Team testimonials, Secret Compass expedition to Ethiopia image


Kirsten (Australia) has been on four expeditions to date. Preparing for her fifth, Kirsten said: “I don’t think I could have ever anticipated how often I would draw upon moments from my Secret Compass expeditions in my everyday life. Thank you.”

Kate H (UK) said, “Thanks so much for all your help over the last couple of years. I can’t believe that from going on that first trip in Iraq I ended up trekking across Afghanistan and then rowing an ocean with one of my teammates from that very first trip! A MASSIVE thanks to Secret Compass for enabling that!”


Aaron said, “There are so many travel companies out there doing the same old trips to the same old boring destinations. Not Secret Compass. The Siberian Migration is a one-of-a-kind experience that feels as authentic as group travel can get. I’m not a group travel person, but the compromise of traveling en masse was well worth the opportunity to witness this far-out community and place. This is my second trip with Secret Compass, and I’m again impressed with the company’s ability to open bits of the world that would otherwise be basically inaccessible.”


Jim said: “Secret Compass runs incredible adventures for ordinary people. The trip to Chad was epic on many levels; huge scale, surprisingly varied terrain and about as remote as it is possible to be on this planet!”

Catherine said: “What an awesome experience to a very remote part of the world. The ‘Chad: The Sahara’s Volcanic Heartland’ expedition was amazing with almost biblical views and some really great experiences. Definitely a trip for those that like off-the-beaten-track adventures. We had a wonderful time, enjoying every moment. Luca was an excellent guide, always making sure everyone was happy at all times. He really is fantastic, we were really pleased we had such a good guide with us and your in-country team possessed such a wealth of knowledge!”


Rhys said: “Again, a huge thank you for all the support from your team over the last few months. It was a trip of a lifetime and I know couldn’t have happened without everything that happens in the office. It was definitely something to tell the grandkids! The SC guide was fantastic and so personable, the perfect mix of professionalism and fun. It gave me reassurance when things were a little sideways and enough comedy to remember that this is an expedition: where nothing is guaranteed and anything could happen.”

Jason said: “Would I join a Secret Compass expedition again? Emphatically, yes. The expedition was very professionally organised, supported and executed to provide an exceptional experience. I’ve also been very happy to recommend the company to friends and colleagues.”

Team member Glen (Australia) said: “Secret Compass’s expedition to the Wakhan Corridor in July 2011 was an incredible experience. We trekked in some of the most remote, spectacular and unspoilt mountains in the world; experienced local cultures which are so radically different from our own; and of course tracked the Oxus all the way to Lake Zorkul. Not to mention we made some great friendships with like-minded explorers, and had endless amazing photography opportunities! I consider all of this an incredible privilege, and I’m desperate to spend more time in this part of the world.”


Hamish (UK) said: “Secret Compass’s was just the sort of expedition that I was after – uniquely put together with true elements of adventure and challenge. The organisation before and during the expedition left you free to enjoy everything on offer, whilst feeling reassured that you were in safe and experienced hands. The locations were amazing and without biting the bullet and signing up I certainly wouldn’t have had as much to shout about to anyone who would listen when I got back!’


Peter (Canada) said: “The pre-expedition information was excellent with clearly defined requirements, an agenda and helpful kit list. All communication was excellent. Enough cannot be said about the guides. Their continuous attention to detail and everyone’s well-being was exceptional. The entire trip, logistics, border crossings, etc. went without a hitch. Climbing the volcanoes was an absolute rush! This was an exceptional way to experience areas and cultures off the beaten path with like minded people.”

Egypt (Sinai)

Select testimonials from a very happy team: “Dave has to be one of the best expedition leaders I’ve come across. His medical knowledge, expedition experience and sense of humour ensured that any medical needs were looked after (e.g. blisters, splinters, dodgy stomachs) and that the group worked well together, especially when climbing up or down steep slopes. We all felt that, even on our worst days, we had support.”

“I’ve got to say – this is a trip I will remember for a long time coming. The group was made up of a great mix of ages, genders and experience and everyone got on especially well. It was hard at times – especially during the hottest part of the days – but everyone spurred everyone else on and we always stayed together as one group.”

“The pre-trip communication was fantastic. I had all the information I needed before heading out. Also great to be able to contact anyone in the office with any questions and to have a pre-trip phone conversation with the expedition leader.”


Tom (UK) said: “What our team achieved is only now sinking in. Three weeks ago none of us knew each other, two weeks later we had successfully trekked through remote jungle and packrafted across the equator to our end destination. It was tough in parts but everyone needs a certain amount of Type Two Fun to really appreciate what they’ve achieved. Can’t wait for the next one!”

David said: “The Gabon expedition far exceeded my expectations. I had no idea it would be so wild, so far from any human contact, and really did not expect to see an elephant, gorillas, or a leopard outside of my hammock! And didn’t expect the river rapids to be so tricky, and so much fun. I should have learnt from the Panama trip last year that you guys really know what you are doing!”


Peter (UK) said: “Everything was EXCELLENT, saying anything else would just be pointless. I’m sure it’s already been said but additional sand pegs for the tents would have helped, otherwise faultless. My main reason for replying is simply to praise leaders Luca and Greg for their excellent work. Very different styles of working but actually perfectly complimentary; they were both professional, cheerful and supportive, even when challenged by certain situations. I have to praise also the Iranian support guys, phenomenal. Thanks to all concerned for an excellent job.”

Iraqi Kurdistan

Remco (Netherlands) said: “Secret Compass’s Iraqi Kurdistan expedition was an amazing trip in a very beautiful country. The people really make you feel at home and their warmth and friendliness is overwhelming. I definitely want to go back.”

Team member Kit (Norway) said: “The great thing about Secret Compass is that it attracts people with the same mindset as you, and that always means you get along with everyone on the expedition. And the fact their expeditions take you to the most amazing places, gives you an experience of a lifetime.”

Dan (UK) said: “From initial contact onwards I knew I was going on a well organised trip that had been well prepared in advance. This background ensured that that we were free to enjoy ourselves…which we did. Kurdistan is a beautiful and friendly region, with people who opened their hearts to us where ever we went. For me, experiencing the country, culture and community made this a fantastic trip. The location cannot be matched, the mountain range we trekked within was a spectacular sight, made all the more special by its isolation.

Finally and most importantly, the group was fantastic, I cannot wish to have been within a nicer team, that ensured no matter the conditions, location, etc we had an amazing time. This is a beautiful place and definitely somewhere that people should attempt to get to. Thank you Secret Compass for giving me an amazing experience that I will treasure for years to come.”


Katy (Ireland) said: “I had a wonderful time on the Kamchatka team. Main highlights were summiting (near enough anyway) three volcanoes; seeing lava flows lighting up the mountain at night; getting a bit too close to a bear and her cubs; laughing far too much at jokes that probably weren’t that funny; and making some great new friends. I’d definitely recommend this trip if you love trekking through amazing scenery, camping in the snow and don’t mind carrying all your stuff to make that happen.”


Tom (UK) said: “Madagascar was an incredible mix of wildlife and adventure, trekking and kayaking, culture absorbed and friendships made. It wasn’t easy but it was hugely rewarding. A huge thank you to Dave our guide who was awesome (a professional of the highest calibre – his preparation and planning were meticulous, his experience vast) and to the whole of the Secret Compass team who made the trip so enjoyable. Thoroughly recommended!”

Mohamed (Egypt) said: “I really want to thank you and everyone at Secret Compass for arranging such an epic expedition and making it turn into a great success. It was a great challenge for me and I will never forget what a wonderful experience it was. Couldn’t have made it without each and every member of the team. Congratulations on a job well done indeed.”

Bryony (UK) said: “Pre-expedition communication was great, really easy to get hold of people in the office by phone or email, and they were very patient with questions! The Travel Instructions were really useful, it was great to have medical professionals on board, and the safety plan was robust. The expedition atmosphere was fantastic and the team, including local staff, Secret Compass guide and porters, had the best dynamic I’ve ever experienced. Dave had a great leadership style and made the expedition flow with a positive team dynamic.”

Helen (UK) said: “Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for making the expedition so amazing! A lot of hard work went into the organisation of it all from the Secret Compass team and local crew. Really incredible, especially without the use of mobiles or any communication whilst on the ground in Madagascar. It wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun though without such a great team to keep up moral when things got tough, look after each other in times of need, as well as celebrate in style when necessary. I am really proud to have been part of it all, and so privileged to have been able to experience such a unique and special place that few outsiders have ever been to.”

Canadian Xavier said: “This expedition has been fantastic a journey during which I have had the chance to meet the most incredible people. This adventure will never be forgotten. Also massive thanks to all the Secret Compass team for putting this challenging expedition together. Very professional work.”

Malawi (charitable expedition for AMECA)

Emily Hurford (UK) said: “Secret Compass provided a truly eye-opening expedition that had a profound affect on all of us, both personally and professionally. The guides led the group expertly; at all times we felt that everything was under control. I could not have asked for better leaders. We saw the best of Malawi in three weeks; it was a jam-packed trip that was full of fun, laughter and a real sense of being in a team, this is thanks to the expedition leaders from Secret Compass.”


Roy (UK) said: “I have been with numerous expedition companies over the years on high altitude trips, and I have been impressed with most of them. But it has too be said that Secret Compass have impressed me the most.”

Holly (UK) said: “The information provided was written clearly and concisely, with lots of useful points, and the gear list was good. SC did a good job of providing literature on the area and of what we could hope to expect. It was enough to make me join up and in a very spontaneous way (!) so that speaks for itself. The guide was was calm, knowledgable, humorous and assertive when needed, dealing with a first-aid incident in a very professional and knowledgable manner. SC are the real deal when it comes to offering off the beaten path adventures and I would definitely recommend them but they’re not for the faint hearted or for the underprepared.”

Joel (USA) said: “It was an incredible adventure and experience, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of it. Keep me in mind for any future world firsts!”

Panama’s Darien Gap

Alex (Canada) said: “The biggest thing that I find that separates Secret Compass from other adventure companies that I have used or looked at is the variety of adventures and the exclusivity that they provide. There are a lot of companies that you can take to go trekking in the Himalayas, but there aren’t many (if any others) that will take you wandering through the Darien jungles or to the far northern regions of Arctc Russia. Being able to say I’ve done something or gone somewhere that no one else, or very few people have done/gone, is a huge driver for me. It brings out the explorer nature that I find you can’t get everywhere.”

Team member Tom said: “A unique jungle experience which I’ll boast about to friends and family for years. I’ll never forget walking out of the jungle onto a deserted beach and diving into the Pacific. Epic.”

Kellie (Australia) said: “
There is definitely a reason Secret Compass runs expeditions not tours. You couldn’t feel further from being a tourist, it is such a genuine experience. The guides and staff were absolutely 110% amazing – I can’t praise them enough. Thank you for the most incredible adventure.”

Sierra Leone

Mark (Canada) said: “Secret Compass truly does offer an experience that cannot be matched in this day and age. The potential for discovery and adventure that is experienced on these expeditions is almost hard to fathom, as if from some epic in literature. If I hadn’t experienced it with my own eyes, I might not have believed it. I fully intend on applying for more expeditions in the future.”

Nikki (Australia) said: “Loved being part of the Moa Expedition in Sierra Leone. A great mix of adventure and cultural interactions. Excited to have discovered Secret Compass as my passport to great explorations. Can’t wait for the next journey.”

South Sudan

Team member Glen Australia) said: “In South Sudan we could well have been the only tourists in the entire country. Although to refer to a self-supported trek to the summit of Mount Kinyeti, and then five days rafting an almost untravelled section of the White Nile, as ‘tourism’ is a bit inaccurate. Secret Compass put together another fantastic remote expedition, this time to the world’s newest country. Once again an amazing and eye-opening experience. It’s about more than just the unspoilt environment, it’s also about getting a completely new perspective, first-hand, on a part of the world. Thanks again guys.”

Gareth (UK) said: “The South Sudan trip was a totally life-changing experience, it is very hard to do justice to it in a few sentences. The organisation and leadership from Secret Compass was outstanding and I will definitely be doing something with them again in the future. Do not book with anyone else.”

Sudan (Bayuda desert)

Team member Elizabeth said: “Thanks Secret Compass for arranging the Sudan camel trek. I found it not just a physical test but a deeply moving experience. The desert landscape was wonderfully quiet yet endlessly fascinating, and will remain an enduring memory. As we slept each night under the stars, I soon perceived how the journey of the stars compares to the planets and could soon pick them with ease. In the weeks after the trip ended, I would awake midway through sleep, surrounded by the stars, resting camels, and endless space, only to have it dawn on me that I had awoken in a strange cave in a strange, crowded country. Although I am now reaccustomed to my bedroom, the trip has deeply impacted how I view the practices and ideas that our own society has, particularly around how much rubbish we create through our take-away and throw-away lifestyle.”

UK (Wales weekends)

Hannah (UK) said: “What a great intro to Secret Compass. To be able to go on a mini-adventure weekend from London was brilliant. The entire weekend was meticulously planned and executed from first booking to post expedition photos and follow ups, and every detail in between. The Secret Compass machine is clearly very well oiled! The weekend itself was a really awesome experience. A massive thank you to Dave, Lachlan and Pete for their incredible organisation, guiding and the great stories; they made the whole experience run so smoothly. Our group was brilliant, so many laughs and a first ever abseil. Thank you Secret Compass, you have a great product and you really know your stuff. Now I’ve had a taster, the difficult choice is what to do next!”

Sarah (Ireland) said: “It was fab from start to finish. Couldn’t have asked for a better man on the ground than Dave, he must be the most patient man ever to put up with the three of us Irish girls. His knowledge was great and he did a really great job at making everyone feel comfortable. Lachlan too, the Ops guy – a big thanks to him too. Everything ran so smoothly and was so well organised. A great experience made all the better by consistently pleasant dealings with all your staff.”

Custom-built-trip testimonial: Namibia’s Himba tribe

Urda (Australia), visited a Himba village in remote Namibia, seeking to understand and explore her parents’ ancestral lands. Urda said, “I really did fall in love with Namibia and felt so amazingly connected to my place of birth. Visiting my family farm was such an emotional experience, and I had not expected that level of impact. My stay with the Himba fulfilled all my hopes and I think that it was in fact rather perfect that I was a woman staying at the village on my own, with just the Himba guide/ translator, who was a great person to share the experience with me. He is a bright, talented and educated young man working at the elephant lodge, whose mum and dad still live a traditional Himba life. His wife-to-be is also a traditional Himba girl. Our discussions were interesting and he understood why I wanted to stay in a traditional village. I feel very blessed to have had him there with me; it was wonderful to interact with the tribe and singing and dancing with the women was huge fun.”