Travelling solo...that way I get to share with equally passionate travellers :-) Sooooo excited....too many reasons!
Firstly, I am not on this trip. The reason why I am replying is because I went on this trip last October and it was absolutely fanstastic!!! I could not recommend this trip more if I tried! Any questions you may have just ask, and I will do my best to answer them for you.
Thanks for the boost to my excitement....am becoming a pre-hol bore!! :-)
Have to buy most of equipment so would appreciate a few hints....65L or 85L rucksack? Waterproof boots or regular trail boots?
Any other insightful hints most welcome!
I would personally recommend the larger bag for the following reasons:
You will end up buying souvenirs and it is always best to have that extra capacity to account for this. Make sure you have a daypack too. I took a large holdall for my clothes etc and a daypack for my camera and other bits that I need with me. When you arrive you will be able to unload most of you clothes in the small lockers that are provided under the seats of the overland vehicle. Though please be warned, they are not overly massive. To give you a better idea, the locker was about 15"x 25", if that. It's best to keep you most used items and clothes in the locker to avoid having to go through you backpack which will be stored in another compartment (for convenience really).
Boots - I had traik boots and was fine with these. Yes it could rain, but most trail/hiking boots are waterproof anyway, so you'll be fine with just gore-tex hiking boots. You wont; need them all the time, but will certainly need them on the trail to see the gorillas in Uganda as it's pretty rough terrain and can be quite boggy if it has been raining.
Travel towel - You can buy them at most camping stores. Mine was a lifeventure trek/travel towel – XL. You don't want to be taking a normal towel as it will take up valuable space plus they don't dry as well as a travel towel. Very handy indeed.
You don't need to take a mosquito net as the tents have the fitted and all the hotels have them anyway.
Make sure you take your Malarone tablets each day (if that's what your taking - there are alternatives). One of side effects of taking Malarone can be an unsettled stomach, which I seemed to suffer from.
Take some waterproofs as it can rain. I remember when we arrived it started to rain in the afternoon.
Take warm fleeces too as it can get rather cold in the overland vehicle if the windows are open.
Take the best camera you can with the boggest zoom lens you can as you'll become trigger-happy. Don't forget those memory cards too and spare batteries.
Make sure you have a very bright head torch. This head torch will become your best friend! I only wish mine was a lot brighter.
I can't think of any more tips right now, but if you have any burning questions, just ask.
Didn't mean to take so long to reply....especially as you got back to me really fast and with some valuable advice! :-)
First chance to write, just got back from Barcelona ....not such a difficult one to pack for!! ;-)
You have reminded me how important a travel towel is....it was my best friend when I went to Borneo, mainly because I travelled solo, so shared with a stranger...not a problem...except she used EVERY towel we were given, as if I didn't exist :-) seriously strange!
Thanks again for all the info!!
Hey there! I too am travelling solo and can't wait!! I have always wanted to do this, and decided just to go for it! I need to look at what to take yet, and have seen all the trip notes. And need to choose a new camera!!!! Exciting.
Phew....so I'm not as solo as I thought! :-)
There is a part of me wanting to slow time so the 'looking forward to' can last longer and the 'its all over' is further away! Have to sort vaccinations out very soon....there are loads!!!
Did anyone see the Telegraph photo (lion and cub) taken by Paul Goldstein, in the Masai Mara....now my screensaver...so beautiful!! We're going there!!!!! Is anyone doing the ballon ride....I would love to!
HI, Another excited solo traveller, I really cant wait! I too have wanted to do this trip for sooooo long and have decided just to go for it!
Yes, iam definetly going to do the ballon ride, my friend did this trip a few years ago and said it was her best holiday, EVER! and said the baloon ride is a must.
Can't remember from the last time I read the trip notes whether we need sleeping bags or not?
If so they'll take a fair chunk of luggage space and weight allowance. Anybody come up against this problem before and if so is there a top tip?
Thanks in advance
You will definitely need sleeping bags as they are not provided. I went in October last year and the nights can get cold, but a 2 - 3 season will suffice. When not in use we stored all our sleeping bags at the back of the truck. You can always leave the sleeping bag in Africa before returning home if it won't fit in your luggage. I donated mine.
Anyone contemplating the balloon safari, do it! Yes it is expensive, but such an unforgettable experience.
Any more questions please ask.
OH MY GOD Andrew!!! Have just looked at your photos!!! They are totally amazing! I can hardly contain my excitement now....much to the annoyance of work colleagues....who are concerned what Sept will bring and if I'll get any work done! :-)
Thanks again for all your advice
Thanks Mel and Maria for enjoying my photos.
Maria, yes, DSLR. I would choose the best that your budget will allow. If you ae purchasing a SLR, I would also recommend a long zoom lens tp capture those close ups of the wildlfie. You can hire them rather than purchase them. I hired a 28-300mm zoom lens from www.lensesforhire.co.uk. Much better than buying it outright.
Been advised that we only need to take UK currency. Anybody taking anything else?
Not "Africa savvy" so not sure if sterling alone will suffice.
Um.... All the blurb I've seen suggests US Dollars!
I thought I saw it in the trip notes.
Andrew, can you help please?
Mel is correct. I would recommend taking the majoity of your money in US dollars. Some sterling wouldn't hurt. You will have the opportunity to exchange into the relevant country's currency and your leader will inform you roughly how much to exchange each time. I exchanged some of mine upon arrival at the airport and then again in Uganda and Rwanda. For the avoidance of doubt, it is best to take US dollars as that it the most accepted currency. You will also need to pay for visas in US dollars upon arrival at Nairobi airport.
Hope this helps. Happy to answer as best as I can any other questions that yoy may have.
Thanks for the help. Dollars makes sense.
I can't seem to find your photos. I clicked on your face pic but then could only find a couple of videos?
Really looking forward to the trip now it's getting close!
Don't know what happened with my previous post.
Here are my photos: http://www.exodus.co.uk/photos/album/1805
It is getting close for you guys. You will have a marvellous time. It's one of Exodus' most popular trips.
I love talking about it as it brings back so many fond memories of the good times!
All the best
Seen the photos now. Fantastic images. Really can't wait for the trip now that I can visualise what it will be like.
Hoping for some good shots myself. We'll see!
Not long to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just looking now at what to pack! I'm going to take a couple of fleeces - do you need to take a waterproof/windproof jacket or will I just be okay with a lightweight kagool type? I think that's the only thing I can't decide whether to take my windproof one! Have read that best not to take too much as it's a pain carting everything around, so am going to travel quite light. Then will have more space to bring things back! I'll probably take US dollars, though Exodus also told me on the phone that sterling is fine - need to decide how much to take with me! Hope you are all getting as excited as me!
All happening too fast now....where did the time go since I booked last October?!
From what I have read, and advice on other forums like Trip Advisor, seems a waterproof necessary, so I'm going for that only. Will make a list soon or I can see panic seeping in!
I too am on this trip, travelling with a friend.
Just over 6 weeks to go. Had my yellow fever jab today. So excited especially at the chance to see gorillas.
Look forward to meeting you all.
This'll be a laugh, trying to cram 17 days worth of kit and a sleeping bag into a 60 litre bag!!
John et al
You probably won't want to take too much clothing. I packed all my gear in a large holdall including sleeping bag. Best advice is to wear your hiking boots to the airport. If you find on the way home that you can't pack eveyrthing, just leave things behind as they will go to good use. I donated my sleeping bag in Rwanda.
Water proofs are more essential in October. We had some rainy days, though it's not really cold. Take some fleeces. as it can be cold when travelling on the overland vehicle if the windows are open. Make sure you have a good head torch that is bright as it will become your best friend. Make sure you take enough normal sized loo roll. Although you can buy at supermarkets whilst you're there. Don't be fooled by those travel loo rolls (that have about 40 sheets) you can buy at Boots as they are not enough.
Any more questions just ask.
I'll wear the heavy stuff, boots and jackets etc on the way out. Camera gear will go in the cabin luggage.
Sure we'll be fine just need to have a practice pack at some point!
Got some 97% deet mosi repellent too!
Thanks for the reminder Andrew!
Ha ha....staple equipment for travelling and Festivals....loo roll and travel wipes!!!!
Random question oh guru of all useful information (you really have been a complete star!!)....thinking of taking ipod (long journey, music a must!), but what are chances of charging it as needs a pc connection ...any idea?
You're welcome. Re the ipod, Yes there are some long journeys ahead of you and an ipod or mp3 player is a good thing to have. Some people chose to read, but I can't on a moving vehicle, so opted for the ipod. You should be able to buy a plug (english standard) with a USB connector, then fit the apple USB cable to the plug and charge away. Check out this link http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001GN3E94/ref=asc_df_B001GN3E944196439?smid=A2ZCVO10ZXT4J1&tag=kelkmpcpc-2nd-ce-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22226&creativeASIN=B001GN3E94
Don't worry about charging on the vehicle. There are plenty and the group just takes it in turn to charge their camera, phone batteries. Though, it will only charge whilst the vehicle is moving.
A tip for the trek to th gorillas wear long sleeves and long trousers or possibly gaitors as there are plenty of nasty nettles that really hurt, as I unfortunately found out. There are also biting red ants too, so clothing to keep yourself protected is good, like gloves, etc but the trek can be challenging so breathable clothing is recommended. At the Gorilla reserve, you wil be provided with a traditional walking stick, so no need to take your own. You might want to puchase the walking stick too afterwards as some members of my group did and just stored them as cargo on the aeroplane.
I wish I was going again!
Thanks for the usual excellent advise Andrew....have ordered item from Amazon :-)
Excitement oozing through nicely now!!!!
Andrew....hope you have a fantastic trip to Nepal and beyond!!!! Your advice has been priceless...thank you
Everyone ok with their preparations for this very special trip?
Who's travelling out on the group flight from LHR?
This weekend is practice pack for me, hoping my bag is like the tardis. I too am on the group flight from Heathrow. Should be easy to spot, waterproof & walking boots with an Exodus label on my hand lugguage.
See you all two weeks tomorrow.
Hi John, if it makes you feel any better my holdall is bright yellow. So at least we will be able to spot ours amongst all the black holdalls ! Hayley
i am thiunking of booking for the Jan 2012 trip, and reading these posts has made me want to go even more. I shall keep looking back over next month to see your return comments.
i hope you all have a fabulous time, i have been to the masai mara on the tanzanian side one word gorgeous. the gorillas would be the highlight of this trip, i think, cos its all beautifull. Fantastic Africa.
I'm going from Heathrow too and will probably put my Exodus luggage label on my hand luggage, so you should be able to see who I am. I will also be on the plane reading a camera instruction book lol, as have a new one and won't have time to read it before!
Gonna do a practice pack on Sunday, to see where I'm at. Tbh not sure if will pack too light. Only taking walking boots and sandals for shoes, and for clothes my trousers that also turn into shorts, vests, t-shirts, fleeces and waterproofs. Thinking what else I may need for the very few nights in hotel/at the end of the day etc. Is everyone else packing really light?
Anyway, I shall meet you all soon!
Maria : )
My intentions are always to pack light....my intentions are then instantly overuled.... normally!!! :-) Trying really hard to take very little! Also am quite sure I am spending way too much time worrying about it!!! Equally sure that I will still forget stuff! ;-) Cest la vie :-)
Exodus label to be attached to my hand luggage....when I have finished deliberating what that will be!! AAAAAARGH!!!!
Does anyone else have a fight with their sleeping bag when trying to put it back in its stuff sack. Trying to practice as it isn't going to be easy when doing it in a tent.
Friend who went before said she rolled hers with her pjs & wash bag in a bigger stuff sack, sounds good advice to me. They then get stacked at the back of the overland truck each day.
Getting very excited now....only one week until i finish work! yee ha! I too am going to travel as light as possible. I have bought some gaters as Andrew advised as I dont fancy horrible bites on my legs from the ants! Is anyone taking waterproof trousers? as I only have a kagool at the moment. Although it only looks like its rainy in Uganada and hot in Kenya.
I am travelling from Heathrow to so I will look out for the luggage label!
I too am going to struggle with my sleeping bag....its taking too up too much room in my bag!!!
Looking forward to meeting you all next week.
Another solo traveller here finally saying hello and who's just spent 2 hours turning his home upside down looking for his walking boots - nope they're definitely lost - another shopping trip on Saturday it is (adds up this holiday business). Still will be better than the 15 minutes spent in Boots today buying hand gel, imodium (just in case) and wet wipes - not sure I've understood what trip notes meant by wet wipes!? - having to explain no I didn't need them to be able to remove make-up!
Anyway in more useful info, if like me, you're foolish enough to buy all your dollars in one go and take them with you - then best rate I found was with ACE FX, 2nd best Travelex, both on-line.
Right see you all fairly soon for our 800lbs primate tracking class :) or more likely at Terminal 4!
Not long now! Can't see anyway of getting round the money issue other than taking a wad.
Got army surplus waterproofs and poncho (keep the camera under it). Talking of cameras we can't get insurance for Rwanda or Uganda and quote "it depends where you're going in Kenya" due to Foreign office classifications. Hay ho.
Not had the dummy run pack yet either!
Note to self- LOO ROLL!
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