As many travellers enjoy their experience with us so much, they return year after year & recommend us to friends & family. The majority of people who travel with Oasis have been recommended by word of mouth, so in order for us to maintain the high standard of the trips we run, and to ensure your friends & family have a trip of a life time, we would love to hear your feedback, comments or ideas about your adventures with us. We are always eager to hear from our travlellers about their trips (both positive & negative comments!) - its great to hear how people have enjoyed themselves (lets face it - its far more common nowadays to complain than to offer praise), so thanks to the people below for taking the time to email or write to us.
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Thank you for this.
I DID go to the Chauchilla Cemetery, the day a few went to the Naztac Lines. It was truly an amazing site, and certainly not to be missed. Extraordinary place.
I forgot to mention the Galapagos. It was unforgettable, and I wished I had pushed the wallet a little bit wider, and gone for the 8 day trip, but then I had to see the Iguaza Falls and go on my Amazon adventure before I left Rio! I would like to HIGHLY COMMEND the young man who was our Tour Guide on the yacht. He was truly outstanding - excellent English, truly professional, concerned about our well being, knowledgeable about the fauna and flora, proficient underwater guide, well dressed, good liaison with the crew and his demeanour on board was exceptional - how shall I say, I suppose "professional", with the crew and the passengers, and so on. He seemed to be "on the job" 24/7.I had the pleasure of meeting his father when we had finished with the Darwin Centre, and told him that he should be extremely proud of his son. I would suggest that OO make a point of ensuring that his services are enlisted for tour - check him out if you can! I would also recommend the Travel Agent you used in Quito; they were extremely helpful and professional. I would say, that since OO offers budget holidays, it is best to keep the Galapagos trip as an optional extra, and not to include it in the programme. Well worth it though! I did a brief survey of prices, to see if I could get a better deal on my own, but I felt eventually, that your offer was pretty fair. (I wouldn't gain much by booking the trip on my own).
Yes, I am looking at your Africa trip, the long one, which I understand is all camping. No problem. Not next year as I am still trying to sort out India overland. I want to go to Central America, and then there's Australia and New Zealand and Thailand and................... I think I got on with all the others even though there was an age difference - my memories of the trip overall is "fun, laughter, smiles, music and a lot of love!"
Rosemary(Galapagos Islands Cruise)
The Galapagos Islands was an amazing experience and I loved every minute of it. Although the boat was very small and cramped, it was always very clean and well maintained. I thought the four man crew looked after us very well and worked very hard. The food was delicious - although possibly too much of it! Each of the islands were all very different from each other. The guide had a very good knowledge of the islands and was extremely enthusiastic about everything which enhanced the experience. I would definitely recommend it to others. However I would ensure that they knew how small and basic the boat is as this might not be suitable to some people.
Julie (Galapagos Islands Cruise)
Hi Andy :)
The jungle trip was great, our guide was ready to meet us at the airport when we arrived, and we were able to leave our larger rucksacks at the headquarters so they didn't have to endure the boat trip!! .. the boat was an experience too, particularly getting to eat lunch out of banana leaves and then throw them overboard! .. the lodge was gorgeous, and the staff greeted us with drinks and cold flannels when we arrived! Our room was also lovely, if a little infested with cockroaches.. but what did we expect!.. and the frog in our shower made a nice change!
It was impressive how ecofriendly the lodge was, using kerosene lamps and providing special biodegradable shampoo and soap. The food was also exceptional... and there was fruit basket, teas and coffees and bananas out to be eaten at anytime. The excursions were good, particularly the one to the farm on the opposite side of the river to us, we got to try pretty much every fruit they had growing there :) I would really, really recommend the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, although not to anyone who doesn't like occasional insects in their beds!
One thing worth passing on to other people travelling to that part of the jungle is that it isn't actually in the malaria zone (despite what our doctors back home told us) and so taking anti-malarials isn't necessary, they made me pretty ill and they cost a fortune so I'd definitely recommend people check for absolutely sure whether the parts they are going to are in the malaria zone or not! It was a fantastic experience, and I'd definitely recommend Oasis Overland, thank you for a great trip :)
Note from Oasis: Like Jo, we strongly recommend that you check for up to date advice on malaria and preventative medication from a qualified medical practitionercontact us about this. before you travel. Advice from different sources can be conflicting so we recommend you obtain preventative medication if you are in any doubt. Feel free to
I meant to send this e-mail a while ago, but I hope it's still better late than never! I just want to thank you guys for an absolutely fantastic experience on the Kingdoms & Carnivals trip from Quito to Rio on board Frida. Everything about it was first-rate, but the thing that really capped it off was the brilliant job done by Chris and Nancy. They were so helpful at every turn, and it's impossible to list everything they did to make the trip what it was, but a couple of examples particularly stick out. The efforts they went to to ensure that we had a great Christmas so far from home really were extraordinary - it must have taken so much planning, and I have still got no idea how Nancy came by the turkeys! The shift Chris put in to make sure we got from Cuzco to Puno on schedule, after the good people of rural Peru had held us at a roadblock for eight hours, is another great example. The Lake Titicaca visit was one of the highlights of the trip for me, and we would have missed this had he not been prepared to really put in the extra hours for our benefit.
So, big thanks for a great trip, and especially to Chris and Nancy. It really wouldn't have been what it was without your efforts!
Graeme (Kingdoms and Carnivals)
I realise this letter comes a little late, however I would like to thank Chris and Nancy for their wonderful efforts during the Rio to Quito trip beginning in Feb of this year. Both Chris and Nancy went beyond all measures to ensure the passengers on Frida were happy. Nothing was a bother. The trip itself was amazing, an eye opening experience and a wonderful, safe way to see South America. Chris and Nancy merely placed the icing on the cake. I have highly recommended Oasis to others since experiencing the wonders of South America and I will undoubtedly delve into another adventure with you in the near future. So, thank you Chris and Nancy. You both really did make the trip more than I could have ever imagined and I hope to see you again somewhere in the World!
Fiona (Kingdoms & Carnivals)
Hola Oasis Team
I was ment to send this e-mail months ago when i left "The Truck", Princess and Brendan In Quito, but i have been cought up in more travels. Just wanted to say that i had an amazing time while onboard and will never forget the experience that we went thru with the whole group.....superb!!!! I can honestly say Princess and Brendan are the hardest working/partying Oasis guys ever "we met a few others on the road haha ;]" they made my experience the best. Keep that Trans going, as I am looking into booking the 2011 one.Sweet As!!!
Kris (Kingdoms and Carnivals) - Rio to Quito
Overall I had a fantastic time.
The boat was clean and well looked after. Mostly the crew were brilliant and very friendly, however sometimes I felt the guide needed to slow down just a bit and adjust what he did to suit the passengers a bit (there was an older couple on the boat and i think they found some of the walks a bit heavy going).
The food was fantastic, all fresh ingredients and always plenty of it.
It would have been nice to do a bit more sailing as we were on a yatch (I think they put one sail up once on the whole trip) and most of the time the weather was perfect for sailing. The trip was mostly planned very well in that all the longer journeys were done at night so we did not waste any days with long journeys. However, the middle day of my trip (I did the longer one) I felt was a little wasted as I spent quite some time waiting while one set of passengers were taken to the airport and another set arrived (I spent a couple of hours sat on the boat by myself).
I think it also worth mentioning that the travel agent in quito was brilliant. I went in the day I arrived and spoke to someone. They said that everything was sorted and that the tickets would be delivered to the hotel that evening. They also changed my return flight to Quito with no issues at all. The tickets arrived at the hotel and the travel agent even rang me at the hotel the next day to explain the check in procedure at the airport!!
One other comment that I think may be worth mentioning is that the majority of the passengers did not realise what they were getting in terms of the boat - most were shocked by how small it was. I know this is their fault for not researching it themselves, but it may be worth stressing to people that it is a small, budget boat (not a problem for most oasis customers though I'm sure!)
Naomi (Galapagos Islands Cruise)
Dear Oasis Team,
I meant to send this email in the middle of December after I finished my two month trip with Andy, Mel and Frieda from Quito to Santiago but I have been caught up in travelling further on my own. I would like you to know, although I'm sure that you already do, what a wonderful team Mel and Andy make. The countries we visited are beautiful and amazing and the itinerary made sure we saw the best bits but the two of them really made the truck trip work. Mel's organisation is second to none and the effort put into the meal plans was incredible and very much appreciated. You could see the envy on the faces of the passengers on the other trucks. Their enthusiasm was infectious and having tour guided before myself I know how tiring it can be but they seemed to have boundless amounts of energy all the time. Having done a bit of independent travel before I was nervous about going on such an organised trip but they made sure it was the perfect start to my 8 months of travelling. So, thank you to your team in London and especially to Mel and Andy.
Catherine (Andes and Amazon)
THE TEAM AT OASIS!
My name is Ewen Gordon, and i was on your trip from Quito to Santiago that ended on the 10th of December, i just thought i would email and say thanks for a s**t hot holiday, i cant think of a better tour company to go with, we saw the Kumuka, budget and and few others and there was no way there tours were any where close as good as yours.Andy and Mel were amazing defiantly the best tour guides we came across, they both did things that no other were doing like the cooking stuff like hungi and other spits, and they seemed to have so many connections that got as to really cool places were other tours didn't go.
Ewen (Andes and Amazon)
Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that we had the most fantastic time in South America. We wanted you to know that Ricardo was sooooo great and helped me out in a few sticky situations during the trip. He went beyond his job description I'm sure and so thankful that we had him as our tour guide. His love for his job and country is evident and he worked so hard to ensure we were all happy and everything was organised.
We did however have a few hiccups on the Jungle extension, which I have emailed Ricardo about, but other than that the trip was faultless.We look forward to maybe more trips with Oasis in the future...... we had heard that Oasis was going to Asia ???
Liana & Kane (Peru Encompassed)
I'd just like to say how much we enjoyed our trip to Peru with Oasis, thank you. It was all, if not more than we expected and Ricardo was a great tour guide and looked after us all very well. Thank you also to you for all your help and organising prior to us going, you kept us very informed.
Kathryn (Peru Encompassed)
Did the diving meet your expectations?: Yes it was truly and unforgettable experience
Comments regarding your time in Cairo, and your guide and excursion to the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum, and Sphinx: Cairo was what we expected and what we where cautioned about, but besides that the pyramids, sphinx, monuments where awe inspiring. The guide was really helpful, interesting and polite.
Standard of accommodation provided in Cairo and Dahab: The Havana and its staff were really helpful in arranging the transfers and conations to flights and busses. In my opinion we got more than we paid for. The hotel at Dahab was very nice as well; apart from a misunderstanding regarding the breakfast there was really nothing to complain about.
Quality of Dive Equipment: Excellent, it was better than any other equipment that I have ever rented in South Africa.
Communication and Service Provided: The rep could have explained the meals that were included at the hotel in Dahab better to avoid confusion. We where really impressed with BIG BLUE and its staff.
Safety and Professionalism of Dive Instructors: Excellent, world class!
Standard of transport Used: The bus ride from Cairo was really bad and unpleasant. I would have much rather paid an few extra pounds and travelled on a private bus
Any other information or feedback you would like to provide or general comments: I was really impressed with BIG BLUE, Mohamed and the rest of the staff there. Their organisation and the quality of the dives was really excellent
Mias (Dive Dahab Trip- Fun Dive)
Had an awesome time - thanks for all your help.
Jason (Dive Dahab & The Pyramids)
We're back about 3 weeks now and we're still taking about how great our trip was. The places we went, the sites we visited, the people we met and the fun we had. It was just amazing, all of it. We had such a wonderful, wonderful time. When we look back at the photo album that we created, it's hard to believe that we did so much in 14 days.
We're traveled independently before and we might even consider ourselves well traveled. But we did not expect this trip to be THAT GOOD. I have to say we're so, so impressed. This trip had all the spirit of independent travel but without the hassle that can be so wearisome. And what's more the organization of this trip and the timing of the activities were flawless. We always felt that there was the perfect balance between, excursions, site seeing and relaxation or personal down time. I also have to say that a personal thank you to Dave who was an absolutely brilliant guide. I felt very privileged to have someone with such enthusiasm for, and knowledge of this amazing country. I wouldn't have been the same without you! I'd also like to say thank you to all the guides and staff at Oasis Overland. You've really created something special here. A trip of a lifetime. No doubt I'll be recommending this trip to everyone I meet over the coming years. So Dave, those flags that you have flying over the felucca might be showing more than you're own nationality. More than likely, in the not too distant future, you'll be havin' felucca's full of dancin' leprechauns all a driftin' down da Nile!!! And again, thank you so much.
Gerry n Isabelle (Egypt Encompassed)
If you are thinking of traveling through Egypt I would highly reccommend using Oasis Overland. We had a fantastic time on our 10 day tour and we were well looked after. The pyramids and sphynx in Cairo are amazing but be prepared to be harrased by locals wanting to sell you something. Don't be fooled nothing is for free in Egypt! Except as it turns out the sea sick tablets which we were offered on our hydrofoil trip to Dahab! The temples in Luxor were really fantastic our mini hike from the valley of the kings over to the valley of the workers gave us an amazing view of the weaving nile river. Dahab is a must, you don't have to get fully geared up and dive with tanks. We spent 3hrs snorkling amongst the most beatiful and colourful coral and fish I have ever seen. Just majic. Makes the long bus ride between Dahab and Cairo worth it!
Bugbitten.com (Pyramids & Sinai)
Dear Andy - and all at Oasis Overland,
We returned from our Egypt holiday on Wednesday and would like to tell you what a superb company we found you are. Even from the very first day of booking - when in fact we were stopped from booking for being too old, and had to speak in person with you before we could continue we have found the service you provide to be excellent. The organisation in Egypt was faultless, the trip was well planned for a mixture of activity and free time, and the tour leader Kerry did a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances- not the easiest place for a female tour leader to work.
We have always traveled independently before, but having now experienced Egypt we are very pleased we chose to be part of a group for this holiday, but thank goodness it was with your company.
Many thanks and congratulations. We are recommending you to anyone who shows an interest.
Rose and Alf (Egypt Encompassed)
As you will be aware, a number of us have just finished (on 11 Jan) the 57-day Istanbul to Tunis (some Cairo) trip with Oasis.
In addition to what I've already said on the feedback form given out at the end of the tour, I'd like to bring to Oasis HQ's attention (although I suspect from the consensus of passengers on the truck that others will have beaten me to it) what an excellent job Richard did as truck driver throughout the tour.
Super-friendly, polite, courteous, highly-competent and knowledgeable (particularly bearing in mind this was his first trip through the region), even at 6am, Richard went the extra mile, time-and-time again throughout the trip to make the journey more enjoyable for all of the passengers.
Specifically (and there are lots of examples), Richard's dedication to keeping the truck well-maintained and looking good throughout the trip, his ability to quickly get things going again when we broke down in Turkey and his general expertise at getting on well with the locals (local agents, border crossings, guides, hostel staff etc - sometimes in difficult circumstances) and passengers, are just a few examples of what a great job I think Richard is doing for Oasis. It's rare that I take the time to write these kind of emails - letters of complaint are usually my forte(!) - which, I hope goes to further emphasise the above.
Anyway, thanks for listening - for the record I'd certainly recommend Oasis to friends considering overlanding in future.
With kind regards
David (Oasis Caravan)
I got back from the Egypt trip on Sunday and just wanted to say it was fantastic! I had a fabulous time and Wassim is great. He is so knowledgable and such a great guy too he really made it special. As you know Blanca and I were already excited but the trip exceeded expectations so I just wanted to say thanks! (I even enjoyed the donkey ride-possibly the only one!!!)
Also, you really planted the seed that day when you said I can go home (back to SA) on the overland! I thought id decide once id been to egypt and as expected - I really cant resist!
Nicky (Egypt Encompassed)
This is an extremely late thank you!!! I had the best trip!!! Have been telling everyone that they MUST do this sort of trip. I absolutely loved it. The group I was with were brilliant!! Tracy, Ian, Nick and Kev were great!!
I will be definately doing your trips again! Thank you again for a brilliant time.
Kathryn (Oasis Caravan)
Hi there Oasis Team,
Firstly i would just like to apologise for my feedback coming so slowly however after our tour finished we had another half of europe to conquer in our van. Mission was accomplished!! Being almost always independant travellers i must say i was a little hesitant initially about booking a tour and spending 37 days with complete strangers. However, now it is all over and done with it is imperative i tell you how fantastic the tour was!!
Myself and my partner took the Oasis Caravan, Egypt to Istanbul which departed on the 31st May and my only disappointment was that unfortunately it was impossible to do the whole journey from Tunis to Cairo as well!! Our crew Tracy and Nick are complete professionals. They are lovely, likeable people who know how to relax and have fun but are also complete experts in every aspect of their job. They made us feel safe and secure at all times, and even though not officially a tour guide, Tracy always gave every hint and all the information she had about sights, towns, money, food (and basically everything). They always gave 120% to making sure our group was happy, comfortable, entertained and safe at every point of the journey. They deserve knighthoods.
I was more then happy with every aspect of this tour as a whole. The sights visited were spectactular, once in a lifetime things i will never forget. Sailing and swimming down the Nile on a Felucca, the red rock of Petra, to the wonders of the Red Sea. Magical. The truck was also fun to cruise around in. The 'beach' was an awesome way to get up close and personal with your surroundings, with the wind in your hair. We especially loved the bushcamps in the deserts, Wadi Rum is unforgettable.
We had such an awesome group of people and i feel i have made friends for life, surprisingly considering we were mostly from different countries and quite a wide spread of ages. Also, importantly, i must say the staff in your office (we dealt with Andy, boy and girl) were more then helpful and very efficient and made the whole process very stress free.
This was a unique experience. One in which i will never forget and i am so glad i did. I will reccommend you to everyone for sure. Thanks, and KEEP ON TRUCKIN!!
Amanda and Anthony (Oasis Caravan)
Just a quick note to thank you so much for organising our recent Egypt Encompassed Tour. We thoroughly enjoyed it and will recommend it to anyone.Please thank Keren for also meeting with us and organising things as well. Lindsay was a fantastic tour leader! A great person and so patient with everyone!
Thank you again
Jodie and Mark (Egypt Encompassed)
My name is Eva. My daughter will be on one of your trips in the next week or so, travelling through the Middle East. She is 25 years old.I will be contacting you from time to time, as being a mother, i am worried about her going through areas where it may be dangerous. In todays world, it is not easy, not to worry, Hope to hear from you,
Kind regards Eva.
After the completion of the trip......Hi there, just wanted to thank you for the great time my daughter had on your trip to the Middle East. She texted me every few days and she said it was safe and she loved the trip very much. I worried like crazy, but thats what mothers do. Keep up the good work and good luck with future planned trips. you did a great job!!
Kind regards, Eva, mother of a traveller (Turkey & Syria Overland)
My Daughter returned yesterday and had a fantastic time. She was really impressed by all aspects of the trip and said their tour leader....Julie...was excellent and ensured everyone got the most out of their time in Egypt. We shall certainly book with Oasis again. Thanks for all your help in the lead up.
Lauren's Mum (Egypt Encompassed)
Travelled to Egypt with Oasis Overland and had the best trip of my travels so far. Weather was perfect, locals extremely friendly, so many fantastic sights to see and plenty to do. Tour was extremely well organised and would recommend them to anyone travelling to Egypt, the only down fall was the fact that the group was bigger than anticipated but that was due to the fact it was Easter time.
bugbitten.com (Egypt Encompassed)
We did our trip to Egypt over Christmas and New Years in the school holidays. It was the best trip I have done. I think we saw all the things that we wanted and the guides we had were fabulous. Oasis uses local guides in each area that they stay so we had many different guides with specific areas of knowledge. We saw loads of different temples. There was just the right amount of free time in each place so that you could get refreshed and have some time to yourself. A lot of meals were included and when they weren't the tour leader would still organise a restaurant for dinner and we all still went out together anyhow. The felucca trip down the Nile was my favourite part - living on a boat for 3 days was cool with bonfires and beer on the beach each night. Another highlight was the optional camel trek out to a ruined monastery. We raced the camels across the desert, great fun.
Oh yeah, and if you are planning to walk up Mt Sinai take thermals, seriously. It was freezing!!
As a group everyone got on well. People were mostly in their twenties and a lot of Kiwis and Aussies. We made some great friends on the trip and have kept in touch with a lot of people. It was really sad to go home!
I would highly recommend the Oasis tour as they have great guides and they set a good paced tour and deal well with any issues that arise. They covered everything really well.
bugbitten.com (Dive Dahab (Open Water Learner)
Egypt is a destination I had never really given much thought to. I had learned a bit in school in Ancient History but it did not really interest me. However. a few of my friends recommended it highly so I decided to travel over the Easter Holidays.
I travelled with Oasis Overland for 14 days. It is one of the best organised trips I have ever been on. The staff had a high amount of knowledge and were very approachable. They kept you updated each day with what was on the itinerary, appropriate clothes to wear and also what was expected.The highlight of the trip for me would have to be the Felluca ride up the Nile. For two nights we sailed up the Nile. It was a very relaxing part of the trip as there was not a lot to do except sunbathe, read, play cards or have a few quiet drinks.
Dahab was the extra four days at the end of our tour. I really loved Dahab for its great seafood and friendly locals. The shopping in Dahab was also good. After spending a few days wondering around, the locals would always say hello and remember you.The Egypt Encompassed tour had the right balance between sight seeing, tourist stuff and relaxing. By the end of it we had seen so much but still felt like we had a holiday. Egypt would have to be one of my favourite holidays by far.
bugbitten.com (Egypt Encompassed)
This trip is an excellent way to see the best parts of the middle east through Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey in just 5 weeks. You have enough time to go through each city/town/village and see all the places of interest and have a range of optional extras to choose from that you can work into your schedule. The highlights of the trip were many, but sailing the nile on feluccas, diving in dahab, 4x4 safari in Wadi Rum, hot air ballooning in Goreme, rambling through Petra, visiting the Gallipoli beaches and just simply camping in the desert certainly topped the list.
If you're don't think you can handle the overlanding experience of camping under the stars, digging your own toilet with a spade when nature calls, or going without a shower for a couple of days then don't bother with a trip like this. But if you can handle it, then your in for one great experience! You'll also probably decide to do an even longer trip like this through Africa or South America , which is handy because your tour leaders will most probably have done other such tours through these areas and can give you heaps of advice.
Most people on the trip were from England, Australia or NZ, tended to be 20 to 30 y.o.a. with an interest in history, culture and places a little out of the ordinary rather than those looking the package party atmosphere. So, if you want to see a vastly different yet vibrant culture with timeless history whilst enjoying hassle free accommodation and transport while travelling with like minded people then jump on board!
bugbitten.com (Oasis Caravan)
I have had an unforgettable trip with Oasis. It has been an amazing 70 day adventure which was only improved by the helpfulness of the Oasis staff we met along the way. I feel privileged to have seen and done so much in the past 2 and a half months and am grateful to Oasis for providing such an opportunity.
All of the equipment, food, accommodation and transport were more than I had expected, not to mention the willingness of Oasis staff to assist with problems be they trip related or otherwise.
My personal highlights were bird world in Zimbabwe and the Namibia bush camp, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing there were more bush camps along the way.
From start to finish this trip has been one experience of a lifetime after another, and have definitely appreciated the planning and assistance of Oasis and their staff throughout.
Nat (Coast to Coast 70 day)
We participated on the Trans-Africa 2009/2010, which is going to reach Cairo shortly. We hopped off in Cape Town after 23 weeks, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank Oasis and especially our tour leader Andi and driver Grant for an excellent excursion across Western Africa. With their many years of experience Andi and Grant were able to make the trip go really smoothly in an area where things generally do not necessarily go so smoothly. Andi handled everyday situations with ease with her relaxed and straightforward style and the atmosphere within the group was great through the thick and thin of the trip. Considering the comfort, attention to detail and impeccable reliability, one also couldn't have hoped for a better vehicle than the one Grant had built for this trip. Through the variety of landscapes and cultures, one surely gets to experience a massive amount during the 23 weeks!
I know that people I talk to about this trip wouldn't likely get Andi and Grant as their crew anymore should they decide to go overlanding in Africa. However with their combined experience, trip notes and Grants fleet of vehicles, their legacy will live on for a long time and make Oasis the primary company I would recommend. As for ourselves, we'll surely return some day to do the eastern part also. When markets, game parks, monkeys, elephants, wild roads, bureaucracy etc. have a degree of novelty value again...
Marko & Jaana (23 week Trans Africa)
Just a quick note after returning from the Nairobi-Cape Town trip to say that it was absolutely fantastic; this was my second Oasis trip (after travelling Rio-Quito in 2007) and it somehow managed to live up to the high expecations I had after having had such a brilliant time then. Nev and Jules were both fantastic - knowledgable and enthusiastic (even at 5.30am!) and really made the trip what it was. Ho