What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
On trips like this I always hope to have one outstanding moment that will last me a lifetime. This trip provided me with 3 of these moments.
Seeing the mountain gorillas in Rwanda was everything I hoped it would be and a whole lot more. We went to see the Susa group on one of the longer treks and got to trek through some terraced fields and then a bamboo forest before finally seeing the group in a glade of bamboo and mountain celery. We saw 28 out of the 36 members of the group including lots of babies, cheeky juveniles, adult females and 2 silverbacks. We even saw a mother with twins, both stuck to her back like velcro.
White water rafting at Jinja in Uganda was exhilarating and left me with a quiet feeling of great personal achievement just to have survived! Safety is very well taken care of with the safety boat and excellent kayakers who will fish you out when your boat flips. We managed to get ourselves in to the 'Bad Place' in the Graveyard rapids and our boat flipped immediately - just like our rafting guide said it would! I got fished out about 50m downstream after doing most of the grade 5 rapid under water. We did 8 rapids along 32km of river ranging from the grade 1 'Chicken Run' at the end to grade 5 white water 'washing machines' (our boat crew's term not a technical term but it does describe the feeling well).
Seeing big cats on the Masai Mara was everything I hoped it would be. At long last I was able to see a leopard in the wild, it even had its dinner stashed a little further up in the branches of the tree we saw it resting in. We also saw a pride of lions demolishing a freshly killed buffalo with great enthusiasm. I had hoped to see a cheetah as well, but was rewarded with seeing 4 of them instead. This included 2 brothers who seemed very at ease in each other's company when sunning themselves on a termite mound one morning. The yawn and stretch I managed to photograph one of them doing was perhaps one of the best wildlife photos I have been able to capture.