Just wondering who else is going on this fab trip in September? It would be great to hear from any other fellow travellers prior to departure.
I'm doing this trip but my departure date is the 15th Sept, I assume it's the same trip.
It's lovely to hear from you. Yes I believe it is the same trip, as the actual holiday itself starts on Day 2 (first day is travelling with the overnight flight).
Have you been on many trips like this before? I usually tend go on energetic cycling holidays, but more recently the gentle & relaxing pace of the safari trips are becoming more appealing.
Are you thinking of doing any of the optional extras? The walking safaris really appeal to me & also the sunrise balloon flight, but I'm not 100% sure about the Masai Village visit, which maybe a bit touristy for my liking. However, I'm a fairly relaxed person, so I'll go with the flow of the group.
I'm really looking forward to meeting you in September. I guess there are a few more of us, because I now see the holiday is guaranteed.
See you in September.....
This will be my first safari so I'm very much looking forward to it.
Yes I think I'd do the optional extras but like you happy to decide regarding the Masai Village to the majority vote of the group. I did read one review that said the guides push it hard and they felt they had to go! I was undecided regarding the balloon flight but two friends have said it will be amazing so they sold it to me.
I plan on applying for my visa before I travel as I've read reviews that say it's quite a long wait at the airport for it and I don't really fancy that. Plus I don't want to be responsible for delaying the group.
It all feels too far away but I'm sure September will be here before we know it!
Yes I think it's a very good idea applying for the visa beforehand. I'll probably try and arrange for mine a couple of months prior to our departure, as I don't wish to be faffing around at Nairobi airport trying to obtain one there.
To wet your appetite a little, I've found these couple of links which will hopefully be of interest:
(Just in case I've typed the 2nd one incorrectly; if you enter 'Basecamp Masai Mara' into Youtube then it should hopefully take you to the short 3 minute clip).
Rather excitingly, I see that Planet Earth Live tonight will be posting one of its presenters at the Masai Mara National Reserve, which should make superb viewing.
As you say, September seems way too far away, but by the way this year's passing, it'll be with us very soon! :-)
I finally got around to looking at these links you sent. They are great. I am getting so excited now. It is getting closer.
I've sent off for my visa and it suddenly occured to me I best start thinking about buying some bits to take (given I have never done a safari I'll need to buy quite a bit).
I think the trip has more people going now too so our group has got bigger.
Well it's just under 4 weeks to departure.... yay!!! I'm excitingly ticking off the days on my calender :) (& only 19 more working day!)
I've also managed to get my visa in advance. I went in person to the London Embassy in the end, combined with trips to the Olympics (wasn't that a great fortnight of sport?!). How is your visa quest going? The Embassy was a bit of a strange place & not quite as busy as I'd imagined it would be (spent over 2 hours at Indian embassy last year!).
As far as buying bits & pieces goes, I'm currently trying to 'beg, steal or borrow' some decent binoculars - I'm told it's a must. I've already got a fairly decent camera, so that's thankfully ticked off my list. I bought myself a 'Tilley' safari hat a few weeks back; I look a bit of a Wally with it on, but I guess it keeps the African sun at bay :) I'm off to see a nurse in a couple of weeks for a little travel chat. I think the only meds I'll need is Malaria tablets, but I'm not too sure which ones (probably Malarone, which costs an 'arm & a leg'!)
As you say the group has got much bigger & I believe it's now a full trip, so we'll have at least 10 others to get to know in our wonderful week together.
See you in just under a month at Heathrow or Nairobi :)
It really is coming around quickly isn't it! I have a few days off before the trip so it must be less that 19 days for me, that's a very nice thought.
I have my visa and very easy to do via post. I saw a review from July posted on the site for our trip and that person got it at the airport and it delayed the start of the trip by a few hours. I'm glad I have mine as I really don't want to be responsible for delaying the trip.
I still have one or two bits to get but thankfully I have managed to borrow a few bits from various people, including binoculars. I do have a camera but it's not a DSLR or SLR so I hope I can get some decent shots but they won't be as good as some people will manage to get. I've had all my injections now but also need to get my Malaria tablets and I've also been told they cost a fortune!! (on top of the £60 for my yellow fever shot!!)
Good news that the trip is now full. I just know the week is going to fly by but I'm sure it will be an unforgetable experience.
I'll see you in Nairobi :)
I guess you're not on the Saturday evening group flight out of Heathrow, if you're going to meet us for the first time in Nairobi.
I went to my local doctor's surgery tonight for my little travel chat & unsurprisingly I've also been recommended to have the yellow fever jab, so therefore need to cough up the £58 for the privilege next Wednesday evening... I hate needles!!! As expected they've also prescribed the Malaria tablets (Malarone), so at £3 per tablet it's going to cost me £125 in total (FYI - I need 6 weeks supplies, which includes my other forthcoming trips to South Africa & Burma).
Luckily, thanks to my brother, I've now managed to get hold of some binoculars, so that's ticked off my ever growing list.
Lucky you for managing to get a few days before the trip. I wish I could do the same, but it looks like I'll be very busy at work right up until the last minute Friday :(
See you in Nairobi in just over 2 weeks :)
Did you see we have been moved to Virgin flights? I orginally wanted to fly with Virgin so I'm really pleased about this change.
Well having had my yellow fever injection I'm pleased to tell you that it didn't hurt at all. I was expecting it to so was very happy when it didn't. I really need to get my Malarone tablets. I can't believe it will cost you £125!!! Although South Africa and Burma sound amazing. Nice that you have something to look forward to upon your return from this trip.
The days off are essential for me as I'm a bridesmaid at my friends wedding on the 14th so it's going to be a very busy time and then straight off on safari, I'll be using the flight to catch up on some much needed sleep!
See you soon
I'm flying directly onto South Africa straight after this trip, so in the end I thought it better to book all my flights independently from Exodus. Thereby, as they've now changed the flight itinerary, it seems I'm not on the group flight anymore. My Kenyan Airways flight leaves Heathrow at 8pm on the Saturday evening, arriving at Nairobi at 6.30am the following morning; a whole 1 hour 20 mins before your Virgin flight - I'm not too sure where my flight gains the extra 20 mins in the air though? (I believe your flight from Heathrow leaves an hour later than mine at 9pm).... I guess as it's the countries own airline they may know a shortcut or two?! :)
I hope you have a lovely time bridesmaiding at your friends wedding.... it seems you may have a better night's sleep on your Virgin flight than I'll have on my Kenyan one - hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised though! I never flown with Kenyan Airways before.
See you soon & hopefully I'll have my Kenyan Schillings sorted by the time you arrive :)
That must be slightly annoying for you but someone I know at work flew with Kenyan Airways last year and she said she was pleasantly surprised so I hope you are too.
Given you aren't on the same flight I'll expect to see you greeting the rest of us when we make it in an hour and 20 minutes after you!! You can also fill us in our how to change up our money :)
Have a safe flight and see you soon!
I'm Also going on this trip and starting to get really excited :)I'm hoping to go on the balloon ride but otherwise happy to go with a majority vote for any of the other non standard excursions.
I'm slightly concerned by you both having already obtained your visas! I enquired a while ago about this with the Exodus rep and this was their response:
British passport holders can get their visa for Kenya on arrival very easily. The cost is $50.
You will have to fill out a visa form on arrival but that is about it, all you need to do is hand over the form and the money and they will stamp the visa into your passport."
...So I was hoping it would all be nice and simple at the airport. I'll apoogise in advance if I cause any delays!
I recently purchased what I would describe as an 'advanced' compact camera and I'm amazed with the quality, so I'm hoping it will be good enough to get lots of great photos. I've also nabbed a pair of binoculars from my parents.
See you all soon!
Good to hear from another member of the group.
I'm the same as you, I want to do the balloon ride and the rest I am happy to decide once there.
I'm surprised Exodus say that as when you read some of the reviews from the trip several people do talk about the hours they had to wait to obtain their visa at the airport! Hopefully that won't happen on this occasion and if it does then it's extra time for us all to get to know each other.
I went to get my Malarone tablets yesterday and apparently you need a prescription! I've seen the travel nurse twice and she never gave me one. I've now got to try and get this sorted quite quickly. Did you both get prescriptions?
I can't believe how close it is now, excited and nervous all at the same time!!!
Hi Laura & Dave
Firstly, welcome onboard Dave, it's great to hear from yet another fellow travelling companion.
Good news! My bank has finally agreed on the loan for my Malarone tablets & I pick them up tomorrow on prescription. I've also got to endure the yellow fever jab tomorrow evening, which as previously mentioned, I'm very very nervous about... could be nightmares on the horizon tonight!
Don't worry about the visa situation Dave. I was informed that if you get the visa in advance, then you have a very good chance of getting an upgrade on your flight - Note (to Laura) : it's only applicable on Kenyan Airways flights not Virgin I'm afraid! ;-)
Finally, I've been closely monitoring the wildebeest migration situation in the Mara the last few weeks & thought this blog website from Paul Kirui is the most informative I found to date (worth a look):
It was last updated on Sunday 2nd September & apparently there is good sightings of lion, leopard & cheetah chasing the wildebeest, so hopefully fingers crossed our camp is nearby.
Only 7 & a half more working days to go (half a day for a car service & MOT for me :)).... can't wait, the excitement is mounting daily!!!
I'm on the trip 15 September, together with my friend Christine. It's the first time either of us has done a wildlife holiday, or travelled to subSaharan Africa, so really excited (and a little bit nervous) about it. Looking forward to meeting you all at Heathrow or Nairobi. All sorted for vaccinations and Malarone, but I wasn't organised enough to get a visa in advance, so will be in the queue with you, Dave. Lonely Planet suggest printing off and completing the visa application form in advance, which might save a little time.
Thanks for the blog link, Bren. Now I can really believe it's happening! Shame about all the days at work beforehand...
Hi Sara, Bren and Dave
Great to hear from yet another member of the group. I'm the same as you Sara, first time for me and very excited but the nerves are creeping in a little bit too. I just can't get over how close it is now! I finally got my Malarone tablets last night and I did it without a prescription (I went to Tesco and you just have a chat with the pharmacist). Luckily one of the woman at work gave me four of her left over tablets from her safari so that was very nice of her :)
Will be a nice flight for you Bren if you can get an upgrade. I may try my luck at the airport and see if Virgin want to be super kind and upgrade me, highly unlikely but what a way to start the holiday :)
It has just been pointed out to me that I only have one week left at work, yipppeeeeeeee.
Thanks for the link Bren, I'm going to see if I can look at that now. Good luck with the injection, hopefully you'll be able to report back that it didn't hurt.
See you all soon
Hi Laura, Dave, Sara & Christine
It's absolutely wonderful to hear from yet another 2 fellow travellers.... only 7 more of the group to go then!
Well, thankfully you'll be happy to hear that I've survived my yellow fever jab experience this evening. You were quite right Laura, it didn't hurt one bit.... thankfully! I've also collected my years supply of Malarone from the pharmacy, so I think I'm now all sorted on the drugs front.
Excitingly, this will be my second time in Africa - Last year I was lucky enough to have holidayed in Namibia, where we spent a few breathtaking & lovely days at Etosha N.P., which I'd thoroughly recommend if you ever get the chance visit. A very small selection of my photos can be found here if interested:
I apologise beforehand for photo (image) No. 5 - nature at it's finest I'm afraid! The last photo rather amazingly won Exodus's photo of the month competition for May 2012, but I think it was mainly due to it's comical value rather than it's artistic one.
See you all in Nairobi, unless your on the Kenyan Airways flight.
Can you believe it's only 5 days to go!!! :)
I'm starting to think (worry) about all the last minute bits. Can I ask what you are doing regarding your currency? Are you taking GBP and intend to convert to Kenyan Schillings when we arrive or are you taking USD also
I always find these monetary matters very confusing when travelling overseas!
My local bank in the UK is currently offering 125 KES to 1 GBP & browsing the net, it seems you can get 133 KES approx. to 1 GBP in Kenya (6.5% better rate). Therefore, it probably makes sense to take GBP & change your money in Kenya. I'm not too sure if it's a good idea to take USD though, as you'll be changing your money twice (not unless you have USD lying around the house?). You'll also have to take commision rates in to consideration too.... aaaaarrrggghhh!
I've got to phone Exodus tomorrow on one or two other matters, so I'll ask the question for you. It states in the trip notes, that it's probably best to change your money at Nairobi airport with either GBP or USD.
Apologies, if my reply has thrown up more questions than answers, but I should have a better handle on this matter tomorrow..... I'll let you know :)
Thanks for this. I asked Exodus yesterday and they said I should be fine to take GBP so I think that's what I'll do otherwise, like you say, I'm chaning GBP to USD to change USD to KES!!!
The next question is how much do I take! Apparently most things can be paid for by card so I'll likely take this approach and take limited cash.
Excitment is building but I all these last minute bits are getting me nervous in case I forget anything.
I'll be changing £150 approx in cash, which should hopefully cover the costs of the smaller optional excursions, unincluded meals (2 number I believe), drinks, tips & the mandatory fridge magnet for my parents :) I'll also take some spare sterling for any small emergencies, along with a couple of credit cards to pay for the more expensive item(s), i.e. balloon flight if available. However, I'm a little nervous using my credit cards abroad, as I've had them cloned a couple of times already.
When I phoned Exodus today, I also asked about which camp we'd be staying at in the Mara. It seems it's likely to be the Ilkeliana camp; so the link I posted earlier of Basecamp Explorer seems a bit redundant now- seems I had some old trip notes?! (Note to myself - I need to do some homework now on the Ilkeliana camp in the next couple of days).
Luckily, it's now only 3 more working days to go.... yay!!!
Thanks for that, really helpful.
I also need to buy a fridge magnet ;)
It's my last day in the office so trying to get everything done plus think of any last minute bits for safari (and the wedding on Friday).
Any final tips/useful info you can share would be really appreciated.
A lady at work just sent me this link which contains some amazing photos:
I just can't believe we go on Saturday!!! I'm getting very excited and the nerves are fading :)
Lucky you for finishing work already.... I'm very very jealous! I hope you have a lovely time at the wedding tomorrow - don't worry about me; I'll be slaving at my desk for one last day! ;)
I've done a little homework on Ilkeliana & all is very positive. Tripadvisor comments & photos are encouraging (4.5 stars no less!). The views from each of the tents look superb.... can't wait to relax & watch the world (wildlife) go by. Bit worried about the creepy crawlies though; I'll be checking my shoes & clothing for the little critters each morning!
I really enjoyed looking at the photos in your link above. Paul Goldstein is a really great photographer - I've toyed with the idea of going on one of his trips one day, but probably my photography standards are not quite up to scratch.
I'm really pleased that your nerves have now faded. Looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the group in Nairobi... I'll be the guy asleep on top of his suitcase in arrivals :)
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