Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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 October 2018
    Bill Lovett

    Morocco in double-quick time

    If you want to see a country fast, and get a good taste, not just in the obvious touristy places. If you are ready for a lot of travelling and a bit of mild discomfort. Then Highlights of Morocco will be for you. There is a real variety. Some reviewers (elsewhere) talk about the hassle they have had from Moroccan sellers. Read what the guide books say about pictures. But I had little *serious* grief from sellers. if your idea of bargaining is an English car boot sale, then yes - it is much tougher, more manipulative. But compared to say Gambia or India... its mild stuff really. And for me the real surprise is the Moroccans themselves. Nice, welcoming people. People who (many) do Sunni Islam fairly seriously, but not of the negative varieties found elsewhere... They are willing to discuss beliefs and welcome respectful discussion. Long Live Morocco.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was no single "high", nor low for that matter. There was a rapid succession of interesting sights and experiences, but before you could really absorb a place or sight, woosh! You were away elsewhere. This is *inevitable* in a 14 day helta-skelta. What is worth noting for new readers is the variety: grand historic sights; mysterious dilapidations in remote places, barren mountain grandeur, broad desert, seaside resorts, French style boulevards, busy developing country market experiences. Even the "commercial" stop overs (handloom factory, stoneware factory, furniture factory) did not have the hard sell flavour that you will get elsewhere. They were places to see trades in action (and smell in one notable case (aaah, Bisto?).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader Syed and driver Abdul were both excellent. Experienced and health and safety conscious. Your hearing aid broken? Your trainer falling apart up a mountain? Wading across a hill stream? Going to get lost in the souq? Syed will help/advise/caution. On the long car journeys, he breaks up them up well with interesting little stops. He gave helpful warnings about taking pictures, and his tipping (from our pot) helped us take interesting people shots. I will support Vicky's comment that Syed could have given us a bit more background to places. he would certainly answer questions if asked, but general background was not offered. But note: general background is actually quite hard to give. it too easily slips into GCSE history lists. The Vandal, Almohad, Almoravid, Abbassids and Whatchamacallit dynasties all slither into a sticky broth.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice is from a "tour" newbie to others who are going on a tour for the first time. 1. This is a low to moderate level intensity tour. Indeed, but it still demands quite a lot. There are a couple of walks that are not steep, but are not trivial either. 9 different beds in 14 days brings its own strain. There are two long days driving. Syed breaks up these journeys well, but.. but they still wear you out. At the end of the tour, you are *tired*. 2. Read the Exodus travel notes carefully. They are well written and give you useful details for your trip. 2b Hotels. Trip notes do say that some hotels are better than others. So be prepared for a variety. Be sure that as soon as you arrive you check, do I have towels. Is this bed meant for a single so how I and my wife going to fit? Does the A/C work? Are there light bulbs that work? The hoteliers try in their own ways: "ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened...." 3. Money. I took GBP cash and changed as I went along. Others can comment on ATMs, but it did not appear to be a difficulty, just a matter of timing. Change and small notes were a problem. So be parsimonious with the coins at the beginning. by the end you should be fine. My mistake was to forget [1] to put aside enough money for the final meal and [2] have ready money for the final tip. I was not well at this stage and thought I was out of cash on the last evening. Silly me, I had another cache of cash and all was well. Just watch for the end. I also took single USD bills. Turned out handy in the end. The Casablanca Airport transition lounge took EUR, USD, Dirahams, but not GBP. Grrh. USD was ket here. 4. Enjoying the company. Readers who have done tours before will appreciate very well what I under estimated. Your tour group is a little community of complete strangers that has to interact closely, evenly intensely, for 14 days. It requires concerted and continual effort, certainly for tour first timers. We inevitably make our own judgments, but keep ones mind open and talk to everyone where ever possible. 5. Health. In September, this tour was not blighted by mosquitoes or flies. it was (for me anyhow) an almost bug free visit. However there was a dose of runny tummy that scythed through the group. Bring your own Immodium. Toilets, but were thrones, but be ready for squats. Aaah, enjoy that cross cultural experience. The salads are nice, I'll leave them till the end, next time. A cold swept through our number, and alas, I'm still suffering from it. Just be ready to pick something up, we are all together in one vehicle for a long stretches.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Was the pacing right? Would I have liked more days in x and less in y? No - personally I was happy with the pacing. The cancellation of the hammam experience was unfortunate, but... stuff happens.... Unless you know the coffee is good in any one location, make Moroccan mint tea your drink of default. it is really interesting. The wine? Not so great. Give your liver a 2 week holiday. It is surprising how people have a little smattering of English. But if you have any French or Arabic, it is nice to dust it down, showing sellers or hoteliers that you want to make a small positive gesture.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Vicki Gunner

    A good, varied trip

    Overall this was a good and varied trip. The people in the group were lovely, some were a little eccentric (but in a good endearing way). I hope to keep in touch with some people from the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip to the Sahara at sunrise (so beautiful and tranquil) and also sleeping under the stars (I saw 12 shooting stars). I also enjoyed the walk to the Top of Todra Gorge (seeing some three week old kids - baby goats) - the views were amazing and it was a great sense of achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was friendly, concerned for our safety and knowledgeable. I would say that he wasn't very forthcoming with volunteering information about the different places we visited (if you asked him a question he wouldn't mind answering it but as a guide I wouldn't expect him to be more proactive). On previous exodus trips the guide has spoken on the coach at length about: - what I will be happening during the day and also - has given some background to the history and religion of the country and then - when at the destination, provided us with his comprehensive knowledge of the place we were visiting. I appreciate an official guide was needed in some places. I would have appreciated some guidance on haggling/good places to buy - as when asked he never give his opinion.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There were not many opportunities to have laundry done. Take a bank card that is ease to use and ATMs and doesn't charge you as there were not many opportunities to actually go into banks/hotels and exchange money. Although you pay a single person supplement there are 4 nights out of 14 where you will need to share (whilst I didn't mind this I think it could have been made clearer). It is a level 2 fitness ensure that you can walk up a hill reasonably well - it was a gentle pace but a couple of people struggled with a gentle incline and had to go back to the hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We discovered that our Hamam in the mountains was cancelled I think Exodus should think of an activity that could be done (Moroccan games etc/learning how to make a tagine) as time here in the gite felt like wasted time. Personally I would have preferred more time in Essouria - a lovely coastal town with lots going on.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Kent Waterfield

    Magnificent Morocco

    What an exciting adventure my trip to Morocco was with nearly everyday a new city/town to visit in just over two week period. I thoroughly enjoyed the culture past and present, the historical buildings, the vast landscape and the many people along the way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The fact that I got on and managed to stay and hold on for a camel ride of 1 1/2 hours to our Sahara camp. Seriously, the late afternoon, early evening thunderstorm in the Sahara desert was a wonderful sight to behold and one I won't forget. The next morning the shades of the orange sand with the different levels of moisture from the rain overnight were truly beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mohammed was a good leader for our trip. He was well organized and phoned ahead for our meals and reservations in advance. He was very knowledgeable about the places we went to and he also subcontracted to local guides so we got a more personable experience. On several occasions, he purchased extra water to supplement our supply, which was of great benefit. I particularly enjoyed the personal touches he made by our group having dinner with a local family and tea with other families in other towns, so we got an up close personal feel to our trip, which made it very memorable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would like to recommend to potential travelers that they purchase and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated while on the trip as the temperature in Morocco was anywhere from 35-42 degrees in August. Wear a floppy hat and definitely apply sun cream regularly too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would like to suggest that potential travelers make sure they have enough money as the medina with the souks (shops) with all the things you could buy are really tempting and you need to make sure you have enough money for food and tips later on.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Nigel Northcott

    Good overall

    The main concern was the variability of the accommodation. From a dreadful first hotel in Casablanca - noisy and impersonal - a splendid one in Essaouira and a pleasant but out of the way one in Fez and several rather mediocre places. We were fortunate to have the friendly and informative guide Mohammad and a great driver, who never left us feeling concerned on some challenging roads, Ibrahim - thanks to them both. The route was wrong - driving past Marrakech to spend days at Essaroia and then driving back to Marrakech! Too many local guides were evidently on commission - the one in Fez took us to 4 factory/shops and a pricey restaurant - mind you we skipped off and ate for 20% the cost nearby! Todra gorge was a disappointment with a rather isolated hotel; apart from meeting a delightful family high on the hill above the town and a great meal with another family. The best of the trip was Essarooria, eating with families and the splendid introduction to culture provided through Mohammad - Bert's museum in Marrakech, the Sand Pigeons band', colorful markets and friendly people and great cheap eats cafes where the 4 of us always filled up for less that £10! The worst, the night in the grubby Sahara camp - a real low light! Poor quality touristy nonsense - a Berber camp!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The friendly colourful people - well worth a visit - felt very safe at all times.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Splendid and a great driver and very good vehicle. Excellent to ensure we had bottled water in the mini bus each day!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ask - our guide was always open to our requests and suggestions -it's your holiday.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy!

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Nigel for his feedback. We are pleased he enjoyed his time in Morocco overall, but we are sorry he was disappointed with certain aspects of the trip. We regret that he did not enjoy Todra Gorge, as the feedback we receive about this is usually very positive. We appreciate Nigel’s feedback regarding the route, however because our departure airport is Marrakech, the route takes us back there after spending time in Essaouira; it also allows for clients who are flying on elsewhere. We are sorry that Nigel was unhappy with the hotel in Casablanca and the Bedouin camp in the Sahara. We have revised the itinerary for 2019 and neither this hotel nor the camp will be used.

    Frances Spowart – Product Manager for Morocco

  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sonia and Philip Wadsworth

    Mixed results

    Some good points and some not so good. We saw and learnt a lot about Morocco. Good company on the trip. Excellent driver. Good hotel in Marrakesh. Lots to see and do. We would have preferred less time traveling, up to 8 hours on 2 occasions, and would pick a trip with fewer stops and less travel another time. A lot of hotels claimed to have AC, but the only hotel with working AC was the last one in Marrakesh. It was very hot with no through air in hotels/gieghts so sleep was difficult. The trip to the Sahara was really a waste of time; just a tourist trap. The hotel, had no working AC, temperatures were 40C and to sleep, we had to lie outside. The camel ride, OK, but we had to wait all day with nothing to do, except use the pool, for a night in a Bedowin Camp, which was no such thing. A number of these camps have been erected in the dunes and are purely for tourists. The staff live in the village our hotel was in, the woman prepared the food and men drove it out on ATVs and then served it. Not authentic at all! We, and others, had spent considerable time purchasing goods and carrying them from North America, for the Berber village you support, but we had considerable problems trying to find who to leave them with. Our guide was no help with this, despite many questions on the subject, and finally, we visited a local family and passed the items over to them. Since Exodus really push the giving, which we support, arrangements to pass over the items should have been made. By the way, you advertise the walk to the village as an hour and half walk. Better to describe it as a 5Km walk. The hotel in the village, by the way, was very good with attentive staff. Just a thought, but there is a good train service between Marrakesh and Casablanca which may be a more interesting method of travel instead of air. Another suggestion. Let people know they can't use up there Morrocan currency in the departure lounge for Duty Freed goods. It can only be spent on locally produced goods. We understand why, but better customers are for warned.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mosque in Casablanca. The 4 hour hike, 4,000ft height gain, visiting a genuine Berber, nomadic, family on route, was excellent. So was the guide provided by the hotel. Really great person. If we had know of the visit to the family before actually reaching their home tents, we would have brought some items and cash. Please instruct the Exodus guide to inform the hikers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were disappointed, especially over the school goods we carried out. See above. We saw quiet a few photographic opportunities, but were unable to stop. He was knowledgeable and always polite, but information was last minute, even details of what we were doing, so little time to prepare.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You see a lot on this trip and it is good value for money. However, if you would prefer to spend less time on a bus, pick a trip with fewer stops. For us, the two days of travel, there and back, for the Sahara, camel ride and so called Bedowin camp, were a waste of time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Comfortable bus and excellent driver.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Sonia and Philip for their review. Whilst we are pleased that they enjoyed aspects of their holiday, we sincerely regret that their experience in Morocco has left them with some disappointments.  We were particularly concerned regarding the lack of information regarding where and when donations can be distributed in Morocco. At Exodus our Responsible Travel policy is very important to us and we have many projects which support local communities across the world. We are very sorry that the Exodus leader did not provide guidance as they are given training in regards to responsible travel and they are aware that we work with a local association in Tijhza who collect these donations and distribute them. Following this feedback we are working with our partners in Morocco to make sure that leaders understand our expectations and the processes better.

    Tom Harari – Responsible Travel Manager

  • Reviewed April 2018
    Susan Keane

    Mules carrying luggage

    Although I’ve been back home a while. I still have memories of seeing a mules loaded up with our heavy suitcases. Their legs buckling underneath. A taxi brought some of our group up the mountain so it was possible to transport our luggage down in a vehicle. I still don’t understand while animals are used to do this. It’s not quaint - it’s abuse. PleAse look at PETA. In Jordan a collapsed horse carrying suitcases is kicked in the face by its owner. It’s time to stop this abuse. Please check no animals are used on your next holiday. Sorry Exodus but you did not change the situation in Morocco when I complained.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of it except the use of mules.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check no animals are used on your trip. We saw donkey viciously kicked by member of staff on trip to Roman site. He worked at the site.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don’t let others abuse animals on your behalf.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We sincerely regret that Susan’s experience in Morocco has left her with such disappointment with the use of animals on the tour and has highlighted the animal abuse present in Jordan; Exodus does not use horses on our tours in Jordan due to their known mistreatment. We do, however, use mules in Morocco as it provides local employment and the environment is different to that in Jordan. Our local partners in Morocco are part of an initiative in the High Atlas to create awareness amongst local people about mule care and have held workshops for muleteers from a number of local communities in regards to mule care and welfare in association with a British organisation. Whilst we cannot control the actions of locals not working with Exodus we are confident that this training is helping to spread further education to muleteers and encourage care which puts the animal’s welfare as a priority. Exodus leaders are tasked to report any animal cruelty that they may see whilst on our tours, and they request that certain muleteers are not used on Exodus tours should they witness any cruelty towards the animals.

    Tom Harari - Product Manager for Morroco 

  • Reviewed April 2018
    Penelope Phillips

    Brilliant

    We had 10 people in our group. We all got in well together marking a good start. The experience of the different places we visited gave us a good understanding of Morocco.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The camel ride. A bit hairy but not to be mist

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdul really should us his love for his country. He lissend to our interest and took us to extra places of intrest.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When we were in the in the High Atlas it was cold. They said it was the coldest in 12 years make sure you have a jumper. The walks we did were good I was glad I had my poles with me.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a great holiday my mind is still there. You will enjoy It it was one of the best I have had
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Nigel Cripps

    highlights of Morocco (AHM)

    This was a good tour of Morocco - it gave an excellent overview of the country

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountains. The souk in Fez A good group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be briefed for the walk to the mountain village of Hammam. It is 5km at altitude. Ask the taxi to take your shoulder bag and camera. We did it in the dark, take a torch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Immigration at Casablanca required the address of the first night hotel. This was not in the tour itinerary. Eventually he accepted the trip notes but it was a close run thing. Suggest all hotel details are include in the tour notes. The first hotel was poor compared with the other 'comfort hotels' used. Two areas for improvement, firstly the bed room was small, had to climb over my wife to go to bed and secondly the breakfast was dire. Question. Why use a city centre hotel, the only visit was at a mosque on the coast? Would preferred to pay more and use a better hotel at the airport. The food at the mountain retreat at Hammam was very bland, poor in comparison with others. Wonder is something had gone wrong in the kitchen. The breakfast in the Marrakech hotel was poor. It ran out. Eventually some additional orange juice was provided which was used immediately but no more appeared.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Ursula Bischoff

    Great Itinerary, Bad Hotels

    The itinerary for this trip is great - you'll get a wonderful overview of Morocco as you'll visit the cities, the desert and the mountains. Our tour guide was knowledgeable as I've come to expect it from Exodus, and the local guides used at some sites were great as well. What let this trip down were the hotels - they're just not particularly good for the Standard departures. Most of them were noisy (the one in Fes is literally next to a mosque) and in need of refurbishment (Meknes), the beds were uncomfortable verging on painful, and in some cities you're not really where the action is as you're not staying in the Medina (Fes/Marrakech). The camp in the desert is very basic (does have toilets, though, but not much else in terms of comfort). Personally, I felt the 2 night stay in the Atlas mountains was a bit pointless - the hammam was interesting as we got to interact with the locals, but otherwise not an amazing experience and the walk was just going back and forth on a mule track.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking at the stars in the desert.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Amanda Wiggill

    Highlights of Morocco

    This was an amazing adventure and a great way to see as much of the country as possible, experience the culture, learn about the history, and meet the friendly locals. We had a great tour leader and driver and stayed in some authentic accommodation sites from an auberge in Merzouga, a bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert, a kasbah in the High Atlas Mountains and a riad in Essaouira.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many amazing and inspirational moments that it's hard to choose. The Medina in Fez was fascinating and a true maze of local artisans. Riding a camel in the Sahara Desert and spending the night under the stars was fun and the beauty of Todra Gorge and the High Atlas Mountains were breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Tour Leader Lahcen was brilliant and obviously loved his country, people and culture very much and was keen to share this with us. He had a great sense of humour and and did an amazing job of entertaining and bonding the group as well as sharing his knowledge. Lahcen went out of his way to ensure that we all got as much out of our time in Morocco as possible even inviting us to visit his moms house who graciously welcomed all 15 of us tourists into her home with mint tea and almonds. He also went out of his way to try and find shops for us to buy drinks and snacks from and a pharmacy when some needed imodium, to stopping for ATM's and banks when we needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the heat if travelling from April through to September. Temperatures were just under or over 40°C each day when we went in September. Take Imodium as some of our group developed dodgy tummies though Lahcen was great at ensuring we visited a pharmacy for those who did not bring any. As advised by our local leader be careful when tipping or giving money to beggars especially children as this encourages their families not to send them to school.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great way to get a taste of Morocco and to experience the highlights this amazing country has to offer. Go with an open mind and attitude and you won't be disappointed.
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