Gorillas and Masai Mara - 11 September

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Thought I'd start a topic for this trip as I got my confirmation today. Travelling with my husband and really looking forward to it. Would be good to hear from anyone else booked on.

Cheers
Sue

 

Bats

Hi

We've got three season bags too, will take some thick bed socks just in case its a bit chilly!!! Don't worry Gemma, I have a compact camera too, not a DSLR, love photography, but cannot get my head round camera technology!  Just seen a very big spider in my house - which scares me!! What an earth will they be like in Africa!! Ha ha!

sfabre

For the info about gaiters & gloves - will look into getting some. Keep thinking there are loads of other things I've forgotten too...

Cheers, Sue

klaatu

It seems my "american-ness" is showing. I had to look up the word "gaiter." But now I know what it means! As for gloves I'm bringing a pair of heavy leather gardening gloves I got at a hardware store a few years ago. Should work. 

Regards, Michael  

ian333

Last year we used about 12Gb of memory cards each (took some others as spares but didnt need them) in our D-SLR's (picstop are a good site). We took beanbags for the Mara - we would recommend them if you have longer than 300mm SLR lenses. When in the Mara, you are stood up in a Toyota mini-van, which is about chest height peering out of the roof. Remember, it gets a bit dusty, so try and protect your lenses from the dust. The Andy Rouse Lonely Planet Wildlife Photography book is good. Sleeping bag liners - we would recommend them. Aztec Nobug are quite good and have a repellant built in. They are cheap on Amazon.co.uk at the moment. Gloves are a must for the gorilla trek - just the cheapest you can find in a garden shop are OK. We left them behind for the rangers afterwards. Microfibre Trek Towels are a useful way of saving space and weight.

sfabre

Great advice again - really good to hear from someone that's done the trip so thanks very much for posting. Will definitely get a bean bag and look into sleeping bag liners too. Already have one of those travel towels which I'm planning to pack, so good to hear it's useful. Like the idea of leaving the gloves behind too - is there anything else we could bring from here for the rangers/porters?

Cheers, Sue

Chris_Hutchison

Sounds like a gaitor purchase is next on the list next! Oh and gloves, and head torch, and boots for the mrs.

Starting to really look forward to the trip now.

Chris

Thanks for everyones comments about money, very helpful! Just got my confirmation of the balloon trip today, quite possibly the most annoying person at work just now - so excitable ha ha

I am taking my dads camera, very fancy but no idea whats its called so can't join in with the "arms race". he has 2 8gb memory cards but I thought I'd maybe get another. Also taking my own smaller camera just in case, taking no risks with the photography!

I like the idea of leaving the gloves for the rangers. I had thought about taking something for children, esp if we visit the orphanage. Nothing fancy (or heavy), thought about some tshirts - any one else planning something?

klaatu

Thank you, again, Ian for taking the time to share your experience with us. I know I really appreciate it. 

 And thank you to Andrea as well for making all the calls to Exodus and finding stuff out for us. 

Regards, Michael  

ian333

At the end of the trip, people left a lot of things with the tour guides to distribute (washing items, medication, some clothes, etc). We didnt do the white water rafting in Jinga (we had been rafting before and wanted to experience more of the country) but did the Village Tour. It was a fantastic experience (much better and more "real" than the Masai one). There is a school there for the local children, unfunded, and free to the locals. At the end of our tour, we left some pens and pencils with the guide to give to the school. If we had known about this, we would have taken more. If you do take things, the guides will advise you of the best places to donate them to. Some people had spoken about trading red things with the Masai, but we didnt experience this.

jloader

Michael, thanks for sharing that link with us. What amazing footage !!

Heysy

Hello all, I'd just like to add my twopenneth in regarding memory cards, I was once told that it's better to take more of the smaller 2gb cards ( as jloader mentioned)  just to be on the safe side. One lost or failed 8gb card contains a hell of a lot of memories!! I've only got TWO batteries though, and now feel woefully inadequate :))

If anyone is interested I started another link some time ago for the Nairobi to Kigali option. If anyone is joining  Gareth, his brother, Rachel and I, may I suggest they log in just once to say hello and then we know whos's who.

Does anybody know if we're all on the same flight from Heathrow?

ATB Graham

 

sfabre

I'm on the reverse trip and our flight is KQ101 at 20:00 on the 11th. We'll have to organise a place to meet up at Heathrow for a welcome drink before the flight - we can do that closer to the time!

Cheers, Sue

gemmanickols

thanks for the sleeping bag advice, i think i will invest in a new 3 season bag as it will probably prove useful in the future.  i already have a sleeping bag liner but might check out the nobug one, don't want to get bitten if possible.

gaiters are great, i have some already which i use if it is muddy or raining when i am out walking, they definitely protect your legs. 

glad to hear there are some other camera simpletons like me!

julie and i are planning to book the air balloon ride, i am not desperately keen on heights, but it sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

I have walking poles, but it sounds like we do not need our own if they are provided.

I am working quite a lot between now and the trip to be able to have time off in september, so do not have a lot of time to get excited!

Looking forward to meeting everyone.

Gemma

Heysy

Well it looks like both tours start with the same flight to Nairobi, so it should pass some time at heathrow trying to put faces to names :))!!!!!!

ATB Graham

klaatu

That's terrible news. I hope Kenya can move quickly enough to save the Lions. Losing them would be a huge loss for the habitat. 

Regards, Michael  

ian333

We visited the Amahoro group, which, for us was a fantastic group to see.

It looked to us (to a certain extent) that they selected the people to visit partly based on their clothing and aparent fitness vs the trek to see them. e.g. the older germans wearing jeans and trainers got the shortest and easiest trek. The Amahoro group were the farthest away, at that time (over two hours up and 1.5 hours back in the pouring rain). Each group will have their own pluses and minuses. It will be pot luck on where they are in the vegetation (open or hidden) to what view you have. So don't be disappointed if you dont get the group you want.

You are taken near (less than 100m) to the Gorilla's by guides and then the Trackers will take over and take you to see them. You will not know or meet the trackers before you go, as they leave before you get there. Our trackers took photo's of us (using our cameras) with the Gorillas in the background - dont forget to ask!

There is a craft shop at the entrance to the meeting place, that is apparently quite good. We didnt visit it as we were the last group back and were soaking wet.

Enjoy!!

Hi Ian

Thanks for all the details about the gorilla trek.  I am still fretting a bit about what I should wear to avoid getting stung by nettles.  Sounds like we will need raingear but I was just wondering if you could give me any advice on this please?  I am reluctant to buy gaiters for just one trek out and am unlikely to use them again.

 Thanks

Andrea

klaatu

C'mon, Andrea. Succumb to the peer pressure; I did. :-)

Regards, Michael  

Chris_Hutchison

Hey,

Thanks for the video it was awesome. Really looking forward to this now. -2/3 exposure and high iso. I shall remember that.

Chris

klaatu

Say, what time is everyone arriving in Kigali? It's on the 11th or 12th? 

Regards, Michael  

sfabre

We all arrive in Kigali on the 12th, at 12:55. Are you arriving on the 11th Michael?

Cheers, Sue

klaatu

I'm landing no the 10th at 6:45 PM local time. I wanted to give myself a little extra time to recover from the traveling. 

Regards,  Michael  

ian333

All,

This will be my last post of advice, as I am off to the lake district for a week in the rain.

Fot the gorilla trek, just wear long tousers and shirts and take waterproofs. Don't worry too much about the gaiters. Most people dont wear them - you just may get your trousers muddy, if it is wet. The nettle stings are a little bit more severe, but dont last too long.

Have great holidays guys and girls - you will have amazing times and you will never forget the experiences you will have.

One last tip - If you help your Exodus team, especially breakfast (washing-up, drying, etc) you will get on the road quicker and it helps for a happy team. They are amazing people, but do appreciate a little help sometimes.

And dont forget to wave - in Rwanda and Uganda, you will understand.

ENJOY (wish we were going with you)

Ian

 

sfabre

Thanks for all of your excellent advice Ian - have a great time in the lakes - hope you get at least a few sunny days!

Looking forward to comparing notes on our trips once we're back.

Cheers, Sue

klaatu

Have fun, Ian. And thank you again for taking the time to share your experience with us. 

Regards, Michael  

Hi Ian

I would like to say thanks for all your advice too.  I am pleased to hear that I don't need to take gaiters - I tried some on and they weren't very comfortable at all.  It certainly is really helpful to get all these handy hints from somebody who has already done the trip.  I hope that you have a non rainy trip to the Lake District.

Kind regards

Andrea

Hello All

It's gone a bit quiet on here, presumably everyone is busy packing and getting everything ready to go.  The flight goes from Heathrow Terminal 4 on Friday evening.  Has anyone any suggestions as to meeting up time and place?  I will be aiming to check in around 5pm and suggest meeting somewhere through in the departures area after security and passport control.

Getting v excited now.

Andrea

sfabre

Getting very excited too - just 3 more sleeps!

We're also aiming to get to Heathrow around 5 o'clock and will be going through security straight away too.

I suggest we meet at the Bridge Bar & restaurant - after security at T4. Not sure how we'll recognise each other though - I have blond hair and my husband is 6 foot 4 with dark hair. Maybe we'll sneak a balloon in and blow it up & fly it above our table!

Really looking forward to meeting everyone on Friday - or Saturday for Michael!

Cheers, Sue

Ah, very good Sue.  I am most recognisable by my height - 6ft tall - and will be wearing a maroon T shirt. 

Look forward to meeting everyone very soon.

Andrea

klaatu

I almost wish I could meet y'all at Heathrow. :-)

According to the Chez Lando web site they have a bar and grill on a sort of patio. I'll setup there Saturday afternoon about 1400.

Regards, Michael  

Bats

Hello

Yes busy packing and getting final bits together! Look forward to meeting you all, we'll see you in that bar then, prob just after 5, got to collect my US dollars first. You might recognise us from our picture even though its a bit small! If not i'm blonde, Robert's dark, both prob be wearing black fleeces. Hope you can sneak a balloon in Sue!!

See you on Sat Michael! Have a good flight..

I can't believe its here already!!

Hi there,

Russ and I should hopefully be there around 5 too. See you in the Bridge Bar! I'll probably still be in floods of tears from dropping my little cat off at the cattery!

 Cheers,

Paula

Hey everyone! I'm traveling down from edinburgh tomorrow and meeting friends in london. Being the kind  of person I am will probably arrive at heathrow early- hate being late ha ha Will head to the bar and find you all! I've got blonde hair and will be wearing a blue fleece. Would offer to bring a balloon but they all got used at my birthday party last weekend! (you wouldn't believe I was 29...)

Looking forward to meeting you all and starting our amazing holiday x

sfabre

Hi everyone

I bought some purple balloons today so we'll take some in and blow them up when we get to the bar - look out for them!

See you all on Friday,

Cheers, Sue

gemmanickols

hi eveyone, julie and i will be arriving at heathrow around 5pm, although from different destinations.  i am working tonight and tomorrow night and finish at 8am friday morning, so may be a little tired!  see you all in the bridge restaurant.  my sister has just come back from uganda, kenya and tanzania so i have been quizzing her about things she wished she had taken but didn't think to.

see you all on friday.  gemma 

Chris_Hutchison

Hey,

 Genius idea with the balloons. We have a flight from Glasgow around 2pm so I will hopefully see you guys in there.

 Cheers,

 Chris

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