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GORILLA MASAI MARA 30TH AUGUST - 15TH SEPTEMBER 2013

Anonymous
Sun, 04/28/2013 - 10:31

It would be good to say hi to the August 30th to 15th September 2013 group.

I am Annie from London, now counting down the weeks before the adventure starts.

It’s looking like a full truck load of us, give or take a couple. No spare lockers then!

Annie

Sun, 04/28/2013 - 18:32

Hi Annie -

Saw your post on the other thread. There will be two of us, and this is our fifth trip with Exodus. We're Liz & Bob

Anonymous
Sun, 04/28/2013 - 22:00

Hi Liz and Bob

Good to hear from you, it makes the trip feel a lot more real and exciting.

I have not been to this part of Africa before or done anything like gorilla trekking, sounds amazing.

I have taken lots of notes from Exodus customer feedback section. so feel I am almost ready to go.

Annie

Anonymous
Fri, 05/03/2013 - 15:44

JSargent

Hi Annie 

I am going on the AYU trip 30th August and am also VERY excited. I live in Plymouth and would love to meet up with someone at the airport if possible. Have to go, must start packing!!!!

Julie

Anonymous
Fri, 05/03/2013 - 18:04

Hi Julie, Good to hear from you…. So funny

I would love to meet up, Air Side at Heathrow. I will probably regret it but I am taking a big 90L soft bag, just really to save struggling zipping it up (will try and stop myself throwing in unnecessary bits at the end)

I booked back in September and have not stopped talking about it since. Everyone is so bored with me now.

Just another seventeen weeks to go … their next challenge will be….the photos

Annie

Anonymous
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 09:07

JSargent

Hi Annie,

Wow, I'm amazed you got the message, I am a right idiot with computers and didn't think I had sent it!

It makes it all feel so real by being able to speak to someone going on the trip, doesn't it? I take a ruck sack, but I am only 5' tall, so tend to look like a ruck sack on legs!

It would be great to meet up before getting on the flight so maybe arrange that nearer the time. It sounds so much closer in weeks and will soon be on us - Oh! hang on, a wave of excitment!

Speak soon, all the best, Julie

Anonymous
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 11:27

Hi

Julie Liz Bob and all in 30th August group.

What are your thoughts on the white water rafting in Uganda and the hot air balloon over the Masai Mara?

I have decided - I am defiantly going to do both, even though the hot air balloon ride will mean missing out on part of the morning safari drive, plus it's a 4.30am start but it does seems to be one of the top highlights of this trip and I have not been in a balloon before, guess it dosen't get better than going over the Masai Mara in the migration season.  I’m sure!!   I will cope with the fear of falling/height, thing.

Annie

 

Anonymous
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 15:05

JSargent

Hi,

Yes, I am planning on doing both, just hope I save enough money, it would be such a shame not to do the balloon ride but hopefully do both.

Julie

Anonymous
Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:21

Hi Julie

Yes, the balloon ride is really expensive. I saw a photo the other day and was surprised to see how many people got into one balloon.

Have you been on an Exodus holiday before or with a similar company. If you have, any tips welcome. The advice seems to be to pack light, but how light is light.

Annie

Anonymous
Thu, 05/09/2013 - 15:53

JSargent

Hi Annie,

I went for the first time with a group on my own last year to Indonesia, this was with Explore and it was fantastic. I must admit I am really looking forward to this trip, it should be amazing.

I try and pack as light as possible but to be honest my ruck sack is pretty full, rolling the clothes instead of folding them really helps. We should be able to wash some clothes as we go along. I take a sarong to wear some evenings with vest or T shirt and maybe a light long sleeved top if it gets cool. As it says in the trip notes take warm tops for early mornings etc as it does get cold, I might take a very thin thermal to wear at night or when cold this won't take up much room. The bags get heavier with the shampoo etc and sun creams. I only take one towel. Hope this helps a bit. I try not to take too many clothes, you always find you don't wear them all.

The reviews of the ballon ride sound great but it will be a bit scary as will the white water!

All the best,

Julie

Anonymous
Sun, 05/12/2013 - 08:28

Hi Julie

I have not been to Indonesia but looked up the holiday, I guessed, you went on. It looked great.

Thank you for all your packing tips, I think I must try much harder with my packing ‘light’ list.

Just had a birthday so no problem this year with what to buy me.

Sleeping bag arrived yesterday, heavier and bigger than I expected, although it was one of the lightest three season ones. My first camping holiday! but loving all the planning.

My hobby is wild life photography so this will just be a brilliant holiday for me.

Annie

Anonymous
Sun, 05/12/2013 - 13:23

JSargent

Hi Annie,

Yes, good sleeping bags arn't light are they. Wow, wildlife photography, I have just got a good camera but I'm really not very good, so maybe will be able to gets some tips from you on hols, it should be a fantastic holiday for wildlife photography.

Happy belated birthday.

Weather is awful here again, cold, damp and generally YUK, so can't wait for some warmth. 
Speak soon,

All the best,
Julie  

Anonymous
Tue, 05/14/2013 - 11:30

Hi Julie

Not sure I will be much help with photography tips but will be happy to try. What camera did you end up getting?

I have opted to have my own room/tent have you done the same or are you being more sociable?

Annie

Anonymous
Tue, 05/14/2013 - 14:49

JSargent

Hi Annie,

I have got FinePix 4000, I paid for a two hour one to one camera course, but wasn't very impresed, so might have to have it on Auto lot of the time, but any tips will be welcome.

I haven't gone for single tent/room, only because I wasn't sure about camping on my own, when in Indonesia I managed to get a single room and must admit it was lovely to have your own space at the end of the day but on this trip it was the camping that changed my mind, hopefully will be Ok, not that we will be in the tents or rooms much I wouldn't think. My worry is needing a wee in the night and not getting bitten by a snake or something worse!!!!

All the best from very excited, Julie

Anonymous
Wed, 05/15/2013 - 08:20

JSargent

Just to say Hi to Liz and Bob, so looking forward to this trip and meeting up with everyone.

All the best,
Julie

Wed, 05/15/2013 - 23:01

Hello Julie,

We'll be leaving from Heathrow as well. We're considering new cameras - last year in Sri Lanka someone had a Lumix with a 20X optical zoom, and it was brilliant. Still thinking about it. I've camped in Kenya before, and it was terrific. You see a lot of wildlife you wouldn't see otherwise. We stayed in lodges in Zambia, and hotels in Madagascar. No stomach upsets camping, and the worst ever in the hotels! 

Liz

Anonymous
Thu, 05/16/2013 - 06:01

Hi Julie

I know- one beer will be my limit- once I zip my tent up that will stay zipped until it is light- I would just be too frightened to see lots of shining eyes in the dark.

It’s really scary, hearing lions calling, when it‘s dark. Even if they are miles away it can sound as if they are just sitting outside Might add ear plugs to my list !

Auto setting - less chance to get things wrong. I have a Canon and now use the AV setting most of the time but lots of my best pics were from fully auto. Just make sure you know how to turn your flash off, for the gorilla photos.

Annie

Anonymous
Mon, 05/20/2013 - 07:56

JSargent

Oh! how I hate computers, have just written to you and the computer decided to shut down - UGH!
Hi Annie,
Hope you had a good week-end, weather was lovely here so that was good.
Sounds like the lion noises are words of experience, is it? If that  is the case then I also won't be going out of the tent!!!

I think with my camera, the flash doesn't go off, unless the flash bit is up (technical talk). I think keeping it on Auto might be the best bet! Won't it be amazing to be with the gorillas?
Hope you have a good day,

Julie

 

Anonymous
Mon, 05/20/2013 - 08:10

JSargent

Hi Liz,
Hopefully see you at the airport, Annie and I are going to meet up -

I am really looking forward to the camping bit, it should be more real and up close, if that makes sence. Would like to hear about your other holidays, it's a nice way of finding out about other places.

Have you made a decision on a camera yet? I don't take many pictures, unless I am away and as you may have guessed from my messages am not a camera bod, but I would imagine a good zoom is the way to go.

Speak soon,

Julie

Anonymous
Tue, 05/21/2013 - 08:04

Hi Julie

I can’t tell you how excited I am at getting the chance of being so close to the gorillas. I have my gaiters, poncho, walking boots long sleeved shirt, hat and $10 for my porter, all waiting to go!

Safari holidays -the best holidays ever for me. I really do have the safari bug.

Loved the sun at the weekend.

Annie

Anonymous
Tue, 05/21/2013 - 09:49

Hi Julie

Forgot about the gardening gloves -oh yes- got those as well ! On my second pair. The first ones had nice thick plastic fronts….. but I couldn’t bend my fingers

What part of Africa did you go to?

I think I will take US$ for most things plus credit card and sterling ‘just in case’

No, I don’t think you had mentioned you were excited.

Annie

Anonymous
Tue, 05/21/2013 - 10:02

JSargent

I went to Botswana and Mozambique, where we went to a beautiful place called Tofu beach.

Glad you got the gloves, where have you been on safari?

Julie

Anonymous
Wed, 05/22/2013 - 21:13

Hi Julie

I got the safari bug when I went to Kruger NP also been to Namibia and lots of times to Botswana and Zambia so really looking forward to seeing the Masai Mara and all the other National Parks along the way.

100 days to go.

Annie

Anonymous
Thu, 05/23/2013 - 10:53

Hi Michele

I see you are also on the AYU335. Looking forward to meeting you. What route are you taking to Africa …. and if you are doing the Tanzania safari trip after AYU - I will be soo jealous .

Annie

Anonymous
Thu, 05/23/2013 - 15:28

JSargent

Would like to hear about the other trips. Wow, only 100 days

Julie

Anonymous
Thu, 05/23/2013 - 17:50

Nice thought - sitting round the camp fire, swapping stories.

I think I am going to travel in my walking boots and all the cloths needed to do the gorilla trek, just in case my luggage goes astray (I will probably risk packing the gaiters though, to avoid the odd looks at the airport)

You travelling up from Portsmouth on the day?

Annie

Anonymous
Sat, 05/25/2013 - 08:36

JSargent

Sound like a good idea, I try and wear the heaviest clothes and shoes! 

I will be travelling from Plymouth on the day - looked at train times and the Heathrow express, so will give myself plenty of time, I then don't have to panic if there is any hold ups. Will be so good to get on the train to start the travels.

Beautiful day her today, not too warm at the moment though, hope it's good with you,

Julie

Anonymous
Sun, 05/26/2013 - 04:21

Michele Clent 

Ok, so I am a little nervous, everybody has mentioned the departure date of the 30th August, our trip notes and the info from the travel company say departure is 31st August – think I might need to follow up on that one.

Anyway, sounds like everybody is getting rather excited about the trip.

We are doing two tours, the first tour is actually from 24th to 31st August (hence the reason I a bit concerned the dates are wrong), thank goodness for travel insurance, this tour is in Tanzania.

We will be doing the hot air balloon, have been told by somebody that goes to Africa all the time that the balloon ride over the Masai is better than over the Serengeti.

I am by means NO camera or photography expert, but love it as a hobby, my camera is very new and haven’t learned how to use it yet, bought a Nikon with two lenses, so it’s not light.

We are flying from New Zealand and will be coming via Dubai, we will be there for 3 days before arriving in Tanzania.

Bye for now.

 


 

 

 



 

Anonymous
Sun, 05/26/2013 - 04:35

Michele Clent

Phew, just checked website, says departure date is the 31st, might just double check with agent though.

Anonymous
Sun, 05/26/2013 - 07:29

JSargent

Hi Michele,

It might be because we leave London on the 30th but get in to Naiobi on the 31st for the transfer to Kigali, but best to check.

Sound like a great trip you are doing. The balloon ride souds fantastic doesn't it.

Julie

Anonymous
Sun, 05/26/2013 - 08:07

Annie

Hi Michele and Ross

I think Julie has solved your date mystery with our overnight flight from UK.

Yep, I am soo jealous of your Tanzania trip before our adventure starts. It will be interesting to hear about TZ. Lovely backdrops for your photos.

Sunny day here in London and lots of hungry young birds needing feeding in their nests, Great photography opportunities just from my garden today.

Annie

Anonymous
Sun, 05/26/2013 - 09:08

Michele Clent

Of course, it's probably the international date-line thingy that throws it a bit, sent a message to my travel agent anyway, just to be on the safe side.

I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to Ngorongoro Crater!!!. No doubt I will have loads and loads of photo's I can show you, and I actually think the highlight of the whole trip will be the Gorilla's. I saw a video clip on facebook of a group of people staying in a camp in Rwanda and a family of Gorilla's actually came strolling through the camp, with a massive silver back, and the surrounded a guy sitting on the edge of the footpath and the babies were fascinated with him, they were looking through his hair and touching him and all the while the silver back was glaring at him making sure nothing was going to harm the babies, was sooooo awesome to watch!!!!, you saw it from his friends perspective, his friend was sitting on the other side of the path filming the whole thing. Maybe that would happen to us???

Anonymous
Sun, 05/26/2013 - 10:07

Hi Michele

I have seen that video (watched it over a few times) amazing! Loved the way the silverback stayed close and kept his eye on the baby the whole time.

I am sure it won't happen but I so hope that one (or more) of the gorillas will come close to the group. That hour is going to go so fast. I am going to try and not take too many photos and just spend some time taking the whole scene in. (that's today's plan anyway.)

Annie

Anonymous
Fri, 05/31/2013 - 03:22

Michele Clent

We have a potential disaster!, our first safari ends 31st Aug, we get a flight from Arusha to Kigali on the 31st to join up with this tour, we have just been told that the flight has been cancelled!!, yes we have insurance but it took us weeks to get two tours to link up in the first place, both tours are with exodus so they are going to try to get airline to re-instate flight, otherwise we might have to cancel the first tour and choose an alternative, which means changing a multitude of flights and accommodation to do it!!!. Last tour we went to Sth America & Antarctica, & first ship ran aground about 6 weeks before our trip, so at least I have some experience with last minute disasters!.

Anonymous
Fri, 05/31/2013 - 06:16

Oh no Michele

Good both tours are with Exodus and…. you do have a day or so ‘spare’ before the gorillas, not that you would want to miss any part of the second trip but it might help.

Sounds like it’s going to be fun, being in the same group as you and Ross - lots of adventures then ( I hope)

Keep us informed and good luck.

Annie

PS

Hi Julie

Fri, 05/31/2013 - 14:33

Hi Michele -

Exodus are really good at dealing with last minute emergencies, let alone one so far in advance. I'm sure they'll sort it out. 

 Liz

Anonymous
Sat, 06/01/2013 - 03:26

Michele Clent

Thanks guys for the support, we are working with it, my travel agent reckons that this has happened before and when the airline was approached by the wholesaler they re-instated the flight, so fingers and toes crossed the airline will co-operate.

Anonymous
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 03:40

Michele Clent

We think we might be ok with our flight cancelling, we found another flight taking us to Kigali but we have to go via Nairobi, dammit!, the original flight was direct, taking only and hour and half, now we have to go via Nairobi it takes the travel time to 3 1/2 hours, and we have to leave our first tour a few hours earlier than originally planned, BUT, at least we have it sorted and don't miss out on any part of our tours. Soooooo looking forward to our trip, just bought new hiking boots the other day, just as well our trip is just around the corner, we keep buying "stuff" and we need to stop!, I love outdoor pursuit stores!!!!

Anonymous
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 09:18

JSargent

Hi Michele, Hi Annie, Hi Liz,

That's really good news about the flights Michele. Yes the buying can get a bit of a problem but think of the ruck sack!!

I got some dollars yesterday, the exchange rate seems pretty much the same everywhere, unless anyone has found a really good place to change money?

It's almost downhill now until the holiday, closer for you Michele as you are going on hols sooner, when do you go on your first one?

Oh! to get away from the weather, hopefully that week of sunshine, wasn't it!

All the best, Julie

Anonymous
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 10:30

Hi Julie Michele and Liz

Good to hear from you again. I have just got over hosting a big family celebration, then I spent more hours than I am going to own up to, in a hide waiting for kingfishers to fledge. I almost gave up but I got the pic with them feeding close to the hide plus a pic of one of the five looking sad, all all on his own!

Re your new flight Michele- Bit of a pain for you but problem solved. Are you having to miss anything really good on the TZ tour?

I think we are due into Nairobi about 6.30ish then only an hour or so before our next flight to Kigali . Our luggage goes direct, so it will save time and hassle.

I have to keep reminding myself of the 20kg allowance With my sleeping bag that’s really not very much.

I am assuming the internal flight is the same will have to check that out.

Speak soon

Annie

Anonymous
Sat, 06/15/2013 - 00:59

Michele Clent

Hi Annie, there is a hot air balloon ride early in the morning on the last day, we can still participate in that as it so early that it wont interfere with our earlier than planned departure, so that's all good, however we may no choose to do it anyway as I have been told that the best location for a balloon flight is actually over the Masai, and since the cost is horrific we might only do it once, but do it best!

You might also want to check the internal flights allowance as you can never assume, when we travelled through South America the International flight from NZ was 20kg but all internal flight were 15kgs!!, we were travelling through 3 seasons of weather, Patagonia was very cold an windy (but very very awesome), Buenos Ares was hot! and Antarctica...well you can guess, but we managed to keep within the weight, you just wear the heavier stuff when flying. We have really good bags that are soft but practically bomb proof.

Hi Julie, We actually depart NZ on the 19th August, two nights in Dubai (been there before and loved it!), and we want to see the Burj Kalifa, then fly to Tanzania on the 22nd (Arusha) and our first tour starts on the 24th, it's all permanent camp sites and some lodges and we all travel in 4WD land cruisers, so the TZ tour is a little different from the Gorilla one which I great because we get the best of both worlds, travelling in a really small group and then travel with a larger group - awesome.

Bit of a shame we don't have more people chatting on this site that's also on our tour.

Don't get the wrong impression of me, it sounds like I talk a lot, but I am quite the opposite, I'm usually very quiet, a bit reserved, I prefer being BEHIND the camera then in front of it!!

I have to also mention that watching the baby birds actually sound rather special, I hope you got some good shots?

Take care guys.

Anonymous
Sat, 06/15/2013 - 07:46

Hi All

No Michele I wasn’t thinking you talk a lot… really …. just thinking it is going to be a great holiday. Maybe more of the group will chat online nearer the time.

I am so bad at remembering names, this is a good way of getting a head start.

I will defiantly make sure I bore you all with my kingfisher photos, such stunning little birds. (I took hundreds, but not many are close enough or good enough to keep)

Are all of your jabs in date? - I just need one booster and I did check out the price of Malarone at Asda yesterday. £2.50 PT. I have had a quick look online at other chemist and Asda’s prices look good . Anyone found it cheaper in the UK?

Annie

Anonymous
Sun, 06/16/2013 - 05:05

Michele Clent

Hi ya'all - No I'm not a yank, hehe.

Malarone is the one we are going to get as well, they have the least side effects than all the others, and whilst we don't want Malaria we don't want the side effects either, all the others are so much cheaper but cheap means more side effects, here it's costing us BP5.12 per tab, so your BP2.5 sounds cheap, the only side effects with Malarone is headache & Nausea, but they are relatively uncommon, whereas all the others have some hideous side effects, ie mood swings, depression, visual problems, palpitations, anxiety and the list goes on and on!!!!. We're actually booked in for our last injections in 10 days, Typhoid for me and Typhoid and Hep B for Ross, and we are going to take Dukoral for Cholera.

Well that's all for now, must go make some venison pie's for dinner now, my Dad is a hunter so we get free Organic, free range venison from time to time.

It's exactly 2 months tomorrow that we fly out to Dubai - can't wait!!!.

 

Anonymous
Sun, 06/16/2013 - 09:49

Hi Michele and Annie, 

Excuse me for butting in on your thread but I am going on this trip at the end of July and I was searching for info and came across your posts. I've taken Malarone in the past and although it is expensive I think it's worth it because I've never suffered any side effects. Last time I got Malarone (about 3-4 years ago) I had to pay for a private prescription and then got it at a local chemist. Annie, I was wondering whether you need a prescription to get it at Asda or can you just buy it privately over the counter? 

I can tell, like me, that you are really looking forward to your trips! 

Anonymous
Sun, 06/16/2013 - 13:58

Hi Anne

Oh great, Please let us have lots of info when you get bank. It will be just a couple of weeks before we go. Are you doing the forward or reverse route? Have you been given your guides name etc yet. I got my luggage tag the other day and will need to pay the balance in just over two weeks I think. (can’t really  think why that’s exciting!)

Malarone No I think last year was the first year Asda was able to sell Malarone without a private (£10) prescription. Not sure if the others have now followed or not.

Love to hear all you travel news when you return .We will be beside ourselves by then with excitement  .Are you hoping to go in the hot air balloon ?

Annie

Anonymous
Sun, 06/16/2013 - 15:27

Hi Annie

Thanks for the info re Asda and Malarone - I don't need to bother with a trip to the docs now.

I'm doing the Kigali to Nairobi route and am definitely going to finish off with a balloon trip over the Masai Mara - I know it's expensive but its something I've always dreamed of doing. Let's face it, the whole trip is expensive so what's another couple of hundred here or there!!!! Will you being doing it?

I will definitely let you know how it all went once I get back. The next 6 weeks can't go fast enough.

Anonymous
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 09:45

JSargent

Anonymous
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 10:11

Michele Clent

.....don't want to scare you but when Ross & I went to Egypt we did a hot air balloon over the Nile, and it was truly amazing, however I nearly didn't go on the ride as there was a huge rip in one side of the balloon, but needless to say, I did go on it as we were assured it was still safe as we just saw a load of passengers getting off before us so I was only a little convinced, watching my husband climbing into the basket along with everybody else convinced me a bit more, but yes it was awesome, and we are definitely going on the one over the Masai!!!, so Annie, you have to come for the ride too. I've decided since the Malarone is so expensive I am going to give my pharmacy a call tomorrow and ask how much they cost and compare that with getting from the travel doctor, if we can save some money then more to spend in Dubai - yeah!!!!.

Anonymous
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 10:22

Hi Michele

Sometimes it's best not to know, em, I think this could have been one of those times.

It it was at the start of the holiday, I might think twice about it, but no worries, I will have had most of my holiday by the time we go hot air ballooning. Go out in style!

Hi Julie

Your message has got lost somewhere!

Speak soon

Annie

 

Anonymous
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 11:54

JSargent

Oh! I don't believe it, another message gone, anyone got a hammer!!
I am now going to do a quick version: The kingfishers sounded like one of thoes special moments Annie, I have only seen a fleeing glympse of one so look forward to seeing the photos.
The malarone is a good tip, I paid a lot more for mine, but you are right Michelle it's not worth the side effects of the cheap ones.

I am also dreadful at names so everyone might be called 'thingy' or something along thoes lines.

Hi Ann, The balloon ride is something that needs to be done, I think I would so regret not doing it and as you say whats another $500! Look forward to hearing your stories when you get back.

Speak soon, Julie - quickly posting this one

Anonymous
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 12:29

JSargent

Hi guys,

I have just checked the baggage allowance and it is 20kg, because our bags go straight through it stays the same, Phew!

Julie

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