gorillas and Masai Mara

There're others going earlier in September - anyone going on this date? We're really looking forward to this trip. Don't think we'll be the youngest there tho.....Gill

fins950

Hi Gill

I am also going on this trip, leaving Heathrow on 24th? One of my friends boyfriends has been to the see the Gorillas and said it is amazing.  Cant wait.

Sam

the trip can't come soon enough for us either, sam. i don't know anyone else who's been on this trip, but i've read some of the notes people have posted.... never thought we'd ever get to see gorillas

fins950

Hi Gill

I'm starting to get myself organised. I've never been camping before so I've just bought a sleeping bag and liner. All of my luggage has wheels on so I'm looking into the holdalls.

I booked the balloon trip. Are you going to do it?

Sam

yes, we're booking the balloon trip. bit of a shock at the cost, tho would be deeply peed off if we let the price put us off and we missed what i imagine will be wonderful. we've got rucksacks but think they advise smaller holdall type bags for daytime use? the one thing i'm not looking forward to is the antimalaria sprays...

anyone else around who's going on 24th / 25th?

C6J6O6

 Hi, I'm also going on the trip with a couple of friends.

 Sam - Has your friend told you much about the walk to see the gorillas? We have had mixed messages over the difficulty level and length of the walk so would be interested to hear more.

I'm also considering the balloon ride but I must admit the price puts me off. It is so much more than some of the other safari trips.

Look forward to meeting everyone in September. Should be a fantastic trip. Carolyn

 

fins950

Hi Carolyn

My friends are away at the moment but I will ask them when they get back next week.  I've also read different things about the length of the trek - it seems to be anything between 10 mins to 4 hours!

Sam

Hi - I did this trip last year - amazing!!!!  Pack light - you keep your stuff on the truck - unpacked in compartments under the seats - and space is limited.  The trek to the Gorillas took us nearly 4 hours uphill and was strenuous........but worth every step.  An amazing experience.  To spend an hour with the gorillas made me feel very humble and priviledged.  They allow you into their family.  Some treks are shorter - but depends on where the gorillas are - they are always on the move.  I would suggest hiring a porter for the day - very cheap - and they will pull you up the mountain if needed - as well as carrying your water and food etc!  Never did the balloon flight - didn't regret it.  Some did it - and said it was good - but we had an amazing game drive - I'd say - if you feel you want to do it - then do it - otherwise you'll always be wondering.  Have a great time!   H.

fins950

Hi everyone

I finally saw my mate and the trek to the gorillas took his group nearly 4 hours!!

Sam

well, the porters will definitely be getting a booking from me!! it'll be worth every penny. I've got to work on the 'packing light' bit, as I tend to try to take more things than I think I'll need, 'just in case'......

is it just me, or is this holiday taking an age to arrive?

C6J6O6

Hi Sam,

Sorry for taking so long to say thanks for getting back to me about the walk to the gorillas. My only excuse is that the page takes a long time to load on my computer so I never get round to looking at it.

If anyone's GP recommends Malarone malaria tablets for the trip, Tesco will dispense them without a private prescription. I got my last lot of tablets from Boots and it worked out much more expensive than Tescos.

Carolyn

carolyn

thats a good tip about tesco - will remember that when we get round to sorting them out

Gill

fins950

Hi all

Thanks for the tip about the malarone.  Is everyone getting ther visas before the trip or at the airport. From other forums it seems that it is easy enought to get them over there? 

Sam

think we may get them at the airports, unless anyone knows better. the price hikes up if you use agencies to get them beforehand - altho there is peace of mind and less cash to take if its done earlier? gill

gareth84

Hi everyone. I'm not on this trip, but went last year. Best holiday ever!

VISAs - you can buy them all at the airports. Though you can buy in advance if you feel you want to be more organised.

Gorillas -  there are several groups of gorillas, and you'll get split depending on how far you'd like to trek. At the shortest, one group took 30 minutes to reach, and you can request the shorter trips if you feel you're not up for a long one. I was lucky enough to see the Susa group (the family that David Attenborough visited many years back), but the trek took about 3 hours and was very challenging. Totally worth the effort though! You'll probably find that a lot of people are keen to see that particular group, so make sure you get in there quickly if you'd like to see them.

Lake Nakuru - this part of the trip was great. We camped in the middle of the reserve, so amongst all the wildlife (including Lions and Leopards). Got woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of dozens of Baboons going mad - maybe a Leopard was lurking around!?  

Masai Mara - make sure you get an adventurous driver for the safaris. We changed driver each time, and found that some were more willing to explore than others. But we still saw pretty much everything we wanted to with each drive; an amazing experience.

Uganda - Lake Bunyoni was beautiful. Perhaps consider renting one of the canoes and going for a trip on the lake.  The white water rafting on the Nile was one of the highlights of the trip. There are two types of rafts: the standard and the extreme. If you're feeling adventurous, try the Extreme raft, but be prepared to flip upside and fall out many times! There's bungee jumping there too, which was great fun.  All of the rafting and bungee jumping is filmed, and you can buy very well edited dvds afterwards. Definately worth it. 

Have a great trip everyone! 

davidl53

Hi everyone

Lesley and I are on this trip, and looking forward to it with great anticipation. Just paid the balance and had the yellow fever jab today, so it's starting to feel very real! I'm sure we're not the youngest on the trip either - (if we are some of you must be really ancient!)

All the comments are really helpful - especially from those who've been before. Thanks for taking the trouble to give us the benefit of your experience. We're just thinking about the optional trips but haven't really decided yet. Also starting to think about exactly what to take. Does anyone have views on footwear for the gorilla trek? It sounds like boots with some ankle support would be good, but could be ott for the rest of the trip. maybe trainer-style walking shoes would be ok.

 David

fins950

Hi everyone.

Thanks Gareth for the info - its good to hear from someone who has been before.  If others are getting the visas there I will to - I didnt want to be the only one who hadnt got them beforehand and hold everyone else up. With regards to the gorilla trek, I am going to take my walking boots which have a good grip, ankle support and are water proof. For the rest of the trip I will just take some light trainers and a pair of flip flops.

Can I ask what people are doing about luggage. The trip notes state it must be a rucksack or holdall that can fold up and not anything with a hard back. I dont really want to buy new luggage as I already have a soft holdall with wheels but it does have a hard back. Once it is squashed down I dont see there is much difference to a rucksack but when I spoke to someone at Exodus they were adamant that it cannot have a hard back so I wondered what others were doing.

Sam

hiya

we're planning on walking boots for the gorilla part, and yes, trainers / /flips flops for the rest. our rucksacks have a frame, but then most do these days - have no plans to rush out to buy anything else. daysacks for small day needs as well. 

not had jabs yet - next week - joy...

we'll be queueing with you at the airports for the visas, clutching whichever currency it is....

not sure how much to take for spends yet , or what else to take inthe form of gifts - think i'd read something about childrens clothes?

and our balance has just been paid.....made quite a hole in the bank account - bit of overtime needed i think!

gill

Hello

The trip to the gorillas starts by walking through villages and potato fields meeting the local kids - then in bamboo forests - which can get slippery if there's been rain.  Then its basically following a guide who uses a machete to cut a path in the jungle.  It is uphill.  Gardening gloves!!! Its hard - but the guides are brilliant.  They will help and there will be lots of stops.  They are in touch with trekkers on the mountain and basically they guide us into the family of gorillas.  The gorillas are on the move!  I was lucky to also see the Susa family - and Poppy - who was named by Dianne Fossey.  Very special.  You must all watch 'gorillas in the mist' before you go.  So shoes - something with ankle support would be good - but you could do it with good walking/trainers if they are comfortable.  It is WORTH IT.  AMAZING. BRILLIANT!

 As for a pack - you empty your stuff and keep it in lockers on the truck - under the seats.  There isn't really anywhere to keep hard suitcases - but on our trip one person did have a suitcase and somewhere was found for it.   

Visa - get them at the borders - all part of the experience. 

This is a really good trip - gorillas are the highlight - but other great things to see and do.  Rwanda is a very special country!

 Have fun - totally jealous!!!  H.

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