In the lively capital of
Of course it's the wildlife that draws most people to
Mount Kenya is the country's highest mountain and is the 2nd largest mountain in
Tribes all over
The main draw for visitors to
Although overshadowed by its more famous neighbour,
In the capital of
The main dish in
Malawians want to make visitors feel welcome and their happiness and generous nature have to be admired. It is easy to see why this country is amongst the happiest in the world.
After safari or mountain climbing where better to relax than the
Zambia is not a country that is considered by most visitors to Africa and yet it has so much to offer the traveller. It has some stunning scenery, friendly people, fascinating tribal traditions and a developing infrastructure. Rural Zambia is the Africa of storybooks and our drive across the country takes us through stunning semi-forested mountains dotted with small villages.
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.
Border Information: If joining in Nairobi, enter Kenya at Nairobi Airport.
Free day to see Nairobi with a group meeting at 18.00hrs. We stay over night in a comfortable hotel.
Kivi Milimani Hotel.
PO Box 20681
Overnight in Kenya's capital, Nairobi
|Included in Kitty|
Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi
Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi
Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi
National Museum, 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.
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 in the village of Mto Wa Mbu. (400km approx 8-10 hours). Tonight we stay at a campsite with flush toilets and hot/cold showers
Today we are up with the sun and after packing our camping and personal gear into 6 person jeeps we make an early start, heading for the world famous Ngorongoro Crater. We will spend the morning on a fabulous game drive in the Crater before departing to head through the conservation area to our campsite in the Serengeti.
On a Dragoman trip you will bush camp within the Sergengeti park itself. The camps we stay at are very simple, although they do have showers and flush toilets, located in the middle of the plains, surrounded by the wildlife - falling asleep to the nocturnal noises of Serengeti is a truly unique experience. During your stay your leader will outline the basic safety rules and precautions that must be followed when camping in an unfenced location where wild animals are present.
48 hrs on Jeep safari in the Serengeti National Park
|Included in Kitty|
Jeep safari into the Ngorongoro Crater Reserve
|Included in Kitty|
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.
Full day game driving in the Serengeti NP before before heading back to the Serengeti camp site for our second night.
Hot Air Balloon ride in the Serengeti (This must be pre booked through your sales consultant. The cost for this is approximately $650 USD)
Up early this morning leaving the Serengeti behind us as we travel back to the village of Mto Wa Mbu where we participate in a local community village program and sample a delicious local lunch.
We then head approx. 100Kms to our well equipped campsite on the outskirts of Arusha.
Visit to the Mto Wa Mbu village community project
|Included in Kitty|
Our drive today takes us high onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro and to the village of Marangu (270km, approx 5-7 hours).
We camp in the grounds of the very colonial Marangu hotel where upgrades may be available.
Overnight stay in Marangu with time for early morning views of Kilimanjaro
|Included in Kitty|
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.
Leaving the mountains behind we travel 560kms further south towards the coastal city of Dar es Salaam. The camp is on the grounds of a beach lodge,
Overnight camping on the white beaches of the Indian ocean near Dar Es Salaam
|Included in Kitty|
This morning we travel to the Dar es Salaam port and catch a local ferry to Zanzibar. The ferry is quite comfortable with airline type seats. The journey time is around 90 minutes. When we reach Zanzibar we clear customs and immigration after which we will make our way to our hotel in Stone Town.
3 nights exploring the spice island of Zanzibar
|Included in Kitty|
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.
On our second day here we take in a guided Spice tour before heading to the northern beaches and enjoy white sand and sparkling blue sea. Our accommodation on these nights is in twin share rooms with ensuites.
Guided tour of Spice Plantations and local lunch
|Included in Kitty|
There is plenty of time on the northern beaches to enjoy 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.
Snorkelling day trip, Zanzibar
Dhow trip, Zanzibar
Prison Island tour, Zanzibar
Scuba dive, Zanzibar
After spending a final morning in Zanzibar, we jump back on board the ferry to return to the mainland arriving at about 1700 hrs
Hydrofoil back to Dar Es Salaam
|Included in Kitty|
Heading for Malawi, we head through Mikumi National Park. The journey today is approx. 550km. We stay at the comfortable Kisolanza Farm campsite in Iringa.
Overnight at the Old Farm house in Iringa
|Included in Kitty|
Border Information: Exit Tanzania at Kaporo enter Malawi at Kaporo.
Today is travel day as we enter Malawi, covering approx. 510km to our beautiful lakeside campsite at Chitimba.
Today we travel from Chitimba to Kande beach on the shore of Lake Malawi approx 240km drive. Our campsite is right on the shore of Lake Malawi. As well as chilling out on the beach and participating in the many optional water activites on offer, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians, easily some of the friendliest in Africa.
2 nights to relax on the beaches of Lake Malawi
|Included in Kitty|
Malawi is dominated by Lake Malawi which covers almost a fifth of the country. The lake provides a source of livelihood for many of the Malawian people. Fishermen, fish traders, canoe and net makers all ply their trade, and a common sight is that of a fisherman in his bwato (dugout canoe made from a hollowed out tree trunk), fishing on the still lake at the break of day. On our trips we head away from the commercialism and crowds and enjoy a few days on the lake's more peaceful beaches.
Kande sits on the coast of Lake Malawi and is a half way point from the towns of Bandawe and Mphoza. Less than 2 miles from the village lies Kande beach, a great spot to kick back an relax. This is also a great place for water sports, you can hire pedalos, snorkeling sets and canoe and the clear waters make it perfect for exploring. As well as chilling on the beach and participating in the many optional water activites on offer, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians, easily some of the friendliest in Africa.
Free day at Kande beach on Lake Malawi for relaxation and activities like horse riding or visit to local tribal village. Overnight at same lakeside campsite
Scuba dive, Lake Malawi
Horse riding, Lake Malawi
Guided village walks, Lake Malawi
Border Information: Exit
We travel cross into
Tonight we will camp at a campsite in Chipata.
We continue our journey of approx. 590Kms through Zambia. We will camp tonight at a campsite located 15 minutes south of
Border information: Exit Zambia at Chirundu, Enter Zimbabwe at Chirundu
Leaving the camp early, we drive for approx 3 hours to the border with Zimbabwe. After formalities, we enjoy a 60Km scenic drive before covering the rest of the distance to Harare. Total distance covered today is 450Kms – approx 8hrs. Harare is Zimbabwe's capital city and also it’s largest.
If time permits there are optional activities available in Harare.
Overnight on the outskirts of Zimbabwe's Capital Harare
|Included in Kitty|
In the morning we make time to stop for shopping in
A 360 kms drive today takes is to Masvingo the oldest colonial settlement in Zimbabwe and the perfect base to explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. We will have the whole afternoon to explore the ruins. Our campground in Masvingo has shared facilities.
Explore the remarkable Great Zimbabwe Ruins
|Included in Kitty|
Masvingo is the town in which we base ourselves from to visit Great Zimbabwe.
Great Zimbabwe is the national monument that Zimbabwe is named after. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the ruined city was first constructed in the 11th century where it was thought to be a royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch.
The city’s exact history is unknown but recent research suggests a gold-rich civilisation flourishing between 1200 and 1450 AD. The site consists of three main groups of stone structures: the Hill Complex, once thought to be the home of the witch doctor but now believed to be the King’s residence; the Great Enclosure; and the Valley Complex. Its splendour is best appreciated at sunrise or sunset. Archaeologists have found fragments of Chinese pottery at the site suggesting that Great Zimbabwe is the end of the Silk Trading Route from the east.
We travel towards Bulawayo (360 km, approx 5-6 hours), known locally as the 'City of Kings' Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city. In Bulawayo we stay in a campground with shared facilities, upgrades are available.
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!
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. We stay our second night at the same camp site.
Guided walking safari in search of White Rhino in Matobo National Park
|Included in Kitty|
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.
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.
Jeep safari in Hwange National Park
|Included in Kitty|
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.
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.
If time allows this afternoon you can make you visit to the falls on this day.
Tonight we will share a group dinner together. We stay in a well equipped campsite in the heart of Vic Falls.
Visit to the Painted Dog Conservation project
|Included in Kitty|
When you arrive in Victoria Falls you will have arrived in one of the friendliest places in
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
Border Information: If leaving the trip in Vic Falls, depart Zimbabwe at Vic Falls airport
If you did not have the time the day before then this morning you make your way to the Victoria Falls National Park to make your visit to the magnificent Victoria Falls National Park and free time for activites in Vic Falls
No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in
Please do not arrnage any international flights until approx. 9pm this day.
Visit to the incredible Victoria Falls
White water rafting on the Zambezi
Bungee jumping, Victoria Falls
Sunset Cruise, Victoria Falls
Jet boat, Victoria Falls
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)
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.
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.
The Balloon Safaris in the Masai Mara and Serengeti must be pre-booked through the UK and is subject to availability.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Tel :+255 (0)754 276 178
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.
Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the UK and USA do not require a visa to enter Malawi for stays of up to 90 days. All nationalities should check with the respective embassies for more information.
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.
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.
Zambian visas are required by most nationalities, including those from the EU, UK, USA and Australia.
For most nationalities, Zambian 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 USD50 for all nationalities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/knowbeforeyougo. This 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
New Zealand. http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
United States. http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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
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!
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:
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.
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.
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 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.