We asked you to tell us the most Memorable Moments you've had on an Explore tour and we had an amazing array of experiences. There were funny, scary, adventurous and unique stories plus some that were simply strange! After a bit of deliberation we managed to whittle the entries down to our top ten.
All ten winners will be receiving an Explore goody bag made up of a travel pillow, travel alarm clock and journal, with our top prize winner also receiving £100 in Explore travel vouchers. Read on to find out the winning moments and the tours they were experienced on.
The Winning Memorable Moment
"Watching my 12-year-old son play football with the local boys in the mountains in Morocco. No language skills were necessary! Erwin, our fantastic guide, took a football up into the mountains with us, and on our first evening Jason, my son, took the ball out where a couple of boys were playing. In no time what appeared like half the village were out playing in the England v Morocco match! Diplomatically, I think it finished in a draw, and Jason was allowed to pick his favourite player who then received the match ball to keep. Somewhere up in the Atlas Mountains is a lad kicking a Barcelona football around thanks to Erwin!"
Tina Button, Family holiday in Morocco Tina wins an Explore goody bag and £100 in Explore travel vouchers
Goody Bag Winning Memorable Moments
"Probably the look on everyone's face when the Swedish local guide stripped off completely and sat in the sauna, legs wide open. Everyone else was being very British and sitting around in their swimming costumes looking very awkward."
Michael Smith, Lapland Ice Adventure
"Being invited (by a nod in my direction!) by the ladies of the Shirian tribe to go into the jungle to chop and collect wood. I really wasn't very good at it and this prompted much hilarity amongst them. I loved that they worked really hard for 15 minutes, then sat and gossiped and laughed for ages before returning to the village, fully laden with logs on their backs."
Jo Griffiths, Shirian Tribal Lands
"Having had a tiring four-hour trek up the mountain, we were told that we were quite close to the gorillas. We left our bags with the porters and walked on. A few yards further on and there was a large male gorilla, lying on the ground just a few feet away, having a rest. Then we saw more of them. One big male brushed right past me and hit the guide, standing next to me, on the shoulder in greeting. It was a fabulous experience and not at all scary to be so close to these truly amazing and beautiful creatures. "
Judith Eeles, Ugandan Wildlife and Gorilla Safari
"On Safari in in Tanzania in 2008 we saw a small troop of elephants hot footing it across a dry river plain. As we rounded the corner to see where they were headed, we faced a meeting of several troops. Well over 100 elephants were together in one place; we watched baby elephants learning to dig holes for water, as mothers greeted old friends. It was an amazing sight; we could have watched for hours as more elephants kept arriving. Truly amazing, even our guides were astounded."
Deborah Richardson, Remote Ruaha and Selous
"Whilst shopping in Pushkar we were told: "In India everything is possible" but when we asked for a different colour we were told: "everything is possible in India but not today'!"
Christine Sadler, Moghuls and Mystics
"I find it hard to choose, but I suppose it must have been on my first Explore trip to India. After a brief rest in the hotel we couldn't wait to see Delhi and - almost the first thing we did? Cycle rickshaw ride! This was through old Delhi back streets, so the smells, the heat, the sheer volume of people and the colour and activity going on around I will never forget. Then our very nice (but slightly crazy) rickshaw driver, cycling us between the cars, lorries, pedestrians, the odd cow and pot holes and on what I thought was the wrong side of the road, finding it hilarious we were holding on so tightly. But like he (and most rickshaw drivers say) in England you drive on the left, in America you drive on the right, in India we drive in the middle! But we survived to tell the tale."
Clare Day, Delhi to Kathmandu
"My favourite Explore travel moment was amazing, and when I think about it, rather bizarre. Half way through our journey across Central Asia on the Silk Road we stopped in China at Jiayuguan. The highlight was supposed to be the Ming Dynasty fort, (which was spectacular) but while there we also got our first taste of The Great Wall of China. We arrived early in the morning, the air was cool and the sky was clear. As we climbed up onto the wall we could see it snaking up the hill in front of us like a great dragon. What made it so breathtaking, however, was the fact we were completely alone. Far from the bustling, crowded parts of the wall frequented by hundreds of tourists closer to Beijing, it was like Explore had brought us to our own private section. Without the chatter and the noise it was all too easy to be whisked back, (if only briefly) into the mysterious world of ancient China...."
Grace Stafford, The Silk Road
"During a rainforest trek we walked for two and half hours in silence trying to spot an elusive Toucan or a Scarlet Macaw. All we saw was one unimpressive small brown bird... until we got back to the car park and there the driver pointed to a beautiful Toucan sat directly above the bus. As we drove off several Scarlet Macaws flew past and landed in a tree at the side of the road...priceless!"
Paul Curnow, Quetzals of the Cloudforest
"It would have to be a boat trip through the waterways of Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica. The sun was setting and the skies had cleared after raining all day and all the animals seemed to be celebrating. Monkeys, birds, reptiles and amphibians everywhere made the pristine rainforest around the rivers come alive; just fantastic."
Ross Coupland, Quetzals of the Cloudforest