledgeable and worked hard to make sure we saw everything despite having to change things around a bit after an overnight thunderstorm. A really good holiday in a lovely (quiet) part of Greece. Thoroughly recommended!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments: - Looking down into the Vikos Gorge from the various viewpoints - The views from the mountain refuge and Dragon Lake - Sunset from the mountain refuge and from the viewpoint on the Meteora area - The Meteora monasteries - A lovely taverna lunch under the shade of a tree in the village square - A cool beer after a long hike!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stavros was great! Very friendly and very knowledgeable and very keen to make sure we enjoyed all that this region of Greece had to offer. A real ambassador for both Exodus and Greek tourism! Thanks Stavros. :-)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be a reasonably committed walker to enjoy the hikes. You will spend quite a bit of time on your feet and there's quite a bit of uphill - as the trip notes state. You don't need to be super-fit , but if you're only used to walking on gently undulating terrain you'll need to do some training! For example, the trip up to the mountain refuge is about 3.5 hrs of steady uphill. It's not terribly steep, but consistently uphill at a nice steady pace so you need to be prepared for that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a great holiday. Just go for it!
  • Reviewed November 2019

    An amazing visit to a special place.

    We had an long weekend in Ukraine visiting Pripyat and the Chernobyl nuclear facility. The excursion into the control room and wreckage of reactor #3 (#4 is the one that blew up) was very special and, frankly, I am amazed that we were allowed such extended access inside the plant. I'll post some pictures to give you a flavour of the trip. Wandering around the 'ghost town' of Pripyat was also something of an epic experience. As you spend the previous night nearby in Chernobyl, you're one of the first visitors to arrive and have a really atmospheric experience before the crowds arrive (And they do!). The huge radio antenna is also somewhat overwhelming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wandering around inside the turbine halls of a nuclear power station. I still can't quite believe we were allowed in there!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three leaders, one was the Exodus leader who was with us all the time and conducted the 'cultural tours' in Kiev. We had another who guided us around Chernobyl and Pripyat and a third who took us into the power station itself. They were all very knowledgeable and got us through all the red tape and checkpoints with much hassle.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to take some kind of 'overnight' bag for the trip to Chernobyl, the minibus isn't very big and luggage space is limited. (The trip notes didn't mention this but we were on the first Exodus trip there so I guess they'll get sorted). Food in Kiev is excellent and cheap. So is beer. Food in Chernobyl is a bit basic but fine, veggies and gluten-free diners had no problems. We flew on UIA, check in at Gatwick and getting through passport control in Kiev were nightmares. On the return journey, check in and passport control in Kiev was easy and quick - when you get back from Chernobyl, get the reception staff at the hotel to check you in online and print your boarding pass. Then you can just go to the self check-in at the airport.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip also includes a 'cultural tour' of Kiev and a big monastery. That isn't really our 'thing' - we normally book walking/trekking/active holidays and we soon got bored. We excused ourselves and had a look around Kiev on our own - the WW2 remembrance park (Right next to the monastery, under the big statue) is quite something and well worth a visit. This isn't a criticism of the trip, I realise many people will book it expecting a day like this, it's just not for us.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Emma du Haney

    Namibia trip

    Stunning country Trip was very sedentary. More hiking options would have been welcome

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sand dunes and wildlife at the watering holes in Etosha

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shane was fairly good, but I think Exodus should make more use of local specialists, rather than have the tour leader act as guide the whole time. He needs to give more details to the group about timings, any kit needed for the day, etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take audio books for the long bus journeys

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The back up guide who did the cooking was very good. His food was much better than that in some places we stopped at in the day. We were served Oryx as main course 3 nights in a row. Better planning needed with the various lodges
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Alison Barclay

    As good as it gets

    November is a superb time of year to do this trek. Late autumn sunshine, cool air, clear views. For us, no rain at all. There were 14 on the trip. Some days we had one guide -Jose - who had won the Exodus trip leader of the year in 2018. Some days we had Jaime who was equally good. Both were first class mountain guides with a huge amount of experience in those hills. They were also very informative re local customs. And very entertaining. The walks were quite challenging. It was not the length as much as some difficult underfoot conditions which added difficulty. Superb views from all summits both to the coast and to distant mountain ridges. The food was very good as were the lunches. The hotel was rural and we took it over for the week. The village of Benimantell which was 15 minutes walk away was in a delightful setting. We had a bit of difficulty with Wi-Fi for the first few days but that was resolved by the end of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After crawling through a tunnel beneath the cliffs of Bernia we emerged to superb views to the coast, to Benidorm in the distance and to further mountain ridges. (I think this particular walk was on the program to celebrate the 20th anniversary of running this trip) Also on the last day , after summiting Aitana At over 5000’ we walked along a ridge for an hour giving superb views on both sides

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were as good as they come. Fully trained in mountaineering techniques. Helping at scrambling sections. Thorough knowledge of the routes on the mountains. Entertaining.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    November and December are possibly the best 2 months to go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The other members of our group were very pleasant to be with and all added to the enjoyment of the week.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Hari Pillay

    Patagonia is unpredictable

    The weather is unpredictable and Argentina is huge, so there's a lot of traveling and different temperatures to deal with, but it's unmistakably unlike anything we're used to in Europe. Winds like you wouldn't believe! From glaciers to jungle (if you do the Iguazu extension as I did) and a big city in-between ... It has it all.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going on the optional boat trip to see glaciers, and Iguazu. They leave you speechless, awestruck and a little overwhelmed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas del Toro I think is an exceptional being. His energy and enthusiasm will make you smile and motivate you to keep going and ignore the wind and rain of Patagonia, when it happens. His attention to detail, general knowledge and expertise, humanity and humility will exceed your expectations of what you think the trip will offer.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it!