- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The whole trip, for me, was absolutely inspirational: the people, the scenery, the wildlife… Especially (in no particular order!):
- The beauty of Rwanda
- The visit to “Little Angels” primary school for orphans by Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda
- The game drives around Lake Nakuru in Kenya
- The early morning balloon ride over the Masai Mara in Kenya
- The encounter with mountain gorillas (especially when one of them expressed a desire to play with me!)
- White-water rafting on the Nile (by far the scariest thing I have EVER done!)
- What did you think of your group leader?
The whole team who looked after us were fantastic!
- Benard Mathenge was an absolutely amazing driver who safely navigated through many hair-raising situations on the roads – including one instance when the truck almost got stuck in mud on the way to a campsite. I am still in awe of his driving abilities!
- Beatus Kababa and Elias Otieno prepared delicious, healthy meals in copious quantities and made sure we never went hungry. I never expected to eat so well or so much!
- Julius Leteele was a wonderful team leader. He was always happy, smiling, very enthusiastic about everything, and a mine of knowledge about East Africa. I particularly appreciated his willingness to share personal stories with us as this was invaluable in giving me an insight into the Masai culture and identity – something which I would otherwise have no idea about.
- When I got sick in Rwanda, Julius organised a taxi to take me to the local hospital for a check-up. He stayed with me during this difficult time, helping with the arrangements at the hospital, and comforting me that all would be well (which it thankfully was!). His caring manner and the sensitive way in which he handled the situation were much appreciated.
Even when Julius’s duty of care had ceased (once he had helped us through security at Kigali airport), his concern did not cease: he called me to check if the whole group had all cleared security and to ensure that there were no issues. This was a lovely parting gesture from someone who never stopped caring.
All in all, Julius, Benard, Kababa, and Elias made this the trip of a lifetime for me. Their teamwork was exemplary, their sense of humour had me in giggles, and the fun and banter that we all shared at mealtimes will be a lasting memory. Asante sana!!!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
1. Useful things to bring:
- A re-hydration kit, including re-hydration salts and antibiotics (a fellow-traveller gave me hers and it was a life-saver)
- A thermometer (extremely useful when I was sick)
- Hand sanitiser
- A LARGE padlock (my small one didn’t fit onto the locker in the truck)
- A travel washing line for drying your clothes
- Zip-off trousers that turn into shorts (so handy!)
- Thermals to sleep in (much warmer than pyjamas)
- A swimsuit if you intend to go white-water rafting
- A comfortable daypack for gorilla-tracking
2. Make sure your head-torch has a white (not red night-time vision!) light.
3. Don’t worry about the “basic” campsites: they are a lot less basic that we’d all expected and the only one with no showers was at Lake Nakuru.
4. I booked the non-reverse-itinerary trip which meant a nice build-up from campsites in Kenya to lovely hotels in Rwanda. Something to bear in mind when deciding on the direction of your travels…
5. I went pre-migration (June) so a lot of the animals were still in the Serengeti rather than the Masai Mara. Worth thinking about the likely location of the animals when choosing your dates (having said that, the animals at Lake Nakuru are a permanent fixture and are absolutely amazing!).
6. JUST BOOK IT; you won’t regret it!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
I went solo, but certainly didn’t feel solo during the trip: the fellow travellers and crew were very inclusive and extremely supportive (especially when I got sick) – a wonderful bunch of people!