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n short, the trip was great. Alex was a delight to meet and work with. He is very customer oriented and follows through on everything. Everything that was promised in the trip itinerary was delivered. Alex's staff was also exemplary. The trek guide was knowledgeable, friendly, and very accommodating. The cook (or more correctly the chef) was the best I've had on any trek (and I've been on many treks). The driver that took me from Gondar to the mountains was very competent and safe. His actions actually kept us from having an accident when a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction almost hit us.
The accommodations throughout where great. The Addis Regency had a great staff (very friendly) and the rooms were clean and the restaurant very good. The accommodations in Lalibela were also good. Alex changed me from the Jerusalem Hotel to the Lalibela Lodge. It's a newer lodge with large, clean rooms. The restaurant and service was good. As I told Alex, the rooms don't have televisions, but that was fine for me. Others may prefer a television. The rooms are wired for television and my guess is that they will be added at some point. I viewed the change as positive. The Fasil Lodge in Gondar was also very good.
Overall it was a great trip. There were no glitches (other than an Ethiopian Airlines problem with a broken engine part that caused a 5 hour delay when leaving Gondar) I would definitely recommend Tourdust to others. You were easy to work with and delivered a great trip.
Kenneth Pollock reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek
Overall, Christine and I rate our experience with TourDust a 5/5... SUPERB!!
Booking - Our experience with booking was excellent,.. Rebecca, you did an awesome job making suggestions and answering all of our questions in detail and also very quickly. We felt like you captured what experience we were looking for in our trip and did a great job recommending Douar Samra as our home base.
Accommodations - Douar Samra was AMAZING!!Our room was spectacular, clean and offered stunning views of the mountains. Our hosts were wonderful and offered amazing, nutritious meals, as well as friendly service. Meeting other travelers while enjoying our meals was a plus.
Transportation from and back to Marrakech - Remembering and pronouncing Moroccan names was a bit difficult for us, so we agreed to call our driver "The Mountain Man"... sorry, I have no idea of this man's real name, but he was fantastic. He was timely with our pick up time at our hotel in Marrakech and answered many of our questions during the drive to Imlil. He stopped along the road any time we liked, so that we could snap some incredible photos of the scenery.He was polite, courteous and was a great driver in the windy roads in the mountains!
Guide - Abraham (we asked Abraham how we would let you know who our guide was, as there are many Abraham's in the mountains... he told us to mention.. Abraham.. from the army... so I hope this description finds him back!)We LOVED Abraham !!! He knew just how to push us to our limits, but not over exert us while hiking the challenging terrain. We loved learning about the mountain way of day to day living, and were totally taken back and humbled when he shared some of his own personal family stories with us. Our heart melted for him and we thank him for so many great conversations during our 3 day hiking adventure. Out of our 12 days in Morocco, we think back to our time spent with Abraham the most, and will always consider these 3 days in the High Atlas the top highlight of our trip.
Cook -Hassan was our cook, and his mule, (whom we called Sam) were also superb.We were amazed at Hassan's cooking technique while in the vast mountain ranges. The meals he prepared for us, we consider to have been the best meals during our entire trip. The presentation of the food he prepared was top notch.. it was so creative and colorful!I would also like to add that Sam, the mule, came to my rescue on Day 2 of hiking.. I just couldn't get to the summit of our hike that day.. I was so tired! So Hassan sent Sam down a little ways down the mountain to retrieve me and take me the rest of the way up the mountain!!How special is that!!! Another 5/5 experience!!
Value -I consider the cost associated with this adventure was ideal. I felt like the price paid, was in line with the experience received.
Overall Impression - I would definitely book with Tourdust again in the future.There was absolutely nothing to complain about from booking to the end of our trip.
Diane Looman reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We had an absolutely fabulous time and were delighted with your arrangements. Les Jardins de Maroc was outstanding as was our stay at Kasbah Touboukal. Our guide on the hike was very professional - all in all we could not fault anything and had a truly memorable holiday.
Many thanks to you and the team at Tourdust.
Christopher Wilmot reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
The trip to Morocco was great. Your information prior to travel was very helpful and being able to carry the "dossier" on a Kindle was so much better than printing the document. Dar Adrar was a great place to stay - they were so helpful, particularly when we arrived so late on our first day. The distances we trekked each day worked well given the conditions we were walking in - we had rain and snow on the second day so we needed time to dry out on the third so some time sat in the sun was more than welcome.The snow also meant walking was more difficult so the distance covered each day was about right. However, had the conditions been good, we did feel that some of the distances were a bit short. The guide and cook/muteteer were a great team. Abdul had lots of local knowledge but didn't force it on us. He was also very good at setting an appropriate pace. The food Mohammed cooked was brilliant for walking. He even managed to cook porridge for breakfast when he found out one of us couldn't eat bread. Ginger the mule was also an excellent companion - a bit on the quiet side but she definitely had an understated sense of humour!
The gites varied considerably. They were very cold at night but most had extra blankets. The only really difficult night was after the rain. Despite our waterproofs we were soaked to the skin and had no way to dry coats and trousers. Had the bad weather continued we would have had a miserable time being so wet and cold. Fortunately day 3 was bright and sunny so we steamed as we walked!
Eileen Tolan reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
From the very beginning, Tourdust was a delight. Our itinerary was ideal - and perfectly ordered given the the range of things we had wanted to squeeze into our 10-day break to Morocco. We could not fault the accommodation choices - they were idyllic and we were very well looked after in all four of our locations. Our guide, Ibrahim, in the Atlas Mountains was wonderful - especially when we struggled (mentally!) through some unseasonal rain, hail, wind, snow and blizzards on our first day. The photos the following morning made it so worthwhile. I am sure we will find something decent to enter the photography competition with! Thank you
Katherine Walton reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
Jodie and I were very impressed with EVERYTHING about our holiday experience with you.
The pre-trip information and transportation to greet us at the airport and transport us to the Atlas Mountains worked like a dream (always very nervous of this when you arrive in a new country) so top marks to our driver there! Accommodation on the trek was far better than we had prepared ourselves for, visiting some lovely houses with clean sanitary conveniences (again we had packed the 'wet wipes' but were so pleased for hot showers!) Both our guide Lasan and Rashid were very accommodating and enjoyed having a laugh with us which made us feel very relaxed. I think only the 'mule' played up as she escaped one evening which caused a slight panic amongst them all!!!
Making our reservation at the Riad in Marrakesh (Dar Hanane) was a wonderful way to relax in Marrakesh.
All in all we will be contacting you again for our next trip (!) but also recommending your Services to our other friends as it was a completely stressed free, enjoyable trip.
Sarah and Jodie reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We wanted to say what a fantastic time we had with the Tourdust trek. We couldn't fault it from start to finish. At the outset from my first call you were really helpful and engaging. I had been looking at a number of different operators but decided to go with you based on the consideration you showed on what I was looking for, the detailed information you sent through in a timely manner, the value for money of the trip and quality of your service. Tourdust immediately came across as flexible in terms of trek start dates, duration and pick-up/drop off transport.
In terms of the actual trek, our guide Adil and cook Mohamad should be singled out. They always ran to schedule (from pick up and drop off to the actual schedule on each day); they were considerate and attentive; professional; kind; they were always ready to answer our questions and interested in us and what we had to say and good conversationalists. We felt very well looked after the whole time. We were met at the trek starting point by the local rep which was a nice touch and he showed us a map of our trek and had a mint tea with us making sure we got away on the trek okay.
We particularly wanted to praise the cook/Muleteer Mohamad. He catered to our dietary needs as vegetarians making fantastic food every day. He was always happy and positive and made us feel very special, making sure we were happy with our food. The catering was excellent.
We noticed other muleteers not treating their mule so well whereas Mohamad had a great relationship with our mule and it responded to his verbal prompts which was impressive.
The actual trek was breathtaking. It was a good combination of physically challenging with stunning scenery; we loved the fact that is was an alternative trek so we hardly saw any tourists and really felt we had the mountains to ourselves. The lunch picnic spots were beautiful and again we felt like a king and queen being given cushions and blankets to sit on, hot mint tea to start things off and then lots of fresh, hearty and healthy food. The length of walking each day was just right.
The accommodation (and loos), as you advised, was basic but a great experience. It did get cold at night but we were given extra blankets and the dinners and breakfasts kept us going. I liked the fact we were staying with a local family/their place in a small village rather than a touristy place. After the trek on the first day when we had quite a few hours free, Adil our guide offered us an additional walk around the village which was really nice.
The whole standard of service from start to finish was 10 out of 10. We would definitely recommend Tourdust to friends and colleagues and are already talking about coming back again.
Thank you again for all your help in making this a fantastic experience and please pass on our thanks and feedback to the local team.
Rashmi Becker reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
A big thank you to the team at Tourdust for our fantastic trek to Mount Kenya.
We made it. It was a tough climb and not for those who are afraid of heights. I learnt loads about the flora and fauna of Africa from our expert guide Francis and we enjoyed great food prepared by Ngari.
Full write-up and pictures of my trip are here
Kathryn Bullock reviewing Mount Kenya: Sirimon - Chogoria Trek
We are very pleased with the trip we booked!
People were in time, polite, correct and keen on giving us a perfect holiday!
Jonathan Van Dyck reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
On the 20th Jan 2013 we started our 3 day valley trek from imlil in the atlas mountains.
Ibrahim Aztat was our guide and Samir was our cook/mule handler. It was a great trek up to 2300m in the snow. Over the whole of our trek Ibrahim and samir were brilliant and really looked after both of us, helping us along the way as we were not quite as fit as we should have been. They made sure we went at the right pace, stopping when required. With this help we enjoyed the trek and all the food was really great. I would really recomend this trek and would give 10/10 for ibrahim and samir. The gites are a little cold so bring plenty of warm clothing for the overnight stays.
We also stayed in dar hanane in marrakech and in casa lila in essaouira, both were brill and we were transported by mustafa from the airport to all of our locations over the 10 days. Mustafa was always there on time and did a really good job. We really had a good time with plenty of laughs with ibrahim and samir and would like to thank them again.
richard gallacher reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We had an excellent trip, thanks!
The guide was very knowledgeable and flexible with breaks, timings, etc. He kept phone contact with the main office to ensure all connections/vehicles were in the proper place at the right time. The lodging was acceptable for a trek. Nothing great, mostly hard huts or tented camps, but nice to have a warm shower on days between our tenting nights. The one night we were supposed to be in The Pelican Lodge, we were changed to Lake Nakuru Lodge, which was fantastic!
During the trek, the cook made wonderful breakfasts and dinners. There was a decent variety of soups, vegtable and meat dishes. Lunch was a basic 'box lunch' with a sandwich, chicken, boiled egg and fruit. Lunch was acceptable and fueled us for the journey, it just got a little redundant by the end of the trek.
All pre-trip literature was informative and sufficient.
I have already and will continue to recommend this trip to others. For the trek: the days are long and tiring, but it was very worth the effort, and the sense of accomplishment is immeasurable. The safari itself was also great. The amount of time spent driving between the trek end to Nakuru and Nakuru to Masai Mari got old... however, this is unavoidable when trying to do it all.
Thanks again for aranging a very enjoyable trip!
Alan Bardsley reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse
Heather & I had a great time - with the guide and hotel in Addis and Lodge in Gondar all rated at highly.
Richard Scott reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek
This was a great trip! Great value for money and a great way to learn about the Atlas and see Morocco! I felt a million miles away from home, with the breath taking views and of course both the cook and tour guide helped to make it a great experience. We never went hungry and the food was great!
Helen Dennis reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
Our Morocco trip was a great success.We made it to the top of Toubkal,and then enjoyed kicking back at Dar Hanane.
Our guide on the trek, tall Mohammed, was excellent. Conditions on the final climb were tough. It rained, hailed and snowed the afternoon before, and we were slipping around a fair bit on the last day. The hut we stayed in at Lipeney was great. The Toubkal refuge was a shocker! Really crowded.
Stuart Walker reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
We had a great trip with Tourdust. The guides (especially the cook) were fantastic and very supportive. All accommodation on the mountain was great. The first refuge we stayed at was fab and we welcomed the teams advice to camp at the second refuge. We would (and have already) recommended Tourdust to friends.
Richard Taylor reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
First of all I wanted to thank you for this wonderful trip that you organised for us. we had a great time! The choice of the hotels was great, all of them were clean and had a nice atmosphere. The food was great in general and so were all cooks.
CHRISTOS GKOGKAS reviewing Simien Mountains & Northern Highlights
Our guide really was wonderful, calm helpful and very good company - he also took care of us incredibly well along with our two other companions and their mules.
Everything was as we had expected - and the mountains were wonderful.
Elena Isayev reviewing 6 Day Toubkal Circuit
We had an amazing trek.
Eileen Tolan reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek
We were extremely impressed with the organisation, logistics and execution of the trip by the local team on the ground - we didn't expect a trip to Africa to run so smoothly! Plus a lovely touch by a few hotels who acknowledged it was our honeymoon....petals on beds in Addis Regency and Gondar, with a free evening meal at the latter too!
Richard Waters reviewing Classic Northern Circuit & Simien Mountains
Thanks Tourdust, for showing us close up how people live in Ethiopia and its amazing wildlife.
Luke Pinney reviewing Simien Mountains & Northern Highlights
Both our guides were fine, did a good job, walked at a good pace for our group. Kept a close eye on us on the last night and helped me keep going even when not feeling well. Only thing i would say is that they weren't overly friendly. Felt a bit like they spoke to us enough to sort of do their job and make conversation but sort of expected that they might be a bit more friendly and enthusiastic. Might have been due to the fact we were two girls though? Didn't really stop us enjoying it, just would have been nice! 4/5
Considering your on a mountain the food was good and there was a lot of it. Though this became a bit of a problem as we felt so much pressure to eat it, not once did we finish all the food that was provided, and felt bad about the waste. Perhaps the cook needs to be more open to changing the portions of food he cooks depending on how much people eat! 4/5
All the information from tourdust through booking was excellent. We had plenty of information to help decide the route and to prepare for the climb. Though we were advised to take water purifying tablets, but actually they already purified the water. And walking poles were an optional extra however we were advised they were essential on arrival and had to rent some. 5/5
Emily Davies reviewing Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route
This was an excellent trip which exposed us to the life of Amazier (Berber) villagers in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco enhanced by the detail provided by the guides and complimented by the local food and service provided by the head muleteer, who was highly respected by the guides and others alike. The first three days provided an opportunity to acclimatise to the temperature more than the altitude but better that way than both at the same time. The next three days provided exactly what we wanted in terms of a challenging trek with the flexibility to change the itinerary to cater for our individual and group needs and the day at the end provided experience of the markets and conflicting lifestyle in Marrakech to that in the mountains.
The guides, cook and muleteers we had were excellent and couldn’t do enough to keep us happy even to the point of arranging surprise cakes and fritters on the third day of the trek when I mentioned it was one of the group members birthday. The food was excellent throughout, with fresh vegetables, fruit and some fish and meat was provided with the majority of meals, the only improvement would have been the provision of fresher bread as it became a little monotonous eating stale bread because you had it with everything; perhaps we were just spoilt on the days 1 and 2 at Dar Ardar. Our guides Mohammed and Ilyas were tentative and informative throughout and although Mohammed was clearly the more experienced of the two, Ilyas provided the group with a daily insight into the life of Berber and the history of the Amazier people which enhanced the experience had by all.
mkin reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Firstly Hassan our guide. What a lovely man, relaxed but attentive and primarily concerned with our wellbeing. On our final day we had to cope with some rather challenging conditions. Very high winds gusting on exposed paths with loose scree on either side of narrow tracks. For some of the way he hand held my partner as our ears filled up with small stones and dust,a professional job very well done top marks from us 5 out of 5.
Accommodation was good although fairly basic. A small issue would be the problem of lack of running water at our 1st accommodation especially as it was the “traditional” drop toilet. 3 out of 5.
Mustapha our muleteer and cook was also fabulous cheerful respectful and what a spread he would put on. Who else can put weight on while trekking in the Atlas? Top marks 5 out of 5.
Booking and service was good 4/5 out of 5.
Our overall impression was great. The trek itself was stunning and we enjoyed it no end and thank goodness within our capabilities another top score 5 out of 5. Thanks!
Sue Neate reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We really enjoyed the tour. We found it to be well organised (both in booking /prior to departure and during), good value for money and very accommodating - for example the fact that we were asked if we would like to postpone our taxi ride back to Marrakech (we were staying at Kasbah du Toubkal for 2 nights after the tour ended, before travelling on to Marrakech), being given the option to store our excess baggage in the Tour Dust office in Imlil and then having this delivered direct to the Kasbah on our arrival, and our guide escorting us straight to the Kasbah at the end of the tour.
I think it would be important to state that the mules aren't with you at all times, so store everything you might need for that morning/afternoon in your daypack (we were caught in a heavy rain storm without our macs because of this).
Daphne Fordham reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We had the most amazing time, I really can't say how wonderful the whole holiday was as from the start to the finish we were looked after by whoever was the person at the time so beautifully! Lasen the guide is truly such a lovely man who was a shadow when he was needed by my father but was sensitive when not! So 5 out of 5 for the guide, it was the most memorable brilliant holiday!! The only slight change that did occur was that we didn't go the Riad Dar Hanane, we turned up there and they said that we were staying at the sister riad, which was called Riad Tzarra which was seriously amazing.
Camilla Drinkall reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We returned yesterday from our Morocco trip and I just wanted to write to say thank you to Tourdust as we had a fantastic time and everything went very smoothly, which is extremely impressive given the last minute nature of our trip. Thank you, and I will not hesitate to recommend Tourdust to friends.
Also I just wanted to add how fantastic we found our guide Abdul and our cook Mohammed to be. For three days they were great company and great guides/cooks and I have no doubt we would not have made it up Toubkal without them.
Nicholas Sim reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
We would not hesitate to give our guide and chef 5 stars as there was nothing really we could fault them on. The guide was very friendly and chatty, speaking great English and was very attentive throughout.
Although the chef didn't speak English to the same standard, he was always extremely polite and cooked the authentic Moroccan dishes to a high standard in rather difficult circumstances (in a large tent).
The accommodation was a tent, which we of course expected, but the guide did put the tent up and even provided sleeping mats, which were much needed.
The contact we received from both yourself and the guide prior to departure was great, especially the Itinerary, and the guide was very flexible in allowing us to return from the trip a little early for our onward journey.
Overall the trip was excellent and certainly a highlight of our 3 week stay in Morocco and we would recommend to anyone thinking of booking a similar excursion.
5 stars all round!
Adam White reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
I really enjoyed the trip despite the rotten weather. The guide, Mohammed, could not have been better - he was competent, friendly, informative and had a great sense of humour. He rose to every challenge that the weather posed and looked after us extremely well; definitely a 5. The accommodation at Imlil was exactly as I expected, the staff and the food were great. The Bel Haj in Marrakech was better than expected, the room was luxurious and the staff were all friendly and efficient, the manageress coming in to see me, suggesting places to visit etc. Once again a 5 for accommodation. All services prior to departure were also worth a 5 as was my overall impression. Thank you for an extremely well arranged and managed holiday
Warwick Hardy reviewing 6 Day Toubkal Circuit
Ibrahim was my guide. I found him to be attentive, good humoured and relaxed. I did not appreciate until I got to the refuge that the final 1000 metres of Toubkal would be attempted in the dark commencing 5 am on the second day. That was a 3 hour hike, mostly in the dark, up the scree and it was tough going. Ibrahim was careful as we got closer to the top to make sure I paced myself and he slowed his own pace down quite markedly even though he felt the cold.
On refection it would have been preferable to have spent a second night at the refuge and walked back to Imlil the following day. The final hike up and down Toubkal was enough of a hike in itself and knowledge that one had to hike down from the refuge to Imlil added a time pressure to the day. This was of course subjective but I would recommend to anyone that they enjoy the moment of having climbed Toubkal and then spend the rest of that day at the refuge. I should add that the company and character of hikers at the refuge was outstanding. It was a pleasure to have met such a great group of open and sociable people at one time in such a place. I probably should add that that may have been a one off as the following day a small group arrived marked by a determination to keep to themselves and remain closed to others.
The walk back to Imlil was pleasant. It was a fair walk on top of an already full day. Ibrahim set a cracking pace.
The cook was also terrific. The food was superb. It really was excellent. I do not want to sound ungracious but the lunch cooked on the first day was a feast with the result that the rest of the hike was made more difficult as my blood supply moved to my stomach to digest food when it was needed elsewhere.
It was a great 2 day trip and I remain grateful for your expertise and your assistance.
Kevin Holmes reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
I had a fantastic experience and we were well looked after by our guide Abdul and cook Hamid. The staff at Tourdust provided an excellent organising and facitilating service. Abdul was 5/5 he was able, thorough and very thoughtful and had a good sense of humour. Hamid the cook was excellent too. The mountain huts were fine. Some other travellers had concerns over the squat toilet facilities but we were happy with everything. The beds were comfortable and the food was excellent. The question of tipping or not tipping hut custodians is a bit of a quandary and there seems to have been an increase in the size of tips expected in general. It would be useful to have advice from the company on this. Food was Really healthy and delicious food served with great enthusiasm. I particularly benefited from the porrage at breakfast times. The colourful salad supplied at the col at 3000 metres was particularly note worthy. The panacakes made for us at the Netlner refuge were of exceptionally good quality.
Sid Gallagher reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Definitely 5/5 across the board. An amazing and memorable trip enjoyed by everyone in the party – even those who had reservations about attempting the challenge. Elias was a great guide. His pace was just right for a mixed ability group of our size, he was helpful and very good at preparing us mentally for what lay ahead when answering the ‘how much further?’ ‘how much higher?’ questions. He was very knowledgeable about the local landscape scenery and was obviously very keen to educate us on Berber culture, which was fascinating.
The accommodation in Imlil and Marrakesh was absolutely stunning. A fantastic way to start and end the trip. Fantastic introduction to Morocco in Imlil in traditional riad. The place in Marrakesh was fabulous too – the setting, facilities, food, staff, and the amazing Mandy were faultless. Camping was less luxurious! Quality of the tents and the facilities in the refuge were better than expected although quite basic. The decision to sleep in tents rather than in the crowded noisy dorms was the right one. However the final night under canvas wasn’t much fun given the (unexpected and unseasonal) incessant rain and wind.
Food on trek was amazing. Fresh, tasty, filling and plentiful. Far superior to anything any of the group expected. Unbelievable that the cooks could whip up such amazing food in the middle of nowhere.
I’d have no hesitation at all in recommending Tourdust to anyone who wants first class service, accurate information, eager, informed guides and amazing chefs.
Marie Ghiloni reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Got back from Morocco last night and the 3 day trek we organised with you was awesome! Such an amazing experience and well worth it to get to the top!
The tour guide Mohammed was excellent. He spoke perfect English and was very informative 5/5
Staying in tents in the refuges was really enjoyable for me but was basic. I was not expecting luxury and thought it was everything that we needed 4/5
Meals were amazing, true moroccan cuisine and plenty of it! 5/5
We were given all the advice and information needed for the trip 5/5
Overall experience was great! Thanks very much 5/5
Alice Stephens reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Our main guide, Ibrahim, was amazing. Our porters/cooks Mohamed and Samir were brilliant too. Ibrahim knew everything and, despite it being during Ramadan and trying to conserve energy, he would talk with us frequently and give us loads of information wherever we wanted it. As he knew so many people he was able to arrange everything quickly, and all three of them were a masterful team at preparing where we were sleeping and what we were eating and so on. I presume it was the Morrocan way, but there wasn't too much communication of what was happening next and so on. Things just happened - as we'd anticipate them to - but without too much fuss and chat about it. We'd always have a meeting at the end of the day to discuss the next day.
Accommodation was fine and certainly on level with expectations. We had 'guesthouses' in the Berber villages for the first three nights, and on the fourth night we were in the Toubkal Refuge. The accommodation was very basic - a mat on a floor in someone's house - but we weren't expecting anything else so it was good.
Drew Thomson reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
Everything, from start to finish, was perfect. Minalu, our guide, and Yohannes (Johnny) our driver, were absolutely wonderful. I had never taken a private custom tour before and was not sure what to expect. Minalu and Johnny were fabulous. I think what I appreciated the most was their flexibility and absolute sincere interest in showing us their country. I loved that over dinner Minalu would give us briefings on the history of the country. He was extremely knowledgeable and I truly appreciated learning so much from him. We would often stop in villages that neither of them knew so we could visit typical homes, or visit the markets. We also crashed a wedding near Hawzien as they thought it was something we should see. We were of course received with open arms by the people at the wedding and offered copious amounts of local honey beer. We made several spontaneous stops in villages when we saw a market or special event. There is no way we could have experienced this in a large organized group tour.
When we were planning this trip you asked us right at the start what our interests were. So, we said we were looking for a trip that included lots of culture and history and a lot of photography. And this trip delivered on all counts. Minalu knew that I was very interested in photography and ensured that this was a big part of the trip. Johnny was great, stopping whenever we wanted to let us take photos. Minalu often intervened for us with the local people to ask them to have their photo taken. I could not have asked for more in terms of photographic opportunities. Well, maybe less haze and bluer skies, which Minalu tried to get for us.
Our trip started with 2 days in Awash. The area does not have the abundant wildlife you would see in Kenya or South Africa but the huge plains of thorn trees and large herds of Oryx were quite impressive. We did see a few zebras, some austrich, antelope, warthogs, baboons, dikdik and the black backed jackal. My absolute favorite part of this area was our visit with the Afar people. We visited a local village with a local guide and got a quick glimpse into the lives of these nomadic people. My only regret is that this visit was very short. Accommodations in Awash were very good. The Anamalia lodge was a bit expensive for food, but we did get to eat antelope.
After Awash we went North towards to more historic highlands area of Ethiopia. We stopped at Bati market which we toured with a local guide. We did miss the camel market as we got there too late. Our local guide should have taken us there immediately on arrival in Bati however we only went to that area of the market after lunch and it was over by then. The market itself is spectacular as there are people from all over the area. This was an incredible glimpse into the lives of the Ethiopian people. They come from all over to sell their wares, just amazing, like stepping back in time.
Our next big stop was Lalibela. Of course the rock-hewn churches are amazing. We had a wonderful day visiting all the churches with our local guide. But for me the next stop, Ghelralta was an absolutely spectacular highlight. I never expected this at all. We climbed to the top of mountains to see incredible rock hewn churches and monasteries from the 6th century. To me, these were the absolute highlights of the trip. Going up Abuna Yamata Goh is something I will never forget, and I really appreciated Minalu taking us up there. When we saw where we were going we thought he was crazy, but he and the guides encouraged us and helped us all the way up. It does sort of require nerves of steel to go up the sheer rock face and then the small ledge along the cliff to the actually church. The Gheralta lodge is probably the best place we stayed. It is quite isolated but so calm and relaxing and the food was delicious. I could have stayed there for a week just to relax and visit the sites.
A short drive from Hawzien brought us to Axum, the ancient home of the legendary Queen Sheba. We toured all the ancient sites with an excellent local guide, and saw the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. It was a very full day of touring which was great.
The Simien Mountains was the next stop, three nights of camping. We were not sure what to expect but this whole trek was amazing. We joked about how many people it takes to take two Canadians camping. We had Minalu with us, and a local guide, a scout, a cook, the cook’s assistant, 4 mules and 4 muleteers. The service on the trek was top notch. Our cook was excellent. It is incredible to arrive at the camp after a full day of trekking in the mountains and have hot water waiting for us to clean up, a nice cup of coffee and popcorn. We had a bit of time to relax before dinner, then time for a short trek to see the sunset and wildlife after dinner. Our local guide set the perfect pace for us during the trek. The trek up to Inatye was difficult, but our local guide took his time getting us there. We got lucky and did not get any rain during the entire three days despite some menacing looking clouds.
The wildlife in the Simiens is fascinating, especially the Gelada baboons. I loved these animals. They allowed us to get quite close to photograph them. They are fascinating animals, plucking the dried grass to eat the fresher roots. While trekking we came to valley in the midst of a Gelada baboon fight. The sound of the screaming baboons echoing through the valley was unbelievable. And of course in the Simiens we encountered the Walia Ibex. There were a few near out camp at Chennek, and then we saw a whole herd of them on a short trek we took on out last morning in the mountains. We must have spent more than an hour watching the whole herd descend from the top of a cliff to the valley. It was nearing rutting season so there was a lot of sniffing and posturing by the males. It was just a wonderful experience to see this. We also saw the Bush Buck, the Klipspringer and many birds like the Lammergeier vulture.
One thing that surprised us was how populated the trekking area is. There were quite a few villages and lots of kids shepherding their flocks. It was kind of nice to see all the local people throughout the park. We stopped at a local house for a coffee ceremony during the second day of the trek.
(Just a side note about the trekking - I think it would be important to warn trekkers of the potential dangers in the campgrounds. There are lots of people milling around the campsites with all the muleteers and villagers around. We met a woman who was trekking at the same time as us but spend an extra night in Geech so was in Chennek the day after us. We met up with her again in Gondar and she told us she was robbed in the middle of the night in her tent at Chennek. Someone slashed her tent and made off with her bag. Armed guards and guides cannot prevent this kind of thing at night. So trekkers should be warned to keep all valuables on their person even at night. This woman lost almost everything and as you can imagine she was quite traumatized by the whole thing. We had discussions with our leader about this and from his point of view it would be too scary to the travelers to be told there were certain dangers. Our leader did however leave most of his money and his valuable with the driver, seemingly aware of the potential for thieves. It was never suggested to us that we do the same.)
After our wonderful trek we headed to Gondar, with a quick stop at a Falasha village. This stop was not very interesting, more of a tourist trap than anything else. Our stay in Gondar was very nice. The hotel Fasil Lodge was very nice, and the restaurant was very good. The history around Gondar is fascinating, a visit to the old castles and churches was our morning activity, and in the afternoon we went to visit a monastery on Lake Tana. The whole area of Lake Tana is so different. It has a more tropical feel to it. The monasteries on Lake Tana near Bahir Dar were interesting. Perhaps after having visited so many churches and monasteries we were starting to feel a bit churched out, but the paintings and history of the area are very fascinating. Some of the monasteries around the lake are very touristy, perhaps this led to our feeling of this being less authentic. Lots and lots of stalls selling jewellery and other local crafts.
We also saw the Blue Nile falls, the source of the Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Gorge. The falls are not what they were before the installation of a dam but just seeing the falls and the actual source of the Nile was amazing.
And so to end my little trip resumé, I have reiterate that the whole trip was outstanding. The hotels we stayed at were all excellent, and the restaurants suggested to us by Minalu were as well. While it is difficult to choose my favorite parts of this trip, I would have to say the highlights for me were the visit to the Afar village, the monasteries and churches of the Gheralta plateau and the Simien Mountains Trek. And seeing the churches at Lalibela was a dream come through after having read about them so long ago.
Anne-Marie Bernier reviewing Classic Northern Circuit & Simien Mountains
Our guide, Frederick was excellent and very knowledgeable, definitely a 5. The meals were great and the quantity of food slightly overwhelming on occasion! The service and effort put into presentation far exceeded out expectations
James Innes reviewing Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route
Thank you for sorting out a wonderful comprehensive schedule with spot-on organization. I had a great time. Mohamed and his staff were excellent and helpful. My guide Hassan was excellent and knowledgeable. Accommodation at Dar Adrar was good (4/5) and excellent at Dar Vedra (5/5). I was impressed with La Maison Arabe where I had an exquisite lunch. Meals provided at the guesthouses were also good.
The advice I received prior to departure was excellent. I achieved what I set out to do and it is all thanks to the smooth organization laid out by you. I am truly impressed. Once again, thank you.
ALBERT LEON reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Overall, we had a wonderful time.
The only downside was the toilets in the Gites(but we kind of expected that).
Special mention to Ibrahim, our guide, who was very good. Rashid and Hassan cooked excellent meals.
All three now know how to do the "hokey kokey"...... we weren't so good at the Berber signing and dancing!
Piers Tremlett reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
On the first day of the trek our guide was there to collect us, early, even though our Riad was possibly one of the hardest to find. He had a smile on his face and was willing to help in any way. From there on, things only got better. We had an extremely comfortable ride up to the start, with our guide explaining exactly what was going on and giving us well received Moroccan history lessons to boot!
Throughout the four days, our guide and cook would do anything for us! They were extremely professional! The guide was very knowledgable, spoke English as if it was his mother tongue and led us with confidence. The cook was able to knock up a pot of mint tea on demand and kept it coming, he was very well mannered and built an excellent rapport. We joked with him from day 1, truly lovely man!
The various places that we stayed were well thought out, giving us good variation. Allowing us to see how the local population lived as well as experiencing the mountain huts. The routes were excellent and we had a choice of making them more challenging if we so liked; but the treks are literally for anyone, hitch a ride on a mule if you struggle.
I have already recommended this service to a close friend and i urge anyone to give it a go! Top draw!
Dafydd Dennis reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
As a group of 8, fifty something women, our trek crew: a guide; 2 armed scouts; a cook with 2 assistants; 8 mule men with 10 mules; treated us with great care and kindness from the outset. Our goal was a moderate 10 day, 9 night, camping circuit including all the main camps in the National Park, the peak of Ras Dashen and then a walk out though the northern lowlands along the river Incya to the town of Adi Arkaye
The scenery was stunning from the outset. Our tents were generous to huge and offered a great vantage point to rest and watch the world go by at the end of a long day. April is late in the dry season with very hot, parched and windy conditions which we found challenging. Daily we coped with deep dust underfoot, dehydrating and abrasive sun and wind, temperatures soaring from the upper 80s down to sub-zero at night on the higher stretches. Our party were experienced trekkers and/ or runners so not fazed by the effort required.
Shetu, Our guide, had a proud demeanour, a wonderfully understated sense of humour, coupled with a deep knowledge of the place, people and wildlife. All this belied his youth. Nagar, our cook, took pleasure in serving up nourishing, simple meals and readily adapted to our broad range of tastes and needs. Ginger and Thyme teas soon became a regular feature alongside the end of day snacks coffee and black tea.
The first stretch through the park was busy with other trek parties and it offered us excellent acclimatisation with stunning escarpment views. Chennek camp gave close up encounters with Gelada baboons and Ibex. Walking out of the park, going East, we dropped down to Ambiko for the overnight camp en-route to Ras Dashen. From that point we left all visitors behind seeing only our support crew and local people for the rest of the trip. The climb to the summit was a long day, starting before dawn, walking ever upwards with local farmers, hawkers and construction workers for company. The summit was a scramble and rewarded us with magnificent views. Returning to camp exhausted our muleteers feted us with posies.
As we journeyed out north we stayed at a variety of village and wild camps, sometimes finishing our evenings with a group sing song. On one occasion our cook and scout joined in. The wild camp at Sonar was in a dramatic, cliff top location with huge views and a special atmosphere. The following day we dropped down a spiralling path to the valley over 1,000m below. As we followed the river we saw a huge array of birds and other wildlife.
Ben at Tourdust was quick to respond to all our queries. He helped to sort out a couple of pre-trip setbacks and we would recommend this service for those working on tight timescales. This was a really memorable trip and a great introduction to Africa for those new to trekking on this amazing continent
HelenRutter reviewing 10 Day Simien Mountain and Ras Dashen Trek
We had a great itme and Ibrahim (guide) and Shahera (cook) were both
Ellen Bartlett reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
Altogether a great trip. We were extremely well looked after by Tourdust, and Francis and his team from the moment we were picked up at our hotel in Nairobi to the moment we were dropped off at Lewa safari Park. Francis was an excellent ‘Leader’, bright and knowledgeable, and with very good judgement. We would very happily recommend both Francis and his team, and Tourdust. The final ascent to the non-technical peak of Mt Kenya, Lenana, was perfectly judged despite the foot of snow that had fallen overnight. A great trip.
Julian Winser reviewing Mount Kenya Sirimon Naro Moru Trek
I would rate the trip a 5. Mohammed the guide was great as well…was patient and telling us to go slow as to not over exert ourselves.
Food was to die for…and so much of it; couldn't even finish it all. Not to mention actually climbing toubkal itself, what an unbelievable feeling. Some parts of the climb were hard like the switchbacks and the final 200m to the top but it wouldn't be a climb without some hard parts, which were few and far between. The view from the top was amazing…the feeling of accomplishment.
I would totally recommend this trip to other travelers. Any traveller would not regret it, the mountain, the people; just unbelievable!!
Michael Manalo reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
The best part of the trek was certainly my guide, Mohammed, and cook, Ali. They were both just so incredibly professional, friendly, and helpful - and are just genuinely good people. Mohammed also definitely knew the trail like the back of his hand, and I was also really happy to have someone as fit as Mohammed. I wanted to push myself on this trek and get some good exercise, but also see and experience the beautiful scenery of the Atlas Mountains. Mohammed somehow read my mind and was always a step ahead of me. I also learned that there is a Toubkal marathon each year - 42km plus a 3,000m climb in elevation and that Mohammed did it in less than 6-hours. Incredible. It's also very impressive the English he has been able to pick up just from guiding tourists - in addition to French, Spanish, Arabic, and Berber. I also really appreciated him sharing some of the history of Morocco with me, from the Berbers to the Romans and Hannibal of Carthage, to the introduction of Islam and them French colonialism, and eventually independence. Fascinating.
Just a quick story: I didn't eat enough at breakfast one morning and was just starving by around 10am. Mohammed very thoughtfully offered me almost his entire bag of nuts from Imlil. I thought that was incredibly generous.
The trip was equally impressive. I had no idea the food that Ali prepared would be so good and plentiful. I meant to use this trip to get into peak physical shape, instead I may have actually put on weight from eating so well! Totally unexpected, but welcome. I also really appreciated the quality of the gear that I rented - a sleeping bag, raincoat, and tent. Finally, the Atlas Mountains are just beautiful, one of a kind, and perfect weather throughout the entire trip. Imlil was very nice too and an oasis away from the madness of Marrakech. I really did NOT like Marrakech.
The only bad experience was I got bed bugs from the mattress at the last refuge we stayed at. I'm pretty upset about this and don't know how to get rid of these things. Also, I didn't get any sleep that night from these loud Spaniards who snored all night. It was awful. Mohammed warned me not to sleep in the refuge because of the snoring, but I didn't listen. I really wish I had listened to him in retrospect. The shower and the toilets at the refuge were a pleasant surprise though.
I might also recommend that Imlil sell: (1) Toilet paper, (2) Sunscreen, and (3) Baby wipes or that TourDust strongly encourage customers to bring these items with them from their country and make it very clear that they will likely not be able to buy them in Imlil - and that they'll have to bargain for them in Marrakech - totally not worth the energy and time in my opinion.
Altogether, thank you for one of the best trips I have ever made.
Frederik Easterly reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Tourdust did an excellent job of organizing our trip. It was completely seamless. We had an amazing experience at both the trekking excursion in the Atlas Mountains and staying in Marrakesh. An adventure that we will never forget.
Janele Taveggia reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
It was bloody brilliant. We missed our out bound plane but both Tourdust in the UK and Mohammed in Morocco made sure we were still met and transported without problem or complaint. Every connection was on time, every driver was helpful- so customer service gets a 5.
The experience overall was fantastic. Our guide (Ibrahim) and cook (Mohammed) were friendly, funny and very much in control at all times. I hope you get them lots of work, even in their fourth language (English) they were brilliant.
The food was better than I eat at home (certainly healthier) and we learnt about the big stories (Berber history, Moroccan politics, Islam) and the small (wildlife, irrigation, local trade). Other travellers may wish to know that we learnt when we asked, they were not forcing information on us. Again a 5 from 5.
I can't think of any major improvements, but as a suggestion, perhaps a warning as to how tough the last day is. Climbing the peak and trekking back to Imlil was as physically demanding as I found the three peaks and 24 peaks challenges in the UK. But not a complaint, just an observation.
I would also like to mention the staff at the Assia Riad. Despite us being very tired and disorientated, they were very helpful changing money for us, helping us with information and luggage storage. Polite, friendly and helpful.
We would recommend it to other travellers. We met a lot of independent and pick ups at the Toubkal bunkhouse and those without guides were notably disorientated with a degree of stress to add to the physical challenge. Sadly we are not young anymore but our guides read our capabilities perfectly and knew when to rest and when to push.
peter wilkinson reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Ben and Anna really know their stuff when it comes to Morocco and they answered all of our queries to do with our forthcoming trip out there - nothing was too much trouble. We loved the personal, friendly and expert service that we received, especially in a world of call centres and 'computer says no' type people and businesses! They are really good value too, especially considering the level of service received.
Our 3 day Atlas valleys trek was an amazing experience and one that we will remember forever - the scenery is just breathtaking with red, green and grey rock hills and mountains, cherry blossom and iris flora in the valleys, snow capped mountains against azure blue cloudless skies, stunning waterfalls and wonderful little villages dotted along the way with the most friendly and accommodating of locals to greet you. Our guide, Ilyas, was a brilliant guide too and really added to the fun and enjoyment of the trek.
The whole trip was organised brilliantly with plenty of useful and timely advice and communication from Tourdust prior to the trip and then a seamless transition from the airport to the mountains and then on to Essaouira for the next part of our holiday.
Overall, if you are looking for someone to organise all - or part - of your trip to Morocco, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tourdust!
Kay Limb reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
The Simien mountain trek was a great experience. The views were truly awesome, I never tired of looking at the mountains as we trekked through them. Our guide and scout were fantastic and took great care of us, especially when altitude made walking more difficult. Our cook & his assistant also did a great job- food was plentiful and varied.
All the arrangements made at local level were efficient and friendly. The support and advice provided by Tourdust pre departure was very good.
Ethiopia is an incredibly interesting country and the people are very welcoming.
Hannah Sultan reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek
We have to tell you that this was one of the best holidays we've ever had! It exceeded all our expectations, and we are still reliving the many rich experiences of the week: so well planned, such spectacular scenery, wonderful people looking after us, a great introduction to a really beautiful country.
Brenda Stones reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
Professional, dependable, and efficient! We had a great time on the trek and would recommend the company to others trying to plan a trek in the Simien Mountains
Meryl Goodwin reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek
Just to let you know we had a most successful trip. All went like clockwork. Your itinerary was excellent. All the personnel– guides, cooks, drivers etc could not have been more helpful.
Many thanks for all your help and for opening up such a fascinating and complex country to us.
Mark Shepherd reviewing Simien Mountains & Northern Highlights
Just to let you know we had a most successful trip. All went like clockwork. Your itinerary was excellent. All the personnel– guides, cooks, drivers etc could not have been more helpful.
Many thanks for all your help and for opening up such a fascinating and complex country to us.
GEOFFREY WILKINSON reviewing Simien Mountains & Northern Highlights
Trip was excellent - 5/5 on all accounts. Mohammed arranged an excellent guide. We will definitely use Tourdust again and recommend you.
Luke Mallett reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
It was a great trip - 5/5 overall and one that I would recommend to everyone. One improvement you could make, would be not to use the Ankober hotel in Addis - it was very average! (Gondor hotel was very good and Mountain View was excellent - 20 mins walk from the churches which we didn't mind but truly the best view I have ever seen in a hotel)
We had a great time and would strongly recommend the trip.
sarah green reviewing Simien Mountains & Northern Highlights
My sister, her boyfriend and I had a fantastic time.
Both guides were excellent, spoke good English and were very knowledgable.
The food was also excellent - some of the best I had during my 4 months in South America!
The taxi arrangements were good and on time to get us started on the first day and overall we had a really great time and would definitely recommend the trip to anyone!
flange reviewing Trek the Inca Trail in Peru
The Atlas Valley Trek was an amazing experience. The scenery in the valleys is absolutely beautiful, and staying in the villages is a great cultural experience that gives you a feeling of the authentic and local way of living. The guide was very competent, and spoke very good english. And the cook prepared the best food. I have no hasitation to strongly recommend this trip to other travellers who like trekking and also want a local cultural experience.
Christine Toessebro reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek
We did this trek during September 2011 and had a fantastic time. The transport to Imlil from Marrakesh was excellent and as described in the pre-trek info. We met with our guide Mohammed who was really helpful and knowledgeable. The camping out at night was a treat and the food was great... our muleteers really took care of us and nothing was too much trouble. The food was like eating in a good restaurant which is amazing considering that it is all cooked over one gas burner. We could really recommend this to anyone ~ the walking was hard at times but the scenery was fanstastic ~ well worth the stiff legs! Everything went to plan and the coordination of the trip was perfect. The whole tour was beyond our expectations. Will definitely be booking with Tourdust again.
Robert Bould reviewing 6 Day Toubkal Circuit
A fantastic experience in a beautiful landscape; I loved staying in the
villages and mountain retreats. It was my first multi day trek.
However I'll defiantly be back for more. My only wish was that my trek
Mustapha was my guide. I was delighted
with the service provided throughout the trek by Mustapha and the two
muleteers. Mustapha was great company, friendly and professional and
really enhanced my experience. The food was excellent and all transfers went like clockwork.
Andrew Hale reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
Guide (Mohammad) was great, set a good pace, knew how much time to spend engaging with us and how much to leave us alone, friendly. Great guy - a mountain marathon runner with a slightly surprising array of card tricks.
Food was amazing and the chef really friendly. The trek overall was brilliant - I've recommended it to friends and family. Thanks for an amazing trip, and pass on our thanks to Mohamed and crew. He was there to welcome us at the end and was very friendly.
Jake Lomax reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
My partner Luke and I enjoyed the trek immensely. Both Mohammed the guide and Mohammed the muleteer/cook were warm, hospitable, knowledgable and helpful.
Both were very well equipped to guide us through the 3 days. The food was nourishing and delicious! I looked forward ti every meal!
During the summit climb, there was still ice on the mountain and unfortunately I had forgotten my gloves….Mohammed was so kind as to lend me his gloves for as long as I required them.
The taxi transfers were fluid and we experienced no problems at all with the timings.
I would highly recommend this trek to anyone looking for a bit of challenge at a good pace.
Angela Santos reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Guide: Mustafa was an excellent guide
He was attentive and perceptive of the groups needs and abilities. He was interesting and knowledgeable in relation to the information he gave on the local area. His company was enjoyable without being intrusive.
Food: This was one of the highlights of the trip.
I was constantly amazed and delighted by what was served up in the most difficult locations. The cook was imaginative and his food was varied and plentiful.
Grand taxi: Efficient and punctual
Overall impression: Very satisfied with the trip and the way it was organised.
My weather could have been better as a 4 hour trek in relentless rain was not fun.
anne sherriff reviewing 6 Day Toubkal Circuit
A trip that really challenged preconceptions. There was dust and rural poverty, of course, but breathtaking scenery, and people with a strong sense of a long, proud history. The altitude affects you, but you quickly learn to take things gently. I was amazed what fantastic food was produced in quite challenging conditions - although our guide clearly preferred his injera. I was prepared to endure the coffee ceremony with locals, but it was a real highlight. Local organisation was informal, but effective and friendly. Gondar has interesting history and is worth a day of anyone's time. (Disclaimer: Peter is an investor in Tourdust, travelled with Tourdust to the Simien Mountains in spring 2011)
peters reviewing Classic Simien Mountain Trek
We booked a hike in the simian mountains with tourdust because Danielle and I were on a very tight schedule with work and had no time for anything to fall through when we got there and also the big companies were very inflexible with their leaving dates.
Danielle actually didn’t read any of the emails I was forwarding her that Ben had sent us until a few weeks before we left to go to Kenya and then had a last minute freak out that I may have booked something dodgy over the internet. But she was very impressed by how thorough the tourdust emails were, especially their detailed advice on what to expect and what to bring, It was obvious that the people who run tourdust have done the walk themselves before and they give very sound advice.
The guide in Ethiopia was also very approachable by email and gave us advice, as we wondered whether the famine had affected the area and he was able to reassure us.
When we got to Ethiopia we met the man who runs the walks from Gondar and he gave us some last minute advice for the next morning and also we got to talk about diet as I am mostly vegetarian, which they could accommodate.
The next day we were picked up from the hotel and drove to the mountains. We met our guide there, and also the cook, cooks assistance, scout, and muleteers. You walk in the daytime with just a guide and a scout and the others beat you to the camp and set up! We did see some people walking with the minimum “support crew” which is just a scout (which you need to legally camp in the mountains- they have a machine gun to protect you, although it is not at all that dangerous, it’s mainly to give the local people some work.) those people did look a bit uncomfortable at night time because it does get cold and it is hard to organise your own camp food and fire! You would have to be more organised than us to do it independently. The staff were very friendly. The cook and the guide spoke excellent English and were very entertaining. They really looked after us and made sure that we were comfortable. The guide was careful with the pace to challenge but not exhaust us. I had never hiked at altitude before and was surprised at how puffy I was. The guide knew a lot about the birds and animals and geology of the mountains which was interesting. He also taught us some Amharic which was entertaining (especially our pronunciation!).
The food was good (it was faranji food)- cooked hot every night. It does have a lot of MSG in it- but maybe if you asked for that to be kept out earlier they wouldn’t put it in, I’m not sure. They certainly feed you enough (or too much!!). They set up a fire for you at night time, which is very welcome as it is cold!
All in all, the walk went very well. It is a beautiful area, especially at that time of year. You walk over fields of wild thyme and wildflowers, it smells and looks heavenly. And you have the sweeping panoramic vistas of the mountains of course. Photos don’t do it justice. You can see massive birds of prey circling the thermals underneath you. You are so high up that it feels a lot like what being a bird must feel like at times, except that you still have your feet on the ground! You walk through some of the smaller villages as you get to the end of the trek which is also very pleasant. You see some wildlife and a lot of domestic animals!
You camp at the same camp sites as the other faranji doing the hike. It’s very cold at night so bring warm sleeping things and coats!
I did get sick on this trek, though through no fault of the guides or staff! All the staff were absolutely lovely and very caring, making me special foods and drinks and setting up a place for me to lie in the shade. We had to stay a day extra at a camp site and they reorganised the whole trek around it- they provided us with some alternatives and we got to choose what we wanted to do.
All in all, I would recommend this trek booked with tourdust highly. Their local operator was a good one and we had a great trek! Tourdust was very supportive by email and I have trust in their advice. It’s very hard to book something over the internet as there is a big fear that you are throwing your money into the wind and will be left at the airport so to speak, or that you are booking something that will be frustrating and dodgy. In this trek they have chosen their local operator well. I would book another trek with them if I was similarly strapped for time. I would also recommend them to friends who were looking to trek.
The simian mountains are an absolutely beautiful relaxing experience and a great walk!
eb2906 reviewing 8 Day Simien Mountain & Lowlands Trek
We completed the 4 day version of the Classic Berber Villages and Toubkal Ascent at the end of October/start of November 2011. We booked as a couple and were joined by another solo male traveller who luckily we got on really well with, we all appreciated having someone else on the trip but also that it was a very small group.
Our driver picked us up at 9am from the door of our riad as promised, and we drove to meet our guide, muleteers and mules at the start of the route. They had already sorted some equipment we needed to borrow like sleeping bags (to avoid extra luggage on the plane) and drove the other guy to their shop in Imlil so he could borrow some other things.
It's an easyish hike on the first day, we had an amazing lunch on a grassy plateau with the first of many stunning views. The muleteers do an amazing job preparing a range of fresh foods for lunch and dinner and manage to present it beautifully. And let's not forget the constant supply of lovely tea!
We then hiked to the first village where we stayed in a local run gite which was comfortable enough.
We found the 2nd day's hiking hard. The first few hours hiking through villages was really interesting and colourful, followed by a harder uphill hike with the sun beating down on us to where we stopped for lunch. The hiking after lunch was thankfully much shorter to our refuge for the night. The refuge was a great little building with a waterfall right behind. The size and personalities of our group made for a really good atmosphere in places like this, it didn't matter that we were freezing cold and didn't speak the same language, some tea, food, music and card games made for fun evenings together! You tend to reach the place you're sleeping quite early in the day. I'd suggest cleaning up, sorting yourself out for the evening and wrapping up warm as soon as you arrive, and pack some stuff to do! Books, music and card games supplemented chatting to keep us entertained.
Day 3 has a fairly difficult uphill nicknamed '90 zigzags' but when you pause for breath and water the views behind are increasingly amazing. The walk to the 'base camp' refuge after is an easier gradient and we got there by lunch (like I said, lots of down time). This is a large refuge with many groups going to or returning from the summit and their guides. It may be different if there are groups you can get to know but with a language barrier we didn't really chat to the others and preferred the smaller refuge from the day before. Still, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and a nice lounge area.
On our summit day we set off after an early breakfast before 6 (in the dark) and got to see the sun rise over the mountains ahead as we climbed. People talked about 'the first bit being the hardest' before we left but there's not much change in gradient until the last 10 minutes! It took us 3 hours to reach the summit and we had to use crampons for about half because of quite deep snow that was frozen quite solid. The views from the top are stunning and totally worth it. We were up there for about half an hour and were lucky enough to meet only one other climber at the top. As soon as we started descending it seemed less real that we'd been there. Glad we've got pictures and videos to remind me!
After lunch at the refuge we walked all the way down to Imlil (on a different route to the way up) which was straightforward but looong, and we were weary by the time we reached the Imlil shop to settle up for the things we'd borrowed.
A car met us outside the shop and drove us to Marrakech without a problem, however when we got there it was clear that the driver did not know how to get us back to our riads, and actually became quite confrontational about it when we said we didn't want to be dropped on the wrong side of the medina. He was not a taxi like the car on our way out, we got the impression that he had been asked to take us because he was heading that way. Luckily we could use internet mobile to look up the number of our riad and one of the boys from there came out to meet us and direct him. It was a shame to sour the end of our experience with a bit of a shortcut gone wrong.
Overall, a brilliant experience. Our guide, Mohammed spoke excellent English, was very informative and was a great pacemaker. The muleteers Ibrahim and Mohammed did a great job, spoke little English but their personalities shone through. We took everything on Tourdust's suggested list but did not need water tablets as bottled water was readily available to but at least once per day. We would recommend plenty of light and warm layers and both had sports 'skin' long sleeved tops which proved invaluable. We struck very lucky with the weather (no rain) but had both hot and cold climates to dress for.
Overall, a 5 star unforgettable experience and good value for money.
Alex Nicholson reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
Trekking to Machu Pichu has long been a dream of mine and this was a wonderful way to do it. The guides and porters on our trek took great care of us… reassuring us about the effects of altitude and encouraging us all to walk at our own pace. We were in a group of 12, a good size…large enough to have some interesting chat at dinner but it we never felt crowded when we were walking. The food was fantastic and could easily stand alone as a selling point for the trek. The weather in June was clear although chilly at night…gloves should be high on the kit list.
The trip up the Tambopata river into the jungle is in complete contrast to the heights of the Andes and quite magical. Before we had even got to the lodge the guides had pointed out caiman, capybaras and vultures along the riverbank. The accommodation itself was very comfortable, with a large bar, dining area and very clean comfortable bedrooms. I had been a little nervous about the prospect of sleeping in a room open to the jungle but am now a complete convert, the noises and views into the vegetation were fascinating and best enjoyed from the comfort of a hammock!
jenny reviewing Cusco, the Sacred Valley, the Inca Trail & Amazon Jungle
The 5day Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent was the highlight of our 2wk trip in Morocco. The guide and cook were both very friendly, respectful, and informative. The food was amazing - we wanted to take Rashid home with us! It was very pleasant walking through the villages, with the days getting progressively harder - a perfect build-up to the final 2days of great ascents. Climbing Toubkal was extremely rewarding, meeting various lovely people on that final day. We highly recommend this trek to others, and for those who have already booked it, additional advice would be to take a pack of cards and interesting books because there's so much relaxing time at the end of each day of trekking! Thank-you Tourdust & Thank-You Abdulla & Rashid!!!
Alanna reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
The trip was better than we could have hoped for. Dan & I are UK Mountain Leaders, so we weren't sure how necessary a guide was. The answer was very. Abdul was knowledgable about geology, plants and animals, but the discussions we had about middle eastern politics and religion were the most revealing. We could have done this trip on our own and spent a little less money, but the company and the food (amazing - not a ration pack or supernoodle in sight) made us glad that we had chosen to book through Tourdust.
Chris Billington reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
We had a wonderful trip - highlight of 2011! Everything ran like clockwork, the care and attention from the team was first class. The trekking was fantastic - challenging but just enough so. I don't think we would have changed a thing. Thank you
RachaelErskine reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
a great trip. Organisation was very simple and smooth, and the walk itself - through villages, along valleys and up to the summit of Toubkal was wonderful - altogether a great experience.
tom howes reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
We had a great time! We really appreciated that the trip was booked with a local tour operator, which we learned was one of the biggest and best in Kenya. Patrick was exceptionally helpful, and came to meet us 3 times to check in and make sure things were going well.
There was an unfortunate change to our flight to Lamu which happened 2 weeks before leaving, but were only told the morning of, and it meant waking early, somewhat unnecessarily, except that our flight was changed to the intl. airport instead, and it also meant stopping in another city on the way, which added time to our flight, and detracted from our time in Lamu.
Nevertheless, we had an amazing time, and are very pleased with the trip!
I would rate both customer service and our experience a 5. I would definitely recommend you to others, and am looking forward to saving up again so I can book my next trip.
Jaclyn Rubin reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined
A tough but rewarding challenge with spectacular views of the Atlas Mountains with its many waterfalls and lush green valleys. Make sure you wear good walking boots for this hike, and carry poles for the descent from the peak.
Laura Page reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
An excellent introduction to map reading and using a compass which has given me the confidence to plan my own routes.
Christine Conboy reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
Overall, I was really impressed with the trek and it was definitely the highlight of our trip to Morocco. We stayed in relatively isolated villages, saw few other travelers, interacted with Berbers, saw amazing challenging hiking around the valleys and up Mount Toubkhal. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who wanted to do something that was definitely off the beaten track in Morocco.
Jenna Jadin reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
We really thought our trip was great. I would rate your service and the whole experience as a 5. The only piece that would make your service more convenient would be if the prices were conveyed in dollars instead of pounds. We would definitely recommend the trip and company to other travelers. We had our own trip for 3 people and were given lots of special attention. The transportation was very easy and all of our needs were met. Thanks so much for arranging everything for us!
Rochelle Loughry reviewing Lares Valley Trek to Machu Picchu
Last week we returned from our trip to Morocco. Here's my story....
Originally we had booked the 6 day circuit of Mt Toubkal. On arrival, we met our guide and were informed that we were unable to do the circuit as the snow was too deep in places over the high passes and posed a problem for the mules. Luckily this didn’t come as a surprise as Tourdust had already informed us, during the booking process, that this could be a possibility (good services guys). So with an alternative route selected we set off..... Now I have to mention that my wife and I have done many trekking holidays, including Nepal a few times, Peru and Argentina. We have never booked through a tour agent, nor had a guide...However when we decided to go to the Atlas Mountains it was apparent that trying to trek alone would be "challenging" to say the least. Searching the internet for a possible tour company to book through we both agreed that large trekking groups were out of the question. Naturally, all the big names came up...prices were ridiculous and numbers were 12-16 per group...until we came across Tourdust. It seemed too good to be true..our own private guide and muleteer for a fraction of the cost ?
...back to the trip......
Our guide mentioned that another group of 4 would also be doing the same route as us, all with their own guide and muleteer. - we would meet them later on that day.
After a few hours walking we stopped for lunch and we had our first taste of the infamous Berber tea AKA Berber whiskey!..Tetleys eat your heart out!! The tea was amazing...but what was equally amazing was the food that was prepared by our muleteer, Mohammed. The guy is incredible. After a short nap under a walnut grove we set off for the afternoon leg of our first day. Our lodging in a Gite that night was basic but more than adequate, hot showers and comfortable mattresses made for a good night’s rest. I have to mention at this point, we met the group of 4 later that afternoon. *Sigh* Now I’m not sure if they had read anything regarding Morocco and suitable dress code, but the 2 woman had mini trekking skirts and crop tops on…along with a good portion of oversized muffin tops to go!...even I felt awkward and found myself staring at my feet alot!
As the trip progressed the group of 4 were a constant source of entertainment for the two of us and 3 basic rules should be adhered to at all times:
1) Always listen to the guide
2) Always keep up with the mule carrying the food
3) Never try outsmart your guide
Every village we stayed in, Lashon took us on a tour and it became clear that he was well known throughout the valleys. As a result we were lucky enough to be invited in to a locals house for tea with freshly made bread and local olive oil…mmmm….(not something you are likely to experience in a group of 16) Unfortunately my wife and I were unable to converse with the home owner other than some rudimentary hand gestures, so instead he turned on the TV and switched to an English Muslim channel and beamed from ear to ear. Very bizarre
On day 3 our lodging was at the base of a pass which crossed over to the Mt Toubkal refuge. We got word earlier that day that the lodge was experiencing a few roofing problems i.e. If it rained during the night we were in trouble. Luckily it did’nt rain and we had a wonderful evening with an open fire, scarlet sunset and a golden glow from the surrounding peaks..best of all we were the only ones there. (our group of 4 complained to the lodge owner about the plumbing at this point!!!) It has to said that the accommodation is basic throughout the trip, some better than others, but unlike other trekking holidays we’ve been on, you do get a hot shower at the end of each day.
Day 4 we said good-bye to Mohammed and his mule as the pass was too dangerous for the mule. We would meet up with them later that day as they took much longer alternative route around. The pass proved to be an interesting day…icy bare foot river crossings, hail, snow, rain and sunshine all in 6 hours. (our guide found it highly amusing that we paid money to do this)
The climb of Mt Toubkal on day 5 was perfect. Lashon insisted that we wear crampons for the ascent as practically the entire mountain was still covered in snow and ice. We saw many people trying to do the ascent without suitable footwear and all I can say is THANK YOU Lashon! We summited without incident and were greeted with the most incredible panoramic views of the High Atlas…a superb ending to an awesome trekking holiday.
If you are reading this review and are doing the same Google searches we did trying to find a Tour company. Look no further!..Even though Tourdust’s prices are well below the likes of Exodus for example…the personal experience we got from the local company (Mohammed Aztat Trekking Company) they use is first class. Our guide was safety conscious, never made a rash decision…our muleteer made sure that we were always fed and did an outstanding job catering in some fairly challenging places and best of all they were both very friendly and informative.
Right from the outset Tourdust has been fantastic, recommendations by Anna and Ben were spot-on and any complications that arose were swiftly dealt with and sorted out. It was a memorable holiday…So a big thank you Tourdust.
One recommendation that we have, is that a bag weight limit should be recommended/ imposed. (15kg max)
Andrew Matthews reviewing 6 Day Toubkal Circuit
i had a great experience and would rate it 5/5. The whole trip went very smoothly and i really enjoyed the trek and my guide and muleteer Hassan and Rasheed. The conditions were still quite bad on the mountain because of the late winter but i always felt safe. It was also great to meet lots of people from different backgrounds and nationalities at the refuge.
DanDelaney reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
We really can't speak highly enough of our holiday. You and Ben were a pleasure to deal with, knowledgeable, helpful with no pressure or hassle.
Our guide Mohamed and our muleateer Mohamed were a delight - solicitious but never intrusive. You seriously under sell the gourmet element of the trek - every meal was a feast, fabulously presented in wonderful settings. Mohamed Aktaz's house was great and chips a novel but welcome sight!
Some specific suggestions:
- add a water bottle to the kit list. We had tablets as a precaution but anticipated water being provided en-route.
- weather link from your site was helpful, we probably should have taken less "winter" kit on the back of this.
- the 1:50,000 map (Toubkal) from Stamford's was well worth having
Adrian really enjoyed the Toubkal summit - up and down in three hours despite a broken crampon!
AdrianBelton reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
We just got back from our trip and it was wonderful...It's really hard
to adjust back to real life!
We had a great trip and the trek was wonderful. Jatoo, our guide, was an
extraordinary guy, his English was very good, he knew the area very
well, he told us a lot about Thailand and he was a riot over all! I
think he made a big difference to our experience.
I'd rate the overall experience at 4. I think it'd be helpful to be a
little more detailed in the requirement up front, as we thought the trek
was walking around the forest but it was a bit more than that. We
thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, so the last day, the bike ride fell a
little short of expectations, we woke up really early and wished that we
did a bit more at the end. I'd certainly recommend it to my friends and
we'll look at other tours that you arrange in the future.
OyaEcevitt reviewing Hill Tribe Trekking in Thailand
.The trekking experience was great (i.e. day 1 and 2) would rate that a 5, Day 3 was a 4, Day 4 was a 3. Some elements of the trip such as the dancers at Lisu lodge was not really necessary as we prefer to see the Lisu tribe in their village rather than a forced dance in the lodge. Also, the bike trip on day 4 was too short. I think you should look at extending this trip and rearranging some of the other activities.
Having said these, I must point out that we had an excellent tour guide (Jatoo). I would recommend him to all my friends. He was very knowledgeable, and never got tired of our detailed questions.
Overall my main disappointment was that apart from the Lahu Outpost, the "rules" did not allow Jatoo to have dinner with us. I find this very strange at this day and age. This decision should be left to the guide and the visitors, not the owners of the lodges.
Hope these comments help. We had a wonderful time and saw the best part of Thailand.
Thanks for your help.
OzgaUste reviewing Hill Tribe Trekking in Thailand
The actual trip, logistics, accomodation etc. worked really well! I didn´t expect the Eco basecamp to be so luxurious. The sleeping domes were so cool, the bathroom facilities amazing as well as the whole restaurant and bar area. Almost like being at the Hilton but in the wilderness ;-). The cabins and dorms worked well too but after two days of long trekks it felt great coming back to the Eco domes. A perfect balance. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable. I was lucky to end up with a great group that had a lovely dymanic which also contributed to the overall experience. I only have one little comment and it´s not a biggie. In the eco camp I shared dome with another female (a fellow country woman from sweden it just so happened). However the one night in cabins I had to share with a man in my gruop. It worked out ok but I guess I only expected to share with the same sex. Maybe something to prepare others with in the future.
In summary, I would highly recommend this trip to others it´s one of the most awesome things I´ve ever done!
Thanks for all your help in the run up to my trip!
P.S. My boots also turned out amazingly well in the end ;-)
AnnBergstrom reviewing Torres del Paine Trekking Expedition
Overall we had a fantastic time doing the Mt Toubkal trek. The climb is casual (no climbing gear/ropes required) however it is not for the light hearted. It was fairly heavy going, very long uphill walks for 4-5 hours on loose rocks and snow. If you aren't used to trekking then you may find this difficult. Altitude sickness is a definite possibility and sore legs are almost guaranteed. The accommodation is very basic and not very pleasant (cold water, dirty, too many people in each room so no sleep at all). The ascent to the summit is tough, very steep, and difficult in the snow. The reward is amazing views, the summit of Jebel Toubkal was excellent and we had an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and achievement. Our guide was very experienced, helpful and we would recommend him to anyone.
Darren Isbell reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Clare and I had a fantastic break in morocco. The trek was a real highlight.
Andrew Larter reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
I would definitely recommend this trip to other travellers.
Everything ran like clockwork. Mohammed met us at the airport and took us to our riad in Marrakech which was a lovely place right in the centre but quiet as a retreat. We loved sitting on the upstairs terrace chilling out and having cups of mint tea prepared by their lovely staff.
On the trek Mohammed picked us up at 9am and we were taken to the start were we met our guide Mohammed ,our cook Hammed and our Mule who we named Janet.
We spent a lovely 5 days trekking and were really looked after by Mohammed and Hammed. The food was amazing and nothing was too much trouble for them.
The climb up Toubkal was amazing. Lots of snow and beautiful views.
We met some lovely people in the villagers.
We will definitely like to return to climb some more peaks.
Kevin Dawes reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
The experience was very enjoyable. The climb was tough, but worth it.
The guide was very competent, albeit a little quiet. Fantastic experience, great views, well worth the trek to the top.
matrekker reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
From beginning to end the service from both Tourdust and the local operator was fantastic. Despite being the rainy season we had a fair bit of good weather, and even when we didn't it couldn't take away from the great experience and amazing sites. Our guide Odon really made it for us. There was a smallish group of 8 of us. He understood everyones needs and tailored our days to make sure everyone got the most out of it. Whenever he could he made sure that we were ahead of other groups and got time at the most interesting sites on our own. He also hads fantastic knowledge and always had really interesting things to tell us which made the trip even better. Our team of porters were also fantastic. The food was amazing and you wouldn't believe they were cooking it in a camp tent. Thank you to the whole team for making this such a great trip. I would highly recommend Pachamama if you are thinking of doing the trail. Becks and Will - Jan 2011
beak101 reviewing Trek the Inca Trail in Peru
We would highly recommend booking a trek with Tourdust. We had a tailor made 4 day trek with friendly, professional guides. It was fun and well organised with good accommodation and great food. Lots of great memories and stunning photos.
We had an amazing time, mohammed and loshum were both really helpful. took us into the village in the evenings to see the village celebrating eid, played football with the kids in the village. We felt safe. Food was excellent, had our own impromptu cookery course with mohammed. On the last day lucy went with loshum for a harder walk and I stayed with mohammed so catered to both levels of fitness
RuthCrook reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
I cannot imagine a better guide than Odon. From the very first time we met, he has been funny, kind, supportive, very knowledgeable and a real pleasure to be with. The fact is I was not fit enough to do this like some of the other young fit people, but he made me feel welcome and cared for - a wonderful man and a wonderful experience. Apart from my shame at taking the horse, I have loved almost every minute of this trek and Odon has been the second best part of it - countryside came first :)
Charles reviewing The Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu
We very much enjoyed the course run by Pete Hawkins. The two instructors were thorough and patient (very important in my case) and our confidence visibly grew as the weekend progressed. We were very pleased at the end to receive the bronze award and look forward to the next level.
Pauline reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
I found this trip a fantastic and unique trip, First, I liked the professional team who took care of everything and was always on time, secondly, it was a good chance to enjoy the mountains in Spain. I do recommend it to anyone who love adventures and enjoy a special experience.
Also the experienced staff, helped me to have the right expectations about the trip, therefore I was prepared to everything. it is unforgettable experience.
Simply, at the top, you have just reached the highest summit in Spain.
Ahmed reviewing Climb Mulhacen - the Highest Peak in Spain
Yes I would highly recommend for those with a hardy sense of adventure - Toubkal climb itself is a little more challenging than maybe is made clear, and I am an experienced walker. Hostel was very basic, which is fine as long as travellers are aware from the outset. Need to remind travellers to take passport numbers for hostel registration - add to kit list. Also, tips are appreciated by guides/taxi drivers at end - it is part of African culture.
I have to say that our mountain guide was fantastic. He was friendly and very knowledgeable. The food prepared for us was excellent and substantial. We were really well looked after all of the time. The taxi service to/from Marrakech was very efficient. The arrangements went exactly as planned from start to finish, so we had nothing to worry about, other than ensuring we kept going on the climb. Watching the sun rise across the Atlas mountains was breathtaking, an experience that will last with us for some time.
Pierre reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Thanks very much. Everything was of a high standard and we really enjoyed our weekend. Peter Hawkins was a fantastic leader.
EmmaW reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
The trip was very well organised, and the accommodation was excellent. What really makes a trip like this special is that you can walk off the beaten track and our guide Richard was very knowledeable so we learnt a lot about the local history,flora and fauna. Nothing was too much trouble for Richard or our hosts Peter and Melanie and that made the holiday really enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this trip.
Pat reviewing Walk the Camino de Santiago
I would be happy to recommend this holiday to anyone! Richard, the guide, was extremely knowledgeable and it was a delight to go walking with him, Snippets of information about the geology, history, architecture, flora and wildlife added extra interest to every walk we went on. The walks were well planned out in terms of the interests we had expressed and our walking ability. One member of the group was injured and Richard, along with our hosts at Casa Sarasa, made individual arrangements so that she could still join us at different stages of the walks. They also adapted a couple of days because of poor weather but managed this in such a way as to still provide excellent and varied walking experiences.
We stayed at Casa Sarasa which again exceeded our expectations. Peter and Melanie had exactly the right balance between treating us as friends in their home and customers. We could not have been more welcomed or better looked after. Our daily picnics were a triumph and different every day.
Organisationally everything went like clockwork; Richard and Peter made the planning look effortless a sure sign that in actual fact a lot of thought had gone into it!
I would score this holiday a 5 and we hope to book again. ( Probably 2012 as we have already booked a 2011 walking holiday through Tourdust) We would again want to stay at Casa Sarasa and have Richard as our tour guide, we would include some of the other activities on offer, canoeing, riding etc and we would go a bit later in May hoping for warmer weather!
Sian reviewing Walk the Camino de Santiago
I had a brilliant time and want to do it again next year. Ian our guide was fabulous. Really lovely group we met up with. Went at our own pace and made it. Harder than kilimamjaro and way more rewarding as I made it to the top. With no altitude sickness a trek like this is hard but doable. Would recommend it to anyone. See you next year!
Laki reviewing Climb Ben Nevis
The tour of the Dingle Peninsula was wonderful, the accommodations were impeccable and the food was lovely. The tour operator was very friendly and responsive to our needs. Even though this was a self-guided holiday I felt well cared for the entire time.
Debora reviewing Walk the Dingle Way
Our holiday arrangements for the Dingle Way walk were excellent. Everyone was professional, helpful and friendly with the accomodations being of a high quality for cleanliness, comfort, and location. Highly recommended!
Sheila reviewing Walk the Dingle Way
I would definitely recommend this trip to others. A great challenge and fantastic views make the uphill exertion completely worthwhile!
Natasha reviewing Climb Mulhacen - the Highest Peak in Spain
I would rate the course 5 out of 5. We both had an excellent time and we learnt a lot, probably a bit more than we both expected.
First, it was an excellent walking weekend as we got to do some lovely walks in the Tideswell area. Second, we both had the opportunity to learn and then practice what we had learnt so I genuinely feel that I got my money's worth out of the course. And third, Pete was an excellent instructor.
I would thoroughly recommend it to other would be orienteers and friends.
EmilyJM reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
The Silva bronze Navigation weekend was a wonderful opportunity to mix with like-minded strangers who had missed out on learning about map reading and navigating earlier in life. The first evening was spent at The Anchor being introduced to the basics of map reading in preparation for Saturday's 7 hour walk in the lovely Derbyshire countryside with ample opportunity to practice navigating from point to point using map and compass. After many years of cursorily scanning OS maps it was only under Pete's expert guidance that they began to release their hidden store of information to make navigating both challenging and fun. The second day proved even more of a challenge having woken up to a 6 inch covering of snow obscuring many of the features that were to be the object of Sunday's attention. Unfazed, we set off for a long snowy walk putting our new skills to the test in conditions that we will meet again unless we become fair-weather walkers, which I doubt. Throughout the weekend Pete proved to be good host and the arrangements for the evening meals at The Anchor met everyone's approval. The B&B Jaret House was comfortable and I will never forget the wonderful packed lunches provided by Pete's lovely wife. The weekend Navigation course could not be more highly recommended and is well deserving of five out of five.
RichardS reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
The course was really good, Pete was very friendly and made it much less daunting -particularly when you go on your own. He gave lots of encouragement but also challenged you. Village and the b & b I stayed in also seemed very friendly. I liked the way we had evening sessions in the pub as you had the option of being sociable if you want and it helped the group to bond.
all in all would recommend it
rebecca reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
My memories of our Bream Head Coastal Walks adventure are of spectacular scenery, luxurious accommodation, fresh gourmet food and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from a bit of exertion and a lot of fun.
We’d had a tough couple of months so arrived very tense and stressed. The warm welcome and the excitement of exploring the unexpected luxury of our surroundings, coupled with a glass of wine and delicious nibbles, set the tone for the entire weekend. Enjoying the 180° views over farmland to the ocean beyond, we immediately forgot our worries and set about planning the walks we would do.
Day one dawned with warm spring sunshine for our walk over farmland and along the beach. We were only 3 hours from home but this was a different world. The locals were very friendly, both human and animals, as we wandered over their land and onward to the deserted beach. The sea was so blue and inviting that we abandoned our footwear to paddle our way along the shoreline. The backdrop for the entire day was the spectacular ridgeline that we would be exploring tomorrow.
We were up early on day two and keen to get started, only delayed by the decisions to be made on which of the yummy foods to include in our lunchboxes. It was another beautiful day in paradise, so the shade of the bush was welcome after the hot uphill trek from the beach. We spend a lot of time tramping in the New Zealand bush, but still found ourselves continually stopping to take photos of the truly spectacular rocky outcrops and views beyond. Cheeky fantails joined us on route and a variety of birdlife was heard as we made our way through the bush along the ridge. Our host Claire was there to pick us up at the end of the day with a cool ice cream as reward for our efforts.
A good days fishing for our hosts meant a quick change to the menu that night, with the added choice of ocean fresh fish or the prime Angus beef. Some of us also chose to experience the open air bath to soak those weary muscles, hoping to hear a native kiwi calling in the nearby bush.
For day three we finished off with a climb to the summit of Mount Manaia. A change in the weather made this even more special with the views appearing and disappearing as the mist passed over, and added to the mystic of the spiritual origins of this great landmark.
We couldn’t help looking back in awe as we headed for home, feeling revived, refreshed and truly satisfied from a weekend well spent.
Marie reviewing Northland Coastal Walk
The surroundings are satisfying, warm, everything we need, cosy rooms with their two towels, hot showers, fat sofas, kettles starting to whistle, as those in our eight-strong group begin to get to know each other.
And the food, in the evening, is good and plentiful. Very, very fresh. I compliment the tiny bustling chef on the crab, and she beams. 'I'm so glad. Caught it myself just this morning.' By lights out (because of the generator) at 11, we know each other pretty well. Splendid bunch. Some retired, some still busy, some Scots, some English, some who know these hills; we all vie in self-deprecating fashion to say who's going to be the slowest. Unfortunately, I am telling the truth.
A sweet, sweet sleep by the sea, a good hot breakfast, and the walking begins. Plans are fluid, depending on the weather on the hills and the state of the water, and on this first day we get to go, gloriously, to Eigg. A half-hour or so's boat ride, with Skye and Rum passing to port in splendid sun, and then we're there. It's hot. I know this is Scotland, but it's hot. But there's a breeze, and I soon stop panting, or at least pant in a semblance of rhythm, and we find our walking legs, and move up towards the dark, looming, sheer, magnificently scary An Sgurr. It's only 393m high, good for our first day, but the fall, on those three sheer sides from the top, is pretty much every one of those 393.
Next day is, as they all are, different. We walk in Knoydart, up a long, twisting isolated glen, towards the apparently splendid peak of Meall Buidhe, hidden in the mist. We pass huge horned Highland cattle, asleep amid misted trees, and a cluster of white ponies, used to haul down stags during the season. We are very much in a wilderness, in Scotland, a knowledge that comes whirling in with the wind and rain. That's the thing about weather: it changes.
In the morning, the group set out again, chattering. Long days, long climbs; mist and wild wind and sun, and supple hard sinews by the end, and happy scrambles for the showers, and long talks into the night.
(Euan Ferguson writing for the Guardian in August 2008)
The-Guardian reviewing One Week Knoydart Peninsula Tour
Mohamed is simply the best guide with whom I have walked in Morocco... (Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, Dec 2007)
CondeNastTraveller reviewing Climb Mount Toubkal
Mohamed Aztat, a fluent speaker of English, French, Berber and Spanish is equally at home taking a family group through the low level M'goun valleys or experienced trekkers and climbers up the steepest slopes.
LonelyPlanet reviewing Classic Berber Villages & Toubkal Ascent
After a week spent taking part in the Woodlander course, learning wilderness bushcraft, I know that I will never own a PlayStation. No amount of sitting in front of a television exercising my thumbs could possibly have the magical effect of this supremely absorbing subject. Strangely, producing fire by friction is an emotional moment. I feel initiated. There is something quite primal about the process, as if I’ve connected in some significant way with my ancestors. I feel more tuned-in with the outdoors than I have ever felt. I also have an irrepressible grin etched across my face.
The course takes place in one of nature’s most beautiful classrooms on a remote 300-acre private forestry estate to the west of Lake Windermere, with a spectacular backdrop of mountains, lakes and rivers. Such a location gives the participants - a maximum number of 12 taught by five instructors - the chance to really commune with nature on a very intimate level. In my ten years of enjoying outdoor pursuits, mainly climbing and mountaineering, with a healthy dose of mountain biking and hill walking thrown in, I’ve never really engaged with my surroundings in this way until now.
Before I arrived, I did have concerns about the nature of the subject matter, in particular whether it would be an exercise in Rambo-style machismo, an initiation into tree-hugging pseudo-spiritualism, or a sentimental regression into the past. Thankfully, it is none of these things. Rather, it encourages me to see what I’ve been missing when out walking.
(Written by James Reynolds published in The Scotsman on 19 June 2004)
Scotsman reviewing Survival & Bushcraft Courses in the Lakes
When I originally booked this Bushcraft day I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Were we going to be like Ray Mears, skinning rabbits, or cooking moose on hot coals, or were we going to be exposed to the Bear Gryls way of life where we dived into frozen rivers, and jogged 50 km’s through mosquito ridden swamps. Luckily it wasn’t the Bear Grylls side, phew! but it was definitely more Ray Mears, and definitely a lot of fun!
As soon as we arrived in camp, which is set in a beautiful pine forest, set on the far banks of Lake Winderemere, we had to make fire, and properly. We all failed miserably at this task, but we learnt very quickly how to make a fire properly, and this lesson will stick with me for a long time to come. Throughout the rest of the day we made some Banock cakes that we then ate. Tracked foxes and squirrels, ate wild berries and mushrooms, and even made fire from wood. Not only do I feel like a proper caveman but the whole group thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and we were all sad to see it come to an end!
Stephen was a great instructor, who delivered at just the right level, and the day has made us all want to learn more about how to survive in the wild.
Bear Grylls, eat your heart out! And maybe a snake too!
5 out of 5 – Brilliant!
nbamford reviewing Survival & Bushcraft Courses in the Lakes
As an inexperienced hiker I was worried that this would be too difficult for me. The experience was great, walking along the coast listening to whale song was fantastic! The guides were great, full of information about the native flora, and the barnecue was fantastic- almost as good as the sunset from the Cape! I recommend this to everyone! The hike was so much fun that my friend was hooked- he even gave up smoking (for the duration of the hike!) so that he could hike in the lead and see all the animals first!
PhilBer reviewing Overnight Cape Point Hike
A fantastic 2 day hike through the varied landscape of the Cape with the outward and return journeys being entirely different. Magnificent sea views, wildlife, and the abundant flowering fynbos make for a unique experience and endless photo opportunities. Kevin's in depth knowledge and empathy with the area makes him an informative guide and great companion for the trip. We recommend it highly.
JohnT reviewing Overnight Cape Point Hike
I heard whale song as I walked among the coast through a trail set among the unique vegetation. At the coast I saw more whales than anywhere else, a mother and calf drifted slowly in the water. At the peninsula we watched a seal batter an octopus on the rocks then gobble it up.
The barbecue dinner at the hut was fantastic, even difficult vegetarians like me were catered for. The hot shower a welcome relief and the comfy cots a treat.
The next day we followed a family of ostrich (not intentionally) as they used the trail to make their journey.
Kevin makes a great guide, knows every inch of the cape and respects it. 10/10.
Dilbinder reviewing Overnight Cape Point Hike