Most Inspirational Moment
The absolute ultimate part of this trip for me was the visit to the Gorillas, I was in the group who visited the Bwenge group of gorillas - there was the Silverback and 5 females and 5 young. The 3 month old baby with her mother was amazing and there were 2 youngsters age 2 and 3 who were very close less than 1 metre at times just looking us in the eyes with not a care in the world!! I also loved the masai mara where we saw many lions, 1 lioness with a fresh kill of wildebeest we could hear her ripping off the rump she was so enjoying! Also we came across a cheetah under a small bush which was fabulous, the leopard was being elusive so didn't see that but we were so lucky to see elephants, hyena, 3 males lions together, zebra, wildebeest aplenty, buffalo, giraffe. Also waving at the children along the road and through the towns and villages was fab, in Rwanda it was the thumbs up to the children! Also the orphanage was amazing for me - playing football with the children, we sat in class and watched them doing their numbers and then they did some dancing for us and made us have a go too - they are brilliant dancers even the little ones, put us to shame!! I also took lots of pens and paper and I bought a football from a supermarket in Uganda for the children - they loved it and the teachers really appreciated the paper and pens for them.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Our group leader Emias was very funny and a great and lovely guy, he is from Zimbabwe. He kept us informed of the plans for the day ahead, whilst we were having dinner each evening he gave us a talk about the next morning and day plans. Nothing was too much trouble and he brought a great vibe to the whole group. We also had Leo our Chef who cooked some lovely food, pork chops, an array of vegetables, freshly made lasagne was gorgeous, chicken, pasta, rice potatoes etc. There was cooked breakfast most mornings along with cereal and toast. I don't think anyone was allowed time to get hungry as they fed us so well - definitely no losing weight on this trip! We also had Francis who was co-driver and helped set up tents etc - he was quieter at first but came out of his shell and is a fab funny guy too. They really made the trip even better with their banter and jokes.The one thing I would say is that when we were travelling through towns and villages is that they didn't really tell us about the area or where we were or the fact that for example it was a big tea growing area made famous by Brooke Bond etc (one of my fellow travellers told us that), it is a bit difficult as its a sizeable truck and only one of the guys sits in the main part of the truck with us at the front, we asked some questions whilst travelling along here and there but not everyone could hear - so it's swings and roundabouts.
Advice for Potential Travellers
Ah yes, I would take some travel toilet roll, some of the campsites tend to run out, they provide a stack of it on the vehicle at the start but it soon runs out. Some toilets are holes in the ground but they are inside a small toilet block usually. Also we stop for the proper toilets pretty frequently and along the road now and then and use the 'Bush Toilets' which is quite fun sometimes trying to find a suitable bush to hide behind!! Take a shower whenever they are available as a couple of camp sites (Lake Mburo) were yuk so go with the wet wipes there, but we weren't away from a place where you wouldn't have a shower for more than 1 nite. Some of them were literally a dribble and either cold or lukewarm but better than nothing. Take plenty of memory card of course and batteries you can charge up on the vehicle maximum 6 plug holes (3 pin) but there was usually plenty room for everyone to do theirs at some point in the day. Plenty mosquito spray goes without saying really, I only got 2 bites but I did cover up in the evenings and my room mate Bridget and I sprayed our tent lots - so much that we were like children 1 night as we got the giggles with inhaling it by accident - but it was very funny!!! When you do the trek up to the gorillas definitely wear gardening gloves, I did on the way up but on the way down I took them off as my hands were too hot but I caught my hand on a prickly plant and I now have a rash on both hands which is so itchy and is taking a while to get rid of. Remember to take enough money to cover the tips for the guys who look after you, £75 dollars is enough for this. I spent approx £400 - depends if you like buying from the craft shops like I did! Oh yes and some antibacterial gel is a must. Although it says pack light I could have taken a few more bits of clothing, gives you room to take home presents anyway!!
Erm, well I went on an overland trip with 17 other travellers who were all really nice people, we had some good chats about everything and what we had seen and done that day, some of the guys went in some great coffee shops too. You can buy a tshirt which says which gorilla group you tracked which is a fab momento. I shared my tent room with Bridget who I'd never met before and we got on really well, if you're a single traveller don't worry as everyone just mingles along and chats, you're all there to enjoy the trip so like minded people. You can wander around Kigali without bother, Kampala in Uganda was different though - I wandered down the street in the town on my own whilst the others went to the coffee shop and I felt a little intimidated/uneasy so turned around and ventured back to the vehicle, you'll probably be fine but as a red head and being very fair I sort of stand out in Africa! I would this trip again tomorrow it is so fabulous - words don't do it justice but you will really enjoy this trip if you do it - NOW GO AND BOOK IT OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!