What an amazing experience! I cannot praise this holiday enough! If you are wondering about whether to book this holiday or not, stop wondering and hurry up and book it!
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were some incredible moments from the trip, here's my top experiences...
1) The gorilla trek - I was unsure what to expect but we completed a 'medium length trek' (our group had the choice of either medium or short length walk). It was approximately a 2 and half hour trek on a hot day. I'm not particularly fit but managed okay, although there were occasional out of breath moments during the steep sections! The group stopped regularly for water breaks and a chance to catch your breath though so don't worry! Eventually we told to crawl on our hands and knees through some bamboo and suddenly the gorillas were right in front of us - incredible! It truly was a once in a lifetime experience to have the honour of spending an hour in the company of these fantastic animals. Brilliant!
2) White water rafting at Jinga - I was unsure before the trip whether I was going to do the rafting, but couldn't resist when we got there. It was so much fun! The raipds are really quite daunting but they kept repeating to us that the river is one of the safest to complete the rafting in as there are very few rocks and the water is really deep. Our group went in two different boats, the other boat didn't flip over at all and our boat flipped over once (I actually fell out twice but that's a whole other story!) If you're a fairly okay swimmer I would definitely reccommend completing this!
3) Balloon ride over the Masai Mara - this was excellent! The ride was so smooth and the take-off / landing weren't as scary as I imagined. The photos we took from the balloon were magical, and we completed a brilliant game drive straight after the balloon ride where we saw a cheetah up close.
4) School / Orphanage - this wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed visiting the children. We were all greeted by lots of smiles, songs, dances and general good fun. We all took some bits and pieces for the children such as sweets, bubbles, balloons, pencils etc.
5) The Masai Mara - it is incredible! I bored all of my group to death by comparing it to the Lion King the whole time (it really is just like it!). I'm not particularly a wildlife mega-fan, but I really enjoyed seeing all the animals and learning little facts about them.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Julius was our group leader and he was fantastic! After the first day we all got used to his own interesting way to describe the various optional extra excursions we could choose! He was a great leader as you always felt that he was very much in control and looking out for all of us.
Francis was our driver and he was fabulous! He was nicknamed Jazzy Jeff (from Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and was always there with a smile and a joke for us.
Leo was our chef - wow! I was a little bit nervous about the type of food we would be eating, but it was amazing! I still have no idea how he managed to cook such great food! I honestly ate better in Africa then I usually do at home! No-one on our trip got ill at any point which we think was down to Leo's impeccable cleanliness.
We had a bit of a nightmare on the way out there as our flight was cancelled so we had to travel a day later than expected. The boys managed to re-organise everything for us so that we didn't actually miss out on any aspect of the holiday! Thank you all so much!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Here's my top ten tips from the trip....
1) Zip off trousers - I lived in these! The mornings needed trousers but by 11ish we were ready for shorts, so just zip off the bottom bit and you're good to go.
2) Uno cards - I became slightly obsessed with Uno (also known as You Know! by our Aussie group member - sorry Em!). It was great fun to play on truck. Other card games I can reccommend are cheat, chase the lady and poker!
3) Hand sanitiser - takes lots of little bottles and carry it everywhere with you!
4) Head torch is essential!
5) I bought some new Andrex toilet roll stuff called 'on the go' which was basically loo roll without the cardboard in the middle! Makes it much smaller to carry around with you.
6) 100% Deet Mozzie repellent worked well for me... around 5ish cover any exposed areas in the stuff and you'll be fine! (Although remember to take off watches etc as it can seriously damage them!)
7) I took 4 gyms bags (like kids might use for going swimming) which were really useful for carrying stuff from the truck to the tents.
8) Don't worry about getting visas beforehand (if you're British).... it was very straight forward at all of the borders and our group leader organised everything for us.
9) Don't forget a travel alarm clock and I used a travel towel which takes up a lot less room.
10) I took one thin-ish fleece and one thick fleece which I used alot.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the accommodation, but it was a lot better than I expected! There was only a few nights in actual tents, the rest of the nights were in walk-in style tents which was basically like a normal room but with canvas walls.
Final top tip - for the gorilla trek you will be given a wooden carved walking stick to use. At the end of the trek you can buy these sticks (for $10) which were really nicely carved. The sticks are made by the local villagers and are a great memory item to bring home. The other groups weren't told that they could buy the sticks and were gutted that they didn't have one to bring home as a keepsake. So make sure you ask your guide about whether you can buy them.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- Stop reading these reviews and book the trip immediately! You won't regret it!