Gorillas & Masai Mara : 20th December

At the moment I think we are the only people booked on this trip so it would be good to hear as and when others have booked.  Looking forward to this trip so much!

Gill & Ian

Hi, we're booked on the Gorilla's & Masai Mara trip departing 20th December.  I believe from Exodus we have one more definite booking and two on hold.  We would love to hear from you & hopefully you are as excited as we are about this trip.  Apparently we only need another 3 for the trip to run so fingers crossed!  Gill

What a relief!  would love to hear from those booked on this trip (20 December).

Gill & Ian

We've just booked! We are pretty excited about it too - should be a big adventure and the reviews look very positive.  I wonder if our fellow traveller (so far - no doubt more will book over the next few months) will look at this site anytime soon - being able to "meet" fellow travellers before the trip is a feature I really like about Exodus!

Hello iisshh!  We were quite relieved when the status went guaranteed because we booked in May and were the only two for quite a while!  I don't know how many are booked on the trip yet but I suppose it must be at least 6!  Have you done anything like this before?

Gill & Ian


I'm booked on this trip too, but only just discovered these forums. Nice to see it's guaranteed now as I booked back at the beginning of July.

This will be my 2nd time in Sub-Saharan Africa, the last time being the Gambia over 10 years ago. Never been on safari (or an exodus trip) before too so getting pretty excited now!


Hi Will, good to hear from somebody else on the trip!  We booked in May so have been waiting to see the change in trip status since then!  This will be our first sub-Saharan trip but have been to South Africa and Zambia & on many safari's but I think this should top them all.  Trying to get plenty of walking out in the Peak District in training for the hilly trek to see the gorillas!

I think Ian and I will probably be the oldest on the trip!

Look forward to hearing from more of our fellow travellers.

Gill & Ian


Hi everyone, we have just booked on this trip. Really excited now. I've been reading your messages for a couple of weeks now while waiting for my partner to give the go ahead to book. I've been itching to let you all know we are going. Looking forward to meeting you all. Lesley and Les!

Well, at least we won't forget your names! So pleased to hear from fellow travellers.  Don't know about everyone else but we're actually counting down the weeks.  For so long we were the only ones booked on the trip - what a huge relief to be actually in touch with you all.

 Would be good to know where everyone is from and approx. age etc.

Gill & Ian


We are from Barnoldswick on the Lancs/ Yorkshire border near Skipton. Les is 53 and I am 49. This trip is my 50th birthday present to myself, which is on the 15th January when we get back.



Another for the group, reviews and images are brilliant and looking forward to it. Take snaps and bird a bit. Some safari and Exodus trips before almost all excellent. Semi retired from Kent. Exodus suggested 9 were already booked. Talk soon 


Another for the group, reviews and images are brilliant and looking forward to it. Take snaps and bird a bit. Some safari and Exodus trips before almost all excellent. Semi retired from Kent. Exodus suggested 9 were already booked. Talk soon 

We're from SW Sheffield on the border of the Peak District so trying to get in as much walking/climbing as possible so we don't hold up the group!  We're both in our early 50's and although it's our first trip with Exodus, we've done quite a bit of South Africa and safari's. 

 I think we're going to do the balloon trip as well - it'll our Christmas present to each other!

Talking of Christmas, I'll also pack some 'Christmassy' napkins but doubt if the Christmas tree will fit in my rucksack!


26 from Leeds here. Trying to get a bit of training in myself before we go. I've been cycling the 11 miles each way to work in an attempt to get fitter!

I'm sorely tempted by the balloon trip also, but I'll have to see how many pennies I can put away beforehand before I commit...


Hi everyone, have you all had your bookings confirmed. We have had an e-mail saying that there are no economy seats left on the return flight left, and it will cost us another £221 pounds each. Hmmmm! might have to rethink.


Hi, worrying. My booking was only confirmed on 29th August and the rep said they had checked that they had seats available. What could have changed in 1 day?

This followed on from my making a deposit on 2 other trips one of which was cancelled (lack of numbers) and the other they wanted to charge me another 500 pounds above the 'guananteed' web site price since Burma flights were full on the days near to the Xmas departure.

This is the first year that I have had 'problems' with Exodus.

I hope they sort it out for you. If they cannot get more seats then the numbers travelling on the lorry will be much lower than normal. 


Seems a shame that they want more money for the flights.

Can't tell you if mine have confirmed or not as I've booked flights myself separately.

Hope they get it sorted for you!

Because we booked in May, we got our confirmation almost straightaway.  Haven't received any updates or changes but I will check with Exodus tomorrow to make sure.  This is worrying because people may cancel if they have to pay more and the trip may not be guaranteed.  Definitely worth checking.  Will let you know if I hear anything.

Been trying to contact Exodus for the last 30 minutes, can't get through on the telephone or on the on-line chat.  Never known it to be this busy.  Will keep trying & let you know what they say.


OK, just been speaking to a very help Marta.  The trip is definitely guaranteed even if people drop out because of the increase in flight cost so apologies if my earlier post caused any alarm.  Apparently the later you book, the more risk of seats not being available at the quoted price.   I hope they sort it for you Les & Lesley but imagine being sat in business class (if that's what they're offering) when we're slumming it in economy after two weeks of little or no sleep!  Fingers crossed they get it sorted.  Nine confirmed on this trip & most from Lancashire & Yorkshire! 



Sorry i haven't replied sooner, we've been walking in wales. I have had an e-mail from exodus saying that 1 seat is at brochure price and the other is £442 dearer but still in economy. The airline has put the price up. I'm a bit confused as to why one seat has gone up and not the other. Will be phoning tomorrow to find out.


Gabi the rep got back to me today and said that even at the higher price now the trip is only 2 short of full and is confident it will fill.


Hi les/les,

 If you're still having trouble with flights through exodus have you considered booking your flights yourself seperately?

Exodus charge 3199pp on the website including flights or 2049pp excluding flights and having just had a quick look on skyscanner.net for flights from/to Manchester on the right days it looks to be costing 662pp outbound to NBO and 564pp return from KGL making it only £76 per person more expensive than the exodus list price.

Just thought it might be worth a look if you were still struggling with Exodus?


Everything sorted by Andrea the rep. We will be on the same flights as the group, see you all at the airport. Can't wait, only 14 weeks to go!

14 weeks!! Yikes! Better start my Christmas shopping.

Glad to hear you got sorted.  The trip has vanished from the availability page so it looks like we've got a full truck!

Wonder what we'll be eating on Christmas day?  Might bring some tinsel for my tent!


Hi Guys, I'm booked on 20 Dec trip as well. Looking forward to it. Did Botswana trip in July and enjoyed camping and wildlife so much, decided to do this trip. Made half century a few years ago. Live near Glasgow, but originally from Yorkshire, Bingley.....so looks like cheese with xmas cake and a wee dram. Flying KLM, AMS to Nairobi on 20th.


Hi Andy, nice to hear from you. Looks like it's going to be a good trip. How long have you lived in Glasgow?


I have finally booked this trip having looked at it for several months now and then panicking at the weekend that there were only a couple of places left!  Really looking forward to this trip - have wanted to see the Gorillas for so long.  I'll be arriving a day early as sorted my own flights out so will see you at the joining hotel (after a good nights sleep in a hotel, rather than an overnight flight!)

 I'm 35  and live in Hertfordshire.




Nice to hear from everyone. Slightly jealous about your day-early flights. I arrive at 3:30am on the 21st, so I may well be a bit bleary-eyed on the first day!

Yes, it's only 11 weeks!  Has everyone had their final balance reminder?

also, who's tempted by the balloon trip?

Gill & Ian

Yes, it really is only 9 weeks before we depart for this trip!  Can't believe how quickly the time is passing.  So, let's try & get this forum back up & running and share our thoughts on how we're planning for the packing, the trek, Christmas etc. etc. 

My balance reminder did not arrive so I'm having to chase them. Unsure about the balloon trip, does it need to be pre-booked? The only other time I ballooned the winds did not blow in the direction that would have been productive but in the Mara I guess every direction is good. Off to the States for a couple of weeks photography on Monday so funds may also be an issue for balloons, its very pricey. Still have not sorted out visa's or malaria either. The bochure arrived yesterday and with Burma being so popular may have to book that for next summer having failed twice to get on trips already. So lots of stress on the bank balance but really looking forward to Xmas.


Balance reminder arrived by email a few weeks ago and paid up yesterday. Just arranged insurance. Trips notes say visas can be obtained on arrival - Kenya and Uganda - and not reqd for Rawanda, for British nationals. I'm planning to do the baloon ride - have been wanting to do a baloon ride over Africa for a long time - and champagne and full english sounds good too!! Also thinking of visiting the community project, Soft Power. Got a zoom lens for last trip, so hopefully fairly sorted for camera gear this time. I think the 'truck' has an inverter for charging - the two prong plug/'shaver socket plug - that comes in the box with cameras/electric gadgets - might be usefull.

good to hear from you both.  you don't have to book the balloon in advance and you can pay on arrival according to Exodus.  Any idea what the night-time temperatures will be?  Will we need liners for sleeping bag?  Can't wait!

I'm just back from this trip (reverse). It's awesome.
You can book the balloon ride when you get to Masai Mara (you can pay by credit card). It was amazing. The camping nights were chilly (liner would be useful) but others are in comfortable accommodation with blankets etc.
Travel light - if your trip is full then the bus will be crowded and you'll need to use the lockers which are pretty small. You can do laundry at Jinja which helps.
It's not too physical but the long journeys take some stamina.
One thing I didn't realise from the notes was that while Visa is widely accepted, Mastercard is not. Many ATMs were broken so I was glad I took mostly cash (US$).
Enjoy your trip - it's incredible

Thank you for posting this & glad you had a great time.  It looks like our trip is full so we'll definitely take on board your comments & travel light.  How physical was the trek to see the gorilla's?  How long did it take you to get to them?  Thanks Gill

Hi there


The gorilla trek IS physical - it's uphill and at altitude so is a little demanding but our group found it to be fine including people at all levels of fitness. You can request short, medium or long routes. We figured that we were there for gorillas so a longer trek would not add to our enjoyment!  In the end I think ours was considered short or medium and all in was about 4 1/2 hours including an hour with the gorillas.

We took frequent breaks and while we were out of breath no-one found it too tiring. You can get a walking pole at the bottom which helps and if you want you can hire a porter for about $10 to carry your pack and help you up (which is a nice way of supporting the local economy - the porters are mostly former poachers and now do this to give something back).

We trekked up for about 2 hours before we got to the edge of the jungle. From there our guide said he would guarantee we would find gorillas within 4 hours(!). As it happened we found our family within about 10 minutes and in fact when we left they were right by the wall where the jungle starts.

I would say that if you are fit enough to hike for an hour or 2 with a pack and on some undulating terrain then you will be fine for this.

All the best




Sorry we haven't posted for a while but we have both had the flu. Les has had man flu and I have had real flu. We are now fully paid up and can't wait to get going. Not sure about the balloon flight as it's a bit expensive, and I am vegetarian and teetotal (I am not as boring as I sound) so the champagne breakfast isn't for me. Considering the white water rafting though, anyone else? Thanks Caroline for your feedback. Did anyone not do the balloon ride?



 2 out of 6 of us did the balloon ride. It's with a 3rd party so it doesn't matter how many of the Exodus group go -  we just joined with 10 others that had booked with the same company. The ballooners have breakfast and then our own game drive on the way to meet up with the rest of the group later in the day. The big risk is that one part of the Exodus group have an awesome sighting that the others miss - luckily we had both seen cheetahs during the morning otherwise there would have been trouble! We ballooners had the better viewing of hippos and crocs though.

The breakfast had a huge choice and catered for vegetarians. Orange juice was provided for those that didn't fancy alcohol at 8 in the morning (not me I'm afraid - I thought it would be rude not to enjoy a tipple after the flight!).

It IS expensive and arguably too costly but they only fly once a day and for me it was a dream come true - I've had a balloon ride on my bucket list for years and soaring over the Masai Mara was definitely a great way to tick it off. I wrestled with my parsimonious conscience and decided that I can't take it with me and seized the day.....

All the best


it's good to have your feedback.  Like you, a balloon ride has been on my 'to do' list for a while and to do it over the Masai Mara sounds amazing.  We've done quite a few game drives and have seen the Big 5.  Can't wait for this trip!  as for the porters, i'll have two ... one to pull and one to push!!  Don't think we'll be doing the rafting though ... I just know I would be the one to fall in and/or lose my contact lenses!

hello fellow travellers.  Only 5 weeks to go!  Can't believe how quickly time is passing.  I just hope i'm fit enough for the gorilla trek! I'll crawl on my hands and knees if I have to. Just wondered how all your planning is coming along? How many are on the group flight on the 20th?  The hotel in Nairobi doesn't look too bad - at least it has a pool so we'll probably just chill out and catch up on some sleep.

I am on the group flight, hoping that at least we will be able to wash at your hotel before setting off to Elesmere.

If Caroline is still able to give information could you let us know about re-charging facillities on the bus and at any sites. I imagine that everyone will have phones/ipads/camera batteries to recharge. Is it a problem?

Apart from the locker to store main bags is there anywhere readily available to keep hand luggage/ cameras other than on your lap? 

On previous trips there was no problem but the lorry was not totally full. Cheetahs would be a bonus for me, previous visits were unlucky.


We are on the group flight too. We are driving down the night before and staying at the Premier Inn, you never know what the great british weather is going to do, and people will be finishing work early for christmas. See you all soon. 

Hi again (not stalking past trips, just checking in to see if anyone on my December trip is in the departure lounge!)
You can charge while the truck is on the road (that's a lot of time!). We had about 6 sockets and some people had a charger that used one socket but could charge multiple gadgets via usb.
We had our own plugs for about half the evenings and the crew generally managed to hook up to some power each night so you can charge while you have dinner. I took a spare camera battery and a Juice Cube that I didn't use. We were lucky to have just 6 of us but I imagine with a full truck and a bit of give and take there shouldn't be any concerns at all.
The truck has overhead shelves (like on an aircraft) if your truck is full and you don't want your bag on your lap.
Have a great time

Great news!  Exodus have confirmed that our tour leader will be Often Kazoro.  The reviews on this chap are amazing so it looks as though we'll be in good hands!! 

 One very important question ..... who's bringing the mince pies?!

Again very useful information, much appreciated. Where ever you are off to in December I hope you have the same kind of help and a great time.

Unsure if you are allowed to bring in food re mince pies, but I might try to bring along a little alcohol 


Thanks for sharing all the information. I think I'm going to give the Hot Air Ballooning a miss (this time). I do think I'm going to book a half-day Quad Biking trip for Jinja, though.

Having a bit of a nightmare at the moment as I've booked flights from Kigali to Cape Town for the end of the tour (spending a week with the sharks down there), but I've received an e-mail from the agent today telling me my flight has been rescheduled to fly from Entebbe airport instead - 300+ miles away in a different country!

I called the agent but they say the only option is to try different dates and that they'll get back to me in a week when they've had a look to see if there are any other options to still fly from Kigali!

George Nailsinhead, that's not a name/pic easily forgotten - did you do an Exodus trip to Madagascar a couple of years ago by any chance?

Good news about the tour leader - I've seen the same (excellent) reviews of him!

Looking forward to meeting everyone in person! Exodus just told me there were 14 of us - not sure if that is a full trup but a couple of spare seats/sockets/lockers wouldn't be a bad thing!

Sir Will - hope you got your flights sorted.




Yes thats me and its too late to pull out now. Wasn't that a brilliant trip, have really good memories if it and no doubt we will recognise each other at Heathrow. 

Did anyone else go to the photo Mara evening at the Royal Institution last night. Paul Goldstein of exodus showed unbelievable images of his trips to the Mara. 




Managed to rebook flights with a different provider and my Credit Card provider should be refunding me the cost of the original flights, plus any losses because of the change.

Is anyone taking mosquito nets or will they be provided as part of the camp sites / guest houses?

Phew re the credit card!

re mosquito nets - we're taking our own (i think the trip notes advise this).  Even if they are provided, they might not be up to scratch (i think there's a pun in there somewhere!). 

Only two weeks to go!  For those on the group flight from Heathrow, it would be good to meet up at the airport for a coffee or something stronger!

See you all soon.

Gill and Ian 

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