AYU - Gorillas & Masai Mara - 17th October 2008


We are Carol & Ian from Somerset venturing on the above trip.

We haven't done anything like this before and are really looking forward to it. We are keen (but very amateur) photographers, love wildlife and walking.

Now starting to think about what to take, what to leave behind and how much money we are likely to need!



i'm going on same trip but leaving this friday5th sept.....i wish i had someone to ask these same questions...

i return on 21st sept so (if i remember) i will let you know my experiences re money etc and anything else i wish i'd known beforehand!

you could prompt me by email thesophiejohns at hotmail.co.uk if you like as i know my memory! - have a great trip - i'm REALLY excited now...only 3 more nights.....:-)



Hello Ian and Carol

My name is Andrew. I recently booked myself onto the same trip as you. I can't wait quite frankly. Like you I am looking forward to taking some photo'. I bought myself a canon 350D last year with a couple of lenses so I'll be bringing that along together with a book on how to take pictures lol. 

I just received confirmation of my local joining instructions today. Not too long to wait now. 

Where are you guys flying from? I'm flying from Amsterdam on October 3rd. 

 I went on the Machu Pichu trip with Exodus back in 2004 and had a fantastic time. The itnerary and guides were grea - an unforgetable holiday.

Looking forward to meeting you and the rest of the group.




Now that I think about it I think I am on a different trip. Leaving Kigali on October 4th.

A new thread is required


HannahG - Many thanks for the information. it was very useful. Did you do the inclusive trip or the participatory version? We are doing the reverse itinery, so cannot buy a smelly blanket near the start! (maybe see if we can pinch some off the plane on the way out!)

Did you get your Kenya visas out there or pre-pay them? We have just sent ours off so we have them before we go.

We have pre-booked the balloon flight, so we are pleased that you recommended it. Still not sure about doing the rafting yet.

We will probably have more questions to ask, but that's it for now.

Soph - Thanks for the offer of your post trip tips and look forward to receiving them. Hope you are enjoying your trip.

Carol & Ian



Hi again, the trip I did was the full-service version, although everyone mucked in with the tents as none of us though it would have been fair to sit back and make the guides do it all!  Most of us got the visas when we got there, it was easy enough to do it at the airport in Nairobi (queue was quite long, but the luggage took ages to arrive so it didn't matter) and I think it was only the US travellers that had got theirs in advance.  Probably makes very little difference though.  Have a good trip!


to those of you that have been on this trip can you let me know whether it was necessary to take a sleeping mat with you?


Hi Everyone, We are Justyna and Nicole.

We are traveling from London and are so happy that we found everyone with the same questions as what we had. One which we are still a little worried about is the visas. One of us is on an Australian passport, the other on a Polish passport. We have been finding mixed reports as to weather we need visas before we go or if we can get them on the borders the same as the british passport holders. Anyway if anyone knows the info it would be great to hear from you.

 Thanks and see you soon! x



I'm Ronan and i'm flying out from Heathrow for the 17th october departure. Looking forward to the gorillas and the safari ! Would welcome any advice with regard to packing etc.. Have heard mixed reports with regards to the weather in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda in October.  I'm travelling on my own so it's good to be able to make contact with people from the trip before departure. 



Another question for previous travellers - what are the mosquito's like?

We are taking lots of repellant and looking at using clothing repellant (permathryn) from Nomad. Carol reacts sometimes to bites, so are looking at what precautions to use.

Update - we now have our Yellow Fever jabs (Nomad in Bristol) and get the rest on Tuesday at the health centre. Then to sort out the malaria tablets.

Hope everyone else is as excited as us! Less than 3 weeks now!

Carol & Ian 



I didn't find them too much of a problem - there were some around in the campsite by Lake Nakuru and the nile at Jinja, but wearing long trousers and long sleeves in the evening was pretty much all that was needed.  I got bitten quite a lot on the last night in Rwanda but think that's cos I was wearing a vest top.  Either that or it was bedbugs!


Hello, I am in the process of organising my Kenya visa. Does anyone know what type of visa to apply for? Obviously i thought it would be a single entry visa but it also mentions a transit visa for those getting connecting flights. Just wondering if we only need a single access visa because we initially transfer from Nairobi airport to Kigali and then come back into Kenya again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.




We couldnt find a difinitive answer to your question either. We got the single entry visa to cover us on the way back from Uganda (reverse itinery).

Checking on the Kenya Airways website, there was a link and we put in the info and it stated "transit without visa" for the link to Kigali. We tried e-mailing the Kenya High Commission and didnt get a reply.

(HannahG - thanks for the info on mossies)

Hope that helps.
Carol & Ian


Thanks for the Visa advice. I'll try for a single entry Visa then. I live in London so can ask them when I call into the embassy. Will let you know if I hear anything different.





we got back on Sept 21st (not sure whether mozzies are seasonal?!) and neither of us got bitten at all...and we hardly saw any mozzies and even stopped using the repellant after about a week cos it smells so horrid. i'm usually the sort of person (paranoid) to keep all doors and windows and closed and lights off when dark to AVOID the little buggers...but really, they're not as much of a problem as you would expect in darkest Africa! well not in September anyway. i would recommend using a repllent for the gorilla trek though cos there were a few insects buzzing about, though not sure what they were.

sorry can't help re visas - we got any we needed at the borders - the exodus guides advised. but we have british passports, not sure if you said you had same?

Re money - we took 1200 usd for the two of us but we didn't stay up late drinking much cos we were too tired after very early morings!  money is needed for :- tips, 2 or 3 meals, souvenirs, drinks inc buying your own bottled water for masai trip 3 days about £2 a litre!!!!!! any snacks you might buy in town (Nakuru), donation to Kigali genocide museum - your choice how much, upgrading rooms; depends where you upgrade but  Naivasha was most expensive about $30 for double room, other places were $10 a double room (Bunyoni if i remember correctly) some places charge you for charging your batteries so try to top everything at every opportunity you have. we also spent cash on cab going into centre of Nairobi and snacks while there on our last day. better to take too much really so you dont ruin your holiday worrying if you've enough. we took home about $200 some of which i spent on perfume at Nairobi airport!

hope that's helpful - have a great time - i def. want to do more gorilla trecking...


Just a quick question about money. I know people have mentioned about amounts to bring but as we travel through Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya i was unsure in what way to best bring money i.e. cash, travellers cheques and what currency is best. Any advice would be welcome.


cash - US dollars, in newish undamaged notes (dated after 2000 ) some of our group had a problem as they'd been given older and slightly torn notes by their bank. these notes were refused by officials at the borders - whether paying for their visas or exchanging for local currency.

at uganda/kenya border the guide asks you for your passport and $50 and goes and pays for your visa and then redistributes everyones passport at the rwanda/uganda border we all got out and queued (not for too long) for our visas.

re exchanging currency what happened on our trip - and i presume its the same for most trips, is that one of us is assigned to collect and make a note of how many dollars we all want to exchange for local currency then the guide goes with everyones money and changes it and hands it all back to this assigned person who then gets a calculater and has to distribute all the money - a bit difficult if the notes are all of large denominations, but it all worked out ok with some people being given more and told that they owe another person the difference (hope that makes sense?)

i'd advise that when you get your dollars get a lot of it in small denominations such as $1. $5. and $10 to enable easy tipping....otherwise you end up having to tip using $20 or $50 dollar notes! most places will take US dollars anyway.

have fun


Has anyone noticed the new pictures for holiday AYU?

The one identified as a Chimp hanging from the tree looks like an OrangUtang to us.  

Guess it might save going to Borneo next if we see them in Uganda!!

Anyway, hope everyone going on this trip is looking forward to it as much as us and are starting to think about what to pack.

Carol & Ian

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