This was an amazing holiday, tough with long dusty drives but more than worth it.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Inspiration probably isn't the right word for this trip. What was my most amazing moment?
Seeing a leopard in a tree check out his exit points and just leaving. We saw this leopard the day before in the Mara and he was rather stressed by the attention he was getting. So seeing him in a more calm state was great.The super herd of elephants in Serengeti.
There were more than a 100 just walking across having a bite to eat.Seeing the wildebeests making their death-defying drop into the Mara River. It was amazing and harrowing at the same time. Not all of them made it, some got stuck or badly hurt, but that's nature for you and it was something to be seen. It was also the first time in five years of Mara trips our leader had seen this event! You just never know what you might see next… like lions enjoying their lunch not metres away from where we were having lunch.
I could go on but there are just too many to recall.
Oh one more, hyena in camp, just sitting there waiting for us to go to bed so they could see what scraps we left out.
- What did you think of your group leader?
I was delighted to see that we had Often was our guide, and all the review are correct. He is a funny, kind, thoughtful man who has brilliant people skills and a genuine love for animals. He encouraged us to ask questions and would always give us information on the places we were to visit. I believe his massages are very good, I missed out but my partner says it was brilliant. If you have a problem or query he will do his best to help you where he can. He is so calm that just a couple of minutes talking to him will calm you down too.
Jackson was our drive and a quiet soul, I don't think he could speak much English but understood enough to know when we were joking and laugh with us. His driving skills are second to none, Kenyan roads are terrible and he kept the huge truck upright and trundling along all the time. Tanzanian roads are a bit better but the national park roads are ... well they aren't roads. Also without him myself and my partner would still be trying to put our tent down now!
Michael was our cook and he could cook up a storm with very little equipment. He was funny like Often and I can see him becoming a leader one of these days. His cabbage dish was something I now try and make at home. He shopped at the major shops and roadside places too, making sure we put back into the community wherever we went. The meat we had was always a little over done, but it had to be. You can't afford to be ill on a trip like this.
All three of them made this trip work, they were excellent spotters and looked after us really well.
I can't say enough good things about all of them, they are a great team.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for long dusty drives, they can be more draining than you realise. Take a water bottle that have those pull up mouthpieces, it makes it easier to drink out of when the truck is rumbling along. I can't stress the importance of keeping your fluids up, just a slight dip in intake can leave you feeling rubbish for a while and you will not enjoy the experience.It is easier to get along with your group then you may first think, you are all there for the same purpose and laughs and jokes will quickly follow.
Have plenty of hand sanitizer and there isn't always anywhere to wash your hand after the loo - oh and my advice of that side of things... just go with it :) Clean hands are a must and you will not be allowed to eat until you have washed your hands.
But mainly just get stuck in, help to spot on game drives, help with washing up and drying, help others if needs be with their tents. It's all part of the experience.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Firstly Nairobi traffic is as bad as they say, so don't let it both you too much.
When you shout stop on a drive please be aware that they need to a) - hear you: b) react and c) find a safe place with a good vantage point so you can take pictures. Jackson (and the other drivers) will occasionally have to move one or move out of the way, frustrating as it may seem they have to do this.
Tembo beach - we were very lucky and saw the most amazing sunset over Lake Victoria. But you know what (sorry exodus) it wasn't completely worth it. The facilities were good, but the flies were plentiful and annoying. Upside they have a TV, downside it's so dark in the bar you will get eye strain.
The Giraffe centre - I think it's one thing too many. We were knee deep in giraffes throughout the whole holiday and this felt like a bit of an afterthought. Especially as it took us to the other side of town away from the airport. Perhaps start with the holiday with the centre rather than end with it.
There aren't too many opportunities to buy things so if you get a chance get a few bits and leave them in the lockers (just not beer - too bumpy).
But for all that, the loo lottery, the is there any water in the shower today? This is a wonderful, unbelievable trip, with the added excitement of putting up and taking down tents. You do feel much more involved with it all. Please seriously consider this trip!