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Nairobi to Zanzibar 29 days, departing 13 Apr 2013

Ratings for this trip

Comfort Zone: Basic / Adventurous

Basic comfort levels. Expect to rough it every now and again. On OVERLAND TRIPS be prepared to have some nights wild camping, campsites with basic facilities as well as some basic hotels, often on a multi-share basis. Some of the roads we travel along may be poor. On our ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS you will stay in simple, budget (1-2 star) accommodation with some shared facilities. Some accommodation may be on a multi-share basis and transport will be mainly local.

Physical Challenge: Moderate Fitness

MODERATE FITNESS: You will travel through areas that may be physically challenging. For example you may be at altitude some of the time. Depending on the trip, activities may include treks of 3-4 hours across hilly terrain, horse-riding and other adventurous activities. A moderate level of fitness is required.

Countries Visited

Kenya

Kenya is a country full of life and colour; of tribes and tradition and of wildlife and game parks.

In the lively capital of  Nairobi there are so many attractions to fill a few days. The Karen Blixen museum was donated by Denmark after popularity of 'Out of Africa'. The location of the museum now is also home to some beautiful wildlife including horses. Most visitors also take in the elephant orphanage and giraffe sanctuary, offering the chance to feed the giraffes from a raised platform.

Of course it's the wildlife that draws most people to Kenya due its excellent national parks and reserves such as The Maasai Mara (also known as the Masai Mara to the Mara to locals), Nakuru and Samburu . Of course most people want to get a snap of the big five but there are also good chances of seeing the lesser predators of the genet, jackal and hyena.

Mount Kenya is the country's highest mountain and is the 2nd largest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. Standing at a height of over 5000 metres, it towers over the surrounding plains and is no mean feat to scale with most climbers regarding it as more of a challenge that it's taller cousin in Tanzania .

Kenya's music scene is one of the most eclectic in the whole of Africa. With over 40 regional languages across the country, the folk music of Kenya is incredibly varied. Many of the regions have their own type of music, and one of the most inspiring is the Polyphonic style of the Maasai region in which chanting makes up the song's rhythm.

Tribes all over Kenya are proud of their products, whether it is music or textiles or food. The staple diet is mainly maize based and although each region has its own specific taste, there are many that are common across the country. One of these is Sukuma wiki. It is a phrase that means "to push the week". This meal is full of seasonal vegetables which will last a family a week.

Kenya does pack a lot into a small space but don't underestimate the country, in terms of tourism it is Africa’s biggest hit!

 

Rwanda

Rwanda is a landlocked republic situated on the eastern rim of the western arm of the Great Rift Valley. It is part of the watershed of Africa's two largest river systems, the Nile and the Congo. Much of the country is covered in mountains, especially in the volcanic Virunga chain protected by the Volcanoes National Park. The two main tribal groupings are the Hutu and the Tutsi. The 1994 genocide was just the most recent chapter of a long and bitter relationship between the two groups. In recognition of this, whilst in Rwanda we will organise a visit to the Genocide Memorial at Kigali. Rwanda has made enormous progress in rebuilding itself following the troubles, and is rapidly acquiring a reputation for the warmth of the welcome provided to travellers.

In the Parc National Des Volcans, the volcanoes reach above the clouds and it is home to the rare mountain gorilla. Treks to see the gorillas are the major attraction for tourist to Rwanda, providing vital income for the country as well as unforgettable experience for the traveller. There are also many animals in Rwanda. Elephants, rhinos and monkeys are a few of the 'big ticket iteams', but there are early 200 species of mammals and over 700 species of birds.

There is a welcoming feeling that brings the opportunity to join in with the amazing traditions and experience what Rwanda has to offer.

Tanzania

Tanzania is the place for the classic East Africa safari experience, home to some of the world’s most famous game parks. The wide open plains of the Serengeti, green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses the plains get its name from the Maasai word siringitu, "the place where the land moves on forever". Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your amazing sightings during the day. Most visitors either choose the Serengeti as their favourite game park or the Ngorongoro Crater. This huge caldera - a volcano which collapsed in an immense explosion measures 19km in diameter and 265km² in area. There is an excellent chance of spotting many of the Big Five as well as many, many other species.

Tanzania is also home to the Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. It stands at nearly 6000 metres. There are many routes to the summit and each bring a fantastic sensation of accomplishment. Standing at the foot of this giant, is the town of Moshi and not only does it boast one of the most magnificent landscapes in the world, it is also a central region in Tanzania's coffee district.

After safari or mountain climbing where better to relax than the island of Zanzibar. From the white beaches with the lapping sky blue waves, to the stone paved walkways, you can disappear into a world of calm. There is opportunity to visit the slaving forts of Stone Town, visit the spice farms, or scuba dive on the islands fantastic coral reefs.

Tanzania is a country full of challenges and beauty, but also it is a chance to relax. Pick your challenge and discover Tanzania.

Uganda

In the heart of East and Southern Africa lies the wonderful country of Uganda, which Winston Churchill famously called the 'Pearl of Afrcia'  

Uganda is brimming with national parks,  Queen Elizabeth National Park is one the most visited and contains the most astonishing number of different fauna including 100 different types of mammal and over 600 species of birds.

The capital of Kampala is situated at the south of the country and has many museums, theatres and markets that line the streets. Explore and discover the wonderful history of a capital that is built on seven hills.

Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. This is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and for the eco-traveller who wants to do something really worthwhile. The area is beautiful and is located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. The most popular activity here is the white-water rafting trip down the Nile.

Many locals use the national produce of bananas to from a way of life. One product made is an alcoholic drink called Tonto. The juices are combined with grains and fermented for two days, creating a smooth taste. Many dishes in Uganda have an English, Arab and Indian influence, creating a unique taste. Most meals are served with a centre of soup or stew, and this tradition makes a beautiful icon of Uganda.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Nairobi

Sat 13 Apr 2013

Border Information: If Joining in Nairobi, enter Kenya at Nairobi Airport.

Group meeting at 18.00hrs.

For those of you who are starting your trip in Nairobi and arrive early, head out to explore the National Museum of Kenya or the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), or Bomas which displays the traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes in an outdoor village. 

Tonight we stay in a simple hotel with swimming pool, restaurant and en suite bathrooms.

Hotel for the night: Kivi Milimani Hotel

Kivi Milimani Hotel.

Milimani Road

PO Box 20681

Nairobi

+254-20-2722358

Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight in Kenya's capital, Nairobi

Included in Kitty

NNP Animal orphanage & Safari walk, Nairobi

USD 20

Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi

USD 14

Giraffe Centre, Nairobi

USD 12

Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi

USD 40

Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi

USD 40

National Museum, Nairobi

USD 14

Nairobi

Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes it's name from the Maasai meaning 'Place of Cool Waters'. Today it is a busy, bustling place that comes alive through it's many markets, shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention it's vibrant nightlife. If you have time to explore the city, the National Museum of Kenya and Karen Blixen Museum are both worth a visit, or you can get up close to the Giraffe's and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre.  

Day 2: Gilgil, Nakuru National Park

Sun 14 Apr 2013

We leave Nairobi early this morning and head North to the small town of Gilgil (approx 185km).  We will visit the the Saida Childrens Home project.  After our visit to the project we make our way to our campsite. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Saida Childrens Home

Included in Kitty

Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park

Included in Kitty

Gilgil

Gilgil is home to the Saida Childrens Home both of which are projects we support.

Saida Childrens home http://www.saidia-gilgil.org.uk/ works to improve the lives of AIDS orphans and other disadvantaged children in Gilgil and the surrounding area.

Mji wa Neema is Swahili for 'house of hope'. an is a small UK based charity raising funds to support orphaned children in and around Naivasha and Gilgil in Kenya, and specifically to fund Saidia Children's Home and projects started by Jill Simpson MBE, Teresa Wahito and Jane Kinuthia. Jill sadly passed away in October 2009 after a lifetime of good work, but Jane and Teresa continue to work tirelessly on behalf of AIDS orphans and other deprived children in the area.

Their efforts are now centred on Saidia Children's Home in Gilgil, and other projects which improve the lives of AIDS orphans and other disadvantaged children in Gilgil and the surrounding area.

We will make direct dontaions to help fund the project.

Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1968 to protect the huge flocks of lesser and greater flamingos that live here. At times there are over one million of these spectacular birds roaming around the acrid waters of the soda lake that is the centrepiece of the park. Even if you are not a keen birdwatcher the sight is inspiring and it is not hard to understand why the lake has become such a favourite for African wildlife documentaries. Nakuru is also where much of the film "Out of Africa" was shot.

The park is located on the floor of the Rift Valley and is a mixture of bushland, forest and rocky escarpment. Each area is an important habitat for many different species of wildlife. Besides the prolific birdlife, the park is also well established as one of East Africa's premier parks for big game. Beside the lake, hippo, waterbuck, warthogs, Bohor's reedbuck and zebra can regularly be found. Further up in the forests there's a large population of black and white colobus monkeys; and the ultimate forest predator, the leopard. The bushland on the valley floor is home to a large variety of antelope and gazelle including eland, impala, Chandler's reedbuck and the tiny dikdik; and the inevitable pride of lions.You can also see Rothschild giraffe here, but Nakuru's biggest draw is probably it's rhinos. In the late 1980s the Kenyan Wildlife Services used the park as a rhino sanctuary, and it now has a stable black and white rhino population.

 

Day 3: Nakuru National Park, Eldoret

Mon 15 Apr 2013

We are up very early this morning as we head out for an early morning game drive of Nakuru National Park. We head back to our camp for lunch and set off in the truck for Eldoret.

Tonight we camp on the outskirts of the cheese town of Eldoret (200 km, approx 5-6 hours). One of Kenya's fastest growing towns, Eldoret is the hometown of some of Kenya's most famous runners due to its high altitude.

Eldoret

Originally known as "64" because it was the 64th mile post on the wagon route from Londiani, Eldoret has developed into a vibrant town. There are nightclubs that line the streets and attractions such as the Keiro Valley, Kruger Farm and high altitude training camps.

Day 4: Kampala

Tue 16 Apr 2013

Border Information: Exit Kenya at Malaba. Enter Uganda at Malaba

Today we leave Kenya behind, crossing the border into Uganda as we travel towards its capital city, Kampala (390 km, approx. 8-9 hours) where we camp on the outskirts of the city.

Landlocked Uganda, with a population of over 30 million, is one of the 5 countries that make up the East African Community. It is a country of great cultural diversity and in recent years one of the most progressive countries in the region in terms of health education relating to HIV.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight stay on the outskirts of Ugandas bustling city of Kampala

Included in Kitty

Kampala

Kampala is the capital of Uganda. This city was practically destroyed in the civil wars and political disturbance in the 1980's, but it is now rebuilt and reorganised. It is a friendly city, with something of a buzz about it now as it's peoples confidence has been restored. Security has improved dramatically in the last few years, which has led to a real resurgence in the city's nightlife, and clubs and bars are beginning to become popular again.

Day 5 to 6: Kibale

Wed 17 Apr to Thu 18 Apr 2013

Today we travel to the Kibale Forest National Park (350 km, approx, 6-7 hours).

When not trekking there is plenty for you to do and see in this beautiful area, including walks to villages, tea plantations, rivers, lakes, or just relaxing around the campsite.

We camp in a basic campground that has showers and flush toilets.

Activity Approximate Cost

Forest walking in Kibale National Park in seacrh of Chimpanzees

Included in Kitty

Tea plantation visit or walks in the hills

USD 10

Kibale

The most accessible of Uganda's major rainforests, Kibale Forest National Park lies 35 km south of Fort Portal. This equatorial rainforest is home to the highest concentration of primates in the world, twelve different species have been recorded. The major attraction are the 500 chimpanzees. These delightful animals, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are tremendous fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees.

Our tours that visit Kibale take a 2-4 hour walking safari through the park, giving us the amazing opportunity to watch the way the chimps feed, climb trees, respond to humans and care for their young ones. It is a phenomenal experience and a real highlight to anyone's trip to Uganda. Aside from trekking, there is plenty more to do in this beautiful area, from village walks to exploring the many rivers and lakes, or just kick back and enjoy the lush forest views.

Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Fri 19 Apr 2013

We travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the camp (200 km, approx. 5.5 hours). 

We take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos. During our time in the park we also hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. 

Tonight we camp. The campground is basic and has toilets with basic showers.

Activity Approximate Cost

Safari in QEII National Park including a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel

Included in Kitty

Queen Elizabeth National Park

This lies across the Equator in the southwest of Uganda and is bordered by two lakes. The animals that make their home here include hippos, tree-climbing lions, elephants, buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, bushbuck and topi. Over the past 40 years or so, Uganda's wildlife took a terrible hammering from poaching and war. However, with the restoration of peace, the government and wildlife authorities have done a great deal to eradicate poaching and the wildlife is once again on the increase. Elephant numbers have increased substantially, with an influx from the Congo where they are still being persecuted. Queen Elizabeth National Park contains the most astonishing number of different fauna including 100 different types of mammal and over 600 species of birds. We take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos. During our time in the park we hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Uganda kobs and waterbucks.

Day 8: Lake Bunyoni

Sat 20 Apr 2013

Today we travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (250 km, approx. 6-7 hours). 

Lake Bunyonyi, meaning 'place of many little birds', is in the south west of Uganda and home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the whole of Uganda.

Depending on when we arrive at the lake, if time allows then one of the best ways to admire the landscape is from on the lake itself by hiring a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro). They can be hard to master at first but great fun. 

Tonight's campground has flush toilets with showers.

Activity Approximate Cost

Camping on the shores of the stunning and remote Lake Bunyonyi

Included in Kitty

Dugout Canoe hire, Lake Bunyoni

USD 5

Lake Bunyoni

Lake Bunyoni in the Ugandan mountains. A serene lake surrounded by beautiful hills, you can take dugout canoes (pirogues) out onto the lake to visit the nearby Muko Forest and some of the local communities. One community, the Batwa Tribe, is indigenous to the Great Lakes Region and found throughout Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Eastern region of the Congo.

Day 9: Kigali, Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park

Sun 21 Apr 2013

Border Information: Exit Uganda at Kamuganguzi, enter Rwanda at Gatuna.

Leaving Uganda behind, we cross the border entering Rwanda and travel toward the Ruhengeri (200 km, approx 6-7 hours). Gateway to the Volcanoes National Park, Ruhengeri is our base for the next three days. We will travel via the capital city of Kigali where we will organise a visit to the very moving genocide memorial. We may visit the memorial on day 9 or 11 depending on time.

Whilst in Ruhengeri we stay in dormitories at a local church mission.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the genocide memorial in Kigali

Included in Kitty

2 nights to explore Ruhengeri and the surrounding area

Included in Kitty

Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park

The town of Ruhengeri is the jumping-off point for the famed Volcanoes National Park. The region is incredibly beautiful with stunning verdant mountains cascading down the shores of Lake Kivu. 

The park itself protects an area which is part of a chain of eight volcanoes running along the western branch of the Great Rift Valley. These spectacular mountains and the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda are the last refuge of the mountain gorilla, the world's most endangered primate.

A trek out into the park in search of the gorillas is the experience of a lifetime. The pungent aromas of wet mountain vegetation will fill your senses as you trek through the forest following the local trackers, the sides of the mountains often shrouded in mist. The muddy and wet terrain is by no means easy, so it can be pretty strenuous and it's often very humid too - but the sheer thrill of coming face to face with a group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than makes up for the difficulties of the trek. The animals are surprisingly placid and gentle and having the privilege of being able to watch their movements at close range is the ultimate wildlife experience. Currently there are four habituated groups. The largest is the Susa Group (35 members including 3 silverbacks) which lives on Karasimba Volcano, and was the original group studied by Dian Fossey. This is usually a pretty strenuous trek of between 1 to 4 hours.   The Trebize Group (13 members) and the Sabinyo Group are smaller and the trek is much easier. Lastly the Amahoro Group (also 13 members) live on the slopes of Mount Visoke. This trek is the intermediate one in terms of endurance.

Day 10 to 11: Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park

Mon 22 Apr to Tue 23 Apr 2013

We allow two days for gorilla visits as you are assigned a trekking group/time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day or even over two days depending on time of permit issue and group size. There is a maximum group size of 8 on each gorilla visit. 

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than eight per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. 

Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid, but the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.

When you are waiting for, or have completed your gorilla visit, your leader will provide you with options and ideas on how you may wish to spend your time in the area around Ruhengeri.

Activity Approximate Cost

Golden monkeys, Ruhengeri (Cost does not ic. Park fees & entrance to NP)

USD 100

Mountain gorilla tracking Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park

Included in Kitty

Diane Fossey's Memorial, Ruhengeri (Cost does not ic. Park fees & entrance to NP)

USD 100

Mountain hiking Visoke (full day), Ruhengeri (Cost does not ic. Park fees & entrance to NP)

USD 100

Nature walk, Ruhengeri

USD 55

Day 12: Lake Mburo National Park

Wed 24 Apr 2013

Border Information: Exit Rwanda at Cyanika. Enter Uganda at Cyanika.

Today we travel to the border with Uganda where we will complete the border formalities.  We will then head to Lake Mburo (420 km, approx 9-10 hours).

Tonight we will camp on the shores of the lake at a stunning location surrounded by wildlife. While tonight's campground is beautifully located, it is very basic, having drop toilets and basic showers.

Activity Approximate Cost

Walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is located in an area covered by extensive acacia woodland. It is a unique habitat not found elsewhere in Uganda, making the reserve home to a quite different variety of fauna to that which is found in many of the other parks. It is the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope and home to about 68 different species of mammals in total. The most commonly seen are zebra, impala, buffalo and topi - and there are also rare sightings of the roan antelope. Leopard, hyenas and jackals are all predators in the region.

The five lakes within the park attract hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds, while the swamp fringes hide the sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek. Lake Mburo is a small park, not swarming with tourists, which gives it a much more natural feel to some of the other more famous East African parks.

On Dragoman tours we camp on the shores of the lake at a stunning wild location surrounded by the wildlife, taking an early morning guided walking safari through the park allowing us to see the animals and spectacular birdlife.

Day 13 to 14: Jinja

Thu 25 Apr to Fri 26 Apr 2013

Before breakfast today we have a two hour guided walking safari through the Lake Mburo National Park allowing us to see some of the animals and spectacular birdlife. Afterwards we travel from Lake Mburo to Jinja via Kampala, stopping at the equator (340 km, approx. 7-8 hours).


We camp at scenic riverside retreat with showers and flush toilets.

Activity Approximate Cost

Full Day rafting, Jinja

USD 125

Bungee Jumping, Jinja

USD 95

2 nights in Jinja camping next to the swirling currents of the mighty White Nile

Included in Kitty

Jinja

Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. This is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-concious traveller. The area is beautiful and is located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. The most popular activity here is the white-water rafting trip down the Nile. Our base in Jiinja is perched spectacularly on a cliff-top thirty metres above the swirling currents of the young Nile. The camp is home to international rafting guides and several troops of monkeys.

Day 15: Eldoret

Sat 27 Apr 2013

Border Information: Exit Uganda at Malaba. Enter Kenya at Malaba.

We begin our journey back to Nairobi with our first stop being the cheese town of Eldoret, where we camp for the evening (300 km, approx. 7-8 hours) and have our final night dinner together.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overland through western Kenya and the Rift Valley

Included in Kitty

Day 16: Nairobi

Sun 28 Apr 2013

Border Information: If Joining in Nairobi, enter Kenya at Nairobi Airport.

Group meeting tonight at 18.00hrs. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. 

After the group meeting there is the option of joining the group for dinner

For those of you who arrive early, head out to explore the National Museum of Kenya or the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), or Bomas which displays the traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes in an outdoor village. 

Tonight we stay in a simple hotel with swimming pool, restaurant and en suite bathrooms.

Hotel for the night: Kivi Milimani Hotel
Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight in Kenya's capital, Nairobi

Included in Kitty

Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi

USD 14

Giraffe Centre, Nairobi

USD 12

Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi

USD 40

Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi

USD 40

National Museum, Nairobi

USD 14

Day 17: Arusha

Mon 29 Apr 2013

Border Information: Exit Kenya at Namanga, enter Tanzania at Namanga.

We set off early today, heading for the border with Tanzania. We are able to spend some time in Arusha, before heading to our campsite on the out skirts of the city, Meserani (400 km, approx 8-10 hours). 

Arusha is the gateway to some of Tanzania's most popular tourist destinations including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Tonight we stay at a campsite with flush toilets and showers.

Arusha

On our trips we make a short stop in Arusha. Arusha is Tanzania's second major city and used to be the capital of the East African community. The town sits in lush countryside near the foot of Mount Meru and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. Surrounding it are many coffee, wheat and maize estates tended by the Arusha and Meru people. The town is the centre of Tanzania's safari business and is bustling and busy.

Day 18: Mto Wa Mbu

Tue 30 Apr 2013

This morning we drive approx. 100Kms to reach the village of Mto Wa Mbu where we participate in a local community village program and sample a delicious local lunch.

Later we take time to explore the market in this small village with its many crafts batiks and makonde wood carvings on offer. 

Tonight we stay in Mto Wa Mbu at a well equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Mto Wa Mbu village community project

Included in Kitty

Mto Wa Mbu

Mto Wa Mbu is the halfway point between Arusha and the Ngorongoro crater. It is a place to explore and The Curio market is a good place to start. The local merchants will want you to buy their products, a lot are ebony carvings and Massai spears. They are proud of their goods and want to share the culture with others. Occasionally there is a cattle market where the Maasi people will gather with their cows. It is a spectactular site as thousands of people gather at a time.

Day 19 to 20: Serengeti National Park

Wed 01 May to Thu 02 May 2013

Today we are up very early, leaving our truck behind, putting our camping and personal gear into 6 person jeeps and heading out for our three day excursion.

The bush camps where we stay are very simple (showers and flush toilets) but are located in the middle of the plains, surrounded by animals and the nocturnal noises - something to experience. Your leader will outline the basic safety rules to be followed when camping in an unfenced location where wild animals are present.

Activity Approximate Cost

48 hrs on Jeep safari in the Serengeti National Park

Included in Kitty

Hot Air Balloon ride in the Serengeti (This must be pre booked through your sales consultant. The cost for this is approximately $650 USD)

USD 650

Serengeti National Park

The wide open plains of the Serengeti, green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses, the plains get its name from the Masai word siringitu, "the place where the land moves on forever". Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your amazing sightings from during the day. In normal circumstances we would expect to see the Big 5 during our stay in the Serengeti. The Serengeti Plains usually live up to every-one's expectations. This is the classic East African scenery of rolling grasslands is dotted with Acacia trees. In normal circumstances we would expect to see all of the Big 5 during our stay in the park.

Responsible Travel Note: You will notice many Masai villages in the region of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater. While it is of course fascinating to visit different cultures, past experience has shown that these villages exist primarily as businesses. You will be charged an entry fee of approx. US$20 and the Masai will try very hard to sell souvenirs to you. While many clients still enjoy the experience, others have found it artificial and uncomfortable. We would very much prefer that Dragoman clients choose to by-pass this activity as we feel it negatively impacts the Masai culture and your perception of this culture. Unfortunately the tourist village business is such a high earner that we have been unable to find an "True" Masai experience in Tanzania, which is disappointing for all.

For those who really want to spoil themselves with the ultimate game viewing experience, an optional balloon ride over the Serengeti at sunrise will leave you with some unforgettable memories. If you pre-book this activity with us you will be picked up and driven to the launch site early in the morning. Here you will receive a safety briefing from your pilot and help  to inflate the balloon. You will then glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height providing amazing wildlife photography opportunities, sometimes ascending to get an overview of the enormity of the Serengeti and the spectacular early morning sight of teeming herds of animals as they set out on their movements for the day. Upon landing and before being returned to your vehicle and group you'll be treated to a five star bush breakfast!

Please note the balloon safari must be pre-booked in advance through us and the option cannot be guaranteed until confirmation. Weather conditions sometimes stop the balloon flying in which case a full refund will be made. It does get booked up well in advance so you should book early.

Day 21: Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha

Fri 03 May 2013

We are up with the sun as we make an early start, exiting the Serengeti and heading for the world famous Ngorongoro Crater (approximately 3 hrs drive). After a picnic lunch we descend onto the floor of the Crater. We make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring this area.

Departing the crater late in the afternoon, we head to our campsite on the outskirts of Arusha for an evening relaxing at the campsite's bar reliving our safari experience.

Tonight we stay at a well equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Jeep safari into the Ngorongoro Crater Reserve

Included in Kitty

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is a huge caldera - a volcano which collapsed in an immense explosion. It measures 19km in diameter and 265km² in area. On our trips we make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring the area which is sometimes called the "Garden of Eden". There is an excellent chance of spotting many of the Big Five, not to mention many other species.

Day 22: Moshi, Marangu

Sat 04 May 2013

Back on board our truck we climb high onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro and to the village of Mshiri (300 km, approx 5-7 hours).

In Moshi we will meet the very special kids of the Amani Children's Home. Amani supports street children giving them a safe place to stay and educational and emotional support. Check out the new school which has been built with the help of donors and be inspired by this project which is changing these children's lives. 

We then drive on to the village of Marangu where we set up camp for the night. Our campground is basic with flush toilets and showers.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Amani street children's orphanage

Included in Kitty

Overnight stay in Marangu with time for early morning views of Kilimanjaro

Included in Kitty

Moshi

On our trips between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam we spend an afternoon in Moshi visiting the Amani Childrens home, meeting the children and project staff and helpers. We will take a tour and learn about how Amani endeavours to restore hope to children who've been living on the streets. Then as school finishes we will spend time with the children, playing games, making crafts or out on the football field. For more information on this project visit www.amanikids.org.

Marangu

The small village of Marangu is located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The fertile fields are irrigated by streams that are fed by Mt. Kilimanjaro's glaciers.

Day 23: Mshiri Village, Lushoto

Sun 05 May 2013

We spend this morning with the team at the Village Education Project. Beginning with a walking tour of Mshiri Village, the base for the Village Education Project, we can witness the day-to-day life of the Chagga people, long established as crop-growers on the fertile slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Then it's time to get off the well beaten track and head into the remote Tanzanian Mountains (270 km, approx 7-9 hours).

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided walk and Visit to the Kilimanjaro Village Educational project

Included in Kitty

Mshiri Village

 

 

Situated close by to Marangu is the Village Education Project at Mshiri Village. Beginning with a walking tour of Mshiri Village, the base for the Village Education Project we can witness the day-to-day life of the Chagga people, long established as crop-growers on the fertile slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. We walk around their shamba (farm). We also visit the primary school as well as the other institutions where local young people are taught various skills. For more information on the Village Education Project visit www.kiliproject.org.

Day 24: Usambara Mountains, Lushoto

Mon 06 May 2013

We have a full day in the beautiful Usambara Mountains to explore this lovely unspoilt area of Tanzania. Unlike the coast and the north, very few tourists visit this area and so it has a freshness that can be hard to find elsewhere.

From our base we will organise a short day's walking trip out to the beautiful Irente viewpoint. On our way back we visit a local village cultural and ecological project based at Irente farm where we will have a picnic lunch.

We base ourselves at the old German colony of Lushoto where we stay in the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa. Our campsite has flush toilets and showers.

Activity Approximate Cost

Half day trek out to the stunning Irente view point and community visit to the Irente villages

Included in Kitty

Usambara Mountains

The Usambara mountains are located in the north east of Tanzania between Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean and overlook the vast Masai steppe. They are wonderfully lush and green and the area has been dubbed the Galapagos of the plant world. The forests stretch across the mountains and are ideal for easy hikes and guided walks. As beautiful as the place is, its real jewels are the local peoples and villages. The area has a reputation for gentle hospitality and we will visit some of the small communities.

Day 25: Dar Es Salaam

Tue 07 May 2013

Leaving the mountains behind we have a long travel day today we travel further south towards the coastal city of Dar es Salaam (380 km, approx 9-11 hours).

Once in Dar es Salaam, we set up camp on a balmy beach outside of the city. The camp is on the grounds of a hotel and has flush toilets and showers. Feel free to jump in the ocean and have a swim before dinner.

Activity Approximate Cost

Hydrofoil over to Zanzibar

Included in Kitty

Dar Es Salaam

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's old capital, means Haven of Peace. The city acts as the gateway to the beautiful island of Zanzibar and the port area is fascinating to visit with its ocean-going "dhows" and inshore "ngalawas" (outrigger fishing canoes). Many of the buildings display Arabian influences and the melting pot of African, Muslim and South Asian influences give Dar a vibrant atmosphere, making it well worth exploring if you have the time.

Day 26: Zanzibar

Wed 08 May 2013

Today we catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar (approx 90 mins).

Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar's rich history involves everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast invokes images of what the island was like back in the days of Livingstone.

The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town. The best way to see this exotic port town is on foot, exploring the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad intricate alleyways. When the sun is setting, why not enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront before trying one of the island's local seafood curries at one of the town's many restaurants.

Spend a night in Stone Town at a basic inn with double/twin-share rooms.

Activity Approximate Cost

3 nights exploring the spice island of Zanzibar

Included in Kitty

Zanzibar

The exotic spice island of Zanzibar Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar's rich history involves everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast makes it easy to imagine what the island was like back in the days of Livingstone.

Stone Town is the old port town of Zanziba and the best way to experience the city is on foot, exploring the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and intricate alleyways. When the sun is setting, you can enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront, before trying one of the Island's local seafood curries for dinner at one of the town's many restaurants.

The famous spices are grown in plantations outside of Stone Town and on our trips we head out on a Spice Tour that will dazzle your senses. This also includes a local meal and a tour around the main sites of Stone Town, to learn about the history of its former slave market. We also drive to the spice plantations where you will have the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, and teas made with these spices. At the end of the day there will also be an opportunity to buy some of the locally grown spices.

The other side to Zanzibar is it's many beaches. The northern beaches enjoy beautiful white sand and sparkling blue sea - the Indian Ocean at its best. Try snorkeling or diving, eat sumptuous seafood, or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book.

Day 27 to 28: Zanzibar

Thu 09 May to Fri 10 May 2013

Enjoy a tour of the inland plantations where Zanzibar's famous spices grow. First, discover the sights of old Stone Town, where you will hear a history of the slave market and delight in a local meal. Next, you will drive to the spice plantations where you'll receive a guided tour and the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, as well as teas made with these spices. At the end of the day there will also be an opportunity to buy some of the locally grown spices.

On our second and third days here, we head to the northern beaches and enjoy white sand and sparkling blue sea - the Indian Ocean at its best.

Try snorkelling and diving, eat sumptuous seafood or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book.

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided tour of Spice Plantations and local lunch

Included in Kitty

Snorkelling day trip, Zanzibar

USD 40

Dhow trip, Zanzibar

USD 40

Prison Island tour, Zanzibar

USD 30

Scuba dive, Zanzibar

USD 80

Day 29: Zanzibar

Sat 11 May 2013

 

Today we head back to Stone Town where the tour ends upon arrival at approximately 10:00-11:00am.

Instead of the group catching the ferry back to the mainland together, this trip now finishes in Zanzibar at the Safari Lodge. Your leader can help you organise the return leg of the ferry if you wish which costs approximately 35USD

Ferries depart Zanzibar for Dar Es Salaam daily at 0730hrs, 0930hrs, 1230hrs and 1530hrs and take approx. 2hrs.

Please allow enough time to get back to the mainland if you need to catch your departing flight from Dar Es Salaam. Speak to your leader about the best way to do this.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. 

The finishing point Hotel in Stone Town is:-

Safari Lodge Limited
P.O.Box 3231 Zanzibar
Telephone: 255 24 2236523 (Zanzibar,Tanzania)
Fax: 255 24 2238436/7(Zanzibar,Tanzania)
Cell: 255 784 606177
Email: info@safarilodgetz.com

The rooms at Safari Lodge are self contained and with air conditioning, satellite TV, and private bathrooms

Visa Information:

Important Notes

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

 

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.

Serengeti Balloon Safari

The Balloon Safaris in the Masai Mara and Serengeti must be pre-booked through the UK and is subject to availability.

Codeshare note

Local Partner
Dragoman runs this trip in conjunction with our trusted local partner Intrepid Guerba Kenya who share our ethos for adventure travel and have had many years' expertise in over landing. 

Our departures are code shared, with certain departures run by Dragoman in one of our vehicles, others by Intrepid (Intrepid Guerba Kenya) in one of theirs. This allows us to run many more departures so you have more choice when you want to travel. 


You'll get the same itineraries, activities and accommodation on both departures and the vehicles of both fleets have been standardised to a common specification, so you won't be compromising on quality. All departures have three-crew incl. an African camp master. The only difference is that the intrepid Guerba crew will all be African.


If you would like to know who is running your departure, Dragoman or Intrepid Guerba Kenya, please ask at the time of booking.

Gorilla Tracking

To track the gorillas you will need a permit. In order for us to to confirm this permit for you we require the following:-

  1. Passport details at the time of booking
  2. A non refundable deposit payment of GBP650 at the time of booking.

Please be aware that we cannot confirm your place on a gorilla trip without your passport details. Please also note that the cost of the permit is still covered by the kitty as is normal for a cost of this type. The deposit mentioned is simply a higher trip deposit to protect Dragoman against cancellation, as we have to pay for the permits in full in advance and our tour leaders collect this amount back from the kitty.    

The likelihood of seeing gorillas is virtually guaranteed; however, they are wild animals and the chances of seeing them are not 100%.

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. 

 

Altitude

Please note that this trip spends time above 2800 metres/9200 feet where it is possible for travellers to experience some adverse effects on your health due to the altitude, potentially including Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).

Because of this it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude and monitor your health during this trip. 

For further information please click here to download our AMS information sheet or check out the following website www.high-altitude-medicine.com

Your leader will also hand you a copy of the AMS information sheet during your trip as well as holding a short meeting prior to travelling to altitudes above 2800m/9200ft for the first time.

If you are starting your trip in a destination above 2800m/9200ft we strongly advise reading this information prior to arrival.

Visa Information

Most countries we visit on our travels will require visas. 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 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. 

Kenya

Kenyan visas are required by most nationalities.

Single-entry visas are available at the point of entry to most nationalities and cost USD50. In some cases you may be able get a transit visa upon arrival for USD20. Some nationalities require visas to be purchased in advance - you MUST check before departure.

Multiple-entry visas are required for people travelling to Rwanda to visit the Gorillas.  We recommend that you obtain this in advance as you cannot obtain a multiple-entry visa at the border. However if you are unable to obtain a multiple-entry visa before travel, you will have to purchase single-entry visas at the border upon each entry into Kenya. 

For more information, including application forms and visa fee rates, is available at http://www.kenyahighcommission.net. Kenya there is an airport departure tax of USD20. Payment is also accepted in Kenyan Shillings. This tax is normally included in the price of airline tickets but if you are unsure, you should check with the airline or travel company.

IMPORTANT: Please take note ALL flights passengers travelling to Nairobi require a yellow fever certificate, if you do not have one you risk being denied boarding at the gate.

Uganda

Visas are required by most nationalities, including those from the EU, UK, USA and Australia. Visas are available at point of entry to most nationalities. Some nationalities are required to obtain visas in advance - you MUST check before departure. If you plan to purchase your visas on arrival, you will need new (post 2003), clean American dollars cash and the cost is USD50. When on one of our gorilla itineraries visiting Rwanda, you may require a double entry visa to Uganda. This is dependent on the border guard of the day and can be easily purchased on re-entry from Rwanda for nationalities which qualify for visa on arrival. Please allow another USD50 for the re-entry.

Tanzania

A visa is required by visitors of most nationalities including those from the EU, UK, USA and Australia. Most nationalities can obtain their visa at any major port of entry into Tanzania. At the time of writing, the cost is USD50 for most nationalities (or USD100 for USA passport holders).

Travelling to and from Zanzibar is still within Tanzania, so does not affect the validity of your Tanzanian visa. However, you still need to stamp your passport in and out of Zanzibar.

At the present time, you are allowed to exit and then re-enter Tanzania on just a single-entry visa, as long as your travel in between visits to Tanzania is only within Kenya or Uganda. If you have been to any further countries during this time, then this single-entry visa is no longer valid and you will have to purchase another visa to re-enter Tanzania.

If you do require a multiple entry visa you will need to arrange this through a Tanzanian diplomatic mission before your arrival in Tanzania.  Alternatively, you can buy a single-entry visa each time you enter the country.

If you do decide to obtain your visa in advance please use the following address on the application form:

Kipepeo Beach & Village

P.O. Box 1520

Dar es Salaam,

Tanzania

Tel :+255 (0)754 276 178

 

Departure tax

On the 2nd of July 2012 the Tanzanian Government announced an increase to it's passenger airport service charge from 5,000TSH to 10,000TSH for domestic departures, and from 30USD to 40USD for international departures.

This change comes into effect from 1st of July 2012 and will be included in any new Airline ticket costs. Passengers who have already purchased tickets will be required to pay the difference on departure.

Yellow Fever Certificate

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.  This is particularly relevant for those travelling to Tanzania from neighbouring African countries and you will almost certainly be asked to show your yellow fever certificate card when arriving in Zanzibar.  See the Tanzanian Government website for more details:  http://www.tanzania.go.tz/immigration.html.

Rwanda

Visas are required by all nationalities and need to be obtained in advance. You can apply for this visa online at www.migration.gov.rw 

You'll need to apply for an Entry Visa on their website (Services tab, Visa) which should take approx 2-5 days to come through. You must print this Entry Facility out to present at the border.

If you are asked to provide an address in Rwanda on your visa form, please use the address below -

Centre Pastoral Notre Dame De Fatima
Avenue de la Nutrition
Ruhengeri, Rwanda

Supporting Documents may also be required - the embassy will contact you if they require these.

The visa costs USD60 payable on the border, with the exception of USA, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, UK, Sweden and Singapore nationals, for whom the visa is free of charge.

Note: Rwanda is constantly updating its visa information; therefore we recommended that you check the website carefully for the latest up to date information www.migration.gov.rw

Please note: The borders in which we cross into Rwanda are insisting that all nationalities complete the on line entry facility before arrival regardless of whether you are a nationality that requires a visa or not.

Yellow Fever

A vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from all countries.

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. 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. 

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 your 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 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.

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 and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of 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. 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. 

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 groups starting their trips in Dar es Salaam. In practical terms this means there could be up to 44 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.

Who travels with Dragoman?

Our passengers come 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.

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 catch up with your fellow travellers once your trip has finished. You can share photos, videos and stories 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 - you can join here

Our crew and guides

Our crew are passionate about travel and always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all 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 two western crew who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation will accompany you. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and 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 all of the 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 tour leader has a duty of care to all of their passengers and therefore they have the authority to ask passengers to leave the trip if they require medical assistance, 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.

Health

All Dragoman travellers 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 assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Dragoman reserves the right to exclude them 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. 

For trips that travel to areas of high altitude we also require all travellers to complete an altitude questionnaire. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases customers 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. 

 

Vaccinations

 Recommended vaccinations and other health protection vary according to 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. It is essential that you check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel.

 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. Dragoman customers will receive a 10% discount off all vaccinations given at Nomad Travel clinics.

A good source of up to date information is the world Health Organisation - http://www.who.int/en/

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 vaccination centre for the most up-to-date requirements

The mosquito usually bites between the hours of dusk and dawn and so covering up by wear 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 out, use a mosquito net. Wear repellent applied directly to the skin or soaked into 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, in hotel rooms but cannot be used inside the tents.

Meals and group participation

On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. 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).

If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. 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.

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.

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 customers.  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. 

 We expect all our customers 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.

Safety and security

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 passengers 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.

Please note: Any personal effects that are left on the truck, even if they are stored in the safe, are left at your own risk and Dragoman cannot be held responsible for any damage or theft that may occur.

The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of 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

Dragoman has also teamed up with the UK Foreign and commonwealth office (FCO) in their 'Know before you go campaign' www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougoThis website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up to date country information to help you plan a safe trip.

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. You should always make yourself aware of the travel advice before you book and again before you travel. Below are links to some of the websites

Britain. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country

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 comprehensive passenger liability protection and tour operator insurance. These policies have total indemnities of £3,000,000 and £10,000,000 respectively. This is in addition to local vehicle insurance and your personal travel insurance.

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 theses 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.

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.

Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel. 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 they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes. 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. We recommend that any policy has the following minimum levels of cover: Medical (incl. repatriation) £5,000,000 Personal Liability £5,000,000 Cancellation and Curtailment £5,000 Loss of Baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice.

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.

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.

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.

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 maximum 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 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:

For a comprehensive kit lists take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel have created.  Dragoman customers 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

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 sterilized 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 hip pocket!

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:

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

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.

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 instalments 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 & kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip.

The Kitty covers all things that the whole group does, such as:

The kitty system is very unique to overlanding and we believe it allows us to have flexibility & 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 & 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.  Most of our travellers choose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.

Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.

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 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.

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 should be prepared to contribute towards the costs 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.

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 USD10 to USD15 per person.