Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

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  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sandra Barrett

    Fantastic Trip

    We have returned from a tailormade trip to Kicheche Mara Camp in Kenya and Fumba Beach Lodge in Zanzibar. I must congratulate Charlie Potter for his organisation and what a great trip it was. Kicheche Mara Camp, what a fabulous place. Tents were absolute luxury, better than some hotels. The staff were ALL excellent, smiley and friendly, they couldn't do enough for you. This camp is in the Mara North Conservancy and I strongly believe this is the way forward for Safaris and camps. The camp was small, just 8 tents all well spaced out with fabulous views right amongst nature itself. Wildlife frequently came into camp and you could hear their calls at night time. In the hours of darkness you were always escorted to your tents. Each night someone goes and puts a hot water bottle in your bed whilst you are dining. Every morning at 5.30 you are woken with a hot drink and freshly baked biscuits - each in the shape of an animal, different each day. Then when you go to the Safari vehicle there is a hot water bottle on your seat - yes this was needed some mornings. Each evening before the meal there was a camp fire where you shared details of your day with others as well as having a drink under the stars. Also Michael gave us a thought of the day, which was always appreciated. The food, what can I say it was 5 star, as good as any top hotel, all cooked on the premises. All the bread, biscuits and cakes were freshly done. Presentation was always excellent as was the service. Always smiles on the staff faces and the camp managers - Ray and Tony - always ate with you. It was great when there was a celebration as all the staff took part and a cake brought out or even champagne. Breakfasts were taken on the early morning game drive and again the food was excellent and it was a good chance to stretch your legs. Back at lunch time for another excellent meal, then afternoon tea before going out again. Then sundowners and snacks on the drive. What more could we ask. We certainly never went hungry. The game drives were superb, we had Saruni and he was always pointing things out, spotting animals and birds and finding the necessary game to view. He was a great friendly guy always smiling and chatting with us. In fact your game drive starts from the moment you land at the airstrip. We followed Cheetahs after an Impala, chased across the valley to watch Hyenas take a Topi down. Gazed at Lionesses with their cubs and prides playing or sleeping in the sun. Elephants tramping through the river Mara. You name it we saw it except for the Leopard, but we did try. We did see a Serval one evening, how Saruni spotted it I don't know as they blend in so well. Lions in large numbers, giraffe, zebra, plenty of Topi, Jackal to name a few plus the great variety of birdlife which is fantastic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were too many to mention. But arriving by small plane was superb and then being on the game drive straight away. Being made welcome as soon as we got to camp and then a welcome card on our bed as we arrived at the tent. Always made welcome by everybody. The game drives were fantastic as there weren't lots of vehicles and people blocking the views, everyone had respect for each other and would wait their turn. Being able to go off road is also an advantage especially when you want to follow cheetahs on a kill or any other animal for that matter. This is the way forward for Safaris, fewer vehicles and more chances of spotting game. The sunrises and sunsets were out of this world especially the latter when you were having sundowners. We have been lucky enough to go on quite a few safaris but this is the best yet and I don't want to go into National Parks or Reserves again, I want more Conservancies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We didn't have a group leader as such as were travelling on our own. But Anthony met us in Nairobi and took us to the hotel, then picked us up in the morning for our flight. He met us on the way back from Zanzibar, and a good job too as our luggage had been put on the wrong plane and it took some sorting out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For future travellers doing a dual trip I would advise NOT flying to Zanzibar from Wilson airport, go straight to Jomo Kenyatta, as it makes it easier when returning home. Also a 4hr wait which is what we had at Wilson is so boring as there is no lounge, only snacks and a boring place to be. Very disorganised especially on the International side. I wouldn't recommend flying Safari Air either. Into the Mara was fine but not going to and from Zanzibar. There was only 8 people returning to Wilson from Zanzibar and they managed to put all the luggage on the wrong plane. It was not fun waiting airside for over 2 hours for our luggage to arrive and then try and rush to check in for our flight home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I haven't gone into any detail about the Fumba Beach Lodge on Zanzibar, but this is a great place to relax after a Safari. The bungalows are in gardens or sea view which we had and it is so peaceful and quiet. Great staff, great food and great ambiance. Absolutely loved it there. BUT the highlight was the Kicheche Mara Camp and Safaris.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Warren Rook

    Unbelievable adventure

    Well where to begin in reviewing this trip? I guess at the start and it certainly is as advertised an adventure, and an adventure you will never forget. From the very beginning arriving into Nairobi airport everything was superbly organised and it wasn't long before we met up with our group of fellow travelers and we're introduced to our exodus team, consisting of our leader Patrick, our driver David, cook Wilson and helper Jessie, what a great team they were too so friendly and welcoming to us all. I don't believe that within the budget of this trip it would be possible to see so much of East Africa as we managed to see on our holiday. Through Kenya, onto Tanzania and then ending in Zanzibar, everyday spent marvelling at what each location has to offer, just as you think things can't get any better in the Massai mara you're into the Serengeti and even greater sights, and then to top it all off my personal favourite was a morning in the ngorrowgorrw crater. Along the way we were lucky enough to see the big five, a cheetah kill a hare, countless giraffes, elephants, wilderbeast, hippos, and so many other animals I can't write them all down. We slept in camps where you could literally hear the lions and hyenas and they sounded so close. We woke mornings to find zebras munching grass within touching distance of our tents, on this trip all this just seems natural, but when you get home you really think about it and realize how lucky you were to see it all. You will sleep in 2 man tents which are a little on the small side but you're so knackered at night you really don't care so long as you can put your head down and go to sleep. There is an awful lot of traveling, there has to be to cram so much into the trip, the truck is pretty comfortable and there is generally lots to see, but take a book or 2 as there are a couple of really long days of transiting destinations. I would thoroughly recommend this trip, indeed if you're reading this review you're obviously considering this holiday, I can offer one piece of advice stop considering right now and book it! I guarantee you won't regret anything unless you don't do this holiday it was for us the trip of a lifetime. Oh and last but not least I have to mention the food which we were a little concerned about before we got there, it was delicious, plenty of variety, and Wilson's soups were really tasty, don't know how he managed it but great cooking really enjoyed every meal.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Cheetah kill a hare within touching distance was good, as was waking in the morning to herds of zebras outside your tent, but most inspirational moment by a mile was in the ngorrowgorrw crater where we were lucky enough to see 3 brother lions strutting there stuff and being close enough to see the whites of their eyes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Patrick was absolutely brilliant, would have been an excellent trip anyway but for me he made it even more special, great guide with a great sense of humour too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Choose a bag which will fit perfectly well into your truck locker as you will be pulling it out every day bring a book and a decent head torch. Don't concern yourself with poor toilets or showers you e the rest of your lives to take a warm shower. Just remember as our guide Patrick used to say T.I.A......this is Africa. Embrace it for what it is and enjoy yourself.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Arnold Barrett

    Tailor made. Ref Charlie Potter

    See above

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spotting the kill

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable. All camp staff were excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Avoid transfers from Wilson Airport

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would recommend Kicheche camps
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Arnold Barrett

    Tailor made. Ref Charlie Potter

    See above

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spotting the kill

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable. All camp staff were excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Avoid transfers from Wilson Airport

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would recommend Kicheche camps
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steven Burris

    Great trip!

    It was a great trip, wonderful to see the animals in their natural habitat. Some long days of driving but well worth it in the end. Erellah was great leader, pointed things out that we would've never seen without his help. Wilson, Sam and Esther were great assets to the trip and made it all the more enjoyable. It was my first trip with Exodus and plan on more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing all the animals!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was great and very well informed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect some long days of travel but worth it.
  • Reviewed September 2017

    Kenya & Tanzania Safari Adventure Aug 17

    Although we had previously visited Kenya six years ago (on the Gorillas and Masai Mara trip) we had never seen the wildebeest crossing so I had really hoped to be lucky this time. Also our former trip had been an excellent experience so I had no hesitation in booking this trip with the added Tanzania experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were really lucky and saw the great migration, watching the wildebeest crossing the River Mara. There was such a dramatic build up to it - first a small group went to cross and then rushed back when they reached the river and saw crocodiles. We thought we weren't going to see it. Then further along the riverbank, a larger group just suddenly started rushing. We sat and watched for about fifteen minutes as wildebeest were stampeding across the plains joined by groups of zebra and then waded across the river and up the other side.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erellah was an excellent group leader and a real credit to Exodus. He split his time equally amongst all trip members and would turn his hand to whatever was required be it organising, putting up tents, cooking etc. He was always bright cheerful and full of energy and worked extremely hard.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lot of packing and unpacking in the first 10 days, organise your bag for ease of access and bring a padlock for your locker. Pack walking boots and comfortable sandals. Warm clothes for the Ngorongoro Crater are essential (I took a light thermal layers including vest, leggings, fleece top, hat, scarf and gloves) … I was not going to get cold! Having said that pack light but take a washing line and pegs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although expensive I would recommend the Kenyan balloon trip. The pilot was excellent, the experience beautiful, peaceful and altogether rather surreal. The breakfast good and with a view that is breathtaking. In the 4 x 4 game drive which lasted a few hours we saw lion, leopard and cheetah!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Sarah Williams

    Kenya & Tanzania safari adventure Aug 17

    Saw all the infamous National parks & so much awesome wildlife, too numerous to mention. Great group, relaxing tour pace & even the camping was great! The way the trip is organised & run by the crew is flawless, I am so impressed & will definitely have consider this type of trip again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the wildebeast crossing the Mara river during the annual migration was the most awe inspiring thing I have ever seen, made up that we managed to see this...thanks to the crew !

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erillah was a fantastic tour guide, relentlessly cheerful & knowledgable, supported by Wilson & Esther - awesome chefs who looked after us so well, & Sam, the driver, who kept us safe at all times & gave us the best 'African massage' !!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars & pack really light, you really won't need many clothes as you can easily wash en route. We all got affected by motion sickness due to the rough roads, so I would recommend taking travel sickness medication.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Jacqueline Edge

    Fantastic trip and crew!

    The four crew members, Erellah, Albert, Boniface and Amos were fantastic. Erellah is an excellent tourguide - very patient, funny, helpful: a delight and any group can consider themselves lucky to be in his care. Albert is a brilliant cook and made delicious vegan food for me: not easy to do in East Africa. He was fun and creative and all mealtimes were a pleasure. Boniface is by far the very best driver I've ever encountered: very patient, extremely skilled and was able to take us safely along very poor roads, while also taking care of the truck itself. Amos is very friendly and helpful and worked very hard to support the crew. I'm sure he will be a fantastic tourguide soon. All of the crew were fun to talk to and made us feel very welcome. The trip itself was spectacular - we were very lucky and managed to see many beautiful animals, including elephants, black rhino, white rhino, lions, cheetah and a leopard. I was lucky enough to spot a serval from the truck, but it slipped away into the grass before anyone else could see it. The pace of the trip was good - we covered a huge distance, but spent enough time in each place to get good wildlife spotting. The last few days on Zanzibar were a welcome treat too and really rounded everything off nicely. I will always have fond memories of the group and the trip. The group members were all great: friendly, interesting people I enjoyed meeting and hope to keep in touch with.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a leopard in a tree.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erellah is a star! He's very bright, knowledgeable, extremely helpful and fun to talk to. He really made the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beware of the African sun - it is vicious. This time of year was very good, because it's low season, fairly dry and all the animals have had their babies, which is lovely to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be great if it could be possible to request a specific crew for trips in the same area. I would love to assemble this crew again for other trips to Africa, such as the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    David Woodhams

    Kenya - Tanzania & Zanzibar

    A truly memorable experience with some long journeys along some very bumpy and dusty roads but the rewards of close encounters with so much of East Africa's wildlife made it all worth while. Our group was 17 strong with 4 crew who worked tirelessly to ensure that we were able to enjoy our trip to the full and the truck had plenty of room for all of us to be able to enjoy the wildlife and catch some magic moments on camera. Camping is a great way to enjoy and experience the wildlife and although some of the camp sites are very basic the location more than makes up for it together with the fact that often we were the only campers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping in the serengetti and on leaving our camp for the early morning game drive coming across a pride of 8 lions just 300 metres from camp. The early morning sunlight shining on the old male lion with a beautiful golden hew was just magic. Seeing more than 24 lions in one day with cubs of varying ages and managing to see 'the big five' although the leopard sighting was difficult as it was high in a tree shrouded by foliage, but at least we saw it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lelei was a fantastic guide/group leader who together with our driver 'Bonnie' really made our trip. At one stage in the Mara our truck developed a leaky radiator, but Bonnie kept topping it up so that we could continue our journey and together with Lelei managed to get a replacement shipped out which Bonnie fitted in camp. Lelei imparted much local knowledge and was a good game spotter and together with Bonnie was able to put us in the right place at the right time to see so much wildlife without putting pressure on any of the animals and respecting the rules of the parks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are only thinking about this trip, stop thinking and go and do it, you will enjoy it. Take heed of the advice regarding the temperature at Ngorongoro crater as it DOES get cold at night! Make sure you take a good torch as many of the camps are unlit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes are accurate and there are some long journeys which are along unmade roads and the camping is basic but the rewards are worth every bit of it.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Ivan Pinto

    Kenya & Tanzania Adventure

    A great introduction to the wildlife of East Africa, there is nothing quite like the excitement of animal/bird spotting that is an integral part of this tour. Camping allowed one to feel close to nature and was even better as few had other campers close by. Kip and his team were superb hosts keeping us informed of local life, both human and animal, while ensuring we were well fed. On the cultural side we visited a Masai village in the Serengeti and had guided tour of a typical local market in Musoma.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were very lucky to witness the wildebeest and zebra migration crossing of the Mara River. The sheer number of wildebeest in the area was almost biblical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There was a real rapport between Kip and his team and they could not have done more to ensure everyone had a good time. They set up camp as soon as we arrived and the meals were varied, wholesome and most importantly tasty (thanks Albert)! Everything seemed to work like clockwork, a sign of the hard work that goes on in the background.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some early starts and the odd long drive, but it's all worth it. On occasion the poor road surface could result in an 'African massage'! In terms of camping the mattress provided was very comfy (~2in thick foam). The occasional campsite does not have hot water, however, a cold shower after a hot dusty day was refreshing! Ngorongoro was cold (we travelled in July) so warm clothing is a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When buying craftworks be prepared to haggle, it is expected and part of the fun.
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