Africa East & South between Victoria Falls and Cape Town (YVC)

Cape Town to Victoria Falls 24 days, departing 14 Dec 2013

Trip notes navigation

Ratings for this trip

Comfort Zone: Comfortable

Comfortable Comfort Level. There may be some days that are more challenging but the majority of experiences won’t be too far out of most people’s comfort zone. On OVERLAND TRIPS there will be a range of hotels that might even stretch up to 4-star. Campsite tend to be well organised with good facilities, bars and restaurants and upgrades usually available. ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS will be adventure by day, comfort by night, ideal for those who don’t like roughing it. Hotels will usually tourist-class (3-4 star) with private facilities and we try to add some unique accommodation experiences that may be on a multi-share basis such as a homestays. We will use a mixture of privately hired with some local transport.

Physical Challenge: Everyday Activities

EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES: Suitable for most fitness levels. Your itinerary may include easy-paced walks or bike rides, horse riding and other non-strenuous activities. On overland trips you will be camping at least some of the time.

Countries Visited

Botswana

Botswana is one of the finest safari destinations in Africa. With 17% of the country covered by national parks, the wildlife is diverse. There are over 85 species of mammals and well over 1000 types of birds that reside in the country's national parks. Chobe, probably best know for its elephant population, is Botswana's premier national park.

The sand of the Kalahari Desert covers most of Botswana. With very little rainfall, the desert is a habitat for some of Botswana's amazing wildlife. In the northwest  of the country is the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world which incorporates the The Moremi Game Reserve.

Although the nation where many branded products are produced, Botswana is rich in its own cuisine.  Many meats, vegetables and peanuts produced locally make up for the small amount they have to import. Traditional dishes across the country are sometimes only eaten on special occasions. Botswana is a welcoming country, where chicken cooked for guests shows a sign of kind and welcoming hospitality. Ginger beer is a favourite non alcoholic drink brewed in Botswana.

Namibia

Deep in the corner of Southern Africa lies the wonderful country of Namibia. It has a massively diverse mix of cultures a seemingly infinite range of landscapes from wild seascapes, rugged mountains, lonely deserts, stunning wildlife and colonial cities.

A perfect place for trekking, the giant sand dunes in Sossusvlei and Sesriem are part of one of the many National Parks in the country, and exploration is a must. The burning red colour of the dunes makes them some of the most fascinating sites in Africa. The breathtaking views of the amazing Fish River Canyon plummet to a depth of over 500 metres and has a landscape that grips the horizon.

Surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Swakopmund is an example of the extraordinary German culture that is found in all major settlements in Namibia.. It is also the perfect place for many pulse raising activities. From quad biking through the dunes, surfing the waves in the ocean or exploring Namibia from the air in an adrenaline fuelled parachute jump.

There are many festivals that join the country together and it is a chance to hear some of the cultural music Namibia has to offer. The sound of folk music can be the start of an amazing story in which people can join in traditional dances. It's not only folk music that has captured the country's music scene. Influenced by Europeans, the sound of the popular Afrikaans music is created.

A country full of wildlife, Namibia is home to some of the rarest animals in the world. The black rhino and the puku antelope roam not only in the national parks, but all across the country.

Namibia is one of the least demanding African countries to travel in but certainly one of the most rewarding.

South Africa

Think South Africa, you might think Safari, and the amazing wildlife and although it is a huge icon of the country, if you explore the land you will find other images South Africa has to offer.

The capital is Cape Town, and the location for some astonishing scenery. With its stunning coastline, dominating mountain and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. With vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every other corner and plenty of restaurants and cafes to while away the time. Whether finishing or joining your trip here, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in.

Escape from the busy life of the city and visit one the many national parks. Which ever direction you travel in, the wildlife will never be far away. For any safari 1st timer the search for the big 5 is the main goal; elephants, lions, leopards rhino and buffaloes are so grouped as they were the most dangerous to hunt on foot during the days of big game hunting.

South Africa's western links mean that whatever type of food can be found but for local flavours try sosaties, a delectable barbecued grilled meat that is skewered. A melt in your mouth taste is one to be remembered. The wonderful stew of Potijekos is a traditional stew that is prepared in pots outside and is one of the most popular dishes in the country.

The vibrant lifestyle carries through South African culture and the music is no different. Flourishing from folk music to jazz, hip hop and pop, with the traditional music still playing all over the country, the sounds of South Africa are beautifully diverse and an important factor in the country's culture.

The show case of the 2010 FIFA world cup has shown the world that South Africa is a modern country with deep routes in traditional culture. It's the perfect destination to understand how the modern world can blend with traditional African culture.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is landlocked between Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique and is very much part of the Southern African safari circuit, with Matobo National Park and Hwange National Park amongst the best in the region.

Here you can see black and white rhinos, elephants, lions and a vast array of birdlife. There is also the opportunity to know the Ndebele people with our expert local guide.

Sadly, it’s impossible to describe Zimbabwe without mentioning the problems the country has faced due to Robert Mugabe’s policy of land re-distribution. Whether this policy was correct or not will be a matter for the historians, but all we know is that it triggered a decade of violence, and economic ruin.

Happily today the country is getting back on its feet and tourism is playing a vital part in that recovery.

Zimbabwe is perfect for nature lovers and for all travellers who want to experience Africa at its purist. Leave your preconceptions and enjoy the ancient ruins, abundance of wildlife and of course the mighty Victoria Falls.

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Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Cape Town

Sat 14 Dec 2013

Border Information: Welcome to Cape Town & the stunning Table Mountain. If Joining in Cape Town, enter Cape Town at airport.

Group meeting today at 10.00am.

Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. There is the option tonight of joining the group for dinner. 

We stay in a hotel situated in Cape Town's popular, lively and vibrant Kloof Street with a large variety of restaurants, coffee shops, cafe's and bars all within walking distance.

Hotel for the night: Once in Cape Town

Once in Cape Town (was Saasveld Lodge)

73 Kloof Street

Gardens 8001

Cape Town

+27 21 424-6169

Activity Approximate Cost

Table Mountain Cable Car, Cape Town

USD 25

Tour of Robben Island, Cape Town

USD 25

Abseiling and Kloofing, Cape Town

USD 70

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

USD 5

Shark Cage Diving, Cape Town

USD 140

Tour to the Cape of Good Hope and the Boulders Penguin Colony

USD 60

Township Tour, Cape Town

USD 40

Cape Town

With its stunning coastline, dominating mountain and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. With vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every other corner and plenty of restaurants and cafes to while away the time, this is a fantastic holiday destination in it's own right. Whether you're finishing or joining a Dragoman trip here, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in.

Cape Town and the Western Cape in general has a very cosmpolitan feel thanks to it's cultural diversity, vibrancy and creativity. The city is also lucky enough to benefit from great weather, with warm languid summers and mild winters - making it a great destination all year round. Home to 6 internationally recognised Blue Flag beaches, it's a great place to kick back and relax, or if you'd rather get active, hop inside the revolving cable car and set off on one of hundreds of hiking trails that criss cross Table Mountain to it's summit, stopping off to admire the views of Camps Bay down below. If you've got any energy left you can even strap on a harness and abseil all the way down.

Other attractions in the city include the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Robben Island and the Cape Point Nature Reserve. 

Day 2: Citrusdal

Sun 15 Dec 2013

This morning you have time to relax in Cape Town.

Later this day we travel approx. 290km to Citrusdal where we will have the opportunity for wine tasting.

 Tonight we stay in a well equipped camp site.

Activity Approximate Cost

Sample the delicious wines from the vineyards at the base of the Cederberg Mountains

Included in Kitty

Citrusdal

Sitting between the Kou Bokkeveld and the Swatberg Mountains, Citrusdal is home to some of the most amazing sites in South Africa. The town is famous for it's rock art as it was originally the home of the San and Khoi people who left it behind as a legacy.

If you have time, Citrusdal is a very good place to hike. If you are feeling adventurous you can head for the Wolfberg Arch and Cracks and the Maltese Cross. For a more relaxing exploration, the Maalgat pool and the Standsaal caves are the best places to go. A walk through the winery is a must, as you can hike while finding out about the local wines. For the historical side of the city, visit the oldest orange tree in the country, which is something of a national monument.

Day 3: Noordoewer

Mon 16 Dec 2013

Border Information: Exit South Africa at Noordoewer, enter Namibia at Noordoewer

Today we pass through Namaqualand to arrive at the beautiful Orange River, approx. 540Kms, the natural border between South Africa and Namibia.

It takes about an hour to exit South Africa and enter Namibia. Later we head for our camp on the banks of this river.

Noordoewer

Noordoewer is a small settlement on the banks of the Orange River and one of the hottest places in Namibia. Fortunately there is an abundance of water which is used to irrigate the fruit trees - in particular grapes. A few kilometres out of town on the Orange River, we can take the opportunity to go canoeing or rafting for the afternoon.

Day 4: Fish River Canyon, Noordoewer

Tue 17 Dec 2013

This morning there is a chance for an optional canoe adventure on the beautiful Orange River before we head 160Kms further west into the desert lands of Namibia towards Fish River Canyon. We take the truck to the view point overlooking the canyon.  There are remarkable photographic opportunities here, as we take in the sunset orange glows before heading to our campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a canoe trip on the Orange River

USD 30

Time to explore and take in the jaw-dropping vistas at the Fish River Canyon

Included in Kitty

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon is one of the great natural wonders of Africa. It is one of the largest canyons in the world, ranking close to the dimensions of the Colca Canyon in Peru and the Grand Canyon in the U.S.A.

Fish River has its source east of the Naukluft Mountains and from there it flows down into the great Orange River. The river has cut into the escarpment through which it flows to create a canyon more than 150 kms long. There are remarkable photographic opportunities here, and on our overland trips we take in the sunset orange glows before heading on to our campsite.

Day 5: Sesriem & Soussusvlei, Namib Desert

Wed 18 Dec 2013

A driving day as we head 500Kms towards the fabled dunes of Namibia. The most famous part of the Namib Desert is its vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon.

Sesriem & Soussusvlei

The most famous part of the Namib Desert is its vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon. This canyon through the mountains, was formed when the Tsauchab River carved a gorge 30m deep into the gravel deposits, about 15 million years ago. It is thought that this river once flowed to the Atlantic Ocean but its course was blocked by the encroaching sand dunes. Now the river flows out to the dune fields that stretch for hundreds of miles up the coast, and dries up in a clay pan at Soussusvlei.

The dunes are stunning, with magnificent red/orange tones from the brightly coloured sands. They are in fact the highest in the world and are home to a plethora of animal life. The sight of the graceful oryx wandering along the base of these massive dunes is beautiful to see.


Filled with the highest sand dunes on earth, the Namib-Naukluft National Park holds some amazing sights. It's also the oldest desert in the world and we get the chance to appreciate it in all its glory on a sunrise climb to the top of one of its sand dunes.

Dune 45 is a star dune in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert in Namibia. Its name comes from the fact that it is at the 45th kilometre of the road that connects the Sesriem gate and Sossusvlei. Standing over 170m, it is composed of 5 million year old sand that is detritus accumulated by the Orange River from the Kalahari Desert and then blown here

Namib Desert

The Namib Desert stretches for about 2000 km from Southern Angola to Olifants River in South Africa. It is squeezed into an area less than 200 kms wide between the South Atlantic Ocean and the Great Western Escarpment.

The desert has some stunning flora and fauna. Probably the most famous is the wonder plant, Welwitschia mirabilis, which is endemic to the Namib. Many of these horizontal trees are over 1000 years old. This plant, which is part of the pine tree family, only has two leaves, but these leaves are vital as they allow the plant to take up fog water. In fact, the incessant fog, which comes in from the Atlantic in the mornings, is the reason that the Namib has such prolific flora and fauna, providing just enough moisture for life to carry on. Both plants and animals have adapted to utilising the small amount of moisture that is available.

Due to the fog and the winds off the Atlantic, the temperature here can drop very quickly, then soaring up to over 40ºC later in the day as the sun burns through the fog and the winds change to a hot dry easterly breeze. These extremes of temperature make the area inhospitable and yet the desert is home to extraordinary wildlife, including herds of elephant, Zebra, Oryx and other big game.

Day 6: Sesriem & Soussusvlei

Thu 19 Dec 2013

Early morning climb to the top of the dunes for a dramatic sunrise view across a vast sea of sand and opportunity for a trip to Soussusvlei.  We then head off to our first bush camp of the trip in the desert approx. 240km

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the vast dunefields at Sossusvlei

Included in Kitty

Take a balloon trip over the Namib desert and Dune 45

USD 565

Day 7 to 8: Swakopmund

Fri 20 Dec to Sat 21 Dec 2013

From the desert, we continue on to the old German colonial town of Swakopmund for plenty of adventure activities on offer, the drive is approx. 320km. Our accommodation here is in bungalows that accomodate 6 people each.

Activity Approximate Cost

2 night stay in Swakopmund, Namibia's adrenaline city

Included in Kitty

Museum, Swakopmund

USD 2

Tandem Skydive, Swakopmund

NAD 2100

Sand boarding, Swakopmund

NAD 400

Dolphin Cruise, Swakopmund

NAD 500

Balloon flight, Swakopmund

NAD 3000

Quad Biking, Swakopmund

NAD 550

Sea Kayaking, Swakopmund

NAD 650

Fishing Trip, Swakopmund

NAD 1200

Horse Riding, Swakopmund

NAD 570

Swakopmund

Surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Swakopmund is an example of the extraordinary German culture that's found in all major settlements inNamibia. It's worth wandering around the town to admire the beauty of the Germanic architecture and take advantage of some excellent souvenir shopping.

Swakopmund has become the adventure capital of the region. This is a place for the adrenaline junky as there are some excellent adventure activities that you could try. Some of the most popular include sandboarding, quad biking across the beautiful dunes and tandem skydiving over the desert. 

Day 9: Spitzkoppe, Cape Cross

Sun 22 Dec 2013

Experience the sight, sound and smell of thousands of olive-coloured seals on the shores of Cape Cross while travelling up the eerie Atlantic Coast on our journey to Sptitzkoppe approx. 240km.  Our bush camp has very limited facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the seal colony at Cape Cross

Included in Kitty

Explore and hike in the ancient landscapes of Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe

The wild lands around the mountain of Spitzkoppe are known as 'the Matterhorn of Namibia'. The mountain, which is 700 million years old, is 1987 metres (5857 feet) high. Although you should not attempt climbing to the top, there are some excellent hikes throughout the area, which is rich in plant life, such as the Myrothamnus flabellifolius, Boscia foetida and the Kleinia longiflora. This is a great place to get away from it all and to appreciate the stunning harsh beauty of this sparsely populated country. One amazing sight to witness here are the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises as the colour of the landscape takes on a series of remarkable orange and red hues.

Cape Cross

As the Portuguese explorer Bartholemeu Diaz discovered 500 years before us, the cape is a breeding ground for Cape fur seals - it's now home to about 200,000 of them. Hyena and jackals wait on the edges of the colony for opportunities to steal pups while their mothers are at sea. It's important to bear in mind that while this is incredible and one of the 'must-sees' of the trip, it's quite a raw experience, very smelly and not everyone's cup of tea, so please don't go expecting idyllic scenes of seals basking on the shore!

Day 10 to 11: Etosha National Park

Mon 23 Dec to Tue 24 Dec 2013

Today we head to Etosha NP, one of the world's most pre-eminent wildlife areas with good chance to see the big five. We will stay in the park for two nights giving us plently of time for game drives.

We camp in Okaukuejo, a particularly spectacular camp as it overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night.

Activity Approximate Cost

2 nights camping in Etosha National Park with game driving

Included in Kitty

Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is one of Southern Africa's most important game reserves, home to a huge range of wildlife including all the big carnivores as well as five rare/endangered species: the Black Rhino, Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, Black Faced Impala, Roan Antelope and the tiny Damara Dik Dik - and because Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, there are large herds of elephant, antelope and other herbivores.

Etosha means "Great White Place" in the local language, describing the massive mineral pan that dominates the park's landscape.

The wildlife here is prolific and Etosha has every right to proclaim itself as one of the world's most pre-eminent wildlife reserves. Game viewing in the park is superb due to the man-made water holes and the large sparsely vegetated pans, which make it easier to get good sightings of many of the animals. The bushland surrounding the pans is more difficult to see through but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to make most visits well worthwhile.

On our overland tours we stay in Etosha for a couple of days giving us plenty of opportunity for game drives. We stay at two different campsites within the park, one of which, Okaukuejo, is particularly spectacular as it overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night.

Day 12: Windhoek

Wed 25 Dec 2013

Today is a full drive day of approx. 520Kms as we make our way to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

Tonight we will stay at a well equipped campsite

Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight camping on the outskirts of Namibia’s Capital, Windhoek

Included in Kitty

Windhoek

The old German colonial town of Windhoek has been blended into a modern city. The German architecture of the older buildings lends the town a historic atmosphere. Good examples of this German architecture can be seen in a number of buildings but the best are the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the Christuskirche (church), the gymnasium and the Genossenschaftshaus.

 

Day 13: D'Kar

Thu 26 Dec 2013

Border Information: Exit Namibia at Buitepos, Enter Botswana at Buitepos

Today is a drive day of approx. 600Kms crossing into Botswana heading North towards Maun to the district of Ghanzi.   We aim to camp at the Dqãe Qare Game Reserve a community based tourism project of the Bushmen (Ncoakhoe - meaning Red People) from D'Kar village.

 

 

D'Kar

The D'kar community is governed by the D'kar Trust which falls under the umbrella of the Kuru Development Trust, which looks after the interests of various Bushmen communities in Botswana.

Dqãe Qare Game Reserve is located in the Kalahari Desert approximately 24kms from Ghanzi and is a community based tourism project of the Bushmen (Ncoakhoe - meaning Red People) from D'Kar village. Dqãe Qare Game Reserve is owned by the people of D'Kar. The aim of the project is to create employment, preserve the Ncoakhoe indigenous knowledge through tourism activities and to generate income.

Day 14: Maun

Fri 27 Dec 2013

Today we have a drive of approx. 280Kms to Maun our launch base for visiting the Okavango Delta.

Tonight we will camp at a well equipped campsite where we will prepare ourselves for our 2 night 3 day visit into the Okavango Delta.

 

Maun

Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana and is known as the Gateway to the Delta . It has an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. Maun is the "tourism capital" of Botswana and the administrative centre of Ngamiland district. It is also the headquarters of numerous safari and air-charter operations who run trips into the Okavango Delta.  Although Maun is still officially a village, it has developed rapidly from a rural frontier town and has spread along the Thamalakane River. It now has shopping centres, hotels and lodges, although it retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen continue to bring their cattle to Maun to sell. The community is distributed along the wide banks of the Thamalakane River where red lechwe can still be seen grazing next to local donkeys, goats and cattle.

Day 15 to 16: Okavango Delta

Sat 28 Dec to Sun 29 Dec 2013

We join our transport for the 2 night journey into the Delta from Maun.  The Delta is one of the world's most fascinating ecosystems. We will explore it in our small dugout styled canoes, poled out into the reed beds of the Delta.  We will be camping fro both nights during our time in the Delta.

Activity Approximate Cost

2-day/1-night guided safari deep into the Okavango Delta, including Mokoro trips and bushwalking safaris

Included in Kitty

Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is home to one of the world's most fascinating eco-systems. The Delta is essentially a large swamp plain created where the Okavango River flows out into a basin on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The river has no outlet from the desert and the water spreads out into thousands of small streams to form a maze of wetlands - a totally unqiue and unspoilt habitat which is home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna. The Delta is a magical wilderness of meandering clear waterways, green islands, lush plains and prolific wildlife including hippo, crocodile, elephant, and many big cats.

Despite it's amazing wildlife, spotting game game is no always easy in the Delta, but exploring the Okavango is not just about the animals and birdlife, exploring this unique landscape is an experience in itself. Imagine drifting along in a dugout canoe, poling out into the reed beds of the Delta. Each canoe is poled along by a local tribesman who have been travelling this way for centuries, slowly gliding through the meandering waterways. Reeds and lily pads line the streams and birds startled by the mokoros rise out of the long grasses. Punting along, the peace of the Delta is only shattered by the occasional deep grunting of hippos and other animal sounds.

 

Day 17: Maun

Mon 30 Dec 2013

We continue our trip around the Delta and then return to our campsite in Maun for a hot shower and a relaxing drink at the bar.

Day 18 to 19: Makgadikgadi Pans

Tue 31 Dec to Wed 01 Jan 2014

Today we journey approx. 550Kms to the awesome Makgadikgadi Pans one of the largest salt pans in the world.

We stay for two nights camping at the intriguingly named "Planet Baobab" which is home to the largest and coolest pool in the Kalahari and the funkiest bar and restaurant serving interesting and delicious dishes from all across Africa.  It is from Planet Baobab that we can arrange our optional activities out into the various pans or to nearby communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Cattlepost Visit Makgadikgadi Pans

USD 80

Overnight or day trip out on quads to explore the Makgadikgadi Pans

Ntwetwe Pan Expedition (no quad bikes)

USD 150

Nxai Xini Pan Expedition

USD 120

Baobab Bush Walk, Makgadikgadi Pans

USD 35

Ntwetwe Pan Overnight Trip with quad bikes, Makgadikgadi Pans

USD 195

Day 20: Bulawayo

Thu 02 Jan 2014

Border Information: Exit Botswana at Vakaranga, enter Zimbabwe at Vakaranga

Up early we once more embark on an early morning game drive withing the park before we travel 520kms to Bulawayo. In Bulawayo we stay in a campground with shared facilities, upgrades are available.

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Natural History Museum, Bulawayo

USD 10

Railway Museum, Bulawayo

USD 1

National Art Gallery, Bulawayo

USD 2

Bulawayo

Known locally as the 'City of Kings', Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city and has a very interesting historical past. We will have the afternoon free to explore the city, giving you plenty of opportunity to explore local markets, chat with a local or perhaps find a game of football or rugby to watch!

Day 21: Bulawayo, Matobo National Park

Fri 03 Jan 2014

Up early the following morning we venture out for the day to explore the Matobo National Park, home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros. We have an incredible safari to track them on foot.

Activity Approximate Cost

Natural History Museum, Bulawayo

USD 10

Railway Museum, Bulawayo

USD 1

National Art Gallery, Bulawayo

USD 2

Guided walking safari in search of White Rhino in Matobo National Park

Included in Kitty

Matobo National Park

Matobo National Park is one of Zimbabwe's most fascinating safari destinations. The park is a haven for African wildlife and excellent for game viewing.  It is chiefly home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros that we are able to track on foot with our local guide whose knowledge and connections with the local Ndebele tribe is unrivaled.


The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.

Day 22: Hwange National Park

Sat 04 Jan 2014

After breakfast we head towards Hwange National Park (360 km, approx 5-6 hours). We explore the park in open 4x4 vehicles and stay within the park at one of campgrounds with shared facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Jeep safari in Hwange National Park

Included in Kitty

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park became the royal hunting grounds to the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th century and was set aside as a National Park in 1929. Today Hwange boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. The elephants of Hwange are world famous and the park elephant population is one of the largest in the Africa.  We will explore the park in open 4x4 vehicles and stay within the park at one of the camp grounds.

Day 23: Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park

Sun 05 Jan 2014

We are up early as we set off on another game drive in the Park before we head off too Victoria Falls. Stopping en route to visit the Painted Dog Conservation Group. In the afternoon we arrive into Victoria Falls. Tonight we will share a group dinner together.  We stay in a well equipped campsite in the heart of Vic Falls.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Painted Dog Conservation project

Included in Kitty

Overnight stay at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Included in Kitty

Visit to the incredible Victoria Falls

Included in Kitty

Victoria Falls

When you arrive in Victoria Falls you will have arrived in one of the friendliest places in Zimbabwe. This lively town is located right on the border with Zambia and is the gateway to the magnificent Victoria Falls, situated just a short distance further up-river.

The falls themselves are an enormous curtain of water about a mile wide, falling 108m into a narrow chasm below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise an incredible 400m, the falls create an impressive raging torrent and the spray can be seen from miles away. The locals call the falls "Mosi oa Tunya" which means "smoke that thunders", a good description of this magnificent sight. In the dry season the view of the falls is less obstructed by spray and it's also possible to see the little islets in the river below. If you have time, it is also possible to jet boat down the gorges and rapids under the falls. Or take an adventurous plunge and dive down the waters on a bungee jump.

As well as enjoying the falls, the is a whole host of other activities you can do here, so if you are starting or finishing a trip at Victoria Falls it is well worth allowing a bit of extra time here. Options to choose from include white water rafting, canoeing, horse-riding, abseiling or gorge swinging. You could also cross over to Livingstone and visit the Livingstone Museum, which contains a few of explorer David Livingstone's possessions, or explore the life size model village of an African village and maps dating back to the late 17th century.

Responsible travel note:

During your visit to the Victoria Falls area you may notice businesses offering an optional "Walk with the Lions" experience.  We recommend that travellers bypass this activity as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel ethos.  Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) advise that habituating lions to humans can shorten their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues. Whilst there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards lion research, we feel that the negative impacts on the lions' rehabilitation far outweigh this.

Day 24: Victoria Falls

Mon 06 Jan 2014

Border Information: If leaving the trip in Vic Falls, depart Zimbabwe at Vic Falls airport

This morning you make your visit to the magnificent Victoria Falls National Park and free time for activites in Vic Falls

Activity Approximate Cost

White water rafting on the Zambezi

USD 150

Overnight stay at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Included in Kitty

Sunset Cruise, Victoria Falls

USD 55

Jet boat, Victoria Falls

USD 100

Day trip over to Zambia to see the falls from the other side (please note you must use the same border to enter & exit through)

USD 20
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Important Notes

The routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only.

 

These trip notes have been compiled to help you prepare for your journey once you have booked. They include the full itinerary and dates, information and kit lists, meeting hotels, insurance, vaccinations, visas, and other information that will help you get ready for your trip.

We update these notes regualarly and so please ensure you have an up to date version of these Trip Notes

We intend following the planned route but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. By their very nature overland itineraries need to be flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are often unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, often in areas without western infrastructure. You should expect that some these areas do not adhere to western safety standards.

As from the 1st January 2011 a new law in South Africa has been introduced whereby the cross border transport agency are no longer allowing foreign registered vehicles to enter the country. This will not affect most of our trips that enter South Africa, as we have the necessary registration for our two 'resident' trucks in Southern Africa. On occasion, however, we may need to use our UK-registered trucks for this trip, which will leave us unable to take our vehicle into South Africa. 

In this scenario, we will be working with a local South African operator for the South African section of this tour whom will be providing the services of an alternative vehicle* and driver vetted by Dragoman. Your Dragoman Tour leader and local camp master will still accompany you on this section and your itinerary will remain unaffected. If this option is needed, we will inform you well in advance. 

*The vehicle used on this section will be an Overland Vehicle similar style to that of a Dragoman vehicle.  However, for smaller groups sizes where a large vehicle is not required, smaller Land Cruiser style vehicles may be used.

Physical Preparation

Physical preparation for the North, East & South Africa and Middle East Itineraries

Travelling in North, East & South Africa or Middle East can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions and basic campsites all provide a challenge. The conditions in the North can be more challenging than in the East or South, where public camp sites and bathroom facilities can be very basic and may be non existent in the case of bush camps. You will need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day. There are some long days driving on rough roads on all itineraries. 

 

Visa Information

Many countries that we visit on our travels will require visas to enter. Some are best obtained before you leave home, and others can be obtained en-route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, we will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.

The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible.  Please be aware though that rules do change, often without prior warning, which is why it is important that you check for yourself.

For visas that are needed in advance, you can choose to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate. However, our recommendation is that you use a visa agent to assist you with your applications. While this does increase the cost, it will make the process much easier for you. Dragoman have teamed up with ‘The Visa Machine’ to create a safe, secure, hassle-free way of obtaining visas and visa advice. Our unique link within their website is designed to make the visa process as straightforward as possible. Simply go to https://dragoman.thevisamachine.com and click on your region of travel followed by your trip route and ‘The Visa Machine’ will advise you about not only the required visas but also the dates by which you should apply. ‘The Visa Machine’ can then assist you in the actual visa application, thus taking all the worry and hassle out of the process. This should apply for ALL nationalities and countries of residence.

As you will often need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure. However if you do need to travel in this period please let us know as soon as possible so that we can help you work out the options for your visa application process.

South Africa

Citizens of Australia, UK and most EU countries do not need visas to visit South Africa as a tourist for up to 3 months. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.

Your passports must be valid for no less than 30 days after the end of your intended visit.
 
South Africa authorities state that officially only one blank passport page is required for entry.  But there have been reports that some South Africa officials insist on two blank pages.  We recommend you have two blank pages.

Yellow fever

You must supply a yellow fever certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa if you have travelled from a country with yellow fever. If you do not have a valid certificate, you will be denied entry to South Africa.  As of 1st October 2011, South Africa will also consider Zambia as a country infected by Yellow Fever even though the WHO does not currently list Zambia.

Namibia

Currently, visas are not required for most nationalities to enter Namibia. Please check with the relevant visa office before departure to make sure that there has been no change.

Botswana

Citizens of Australia, UK, and USA do not need visas to visit Botswana as a tourist for up to 3 months. Citizens of other countries, including most EU or Commonwealth countries, should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.

For nationalities that do require a visa, there is an single-entry visa fee is 500 Pula (equivalent to approximately USD70). This fee can only be paid in Pula and not in any other currency.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean visas are required by most nationalities, including those from the UK, EU, USA and Australia. All nationalities should check with their nearest Zimbabwean Embassy for more information. For most nationalities, Zimbabwean visas are available at the point of entry. If you plan to purchase your visa on arrival you will need US dollars cash. 

At the time of writing (2013), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD55 for UK and Irish passport holders, and USD30 for most other nationalities.

Zimbabwean authorities are planning to introduce a new airport tax in the country to be used for the upgrading of all airports. The tax will be charged at USD30 and comes into affect for all air bookings ticketed as from April 2011.

TYPHOID:
It is recommended that if you are travelling to Harare you make sure that your Typhoid vaccinations are up to date. There has been an outbreak of typhoid in parts of Harare, with over 1500 cases reported since October 2011. For more information speak to your doctor and see the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

Personal Spending

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on this trip, we recommend you allow between a minimum of USD10 and a maximum of USD20 per day.

This will cover individual expenses such as drinks, meals whilst out (when staying in cities), souvenirs, tips and personal permits.

Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2006 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on.

What else you need to know

Currencies & Cash

It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel.  Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!

For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, a sensible mix of cash and cash passports such as TravelEx cards and ATM cards is best. However, most of our past passengers have said they wished they had been told to bring more cash. Apart from the convenience of being able to change money in many more places, you will sometimes get a much better exchange rate for cash. 

You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2006 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Please bring the majority of the money you intend to change in large denominations (USD/EUR100 and 50 bills) as the exchange rate is often significantly worse if you try to change smaller bills; however, it is also a good idea to have some smaller bills as well, as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over USD50.

Cash machines are readily available in most of East and Southern Africa but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Please note that there are no cash machines in Sudan and very few in Ethiopia. Please note that most ATMs only take Visa cards NOT Mastercard. Please also do not not plan to take out large amounts of USD from the ATMs in Zimbabwe for use on the rest of the trip - the cash in Zimbabwe is often old, dirty and falling apart and will not be accepted anywhere else in the world. 

Credit cards such as Visa and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges. Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities.

Zambian Kwacha - please note that the currency of Zambia (the Kwacha, old code ZMK, new code ZMW) was re-based in 2013, and the old notes are no longer accepted. Please be careful that you only accept notes of the new currency (2013 and later) when exchanging money as some money changers have been known to offload old currency onto travellers. The new currency comes in denominations of ZMW2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 - any notes such as ZMK5000 are the old currency, do not accept them!

Important Notes

 

Overland Lifestyle And Trip Suitability

 

Dragoman has 32 years experience of leading overland trips across 4 continents. Overlanding is all about sharing a great travelling experience with like-minded people. On your trip you’ll travel in one of Dragoman’s purpose built iconic expedition vehicles on an off the beaten track adventure along rugged roads, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the world up close. Your journey will be overland across vast distances so some long days spent driving are inevitable - but these will be interspersed with breaks of a day or two at a destination or activity. On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger and everyone gets involved setting up camp - we supply the tent but it’s up to you to pitch it! As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting firewood or water, luggage loading, organising food, stores etc.

Like all great adventures, the more you put in the more you'll get out!

We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of our overland journeys but before we do there are a few things we would like to draw to your attention:

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Who Travels With Dragoman?

 

Our groups are made up of people from around the world and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split, males to females and between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends. We believe that overlanding should be open to as many people as possible and so although we have a minimum age limit of 18, as long as you are fit, healthy and passionate about travel, we are happy to take you, whatever your age is. One of the beauties of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way, and as well as the variety of people that you will meet.

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Group Size

 

The maximum group size we take on our overland journeys ranges from 19 to 22 depending on the geographical location; however the average number of passengers is more likely to be around 16.

Please note that there is an overlap of 2 trips in Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi, for example, will visit Zanzibar at the same time as group starting a trip in Dar es Salaam. In practical terms this means there could be up to 44 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.

Please also note that on some departures there may be more than one truck doing the same route. This means that you will be in the same hotel or campsite as another Dragoman group on some days. To ensure that you are not always at the same place at the same time as another group, your itinerary will most likely be slightly altered from the itinerary advertised in these trip notes.

Our Crew And Guides

 

Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 10 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to six months on the road as a trainee. On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. The crew are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip. On our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and for them to offer suggestions of things to do and see.

On trips south of Nairobi in East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes.

In the rest of Africa, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or the entire journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people.

Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your crew is new to a particular region or training other crew. Your crew have a duty of care to all members of the group and therefore they have the authority to ask you to leave the trip if you require serious medical assistance, you are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.

Accommodation On Tour

 

Dragoman overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers will share with people of the same sex for the duration of the trip, in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share.

The type, variety and standard of accommodation will vary depending on what options are available in each of the areas we travel through and the nightstops on our routes; The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses.

One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp; this allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, this allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.

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The Kitty

 

In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip. The kitty is payable in installments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew and the kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip. The kitty covers all things that the whole group does, such as:

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not in hotels)

• Activities listed as included (e.g. National Park entrances, excursions and local guides).

The kitty system is very unique to overlanding and we believe it allows us to have flexibility and transparency on our trips. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally. It also helps to keep the costs competitive and save on administration costs so that we can pass the saving on to you. Dragoman makes NO PROFIT on kitties, as they are the group's fund. We constantly update the kitty prices on our website and the kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Prices can go up or down with no notice, and exchange rate fluctuations will affect costs. If there is money left in the kitty at the end of your trip, then this is divided between the group and you receive a refund.

Once you book your trip it is very important that you check our website on a regular basis and just before departure for any changes to the kitty amount.

At least half of your kitty should be paid in cash in the specified currency on the website (US Dollars or Euros in West Africa). The outstanding amount can be paid in local currency during your trip; your leader will give you the exchange rate. Travellers cheques are becoming increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders are experiencing frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept TCs on our trips. As an alternative, in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies to give to your tour laeder for kitties, from ATM machines and use either a cash passport or a debit card.

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Meals And Group Participation

 

On an overland journey you are more than just an individual passenger - you're part of the team. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. While camping on overland journeys, all meals are included in the kitty. This means that you will have to work together to cook for everyone in your group. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple! (On trips south of Nairobi we have a cook on board the truck; however you will still be required to help prepare meals).

An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.

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Dietary Requirements

 

If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. Our crew will try to cater for any particular dietary requirement or food intolerance whenever possible. However, it must be remembered that it may not always be possible and the variety of dishes may be severely limited in comparison to those available to others.  If there is anything in particular you require in your diet, or would miss from home, or because of an allergy would miss out on, it would be best to bring these with you.  Depending on your particular requirements, you may need to allow yourself some extra spending money to allow you to purchase extra food items.

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Itineraries

 

Our itineraries are our intention but travel in more remote areas of the world is unpredictable – borders can close, there can be extreme adverse weather, strikes or maybe mechanical issues that affect the running of your trip but equally due to the nature of our trips we can often spontaneously include a local festival or event into the itinerary. This being said, the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a priority for Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources:

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

• Local contacts we have built up over 31 years of experience

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

 

Dragoman follows the British Foreign Office Travel advise when deciding where and where we are unable to travel. We will base our decisions on itineraries and alterations to published routes based on their advise rather than the advise of other governments.

However we recommend you check the latest travel advisories from your own government for the country you are travelling to before you book and prior to departure. Check to ensure that no travel warning is invalidating your travel insurance Here are a few useful addresses:

UK  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Australia. http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

New Zealand. http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

United States. http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html

Canada. http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/menu-eng.asp

Dragoman has also teamed up with the UK Foreign and commonwealth office (FCO) in their 'Know before you go campaign' www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo. This website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up to date country information to help you plan a safe trip. We recommend you check this out before you travel. We will advise you of any significant changes in advice before travel or whilst you are overseas.

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Health

 

You need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in our trips. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assessed your ability to cope with our style of travel. To help you assess if this trip is suitable, please refer to the physical rating. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases you should be prepared for some long driving days and possibly limited facilities. We are always happy to give extra advice if you have additional concerns. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader, you are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to yourself and/or the rest of the group, Dragoman reserves the right to exclude you from all or part of the trip without a refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information prior to travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. We also advise you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your travel insurers upon purchase.

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Altitude

Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude; please discuss these options with your doctor. For trips that travel to areas of high altitude, the tour leader will issue you with a self assessment altitude questionnaire which allows you to monitor how you are coping with the altitude and informs you of danger signals so that you can reports these as soon as possible, either to the tour leader or a medical professional.

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Yellow Fever

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

Malaria

Get expert advice before travelling about types of malaria pills and take them as instructed. Recommended types do change from time to time and from area to area. Consult your GP / travel clinic for the most up-to-date requirements.

The mosquito usually bites between the hours of dusk and dawn and so covering up by wearing long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, preferably light coloured and buttoned at the wrists, can help. Do not sleep without closing windows, tent doors or, if sleeping outside, use a mosquito net. Use mosquito repellent applied directly to your skin or soaked into your clothing.

Treating clothes and mosquito nets with a Permetherin solution provides significant protection. It should be available at most travel stores. Mosquito coils are useful on still nights and in hotel rooms but cannot be used inside the tents.

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Vaccinations

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest advice on the region(s) you are planning to travel in so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel.

We also recommend you check out any specific health advice for the country you are travelling to either via your GP or the following websites: www.nathnac.org or www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

In the UK, we have been working with Nomad Travel for many years and their website has comprehensive, up-to-date vaccination and health information. You will receive a 10% discount off all vaccinations given at Nomad Travel clinics.

Additional Important Information

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Safety & Security

 

At Dragoman your safety is of paramount importance and we will do our best to ensure that your travel with us is safe and trouble-free but we do ask that you take that little bit of extra care whilst you are away and to understand about the nature of this style of travel.

We want you to have an enjoyable time but you must also remember that part of the enjoyment of travel is experiencing a different way of life and cultures. This may also mean experiencing different safety and hygiene standards than those you are normally used to.

Therefore, please take note of the following safety tips and follow any local safety advice or briefings delivered by our crew or any third party suppliers we use during your trip.

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Transport Safety

• Our own vehicles have fully fitted seat belts; make sure you always belt up.

• If you find a safety belt inoperable or missing on one of our vehicles, please inform the crew immediately.

• Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that other vehicles we may use or recommend in some countries will be fitted with seat belts on every seat as it is not a legal requirement in much of the world.

• Please remain seated on board vehicles at all times when the vehicle is in motion

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells

• Ensure you know where your nearest Emergency exit is; this may be a designated emergency exit, a window or a roof hatch.

• Check the location of the fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver

• Our vehicles are fitted with roof seats which can be used in certain conditions, such as when driving at low speeds, off main tarmac roads, etc. They can only be used with the express permission of the crew and you must never sit in them without seat belts.

Road Safety

• Traffic in some countries travels on the opposite side of the road to what you may be used to, so ensure you look both ways before crossing the road.

• In many countries vehicles do not automatically stop at crossings.

• Crash Helmets are often not provided with mopeds and motorbikes overseas – we do not recommend you hire these vehicles.

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Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Home stays

• Ensure you know where your nearest fire exit is and check to ensure that it is operative.

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.

• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.

• Proceed to an assembly point well away from the building.

• Electrics in hotels in many of the places that we visit will not be up to the same standards as at home. Please ensure that you check rooms, especially bathrooms and are aware of any issues that look unsafe. If in doubt inform the crew who will endeavour to sort the situation out.

• Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under Western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care. • We often stay in homestays and farmstays. These may range from a traditional yurt through to a tree house or a town house. As these are traditional homes they may well not adhere to our western standards of safety and so it is important that you make yourself aware of potential risks.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with the hotels/hostels or home stays Fire Safety – Campsites • Ensure you know where the nearest source of water or fire extinguisher is. • Know how to raise the alarm. • Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

• Observe any regulations regarding fires and bushfires in dry conditions.

• Proceed to an assembly point away from the tented accommodation/affected campsite. Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

• No open flames, smoking or flammable liquids in or near the tents.

• Ensure cooking area is well away from the tents.

• Ensure all water for cooking and drinking is purified first.

• Ensure any soil toilets are min 50m away from tents & cooking area.

• All food waste should be burnt or buried – min 100m away from the site.

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife.

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

• Be aware of any local security issues that might be important.

• Do not set out tents close to perimeter fences which may be a security risk.

• Be aware of the security arrangements and local guards for campsite and if in doubt ask them where and where not to pitch tents.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with campsite.

• When wild camping, ensure that you do not wander away from the camp alone. If you do leave camp ensure that you have notified the leader or other members of the group. Food Safety We prepare many meals during the tour and our crew are hygiene trained; however, some general tips can help in order to avoid the possibility of stomach upsets;

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

• Hot food should be hot, cold food should be cold.

• Avoid any uncooked food, except fruit and vegetables, (notably those you can peel or shell yourself).

• In many countries you should only drink bottled water or purified water and ensure any seal is intact when purchasing bottles.

• On the Dragoman vehicles we have a tank of drinking water that is kept purified by the crew.

• Avoid ice in drinks as this can cause upset stomachs in hot climates.

• Make sure you wash your hands in antibacterial product when preparing and/or eating food.

• Restaurant Food: This is grassroots travel and many of the restaurants that you will eat in, either as a group or as individuals, will NOT have the same standards of food hygiene as we have in the Western World. Unfortunately this is part of travel in these regions. Therefore think carefully about what food you order and be aware of the risks.

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Personal Safety

One of the real advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly equipped overland vehicle, with safes, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in much of the world. We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt whilst travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items (although most of these can be locked in the safe whilst you are on the trip) and advise you to leave any valuable jewellery, watches, etc, at home. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on hand to offer advice. We have come up with a few pointers that we recommend you follow:

• Follow the crew’s specific safety advice in each destination.

• Be aware, stay away from situations where you do not feel comfortable.

• Avoid carrying too much money.

• Use of a money belt / neck wallet or is encouraged at all times while travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items.

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

• Ensure your valuables are left secure when you go out.

• In any hostels/hotels, place all valuables in a safety deposit box, where available or with reception or locked away by the crew.

• Do not take any valuable jewellery/watches etc. away with you.

• If possible avoid walking around on your own; it is always safer to explore with others.

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Activity Safety & Optional Activities

You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included, whilst others are optional (i.e. hiking The Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas). These require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip to its fullest.

Some activities may have higher risks than you are used to and you must judge whether or not you wish to, or have the physical ability to take part.

Optional activities mentioned by Dragoman are not included in the trip price or kitty and do not form part of your contract with Dragoman. As such you accept that any assistance given by Dragoman crew members or local representatives in arranging optional activities does not render us liable for them in any way. The Dragoman crew are assisting you in arranging these activities for your added enjoyment whilst on your trip. The operators of these services and optional extras are local suppliers who contract directly with the Client ‘on the road’ subject to and in accordance with their own terms and conditions. Dragoman accepts no liability for any action or activity undertaken by the Client which is arranged independently of Dragoman while on tour. Crew may take part in an optional activity but do so as private individuals and not as company representatives.

Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.

Ensure that you use the appropriate equipment on optional activities, including life jackets, helmets, etc. This is especially important on activities such as horse riding, white-water rafting, etc.

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Included Activities

 

Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not necessarily be refunded; this is something you will need to check with your leader.

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Optional Activities

 

A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This is not an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Dragoman nor included in the price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Dragoman. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or optional activity form for some optional activities.

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Insurance

 

It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.

We recommend that any policy has a minimum medical (including repatriation) cover of £5,000,000. We recommend that any policy also has a minimum level of cover for Personal Liability of £5,000,000 and for Cancellation and Curtailment of £5,000. Cover for loss of baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice although please bear in mind that personal effects are more likely to go missing whilst travelling and you should ensure that your policy is adequate to cover the value of your personal effects e.g. cameras, I pads, phones etc. Please note that Dragoman is not responsible for your personal effects and is not insured for their loss.

Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel and make sure it covers any activity you intend to undertake. As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding and that the 24 Hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries – for example, that they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes. On activities or side trips that are not recommended by us please ensure you are happy with the safety of the activity before participating.

Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas.

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Our Liability Insurance

Dragoman has comprehensive passenger vehicle liability protection and tour operator insurance. These policies have total indemnities of £5,000,000 and £10,000,000 per incident respectively. This is in addition to local vehicle insurance and your personal travel insurance.

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Emergency Contact

 

We have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

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Luggage & Kit List

 

Although you will not have to carry your main bag long distances, you will need to help load and unload them onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the back locker, so you will also need a small daypack. This can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use. Please be aware that due to the constant dust and vibrations your luggage bag will be subject to extreme wear and tear.

The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different-sized lockers, however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a maximum of 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.

Your clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in. On overland trips, Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats (except on routes between Nairobi and Cape Town where ground mats are provided).

The clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in, which will vary depending on which part of the world you're heading to. On overland trips Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats*, so you'll need to bring those with you. Think about the climate and altitude of the areas you'll be travelling to- there's nothing worse than being cold at night so it's worth investing in a decent sleeping bag if it's likely to get cold. And remember that even when it's warm during the day, it can often get cold at night, particularly in desert regions.

IMPORTANT: Ground mats are provided on all of our overland trips that run in South and East Africa, between Nairobi and Cape Town. This includes our Family trips between Nairobi and Cape Town.

For a general idea of what you need this list provides a guide:

• Sleeping bag - Check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert and mountain regions can be very cold in winter months.

• Ground mat or compressed foam

• A day pack is useful for short hikes in the countryside, wandering around cities, etc and also for keeping inside the vehicle for items used during the day

• 2 sets of comfortable travelling clothes (light, easily washable cotton clothes are best)

• 1 set of casual but smart clothes for evenings out. Women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting places of worship

• 2 pairs of shorts

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking

• 1 pair of sunglasses

• Warm sweater/fleeces

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood

• 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes/boots (or ankle height canvas jungle boots)

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops

• Underwear and socks (thermals are also a good idea if you are travelling to altitude or to the desert as it can get very cold at night)

• Swimwear

• 2 small towels

• Washing kit, including a small mirror

• Clothes washing detergent, small scrubbing brush & washing line (just a length of cord)

• Head torch/flashlight with spare batteries & bulbs (only the 3 standard sizes of round 1.5v batteries are widely available en route)

• Passport photos (average of 2 per country for which visas will be applied for en route)

• Good water bottle at least 1 litre

• A pouch or money belt worn inside your clothing, or unobtrusive pocket sewn into the inside of a pair of loose fitting trousers, is a must.

• Alarm clock

• Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)

• Writing materials & notebook/diary

• Multi purpose knife.

• Sleeping bag liner (or sheet folded and sewn up on 2 sides). It will help keep your sleeping bag clean, and can be used on its own on warm nights.

• Mosquito net - The tents supplied by us have mosquito netting and you will only need a net if you think you will sleep out under the stars a lot of the time.

• "Wet Ones" (moistened tissues) and hand gel

• Toilet paper – this can be purchased almost everywhere en-route but one roll is worth packing

• Assorted sized plastic bags - protects clothing and equipment from dust and damp

• Extra batteries for your camera / phone etc as there are only limited opportunities to recharge. For a comprehensive kit list take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel has created. You will receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click to see the kit lists www.nomadtravel.co.uk/kitlist/overlanders-kit-list

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Personal Medical Kit

 

All of our trucks have a fully stocked medical kit onboard for use in emergency situations only. Therefore in addition to this we recommend that you purchase your own personal medical kit. In the UK we have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores and Clinics to produce the Dragoman Travel Medical Kit. It has been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contains everything you would need for any minor accidents. For more details please visit their website:

www.nomadtravel.co.uk/catalog/view/dragoman-medical-kit

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Passports

 

Check that your passport will still be valid for 6 months after the end of the trip - this is important as some countries WILL refuse entry to anyone whose passport is due to expire. A temporary or "visitor's” passport is not valid on our trips. You will need to provide us with your passport details prior to departing for you trip. If you change your passport please remember to inform us.

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Pre And Post Trip Accommodation And Connecting Flights

 

At Dragoman we believe you should make the most of the places you visit, so if you would like to see more of the joining or finishing point cities, why not book additional accommodation to extend your stay? Dragoman can take away the hassle of time zones and language barriers by making the booking for you. This accommodation is only available at the joining or finishing city of your trip, immediately before or after the trip you are travelling on.

While Dragoman is happy to assist with booking your pre and post trip accommodation, it is important that you understand that you may be able to book your own room at a cheaper rate directly through the hotel or on the internet. Our additional accommodation prices are based on the hotel’s rate plus an administration fee. Please note our rates do not reflect last minute walk-in rates or internet specials.

We can also book arrival airport transfers for you as long as we have your flight arrival details. These are normally payable in cash upon arrival; however we do have pre paid transfers in a few destinations.

Please contact our reservations team for details of the accommodation and transfers that we can offer, as not all hotels offer this service.

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Continuing Your Trip

 

Having an amazing trip and met a great group of people? Having too much fun to go home yet? If on your trip you decide that you would like to continue, then why not speak to your trip leader who can advise you of the cost and availability of continuing your journey.

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Contingency Emergency Fund

 

Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond Dragoman's control (e.g. a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although Dragoman will help organise travel arrangements, in circumstances outside Dragoman's control you will be required to contribute the additional costs involved and therefore we ask you to bring along a 'Contingency Fund' of USD400. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore never used. We also recommend that you take along an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.

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Responsible Tourism

 

Dragoman is committed to ensuring that we have a positive impact on local communities and that we implement policies to minimise any negative impact on the local environment. We are dedicated to making sure that we adopt a responsible attitude to the areas through which we travel and believe that our trips should benefit the local people and their environment. Dragoman recognises that we are guests of local communities and strive to make these communities our partners, so that they benefit directly from our visit. You can find full details of Dragoman’s responsible tourism policy linked from the home page.

www.dragoman.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/our-commitment

 

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Water

The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilised water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You are free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like. You are helping the environment and your pocket!

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Electrical Equipment

 

Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt socket, so to charge your iPod, MP3 player, camera, laptop and mobile phone you will need a DC 12 volt adapter - the type that can be used from a cigarette lighter in your car. Please be aware that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets and the majority of the campsites we stay at have electricity points so please bring along your normal charging adapters as well. You will need to ensure that you have the correct country adaptor for your specific charger.

For mobile phones, please note that most countries in the Americas operate at 850MHz and 1900 MHz which is not the same frequencies used in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Most modern tri-band and quad-band mobile phones will be able to operate on these frequencies but please check your mobile phone specifications before travelling to ensure that you'll be able to use your phone in the Americas.

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A Few Rules

 

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs is not only against the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Dragoman groups. It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the local people who make our destinations so special. The exploitation of prostitutes or children is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes or abuse children. Equally Dragoman will not tolerate any violence or threat of violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession, if they use prostitutes, abuse children, use violence or threaten violence, without a refund of the trip price.

We expect you to obey all the laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs (as above), firearms, antiquities and ivory. Any customer found contravening such laws or customs will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.

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Issues On The Trip

 

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. If this is the case please contact our customer relations department on

customer-relations@dragoman.co.uk.

You may also choose to provide details in your feedback questionnaire which we ask you to complete at the end of your trip, but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

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Tipping

 

Tipping is entirely voluntary. The Dragoman crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it.

On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own Dragoman crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD $1 to USD $4 per person per day, but check with your crew for an appropriate amount.

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Our Community

 

At any time before or after you book, you can join our community - Dragoland. This is a great place to ask questions before you travel and to catch up with your fellow travellers once your trip has finished. You can share photos, videos and stories and you can also download a selection of free travel apps. See the home page to sign in - it's free and easy. We also have a Facebook page where travellers regularly swap info with each other

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Feedback

 

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us to understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better, and it allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

Version Of Trip Notes

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