Claire Cotton May
I was fortunate enough to be part of Dave Pickles' party for the 2014 Kilimanjaro trip. In the months before we set off Dave set up a Facebook page for everyone to ask questions and get advice. He organised several day trips to go walking together so that we could have the chance to meet before the big event.
Dave is a mine of information. He was able to prepare us all thoroughly before we left, ensuring that we had the right kit and that we understood the equipment we needed, and what we didn't. He was well-versed in African customs and so was able to advise us about what to expect. His medical knowledge was particularly detailed and timely as he advised us when to get vaccinations, how much to expect to pay, their potential side effects and much more.
His attention to detail is formidable, but that's not his greatest strength
When you're embarking on a journey into the unknown, you need to be able to trust the leader. Dave's military experience, his persona and charisma, and his incredible knowledge of the world means that his confidence is not superficial. It is genuine confidence based on experience. That kind of support is just what you need when you're placing your trust in someone to make the journey extraordinary.
The trip went without a hitch. Every eventuality was either foreseen or dealt with superbly efficiently by Dave as it arose. His ability to think on his feet and come up with the most sensible course of action, even in the most testing of circumstances, means that as a holiday-maker you can relax and enjoy the experience, no matter how challenging it first appears.
When the oxygen is thin and everyone's tired and emotional, Dave just comes up with the right course of action and delivers the plan with a smile and a boost to everyone's confidence. You just know you're going to make it when you're travelling with Dave!
The Kilimanjaro trip was the most incredible experience. One thing I do know - I would not have had such a great experience without Dave's support and guidance. His experience shines through, and his willingness to do everything humanly possible to make your journey memorable is part of the lasting memory that you take with you after you return. He inspires you to go beyond what you think you can do now, and to make your life a memorable experience. I wouldn’t go to places like this without believing I was in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. Dave is that man.
I had the pleasure of being part of the EDGE Travel Worldwide Explore Tanzania trip in October/November 2015 which was organised and led by Dave Pickles.
Well what can I say about this trip other than ‘WOW’!
It was absolutely amazing from start to finish and very much a trip and experience of a lifetime for me.
The mixture of safari, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and relaxing on Zanzibar was just a perfect mix for the trip.
The safari was a perfect start as this allowed the group to start to get to know each other and bond as well as start to decompress and relax whilst enjoying the amazing African landscapes and viewing more animals than you could imagine was possible including all of the big 5 – I know people who have been on much longer safari’s and not managed this. This was primarily down to the excellent knowledge of the guide that Dave had arranged for this leg of the trip. The accommodation each night was also something special and not to be missed.
The main part of the trip is definitely the experience of climbing Kilimanjaro. The challenge of this shouldn’t be underestimated, however the sense of achievement standing at the top next to that famous sign is something that needs to be experienced to be believed.
Following the exertions of Kilimanjaro, being able to relax in the lap of luxury in Zanzibar is just what the doctor ordered. The resort is of the highest quality with great food and really friendly staff.
One of the main reasons that the trip went so well is no doubt down to Dave. Dave is the perfect leader for a trip of this kind, from the obviously meticulous preparation beforehand ensuring the itinerary and accommodation were second to none, to the support and encouragement he gave all of the group during the trip.
Dave has undoubtedly got an amazing level of professionalism, experience and expertise in leading adventure trips of this kind as well as local knowledge which is best demonstrated by the respect that the local people have for him.
Dave’s greatest strength though is his ability to keep the group motivated and ensuring that everyone is happy, knowing just the right time to have a bit of fun and the right time to be a bit more serious and focus on what is ahead.
I would highly recommend Dave and EDGE Travel Worldwide for a trip of this nature.
I will definitely be doing the ‘Discover Peru’ (hopefully this year) and the ‘Go to the Extreme Kazakhstan’ trips with Dave and EDGE over the next couple of years and also look forward to seeing what other trips he adds to the list.
Due to family and work commitments, not much time at all was dedicated to prep and research for this trip. However, great information was provided by David and all timely from showing an interest in the trip to reaching the top of Kili! Information flowed such as, what I was getting into, Tanzania’s climate, required baseline fitness, medical requirements, insurance and so much more… If I wasn’t sure of something or needed an answer, David was always available to get that answer. Overall my involvement was minimal to payment and packing my personal kit and getting myself to the airport. David just made everything easy.
The trip itself was amazing. Everything was taken care of. The party members all had a similar approach to life and shared a great sense of humour. The morale was kept high by David and he kept an eye on each person just to make sure we were OK. The porters who carried our kit were also lovely to chat and have a laugh with, they also kept our morale high. The variety of climates one experiences on a trip like this puts the body to extraordinary lengths in a short space of time. But it was all worth it and I would do it again, if I had the time. EDGE Travel would be the firm I’d use again for any future adventure trip as they make it so easy. I understand Peru maybe on the list, once the family is old enough.