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GORILLA MASAI MARA 30TH AUGUST - 15TH SEPTEMBER 2013

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

Anonymous
Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:28

JSargent

OH! my goodness, truly amazing

Julie

Anonymous
Wed, 08/14/2013 - 13:31

Hi Annieinspace .... we are booked on this trip departing 20 December (hoping it will appear as 'guaranteed' soon so the planning can really begin!).  Really excited about the gorilla trek but a little concerned about the level of fitness required to complete the trip, exactly how challenging is it?!  I've heard different stories so would be interested to hear first hand.  Also, what type of footwear is best?  Thanks in advance & wishing a good trip to those leaving in August! 

Gill

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 15:56
Thank you so much Annie for coming back with this info. I was really excited before but now after your write up, wow, I cant wait for the next two weeks to rush by.
Did you get to see the flamingos at Lake Nakuru. I am also hoping to photograph some beautiful birds, was there much spare time on this trip to go off and take photos.
Down to the basics, would you mind saying how much money ish, you would advise taking and if this amount would include any souvenirs  
Did you get your clothes packing about right (or not) as I am just looking at the space left in my bag after my sleeping bag, pillow, toilet paper sun cream etc has gone in. not room for too many t shirts and trousers.
Thanks 
Annie Nash
Hi Gill, It’s a good feeling when you see 'guarantee' up against your dates I think I was the first to book this trip in September, and it seemed to take forever. Lots of time yet for you. 
Annie N
Anonymous
Wed, 08/14/2013 - 17:55

Sorry - I am butting in on your thread, we are leaving on Friday for this trip so any tips are useful.

Anneinspace -

How chilly did it go over night (we were in Namibia at the same time last year and it went below freezing one night!).

Any other helpful info regarding weather etc

Final decisions need to be made regarding packing etc - not easy! (i'm not as organised as those on the trip after ours - just started it).

Have made a note of the trips you did - they sound good - thanks for the tips.

Jane

Anonymous
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 09:19

Hi everyone,

First of all, level of fitness required: there are three grades of hike that are on offer - short, moderate and long, although it all depends on where the gorillas are on the day. We chose moderate. Anyone of average fitness should be able to do it - there are porters available to help pull you up the mountain and the guides will go slowly if necessary as you will probably feel the effects of high altitude even if you are quite fit. Everyone is given a walking pole too. Walking boots with good grip are best - I didn't have boots with ankle support and was fine.

There were very few flamingos at Lake Nakuru as it was flooded when we were there. However we saw lots of flamingos and many other birds on the optional walking with giraffes trip which you can do from the campsite at Lake Naivasha. Also lots of birds on the sunset boat trip on the Nile. I wouldn't worry about photo opportunities on this trip - it's full of them!!!! 

I took around £600 spending money which was about right - have a Visa debit or credit card with you just in case. As for clothes, T-shirts, long trousers, shorts (I also took some footless tights to wear with shorts when it was a bit chilly), some long sleeve tops, a fleece, a light waterproof jacket for the gorilla hike. Those zip off trousers are good. I wouldn't bother with waterproof trousers or anything underneath your trousers for the gorilla walk as you get very hot a sweaty on the hike up the mountain (as well as cold and damp when you stop!!). We all managed without and one girl who wasn't with Exodus but joined our group did it in shorts and leggings - although I wouldn't recommend that!!! Don't worry about the stinging nettles - they do sting you through your clothes but it really isn't anything to worry about. I fell over into a whole load of stinging nettles and survived!!! Whatever you do, don't forget some gloves as you will have to grab branches etc on your way up.

The temperature varied drastically on the trip from quite cold at altitude to hot in the Masai Mara so be prepared for everything. I didn't find nights too cold in the tent with a sleeping bag and a liner. Obviously it could be very different for those going in December though.

I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask if you have any more questions.

 

Anonymous
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 09:53

JSargent

Your a star, thanks for that,

Julie

Anonymous
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 10:17

For sharing this valuable information.  Our trip, departing 20th December, is now guaranteed which is a huge relief!  We live fairly close to the Peak District so we are regular walkers but have just increased our activity to the larger climbs but  I think I'll have a porter at both ends to push & pull!!  Gill

Anonymous
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 17:40

Anneinspace

Thankyou so much for your information - it has been really useful. Just about at the end of my packing ready for the slog down to Heathrow tomorrow (we also live near the Peak District). Your tips have been very helpful in making those last minute decisions!

Have a good time to those on the trip after us.

Thu, 08/15/2013 - 19:12

We wiill have left for our trip by the time you return. I'm guessing, by the dates,we have the same guide, Peter?

Have a great holiday, I'm sure it's going to be amazing.

bw Annie Nash 

Thu, 08/15/2013 - 19:32
Hi Anne
Hi Anne 
Really… just one last thing - The gorillas - I don't want to do the long route but not sure if I want to do the shortest or, as you did, the middle trek. Did any of your group opt or were given the shortest route and if so, what experience did they have?  I’m sure no two trips would ever be the same, even if you got to see the same family but not sure if it’s a case of ‘no pain no gain‘ or good whatever the choice.
bw Annie
Anonymous
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 19:48

Hi Annie,

Both our groups did the mid range trek so I don't know what the short walk was like. On the day you could ask your tour leader to find out if any of the gorillas are, say, only an hour away and try and get put in that group if you are concerned that a longer walk might be too much for you. Don't worry about it though because the guides are very good and they and the porters really do help you get up the mountain. Sorry I can't be more help.

Thu, 08/15/2013 - 20:07

No,  that's really helpful. Once again, thank you for all your help .

bw Annie  

 

Anonymous
Fri, 08/16/2013 - 17:14

Heading in two weeks, getting excited now after reading your posts, thank you so much for taking the time to post your tips!

Anne Marie 

Anonymous
Fri, 08/16/2013 - 19:04

Hello Everyone,

Just got our tickets and everything in the post and found out about this page. Took me a while to read through the lot of it but found it very helpful.

We have booked this trip as our honeymoon and to celebrate my 30th birthday (which is the Gorilla Day, I think). We are so excited and cant wait to go! We will probably be boarding the plane at this time in two weeks!

We are also flying from Heathrow, so would like to meet up with everyone as well. Has a location and time been set in stone yet?

Starting to think we need to go out and get a bunch more stuff in readiness for the trip.

See you all soon

Heather and Lozz 

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 20:13

Hi Heather and Lozz

Good to hear from you, oh how romantic honeymooners and what a great 30th  One I am sure you will never forget. Is it a late honeymoon or are you about to get married?

I think Julie and I are planning on meeting up about 4pm around Kenya Airways bag drop, said we should only wait until 5.15 then plan B would be to go to Pret A Manger (air side) I looked it up on T4 map. I think it will be easy to find once through security. Two weeks today we should be in the air..butterflies kicking in just a little or maybe it's just the excitement. 

I have had a year to get organised now the, to do list, seems quiet long.

I think I will keep my Exodus label for my hold luggage, might help it on it's way to Kigali. I am sure we will find each other without much of a problem, might do my own exodus label for ID on my hand luggage for the group to find me.

Speak soon

Annie 

 

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 20:24

To Anneinspace 

from Sandra 2nd Sept trip      (via Annie Nash)

Thanks for getting back and I read all you details which have been very helpful. I believe you did the reverse journey as we are, did you change money at Kagali airport and if so do you mind me asking how much? Another couple of questions, sleeping - did you sleep in PJ's or thermals? I am not sure what to do when we were in Peru we used thermals at the higher and colder altitudes. Secondly, footwear - I am proposing going in open sandals - very comfortable) and taking my crocs and a pair of trainers. do you think this would be right? It is a good idea to pinch someone else's brains. I've had another thought - the lockers, some people maintain locks can be difficult, how big a lock did you take. Very many thanks in anticipation. Sandra

Anonymous
Fri, 08/16/2013 - 23:21

Hi Sandra

We did do the reverse trip and immediately on arrival at Kigali the tour leader advised us to change $50 at the bureau at the airport. That was the only time I changed money in Rwanda - although I think I paid the gorilla guides' tips in dollars or maybe a combination of dollars and Rwandan currency.

I only took ordinary long sleeved PJs with me - I didn't find thermals necessary. I have also been to Peru and it was much colder up in the Andes and I did wear thermals then. As far as footwear is concerned, if you have walking boots they would be more suitable than trainers. You probably could do it in trainers but it was very muddy and slippery and I'm not sure trainers would be sturdy enough. I took walking boots, trainers and sandals which worked well for me. 

I took a medium sized padlock with me and some people had smaller sized combination padlocks - but not the really small suitcase size padlocks as they would be too small. I hope that helps. Do feel free to ask if you have any more questions.

Sun, 08/18/2013 - 06:40

Hi Michele Ross

Enjoy your time in Dubai and have a great week in Tanzania.

See you on the 31st 

bw Annie 

Anonymous
Sun, 08/18/2013 - 09:23

JSargent

Hi Michele,
Have a fab time and see you in two weeks. Hi to all the new people, look forward to meeting you all in a couple of weeks or less now!

Ann, sorry another question for you, did you do the white water day, if so was it safe and did anyone fall into the water? (not sounding to worried am I !!!)

Julie

Anonymous
Sun, 08/18/2013 - 09:38

Hi Julie, I didn't do the white water rafting because I'm not good under water. They are grade 5 rapids and going under water was inevitable!! Only 2 of our group did it and they really enjoyed it but it sounds like you can be underwater for quite a while (or it seems like quite a while!) before coming up (or getting pulled up)!! By the way, check your travel insurance because most standard insurance policies only cover you for grade 2 rapids. Having said all that, they really did have a fabulous time so if you want to do it don't be put off by what I've just said!  

Anonymous
Sun, 08/18/2013 - 11:25

JSargent

Thank you so much for that info, that was what I wanted to know, if we do go into the water, I also hate being under the water and will panic so I think best not.

Julie

Anonymous
Sun, 08/18/2013 - 19:31

No, you are not bossy at all. I am a little concerned, and wondering why the doctor didnt give us the option. We went for all of the optional extra injections (also had to do it privately) just to be certain that we would not have any problems. And then they do not offer us Malarone. I will be calling tomorrow to try and sort it because we paid for that private script thinking we were getting what we needed. Clearly not the case. 

 You will need to let us know what it is like in Tanzania because we are going there after the tour. Have a great time!

Really like this blog, it is a great way to share information and get to know each other a little better.

 

Anonymous
Sun, 08/18/2013 - 20:50

Hello All, so nice to have so many people on this forum. Pret a Manger at 5.15 sounds excellent - we only live 35 mintues from Heathrow, so 4pm sounds a bit early for us! Unfortunately I broke my toe last Sunday, so the gorilla trek will have to be done on painkillers. It's meant that all my attempts at fitness have evaporated, as I'm meant to be resting it. Managed to get my walking boot on for the first time this afternoon, so trying to feel positive about it. Liz

Sun, 08/18/2013 - 21:07

Hi Liz  Oh no what bad timing with a broken toe, have you been given any advice re walking or is it a case of just wait and see?

See you somewhere at Heathrow, cant wait.

 

 

Hi Lozz and Heather

 

Do you have an Asda shop near you They now sell Malarone at £2.50 per tablet (good price I think) no private prescription needed and no other charges, just a few minutes required to answer a list of medical safety questions. Malarone seems to be the favourite with most travellers, one a day, starting one to two days before and continue for seven days after the holiday with very few, if any, side affect. 

So Jelous of the Tanzania add on.

Annie 

,

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 07:57

JSargent

Hi everyone, so sorry to hear about the toe Liz, there isn't anything they can do for toes is there, you will have lots of support though and see the gorrillas. Look forward to meeting you.

See you all soon,

Julie

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 10:56

Hi Anne

I'm on the departure for 15th September. I have been reading your answers and lots of top tips, just wondered if you could confirm what sort and size bag you took only I've read the notes on the locker size and i know for a fact that the neither of the bags i have - backpack on wheels or holdall on wheels will fit in the locker? what is supposed to go in the locker and what happens if your bag wont fit?  I'm thinking by the time the sleeping bag and medical/toiletries and shoes are in there won't be much space for clothes if I try and take something smaller!!

Other question did you get your VISA's in advance or at the airport?

thanks

Julie

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 11:24

Hi Julie

I was in the same predicament as you so I got a 70L holdall which when empty squashes down flat. I also took a small backpack as hand luggage and managed to get everything I needed into those two bags. You're right in thinking that anything on wheels won't fit into the lockers and, like you, I was under the impression that everything had to somehow fit in the lockers, but when we got there as we were only 11 on the trip we were allowed to leave our bags on the floor at the back of the truck and only used the lockers for valuables and stuff we needed regularly. I don't know if that is the case when the trip has 18 people on it though so don't take my word for it that you'll be able to do that. I must admit I would have struggled if I'd had to unpack all my stuff into the lockers - and so would others on the trip as someone did come with a suitcase on wheels!!! 

During the trip we met a group travelling with a different company but in exactly the same type of truck as ours and they used one of the compartments below the truck for their big bags - I think this is a very good idea that perhaps Exodus could also adopt - just an idea!! 

As for visas, as a UK passport holder I didn't need a visa for Rwanda and it was easy to get them at the Uganda and Kenya borders as we passed through. I was on the reverse itinerary so stayed in transit on arrival at Nairobi so no visa required there, but if you are starting in Nairobi then I know you can get your Kenya visa at the airport on arrival (I have done this before when visiting Kenya). You might want to check with Exodus just to make sure though because I don't want to give any wrong information here. I hope that helps - it's an amazing trip and I'm envious that you still have yours to come!!!

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 12:19

Thanks Anne, I will get the holdall out and see how flexible it is but may just go with it.. there were 9 people booked on the trip as at 30 July so hopefully like you we can leave bags on the floor at the back and just use lockers for day to day! I'm sure there will be someone with a case on wheels on ours I think there has been at least one person on each trip I've done so far!! ;o)

I shouldn't need a VISA for Rwanda either in that case, will get the Kenyan one on arrival at the airport - I did that last time too and then get the Ugandan one at the border - will email exodus to confirm.

 Starting to pull out certain things out to form a packing pile - always get excited when it's time to do that!! 

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 16:22

Thanks for the supportive comments - I've just bought a pair of Merrell Barefoot shoes, and they're really comfortable. So at least I now have something other than sandals for day to day stuff. My soft case has wheels, and being quite possibly the oldest in the party I need them, so I just hope it all fits.  Mind you, the most energetic walker on the Galapagos trip I did with Exodus was 76!  Thanks to advice here I've now bought a bigger padlock than my teeny case one. Liz

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 17:44

Hey everyone, 

 We just had a call from our travel agent to let us know that the flight from Nairobi to Kigali has been cancelled and we have been put on the 930 flight to Kigali instead. Has anyone else been notified about this change? (I think we are all on the same flights).

Annie- went to ASDA today to get the Malarone tablets, needless to say... tomorrow we have an appointment to answer those questions and pick them up. We are not taking any chances for side effects.

Liz- Hope your toe gets better over the next few weeks! We will all be there to help each other, so just let us know if we can help in anyway.

 SO excited now, really cant wait.

Heather 

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 18:51

I think you will regret getting involved with us as we are all so excited and have so many questions! Just one quick one- the trip notes said to bring snacks for the trip. I am looking but as Lozz cant eat nuts we are finding it difficult to find good energy bars. Any advice on this front?

 Many Thanks, Heather 

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 20:52

Don't worry about the questions - I don't mind!!

 I didn't bother taking any snacks with me. On the days where we had long drives I just bought a packet of biscuits and some Pringles when we stopped - but not because I was hungry because I never was on this trip as you get plenty of food!! Sometimes I took a banana at breakfast to eat later in the day. I think it depends on whether you are a snacker or not. i'm not but if you are, you can just get stuff like biscuits, crisps, chocolate, sweets or whatever you want once you're there. 

Anonymous
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 21:02

There are soime really nice but really expensive fruit bars you can get in Tesco - Nakd. I think there are some without nuts. Liz

Mon, 08/19/2013 - 21:57
No not heard anything yet re cancelled flight. 
 Heather, I just love nuts (as much as chocolate) and was intending to take a few small packets (subject to room in my bag) for snacking on the long journeys but am really happy not to take them, if you think there is the slightest chance, it could be dangerous to Lozz. Let me know, be doing me a favour really, as so fattening 
Good to hear we are all going to be taking Malarone.. oh I am so excited now and really looking forward to meeting you all and starting our group adventure.
Annie 
 
Anonymous
Tue, 08/20/2013 - 07:40

Annie- dont worry about bring nuts. He is not so bad that he cant be around them at all. I often sit and chow down on them when he is in the room. But- if you want a good excuse not to bring them- we can blame it on him lol. 

 Liz- might get some of those Nakd bars but as Anneinspace said there is lots of opportunities to get stuff there so I think we might get get a little just in case and buy the rest there. Thanks for the suggestions! 

Anonymous
Wed, 08/21/2013 - 09:24

JSargent

Hi everyone, drum roll, we are into single figures before we go, that's if you don't count Friday when we will all be making our way to Heathrow. See you soon,

Julie

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 08:02

 

Our group……. so far

Annie    Bob    Heather    Julie    Liz    Lozz    Michele    Ross

Final call for our missing ten.

With just eight days to go it would be good if our ‘missing’ ten came forward. before the big departure day. If not, look forward to meeting you at the airport or Kigali.

Annie

Anonymous
Fri, 08/23/2013 - 08:26

Michele Clint

However was the one that mentioned the Nairobi flight change, thanks for that because we are a victim of that change too, we were in Dubai and sent an email to our agent immediately (we knew before him!), and he secured seats for us, so are we on the same flight then I wonder, flight from Nairobi on Kenya air on 31st departing about 3:30pm? If so we may bump into you. We are currently in Arusha and join our first exodus tour tomorrow.

 

Anonymous
Fri, 08/23/2013 - 08:28

I am Coby from Cheltenham my country of origin is Holland and I am 72 years of age.
I have been dreaming many years to do a trip like this and next week is the big day. I have been counting the days ever since I booked the trip at the beginning of the year. The words looking forward to it is an understatement I still can't believe I am going. The case is half full with the need to take items so not much left to add clothes, but I am sure the animals I hope to meet don't mind what I look like. I look forward to meeting some of the travellers on the same trip at Heathrow airport next Friday. We have had a great summer here in Britain to get a taste of the heat so we should be alright when we step down on African soil. Wow this week will be going very slow.
Bye for now

Fri, 08/23/2013 - 08:54

Hi Coby

Really good to hear from you, I think this is going to be an amazing holiday and our group seem just perfect. Might meet up at the baggage drop off, I hope to be there at 4pm latest (I am not taking any risk of missing this flight) but guess we will have to wait until 5pm before they accept our bags. Then we are meeting at Pret A Manger around 6pm (will give us some time to shop if we want to)

Just the packing now to sort out! 

 

See you on Friday

Annie

 

Fri, 08/23/2013 - 11:08

Just spoken to Exodus, seems they had forgotten to  inform us of the change of flight, Nairobi to Kigail but will send new details out to all of us now! New flight is 1 1/2 hours later.

Thanks Heather for the alert.

Annie

 

 

 

 

Anonymous
Fri, 08/23/2013 - 16:08

JSargent

Hi Coby, good to hear from you, this time next week, will be getting ready to put bags through. Yes, the week will either go really slowly or very quickly with trying to get everything done.

Can't wait,

See you soon,
Julie

Anonymous
Fri, 08/23/2013 - 16:31

Hello Coby and welcome to the group! I lived in Holland for 4 years (in De Wilgen, Friesland and Amsterdam) and Lozz for six months. 

Glad we have all been informed of the change of flight. I think if we stick together at the airport Nairobi side we will be sure to make the transfer. it gives us (and the baggage men) a bit of extra time to change over.

I cant believe it is only a week until we leave.  Can not wait!

See you soon 

Anonymous
Sat, 08/24/2013 - 00:53

Another day gone by whilst visiting Ludlow with my sister and brother in law from Holland who are staying with me until Tuesday so time goes by faster than usual. I am looking forward to meeting you all at the airport to have a chat in person whilst being excited about the trip. No I haven't heard anything about the delay with the flight from Nairobi so it's good to hear through our post messages this is to happen. Hope you all ave a good week.
Coby

Anonymous
Sat, 08/24/2013 - 07:25

Hello everyone
I haven't had any info about the flight changes in Nairobi nor how many people will be coming on the trip apart from what I am reading from all your comments. Am I missing some link or other I should click on to get this sort of information or do Exodus e-mail us nearer the date of departure?
I am sorry about your toe Liz what a drag for it to happen just now, like you say with a lot of pain killers you should be ok. Take it easy from now until Friday let everybody you know spoil you and look after you for the next few days.
Take care,
Coby

Sat, 08/24/2013 - 08:19

Hi Coby

My revised flight time did arrive late yesterday but only after another ‘phone call to Exodus.

I guess Kenya airways have merged two flights into one.

We have moved from the KQ470 to KQ448 at 9.30. One and a half hours later. I am booking in online so probably needed to know the changed of flight details.

We are a group of 18 ages from 29 to 72. Eight male and ten females so a good mix I think.

Annie

Anonymous
Sat, 08/24/2013 - 08:23

Annie I am one of these people who writes a journal on her trips where ever I go and on my last few trips I have done it on my iPad rather than with pen and paper, making it so much more easy transferring the info onto my computer. Do you know if recharging the battery for the iPad on the trip is going to be a problem and is it better to go back to the old system of pen and paper? I have bought spare batteries for my camera and camcorder I tend to be an addict with these two items so hope there are available points to re-charge batteries on route. Just gone through reading all the comments which has been brilliant and is getting me even more excited than I was already. I am carrying the Exodus bag with all my bits, thinking of tying my sleeping bag onto my small rug sack to allow space for whatever is needed in the Exodus bag. All my leads for camera etc I will carry in my small rug sack. Wow how exciting all this is becoming, I am so looking forward to meeting you all.
Coby

Sat, 08/24/2013 - 08:49

Hi Anne

Battery charging.

I guess it helps, just being in a group of eleven but how did the battery charging work out on your trip. Any tips to make this easier.

Your holiday now feeling a thin of the past?

Annie

Sat, 08/24/2013 - 08:51

Hi coby

 

From all the notes I have read I don’t think charging will be too much of a problem. Maybe Anneinspace (end of July trip) will let us know. I have read that we need a two pin plug in Rwanda so I am taking one, just in case, as we are there for about three days. My hand luggage will be just my cameras and chargers etc so have gone large with the hold bag (large and light!!! (but that has yet to be tested)

 

Ipad sounds so much better than pen and paper

 

Please to hear you intend to take a ‘few’ photos and would to read your journal on our return.

 

Annie

 

 

Anonymous
Sat, 08/24/2013 - 10:52

Hi Coby, Annie,

Charging batteries wasn't too much of a problem. First of all in Rwanda as long as you have a European two pin adaptor you can charge in your rooms at the hotel. Once on the road, you can charge on the truck as long as the engine is running (UK three pin plugs). This wasn't 100% reliable though as most of the time it charged our batteries with no problems at all but from time to time it seemed to lose connection and hours later your battery still wasn't charged. At most campsites they would let you charge at reception or at a designated charging post. Overall though, as long as you have at least one spare battery, you should be ok.

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