Family Overland between Victoria Falls and Windhoek, (FNB)

Windhoek to Victoria Falls 19 days, departing 28 Jul 2013
The incredible colours of Spitzkoppe at sunset On the road to Windhoek, Namibia Rainbow in front of the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Family Adventures
Route: Windhoek to Victoria Falls
Duration: 19 days
Transport: Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, boats, canoes
Physical Rating:

EASY HARD


Suitable for most fitness levels.
Accommodation:

85%15%

Camping (with facilities) (11 nts), camping (with basic facilities) (4 nts), chalet (2 nts), hotel (1 nt). 17 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 15 Dinners

Route Map

Countries Visited

Botswana

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

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

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

Namibia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zimbabwe

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Itinerary

The incredible colours of Spitzkoppe at sunset
Quad Biking in the deserts around Swakopmund, Namibia
Sand Boarding near Swakopmund, Namibia
On the road to Windhoek, Namibia
The sunrise over a watering hole in Etosha, Namibia
A cheetah in Etosha, Namibia
Photographing the zebras on our truck safari in Etosha, Namibia
The beautiful mountain of Spitzkoppe, Namibia
Our wild camp near Spitzkoppe, Namibia
Watching the sunset at Spitzkoppe, Namibia
Morning yoga at the sunrise at Spitzkoppe, Namibia
Stunning scenery at the Dead Vlei, Namibia
Climbing the colossal Dune 45 near Sossusvlei, Namibia
Watching the sunrise from the top of Dune 45, Namibia
The sun sets over the deserts of Namibia
The other-worldy landscapes of the Namibian desert
On a mokoro heading into the Okavango Delta, Botswana
A stunning sunrise at our wild camp spot in the Okavango Delta
Hippo swimming in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Rainbow in front of the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The mighty Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The bridge over the Zimbabwe-Zambia border at Victoria Falls
The mighty Victoria Falls as seen from the air
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Day 1: Windhoek

( Sun 28 Jul )

Halo! Welcome to Namibia.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 10am on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

For those of you who arrive early, there's plenty to see and do in and around Windhoek. Take a stroll around the town and visit some of its museums or perhaps take a township tour.

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

 

Hotel for the night: Arebbusch Travel Lodge

Arebbusch Travel Lodge

Golf Street

Olympia

Windhoek

+264 61 251 670

About Windhoek:

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

 

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Day 2: Sesriem & Soussusvlei, Namib Desert

( Mon 29 Jul )

Travel to Sesriem in the Namib Desert (300 km, approx 5 hrs).

Venture into the heart of the Namib where there's an opportunity to explore the dunes on foot, enjoying a fascinating desert walk around the scenic sandy desert surroundings.

Also visit the renowned Dead vlei and Sossusvlei ancient lakebeds in the middle of the desert with scattered skeleton camel thorn trees dating back over 1,000 years.

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the other-worldly landscapes of the Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei salt pans

Included in Kitty
About Sesriem & Soussusvlei:

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

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


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

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

About Namib Desert:

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

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

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

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Day 3 to 4: Swakopmund

( Tue 30 Jul to Wed 31 Jul )

Continue on to the town of Swakopmund (360 km, approx 9 hrs drive).

We have a free day here for you to explore the area, go to the beach, shop or participate in some of Swakopmund's adrenalin activities. For these nights we stay in permanent A frame dwellings in a bungalow setting.

Accommodation

Chalet (2 nts)

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a scenic flight over the Forbidden Coast and the Skeleton Coast

USD 150

Head out for a fun morning of sandboarding on the dunes near Swakopmund

NAD 400

Explore the ocean by boat and search for dolphins, seals, and other marine life

NAD 500

Head out for a quad-biking trip into the Namib deserts near Swakopmund

NAD 550

Take a boat out for off-shore fishing in the seas near the Forbidden Coast

NAD 1200

Head out on horseback to explore the beautiful area around Swakopmund

NAD 570
About Swakopmund:

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

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

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Day 5 to 6: Spitzkoppe

( Thu 01 Aug to Fri 02 Aug )

Travel to Spitzkoppe (290 km, approx 6 hrs).

Stop en route to visit the amazing Cape Cross seal colony.

Travel to the sparsely populated country of Spitzkoppe (360 km, approx 5-6 hrs). We wild camp in the midst of this remote region and witness the landscapes take on remarkable oranges and reds during the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises (for those who can manage to get up at 5.30am).

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)

About Spitzkoppe: The wild lands around the mountain of Spitzkoppe are known as 'the Matterhorn of Namibia'. The mountain, which is 700 million years old, is 1987 metres (5857 feet) high. Although you should not attempt climbing to the top, there are some excellent hikes throughout the area, which is rich in plant life, such as the Myrothamnus flabellifolius, Boscia foetida and the Kleinia longiflora. This is a great place to get away from it all and to appreciate the stunning harsh beauty of this sparsely populated country. One amazing sight to witness here are the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises as the colour of the landscape takes on a series of remarkable orange and red hues.
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Day 7: Palmwag Desert Oasis

( Sat 03 Aug )

Travel to Palmwag Desert Oasis (350 km, approx 8 hrs).

The Palmwag area is home to the desert elephant. Travelling through this area you will have the opportunity to search for this elusive creature.  Set up camp in the oasis tonight.

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

 

 

 

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Day 8 to 9: Etosha National Park

( Sun 04 Aug to Mon 05 Aug )

Head towards Etosha National Park (335 km, approx 5-6 hrs).

Etosha is one of the world's most pre-eminent wildlife areas with good chance to see the big five. We will stay in the park for a couple of days giving us plenty of opportunity for game drives. 

We will stay in the campsites of Namutoni and Okaukejo, both of which have excellent facilities and watering holes for viewing wildlife

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)

 

 

About Etosha National Park:

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

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

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

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

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Day 10 to 11: Grootfontein & Bushmanland

( Tue 06 Aug to Wed 07 Aug )

Travel to Grootfontein and spend the night near a San homestead (315 km, approx 6 hrs).

In Grootfontein we will go out tracking and gathering with the San and listen to the stories and songs of these fascinating people

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)

 

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Bushwalking, tracking and food gathering with San

Included in Kitty
About Grootfontein & Bushmanland:

Grootfontein is a pleasant market town with limestone buildings and tree-lined streets.

It is from here that you can visit the local bushman community.  This gives us the opportunity to go out tracking and gathering with the San and listen to the stories and songs of these fascinating people. The San are the oldest ethnic group in Namibia having inhabited Southern Africa for an estimated 20,000 years.

Around 30,000 San still live in Namibia, but only 2,000 of them continue to follow a traditional way of life. The San have a deep understanding of nature and the ecology, living in harmony with their environment.

Taking part in their everyday lives, you can help the men track animals and watch the women gather and prepare seeds and plants.

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Day 12: Rundu

( Thu 08 Aug )

Head north on a straight drive to the town of Rundu (285 km, approx 5 hrs) where we camp the night at the beautiful N’Kwazi Lodge.

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

 

About Rundu:

The drive along the Caprivi Strip can contain some marvellous sites, but it also has some fantastic places to relax and Rundu is one of them.  

Rundu is the capital of the Kavango region of Namibia, on the border with Angola. A centre of activity for Namibia's growing Angolan community this is a great place to explore.  Whether it is to try the regional taste of Paw Paws or to see what the wood carvings on sale at the market look like, Rundu is the place for it. 

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Day 13 to 14: Okavango Delta

( Fri 09 Aug to Sat 10 Aug )

From Rundu, we drive along the pan handle of the Caprivi strip and then south into Botswana to Sepupa, where we leave our vehicle and board boats out into the swamps.

Transfer by boat to Mokoba Island where we'll meet our mokoro team. We'll board these small dugout-style canoes and be poled out into the reed beds of the delta. Each canoe takes two people and is poled through the meandering waterways by a local tribesman. Reeds and lily pads line the streams, and birds startled by the mokoros rise out of the long grasses. Punting along, the peace may be shattered by the deep grunting of hippos.

You'll be in the middle of a wilderness area but we'll stay in a permanent camp complete with a bar and facilities. All food will be provided by our local hosts and on the first night out you will camp out on an island away from civilisation.

The next day after a morning briefing we step out and explore the island on foot followed by another mokoro trip to a different island for more game walks, lunch and then mokoro back to camp. We stay overnight on the island.

Accommodation

Wild camp (no facilities) (2 nts)

 

 

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Okavango Delta :

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

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

 

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Day 15: Bagani

( Sun 11 Aug )

Today we depart the Okavango Delta, reunite with our truck and cross the border back into Namibia.

In the late afternoon we reach our campsite at Bagani which is situated in the unspoiled upper reaches of the Okavango Panhandle on Namibia's Caprivi Strip.

The camp is set on an island under amazing trees with river frontage and surrounded by seasonally flooded swamps. The area is a paradise of flooded plains and swamps, teeming with wildlife, and nestled between Mahango National Park and Bwabwata National Park. There are lots to see and do, such as swimming in the unique 'floating swimming' pool in the river, mokoro safaris, boat cruises, fishing or bird/village walks. 

If you want to upgrade from a tent, try out a tree house or a bush hut.

It is from this camp located in the Namibian Caprivi Strip that we organise our visit to the Okavango Delta in Botswana.  In Bagani we stay at a well equipped camp site.

Accommodation

Camping (facilities) (1 nt)

 

 

About Bagani:

The town of Bagani is located in the Namibian Caprivi Strip. This is a land of fertile floodplains surrounded by perennial rivers, making for some beautiful scenery. The narrowest part of the Caprivi strip is also a game reserve, and the main road we travel on runs right through the middle of the reserve.

The Strip is a classic example of how the former colonial powers shaped the boundaries of modern Africa. At 500km long, with the game reserve only 32 kms wide, the Strip opens up to almost 100kms wide at the eastern end, before narrowing to a point on the Zambezi River - and this is where the boundaries of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana meet. During the struggle for independence the Caprivi region was home to the South African Army and Police, and from the early 1960s until 1990, the region was in a constant state of war.

Most Caprivians make a living from farming and fishing. In the wet season, waters from the Zambezi and Kavango Rivers flood much of the area. During these months the local people travel through the region using the mokoro canoes similar to those that you see in the Okavango Delta.

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Day 16: Chobe National Park, Kasane

( Mon 12 Aug )

Crossing the border into Botswana, we have a short drive to Kasane on the edge of Chobe National Park (300 km, approx 4-5 hrs).

During our visit to the park, we remain in the north near the Chobe River and take a boat trip along the river to see how many animals we can spot. If you would prefer, you can substitute an open-top jeep safari for the boat trip. Both the boat and jeep trips provide ample opportunity to take stunning wildlife photographs and have intimate experiences without disturbing the fauna.  We stay in a well equipped campsite in Kasane.

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a boat trip to view Chobe National Park's profilic wildlife from the water Included in Kitty
Head out on a safari in Chobe National Park in an open-top jeep (alternative to the scheduled boat trip) BWP 200
About Chobe National Park:

Together with the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park is arguably one of Botswana's top two wildlife destinations. Whilst it's not the country's largest wildlife reserve, it's reputation is justifiably deserved, as it's home to some of the most diverse and abundant flora and fauna in the whole of Africa. Chobe is probably best known for its elephants, being home to some 120,000 of them, migrating hundreds of kilometres from the saltpans in the south of the park to the banks of the Chobe and Linyati between the wet and dry seasons.

Inhabiting the park alongside the elephants are giraffe, oribi, roan and sable antelope, waterbuck, hippo and lion. Bird life along the river is also incredibly diverse and includes fish eagle, harrier hawk, guinea fowl and carmine bee-eaters.

On our visits to Chobe we tend to explore the north of the park, basing ourselves in the River Front region of the Chobe River. Here we enjoy an early morning game drive and get up close to the wildlife, followed by a cruise down the Chobe River- in many ways being on the river itself is the best way to experience the park. Keep an eye out for swimming elephants, a huge variety of bird life as well as hippos wallowing and crocs sunning themselves by the water's edge.

About Kasane: Kasane is the gateway to the Chobe National Park. The wonderful stretch of the river side creates a lovely scene for the small town. It's a great base for exploring the national park and finding out about the wildlife of Botswana.
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Day 17 to 19: Victoria Falls

( Tue 13 Aug to Thu 15 Aug )

Travel on to Victoria Falls, crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi (115 km, approx 3 hrs).

Our campground is centrally located in the town of Victoria Falls, the perfect place to use as a There are various optional activities and excursions available - either on the water, on land or high above it all.  As well as the optional activities on offer your stay in Victoria Falls will include a visit to the Magnificent falls themselves.

Our campground is centrally located in the town of Victoria Falls, the perfect place to use as a base. Upgraded accommodation is on offer subject to availability; please ask at reception or your tour leader for further information.

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

If you would like to stay longer in Victoria Falls you can book post tour accommodation in advance of your tour.  Please speak to one of our sales consultants about this.

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa Included in Kitty
Head out for a full day White Water Rafting on the Zambezi USD 150
Bungee jump (111m) from the bridge over the Second Gorge of the Victoria Falls USD 135
Take a relaxing sunset cruise on the Zambezi USD 55
About Victoria Falls:

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

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

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

Responsible travel note:

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

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Important Notes

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

 

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

We update these notes regularly and so please ensure you have an up-to-date version of these trip notes.

We intend to follow 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 without western infrastructure. You should expect that some of these areas do not adhere to western safety standards.

Physical Preparation

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

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

 

Visa Information

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

The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible. Please read the information very carefully to make sure everything is clear and you aware of what you need to do. Please also be aware that rules surrounding visas do change, often suddenly, and without prior warning. This is why it is important that you also double-check the information we provide for yourself.

For visas that are needed in advance, you may wish to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate. If you require any supporting documentation for your visa applications, please complete the ‘Visa Support Form’ available at this link: http://dragoman-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/visa-support.

However, for trips that involve multiple visas, 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. The visa service is not always available for all nationalities or non-UK residents, depending on the requirements of each specific embassy. The Visa Machine will advise you what they can and cannot provide for your specific circumstances.

As you will often need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure.

Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry into the country.

Botswana

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not need a visa to visit Botswana as a tourist for up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance

Namibia 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not need a visa to visit Namibia as a tourist for up to 3 months.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance. Please note that certain Eastern European nationalities will need to obtain a visa.

Zimbabwe

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will require a visa to enter Zimbabwe as a tourist for up to 90 days.

The easiest way to get a visa is to obtain it on arrival. This is available for most nationalities at all land borders and airports into Zimbabwe. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD55 for UK and Irish passport holders, and USD30 for most other nationalities - this must be paid in USD cash.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required, and whether it will be necessary to obtain it in advance. Please note that certain Eastern European nationalities will need to obtain the visa in advance as well.

As of December 2014, there is a new common visa available called the UNIVISA or KAZA visa, costing USD50 - this will cover Zimbabwe and Zambia for a maximum of 30 days, and for as many entries back and forth between the two countries as required. Please note this is currently undergoing a trial period and is only available at Harare or Lusaka airports, Victoria Falls airport and land border, and the Kazangula land border to Botswana - it is not yet available at the Chirundu border to Malawi or the Plumtree border to Botswana used by Dragoman trips, so this scheme is currently most useful for those arriving in Victoria Falls. The KAZA visa is available to citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries, but is not available to Irish passport holders.

Personal Spending

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on this trip, we recommend you allow between a minimum of $US10 and a maximum of $US20 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

Family trips with Dragoman

Our Family Adventures are designed specifically for the spirited family. We understand that travelling with kids sometimes requires a slightly different perspective. Keeping this in mind, we travel at a slower speed - recognising that showing your family around our exotic destinations can take time. By travelling at a relaxed pace, while still offering plenty of optional activities along the way, we're providing your family with the ultimate travel experience together.

We limit travel times so that you're usually not on transport for more than seven hours or travelling too long after dark. We also try - where possible - to ensure you have at least two nights in each destination so you are not constantly having to unpack those bags.

Best of all, we find trips with children are so successful because kids have such a special ability to break down barriers with their natural curiosity, and because delighted locals always greet them with much affection. For all these reasons and more, you'll discover that Dragoman Family Adventures are an amazing experience for all.

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 $US50.

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

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

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

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

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

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

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

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Who Travels with Dragoman?

Our groups are made up of people from around the world and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split, males to females and between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends. We believe that overlanding should be open to as many people as possible and so although we have a minimum age limit of 18 (or 7 on our Family Trips), as long as you are fit, healthy and passionate about travel, we are happy to take you, whatever your age is. One of the beauties of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way, and as well as the variety of people that you will meet.

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Group Size

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

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

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

Our Crew and Guides

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

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

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

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

Accommodation on Tour

Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying 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 and whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation from time to time.

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

Equally, the type and standard of hotel accommodation will vary greatly depending on what is available in the area; hotels can vary from very basic multi-share rooms without electricity or running water all the way to high standard hotels with good facilities!

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

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The Kitty

In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip (please note that there is no kitty on our Family Trips). The kitty is payable in installments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew and the kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip.

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

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not in hotels)

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

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

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

The kitty is payable in full at the start of your trip (in installments at the start of each individual trip on combination trips) or via our new scheme where you can pay in advance 3-4 weeks before the start of your trip (please see http://www.dragoman.com/files/Kitty_doc_v1.pdf for more details - this letter will also be sent in your booking confirmation upon booking a trip). 

If you are bringing the kitty out in cash, please try to pay in the specified currency on the website (US Dollars, or Euros in West Africa). Your tour leader will be able to accept some of the kitty in local currency if needed, and they will let you know the exchange rate locally - in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines, using either a cash passport or a credit/debit card. Please bear in mind that most cards have a maximum withdrawal amount per day, local ATMs may run out of cash, and your bank could block the card despite you warning them of your travel plans, so it could be impractical to try to get the entire kitty out from an ATM.

Traveller's cheques are becoming increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders are experiencing frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept TCs on our trips. As an alternative, in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines and use either a cash passport or a debit card.

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Meals and Group Participation

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

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

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Dietary Requirements

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

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Itineraries

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

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

• Local contacts we have built up over 33 years of experience

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

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

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

UK  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

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

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

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

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

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

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Health

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

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

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Altitude

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

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Yellow Fever

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

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

Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases

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

Other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya are continuing to spread and becoming a bigger problem around the world. Bite prevention is vital to avoid contracting any of these diseases as there are no vaccines or specific treatments available.

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

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

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Vaccinations

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

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

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

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Safety & Security

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

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

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

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Transport Safety

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

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

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

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

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells

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

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

• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver

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

Road Safety

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

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

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

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Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Homestays

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

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

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

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

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

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

• Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under Western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care.

• We often stay in homestays and farmstays. These may range from a traditional yurt through to a tree house or a town house. As these are traditional homes they may well not adhere to our western standards of safety and so it is important that you make yourself aware of potential risks.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with the hotels/hostels or homestays

Fire Safety – Campsites

• Ensure you know where the nearest source of water or fire extinguisher is.

• Know how to raise the alarm.

• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

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

• Proceed to an assembly point away from the tented accommodation/affected campsite.

Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

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

• Ensure cooking area is well away from the tents.

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

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

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

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife.

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

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

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

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

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

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

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Personal Safety

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

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

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

• Avoid carrying too much money.

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

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

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

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

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

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

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Activity Safety & Optional Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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Included Activities

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

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Optional Activities

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

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Insurance

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

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

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

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

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Our Liability Insurance

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

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Emergency Contact

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

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

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

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Luggage & Kit List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Ground mat or compressed foam*

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

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

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

• 2 pairs of shorts

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking

• 1 pair of sunglasses

• Warm sweater/fleeces

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood

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

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops

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

• Swimwear

• 2 small towels

• Washing kit, including a small mirror

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

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

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

• Good water bottle at least 1 litre

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

• Alarm clock

• Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)

• Writing materials & notebook/diary

• Multi purpose knife.

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

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

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

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

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

 

*For trips with camping nights

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Personal Medical Kit

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

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

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Passports

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

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Pre and Post Trip Accommodation and Connecting Flights

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

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

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

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

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Continuing Your Trip

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

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Contingency Emergency Fund

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

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Responsible Tourism

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

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

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Water

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

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

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Electrical Equipment

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

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

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A Few Rules

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

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

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Issues on the Trip

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

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

customer-relations@dragoman.co.uk.

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

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Tipping

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

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

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Our Community

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

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Feedback

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

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