This holiday never failed to amaze - truly a holiday of a lifetime and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Incredible wildlife, beautiful scenery, great people, fabulous crew... far far more than I had expected. Every day had a different wow factor!
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were so many.
Possibly seeing the hippos on the first day at Naivasha, a real welcome to Africa moment! Walking amongst the Zebras and Giraffes at Crater Park on day 2. These were real highs. Then it just went on - the incredible display of thousands upon thousands of flamingos at Nakuru National Park, white and black rhinos, monkeys, baboons, lions etc. etc. Then onto the Serengeti for more.... where we saw so many lions (and very close) it was becoming commonplace. And the elephants....
Seeing a cheetah kill was the most incredible sight.
But then standing on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater as the sun set was pretty special, followed by watching some Zebras walk through the camp!
The walk through the Masai village was very moving in a way I can't describe...
- What did you think of your group leader?
Manu was fantastic! Very knowledgeable, great sense of humour and interesting, as well as interested in what you had to say. The whole team were brilliant, they worked so hard but always had time for you - but they knew how to get everyone working well together and pull their weight. We were always ready to go on time, even if it was 4.30am, as no-one wanted to let the team down! This isn't a holiday for people who want to take it easy, or for anyone who likes their sleep (we averaged 4-5 hours a night!) or who can't cope without their creature comforts. But it wasn't anyway near as basic as I expected, I've camped in far worse here.
The food was incredible, even for the veggies! And I loved the fact that Pete made sure the veggies ate first so that the carnivores didn't steal it all! Every meal was a surprise...There is also no chance of losing any weight...
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take plenty of dollars, you will probably spend more than you think and the only chances to get some cash are at Arusha or Zanzibar.
Take a good lens - I took a 55-200mm and wish I had taken a 300, make sure you have plenty of room on your memory card (most people took more than 1000 photos). You can charge batteries on the truck (don't whatever you do call it a bus!).
When you are on the truck, hold onto your possessions - several pairs of glasses and scarfs flew out the side, not great in the national parks.
When you pack, try to put things into smaller bags inside your bag. You store everything underneath the seats on the truck, so you just take what you need to the tent every night - so it can take a while to get organised.
Wet wipes. You will get very very dirty and some of the showers can be quite, or even very, cold. A variety of scarfs were useful to cover the greasy hair.
Possibly the balloon ride wasn't worth it, as we only got a few feet off the ground (esp as the others saw a kill when we were gone) but thats probably down to chance. However, the breakfast is probably the most surreal experience ever!
Oh, and I wish I had taken some ear plugs. Some of the camp sites were quite lively - a bit like a Tanzanian 'Walkabout' bar and the music was quite irritating...
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
An amazing holiday, helped by being with a fab group of people. As you with everyone 24/7, I could imagine that the group dimensions are pretty important to your enjoyment of this trip! I can't wait for the next opportunity to go back to East Africa..
If I were to do this trip again, I would definitely try to stay longer in Zanzibar.