Please get in touch if you are also going on this trip. It's sounds great from the reviews and I'm really looking forward to it!
Was hoping someone else would have posted something.. Cant wait to go either, its looks absolutely amazing!! First time I've travelled on my own, nerves keep kicking in but everytime I look at the photos they disappear... Are you travelling on your own..
Not looking forward to all the immunisations though :( Sure it'll be worth it..
No idea wat to pack.....
Was hoping someone had posted here... Cant wait either it looks absolutley amazing.. It'll be my first attempt at travelling on my own, nerves keep kicking in, but soon disppear everytime I look at the photos :) Are you travelling on your own?
Not looking forward to all the immunisations and the 'wat to pack' nightmare though..
Having a bit of a panic, as just noticed the departure date above says the 27th Dec, are you not flying from Heathrow on the 26th?? Arh....
I went on this trip a few weeks ago in September - it was fantastic and you'll have a great time. If you have any questions, please let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.
Hi, yes I'm also travelling on my own and feeling a bit apprehensive! The departure date is 26 December I hope.... It would be great to meet up with the group at the airport as it can be boring travelling alone so let me know if you fancy meeting up in the departure lounge.
Do we have the same name? How strange!
I'm not the best at flying - so you may want to change your mind about meeting up beforehand!! :) Im definately up for a coffee, or something stronger, in the departure lounge. I arrive into Heathrow at 8.00am on the 26th, which is a total nightmare.... so I'll be hanging about for awhile. Boxing Day at Heathrow - yippeeee..
Have you managed to sort out vaccinations yet? I'm having a real nightmare trying to organise mine... Not paid my balance on the trip yet either, better get sorted out!! Feeling less apprehensive now I know Im not the only solo traveller.
Haven't even started to think about jabs or what to take yet! I have paid my balance today though so make sure you do as I don't want to be the only solo traveller on the trip!
Where do you live if you are arriving at Heathrow at 8am? I'm trying to get fit at the gym after reading the reviews of hours of trekking up a mountain but I'm not having much success at the moment (just come back from a week in Barbados of overindulgence).
Really look forward to meeting you. I can't believe the coincidence of another Tracy on the trip....
Barbados - fab! You didnt go there on your own too, did you? I live in south west scotland, have to travel 3 hours to edinburgh airport to catch the 6.00am departure to arrive Heathrow at 8!! My mobile will be flat before we even leave Heathrow - Im going to be soooooo bored! Do you live in London or have catch a flight to Heathrow...
Are you on Facebook by any chance? Not that im very good at all that instant messaging thing.
This Departure Lounge is a great idea, would probably have bottled out if you hadnt posted..
Went to Barbados with five friends and hired a villa. Unfortunately, despite bribes I couldn't persuade anyone that they would enjoy camping!! I live in Wimbledon so not far to travel to Heathrow thankfully.
I might also have cancelled if you hadn't replied. I thought that I better pay so that I couldn't change my mind.
Yes, this site is a good idea. Let's hope that some of our fellow travellers will get online before we go as I'm dying to know about the rest of the group.
I'm not on facebook, it's about all I could manage to find out how the site worked. My work email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you fancy emailing me to discuss what to pack at a later stage. We will be on the plane before we know it, only 8 weeks to go.
Ive missed the cut off date for paying. Seemingly exodus tried to contact me on Friday... Only kidding, ITS BOOKED!!!! Cant believe Ive booked it...... Dont you cancel on me. Taken out the annual insurance, so hopefully one of many trips - fancy Thailand next.. IM SO EXCITED!! Bit strange not being able to share it with anyone though. Off to gym to get fit...
Hi. Really looking forward to this trip and to meeting everybody. It's going to be great!
Any advice on what to pack would be gratefully received! I know I should pack light but.....
Yeeeh, another solo traveller!! Trying to get my head around the visa's, insurances and vaccinations first - then will get onto the packing drama. Is this your first trip?
Welcome! Glad to know there are now three musketeers! I am going to pack very light which is most unlike me but I don't think we will need too much and it seems that the lockers on the truck are not that big. There are a couple of the reviews where people have recommended what to take which are quite useful.
2nd trip with Exodus, I did Dehli to Kathmandu last year. That was fantastic and I'm hoping this one beats it!
I'm getting my visas in Kenya\Uganda, vaccinations are being done next week and insurance is in progress. I'm only a tiny bit sorted. I've checked out some of the reviews, pack light, take a torch and have fun seems to be the right way of doing things!!
Had my Typhoid today, hope the rest aren't as sore!! :(
Thanks for the suggestion re jumping ship onto your trip but...... I posted a reply on the cuba message stream but not sure it will tell you so thought I would join your little conversation here.
I will already be in the Mara when you guys arrive as I live and work there. So if you have any questions feel free to tap into my 'local' knowledge. Which camp are you staying at? What are you doing for New Years Eve? There's usually a party organised by us or my fellow pilots somewhere in one of the camps or out in the bush.
hey mike many apologises for the post - one too many glasses of wine, well actually it was only one!! I'm such a light weight....By the sounds of it I better get some practice in if there is a Hogmanay Party planned.. Ive not heard if or there the Party is... Do you work for Exodus? Ive got loads of questions, where to start!!!!
No I don't work for Exodus. I'm a Balloon Pilot flying out of one of the camps in the Mara. The company I work for does fly Exodus clients though. In fact that's how I heard about the Cuba trip I'm going on whilst home on leave.
Feel free ask away.
According to the trip notes we will be in Lake Nakuru on New Year's Eve - camping in the park! Not sure how far that is away from the Masi Mara?
Camping?! Ok fair enough. Lake Nakuru is about a 4 hour drive from the Mara if you go the direct route over the mountains, but via Nairobi I have no idea. Anyway with the roads as they are you might just as well be on the moon. Be prepared for long spells of bumpy, rough driving. Saying that if your route keeps you to the main highways some of the roads are now pretty good so not all bad. Lake Nakuru is mostly famed for it's flamingo's and hippo. It's pretty dry and hot that time of year although expect it to be colder near the lake so something warm for the evening might be advisable and of course mossie repelant. I often see tourists here come out in the evening still wearing sandals and t shirts. The best thing to do if you want to avoid being bitten or annoyed by mossies is when the sun goes down wear something which covers your wrists and ankles ie socks and a long sleeve top as these are the areas where the blood is nearest to the skin and the areas the mossies like to go for. Other top tips - bring a hat for the sun, a torch for the dark (having a good torch on me has saved my life at least twice since being here) as it will stop an animal in it's tracks when you shine the light in it's eyes should your paths unexpectadly cross plus and especially if your camping a head torch would be a plus. As for tips - the average daily wage here is 250 shillings per day / 4000 per month which is around £2.20 a day £35 per month so gage what you give accordingly. Your driver will be amoung one of the richer Kenyans you may encounter as he tends to clean up on the tips front as people often aren't sure how much to give. I have heard of drivers telling their clients how much they expect ie Ksh1000 per day etc which is way too much but how are you to know. Also when he stops at diffent 'view' points or tourists shops he's getting a kick back for all of those stops by the people selling the souviners - they call it a brake fee. Rough guide for telling how crooked your driver is is how big his belly is! Honestly it seems a bit stupid but it's true. Have you ever seen a skinny African politician? The bigger the belly the more you need to watch out. Other than that make sure you have some strong imodium tablets with you and if you do get a bad tummy don't suffer in silence as that is one thing this country is good at - sorting out tourists food poisoning. If you do need or want to buy anything try and get a 'local' to buy it for you as you can expect to pay aprx 10 times more if you're white. Haggle for everything and don't be afraid to walk away as 500 yrds down the road there it'll be again. Beer wise; I recommend Tusker Malt - it's smaller, in a green bottle but way better than normal Tusker and if they have it Savanah Dry which is a lovely local brewed cider. Don't be tempted to try other local stuff like maratina or kenya kane - you'll go blind. Have fun and let me know where you are staying when you get to the mara.
Wow that message was way too long!!
Wow.... Did you come up for breathe?!! I am sooo jealous of your job, it sounds absloutely amazing... Bet that one wasnt advertised in the Job Centre :) !! Any idea what kind of weather can we expect, is it wellies and thermals or shorts and t's?.....
Your holiday looks fab. Ive heard tremendous reviews on Cuba, have to say its on my list off places to go.. My email address is email@example.com keep in touch and let me know how Cuba goes, would love to hear and see the photos..
It'll be hot and sunny. Don't forget you're on the equator so pack your sunscreen. Clear blue skies in the morning and if it doesn't rain; hot afternoons, getting dark around 1900hrs. The short rains should have finished by then but if it does it'll come down in one almighty downpour then clear away just as quickly as it came. I wouldn't bother with wellies, you'll have walking stylee shoes for the gorilla trek part of your trip so they will do if it does get wet. The rest of the time it's flip flops / light shoes. If you find yourself out walking anywhere it's always advisable to wear closed toe shoes as it prevents picking up ticks as you stride through the grass.
Hi PilotMike - thanks for the tips, I'm booked on a balloon flight on 29th Dec from Acacia Camp is this near you?
Ladies - have you got your visas or are you getting them in Kenya/Uganda? I'm getting concerned that I'll hold up the group by getting them over there!
Please be aware that if you go to see the Gorillas you will be asked to leave your bags with the porters whilst you visit the apes. On the occasion I went the porters finished off our lunches and stole various handy items one carries in one day bags such as compass and pen knife. When returning the water bottles to the bags they mixed them up. The rule is don't leave anything in your bag whatsever or or it will go.
Accaia Camp is very close to me and so you are likely to be flying with us. You wont actually be taking off from Accacia, the various camps send their clients to the balloon companies so we get groups from all over the Mara and lots of different camps.
Re your visa's: download the forms from the Kenyan High Commision / Ugandan Embassy website and fill them out before you travel. Have the fee in US$ in small change / exact amount as they wont have change and as a back up have your passport, address of where you are staying / travelling with, your flight number, dates of travel and crucially a PEN handy so you can get through customs as quickly as pos. Most important amoungst these are the working pen, pasport number/ place & date of issue and plenty of small change dollars ie $10's. Don't forget you're in Africa so expect things to go wrong. No point getting frustrated remember the phrase TIA - This Is Africa. Keep saying that and you'll be ok and prepared for anything.
Mike, Im so glad I had that glass on wine and posted on your trip - your a star, really appreciate all your tips.. We might have to buy you a bottle of beer when we're over as a thank you, not the kind that makes you go blind though!! Dont suppose there's many opportunties for a blind balloon pilot.
Marie, the balloon trip sounds fantastic, how did you book that? Do you mind me asking how much it was? I was looking at that on the trip notes, but didnt want to be going up on my own. Visa's..... getting into a bit of a panic myself to be honest. Now wondering whether or not to send away for them but with the Christmas post.... Might phone Travelcour on Friday for advice on postage... I dont suppose you happen to be flying from Edinburgh to Heathrow on Boxing Day are you?
I'm going to get my visas on arrival as I'm not organised enough and I don't expect there is time now. I also fancy the balloon trip but haven't booked it. It says in the trip notes that you can book on arrival but I guess it is pretty busy at that time of year. I might wait and take a chance. I'm sure Mike can get us booked in at short notice!
I've decided to leave visaa until we get to Kenya hopefully if we follow Mike's tips it won't take too long! Regarding the balloon flight, it something that I've always wanted to do so didn't want to risk missing out on. But that was of course was before we found Mike! Thanks for all the info, it's been really helpful.
I don't live far from Heathrow so will be meeting there. It would be good to meet before flight.
Hi Girls and Mike!! Decided to leave my visa's until we arrive too, fingers crossed we get through customs ok and I download the correct forms..
I'll be at Heathrow from 8.30am on the 26th :( so would really appreciate company at any time of the day... Never flown from Heathrow before, so it should be an experience..
Hows everyone getting on with vaccinations, still got my yellow fever and Hep A to go... Cant say Im looking forward to them..
Anyone getting excited yet?
Vaccinations all done and sleeping bag and some other essential equipment arrived today so I can't back out now! Getting excited at the thought of two weeks off work... Fitness campaign isn't going too well, I know I will be bringing up the rear when we are trekking up the mountain in search of the gorillas. I have bought a very small bag to take on the trip so I'm not tempted to take lots of unsuitable clothes. I'm going to be very disciplined in my packing - I reckon four pairs of trousers, one pair of shorts and lots of T shirts should be enough (plus of course the gardening gloves!).
Will get to the airport early so I can shop and hopefully meet up with you both.
I'm really looking forward to the trip. Are there any runners on the trip? I'm doing the London marathon next year and would like to keep ticking over on holiday with some short runs but don't fancy running on my own in Africa. Will bring my trainers.
Look forward to meeting everyone.
Are you also travelling solo? I'm afraid that running isn't my thing but I will gladly sit in the shade with a cold drink and the stopwatch to help your training!!
Look forward to meeting up.
Anyone wanting to meet up with TracyP and myself at Heathrow for a wee dram before we fly, my email address firstname.lastname@example.org, we can swap mobile numbers from there.. Not long now Wooooohoooo :)
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