Nile Route between Cairo and Cape Town with Gorillas, (ACO)

Cairo to Cape Town 1 days, departing 30 Sep 2016
Our wild camp near Spitzkoppe, Namibia A view over Cairo from the Saladin-era Citadel Camels looking towards the Great Pyramids of Giza Penguins at the Boulders colony near Cape Town, South Africa

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Cairo to Cape Town
Duration: 1 days
Transport: Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Private bus, Boat, Ferry, Overnight boat, Mokoro (dugout canoe), Canoe
Physical Rating:

EASY HARD


These are physical tours; you may well be travelling at high altitudes, across deserts or through cold and windy or hot and steamy areas.
Accommodation:

60%40%

Hotels, Hostels, Campsites, Wild camps

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 as diverse as the landscapes - there are over 85 species of mammals and well over 1000 types of birds that reside in the country, with a boat trip in Chobe National Park being one of the best places to observe elephants in the region.

The sand of the Kalahari Desert covers most of Botswana, and in the east there are the vast salt pans of Makgadikgadi. With very little rainfall, these areas are a perfect habitat for some Botswana's iconic wildlife. On the other end of the scale, another of Botswana's massive highlights is the Okavango Delta, where the Okvango River drains into and never reaches the ocean - this is one of the most scenic areas of the world and is packed full of wildlife. A trip in the local 'mokoros' to wild camp on the delta's islands is one of the most magical experiences in Africa!

Botswana is also home to a variety of cultures, perhaps most famously the San tribe - masters of desert survival, this incredible civilisation still thrives in their traditional lifestyle in the Kalahari.

Egypt

Egypt is a country packed full of internationally-celebrated historical sites! 

The history and culture of Ancient Egypt spans back an incredible 6000 years, and vast swathes of this heritage remains in its brilliantly-preserved glory. From the earliest Old Kingdom sites of Saqqara and Dashur, to the New Kingdom capital of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, to the Ptolemaic-era Temple of Edfu and the Greek and Roman sites of Alexandria, the country is brimming full of history and unique treasures.

The capital Cairo is the largest city in Africa, and is full of fascinating places to visit such as the Egyptian Museum and the Saladin-era Citadel, as well as being the centre of culture, art and music in the Arabic world. However, the main attraction for visitors are the iconic Great Pyramids of Giza - the oldest and only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids are one of the most incredible and mind-blowing sights on the planet.

Some of Egypt's other amazing historical highlights include the remarkable Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, the impeccably-preserved Temples of Edfu and Dendara, and Luxor's alley of the Kings and the Temple of Karnak. Other fantastic highlights are experiencing the coast of the glittering Red Sea, strolling around the busy city of Alexandria, exploring the remote Sahara deserts, and of course drifing down the famous River Nile on a traditional felucca sailing boat.

Egypt has an amazing history, and there is so much to be discovered and so many adventures to be found.

Ethiopia

With a friendly atmosphere, a country brimming with history, fascinating tribes and scenic National Parks, Ethiopia is a country that is as diverse as you can get in Africa.

Ethiopia is home to some of the world's most dramatic and varied landscapes. The north contains spectacular mountains and highlands, including the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park which contains a bewildering array of wildlife! The east contains vast lowland deserts and depressions, and the south has lush valleys and stunning lakes. 

The culture and history of Ethiopia is also wonderfully unique. Ethiopia has contained a devoted Orthodox Christian culture for centuries, and this legacy is evident in the country's incredible monasteries and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. In the far north was the home of the ancient Axumite Empire, and Gondar contains some of the most impressive medieval structures in Africa. The south we find the Omo Valley, home to some fascinating tribal cultures such as the Hamer, Konzo and the Dorze.

Ethiopia is a country full of life and colour, and this is expressed through the fantastic variety of the music, from the rhythmic folk music of the remote tribal areas to the incredibly cool Ethio-jazz styles of Addis Ababa. Ethiopia's cuisine is very unique, including the iconic (and acquired taste) of injera, the sourdough pancakes that are ubiquitous across the nation.

A journey into Ethiopia is a journey into some of the most interesting, amazing and varied areas of Africa, and should be high on everyone's lists!

 

 

Kenya

Kenya is a country full of life and colour, of tribes and traditions, and of wildlife and game parks!

Of course it's the wildlife that draws most people to Kenya, and the country deserves every bit of its excellent reputation. The famous National Parks and Reserves have abundant animal populations, and a safari in Nakuru, Samburu or Hell's Gate is sure to find plenty of Kenya's famous wildlife roaming the breathtaking scenery. The most famous of all is the incredible Maasai Mara, a spectacular savannah land where you'll commonly see lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, zebras, baboons, and many more!

Kenya does have much more than just its wildlife, and features excellent scenery, fascinating and lively people, and some of the most eclectic culture and music found in Africa.

Kenya packs a lot into a small space, and has a well-deserved reputation for being one of Africa's biggest highlights.

Malawi

Malawi is often referred to as the warm heart of Africa, as there is a friendly welcome awaiting any visitors to the country.

The main draw for visitors to Malawi is the beautiful lake that takes the country's name, also referred to as the Lake of Stars. It's possible to kayak, snorkel, scuba dive, horse ride, or just kick back and enjoy the beach. The shore of Lake Malawi is the perfect place to watch the sunsets and enjoy a sundowner.

In the capital of Lilongwe, there is a city brimming with culture. There are markets that line the streets and the sound of jazz is never far away. Malawians want to make visitors feel welcome, and their happiness and generous nature is legendary in overlanding circles!

Namibia

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

A perfect place for an early trek to see the sunrise, the giant sand dunes and desolate salt pans of Sossusvlei and Sesriem are some of the most ethereal sights in Africa, and you'll be able to explore its surreal landscapes in-depth. The breathtaking views of sunset over the colossal Fish River Canyon are equally impressive! Namibia's incredible natural highlights also include the rugged mountain of Spitzkoppe, the bizarre Quiver Tree Forests of Keetmanshoop, and the hauntingly-desolate Namib Desert.

Namibia also contains some incredible wildlife, and the best place in the country for animal spotting is Etosha National Park in the north. Next to a huge salt pan, the park is packed full of zebras, antelopes, lions, leopards, elephants, zebras, rhinos, and much more! On the Atlantic coast at Cape Cross we can see one of the world's largest seal colonies in their natural habitat.

Swakopmund a laid-back coastal town and home to many pulse-raising optional activities, from quad-biking through the dunes, surfing the waves in the ocean or exploring the Skeleton Coast from the air on a stunning scenic flight. The country is also home to a vast variety of fascinating cultures, including the resilient San tribes and the remarkable Himba people.

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

Rwanda

Rwanda is a tiny landlocked republic in the heart of East Africa, which is for many people one of the continent's biggest surprises. 

Much of the country is covered in lush, cool mountains, especially in the volcanic Virunga chain on the western side of the country. In the Volcanoes National Park, the peaks reach above the clouds and provide a large natural habitat for the legendary mountain gorillas. Treks into the forests to see the gorillas are the major attraction for any visitor to Rwanda, and provides vital income for the country and for the conservation efforts for the region, as well as of course an unforgettable experience for the traveller!

Of course the country is also famous for the tragic genocide in 1994, a brutal chapter in a complex rivalry between the Hutu and Tutsi tribal groupings, and we will visit the incredibly moving memorial centre in the capital of Kigali. 

Rwanda has made enormous progress in rebuilding itself following the tragedy of the 1990s, and is rapidly acquiring a reputation for the warmth of the welcome provided to travellers. It is many visitors' highlight of a trip through East Africa, and with very good reason!

 

South Africa

South Africa is an unforgettable destination that you will want to travel to again and again.

The city of Cape Town is where we start and end our journeys through South Africa, and it is one of the world's most scenic cities - with its stunning coastline, the spectacular Table Mountain dominating over it, and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. There are vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every corner, gardens, beaches, and museums to explore, and plenty of restaurants and cafes to relax in.

South Africa has some truly delicious food to sample - from the traditional 'Potjiekos' stew to the meaty 'Boerewors' sausages and the famous dried biltong, you'll never be disappointed when trying the country's fantastic cuisine. South Africa's wine is deservedly world famous, and the region also gave the world Rooibos tea!

The vibrant South African lifestyle is perfectly reflected in the music - from folk music to jazz, hip hop and pop, and traditional music still playing all over the country, the sounds of South Africa are beautifully diverse and an important factor in the country's culture.

South Africa is a modern country with deep roots in traditional African culture, and is a wonderful nation to explore!

Sudan

Sudan is one of the least-visited places in Africa, and yet it has so much to offer the overland traveller. The friendliness of the Sudanese people is legendary in traveller circles, and you'll always find a warm and curious reception from the locals!

Khartoum is the capital city, and it is full of life and colour - there's a few interesting museums to explore and some incredible markets to see.

Sudan is famous for its unique Kushite-era temples and steep-sided pyramids. Much less-known than the ancient treasures of Egypt, the ancient Nubian ruins of Meroe, Naqa and Musawwarat are incredibly impressive and very special to witness.

Perhaps Sudan's biggest highlight is the vast and desolate Sahara Desert, and the incredible journey that we will make while overland across the country. Sudan is one of the world's best areas for remote and serene wild camping, and our many nights camping out underneath the dazzling stars will be truly transcendent.

Cherish this wonderful and often-overlooked country. Meet some of the friendliest people in the world, embrace the traditions and you'll never forget the magic of Sudan.

 

 

Tanzania

A leopard resting in the Ngorongoro Crater

Tanzania is the place for the classic East African safari experience, and is home to some of the world’s most famous and unbelievable game parks. The wide open plains of the Serengeti, green after the rains, brown and burned in the dry season, and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses, the plains get its name from the Maasai word siringitu, "the place where the land moves on forever".

Next to the Serengeti is the phenomenal Ngorongoro Crater, a 19km-wide fertile volcanic caldera that is packed full of some of the most incredible wildlife in the world. You have a very good chance to spot leopards, lions, rhinos, hippos, buffalo, giraffes, cheetahs, elephants, and much more in this natural wonderland.

Tanzania is also home to the Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, which towers over the savannah at a height of nearly 6000 metres. 

Tanzania is also home to the fabled tropical island of Zanzibar. From the perfect white beaches and dazzling blue ocean to the ancient stone-paved charm of Stone Town, you can disappear into a world of serenity. We can delve into the island's unique history, explore the old slaving forts and bustling markets of Stone Town, visit the famous spice plantations, or snorkel around the island's fantastic coral reefs.

Tanzania is a country full of incredible beauty and natural splendours, and is waiting to be discovered with Dragoman.

Uganda

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

Uganda is brimming with National Parks. The Queen Elizabeth National Park is one the most visited, and contains an astonishing 600 species of birds and 100 different types of mammals, including the famous tree-climbing lions! In the north we visit the remote Murchison Falls National Park, home to an incredible array of wildlife including wild chimpanzees, and also the location of the most powerful waterfall in the world.

Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. This is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and for the eco-traveller! The area is beautiful and is located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. It's a paradise of adventure activities from white-water rafting to quad bikes to bungee jumping!

Zambia

Zambia is one of Southern Africa's gems, and yet it is often overlooked by travellers to the region - this wonderful small country features some incredible scenery, and friendly gentle people.

Zambia contains one of Africa's best-kept secrets - the spectacular South Luangwa National Park. Much less famous than its counterparts to the north such as the Serengeti and Maasai Mara, South Luangwa draws far fewer tourists; however, it is a game park that is teeming with wildlife, and you'll commonly spot lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes, leopards, and much much more roaming the primeval landscapes.

Of course, Zambia is also famous as being one side of the mighty Victoria Falls, Africa's largest waterfalls and one of the world's most impressive natural sights.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is one of Southern Africa's most beautiful regions and home to spectacular rolling landscapes, National Parks and striking baobab trees.

A country recovering from its troubles in the early 2000s, Zimbabwe is once again becoming a gem on the Southern African circuit. Two of the continent's finest National Parks can be found here: Hwange, famous for its mighty elephant herds and wild dog populations, and Matobo, well-known for its rhinos, ancient cave paintings and the containing the grave of the colonialist Cecil Rhodes.

Some of sub-Saharan Africa's earliest great civilisations emerged from what is today Zimbabwe, and this legacy can be seen in some of the greatest ancient ruins found in the continent - the phenomenal 11th-Century ruins of Great Zimbabwe near Masvingo and Khami near Bulawayo.

And of course, Zimbabwe is most famous for containing one of the world's greatest highlights, the magnificent Victoria Falls! The largest waterfalls in Africa and featuring an unbroken curtain of water nearly a kilometre long, the Victoria Falls are also known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, "The Smoke That Thunders".

Zimbabwe is perfect for nature lovers and for all travellers who want to experience Africa at its purist.

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Daily Itinerary

Kids from the Arbore tribe in the Omo Valley of southern Ethiopia
A hut at the Samburu village stay in central Kenya
A local taking his camel towards the Pyramids of Giza, near Cairo
The top of the incredible St. George cathedral, Lalibela, Ethiopia
Hippos socialising in Lake Naivasha, Kenya
The sun sets over the Nile near Khartoum, Sudan
A mighty silverback mountain gorilla in the Rwandan forests
A leopard resting in the Ngorongoro Crater
The mighty Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
On a mokoro heading into the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Our wild camp near Spitzkoppe, Namibia
Kids playing table football in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A typical street in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa
The Lion of Judah statue in Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa
Sunset over the Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa
The Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital
The Mediterranean coastline of Alexandria, northern Egypt
The 15th-century Mamluk Citadel of Qaitbey on the Mediterranean coast at Alexandria, Egypt
The beautiful modern library of Alexandria, Egypt
Meeting some Maasai villagers near Arusha in northern Tanzania
At a Maasai village near Arusha, Tanzania
A view over the town of Aswan, southern Egypt
The ancient Egyptian temple of Philae, near Aswan
A spice market in Aswan, Egypt
Traditional felucca sail-boats on the Nile near Aswan
The broken Great Obelisk of the Axumite Empire, in Axum, northern Ethiopia
Inside the Church of St. Mary of Zion, Axum, Ethiopia
The broken Great Obelisk of the Axumite Empire, in Axum, northern Ethiopia
Hippos in Lake Tana, Bahir Dar
The Blue Nile Falls near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Carrying wood near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
The mighty Blue Nile Falls during rainy season
At the source of the Blue Nile near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
The Blue Nile Falls in the dry season, Ethiopia
Ethiopian Wolf spotted on the Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains
A friendly Mountain Nyala in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
The beautiful scenery of the Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
The stunning and desolate scenery of the Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
A view over Cairo from the Saladin-era Citadel
Camels looking towards the Great Pyramids of Giza
The world-famous Great Pyramids of Giza, built 4000 years ago
An atmospheric market in central Cairo
Two icons of Ancient Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx
Another incredible view of the Pyramids of Giza, near Cairo
A local taking his camel towards the Pyramids of Giza, near Cairo
Penguins at the Boulders colony near Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain looming over Cape Town, South Africa
The beautiful coastal city of Cape Town, South Africa
The beach of Chitimba, on the shores of Lake Malawi

Day 1: Cairo

( Fri 30 Sep )

Border Information: if joining in Cairo, you will most likely enter Egypt at Cairo International Airport (IATA code: CAI).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to check your Sudanese visa or make sure the necessary preparations have been done to pick your visa up in Cairo or Aswan. They will also need to check the Ethiopian visas of anyone going beyond Khartoum.

In the afternoon we will have an included half-day guided visit to the Egyptian Museum. We will go to the museum by metro or by taxi, and be shown around the vast and breathtaking collection of historical relics and treasures, including the sarcophagus of Akhenaten, the mummy of Ramses II and of course the incredible golden mask of Tutankhamun!

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cairo before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cairo.

In Cairo we wil stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Hotel for the night: The King Hotel

The King Hotel

20 Abdel Rehim Sabri St.

El Dokki

Cairo

Egypt

Tel - +20 233 359 455

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour of the incredible Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and see it's overwhelming collection of antiquities including the contents of Tutankhamun's tomb

Included in Kitty
Entrance to the Mummy Room in the Egyptian Museum, which displays the mummies of some very important Pharoahs such as Akenaten, Ramses II and Hatshepsut EGP 100
Visit The Pharonic Village, a showcase of various scenes of everyday life in Ancient Egypt EGP 150
Explore the medieval Islamic fortress of the Cario Citadel, built by the warrior Saladin, and the beautiful Ottoman Mosque of Muhammed Ali Pasha EGP 50
Visit the collection of Egyptian Coptic Christian heritage at the Coptic Museum and the nearby Hanging Church EGP 50
See the 9th-century Nileometer on Rhoda Island, which was once used for carefully measuring the height of the Nile during the annual flood EGP 15
Entrance to the distinctive Cairo Tower, the tallest building in North Africa (when open) EGP 70
Explore the scenic Al Azhar Park, an oasis of beautiful greenery within Cairo, built in tradition Islamic style EGP 7
About Cairo:

Situated on the banks of the River Nile on the edge of the Nile Delta, Cairo is one of the largest cities in Africa. Built near the remains of the ancient Old Kingdom capital of Memphis, the modern capital is a colossal buzzing metropolis which is the world's centre of Arabic culture, music and art.

There are countless highlights and activities to see and do in Cairo, such as exploring the narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches of the Coptic Christian sector, visiting the Saladin-era Cairo citadel, and discover some fantastic art in the Museum of Islamic Art.

Whilst in Cairo, we take an unforgettable tour around the sites of Giza - these include the ruins of the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis, the ancient Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara (built all the way back in the 3rd Dynasty in approximately 2650 BCE), and the Red Pyramid of Sneferu at Dahshur (built in the 4th Dynasty between 2613 and 2589 BCE). This tour culminates in a visit to the world-famous icons of Ancient Egypt - the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx! Built as the tombs of the Pharoahs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure between 2570 and 2510 BCE, the pyramids are truly a masterpiece of ancient engineering and ambition - the pyramid of Khufu was the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is the only one that still stands today!

Another massive highlight of Cairo is a visit to the Egyptian Museum in the central Tahrir Square. The museum is one of the most incredibly well-stocked collections of ancient treasures in the world, and contains the horde of phenomenal art and gifts that were uncovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, including the Pharoah's iconic blue and gold funerary mask. The museum also contains a fabulous collection of other artifacts and the mummies of several important Pharoahs, making a visit absolutely essential while you are in Cairo!

Day 2: Cairo

( Sat 01 Oct )

Today we will set off in a local chartered minibus for an included full-day guided tour to Memphis, the pyramids at Saqqara, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

We will aim to be back in Cairo for around 4:00pm today and stay overnight in the same hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Entrance to the interior of the Khufu Pyramid at Giza

EGP 120

Visit the site of Dashur, with the fascinating Red and Bent Pyramids built by the 4th Dynasty Pharoah Sneferu - includes entrance to the interior of the Red Pyramid

Included in Kitty

Entrance to the interior of the Menkaure Pyramid at Giza

EGP 40

See the world-famous statue of the mythical Sphinx in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza

Included in Kitty
Explore the world-famous site of the Great Pyramids of Giza, the tombs of three Pharoahs of the 4th Dynasty, and the oldest and only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Included in Kitty
See the reconstruction of an Ancient Egyptian reed boat at the Pyramids of Giza EGP 40
Visit the ancient 3rd Dynasty necropolis of Saqqara, including Djoser's Step Pyramid, the oldest complete stone building ever built in the world Included in Kitty

See the stunning Sound and Light show at the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

EGP 120

Explore the remains of Memphis, the old capital of Lower Egypt

Included in Kitty

Day 3 to 4: Alexandria

( Sun 02 Oct to Mon 03 Oct )

Today we will start our journey by travelling up to the Mediterranean coast to the bustling city of Alexandria, where will spend 2 nights exploring the sights. We will have the chance to visit the beautiful modern Alexandria Library, explore various historical sites, and to go diving in the Mediterranean.

In Alexandria we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Bibliotheca Alexandria, the incredible modern Library of Alexandria

EGP 70

Scuba diving around the incredible submerged port of Heracleion in the Mediterranean Sea

EGP 800
See the interesting collections and exhibits at the Alexandria Museum, located in a restored Italian-style palace EGP 65
Explore the incredible 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre of Kom El Dikka EGP 15
Visit the incredible Citadel of Qaitbey, a 15th-century defensive fortress on the mouth of the Eastern Harbour EGP 25
Explore the ancient underground catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa EGP 35
Take a trip out to the incredibly moving war cemeteries of El Alamein, the site of one of the most influential battles of World War II Free
About Alexandria:

Egypt's second largest city and main port, Alexandria was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates in 331 BCE under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis, and it has been an important Mediterranean settlement ever since.

Modern Alexandria is still a bustling urban centre, and features some wonderful historical sites, including the Roman amphitheatre of Kom El Dikka and the incredible 15th Century fort of the Citadel of Qaitbey. There are some fantastic museums and the wonderful modern architecture of the Alexandria Library.

If you are keen on scuba diving, there are also some excellent trips out to wrecks and sunken Egyptian towns out of the harbour!

Day 5: Port Said

( Tue 04 Oct )

Today we will follow the Mediterranean coast across the Nile Delta to reach Port Said, the town at the northern outflow of the Suez Canal.

In Port Said we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
See the famous and influential Suez Canal near Port Said Included in Kitty
About Port Said:

Port Said is a bustling town on the Mediterranean coast, and marks the northern point of the world-famous Suez Canal. The Suez Canal was constructed in the 1860s to allow ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without having to navigate around Africa, reducing the journey distance by around 7,000kms. It is around 193kms long and sees around 50 vessels pass through it per day, making it a vital waterway for world trade and very influential in Egypt's international relations.

Day 6: Eastern Deserts, Zafarana

( Wed 05 Oct )

Today we will travel south following the Suez Canal, then branch out into the Eastern Deserts, visiting the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Anthony en route.

We will aim to stay in a simple local guesthouse in Zafarana en route.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Anthony in Egypt's Eastern Deserts

Included in Kitty
About Zafarana:

Near the small town of Zafarana in Egypt's eastern deserts is the Monastery of St. Anthony - a Coptic Christian monastery that was built in the 4th Century CE, making it one of the oldest Christian buildings in the world.

The monastery was set up by followers of St. Anthony, who lived an ascetic life of spiritual reflection out here in a nearby cave in the desert, and was thought to be the one of the first Christian monks in the world.

Enjoying relative peace and stability due to its remote location, the monastery is today a centre for many pilgrims to visit. The modern monastery is a self-contained village with gardens, a mill, a bakery and five churches. The walls are adorned with paintings of knights in bright colours and hermits in more subdued colours - the oldest of these paintings date from the 7th Century, while the newest date from the 13th. It is a fascinating and very different place to visit on our travels through Egypt!

Day 7: El Quseir

( Thu 06 Oct )

Today we will travel down the stunning coast of the Red Sea to explore the Ottoman fort at El Quseir.

In El Quseir we will stay in a pleasant campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the Ottoman Fort at El Quseir

Included in Kitty
About El Quseir:

The Red Sea coastal town of El Quseir has a history spanning back 5,000 years ,and was once one of the principal ports of the Ancient Egyptians. These days it is a quiet town with a serene atmosphere and a few sandy beaches, the centrepiece of which is the incredible Ottoman fort built by the Sultan Selim in the 16th Century CE.

Day 8 to 10: Marsa Alam

( Fri 07 Oct to Sun 09 Oct )

Today we will complete our drive to the beautiful southern Red Sea village of Marsa Alam.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

We will have 2 full days in Marsa Alam to relax on the beaches, enjoy many optional activities on the Red Sea, or to take an optional overnight camel safari out into the nearby deserts of Wadi-el-Gamal!

In Marsa Alam we will stay in a basic local beach guesthouse.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out scuba-diving through the coral reefs of the Red Sea

EUR 60

Explore the coral reefs of the Red Sea from a 'semi-submarine', a boat designed with huge underwater viewing windows

EUR 40

Take an overnight camel safari out into the Wadi-El-Gamal desert, sleeping out under the stars

EGP 300
Snorkel through the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea, searching for dolphins and other marine life EUR 60
Visit the fascinating traditional camel markets of Shalateen, on the remote coastal border with Sudan EUR 50
Head out for a sunset quad biking trip into the deserts near Marsa Alam EUR 35
About Marsa Alam:

The coastal resort of Marsa Alam is a fantastic base to explore the Red Sea - there are many activities available here such as snorkelling, diving, fishing, and surfing, as well as simply relaxing on the stunning sandy beaches. There's also plenty of chance to head inland and explore the desolate Eastern Deserts on camelback!

Day 11 to 13: Luxor

( Mon 10 Oct to Wed 12 Oct )

Today we will head to Luxor, a beautiful modern town built on the site of the Ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes, where we will spend 3 nights exploring the incredible historical sites here. We will also try to visit the Temple of Hathor at Dendara en route (if accessible).

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the second day we will have an included guided tour around the world-famous Karnak Temple, which is walking distance from our hotel. This temple contains some remarkably preserved painted walls and many awe-inspiring pillars and obelisks, and was the centre of religious life in Thebes. Our tour will last about 2 hours, and then we will have free time for the rest of the day to explore the temple independently, and to visit the other sites in Luxor such as the smaller Luxor Temple in the town centre, and the small but beautiful Luxor Museum, which is filled with priceless treasures from the area.

On the third day we will have an included tour to the West Bank, which will encompass the Hatshepsut Temple and the phenomenal Valley of the Kings, the location of the tombs of the Pharoahs of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.

In Luxor we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour of the monumental Temple of Karnak, built over approximately 1700 years between the Middle Kingdom and the Ptolomaic era

Included in Kitty

Explore the colossal 18th-Dynasty Temple of Luxor

EGP 65

Visit the fascinating Luxor Museum of Antiquities

EGP 80

See the remarkably well-preserved painted murals in the Temple of Hathor in Dendara

Included in Kitty
Explore the phenomenal royal tombs at the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank of the Nile Included in Kitty
Visit the world-famous tomb of the Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, the only Egyptian royal tomb ever discovered undisturbed EGP 100
Visit the impressive Temple of Hatshepsut, built to honour one of Egypt's most influential Pharoahs Included in Kitty
About Luxor:

Situated on the banks of the Nile, modern-day Luxor was once the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes (also known to the Ancient Egyptians as Waset). Thebes was first inhabited from around 3200 BCE, initially merely as a small trading post when the Old Kingdom capital was at Memphis, near current-day Cairo. Thebes grew as a religious centre throughout the Midde Kingdom between 1900 and 1700 BCE, but rose to huge prominence in the 18th Dynasty (New Kingdom period) when it was made the capital by Pharoah Ahmose I in around 1550 BCE. The New Kingdom, with Thebes as its capital, saw some of the most influential Pharoahs come to power, including Hatshepsut, Amenhotep III, Akenaten and Tutankhamun - after the onset of the 19th Dynasty in 1292 BCE, the capital was moved to the Nile Delta.

On the site of Thebes is the modern town of Luxor, and there are some unbeliveable highlights to be found in and around the town. In the north of the town is the spectacular temple complex of Karnak, the largest temple in Egypt and the second largest religious site ever built in the world (second only to Angkor Wat in Cambodia). From humble beginnings in the Middle Kingdom, Karnak was continually added to and modified all the way up until its abondoment in 323 CE, making it a site that was active for over 2000 years! The temple has a vast array of pillars, pylons, and temples, including the largest still-standing ancient obelisk in the world, erected by Hatshepsut in the mid 15th Century BCE.

On the other side of the Nile on the west bank is the world-famous Valley of the Kings - a hidden labyrinth of tombs of former Pharoahs and other nobles dating from the 16th to the 11th Centuries BCE, including that of Ramses II, Hatshepsut, Akenaten, and of course of Tutankhamun. So far, 63 tombs and chambers have been discovered, many with phenomenal paintings and murals inside that have been protected from sun damage for centuries. Unfortunately, all of the tombs have been ransacked by various tomb robbers throughout the ages - all except for the tomb of Tutankamun, which was discovered in 1922 with the entrance and all the treasures within completely intact - the contents having now been moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Day 14: Edfu, Aswan

( Thu 13 Oct )

Today we leave Luxor and visit the incredible Temple of Edfu, an awe-inspiring temple dedicated to Horus built during the Ptolomaic era, which is considered to be the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt.

We will then continue on to the southern city of Aswan - here is where we will pick up the Sudanese visas of anyone who has arranged them to be processed here in advance.

In Aswan we stay in a comfortable hotel in the centre of the town, next to the Nile River.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour of the Ptolomaic-era Temple of Horus at Edfu, considered to be the best preserved temple in Egypt

Included in Kitty
About Edfu:

The Temple of Horus in Edfu (also known as the Temple of Edfu) is considered the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt. This partly because it was built later than most during the Ptolemaic era after Alexander the Great's invasion of Egypt - it is thought that the temple was constructed over nearly 200 years between 237 and 57 BCE.

Dedicated to the falcon god Horus, Edfu is also the second largest temple in Egypt after the Karnark Temple in Luxor. Despite its later construction, the temple exactly reflects the traditional Egyptian Pharaonic architecture and provides us with an excellent and authentic idea of how all the temples once must have looked. The temple is a spectacular highlight of our time in Egypt, featuring large sections that are completely preserved and very little that lies in ruins. Much of the paintwork has been preserved, and the interior carvings are very intricately designed.

About Aswan:

Aswan is a beautiful town situated on one of the most picturesque parts of the Nile - it has stunning vistas, a vibrant market, some wonderful ancient sites, and the whole town is characterised by the Nubian people.

At Aswan you can visit the phenomenal Philae Temple, a quarry with an unfinished obelisk, and the famous Aswan high dam - the dam was built to control the flow of the Nile thus creating Lake Nasser, the largest artificial lake in the world. There is also an opportunity to take a boat trip out to the beautiful Elephantine Island and explore the botanical gardens on nearby Einabatat Island, which were originally cultivated by Lord Kitchener. 

Another highlight of Aswan is the excellent Nubian Museum, which showcases the unique and fascinating Nubian culture and history. Aswan is wonderful for a having dinner on one of the many floating riverfront restaurants, watching the traditional feluccas sail by.

Day 15: Aswan, Nile Felucca

( Fri 14 Oct )

Today we will board a traditional felucca sailboat for an overnight adventure exploring the Nile by boat.

Our accommodation tonight will be on board the felucca.

Activity Approximate Cost

Discover the River Nile by boat on an afternoon and overnight felucca trip

Included in Kitty

Day 16 to 17: Aswan

( Sat 15 Oct to Sun 16 Oct )

We will return from the felucca to Aswan, where we will have 2 full days to enjoy to wealth of history and culture that Aswan has to offer, and to make optional visits to the Philae Temple, Elephantine Island, the Nubian Museum, and the Aswan Dam. If the group are keen to extend the felucca trip, we also have time to allow this possibility.

We will return to our same hotel in Aswan for these 2 nights.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Philae Temple, a beautiful Ptolomaic-era temple to Osiris on an island near Aswan

EGP 110

Visit the controversial Aswan High Dam

EGP 30

Take a boat trip out to Elephantine Island to explore its ruins and Nileometers, and to the beautiful botanical gardens on Elnabatat's Island

EGP 90

Explore the Tombs of the Nobles near Aswan, the rock-hewn tombs of nobility all the way from the Old Kingdom to the Roman era

EGP 40
Visit the Nubian Museum, a fantastic showcase of Nubian culture and civilisation EGP 20
Explore the nearby Fatimid cemetery, a rare window into the 10th and 11th-century Fatimid Caliphate era Free
Visit the incredible Roman-era Temple of Kalabsha, constructed in tribute to Mandulis, the Nubian sun god EGP 50
Learn all about the process and techniques of mummification at the Luxor Mummification Museum EGP 60

Day 18: Abu Simbel

( Mon 17 Oct )

Today we will drive with the 11:00am convoy to the small village of Abu Simbel, where we will have an included visit to the phenomenal Temples of Ramses and Nefertari, with a possibility to visit the sound and light show after sunset (if it is running).

In Abu Simbel we will stay in a basic local guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the awe-inspiring world-famous Temple of Ramses II and Temple of Nefertari in Abu Simbel

Included in Kitty
Watch the fantastic Sound and Light show at the Abu Simbel Temples EGP 60
About Abu Simbel:

Abu Simbel is the location of two phenomenal ancient temples built in the 13th Century BCE by the Pharoah Ramses II. Carved into two rock mountains on the shore of the River Nile near the Sudanese border, the UNESCO World Heritage site consists of an ornate temple dedicated to the Pharoah and commemorating his victory at the Battle of Kadesh against the Hittite Empire, and the other temple dedicated to his wife Queen Nefertari.

The iconic temples feature colossal statues of Ramses and Nefertari on the exterior and incrediblly well-preserved wall carvings and painted murals on the interior. Incredibly, the entire complex was painstakingly relocated from its original location in 1968, in order to keep it away from the rising waters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam.

Day 19: Wadi Halfa

( Tue 18 Oct )

Border Information: Exit Egypt at Qustol, enter Sudan at Qustol.

Today we will take an early transport ferry across to the east side of Lake Nasser, and then head across the border where we meet our local facilitator who will accompany us in Sudan. We will then drive a short distance to the dusty northern Sudanese frontier town of Wadi Halfa, where we will spend the night.

In Wadi Halfa we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Day 20 to 21: Wawa, Dongola, Karima

( Wed 19 Oct to Thu 20 Oct )

Over the next 2 days we will journey through the remote areas of Northern Sudan and the vast Sahara Desert. En route we will visit many ruined temples of the Kushite era, including the Temple of Soleb near Wawa, the Deffufa of Kerma near Dongola, and the pyramids at Jebel Barkal mountain near the town of Karima.

On both of these nights we will wild camp out in the remote deserts, which is the true highlight of travelling overland through Sudan!

Estimated Drive Times - 4-7 hours each day.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Kushite temples and climb to the summit of the distinctive Jebel Barkal mountain

Included in Kitty

Visit the pre-Kushite Temple of Deffufa, a 5,500 year old Nubian archaeological site built by the Kerma civilisation

Included in Kitty

Explore the ancient Kushite Royal Pyramids at Nuri, near Karima

Included in Kitty

Cross the Nile and explore the remote Kushite Temple of Soleb

Included in Kitty
About Wawa:

Soleb is a ruined town in modern-day Sudan just north of the Third Cataract of the Nile, and was the site of an important ancient Egyptian temple built during the 18th Dynasty. Several important Pharoahs of the mid-18th Dynasty visited the site, including Amenhotep III, Akenaten, Tutankhamun, and Ay. The small village of Wawa lies on the opposite bank of the Nile, so we can take a small boat across the river to explore the ruins.

About Dongola:

The ancient site of Old Dongola is a deserted town on the east bank of the Nile - it was an important settlement in medieval times, as it was the departure point for caravans heading west towards Darfur and Kordofan. The old town flourished between the 4th and 14th Centuries CE as the capital of the Kingdom of Makuria, a small Christian kingdom that ruled over the surrounding areas as far north as modern-day Aswan at its peak. In the 19th Century, the remaining population of Old Dongola moved 80kms downstream to the modern site of Dongola.

About Karima:

Near the small town of Karima are the ruins at of the Temple of Amun underneath the distinctive flat-topped mountain of Jebel Barkal.

The hill top of Jebel Barkal was one of the earliest spiritual centres of Kush, and a major landmark for traders and travellers navigating their way through Nubia. The all-powerful Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II constructed a temple to the Theban god Amun here in the 13th Century BCE, some of which remains to this day. 600 years later, it is said that the great Nubian Pharaoh Taharqa had the mountain's peak covered in gold during his reign in the 7th Century BCE.

The area has numerous historical sites, including some the tombs and pyramids at nearby Nuri - this site contained the tombs of 21 kings, together with 52 queens and princes. Taharqa, the penultimate king of the 25th Dynasty, was the first king to build his tomb at Nuri, and it is the biggest pyramid built at the site. These pyramids are on the opposite bank of the river from Jebel Barkal, and you can get some excellent views of the site if you have the energy to climb to the top of Jebel Barkal!

Day 22 to 24: Musawwarat, Meroe, Naqa

( Fri 21 Oct to Sun 23 Oct )

Over these days we continue our journey into the heart of Sudan, visiting the incredible and haunting Nuri pyramids and Meroe pyramids of the Kushite era. We will then continue south to visit the Kushite ruins at the sites of Naqa and Musawwarat.

We will wild camp in the Sudanese deserts on these nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours each day.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the ancient Kushite temples of Naqa and Musawwarat

Included in Kitty

Explore the other-worldly pyramids at Meroe, the late capital of the Kushite civilisation

Included in Kitty
About Musawwarat:

Musawwarat es Sufra is the site of a large Kushite temple complex, dating back to the 3rd Century BCE. It contained the primary cult temple of the Meroitic deity Apedemak, a lion-headed god that was said to guard the tombs of kings and other royalty, casting a curse on anyone who would disturb the tombs. The complex had a labyrinth of courtyards, passages, walls and columns, and had many sculptures of animals such as elephants. The complex layout of the site is, as far as is known, without parallel in the entirety of Nubia and ancient Egypt - and it is thought that the complex may have contained a college, a hospital, and even an elephant-training camp!

About Meroe:

Meroe was the southern capital of the Kingdom of Kush for several centuries between 850 BCE and 350 CE. Early signs of culture in Nubia (northern Sudan and southern Egypt) first appear from around 3500 BCE, when Egypt was in the period of the Old Kingdom. Over time, the Nubian Kushite kingdom became increasingly powerful and consequently the Egyptians began to feel threatened, which prompted an invasion where they attempted to subdue their close neighbours.

Having given in to occupation, Kush effectively became a province of Egypt between 1500 and 1100 BCE. During this time the Egyptians controlled all the trade and the mineral wealth, in particular the gold mines - this is what made Egypt the richest nation in the world during this time, and led to the two cultures being assimilated and becoming one. The Egyptians eventually withdrew from Nubia around 1100 BCE, and in the ensuing vacuum a group of powerful kings arose.

The kings of the Kush had aspirations far beyond their frontiers - one of them, Pharaoh Kashta, was invited by the powerful priests of Amun in Thebes to intercede on their behalf in the internal conflict between the reigning Egyptian Pharaohs. Consequently he and his successor Piankhy received the blessings of the priests, proceeded north, conquered and reunified the warring states of Egypt and thus began the rule of the "Black Pharaohs" from 760 BCE through to 660 BCE. 

The Kushite Pharaohs did more than rule - they reinvented Egypt with a cultural renaissance. Some of the finest treasures, temples and artwork date from the period of Nubian rule, known as the Kushite or 25th Dynasty. However their reign in Egypt was shortlived, as at the zenith of their glory the Assyrians invaded Egypt and the Kushite Pharaohs were forced to flee south with their armies and court to their homeland of Nubia. Despite attempted invasions from Egypt, the Kingdom of Kush continued to flourish under an unbroken line of kings until the 4th Century CE, when it finally collapsed due to internal rebellion. At the same time, Egypt was endiring successive invasions from Persia, the Greek state of Macedonia (under Alexander the Great) and finally by Rome.

Perhaps the most splendid of all the Kushite temples and pyramids are those at Meroe, Naqa and Musawwarat. The pyramids at Meroe are the most impressive in Nubia and the site is very well preserved and restored. By the 4th Century BCE, the Kushite kings had moved south down the Nile and set up the royal city in and around Meroe. The southern culture gradually prevailed over Egyptian culture and the area became a powerful centre of trade between the north and the south. The site of Meroe was home to a large population supported by advanced irrigation and a centralised political system - Roman baths, royal palaces, pyramids and temples all tell the tale of an advanced Egyptian-style civilisation.

Today the site is virtually unvisited. Scattered across the sands of the desert are numerous steep pyramids with entrance pylons. The guardian of this Nubian site has been there since 1977 and has probably seen every visitor who has passed through since then. While the mainstream tourists flock to the Egyptian ruins to our north, you will have this remarkable site to yourself. Only a few travellers and a handful of tour groups a year come here.

About Naqa:

Fifty kilometres east of the river Nile lies the ruins of the ancient city of Naqa, built by the Kushite Empire. This ancient site is one of the largest in Sudan, and two of the largest temples here are very well preserved.

Naqa served as one of the centres of the Kingdom of Meroe and it served as a bridge between southern Africa and the Mediterranean. The two temples are dedicated to Amun (the king of the gods) and Apedemak (a lion-headed guardian of deceased kings that was revered prominently by the Merotic people of Nubia). There is also a small temple called the 'Roman Kiosk' due to it's Greco-Roman appearance, which was likely dedicated to the worship of Hathor (the godess of joy and motherhood).

All are relatively well preserved, and the Apedemak temple in particular has some beautiful carvings and is considered a classic piece of Kushite architecture.

Day 25 to 26: Khartoum

( Mon 24 Oct to Tue 25 Oct )

Today we will complete our journey to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where your tour leader will have to collect the passports of everyone in the group to register our visas.

We will have the rest of the day and the whole of the following day to freely explore Khartoum, including possible optional trips to the impressive Grand Mosque and the bustling Omdurman market.

In Khartoum we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the huge markets of Omdurman and Arabi in Khartoum

Free

Witness the confluence of the Blue and White Niles at 'The Mogran' near Khartoum

Free

Learn all about the Islamic Mahdist era with a visit to the Khalifa House Museum and the Mahdi's Tomb in Omdurman

USD 1
Visit the various interesting museums of Khartoum - the Presidental Palace Museum, the National Museum and the Ethnographic Museum SDD 1
About Khartoum:

Khartoum is Sudan's fascinating capital and an interesting place to explore. The city is split down the middle by the Nile - the British colonial city, ornate mosques and modern business districts on the east banks, and the sprawling settlements, markets, and iconic Whirling Dervishes of Omdurman on the west.

There are some good museums in the city, such as the Khalifa Museum in Omdurman, near the Mahdi's tomb, or the National Museum. Khartoum is located on the confluence of the White Nile and Blue Nile, and this can be seen at the 'Mogran' area of the city.

Day 27: Khartoum

( Wed 26 Oct )

Border Information: if finishing in Khartoum, you will most likely exit Sudan at Khartoum International Airport (IATA code: KRT).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Khartoum. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

For passengers continuing their journey on to Gondar, today we will leave Khartoum towards the Ethiopian border, staying in the small town of Gedaref.

Day 28: Gedaref

( Thu 27 Oct )

Today we will drive from Khartoum to the small town of Gedaref, en route to the Ethiopian border.

In Gedaref we will either stay in a basic local hotel in the town or bush camp in the deserts outside.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 29: Gondar

( Fri 28 Oct )

Border Information: Exit Sudan at Metema, enter Ethiopia at Metema.

Today we have a full day's drive to cross the border into Ethiopia and reach the ancient royal city of Gondar.

In Gondar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

About Gondar:

The historic city of Gondar is a magnificent city of castles and palaces, and is sometimes known as the 'Camelot of Africa'. This was once the capital of Ethiopia during the reign of King Fasilidas in the mid-17th Century, who built the incredible European-style castle in the centre of the town. Successive kings put in their own additions to this royal complex, and Gondar remained Ethiopia's royal capital until Emperor Tewodros II moved it to Magadala to the south east.

On the outskirts of the town there is also the Fasilidas' Bath complex - an interesting building that stands in an artificial pool which is still filled for occasional religious ceremonies. At the Debre Birhan Selassie Church we can see the famous ceiling, which is painted with hundreds of faces of angels, and hear about the church's fascinating yet violent history.

Day 30: Gondar

( Sat 29 Oct )

Today will be a free day in Gondar until the group meeting for the next section to Addis Ababa at 6:00pm.

Day 31 to 32: Gondar

( Sun 30 Oct to Mon 31 Oct )

Border Information: if joining in Gondar, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Gondar Atse Tewodros Airport.

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting. If you are continuing to Kenya or beyond, your leader will need to check the validity dates of your Ethiopian visa.

On the next day, we will have a half day guided tour of the historical sites of Gondar, including Gondar Castle, the King Fasilades' Baths and the Debre Birhan Selassie church. 

In Gondar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Hotel for the night: Lammergeyer Hotel

Lammergeyer Hotel

Gondar

Ethiopia

Tel - +251 581 122 903

Day 33 to 35: Simien Mountains National Park, Debark

( Tue 01 Nov to Thu 03 Nov )

Today marks the start of our 3-day excursion into the Simien Mountains National Park. We will first drive to Debark, where we will have a briefing from our local mountain guide explaining the various trekking options we will have during our excursion. 

The area is home to some of Africa's most jaw-dropping mountain scenery and is a great opportunity to enjoy some incredibly beautiful treks and breathtaking views!

The area is also home many indigenous animals, and during our time here we hope to spot lammargeyer vultures, geladas, Walia ibex, and (if we are very lucky) klipspringers and Ethiopian wolves.

On each day we aim to provide an option for a long trek (of 5-8 hours), a short trek (2-5 hours) or no trekking.

On our first day, we aim to wild camp at the area of Sankaber. On our second and third days, we aim to wild camp at the area of Chenek (underneath Ras Bwahit, the second-highest mountain in the Simiens, which we hope to get the opportunity to summit).

Please note that we must keep a flexible itinerary in the Simien Mountains, as our options will largely be determined by the weather. 

Please also note that the camping areas in the national park are very basic, and are essentially wild camps with long drop toilets. Please also note that the food and provisions available in Debark and the national park are very limited, and it is also likely to be very cold at night, so please be prepared!

About Simien Mountains National Park:

The Simien Mountains are known throughout the world for their dramatic and spectacular scenery - jagged mountain peaks flank deep valleys and high altitude plains where only grasses, junipers and giant lobelias grow. The Simiens are one of the major mountain regions of Africa, home to the mountain Ras Dejen, which at 4,543m is the highest mountain in Ethiopia. 

The National Park was created initially as a protection area for the Walia ibex, a very agile wild goat that inhabits the area. Other wildlife that are commonly seen in the area are geladas (a baboon-type primate with long hair), klipspringers, Ethiopian wolves, and Lammageyer vultures!

Perhaps the best highlight of the National Park is the phenomenal mountain scenery, best seen by trekking through the wonderful landscape - standing on top of a sharp precipice and gazing out over the magnificent landscape here will take your breath away, so it's definitely worth taking a bit of time to explore.

About Debark:

Debark is a tiny settlement that was built in the 1840s along the busy Gondar-Massawa trading route. There is not much of interest in the town, but it is the gateway to the magnificent Simien Mountains National Park and a decent place to stock up on supplies before visiting the park,

Day 36: Debark

( Fri 04 Nov )

Today is our final day in the Simien Mountains National Park, and we make our way back to Debark for the night.

In Debark we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Day 37 to 38: Axum, Adi Arkay

( Sat 05 Nov to Sun 06 Nov )

Leaving Debark behind us, we continue our journey with 2 days of driving through the foothills of the Simien Mountains to reach the ancient town of Axum in the far north of Ethiopia, via a wild camp en route. The roads here are very tough, but we are rewarded with more truly breathtaking scenery!

On the first night of this journey, we aim to wild camp somewhere nearby to the village of Adi Arkay. On the second day we will stay in a basic hotel in Axum.

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Axum:

Axum is the site of Ethiopia's oldest city, and was once the centre of the mighty Axumite Empire. This empire flourished in the area between the 1st and 8th Centuries CE, and by the 5th Century controlled much of present-day Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia! 

The town retains some impressive obelisks from the Axumite era carved from single blocks of granite - the tallest still standing is 23 metres high and was probably transported by elephants from a nearby quarry. The scale of the monuments in this stelae field are testament to the enormous importance that the ancient kingdom of Axum once enjoyed. Close to the town are the extensive ruins of a palace that is said to have belonged to the biblical figure of the Queen of Sheba, who was said to have travelled to Jerusalem to test the wisdom of King Solomon.

Also in the town are a complex of several ancient churches - the most famous of these is a small unimposing building known as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, which is rumoured by devout Coptic Christians to house the original Ark of the Covenant (the legendary box that contained the original Ten Commandments), although apparently only one appointed guardian is ever allowed to see it!

Day 39: Axum

( Mon 07 Nov )

Today we will have a half day guided tour of the incredible historical sites of Axum, the capital of the once-mighty Axumite Empire - included in this tour will be seeing the Stelae Field, the Tomb of King Kaleb, and the Palace of the Queen of Sheba. We will have a free afternoon to visit other places such as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, the supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

Day 40: Mekele

( Tue 08 Nov )

Today we will continue through the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Adwa mountains and visit one of the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray (either the Abraha Atsbeha or Wukro Chirkos church) near to Mekele. 

In Mekele we will stay in a decent local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

About Mekele:

Mekele is the cultural, economic and political hub of the northern region of Tigray. Historians date the town of Mekele back to the 13th Century CE, and it is famous for its rock-hewn churches in the surrounding desert landscapes - these churches are stunning and remote, some of them dating all the way back to the 4th and 5th Centuries. We will aim to visit at least one of these atmospheric old Coptic churches on our journey through the province of Tigray.

Day 41 to 42: Woldiya, Lalibela

( Wed 09 Nov to Thu 10 Nov )

From Mekele we have 2 days of journeying through more incredible mountainous scenery in central Ethiopia to reach the small medieval town of Lalibela. 

On the first night of this journey, we aim to wild camp near the town of Woldiya or Korem. On the second night we will stay in a local hotel in Lalibela.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours each day.

 

About Lalibela:

Hidden in the hills of northern Ethiopia is the small town of Lalibela. This medieval village has grown up around 13 monolithic churches hewn from rock in the 12th Century CE.

The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem, which has led some experts to date the churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by Muslim leader Saladin. The rock-hewn churches are an awe-inspiring feat of engineering, and each is uniquely-designed and beautifully carved - the legend goes that King Lalibela completed all the work in 12 days with the help of a band of angels, but in reality the project took many years and thousands of labourers to complete.

The village is small, the churches largely visited by devout Ethiopian pilgrims rather than masses of foreign tourists, and therefore retains its original Ethiopian charm and incredible atmosphere. The monastery of Asheten Mariam is hidden in the rugged hills behind the village, and there is a wonderful trek up the cliffs to reach it and take in the incredible views at the top. Near to Lalibela is the ancient church of Yemrehana Kristos, uniquely located in a cave - this can be visited during our free time in Lalibela.

Day 43 to 44: Lalibela

( Fri 11 Nov to Sat 12 Nov )

On our first day in Lalibela, we will have full day guided tour of the world-famous 13th-century rock churches of Lalibela. Our guide will be able to explain the fascinating history of Lalibela and its churches, and there will be plenty of time to explore, absorb the haunting atmosphere inside the churches, and take plenty of photographs of the incredible architecture and the religious rituals within.

On our second day, we will have a free day for further exploration or optional activities. We will have opportunity to hike up the nearby mountains to the Asheten Monastery, visit the Yimrehane Kristos cave church outside the town, or freely explore the Lalibela churches again at your own pace.

Day 45 to 47: Bahir Dar

( Sun 13 Nov to Tue 15 Nov )

Today we will drive to Bahir Dar, a small town on Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

On our first day in Bahir Dar, we will have an included boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the famous old monastery of Gabriel Ure Kideth and to visit the spot where the lake outflows into the start of the Blue Nile. 

On our second full day, we will head off in the truck to visit the Blue Nile Falls and take a short walk around the area to the historic Portuguese Bridge. We will have some free time in the afternoon to visit some other spots around Bahir Dar such as the 'Hippo bridge' and the Tigray war memorial.

In Bahir Dar we will stay in decent local hotel.

About Bahir Dar:

Bahir Dar is a small city located on the banks of Lake Tana, a beautiful lake that is famous as the source of the Blue Nile. 

A few kilometres down the river from Bahir Dar are the spectacular Blue Nile Falls - locally known as Tissisat Falls (literally translating as 'water that smokes'), these waterfalls are located in a stunning area which is excellent to trek around.

On the lake itself are a number of monasteries on islands and peninsulas, and we take the opportunity to visit at least one on a boat trip on the lake. These churches feature the traditional murals and decorations of the Ethiopian Coptic Church - as Christianity in Ethiopia was isolated after the emergence of Islam in the 7th Century, the religion here took a distinct style and the decorations of the monasteries of Lake Tana reflect that perfectly.

Day 48: Dejen

( Wed 16 Nov )

Today we will continue our journey south towards Addis Ababa. We will break the journey with a nightstop in a basic local hotel in the small town of Debre Markos or Dejen en route.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

Day 49: Addis Ababa

( Thu 17 Nov )

Today we will complete our journey to the bustling Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. En route we will drive to the bottom of the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge and up the other side!

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

About Addis Ababa:

Referred to more commonly as simply "Addis", the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa lies amongst wooded hills at an altitude of about 2,300 metres, giving it a pleasant climate.

Addis has many sights to offer visitors - get a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia's many tribal groups at the Ethnological Museum, see the stunning fossil collection at the National Museum, and don't miss the chaotic bustle of the Mercato, one of Africa's largest open-air markets. All manner of arts and crafts can be found in the souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue, and there is often some excellent live music to be found in the centre of the city!

Day 50: Addis Ababa

( Fri 18 Nov )

Today we will have a free day to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums and sights.

Day 51: Addis Ababa

( Sat 19 Nov )

Border Information: if finishing in Addis Ababa, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

We will have another free day to explore Addis Ababa today. If you are leaving the trip here please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

Day 52: Addis Ababa

( Sun 20 Nov )

Border Information: If joining in Addis Ababa, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums - we recommend that you arrive early (or the night before) if you would like the chance to fully explore the sights of Addis Ababa. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Addis Ababa before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Addis Ababa.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Hotel for the night: Sarem International Hotel

Sarem International Hotel

Belay Zeleke Street (around Semien Mazegaja)

Addis Ababa

Ethiopia

Tel - +251 11 126 2088

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit "Lucy", one of the oldest complete hominid skeletons ever found, at the National Museum

ETB 10

Stroll through the Addis Ababa Mercato, one of the largest markets in Africa

Free

Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African independence and optimism

Free

Visit the St. George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral), built to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians in 1896

Free
Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum, one of the best museums in Africa set in a former palace of Haile Selassie ETB 100

Visit the Menelik Mausoleum, built to serve as the tombs of emperors and princes

Free

Day 53: Lake Ziway

( Mon 21 Nov )

Today we will leave Addis Ababa and head to the small town of Ziway.

After lunch we will take an included boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, where we will have a short guided tour of the ancient monastery there and view some of the old religious manuscripts.

In Ziway we will stay in a small local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, and explore the old Coptic monastery on the island

Included in Kitty
About Lake Ziway:

Lake Ziway, about 100kms south of Addis Ababa, nurtures an array of wildlife. Birds, hippopotamuses and fish roam the lake, which is dotted with five islands. One of the islands, Tulo Gudo, is home to an atmospheric and colourful old Coptic Christian monastery which is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the 9th Century CE.

Day 54 to 56: Bale Mountains National Park

( Tue 22 Nov to Thu 24 Nov )

Today we will leave Ziway and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the National Park. We will keep one day completely free to head out for optional guided walks - there are several possibilities for routes, including highland routes up the hills and moorlands searching for mountain nyalas, or lowland walks through the forest areas to look for Bale monkeys! On the other day we will drive in the truck up to the Sanetti Plateau, all the way to the fourth-highest point in Ethiopia (the 4359m summit of Tulu Dimtu) to explore the primeval landscape and search for Ethiopian wolves.

In the Bale Mountains we will stay in dorms in a basic lodge near the entrance to the National Park.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on various walks through the forests, moors, and mountains of the beautiful Bale Mountains National Park

Included in Kitty

Head up to the incredible Sanetti Plateau on a day trip with our overland truck, stopping to explore the area on foot and search for Ethiopian Wolves

Included in Kitty
About Bale Mountains National Park:

The Bale Mountains National Park is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountain peaks which soar to over 4,000 metres in height. As you climb into the hills the terrain changes from forest on the lower slopes, through junipers and heather, to the exotic moorlands of the plateau criss-crossed by fast-flowing streams.

This beautiful park is home to three species unique to Ethiopia - the Ethiopian wolf, Menelik's bushbuck and the Mountain nyala. There are some 200 species of birds within the park, including 13 of Ethiopia's 23 endemic species.

There are many different trekking routes around the National Park, through the forests and mountains and up onto the moorlands. The high Sanetti Plateau is accessible to vehicles, so we can also explore this high moor in our overland truck.

Day 57 to 58: Wendo Genet, Awassa

( Fri 25 Nov to Sat 26 Nov )

Today we will head north to the small town of Awassa, where we will have an included visit to the Awassa Children's Project in the afternoon. This is a home for local children orphaned by the HIV epidemic, and we will be shown around and see how public donations and the support of Dragoman goes towards feeding, sheltering and educating the children.

After our visit we will head to Wendo Genet, a small town in the hills above Awassa, where we will stay for the 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.

In Wendo Genet we will camp in the grounds of a small local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Relax in the hot springs at Wendo Genet

Included in Kitty
Head out on a short walk to the waterfalls near Wendo Genet ETB 100

Visit the Dragoman-supported Awassa Children's Project, a home for orphaned children from the area

Included in Kitty
About Wendo Genet:

Wendo Genet is a resort town in Ethiopia located near Awassa. Wendo Genet is known for its hot springs and is surrounded by primary Ethiopian forests.

The Wendo Genet hotel was established in 1964, on land used as recreation site for the royal family until 1975 - Emperor Haile Selassie bequeathed its name, meaning "Wendo Paradise", in reference to the beautiful panorama with a rich endowment of forests, wildlife and abundant water.

About Awassa:

Awassa is a small town near the Ethiopian city of Shashemene, and was the capital of the former Sidamo Province. During our time in Awassa we will visit the Awassa Children's Project, which promotes sensible, culturally responsible relief work aimed at assisting children primarily orphaned by AIDS, educating people in Africa's Sub-Saharan region about AIDS prevention, and offering a proactive and immediate approach towards the resolution of serious health and social issues facing the region.

The project runs a children's centre that provides housing, food and education for over 60 children orphaned by AIDS, the One Love Theatre AIDS education theatre company, and the Awassa Youth Campus community centre in downtown Awassa. 

For further information on the project please go to http://www.awassachildrensproject.org/.    

Day 59: Arba Minch

( Sun 27 Nov )

Today we will travel to the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo. 

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch

ETB 200

Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, a stunning lake with a dense population of crocodiles

ETB 450

Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people

ETB 100
About Arba Minch:

Meaning 'forty springs', Arba Minch takes its name from the streams found between the two Rift Valley lakes of Abaya and Chamo. The town has stunning views over the lakes and surrounding forested areas, and also has an excellent and vibrant market.

Lake Chamo National Park is home to what the locals refer to as the 'crocodile market'. This is a place on the shores of the lake where vast numbers of crocs congregate, some of which reach over 7 metres in length. The lake is home to the Guji and Ganjule people who traditionally hunt hippos and are famed for their 'ambatch boats', which resemble the boats carved in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians.

Day 60: Arba Minch

( Mon 28 Nov )

Today we will have a free day to relax and explore the scenic area, or to take an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there.

Day 61 to 63: Omo Valley Region

( Tue 29 Nov to Thu 01 Dec )

Over the next 4 days/3 nights we will be exploring the remote and rarely-visited tribal areas of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

We will keep these days on a flexible itinerary so that we can react to news of special events being hosted by particular villages or tribes; as such, we cannot provide an exact itinerary for these days. However, we will aim to visit various tribal villages in the area, such as villages of the Hamer, the Mursi and the Konso tribes. 

In the Omo Valley we will camp in basic campsites on each night without the possibility of upgrades, and we will try to spend at least one of the nights camping in one of the tribal villages (this is not guaranteed to be possible on every trip). 

Estimated Drive Times - between 4-9 hours each day.

Please note that we will be travelling through very remote areas with rough roads and basic conditions on these days. Please also note that it is absolutely vital that you follow your tour leader's directions regarding responsible tourism in these regions, especially with regards to giving things away for free and taking photographs of the locals.

Activity Approximate Cost

Journey through the remote Omo Valley, visiting several tribal communities along the way (possibly including the Hamer, Banna, Mursi, Ari, Konso or Danesesch tribes)

Included in Kitty
About Omo Valley Region:

The Omo Valley region is unusual in that it is home to so many different tribal groups, all living very close to one another in such a small area. Anthropologists believe that this is because thousands of years ago this area of Africa acted as a kind of ethnic crossroads, as different groups of people migrated between north, south, east and west. Exploring the many small communities and settlements here will give you a fascinating insight into the different tribes, their cultures, traditions and way of life.

On Dragoman trips we travel with a local guide, who will be able to introduce us to the Hamer, Mursi, Arbore and the Danesesch tribes. There are also other tribal groupings throughout the area and our guides will explain some of their traditions and customs. Life is distinctly tribal throughout the region, with few modern amenities.

Day 64: Konso

( Fri 02 Dec )

Today we will arrive in the town of Konso, marking the end of our time in the Omo Valley region.

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.

About Konso:

In the far south of Ethiopia on the banks of the Sagan river is the town of Konso, the gateway to the Omo Valley. Home to the Konso people, a Cushtic-speaking people native to the region, there are many traditional Konso village in the area where little has changed about the way of life over the centuries and old traditions are strongly upheld.

Day 65: Moyale, Arba Minch

( Sat 03 Dec )

Today our group will split between those finishing in Arba Minch and those continuing towards Nairobi.

Those ending their trip in Arba Minch will have a local transfer back to Arba Minch today, where you stay in a local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Those continuing south will have a full drive day across the Kenyan border to Moyale, where we will stay in a basic local hotel or camp in a local campsite.

Border Information: Exit Ethiopia at Moyale, enter Kenya at Moyale.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

 

 

Day 66: Samburu Village, Arba Minch

( Sun 04 Dec )

Border Information: If you are leaving in Arba Minch, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Those continuing towards Nairobi will travel to the Samburu region today.

About Samburu Village:

We stay at a Samburu village just outside the Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but less known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.

Day 67: Arba Minch

( Mon 05 Dec )

Border Information: If joining in Arba Minch, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Arba Minch. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Arba Minch before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Arba Minch.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

Hotel for the night: Zebib Pension

Zebib Pension

Secha

Arba Minch

Ethiopia

Tel - +251 4688 14788

Activity Approximate Cost

Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch

ETB 200

Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, a stunning lake with a dense population of crocodiles

ETB 450

Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people

ETB 100

Day 68 to 70: Omo Valley Region

( Tue 06 Dec to Thu 08 Dec )

Over the next 4 days/3 nights we will be exploring the remote and rarely-visited tribal areas of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

We will keep these days on a flexible itinerary so that we can react to news of special events being hosted by particular villages or tribes; as such, we cannot provide an exact itinerary for these days. However, we will aim to visit various tribal villages in the area, such as villages of the Hamer, the Mursi and the Konso tribes. 

In the Omo Valley we will camp in basic campsites on each night without the possibility of upgrades, and we will try to spend at least one of the nights camping in one of the tribal villages (this is not guaranteed to be possible on every trip). 

Estimated Drive Times - between 4-9 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Please note that we will be travelling through very remote areas with rough roads and basic conditions on these days. Please also note that it is absolutely vital that you follow your tour leader's directions regarding responsible tourism in these regions, especially with regards to giving things away for free and taking photographs of the locals.

Activity Approximate Cost

Journey through the remote Omo Valley, visiting several tribal communities along the way (possibly including the Hamer, Banna, Mursi, Ari, Konso or Danesesch tribes)

Included in Kitty

Day 71: Konso

( Fri 09 Dec )

Today we will arrive in the town of Konso, marking the end of our time in the Omo Valley region.

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.

Day 72: Moyale, Arba Minch

( Sat 10 Dec )

Today our group will split between those finishing in Arba Minch and those continuing towards Nairobi.

Those ending their trip in Arba Minch will have a local transfer back to Arba Minch today, where you stay in a local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Those continuing south will have a full drive day across the Kenyan border to Moyale, where we will stay in a basic local hotel or camp in a local campsite.

Border Information: Exit Ethiopia at Moyale, enter Kenya at Moyale.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

Day 73: Samburu Village, Arba Minch

( Sun 11 Dec )

This is the final day for those leaving in Arba Minch.

For the group continuing towards Nairobi, today we will have an early start and travel through the very rarely-visited region of northern Kenya, crossing the infamous Moyale-Marsabit road to the central Samburu region. The scenery along this route is spectacular, as you travel through the black lunar landscapes near Marsabit and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.

We will reach the Samburu region near to the small town of Archer's Post this evening, where we will visit a Samburu village - this evening there will be fantastic display of traditional singing and dancing from the Samburu villagers, and a chat around the camp fire with the locals to ask them all about their way of life.

We will camp in the village in the heart of the community tonight, where there are no toilet or washing facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours.

Please note that due to security issues in this particular area, we will sometimes be accompanied by two armed police escorts between Moyale and Archer's Post.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit and stay at the Samburu tribal community and cultural project, learning all about the culture of the Samburu people

Included in Kitty

Day 74: Samburu National Reserve

( Mon 12 Dec )

This morning we will be shown around the Samburu village by our hosts - we will be shown around their homes, play with the children and learn all about the way of life here for the Samburu people! We will then enter the Samburu National Reserve, where we will enjoy game drives in the truck (breaking for a long lunch during the heat of the day).

Samburu is a stunning National Reserve and is a great opportunity to spot big game such as cheetah, leopards, lions, and buffalo. The Reserve is also home to other animals rarely seen in the National Parks further south, such as Grevy's zebras, Somali ostriches and gerenuk ('giraffe-necked antelopes').

Tonight we will wild camp in a camping area in the National Reserve - facilities are very basic, but the area is a 5-10 minute walk from Samburu Lodge.

Please note that during very wet conditions we may need to use locally-chartered 4x4 jeeps rather than our truck to get a good game drive in - in this instance we may make this option available at extra cost.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out for a wildlife safari in our overland truck through the Samburu National Reserve, in search of local wildlife including gerenuk and Grevy's zebra

Included in Kitty
About Samburu National Reserve:

The Samburu region has hardly been touched by tourism and its pristine wilderness is home to a fascinating mix of Kenya's nomadic tribes who still retain traditional ways of life. These tribes include the Samburu, Rendille, Turkana, and Kalenjin. 

The Samburu National Reserve is famous for its reticulated giraffes, Grevy's zebras, graceful gerenuks, and Beisa oryx, whilst crocodiles are often seen in the river. If we are lucky, we may also see lions or leopards here.  The Ewaso Nyiro River meanders through the reserve forming a ribbon of oases in the parched landscape. 

We will visit the Samburu Cultural Centre outside Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but lesser known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.

Day 75 to 76: Naro Moru

( Tue 13 Dec to Wed 14 Dec )

Today we will get up early to spend the morning enjoying some more excellent game driving in our truck through the Samburu National Reserve. When the animals start to take shelter from the heat of the midday, we will exit the reserve and drive to the small village of Naro Moru at the base of Mount Kenya.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the next day, we will have a free day in Naro Moru to take optional walks around the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, explore the nearby Mau Mau caves, or take an optional game drive in the nearby Sweetwaters National Reserve.

In Naro Moru we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the spectacular Thomson Falls at Nyahururu

Free

Guided walk to the Nayaroi Caves in the foothills of Mt. Kenya, used by the Mau Mau during the rebellion against British colonial rule

KES 1000

Head out horse riding in the forests around Naro Moru

KES 1000

Nature walks around the base of Mt. Kenya, searching for birdlife and Colobus monkeys

USD 15
About Naro Moru:

Naro Moru is a tiny village on the western flanks of Mount Kenya, most famous as being the starting point for the most popular trekking route up the mountain. There are many activities available for short-term visitors, such as day-treks on the cool forested slopes of the mountain to look for birds and local caves used by the Mau Mau in their fight against the British in the 1950s.

Day 77 to 78: Nakuru National Park

( Thu 15 Dec to Fri 16 Dec )

Today we will head through the hills of central Kenya, through the area's beautiful scenery and tea plantations, to arrive at Nakuru.

If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the next day, we head into Nakuru National Park for an included full-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos!

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of the town.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a safari in 4x4 vans in the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park

Included in Kitty

Walk to explore a colonial dairy farm and visit a local women's knitting collective

USD 5
About Nakuru National Park:

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

Nakuru is also where much of the film Out of Africa was shot. The park is located on the floor of the Rift Valley and is a mixture of bushland, forest and rocky escarpment. Each area is an important habitat for many different species of wildlife. Besides the prolific birdlife, the park is also well established as one of East Africa's premier parks for big game.

Beside the lake, hippo, waterbuck, warthogs, Bohor's reedbuck and zebra can regularly be found. Further up in the forests there's a large population of black and white colobus monkeys, and the ultimate forest predator, the leopard. However, Nakuru's biggest draw is probably it's rhinos. In the late 1980s the Kenyan Wildlife Services used the park as a rhino sanctuary, and it now has a stable black and white rhino population.

Day 79 to 80: Naivasha

( Sat 17 Dec to Sun 18 Dec )

Today we make our way to Naivasha, on the edge of a beautiful calm lake in the Great Rift Valley. Here we will have the chance to take an optional boat trip on the lake to spot hippos and African fish eagles, and also to visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the old home of Joy Adamson.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some excellent optional activities around Naivasha. Naivasha is the base for exploring the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and the Hell's Gate National Park, two scenic areas that are some of the only places in East Africa where you can safely explore and look for wildlife on foot.

In Naivasha we will stay at a well equipped campsite on the lake shore.

Activity Approximate Cost

Boat trip on the beautiful and serene Lake Naivasha (price for the whole boat)

KES 7000

Walking safari in the wildlife-rich Crater Lake Game Sanctuary

USD 40

Visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the former house of the conservationists Joy and George Adamson

Included in Kitty

Explore the beautiful landscape and wildlife of Hell's Gate National Park by foot or by bicycle

USD 50
About Naivasha:

Northwest of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi lies the serene Lake Naivasha. A beautiful lake with some excellent campsites along the shore, there is the fantastic opportunity to take a calm boat trip to spot a wide variety of birds (including the African fish eagle) and the hippos that call the lake home. Naivasha is also home to the Elsamere Conservation Centre, a sustainability and conservation trust based in the former home of Joy of George Adamson, the founders of the Born Free project.

Naivasha is also the gateway to the fabulous Hell's Gate National Park - a rugged and primordial landscape, Hell's Gate is full of wildlife but contains no dangerous predators, meaning that it is one of the few National Parks that visitors are able to explore on foot and by bicycle. The nearby game reserve of Crater Lake is also perfect for walking safaris amongst the wildlife of the region.

Day 81: Nairobi

( Mon 19 Dec )

Today we will drive to the bustling Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where we will have free time on arrival.

In Nairobi we will camp in the grounds of a peaceful eco-camp in the suburb of Karen.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

About Nairobi:

Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes its 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 its 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 giraffes and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre.  

Day 82: Nairobi

( Tue 20 Dec )

Border Information: If you are leaving in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code NBO).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

If you would like to explore Nairobi fully, we advise you spending an extra night here. Possible activities include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, the National Museum and the Langata Giraffe Centre.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage in Nairobi

KES 500
Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa' KES 1200
Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi KES 1000

Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi

USD 40
Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi

KES 1200
Head out on a guided safari walk in Nairobi National Park USD 25

Day 83: Nairobi

( Wed 21 Dec )

Border Information: If joining the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Welcome to Kenya! There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note, as this will often be a travelling day for the crew who will be joining you.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.

Hotel for the night: Wildebeest Eco Camp

Wildebeest Eco Camp

151 Mokoyeti Road West

Karen

Nairobi

Kenya

+254 7347 70733

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage in Nairobi

KES 500
Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa' KES 1200
Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi KES 1000

Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi

USD 40
Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi

KES 1200

Day 84: Nakuru National Park, Gilgil

( Thu 22 Dec )

After an early breakfast we will make our way to Gilgil, where we will visit the Saidia Children's Home - a Dragoman-supported home for orphaned children from the area.

From there, we will make our way to Nakuru, our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost

Walk to explore a colonial dairy farm and visit a local women's knitting collective

USD 5

Visit to the Dragoman-supported orphanage at the Saidia Children's Home in Gilgil

Included in Kitty
About Gilgil:

Gilgil is home to the Saida Children's Home, a Dragoman-supported project that works to improve the lives of AIDS orphans and other disadvantaged children in Gilgil and the surrounding area.

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

On visits through the area we will make direct dontaions to help fund the project. Please visit http://www.saidia-gilgil.org.uk/ for more information.

Day 85: Kericho, Nakuru National Park

( Fri 23 Dec )

This morning we head into Nakuru National Park for an included half-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos.

We will most likely have lunch in the area before driving on to Kericho this afternoon, where there is an optional tour around a nearby tea plantation.

In Kericho we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a guided walk of a tea plantation in Kericho in Western Kenya

KES 200

Take a safari in 4x4 vans in the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park

Included in Kitty
About Kericho:

Kericho is one of the larger towns in the western highlands of Kenya. Its location in the highlands of the Rift Valley next to the Mau forest gives it a warm and temperate climate, that makes it perfect for agriculture and specifically the cultivation of tea.

Day 86 to 87: Jinja

( Sat 24 Dec to Sun 25 Dec )

Border Information: Exit Kenya at Busia, enter Uganda at Busia.

Today we have a full day's drive across the border into Uganda as we travel to Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa!

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to get involved in the many optional adventure activities available here, such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and boat trips on the White Nile!

In Jinja we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out for a full day of white water rafting on the White Nile near Jinja

USD 125
Go bungee jumping above the Nile at our campsite in Jinja USD 115
Go on a boat trip to discover the source of the Nile where the river outflows from Lake Victoria USD 15
Head out on an adventure activity day of rafting, jet boating and bungee jumping USD 240

Explode up the rapids of the Nile in a 12-seater jet boat

USD 75
Head out for a full day of quad biking at the Bujagali Falls near Jinja USD 160
Head out horse riding along the banks of the White Nile USD 75
About Jinja:

Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. This is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-concious traveller. The area is beautiful and is located at the source of the White Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. The most popular activity here is the spectacular and hair-raising white-water rafting trip down the Nile. Our base in Jinja is perched spectacularly on a cliff-top 30 metres above the swirling currents of the river!

Day 88: Nakitoma

( Mon 26 Dec )

Today we continue our journey and head north to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary close to the town of Nakitoma. Here we will have the chance to track rhinos on foot with a local ranger!

In Nakitoma we will stay in a well equipped campsite within the Rhino Sanctuary.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Rhino tracking at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

USD 40
About Nakitoma:

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Nakitoma was created to reintroduce the rhinoceros to Uganda, which had previously been extinct there since 1982. The 70 square-kilometre sanctuary in pristine bush country is currently home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The sanctuary's long-term goal is to build a sustainable rhino population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat in Uganda's protected areas. In addition to the rhino-breeding program, Rhino Fund Uganda also runs community upliftment and education programs in the surrounding villages.

During our stay, one of the trained rangers will introduce you to the sanctuary and provide you with information about the rhinos. Depending on where our rhinos happen to be when you arrive, you can take to the opportunity to go out with the guide by vehicle and then approach the rhinos up close on foot. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe the rhinos in their habitat at a very close, and very safe, distance. The animals are magnificent and the opportunity to see them up close is truly one not to be missed!

Day 89: Nakitoma, Kaniyo Pabidi

( Tue 27 Dec )

Today we continue to Kaniyo Pabidi in the Budongo Forest, in the southern part of the Murchison Falls National Park. Here we will head out for our included chimpanzee tracking walk in the afternoon!

Please note that for conservation reasons the maximum group size to track the chimpanzees is 12 people, so if we have a large group we will split in half, one half going on the walk this afternoon and the other half going tomorrow morning.

In Kaniyo Pabidi we will stay in basic dorm rooms in a small lodge in the Budongo Forest.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Trek on foot in the Budongo Forest in search of habituated chimpanzees

Included in Kitty

Bird watching tour in Ziwa searching for shoebills

USD 35
About Kaniyo Pabidi:

Kaniyo Pabidi is an eco-tourism site within the Budongo Forest Reserve in the southern section of Murchison Falls National Park. The terrain of the Budongo Forest is flat, allowing for good on-foot travelling conditions for the average tourist to trek out to try and spot the resident chimpanzees.

Our basic lodge is located on the edge of the chimpanzees’ home range, significantly diminishing the risk of a long trek before contact is made with the group - the habitat consists of primary forest with medium understory vegetation-density allowing for good visibility of the canopy (and thus of the chimpanzees) and the presence of savanna and grassland areas neighbouring the primary forest present an interesting opportunity for viewing of different ecosystems. There is an extensive (115km in total) and well-maintained trail system that further facilitates visitor accessibility.

Day 90 to 91: Murchison Falls National Park

( Wed 28 Dec to Thu 29 Dec )

If we had to split the group for chimpanzee tracking, the other half of the group will head out for the walk this morning. When we are ready to continue, we will drive to the central region of Murchison Falls National Park to reach our campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours (to the campsite).

On the next day, we will head out early in the truck for a included morning of game driving around the northern area of the National Park - we will take a local vehicle barge to get over the Nile and pick up a ranger to show us around in search of wildlife!

We will return to our campsite for lunch, and then embark on an included launch cruise on the Nile to spot wildlife from the water and to see the spectacularly-powerful Murchison Falls.

In Murchison Falls National Park we will stay in a well equipped campsite at Paraa on the southern banks of the River Nile in the heart of the park.

Please note that the roads leading into and around Murchison Falls are very poor and can be hazardous in wet conditions. If there has been heavy rain recently, it may not be possible to go into the National Park beyond Kaniyo Pabidi - this is firstly for safety reasons on the drive in, and secondly due to the risk of extreme bogging that will cause us to miss the gorilla treks in Rwanda. We will always endaevour to reach the National Park as per the itinerary; but when this is occasionally not possible, please respect the tour leader's decision in this matter. On these occasions we will be able to utilise this time with spending longer in Lake Bunyonyi and Ruhengeri.

Activity Approximate Cost

Launch cruise on the River Nile to the mighty Murchison Falls

Included in Kitty

Head out game driving in our overland truck in Murchison Falls National Park

Included in Kitty
About Murchison Falls National Park:

Muchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest reserve and is bisected by the mighty White Nile river. It is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls - where the world's longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. The falls are often described as the most dramatic thing to occur along the entire length of the Nile, and are best seen from a boat cruise along the river!

Wildlife populations have largely recovered from the poaching of the 1980s - in the lush grassland to the north of the Nile, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and a variety of antelope are regularly encountered on game drives, while lions are seen with increasing frequency. The Nile itself hosts one of Africa's densest hippo and crocodile populations, and an incredible variety of waterbirds.

Day 92: Kampala

( Fri 30 Dec )

Today we have a full day's drive back south to Kampala, where we will have a nightstop in a well equipped campsite in the southern suburbs of the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

About Kampala:

Kampala is the capital of Uganda. This city was practically destroyed in the civil wars and political disturbance in the 1980s, but it is now rebuilt and reorganised. It is a friendly city, with a lively buzz and a bustling centre.

Day 93 to 94: Mbarara, Lake Bunyonyi

( Sat 31 Dec to Sun 01 Jan )

Over the next 2 days we will continue travelling south through Uganda to reach Lake Bunyonyi, home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the whole of the country, where we will hopefully get the opportunity to explore the lake by boat and admire the surrounding landscape.

En route we will split the drive with a nightstop in either Mbarara or Kabale, which both have decent campsites that we can use. We will also cross the Equator and stop for the mandatory photos en route!

In Lake Bunyonyi we stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Times - 7-8 hours each day.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a trip in a motorboat to explore the scenery of Lake Bunyoni

UGX 12000

Head out on a guided walk around the scenic Lake Bunyoni, or to local villages in the area

USD 10
Hire a dugout canoe to explore Lake Bunyoni USD 12
About Lake Bunyonyi:

Lake Bunyonyi is a spectacular lake nestled in the mountains of southern Uganda, near to the Rwandan border. A serene lake surrounded by beautiful hills, you can take dugout canoes out onto the lake to visit the nearby Muko Forest and some of the local communities. One community, the Batwa tribe, is indigenous to the Great Lakes Region and found throughout Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the eastern region of the Congo.

Day 95 to 96: Kigali, Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park

( Mon 02 Jan to Tue 03 Jan )

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

Leaving Uganda behind, we cross the border into the stunning country of Rwanda.

We will first travel to the capital city of Kigali, where we will have an included visit to the incredibly moving Genocide Memorial. After this we will drive the short distance to Ruhengeri (also known as Musanze), the gateway to the Volcanoes National Park, where we will spend the next 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (allowing for 5 hours driving, 2 hours at the border and 3 hours at the Kigali Genocide Museum).

On the next day, we will go on what is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip - trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in their natural forest habitat. 

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than 8 people per day can visit any one habituated family, and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. 

Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid; however, the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk at least 4 hours - uphill and downhill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself! Once you find them, you will stay with the gorillas for one unforgettable hour!

When visiting the gorillas you will be assigned a trekking group and time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day.

In Ruhengeri we will stay in dorms at a local church mission, or camp in their grounds.

Please note that the gorilla permits are paid for in full by the trip kitty - however, Dragoman has to purchase the permits in advance on the customers' behalf, so a higher deposit is charged on the trip price to protect us from losing this money in the event of cancellation - please see the notes at the end for further detail.

Please also note that there is some flexibility in the itinerary depending on the circumstances of the trip and the weather, as such we sometimes may have extra time in Ruhengeri, in which case we will have time for some other activities here (your leader can detail some of these if you have the time available). 

Activity Approximate Cost

Learn all about the tragic 1994 Rwanda genocide at the extremely moving Genocide Memorial in Kigali

Included in Kitty

Trek in the forests of Rwanda's Volcanos National Park in search of the mighty mountain gorillas - an unforgettable experience!

Included in Kitty
About Kigali:

The small Rwandan capital of Kigali is one of Africa's pleasant surprises - it is majestically located in the mountains of central Rwanda, and is one of the cleanest cities in the whole continent and even has a dedicated day each month where businesses close and all the locals come out to help clean the streets!

We stop by Kigali to visit the incredibly moving memorial and museum to the victims of the brutal and heartbreaking genocide of 1994 - although a difficult and upsetting place to visit, it is a vital stop to understand the tragic events that happened here, the lead up to it, and life in Rwanda since the events of that terrible summer.

About Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park:

The town of Ruhengeri (also known as Msanze) is the gateway to the famed Volcanoes National Park. The region is incredibly beautiful, with stunning verdant mountains cascading down the shores of Lake Kivu on the Congolese border. The park itself protects an area which is part of a chain of eight volcanoes running along the western branch of the Great Rift Valley.

These spectacular mountains and the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda are the last refuge of the mighty mountain gorilla. A trek out into the park in search of the gorillas is the experience of a lifetime. The pungent aromas of wet mountain vegetation will fill your senses as you trek through the forest following the local trackers, the sides of the mountains often shrouded in mist. The muddy and wet terrain is by no means easy, so it can be pretty strenuous and it's often very humid too - but the sheer thrill of coming face to face with a group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than makes up for the difficulties of the trek. The animals are surprisingly placid and gentle, and having the privilege of being able to watch their movements at close range is the ultimate wildlife experience.

There are several habituated groups ranging from around 10-35 gorillas in size, each group inhabiting a different area of the forest and involving different lengths of trek to typically find them - depending on the group you are aiming for, you could be walking for 2 to 7 hours.

Day 97: Kabale

( Wed 04 Jan )

Border Information: Exit Rwanda at Cyanika, enter Uganda at Cyanika.

Today we have a free morning in Ruhengeri before heading out of Rwanda, crossing back into Uganda to camp in the town of Kabale.

In Kabale we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Day 98: Queen Elizabeth National Park

( Thu 05 Jan )

This morning we travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the campsite. 

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

In Queen Elizabeth National Park we will camp at a basic campsite with drop toilets inside the park. Your leader will explain the basic safety aspects of camping in an unfenced area amongst the wildlife upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a boat trip through the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Included in Kitty

Head on a game drive around Queen Elizabeth National Park in our overland truck, in search of wildlife

Included in Kitty
About Queen Elizabeth National Park:

The magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park lies across the Equator in the southwest of Uganda, bordering the Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George. The animals that make their home here include many hippos, tree-climbing lions, elephants, buffaloes, Ugandan kob, waterbuck, bushbuck and topi.

Uganda's wildlife took a terrible hammering from poaching and war after the military coup of the 1970s and beyond, but in recent decades the government and wildlife authorities have done a great deal to eradicate poaching and the wildlife is once again on the increase. Elephant numbers have increased substantially, with an influx from the Congo where they are still being poached.

Queen Elizabeth National Park contains the most astonishing number of different fauna, including 100 different types of mammal and over 600 species of birds. We also take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel between the park's two lakes, which is well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos.

Day 99 to 100: Jinja, Mbarara

( Fri 06 Jan to Sat 07 Jan )

Over the next 2 days we will travel back to the east through Kampala to Jinja. We will take a short game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park on our way out in the morning.

We will most likely split the drive with a nightstop in Mbarara, but if the road conditions improve on a different road then we may go via the western town of Fort Portal instead. Both Mbarara and Fort Portal have decent campsites to stay in.

Either way, we will reach Jinja by the second evening and enjoy a night relaxing at the same campsite as earlier in the trip.

Estimated Drive Times - 6-7 hours each day.

Day 101: Eldoret

( Sun 08 Jan )

Border Information: Exit Uganda at Malaba, enter Kenya at Malaba.

Today we travel back into Kenya and visit the town of Eldoret, where we will stay in an excellent campsite at Naiberi River just outside of town. There will be the possibility of an Indian buffet meal at our campsite tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

Day 102: Nairobi

( Mon 09 Jan )

Today we will make our way back to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where we will stay again in our well equipped campsite situated in the suburb of Karen.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Day 103: Nairobi

( Tue 10 Jan )

Border Information: if you are leaving the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Today is this is the final day of this section - if you are leaving here (or continuing northbound with us to Ethiopia) you will have a free day in Nairobi. If you are continuing your trip with us southbound towards Tanzania then there will a new group meeting at 10:00am for the next section of your journey, before heading away from Nairobi - your leader will give you detailed instructions about this.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Day 104: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Nairobi

( Wed 11 Jan )

Border Information: If you are joining the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Welcome to Nairobi! If you would like to explore Nairobi fully, we advise you arrive a day earlier to give yourself the time to see some of the highlights in the city - possible activities include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, the National Museum and the Langata Giraffe Centre. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.

There will be a group meeting today at our joining hotel at 10:00am - your tour leader will meet you at the hotel reception. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place.

After the group meeting, we will be met by our 6-person 4x4 jeeps that will take us on our 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We will load the jeeps with our personal gear (but we will not need our camping equipment) and then head off to Maasai Mara, leaving our truck behind.

We will also be leaving our large bags behind (where they will be stored in a secure location in Nairobi), and advise you to bring along a smaller daypack for your personal gear for this trip that will need to be packed soon after the group meeting before we set off. You should pack clothing for 3 days (including a warm jumper or fleece and long trousers), a waterproof jacket, toiletries (including sun screen and insect repellent), your camera and charger, a small towel, a head torch, a water bottle, books and personal snacks, etc.

On arrival, we will have the chance for a short evening game drive in the Maasai Mara National Park before heading to our campsite. The Maasai Mara is an incredibly scenic area and is one of the world's greatest places for wildlife spotting which is absolutely teeming with giraffe, buffalo, zebra, elephants, lions, cheetah, leopards, and other big game!

On both nights at the Maasai Mara, we will stay in a basic campground on the outskirts of the National Park. The campsite has set-tents and bedding, but is self-catered (we will use our kitchen equipment brought from the truck).

Hotel for the night: Wildebeest Eco Camp
Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a phenomenal 2-night/3-day safari in 4x4s into the Maasai Mara - one of the best areas in Africa for wildlife and scenery

Included in Kitty
About Maasai Mara National Reserve:

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a vast savanna in southern Kenya, and one of the greatest places in the world to spot East African wildlife in its natural habitat! The area has a phenomenal abundance of wildlife and huge populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, zebra, antelopes, gazelles, wildebeest, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, and many more. As well as being teeming with wildlife, the sheer beauty of the region is equally breathtaking - the rolling hills, scrub, savanna, and trees create a stunning backdrop and atmosphere.

Affectionately known as 'The Mara', a visit to the area including some game drives (and possibly an awe-inspiring sunrise balloon flight!) is one of the major highlights of Africa and an unforgettable travel experience.

Day 105: Maasai Mara National Reserve

( Thu 12 Jan )

Today we will go out for the full day game driving in the National Park before returning to our campsite for a second night. There is also the opportunity for a sunset balloon flight over the savannah - demand for this activity is very high so you must reserve this at the time of booking your Dragoman trip to avoid disappointment.

Tonight we will stay at the same campsite on the outskirts of the Maasai Mara.

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a hot air balloon flight to see the sunrise over the incredible scenery of the Maasai Mara (alternative to the scheduled game drive). This must be pre-booked through your sales consultant. USD 550

Day 106: Nairobi

( Fri 13 Jan )

Today we will have a final game drive in the Maasai Mara in the early morning, before heading back to Nairobi and our campsite in Karen, arriving at about 4:00pm or 5:00pm. This is where we will meet our overland truck and start using the truck's camping equipment.

In Nairobi we will stay in a well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen on the outskirts of the city.

Day 107: Arusha

( Sat 14 Jan )

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

We will have an early start to beat the Nairobi traffic and head south to cross the border into Tanzania. We will go to the town of Arusha, where we will stop for food shopping in preparation for our excursion to the Serengeti National Park. 

We will then head to our campsite on the outskirts of Arusha. On arrival we should have time to go on an optional walk to a nearby Maasai village, or visit a reptile house and snake-bite clinic that are run by the campsite. We will also prepare and re-pack for the Serengeti excursion starting the following day.

In Arusha we stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost

See a variety of African reptiles at the snake park in our campsite in Arusha

Free
About Arusha:

On our trips we make a short stop in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. Arusha is the largest city in northern Tanzania, and used to be the capital of the East African community. The town sits in lush countryside near the foot of Mount Meru and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year, and surrounding it are many coffee, wheat and maize estates tended by the Arusha and Meru people. 

Arusha is the centre of Tanzania's safari business and is the gateway for safaris to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater National Parks.

Day 108: Serengeti National Park

( Sun 15 Jan )

Today we will be met at the campsite by our fleet of 6-person 4x4 jeeps - we will load the jeeps with our camping and personal gear, and then head out for our 3-day excursion to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, leaving our truck behind.

Today will be a full drive along the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater (stopping to take in the awe-inspiring views) and then down into the plains of the Serengeti. We will take an evening game drive around the savanna before heading to our campsite - the area is one of the world's premier spot for wildlife viewing and we hope to able to find elephants, lions, leopards, giraffe and other big game during our time here!

Tonight we will stay at a campsite within the Serengeti National Park. The camp where we stay is very basic (with showers and flush toilets, but no other facilities) but is located right in the middle of the plains, surrounded by animals and their nocturnal noises! Your leader will outline the basic safety rules to be followed when camping in an unfenced location where wild animals are present.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head on an unforgettable 3-day/2-night safari in 4x4s into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater National Reserves - two of the world's most incredible areas for wildlife spotting

Included in Kitty
About Serengeti National Park:

The wide open plains of the Serengeti, green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses, the plains get its name from the Maasai word siringitu, "the place where the land moves on forever". 

Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your amazing sightings from during the day. The Serengeti plains usually live up to every-one's expectations - the classic East African scenery of rolling grasslands dotted with acacia trees and teeming with lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, gazelles, impalas, cheetahs, warthogs, hyenas, vultures, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, and much more!

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. Please note that this must be pre-booked in advance through the Dragoman Sales team.

Day 109: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park

( Mon 16 Jan )

Today we will get up very early and we set off in our jeeps for an early morning game drive in the heart of the Serengeti plains. The early morning is the best time of day for wildlife viewing, as many of the animals are at their most active while it is still cool.

There is an option this morning for to take a hot air balloon flight over the Serengeti instead of the game drive - demand is high for this activity, so this must be pre-booked at the time that you book your trip with Dragoman.

We will return to our campsite for brunch, and then aim to exit the Serengeti at around lunch time. We will head back through the conservation area to our second campsite, on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where we will arrive in the early evening.

Again, the campsite tonight is very basic and unfenced. It can often be quite cold on the crater rim so it is recommended that you take some warm clothes for this night.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a stunning sunrise flight over the vast savannahs of the Serengeti in a hot air balloon (alternative to the scheduled morning game drive). This must be pre-booked through your sales consultant.

USD 650
About Ngorongoro Crater:

The Ngorongoro Crater is a huge caldera - a volcano which collapsed in an immense explosion. It measures 19kms in diameter and 265km² in area. The stunning crater is one of the most spectacular sights in Africa, and is absolutely packed with wildlife. 

On our trips we make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring the area at the base of the crater. There is an excellent chance of spotting many of the 'Big Five' (lions, buffaloes, rhinos, elephants and leopards), not to mention many other species.

Day 110: Mto Wa Mbu, Ngorongoro Crater

( Tue 17 Jan )

This morning we will have another early start to descend into the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater for a morning game drive. Again, the Ngorongoro Crater is an outstanding area for wildlife spotting, often described as a 'natural wildlife enclosure'. This is the best chance on the excursion to spot black rhinos as well as a myriad of other big game.

We will spend as long as our entry tickets allow in the Ngorongoro Crater before departing, which will usually give us about 3-4 hours of game driving. We will then be dropped off at our next campsite in the small town of Mto Wa Mbu, where we are re-united with our truck.

We will have a well-deserved free afternoon to relax at our excellent campsite or to explore the town of Mto Wa Mbu.

In Mto Wa Mbu we will stay at a well equipped campsite in the grounds of a good hotel.

About Mto Wa Mbu:

Mto Wa Mbu is the half-way point between Arusha and the Ngorongoro Crater. It is well known in Tanzania as being a village with great ethnic and cultural diveristy, and is the homeland of many different tribal groupings. There are some excellent handicrafts produced here, such as woodcarving and batik paintings done in the the local 'Tinga-tinga' style. The village is also well known for a unique red banana that grows in the area, that the locals brew into a special 'banana beer' - quite an acquired taste!

Day 111: Mto Wa Mbu, Marangu

( Wed 18 Jan )

This morning we will go on a fantastic community walk around the town where we will see local craft workshops, learn a little about the life here, and enjoy a lunch of delicious specialities from the area.

We will set off again in our overland truck and head east to Marangu, where we have a nightstop camping in the grounds of a beautiful colonial hotel at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. We will go past the whole length of Mount Kilimanjaro where we'll hope for clear skies and fantastic views of the mountain from the road. 

In Marangu we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Learn all about the locals' way of life on a village walk with the Mto Wa Mbu village community project

Included in Kitty
About Marangu:

The small village of Marangu is located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, and is the starting point for the most popular route to climb to the mountain's summit. Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain at 5,895m tall, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world - it is absolutely stunning to see from its base and is a magnificent backdrop to the surrounding grasslands on a clear day!

Day 112: Dar Es Salaam

( Thu 19 Jan )

Today we have a long travel day south to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city on the coast of the Indian Ocean. 

In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

Please note that if the group and leader prefer to split this drive into 2 days, we may spend this night in Lushoto in the Usambara Mountains (approximately half way to Dar es Salaam), where we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel. We would then complete the drive to Dar es Salaam the next morning.

About Dar Es Salaam:

Dar es Salaam (meaning 'Haven of Peace' in Arabic) is Tanzania's largest city and was the country's capital until 1974 when the capital was moved to the central town of Dodoma. The city is the most populous in East Africa and one of the fastest growing cities in the world - it is Tanzania's financial centre and the most prominent city in the country's arts, fashion, media, music, film and television.

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

On our trips we stay on the beaches of the southern district of Kigamboni - this is a beautiful and serene part of Dar es Salaam, and you'll be forgiven for not realising you're so close to such a big metropolis!

Day 113: Dar Es Salaam

( Fri 20 Jan )

Today is a free day to explore Dar es Salaam or relax at the beach campsite. 

If we stayed in Lushoto last night, we will complete the drive to Dar es Salaam today. 

Please note that, as of tonight, this trip overlaps with our "YDF - Zanzibar to Victoria Falls" trip, so you may have other customers joining your existing group once you arrive in Zanzibar. This is because Zanzibar is part of both trips, so it means customers going all the way through do not do our Zanzibar itinerary twice!

Activity Approximate Cost

Fishing trips (per boat) in the Indian Ocean

USD 220
Sunset kayak trip to explore the mangroves near Dar es Salaam USD 15
Visit to the Wonder Workshop, a craft workshop providing employment and training to local disabled people Free
Learn all about Tanzania's history at the National Museum and the House of Culture TZS 6500

Day 114: Zanzibar

( Sat 21 Jan )

This morning we will head to the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar! We will travel on the local commuter barge from Kigamboni to the city centre of Dar es Salaam, and then take a ferry from Dar es Salaam centre to Zanzibar. The ferry will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

When we reach Zanzibar we will meet our local guide, who will help us check in to our hotel in Stone Town and then give a quick orientation of the town before we branch off and head to lunch! We will have a free afternoon to explore the atmospheric streets of the historic centre of Stone Town, with the option of meeting for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.

In Stone Town we will stay in a good local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take the public ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar

 

Included in Kitty
Explore the beautiful and historic streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town Included in Kitty
About Zanzibar:

The exotic spice island of Zanzibar is filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, and its 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 David Livingstone.

Stone Town is the old port town of Zanzibar and is one of the most atmospheric old towns in Africa - 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 which we will visit on our trips. This tour will 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. In the spice plantations 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 major highlight of Zanzibar is of course its world-famous beaches. The northern beaches boast beautiful white sand and sparkling blue seas - displaying the Indian Ocean at its very best. Try snorkeling or diving, eat sumptuous seafood, or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book - Zanzibar is a paradise in every sense of the word!

Day 115 to 116: Zanzibar

( Sun 22 Jan to Mon 23 Jan )

On our second day on Zanzibar we will join our local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. We will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with our guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best - bright white sand, sparkling blue sea, outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere. 

On our third day on Zanzibar, we will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozani Forest.

In Nungwi we will spend both nights in a good hotel right on the shore of the ocean.

Activity Approximate Cost

Snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar

USD 40

Take a beautiful sunset dhow trip off the coast of Zanzibar

USD 20
Explore the beautiful 'Prison' Island near Zanzibar

USD 30

Take a guided tour of Zanzibar's historical sites, markets, and the spice plantations

Included in Kitty

Scuba diving in the incredible waters of the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar (per dive)

USD 55

Walk through the Jozani Forest in search of the very rare Red Colobus monkeys

USD 30

Day 117: Zanzibar

( Tue 24 Jan )

Border infromation: If leaving at Zanzibar, you will most likely exit Tanzania from Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (IATA code: ZNZ), however some customers prefer to return to Dar es Salaam and then exit from Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (IATA code: DAR).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Zanzibar. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Day 118: Zanzibar

( Wed 25 Jan )

Border Information: If joining at Zanzibar, you will most likely enter Tanzania from Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (IATA code: ZNZ).

There will be an informal meet-and-greet and orientation of Stone Town with our local Zanzibar guide at 6:00pm - please meet at the reception of the joining hotel at this time if you wish to take part in this orientation. Please note that you will not usually meet your regular Dragoman crew tonight, as they will be arriving in Dar es Salaam this evening and will travel to Zanzibar with members of their previous group tomorrow. 

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Zanzibar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Zanzibar.

In Stone Town we will stay in a good local hotel.

Please note that the first 4 days of this section overlap with our "YND - Nairobi to Zanzibar" trip, so some of the group that come to Zanzibar will leave before we take the ferry to Dar es Salaam. This is because Zanzibar is part of both trips, so it means customers going all the way through do not follow our Zanzibar itinerary twice!

Hotel for the night: Safari Inn

Safari Lodge

Malindi Street

Stone Town

Zanzibar

Tanzania

Tel - +255 242 236 523

Day 119: Zanzibar

( Thu 26 Jan )

Today will be a free day to explore Stone Town, the atmospheric old town on the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar!

Your Dragoman crew will arrive on Zanzibar this afternoon, and there will be an important meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - there will then be the option going for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the beautiful and historic streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town Included in Kitty

Day 120 to 121: Zanzibar

( Fri 27 Jan to Sat 28 Jan )

On our second day on Zanzibar we will join our local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. We will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with our guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best - bright white sand, sparkling blue sea outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere.

On our third day on Zanzibar, we will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozani Forest.

In Nungwi we will spend both nights in a good hotel right on the shore of the ocean.

Activity Approximate Cost

Snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar

USD 40

Take a beautiful sunset dhow trip off the coast of Zanzibar

USD 20
Explore the beautiful 'Prison' Island near Zanzibar

USD 30

Take a guided tour of Zanzibar's historical sites, markets, and the spice plantations

Included in Kitty

Scuba diving in the incredible waters of the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar (per dive)

USD 55

Walk through the Jozani Forest in search of the very rare Red Colobus monkeys

USD 30

Day 122: Dar Es Salaam

( Sun 29 Jan )

Today we will return to Stone Town and then take a ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, before travelling on the local commuter barge from the city centre to the suburb of Kigamboni. The ferry will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax at the campsite.

In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.

Activity Approximate Cost
Sunset kayak trip to explore the mangroves near Dar es Salaam USD 15

Ferry back from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam

Included in Kitty

Day 123: Iringa, Mikumi

( Mon 30 Jan )

We have a couple of big drives ahead of us to reach Malawi, starting with a journey out of Dar es Salaam and through the hills of the Mikumi National Park.

We will stay in a well-equipped campsite on a working ranch 52kms south of the town of Iringa.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Mikumi:

Mikumi National Park is situated at the foot of the thickly wooded Uluguru Mountains and is home to large herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe, as well as lions and leopards. It is Tanzania's third largest National Park, and we spend a couple of hours travelling through the park on the main route to and from southern Tanzania.

Although we do not make an off-road safari into the depths of the park on our trips, the scenery along the road is wonderful and we often see a decent selection of wildlife here as we pass by along the way.

Day 124: Chitimba

( Tue 31 Jan )

Border Information: Exit Tanzania at Songwe, enter Malawi at Songwe.

Today is another travel day as we cross the southern highlands of Tanzania and enter Malawi, arriving at the beaches of Chitimba on the northwestern shores of Lake Malawi.

In Chitimba we will stay in a beautiful campsite on the beach.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours

About Chitimba:

Chitimba is a small village on the shores of Lake Malawi - with long, white beaches and clear waters, it's a great place to relax and explore.

Day 125 to 126: Chitimba, Kande

( Wed 01 Feb to Thu 02 Feb )

This morning, depending on the preferences of the group, we may have to chance for a short village walk or a woodcarving lesson in Chitimba. We will then continue south along the coast of Lake Malawi to Kande beach, a beautiful spot on the lake shore.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day on Kande beach to relax or to get involved in some of the optional activities available here - there are watersports on the lake, horse riding through the forests and on the beaches, and village walks to see a little bit of the life of the local Tonga people.

In Kande we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Woodcarving lessons with the locals in Chitimba

USD 10

Village walk around Chitimba

USD 10
Guided walk and visit to a local Tonga village USD 10
Horse Riding excursions in the forests and beaches near Lake Malawi USD 90
Canoe hire to explore Lake Malawi from the water USD 10
Snorkelling excursion to Lake Malawi USD 15
About Kande:

Malawi is dominated by the stunning Lake Malawi, the large inland lake that covers almost a fifth of the country's area. 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 gear or canoes, and the clear waters of the lake are perfect to explore. As well as chilling on the beach and participating in the many optional activities on offer, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some of the friendly local Malawians!

Day 127: Lilongwe

( Fri 03 Feb )

Today we will head to the Malawian capital of Lilongwe. Hopefully we will arrive by mid-afternoon so that we have the chance to explore the city, its markets and its shops.

In Lilongwe we will camp in a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Day 128 to 129: South Luangwa National Park

( Sat 04 Feb to Sun 05 Feb )

Border Information: Exit Malawi at Mchinji, enter Zambia at Mchinji.

Today our journey continues across the Zambian border to the stunning South Luangwa National Park, where we will stay for 2 nights.

If we make good enough time on the drive to the campsite, then there may be opportunity for an optional extra game drive upon arrival tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have an included early morning game drive and an included evening game drive, both in open-sided safari vehicles.

South Luangwa National Park is a hidden gem on the safari circuit; it is rarely visited due to its remote setting, but has some incredible populations of wildlife and is one of the only parks in Southern Africa that is open for night driving with spotlights when many of the big game is at its most active. 

In South Luangwa National Park we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out 4x4 game drives through the wildlife-packed South Luangwa National Park

Included in Kitty
About South Luangwa National Park:

For scenery and variety of animals, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is one of Africa's hidden gems and best-kept secrets! South Luangwa is a vast woodland savannah which is home to over 60 animal species and over 400 types of birds, and is teeming with hippos and crocodiles. The plains beside the river are populated with lions, elephants, buffaloes, many kinds of bucks, kudus, Thompson’s gazelles and Red lechwes, and you're also likely to see many Thornicroft giraffes (a sub-species of giraffe unique to the South Luangwa region). The birds of the region are incrediby colourful, such as the multi-coloured Lilac-breasted roller and the red Carmine bee-eater.

Day 130: Luangwa River

( Mon 06 Feb )

Today we have a full day drive towards the Lower Zambezi area.

Tonight we will stay in a well-equipped campsite at the bridge over the River Luangwa. 

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

Day 131: Lower Zambezi Area

( Tue 07 Feb )

Today we drive to our well equipped campsite on the banks of the Lower Zambezi. 

Tonight we will meet our guides who will take us on our two-day canoeing expedition on the Lower Zambezi on the following day - they will give us a full briefing about the canoeing trip on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

About Lower Zambezi Area:

The Zambezi Valley has been known outside of Africa for thousands of years. Legends suggest that the ancient kingdoms of Hiram, Solomon and Sheba were enriched by the gold and ivory of Ophir, supposedly part of present day Zimbabwe, and the Zambezi was one of the gateways to the ancient treasure trove! More recent history records some of the explorations of hunters, missionaries and slave traders along this part of the Zambezi River.

Nowadays this part of the valley holds very different treasures for modern adventurers. Beyond Kariba Gorge, the Zambezi River flows through a wide and game-rich floodplain hemmed in by towering escarpments in both Zimbabwe and Zambia. The shoreline in Zambia has private conservation areas, game management areas and the relatively unexplored Lower Zambezi National Park. This region is heavily populated by hippos and crocodiles - it's also renowned as a birdwatcher's paradise with over 300 species having been recorded.

One of the best activities available on the lower Zambezi is to embark on a wonderful and serene canoe safari - paddling ourselves down the calm waters of the river, we can get a unique perspective on the region's amazing wildlife by viewing them from the water. We will also wild camp on the banks of the river on our multi-day trip, making it a very raw and memorable experience surrounded by nature!

Day 132 to 133: Lower Zambezi Area

( Wed 08 Feb to Thu 09 Feb )

Today we head out on our 2-day/2-night canoeing trip on the Lower Zambezi river.

This is a fully participatory expedition - everyone will pair up, go out in 2-person canoes and paddle themselves, following the lead boat! Everyone also gets involved in setting up the camps and cooking. All of our gear will be carried in a supply canoe, and wild camps are erected on islands in the river along the way.

This is a fantastic way to see the river, the scenery and some of the wildlife in the area!

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a 2-day/2-night canoe wildlife safari in the Lower Zambezi area

Included in Kitty

Day 134: Livingstone

( Fri 10 Feb )

After breakfast, we have an early morning transfer from our second island wild camp on a fast barge back to the truck, and then continue our journey to Livingstone, on the Zambian side of the world-famous Victoria Falls.

In Livingstone we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

About Livingstone:

The town of Livingstone was an old colonial settlement on the Zambian side of the mighty Victoria Falls. It is named after the famous Scottish explorer David Livingstone, who was the first European to explore the area. Now one of Zambia's tourism hotspots, it offers a different perspective of the incredible waterfalls than the Zimbabwean viewpoints.

Day 135: Victoria Falls

( Sat 11 Feb )

Border Information: Exit Zambia at Victoria Falls, enter Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls.

Today we cross the border to Zimbabwe and to the world famous Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa!

Upon arrival in Victoria Falls we will go for a briefing for possible optional adventure activities, then we will have an included visit to the main viewpoints over the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls.

In Victoria Falls we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa

Included in Kitty
About Victoria Falls:

The lively town of Victoria Falls 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 one of Africa's most spectacular and recognisable icons! They comprise of an enormous curtain of water about a mile wide, falling 108m into a narrow chasm below.

In the wet season, the falls create an impressive raging torrent and creates a spray that can rise an incredible 400m and can be seen from miles away. The locals call the falls "Mosi oa Tunya", which means "the smoke that thunders" - a fantastic 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. Whichever season you choose, you are sure to be blown away by this awe-inspiring spectacle!

As well as enjoying the falls, there are 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 even bungee-jumping from the bridge across one the cataracts! Please be aware that many activities may need to be booked in advance to avoid them being booked up (especially if you are starting your trip in Victoria Falls) - please see the website of our approved activitiy supplier in Victoria Falls, Adventure Zone, to see what options they have available and to book any that you wish to do before your trip starts - http://www.adventurezonevicfalls.com/ 

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

Day 136: Victoria Falls

( Sun 12 Feb )

Border Information: If you are leaving the trip in Victoria Falls, you will most likely depart Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls Airport (IATA code: VFA).

Today is a free day to take advantage of the vast array of adventure activities on offer in the area. If you are interested in a full day of activities here, we advise that you don't book a flight out earlier than 6:00pm, or just aim to stay an extra night, in order to give yourself enough time to do so. 

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Victoria Falls. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Activity Approximate Cost

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
Horse riding along the scenic banks of the Zambezi USD 95
Enjoy a relaxing canoeing trip on the River Zambezi USD 110
Take a guided walk to a local Matabele village USD 55
See the incredible Victoria Falls from the air with a helicopter flight over the waterfalls USD 152

Day 137: Victoria Falls

( Mon 13 Feb )

Border Information: Welcome to Victoria Falls and the largest waterfalls in Africa! If joining the trip in Victoria Falls, you will most likely enter Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls Airport.

There will be a group meeting at 10:00am at the Victoria Falls Rest Camp. Your leader will leave a note on the reception with the details of this important meeting - when you arrive you will easily spot the Dragoman truck as well (to the right-hand-side of the reception), where you'll be able to meet one of our crew.

This afternoon we will have an included visit to the main viewpoints over the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls.

Our camp ground is centrally located on the Zambezi River only four kilometres from the Falls, the perfect place to use as a base for the vast array of adventure activities on offer in the area. Please note that no meals are included in Victoria Falls. 

Hotel for the night: Victoria Falls Rest Camp

Victoria Falls Rest Camp

Park Way

Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe

Tel - +27 216 836 444

Day 138: Victoria Falls

( Tue 14 Feb )

Today is a free day to allow you to participate in some of the many optional activities on offer. There are various activities and excursions to choose from, including white water rafting and canoeing, horse riding, abseiling or gorge swinging!

Day 139: Hwange National Park

( Wed 15 Feb )

After breakfast we head towards Hwange National Park, stopping en route to visit the Painted Dog Conservation Group for an insight into the plight of the African Wild Dog. We will take an included afternoon game drive in local safari trucks through Hwange National Park.

Tonight we will camp in the National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

About Hwange National Park:

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest nature reserve, and contains a wonderful array of landscapes, including grasslands, forests, wetlands, sections of the arid Kalahari, and lava flows. The area designated as the hunting grounds for the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th Century, and was set aside as a protected nature area in 1928.

Today, Hwange boasts a tremendous population of wildlife, with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. The elephants of Hwange are world famous, and the National Park's elephant population is one of the largest in Africa. We will explore the park in open 4x4 vehicles and stay within the National Park at one of the designated camp grounds.

Day 140: Bulawayo

( Thu 16 Feb )

This morning we will head out on an early morning game drive within Hwange National Park. In the afternoon we will travel to city of Bulawayo in the southeast of Zimbabwe.

In Bulawayo we will stay in a campground with shared facilities, where some upgrades are available.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

About Bulawayo:

Known as the 'City of Kings', Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city and has a very interesting historical past. It was founded by the Lobengula, the king of the Ndebele people and the son of Mzilikazi kaMatshobana, the first Ndebele king to settle in modern-day Zimbabwe in the 1840s after their great trek from Zululand. In 1893, the settlement was invaded by the forces of the British South Afirca Company, and turned into a colonial settlement under the supervision of the infamous British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Bulawayo was regarded as the industrial centre of Zimbabwe in the 20th Century, and the city served as the hub to the country's rail network due to its strategic position near Botswana and South Africa.

These days, Bulawayo is most famous as the gateway to the nearby Matobo National Park.

Day 141 to 142: Bulawayo, Matobo National Park

( Fri 17 Feb to Sat 18 Feb )

We will spend 2 days in Bulawayo.

On the first day we will have an included day trip to explore the Mataobo National Park, home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros. We have an incredible safari to track them on foot, and also have the chance to visit the grave of Cecil Rhodes and learn all about Zimbabwe's past. 

On the second day we will have free time to explore the city of Bulawayo or take a tour of some of the surrounding historical sites. We will keep this day flexible so if the whole group wishes to spend more time in the Makgadikgadi Pans then we will be able to move on today instead.

About Matobo National Park:

Matobo National Park is one of Zimbabwe's most fascinating safari destinations. The park is a haven for African wildlife and is excellent for game viewing, and it especially famous as being home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros - we will be able to track the rhinos on foot with our local guide, whose knowledge and connections with the local Ndebele tribes is unrivalled.

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. There are some fascinating ancient cave paintings made by various San people adorning some of the cave shelters within the National Park, which we will also visit on our excursion here.

Matobo also contains the site of the grave of Cecil Rhodes, the infamous and controversial British colonialist, businessman and imperialist, Cecil Rhodes - here we will pay a visit to admire the stunning views over the plains and find out about some of this history from our local guide.

Day 143: Makgadikgadi Pans

( Sun 19 Feb )

Border Information: Exit Zimbabwe at Plumtree, enter Botswana at Ramokgwebana.

Leaving Zimbabwe behind, have a long drive day today into Botswana to the awesome Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the largest salt pans in the world.

We camp tonight at the intriguingly named "Planet Baobab", a very well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

About Makgadikgadi Pans:

One of the world's largest salt pans, the colossal Makgadikgadi Pan lies in northern Botswana surrounded by the vast Kalahari Desert. The pans are hauntingly beautiful and desolate, and are dotted with the iconic baobab trees that the region is famous for. The area is also home to many curious meerkats, which if we are lucky will be able to spot scurrying around!

Day 144: Makgadikgadi Pans, Maun

( Mon 20 Feb )

This morning we will have the time for optional excursions into the Makgadikgadi Pans to see the incredible scenery and go in search of meerkats! In the afternoon we will drive to Maun, where we will prepare for our 2-day/1-night excursion to the Okavango Delta.

Tonight we we stay in a well equipped campsite. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

About Maun:

Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana and is famous as being the gateway to the southern parts of the vast Okavango Delta. Due to this, Maun has developed rapidly from a rural frontier town to a tourism hotspot, complete with shopping centres, hotels and lodges, although it retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen continue to bring their cattle to Maun to sell.

Day 145 to 146: Okavango Delta, Maun

( Tue 21 Feb to Wed 22 Feb )

This morning we will set off to join the mokoros (pole-driven canoes) for our 2-day/1-night excursion to the Okavango Delta. The Delta is one of the world's most fascinating ecosystems. We will explore the incredible scenery in our small dugout styled canoes and enjoy some walks on the islands in the delta looking for wildlife.

We will bushcamp on our night on the Delta, and then return to our campsite in Maun on the afternoon of the second day, where there will be the time for optional scenic flights over the Delta.

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, never reaching the ocean. 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 unspoiled 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 hippos, crocodiles, elephants, warthogs, and a myriad of different birds. Despite its abundance of wildlife, spotting game is not always easy in the Delta due to the lush plantlife that grows in the area - however, exploring the Okavango is less about searching for wildlife and more about enveloping yourself in a truly unique and magical landscape.

In the Delta, we drift along the labyrinth of waterways in a dugout canoe called a mokoro - like an African gondola, the mokoro is punted along with a long pole by a local boat driver, helping you glide serenely through the reeds and the meandering waterways. Reeds and lily pads line the streams and birds startled by the mokoros rise out of the long grasses. Punting along, the peace of the Delta is only shattered by the occasional deep grunting of hippos and other animal sounds.

Day 147: D'Kar

( Thu 23 Feb )

This morning we will drive south to the village D'kar in the district of Ghanzi. In the afternoon we have an included visit to the Dqãe Qare Game Reserve, a community based tourism project of the San from D'Kar village, where we will go on a bush walk to learn all about the lives and culture of the San.

Tonight we will camp at a well equipped camp site at the Dqãe Qare Game Reserve.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

About D'Kar:

The Dqãe Qare Game Reserve, located in the vast plains of the Kalahari Desert in western Botswana, is a community based tourism project designed to showcase the life and culture of the San community (Ncoakhoe - meaning Red People) from the nearby D'Kar village. More correctly, the community here is of the 'Ncoakhoe' (meaning 'red') people, and the term 'San' is a widely accepted umbrella term to describe many smaller tribal groupings with similarities in their languages and cultures. The San people were the original inhabitants of nodern-day Botswana, and lived across large areas of Southern Africa as semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers for many centuries - their ancient legacy is evident in the region's rich cave paintings.

In more modern times, many San communities have settled in one area and turned to a more agricultural way of life. Unfortunately, recent times have also brought marginalisation and an erosion of culture, and projects like Dqãe Qare Game Reserve aim to protect and preserve the culture and traditions of these communities. Dqãe Qare Game Reserve is owned by the people of D'Kar, and aims to create employment, preserve the Ncoakhoe indigenous knowledge through tourism activities, and to generate income for the local people.

Day 148: Windhoek

( Fri 24 Feb )

Border Information: Exit Botswana at Manumo, enter Namibia at Buitepos.

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

Tonight we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

About Windhoek:

The old German colonial town of Windhoek has evolved into a modern city, and has served as Namibia's capital since their independence in 1990. 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, including the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace) and the Christuskirche (church).

Day 149 to 150: Etosha National Park

( Sat 25 Feb to Sun 26 Feb )

Today we will drive north from Windhoek to Etosha National Park. 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 two nights giving us plenty of opportunity for game drives in our truck! 

We will camp in the park at the well equipped campsite called Okaukuejo, a particularly spectacular camp as it overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night.

Drive time (Windkoek to Etosha) - 6-7 hours.

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 many big carnivores as well as five rare or 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 National 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 very worthwhile.

Day 151: Spitzkoppe

( Mon 27 Feb )

Today we will drive south to the stunning mountains of Spitzkoppe. This remote region has breathtaking sunsets and sunrises as the colour of the landscape takes on remarkable oranges and reds.

Tonight will be a bushcamp with very limited facilities. 

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.

About Spitzkoppe:

The rugged mountain of Spitzkoppe is sometimes known as 'the Matterhorn of Namibia' - it is a staggering 700 million years old, and stands at 1,987m rising above the wild lands of the surrounding deserts.

Although you should not attempt climbing to the top, there are some excellent hikes throughout the area - it is a truly spectacular landscape, which although in the desolate rocky deserts is nevertheless abundant in unique plant life. 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.

Day 152 to 153: Cape Cross, Swakopmund

( Tue 28 Feb to Wed 01 Mar )

Today we will continue to the old German colonial town of Swakopmund, where we will have 2 nights to explore the town and enjoy some of the many optional adventure activities on offer.

We will also have an included visit to Cape Cross en route from Spitzkoppe, to experience the sight, sound and smell of thousands of olive-coloured seals on the shore.

In Swakopmund we will stay in a local guesthouse. 

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.

About Cape Cross:

As the Portuguese explorer Bartholemeu Diaz discovered 500 years before us, Cape Cross is a huge breeding ground for Cape fur seals - and it's now home to about 200,000 of them! It's quite an incredible sight to see the thousands of seals reeling about on the beach and interacting in their natural habitat. Sometimes you may see hyenas and jackals waiting on the edges of the colony for opportunities to steal pups while their mothers are at sea.

Please bear in mind that this is quite a raw experience, and you'll likely smell the seals well before you see them, so please don't expect idyllic scenes of seals basking on the shore!

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 extraordinary remnant of German colonial culture that's found throughout Namibia. 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 great place for the adrenaline junkie, and there are some excellent outdoor activities that you can get involved with - some of the most popular include sandboarding, quad-biking across the beautiful dunes or exploring the marine life on a boat trip along the coast.

Day 154: Namib Desert, Sesriem & Soussusvlei

( Thu 02 Mar )

Today we will drive from Swakopmund to Sesriem, our base for exploring the spectacular Namib Desert. If time allows, en route we will have the option to take a short walking tour of the desert around Solitaire where we can learn all about the ecosystem of the desert - please note that our time available for this is dependant on the time of the sunset, as they close the gates to our Sesriem campsite at sunset.

We camp in the Sesriem region at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

 

About Namib Desert:

The Namib Desert stretches for about 2,000 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 1,000 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.

About Sesriem & Soussusvlei:

The Namib Deserts are thought to be the oldest in the world, and are between 55-80 million years old. The most famous parts of the Namib Desert are its vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon and in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. 

The Sesriem Canyon 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 the highest sand dunes to be found anywhere 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. We get the chance to appreciate the area in all its glory on a sunrise climb to the top of  Dune 45 - a star-shaped dune at the 45th kilometre marker from the Sesriem gate, standing over 170m tall above the ancient desert. This is without doubt the best way to take in the landscape, and watching a sunrise there is an ethereal and unforgettable moment!

Day 155: Sesriem & Soussusvlei, Bethanie

( Fri 03 Mar )

Today we have an early morning start to climb to the top of the famous Dune 45 for a dramatic and incredible sunrise view across a vast sea of sand. We will also have chance to explore the otherworldy landscape of the Dead Vlei. In the afternoon, we head south to our river camp near the small town of Bethanie.

Tonight we camp at an eco-tourism campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours (not including the Dune 45 excursion)

About Bethanie:

An Eco campsite located on a river near to the town of Bethanie.  This stop is perfect to wash out the sand after the dunewalk at Sossusvlei and all the dust after a long drive before heading to Fish River Canyon.

Day 156: Keetmanshoop

( Sat 04 Mar )

This morning we drive to the strange landscape of the Giant's Playground near Keetmanshoop. We will have a free afternoon to explore the Giant's Playground and the surrounding Quiver Tree Forest.

Tonight we camp at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

About Keetmanshoop:

Named after the German financier of a mission established here in the 1800s, Keetmanshoop is regarded as the capital of Southern Namibia and is one of the oldest towns in the country. Prior to the arrival of the European mission the town was known as Nu-gouses, or "Black Marsh", indicating the presence of the important spring in the area. 

Whilst being the hub of the karakol wool industry, Keetmanshoop is perhaps best known for the Quiver tree, or 'kokerboom', forests. Lying a short distance north east of town, the Quiver tree forests got their name from the ancient San San's tradition of hollowing out the branches and using the tough outer bark as a means of carrying their arrows; a quiver. The Quiver Tree Forest 'trees' are in fact aloe plants which usually only grow singly, but grow here in large numbers, giving the impression of a small forest.

Another popular sight in the area is the "Giants Playground". These curiously shaped magma formations have been gradually revealed by the erosion of the earth's surface over millions of years. The formations are estimated to be between 160 and 180 million years old, scattered and piled, often somewhat precariously, over hundreds of thousands square kilometres. There is a short trail which guides you past the most striking formations, an area covered in huge, black, basalt rocks all balancing precariously on top of each other.

Day 157: Fish River Canyon

( Sun 05 Mar )

Today we will leave the Giant's Playground and head south to the dramatic secnery of the Fish River Canyon. Here we will have a good amount of time for exploration and taking in the beautiful sunset over the canyon. 

Tonight we camp in a basic campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

About Fish River Canyon:

Fish River Canyon is one of the great natural wonders of Africa. It is Africa's largest canyon, and one of the largest canyons in the world - it is similar in dimension and sheer magnificence to the Colca Canyon in Peru and the Grand Canyon in the USA. Fish River has its source east of the Naukluft Mountains, and from there it flows down into the great Orange River. The river has cut into the escarpment through which it flows to create a canyon more than 150 kms long, and up to 550 m deep in places.

There are remarkable photographic opportunities here, and on our overland trips we will watch the incredible orange and pink glows of the ground at sunset before heading on to our campsite.

Day 158: Noordoewer

( Mon 06 Mar )

This morning we will drive to Noordoewer, next to the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) River - the natural border between Namibia and South Africa. There is also a possibility of visiting the Ais Ais hot springs en route. This afternoon we can take the opportunity to take an optional canoeing tour on the Orange River. 

Tonight we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours

About Noordoewer:

Noordoewer (meaning "North Bank" in Afrikaans) is a small settlement on the banks of the Orange River, which marks the boundary between Namibia and South Africa. It is one of the hottest places in Namibia, but fortunately there is an abundance of water which is used to irrigate the fruit trees - in particular, the grape vines that are common in the area.

Day 159: Citrusdal

( Tue 07 Mar )

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

Today we cross the border into South Africa and head down the Western Cape to Citrsudal. In the evening we will have the option for some wine tasting!

Tonight we stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

About Citrusdal:

The Western Cape of South Africa is one of the world's best regions for wine production - the temperate climate of the region and the altitude profile of the nearby Cedarberg Mountains make the area ideal for the cultivation of grapes, and a thriving wine industry has grown up in the area. Amongst the most common varieties of wine produced here are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.

The area of the Cedarberg Mountains is also famous as rooibos tea is endemic there - enjoyed in Southern Africa for centuries, rooibos tea has become very popular worldwide in recent decades, and is still almost exclusively grown in the Western Cape.

Day 160: Cape Town

( Wed 08 Mar )

Border Information: If finishing in Cape Town, you will likely exit South Africa at Cape Town airport.

Our final day takes us down the Western Cape to the charming and beautiful city of Cape Town. 

There is no accommodation provided for tonight but we are able to organise additional nights accommodation in Cape Town, which we recommend as there is plenty to see and do! Please request at time of booking.

Please do not book international departure flights until after 21.00hrs on departure day.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

Please note that many of the optional activities listed below will only be possible if you have extra time in Cape Town after the end of the trip.

About Cape Town:

With its stunning coastline, dominating mountain and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. With vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every other corner and plenty of restaurants and cafes to while away the time, this is a fantastic holiday destination in its own right.

Whether you're finishing or joining a Dragoman trip here, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in. Cape Town and the Western Cape in general has a very cosmopolitan feel thanks to its cultural diversity, vibrancy and creativity. The city is also lucky enough to benefit from great weather, with warm languid summers and mild winters - making it a great destination all year round.

Home to 6 internationally recognised Blue Flag beaches, it's a great place to kick back and relax, or if you'd rather get active, hop inside the revolving cable car and set off on one of hundreds of hiking trails that criss cross Table Mountain to its summit, stopping off to admire the views of Camps Bay down below. If you've got any energy left you can even strap on a harness and abseil all the way down. Other attractions in the city include the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the famous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela once spent time as a prisoner, and the Cape Point Nature Reserve. 

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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, and information about kit lists, meeting hotels, insurance, vaccinations, visas, and other information that will help you get ready for your trip.

We update these notes regularly, 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 and inclusions cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our 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, which often have poor infrastructure. You should expect that some of these areas do not adhere to 'Western' safety standards.

Altitude Warning

Warning - this trip goes above 2800m.

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

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

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

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

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

Gorilla Trek Note

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

  1. Passport details at the time of booking
  2. A non refundable trip deposit payment of GBP650 at the time of booking (higher than our usual trip deposit)

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

The likelihood of seeing gorillas is virtually guaranteed; however, they are wild animals so we can never say that the chance is 100%.

Physical Preparation

Physical preparation for Eastern and Southern Africa

Travelling in Eastern and Southern Africa or Middle East can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions and basic campsites all provide a challenge. It can be very hot in places, but also can be surprisingly cold at night so please make sure you are prepared! There will be many early starts in Africa, especially on mornings where we head out on wildlife spotting trips. 

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.

We will be travelling to areas in remote locations where medical assistance will not be available. If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition that would put you at risk, we would suggest that this is not the trip for you. Also, please be aware that should an emergency occur, there is likely to be a considerable delay in accessing medical care, and by joining our trip you accept this risk.

Physical preparation for The Nile Route

Travelling on the Nile Route can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions and basic accommodation all provide a challenge. It can be very hot in places during the day (especially in Sudan and Egypt) but also can be surprisingly cold at night so please make sure you are prepared! In Ethiopia it is often colder and has more rain than many people expect, and there are sections of high altitude, such as the Simien Mountains. You'll travel through some remote regions, and accommodation tends to be very basic in the entire region, including some wild camps with no facilities at all. 

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.

We will be travelling to areas in remote locations where medical assistance will not be available. If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition that would put you at risk, we would suggest that this is not the trip for you. Also, please be aware that should an emergency occur, there is likely to be a considerable delay in accessing medical care, and by joining our trip you accept this risk.

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.

For trips that are not yet guaranteed, you may find yourself in the position whereby you will need to start the visa application process prior to your trip being guaranteed - in this situation we still advise you not to purchase flights until your trip is guaranteed. However, you can start your visa application process, ensuring that when applying for your visas or letters of invitation that you allow several days before and after your entry into the country to allow for delays, availability of flights, etc. 

Egypt 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will need a visa to enter Egypt as a tourist for up to 30 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.

If you are on our Southbound trip and will enter Egypt at Cairo airport, you will have to get a visa from your nearest Egyptian consulate in advance, as visas are no longer available on arrival in ordinary circumstances.

However, if you are on our Northbound trip that arrives in Egypt from Sudan, it is still possible to obtain your visa on arrival if this is arranged by us in advance - in order for us to arrange this, we will require you to send a copy of your passport to your sales agent at least 1 month before departure. Alternatively you could get it yourself in advance from your nearest consulate.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Ethiopia 

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

If arriving into Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, most nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport. If you are starting your trip in Gondar, you will be able to obtain your visa in Addis Ababa airport and stamp into Ethiopia before changing planes to fly to Gondar. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a 30-day visa is USD50, and a 90-day visa is USD75. You will need two passport photos for the application. Please note that citizens of many Eastern European countries cannot obtain the visa on arrival, and will need to get it in advance as detailed below.

Please note that visas are not available on arrival at any land borders – if arriving at a land border (e.g. from Sudan or Kenya), then you must obtain your visa in advance. This must generally be done at the Ethiopian Embassy in your country of residence only (or the closest place which has an embassy). The Ethiopian Embassies in Cairo and Nairobi no longer issue visas to non-Egyptian or non-Kenyan residents respectively, so you will not be able to obtain one in either of these places. Please see this website to find your closest embassy or consulate - http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/ethiopia .

Please also be aware that the visa is valid from the date of issue and not the date of entry into Ethiopia, and it is no longer possible to post-date the visas, so please give careful consideration to the timing of your application and to which length of visa will be suitable for your stay.

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

Sarem International Hotel
Belay Zeleke Street

Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 126 2088

Important note: Those on longer Northbound combinations from Cape Town or Victoria Falls (specifically trip codes AGV, EEV, AAO, AGO, and EEW) will be unable to apply for an Ethiopia visa before travel, as it will expire before you are able to use it.

We have previously advised people to apply for the visa before travelling and ask them to post-date the visa so that it becomes valid when you are due to arrive in Ethiopia. Unfortunately Ethiopian Immigration Officers have now stopped doing this and are making their visas valid as soon as they are issued; they remain valid up to a maximum of 90 days during which time you will have had to have entered and exited Ethiopia.

As such, there are now only 2 options for getting this visa successfully in order to continue the combination trip. Both options have been successfully used in the past by those unable to get their visa post-dated.

Option 1 – obtain a 2nd concurrent passport before travel, send your visa application using this new passport to The Visa Machine who can keep hold of it and apply for the visa on your behalf later on while you are already in Southern Africa (travelling using your 1st passport). Then The Visa Machine can arrange to have it sent out to you in Nairobi (via DHL, FedEx, etc.) for you to pick up. You will likely need a letter from your employer and from Dragoman to apply for a 2nd passport, but please contact Dragoman or The Visa Machine for further advice on this if you prefer this option.

Option 2 – continue on the trip as far as Samburu National Park, then temporarily leave the trip – as the truck heads North to Marsabit, you can travel South back to Nairobi on local transport (which our local Samburu guides can help arrange). From Nairobi you can take a flight to Addis Ababa (where you can obtain your Ethiopia visa on arrival) and then on to Arba Minch (airport code AMH). From here you can take a short drive in a local taxi or bus to the town of Konso (this transport can be very easily arranged on arrival) - here you will meet the truck again and re-join the trip. The only section you will miss by taking this option is the drive from Archer’s Post – Marsabit – Moyale – Konso, a section without any real ‘highlights’. Please contact Dragoman if you would like to take this option and would like assistance booking the flights, or if you would like to discuss these options in more depth.

Please note that you cannot obtain your visa here while waiting for a connecting flight, and then later try to use this visa to enter at a land border (for example - obtain the visa at Addis Ababa airport while waiting for a connecting flight to Nairobi, then later try to cross overland from Kenya to Ethiopia). This is not accepted - they will check the Place of Issue of the visa and refuse you entry into Ethiopia if you have obtained your visa this way.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

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.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Kenya 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will need a visa to enter Kenya 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.

Tourists of all nationalities can obtain a visa in advance at any High Commission. Another option is to apply for an e-visa, this will need to be applied for at least 7 days in advance of arrival into Kenya - please go to www.ecitizen.go.ke to set up an account and apply; it may take up to 7 days to be approved, then they will send a visa approval confirmation to your email address which you must print out to present at the border. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD51, EUR40 or GBP30 for all nationalities.

It is also possible to obtain a visa on arrival in Kenya (at an airport or land border) until further notice, however this opportunity could be cancelled at any time without notice.

You are allowed to exit and then re-enter Kenya with just a single-entry visa, provided your travel in between visits to Kenya is only within Tanzania and Uganda. If you have been to any further countries during this time, then this single-entry visa will no longer be valid, and you will have to purchase a new visa or e-visa to re-enter Kenya.

There is also an East African Tourist Visa available – this is a common visa that covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, and must be organised in advance from the embassy of the first country that you'll enter (in all Dragoman trips this will be Kenya). At the time of writing (2015), the cost of this visa is USD100 for all nationalities. This is recommended if you are doing our ‘gorilla loop’ through Uganda and Rwanda. Please note that citizens of Ireland can travel to Uganda freely without a visa, so it may be more cost effective to apply for Kenyan and Rwandan visas separately rather than apply for the East Africa Tourist Visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether they are similarly exempt (there are only a small number of nationalities that are exempt).

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Uganda 

Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will need an East African Tourist Visa to enter Uganda on our 'gorilla loop' trips – this is a common visa that covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, and must be organised in advance from the embassy of the first country that you'll enter (in all Dragoman trips this will be Kenya). At the time of writing (2015), the cost of this visa is USD100 for all nationalities.

If the East Africa Tourist Visa is unavailable or difficult for you to arrange, then it is possible to apply for an e-visa just to enter Uganda as a tourist for up to 90 days. This must be done in advance at the following website - https://visas.immigration.go.ug. At the time of writing (2016), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD50 for all nationalities. 

Please note that citizens of Ireland can travel to Uganda freely without a visa, so it may be more cost effective to apply for Kenyan and Rwandan visas separately rather than apply for the East Africa Tourist Visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether they are similarly exempt (there are only a small number of nationalities that are exempt).

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Tanzania

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

The easiest way to get a visa is to obtain it on arrival. This is available for almost all nationalities at all land borders and airports into Tanzania. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD50 for most nationalities and USD100 for USA passport holders - 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 (this is only necessary for a small number of nationalities).

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

You are allowed to exit and then re-enter Tanzania with just a single-entry visa, provided your travel in between visits to Tanzania is only within Kenya and Uganda. If you have been to any further countries during this time, then this single-entry visa will no longer be valid, and you will have to purchase a new visa to re-enter Tanzania.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk). You will almost certainly be asked to show your yellow fever vaccination certificate when arriving to Zanzibar as well.

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.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Malawi 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and EU countries will need a visa to enter Malawi as a tourist for up to 90 days. The visa can be obtained in advance through your nearest consulate. If you can’t get a visa before travel, you can get a visa on arrival at the border, however you may require a pre-authorisation visa letter from the Malawi Immigration Department - please check this with the nearest consulate. It is recommended to get the visa in advance as they can take a while to process if obtaining them on arrival - the current (August 2016) cost if obtaining the visa on the border is USD75 for all nationalities.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Rwanda 

Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will need an East African Tourist Visa to enter Rwanda on our 'gorilla loop' trips – this is a common visa that covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, and must be organised in advance from the embassy of the first country that you'll enter (in all Dragoman trips this will be Kenya). At the time of writing (2015), the cost of this visa is USD100 for all nationalities.

If the East Africa Tourist Visa is unavailable or difficult for you to arrange, then it is possible to obtain a visa for Rwanda separately. Citizens of the UK, Germany, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and South Africa can obtain a visa on arrival from any point of entry in to Rwanda. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD30 for these nationalities, which should be paid in cash on arrival. All other nationalities (including other EU countries, Ireland, and the USA) will need to apply for an e-visa in advance – please go to www.migration.gov.rw to apply for a single-entry visa; it should take 2-5 days to be approved, then they will send a visa approval confirmation to your email address which you must print out to present at the border – the costs vary depending on nationality.

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

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

There is a space on the online form to attach an invitation letter, however this is not needed. Please contact Dragoman if the embassy requests it.

Please note that citizens of Ireland can travel to Uganda freely without a visa, so it may be more cost effective to apply for Kenyan and Rwandan visas separately rather than apply for the East Africa Tourist Visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether they are similarly exempt (there are only a small number of nationalities that are exempt).

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers upon entering the country.

South Africa 

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

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

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting for over 12 hours in an airport in an area of risk).

Zambia

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

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 Zambia. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD50 for all 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.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Sudan 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will need a visa to enter Sudan as a tourist for up to 30 days. You will need to obtain the visa in advance.

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 (only a small number of nationalities are exempt from obtaining visas in advance).

The process of obtaining a Sudan visa can take up to 8 weeks, so it must be started well in advance of travel. You will need to hire the services of a Sudanese travel agent, who will apply for the necessary authorisation letters for you to make a visa application at a specific embassy, so that you can later collect your visa at that specific embassy. You will have your application rejected if you try to apply for a visa without that embassy having been previously sent authorisation letters for you from a Sudanese agent.

We recommend that you contact Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel in Khartoum (email - waleed.travel@gmail.com, tel - +249 183 794 990 or +249 912 874 080) who is our main agent in Sudan and can apply for your authorisation number. At the time of writing (2015), his fee for this service is USD165 (but this varies depending on the embassy of application), to be paid in cash upon our arrival in Khartoum (he will visit the joining hotel to meet the group). You will need to send Waleed a scan of your passport and specify to him which embassy you need to make you application to.

If you are joining the trip in Gondar, you will need to apply for the visa and collect it from your nearest Sudan Embassy before travel. If you are joining the trip in Khartoum, it is now possible to apply for the visa to be picked up on arrival in Khartoum Airport, which is the cheapest and most convenient way to obtain the visa – however, you will need to go through the whole process with Waleed as above, as this will need pre-arranging. If you are on a Southbound trip from Cairo, we recommend that you apply for the visa to collect at the Sudan Embassy in Aswan, Egypt, where your tour leaders can assist with obtaining these for the whole group in one go. Similarly, if you are on a Northbound trip from Addis Ababa, we recommend that you apply for the visa to collect at the Sudan Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. You will need 6 passport photos and scans of your passport for the application.

At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single entry visa was USD100 for most nationalities (and USD150 for USA passport holders) in Aswan and Addis Ababa, but this varies significantly depending on the embassy. This is payable in cash at the embassy.

On arrival in Sudan, you will need to register your visa – this is done by Waleed in Khartoum, or by his representative in Wadi Halfa on your behalf. The current (2015) cost for this is USD55, and you will need another 2 passport photos.

Please note that entry to Sudan will be refused to Israelis or any travellers with evidence of previous travel to Israel in their passport.

Please also note that travelling to Sudan will usually make you ineligible for the USA's ESTA visa waiver scheme should you plan to travel to the USA in the future. You will still be able to travel to the USA, but will have to obtain a visa (usually the B-1/B-2 temporary visitor's visa) to do so as your ESTA will be denied. There are some exceptions to this, please see the following link for more details - http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/01/251577.htm.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

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.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Travelling via South Africa with under-18s 

Please note that if you’re travelling to South Africa with a person under the age of 18, then you must be able to produce the child’s full unabridged birth certificate (the one listing the child’s details and both parents’ details. - the short birth certificate which only lists the child’s details won’t be accepted).

There are additional requirements if the child is travelling with only one parent, with neither biological parent, or is unaccompanied. Please see this link for more details or contact your nearest South African High Commission if you have any specific questions.

These supporting documents will not be required for those directly transiting through a South African International Airport en route to another final destination. However, if you need to go through immigration on arrival in South Africa, collect your luggage and check in again, then you will need the same documentation as detailed above - please check with your airline if this is the case for your flight.

Personal Spending

Personal Spending - Africa

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on our trips in all of Africa, we recommend you allow between USD10 and USD20 per day.

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

Eastern and Southern Africa Currencies and 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 no more than 8 years old. 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 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. 

Please note that due to a shortage of money in banks and ATMs in Zimbabwe, many ATMs are running dry of cash and some local banks are putting restrictions on international cards being used. It is also illegal to exit Zimbabwe with more than USD1000 per person, so please make sure that you do not bring a greater amount than this out of Zimbabwe.

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!

Nile Route Currencies and 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!

Cash machines are usually available in Egypt, but are infrequent in Ethiopia and northern Kenya, and do not exist in Sudan (at least not any that will work with non Sudanese cards). It is therefore very important that you have a good supply of USD cash, just bringing cards such as Travelex, VISA or Mastercard to top up your cash on the occasions when you find ATMs.

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 no more than 8 years old. 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.

What else you need to know

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 in hotels or hostels, 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 greatly depending on what options are available at the time; hotels can vary from very basic rooms without electricity or running water to high standard hotels with good facilities! Generally in hotels most rooms will be twin-share but in South America many rooms are triple-share. Hostels, gers and yurts are nearly always multi-share.

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 wild camp away from the tourist crowds. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays allowing us to get close to the indigenous population and ensuring that our money stays within the local community.

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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 note that this option is not available for our trips to West Africa or Iran (please see http://www.dragoman.com/files/Kitty_doc_v6.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, Chikungunya and Zika 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. Health professionals have issued warnings for pregnant women travelling to areas affected by the Zika virus - please see more information here.

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 (e.g. hiking the Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas, visiting the Taj Mahal, etc.), whilst others are optional (e.g. white water rafting in Uganda, zip-lining in Costa Rica, etc.). 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 list is designed to be a helpful guide as to what is commonly available in each location, and is neither an exhaustive list, a guarantee that the activity is available, or an endorsement or recommendation. Please note that certain activities may not be available on your particular visit if they are overbooked, underbooked, out of season, or for any other reason - the list of activities is made according to our latest information and in the best faith, but please be aware that things may change between our last visit and your arrival. Please also note that it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, and it is recommended to give yourself extra time in your joining or ending city if you would like to participate in some optional activities there. 

Prices listed are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated - again, these prices are displayed according to our latest information and in the best faith, but prices do fluctuate due to exchange rates, season, numbers of participants, and simple increases from the operator - any prices listed are a guide only and certainly cannot be guaranteed. 

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.

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.

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 http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/c/381/Overland

 

*For trips with camping nights

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Personal Medical Kit

All of our trucks have a standard motorist first aid kit on board for use in emergency situations only. The first aid kit is in compliance with UK standards for first aid provision within motor vehicles and contain supplies to treat road side injuries. We do not carry prescription medications, 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 travel medical kits. They have been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contain everything you would need for any minor incidents and health issues. For more details please visit their website: 

Overlander kit (including painkillers) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2910/Overlander-Medical-Kit-(P)

Independent kit (including painkillers and antibiotics) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2909/Independent-Medical-Kit-(POM)

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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.

Country Specific Notes

Zimbabwe Note

Please note that due to a shortage of money in banks and ATMs in Zimbabwe, many ATMs are running dry of cash and some local banks are putting restrictions on international cards being used. It is also illegal to exit Zimbabwe with more than USD1000 per person, so please make sure that you do not bring a greater amount than this out of Zimbabwe.

Ethiopia Note

Please note that accommodation prices in Ethiopia may significantly increase during late December and January due to several national holidays surrounding Coptic Christmas; this may push the price of the kitty up an extra USD50 per person. We will endeavour to negotiate and save money on the ground where possible, but please be aware that we are likely to need extra money in the kitty for trips over this time.

Please also note that we must keep a flexible itinerary in the Simien Mountains, as our options will largely be determined by the weather. The camping areas in the Simien Mountains National Park are very basic, and are essentially wild camps with long drop toilets. The food and provisions available in Debark and the National Park are very limited, and it is also likely to be very cold at night (often dropping below freezing), so please be prepared by bringing suitably warm clothes, and a 4-season sleeping bag and sleeping mat.

Zanzibar Note

Please note that there is an overlap in Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi or Victoria Falls will visit Zanzibar at the same time as groups starting their trips in Dar es Salaam. This is so that any customers travelling all the way are not scheduled to go to Zanzibar twice - this means there could be up to 44 group members in Zanzibar at the same time, although it is highly unlikely to be this many.

Sudan Note

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently has no travel warnings in place that will affect this trip for British clients.

Non-UK clients should check the travel advice of their own governments, as this may be different to the British FCO advice. Australia and New Zealand currently advise 'against all travel' to all areas of Sudan outside of Khartoum. Canada advises against all travel to Sudan and the U.S asks travellers to carefully consider the risks of travel to Sudan.

We therefore ask that all non UK travellers check their insurance policy carefully to ensure they are still covered for this trip (as travel to these areas may invalidate some insurance policies). All non UK clients will need insurance that will remain valid throughout the entire trip before they are able to travel with us.

Please note that there are no ATMs in Sudan (at least none that will work for non-Sudanese cards), so please bring plenty of USD cash with you.

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