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

Cairo to Cape Town 1 days, departing 07 Jul 2015
Our wild camp near Spitzkoppe, Namibia The world-famous Great Pyramids of Giza, built 4000 years ago Two icons of Ancient Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx The stunning view from the summit of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Cairo to Cape Town
Duration: 1 days
Transport:
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:

64%36%

Route Map

Countries Visited

Botswana

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

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

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

Egypt

Egypt is a country full of international celebrated sites including the Pyramids and the River Nile. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids are one of the most visited sites in the world. If you travel to Egypt, a trip to these is a must. The River Nile is another must see spot, as it travels through 5 countries including Egypt. Weaving through the Sahara Desert, it covers an incredible distance of over 4000 miles.

The capital is Cairo, and it is the largest city in Africa. It has many interesting places to visit, such as the Cairo Tower and Egyptian museums. The city might be large, but so is the opportunity to get involved to experience the Egyptian culture.

Ancient Egypt spans back an incredible 6000 years and throughout the history music has been central to it's culture. The God Thoth was credited with the invention of music by the Ancient Egyptians. Today typical folk music is alive in the rural parts of the country and is a classic tradition. As the piano and violin were introduced into Egypt, the music became more classical at the beginning of the 20th century. Like the music, the cuisine too is beautiful.  "Ful Medames" is flowing with vegetables and is one of the national dishes of Egypt.

Egypt has an amazing history, and with so much to be discovered, there is an adventure waiting to be found.

Ethiopia

With a friendly atmosphere, a country brimming with history, tribes and national parks. Ethiopia is a country that is as diverse as you can get in Africa.

Along the Sudanese frontier it changes from semi-desert to high mountains. The highland area and the Simien Mountains are known as the Roof of Africa and are home to the ancient Ethiopian Christian kingdom. In the far east of the country is a vast desert, home to Islamic nomads. In the south is the Rift Valley with stunning lakes and flora and fauna. To the south-west are the unique tribal lands of the Omo Valley and Mago National Park.

The principle national park is the Simien Mountains National Park, and with the range of wildlife in the park and great mountain vistas, it is nothing short of amazing. The parks most famous inhabitants are the Gelada Baboons.

Ethiopia is an ancient Christian kingdom and has architecture unusual in this part of Africa as a result. The rock churches of Lalibela and the forts of Gondar are completely unique in East Africa.

It is a country full of life and colour, and this is expressed through the sound of music. It is very diverse, as so many cultures across the country have their own sound. Most of Ethiopia's music is folk inspired and is influenced from other North African countries. The range of sound is diverse and there are many traditional instruments. Chordophones, Aerophones, Idiophones and Membranophones are the most common sounds used in traditional music. 

Vegetables and meat are the basis of many of the dishes in Ethiopia. Berbere is an ingredient used in many dishes. A cross between chilli powder and other spices give dishes a distinct taste when added to beautiful stews. Food brings Ethiopians together, and the act of Goorshsa shows this. This is the act of ripping off a piece of injera bread, rolling it in the sauce and placing it in a friend's mouth. This is an act of friendship and the larger the injera, the greater the friendship.

Kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Malawi

Malawi is often referred to as the warm heart of Africa, as there is a friendly welcome awaiting any visitors to the country. It is a place full of breathtaking sites and some amazing national parks with plenty to for the adventurous traveller.

The main draw for visitors to Malawi is the lake that takes the country's name, also referred to as the Lake of Stars. It's possible to kayak, snorkel, scuba dive or just kick back and enjoy the beach. After a busy day activities (or not as the case may be) the shore of Lake Malawi is the perfect place to watch the sunsets and enjoy a sundowner. Another attraction is Luwawa Forest is in the Viphya Mountains.  At about 1200m above sea level the forest has claim to be the largest man-made forest in Africa and is made up of conifers and native trees of Malawi.

Although overshadowed by its more famous neighbour, Malawi does have some opportunities for game viewing; the Liwonde game reserve and the Luangwa game reserve are home to some of the great wildlife, including warthogs, hippos and elephants. There are over 60 species of animals and over 400 species of birds to be found in these parks.

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. Malawian jazz is totally different to other types across the world influenced by traditional music.

The main dish in Malawi is fish however tropical fruits and dairy products are also a popular choice of cuisine. Nthoci is bread made with banana and Mbatata which is a mixture of sweet potato and cinnamon cookies and are two more of the delicacies Malawi has to offer.

Malawians want to make visitors feel welcome and their happiness and generous nature have to be admired. It is easy to see why this country is amongst the happiest in the world.

Namibia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rwanda

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

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

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

South Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sudan

Sudan is one of the least visited places in Africa, yet it has so much to offer. The friendliness of the Sudanese people is legendary in traveller circles. For a country that has experienced such bad political problems and such a long and drawn out civil war it is amazing that the local people are so welcoming. People are genuinely warm and always willing to help. This is the country where you want to brush up on your smattering of Arabic. Just a few words can open doors into chai houses, into living rooms and into the world of Sudanese hospitality. People are genuinely curious and pleased to see outsiders.

Khartoum is the capital city and it is full of life. With museums and shopping, there is always activities to partake in. The river Nile cuts north through the city creating a scenic view throughout the capital. There's a place to relax in the Botanical Gardens.

Sudan is famous for its fantastically well preserved temples and pyramids. Much less known that the ones in north neighbour Egypt but no less interesting. 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.

When a guest arrives at a house, they are offered a drink of Abre or Tabrihana, which is a non alcoholic fruity drink. They will be seated at a low table with cushions on the floor and will be offered a towel to wipe their hands. A large cloth is given to cover the knees. An important ritual in Sudan is serving water from an Ebrig, which is a copper pitcher and the water is caught in a beautiful copper basin. As for the food itself there are many beautiful dishes - soup, salad, spices. One dish is called Machi. This is a dish of tomatoes stuffed with beef. This dish is popular across Sudan. The red hot spice of Shatna is used in many dishes and is the real taste of the country. Dessert is often prepared and served on a side table before the main meal. A traditional dish is creme caramela and is normally decorated and served to a guest with a spoon after the main meal has been consumed.

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

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

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

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

Uganda

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

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

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

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

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

Zambia

Zambia is not a country that is considered by most visitors to Africa and yet it has so much to offer the traveller. It has some stunning scenery, friendly people, fascinating tribal traditions and a developing infrastructure. Rural Zambia is the Africa of storybooks and our drive across the country takes us through stunning semi-forested mountains dotted with small villages.

Zimbabwe

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Itinerary

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
The Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital
A typical street in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa
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
The 3rd-century Stelae Field of Axum, Ethiopia
The Blue Nile Falls near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Carrying wood near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
The mighty Blue Nile Falls during rainy season
Some of the beautiful moorland trails in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
Admiring the stunning and desolate scenery of the Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia
The world-famous Great Pyramids of Giza, built 4000 years ago
Two icons of Ancient Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx
Another incredible view of the Pyramids of Giza, near Cairo
The stunning view from the summit of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Overlooking Cape Town just after sunset
The sunrise from the campsite at Chitimba, on the shores of Lake Malawi
Palm trees on the tropical shores of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The long road to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Overlooking the rolling landscape around Eldoret, Kenya
Our beautiful campsite in Iringa, southern Tanzania
An adrenaline-fuelled rafting trip on the White Nile near Jinja, Uganda
At the source of the River Nile near Jinja, Uganda
At our campsite in Kampala, Uganda
A busy street in the Ugandan captial of Kampala
Meeting some of the locals on a village walk near Kande, Malawi
The serene beach at Kande, on the shore of Lake Malawi
Football with the locals on Kande beach, Malawi
The phenomenal 12th-century St. George cathedral in Lalibela, Ethiopia
A local priest in the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia
Walking through the village of Lushoto in the Usambara hills, Tanzania
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Day 1: Cairo

( Tue 07 Jul )

Border Information: if joining in Cairo, you will most likely enter Egypt at Cairo International Airport.

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!

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

Please note that many of the optional activities displayed below will only be possible if you have extra time in Cairo before the trip starts.

Hotel for the night: The King Hotel

The King Hotel

20 Abdel Rehim Sabri St.

El Dokki

Giza

Cairo

+202(0)33359455

info@kinghotelcairo.com

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, Cairo is the largest city in Africa. There are plenty of things to see and do with free time in Cairo. Take a walk along the Corniche or travel along the river by felucca. If the crowds and the noise of the city are too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector - with its narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches, it's a haven of peace and quiet.

The Egyptian Museum, which holds the fabulous Tutankhamun collection, mosques dating back to the time of Mohammed and the famous Khan-el-Khalili bazaar are just a few of the sites that Cairo has to offer. You can spend time visiting the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza, and at night you can witness the famous sound and light show. Nearby is the Necropolis of Saqqara, which you can visit by horse or camel through the desert.

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Day 2: Cairo

( Wed 08 Jul )

Today we will set off in a local chartered minibus for an included full-day guided tour to Memphis, the pyramids at Saqarra, 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
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Day 3 to 4: Alexandria

( Thu 09 Jul to Fri 10 Jul )

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.

Drive time - 4-5 hours (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!).

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
See the beautiful Roman mosaics at the Villa of the Birds, next to the Kom El Dikka Amphitheatre EGP 10
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
See the triumphal Roman column of Pompey's Pillar, the largest Roman column ever built outside of Rome or Constantinople EGP 20
Explore the beautiful gardens surrounding the Montaza Palace, built in 1932 by King Fuad I EGP 5
Visit the Ptolomaic-era cemetery at the Mostafa Kamal Necropolis EGP 15
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 EGP
About Alexandria:

Egypt's second largest city and main port, Alexandria was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis.

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Day 5: Port Said

( Sat 11 Jul )

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.

Drive time - 5-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
See the famous and influential Suez Canal near Port Said Included in Kitty
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Day 6: Eastern Deserts, Zafarana

( Sun 12 Jul )

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.

Drive time - 6-8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
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Day 7: El Quesir

( Mon 13 Jul )

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

In El Quesir we will stay in a pleasant campsite.

Drive time - 6-8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the Ottoman Fort at El Quesir Included in Kitty
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Day 8 to 10: Marsa Alam

( Tue 14 Jul to Thu 16 Jul )

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

Drive time - 3 hours.

We will have 2 full days in Marsa Alam to relax on the beaches, enjoy many activities on the Red Sea, or to take an 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

Surfing or kite-surfing on the Red Sea near Marsa Alam

EUR 75

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

EUR 40

Head out for an evening camel safari in the Wadi-El-Gamal desert

EGP 100

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

EGP 300

Head out on a small yacht for a fishing trip on the idyllic waters of the Red Sea

EUR 70
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
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Day 11 to 13: Luxor

( Fri 17 Jul to Sun 19 Jul )

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).

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

See the Sound and Light show at the Karnak Temple

EGP 100

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
Learn all about the process and techniques of mummification at the Luxor Mummification Museum EGP 60
About Luxor:

Situated on the banks of the Nile, Luxor was once the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the unbelievable paintings and hieroglyphs in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, this open-air museum is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.

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Day 14: Aswan, Edfu

( Mon 20 Jul )

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.

Drive time -  10 hours (including the visit to Edfu).

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: in the Ptolemaic era from 237 to 57 BC.  Edfu is also the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnark Temple.

Despite its later date the temple exactly reflects the traditional pharaonic architecture providing an excellent idea of how all the temples once must have looked.

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Day 15: Aswan, Felucca Journey

( Tue 21 Jul )

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

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
About Aswan:

Aswan is a beautiful town, situated on one of the most picturesque parts of the Nile with stunning vistas, a great and vibrant souq, and the whole town is characterised by the Nubian people. It is an ideal place to relax, perhaps by taking an afternoon boat trip, finishing with drinks on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel. Later in the evening take a wander into the souq. The atmosphere of the Aswan souq is second to none and some excellent bargains can be had. 

At Aswan you can visit the Philae temples, a quarry with an unfinished obelisk, and the high dam, 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 trek into the desert by camel to a deserted 6th century monastery. You may take an option to fly or drive down to Abu Simbel to visit the two magnificent temples. They were moved uphill from the rising floodwaters of Lake Nasser by a Unesco project in the 1960s. Perhaps finish off your days with a visit to the stunning new Aswan Museum, before dinner on one of the many floating river front restaurants.

There are so many other activities around Aswan, but you should not miss the opportunity to take at least a short ride in a felucca, the local sailing boat - a great way to experience the ultimate Nile sunset.

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Day 16 to 17: Aswan

( Wed 22 Jul to Thu 23 Jul )

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 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
See the spectacular Sound and Light show at the Philae Temple EGP 33
Visit the the fortress-like 7th-century Monastery of St. Simeon EGP 25
Visit the Nubian Museum, a fantastic showcase of Nubian culture and civilisation EGP 20
See the colossal Unfinished Obelisk near Aswan, which would have been the largest obelisk in the world had it been completed EGP 30
Explore the nearby Fatimid cemetery, a rare window into the 10th and 11th-century Fatimid Caliphate era USD
Visit the incredible Roman-era Temple of Kalabsha, constructed in tribute to Mandulis, the Nubian sun god EGP 50
Explore the locally-made abstract sculptures showcased at the Aswan Sculpture Park EGP 40
Learn all about the process and techniques of mummification at the Luxor Mummification Museum EGP 60
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Day 18: Abu Simbel

( Fri 24 Jul )

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.

Drive time - 5-6 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
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Day 19: Wadi Halfa

( Sat 25 Jul )

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.

Drive time - 5-6 hours (including the border crossing).

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Day 20 to 21: Wawa, Dongola, Karima

( Sun 26 Jul to Mon 27 Jul )

Over the next 3 days we will journey north 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 Temple of Deffufa near Dongola, and the pyramids at Jebel Barkal mountain near the town of Karima.

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

Drive time - 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 Karima:

On the road between Dongola and Meroe we explore ruins at of the Temple of Amun at Jebel (Mount) Barkal. The hill top of Jebel Barkal was one of the earliest spiritual centres of Kush.

The all-powerful Pharaoh Ramses II constructed a temple to the Theban god Amun here in the 13th Century B.C. 600 years later the great Nubian Pharaoh King Taharqa had the mountain's peak covered in gold during his reign in the 7th Century B.C. A monument remains to him with his name inscribed on it. The area has numerous sites, including some great tombs and pyramids at El Kurru, just south of Jebel Bakul. These contain the tombs of the famous Kashta and his son Piye (Piankhi) (the conquerors of Egypt), five earlier generations, together with Piye's successors Shabako, Shabatko and Tanutamun, and 14 pyramids of the queens. The pyramids at nearby Nuri contained 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 ever built at the site. These pyramids are on the opposite bank of the river from Jebel Barkal and are much larger than the earlier pyramids at El Kurru, reaching heights of 20-30m. However they are in pretty poor condition and probably only warrant a short stop. There are some excellent views of the pyramids if you have the energy to climb to the top of Jebel Bakul.

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Day 22 to 24: Musawwarat, Meroe, Naqa

( Tue 28 Jul to Thu 30 Jul )

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.

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 Meroe:

Meroe is at the heart of the ancient Kingdom of Nubia. Early signs of culture in Nubia (northern Sudan and southern Egypt) first appear around 3500 B.C., when Egypt was in the throes 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 B.C. and 1100 B.C. 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 between about 1500 and 1100 B.C. The two cultures were assimilated and in reality became one.

The Egyptians eventually withdrew from Nubia around 1100 B.C. and in the ensuing vacuum a group of powerful kings arose. The Pharaohs 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 and thus began the rule of the "Black Pharaohs". From 760 B.C. through to 660 B.C. the Black 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. The Nubian period in Egypt is known as the 25th Dynasty. However their reign in Egypt was shortlived, as at the zenith of their glory the Assyrians invaded Egypt and the Nubian Pharaohs fled south with their armies and court to the Kingdom of Kush, from where they continued to harass the new Pharaohs of Egypt from afar.

In around 593 B.C. the Egyptian Pharaoh Psamtik II had had enough of the Kush kings claiming his throne and he invaded Nubia with Egyptian troops, Greek mercenaries and a fleet of ships. During the invasion temples and towns were destroyed and the Nubians butchered but the Kingdom of Kush was by no means finished. Ironically, while Egypt was to endure successive invasions from Persia, Macedonia and finally by Rome, the Kingdom of Kush continued to flourish under an unbroken line of kings until the 4th Century A.D.

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 B.C., 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. This was high culture, and the area was in its zenith. 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 one or two tour groups a year come here.

About Naqa:

50 kilometers east of The River Nile lies the ruins of the ancient city of the Kushitic Kingdom - Naqa. The site is one of the largest in the country and 2 of the largest temples here are still very well preserved. Naqa has a very important place in history as it served as one of the centres of the Kingdom of Meroe and it served as a bridge between Africa and the Mediterranean. The original temples have some fine carvings upon them and it is pleasantly shocking how these delicate artifacts have survived thousands of years.

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Day 25 to 26: Khartoum

( Fri 31 Jul to Sat 01 Aug )

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 the rest of the day and the whole of tomorrow to explore Khartoum, including the the impressive Grand Mosque and the bustling Omdurman market, or relax at our hotel.

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

Drive time - 4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Witness the spectacular Sufi Whirling Dervishes of Omdurman (Fridays only)

SDD 60

Explore the huge markets of Omdurman and Arabi in Khartoum

USD

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

Learn all abotu 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 a place to explore. The city is really two cities: the colonial city of the British and General Gordon on one side of the river, and the sprawling settlements of Omdurman on the other. Here you find one of Africa's most interesting markets where for the souvenir hunters you can get some excellent Beja Ben Amer tribal swords. These tribal people are easy to spot. Very tall and distinguished-looking, with the telltale hair and traditional swords slung over the shoulder. Their ancestors played a major role in the Dervish uprisings in the 19th Century at the battle of Omdurman. The best place to find out more about this period of Sudanese history is in the Khalifa Museum in Omdurman, near the Mahdi's tomb.

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Day 27: Khartoum

( Sun 02 Aug )

Border Information: if finishing in Khartoum, you will most likely exit Sudan at Khartoum International Airport.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Khartoum. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

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

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Day 28: Gedaref

( Mon 03 Aug )

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.

Drive time - 7-8 hours.

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Day 29: Gondar

( Tue 04 Aug )

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.

Drive time - 9-10 hours.

About Gondar:

The historic city of Gondar is known as the city of castles and palaces. This was once the capital of Ethiopia in the reign of King Fasilidas who built the first castle. Successive kings added their own castles to the complex. On the outskirts of the town there is also Fasilidas' Bath, which is an interesting building standing in an artificial pool which is still filled for occasional religious ceremonies. At the Debre Berhan Sellassie 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.

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Day 30: Gondar

( Wed 05 Aug )

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

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Day 31 to 32: Gondar

( Thu 06 Aug to Fri 07 Aug )

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

PO box 57

Gondar

Ethiopia

Tel: 0581 12 29 03

Activity Approximate Cost

Learn all about medieval Ethiopia on a half-day guided tour of the castles, churches and baths of Gondar

Included in Kitty
Enjoy a tour of the local Dashen brewery in Gondar USD 8
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Day 33 to 35: Debark, Simien Mountains National Park

( Sat 08 Aug to Mon 10 Aug )

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!

Activity Approximate Cost

3 days of guided treks in the phenomenal Simien Mountains National Park

Included in Kitty
About Debark:

Standing at the gateway to the Simien Mountains is the town of Debark. Many people pass through here to experience the wonders that these mountains have to offer. With this beauty in its landscape, Debark has some of the most amazing scenery in Ethiopia.

About Simien Mountains National Park:

The Simien Mountains are known for their dramatic and spectacular scenery; jagged mountain peaks flank deep valleys and high altitude plains where only grasses, junipers and giant lobelias grow. This is one of the major mountain regions of Africa, home to mountain Ras Dejen (4543m), the fourth highest peak in the continent. The National Park was created primarily to protect a type of wild goat, the Walia Ibex; and the Gelada Baboon and rare Ethiopian Wolf are also found here. 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. The area is a great place to do some trekking, or you can hire mules to go in search of some of the more easily spotted wildlife, like the klipspringer, ibex and baboon.

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Day 36: Debark

( Tue 11 Aug )

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.

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Day 37 to 38: Adi Arkay, Axum

( Wed 12 Aug to Thu 13 Aug )

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.

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. It has some impressive obelisks 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 ruins of a palace that is said to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba. There is also a complex of several churches, which have been built over the ages around the same site. The most interesting, is a small unimposing building with a green picket fence that holds the crowns of various former Ethiopian emperors and is said to house the original Ark of the Covenant.

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Day 39: Axum

( Fri 14 Aug )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Church of St. Mary of Zion at Axum

ETB 200

Take a guided tour of the ancient 4th-century tombs and palaces of the Axumite Kingdom in Axum

Included in Kitty
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Day 40: Mekele

( Sat 15 Aug )

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.

Drive time - 10 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the ancient rock-hewn churches of Tigray at Mekele

Included in Kitty
About Mekele: Mekele is a cultral town famous for its churches and desert landscape. Historians date Mekele to be founded in the 13th century and it is a place with a colourful history. Derg The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front Monument is one of the most famous points and can be seen from nearly any place in the town. The palace of King Yohannes IV is a chance to see so much of Mekeles history during the reign of this king. The churches are worth a visit, as they are just beautiful.
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Day 41 to 42: Woldiya, Lalibela

( Sun 16 Aug to Mon 17 Aug )

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.

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. It’s an awe-inspiring feat of engineering which must have taken many years and thousands of men to complete. Fortunately the village is underdeveloped as a tourist site and still has its original Ethiopian charm.

Each of the churches is unique in design and beautifully carved. Legend has it that King Lalibela completed all the work in 12 days with the help of a band of angels who carved the rocks for him day and night.

The church of Asheten Mariam is hidden in the rugged hills behind the village. You may like to trek there on foot or take a mule to this fascinating monastery and enjoy the incredible views on the way.

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Day 43 to 44: Lalibela

( Tue 18 Aug to Wed 19 Aug )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a full guided tour of the 12th-century rock-hewn churches and monasteries at Lalibela

Included in Kitty
Explore the highlands of Lalibela on foot, possibly walking to the nearby Asheten Monastery ETB 500
Visit Yemrehana Kristos, the very unique 'church in a cave' near Lalibela ETB 600
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Day 45 to 47: Bahir Dar

( Thu 20 Aug to Sat 22 Aug )

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

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the stunning Blue Nile Falls just downstream of Bahir Dar

Included in Kitty

Head out on a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the ancient Coptic churches and monasteries nearby

Included in Kitty
About Bahir Dar:

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'). After walking around the falls, we use local reed boats to cross the river upstream. On the lake itself are a number of monasteries on islands and peninsulas and we take the opportunity to visit two on our boat trip. These churches feature the traditional murals and decoration of the Orthodox Church. We cross the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge which is 1 km deep, taking a couple of hours to drive down to the bottom, cross the river and drive back up the other side.

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Day 48: Dejen

( Sun 23 Aug )

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.

Drive time - 5 hours.

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Day 49: Addis Ababa

( Mon 24 Aug )

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.

Drive time - 8-9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overland journey to Addis Ababa, passing through the immense Blue Nile Gorge

Included in Kitty
About Addis Ababa:

Referred to more commonly as "Addis", Addis Ababa (220 km, approx 7-8 hours) lies amongst wooded hills at an altitude of about 2300 metres, giving it a pleasant climate. Addis has many sights to offer visitors and we have free time to explore the sites. 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 Merkato (local market). All manner of arts and crafts can be found in the souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue.

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Day 50: Addis Ababa

( Tue 25 Aug )

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

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

USD

Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African independence and optimism

USD

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

USD

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

USD
Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum, one of the best museums in Africa set in a former palace of Haile Selassie ETB 100
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Day 51: Addis Ababa

( Wed 26 Aug )

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.

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Day 52: Addis Ababa

( Thu 27 Aug )

Border Information: If joining in Addis Ababa, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International 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.

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.

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 2088/99

 

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

USD

Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African independence and optimism

USD

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

USD

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

USD
Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum, one of the best museums in Africa set in a former palace of Haile Selassie ETB 100
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Day 53: Lake Ziway, Tulu Gudo Island

( Fri 28 Aug )

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

After lunch we will take a boat tour 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.

Drive time - 4 hours (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!).

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 60 miles south of Addis Ababa, and its surrounding area, 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 said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the ninth century. Long inhabited by the Gurage, an ethnic group rich in history and culture, the areas surrounding the lake are now under unprecedented pressure from deforestation.

About Tulu Gudo Island:

 

Among Ethiopia’s many ancient legends is that of the Ark of the Covenant. One of the islands on Lake Ziway, Tullo Gudo, is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the ninth century

The story goes that King Menelik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, brought the powerful relic to Ethiopia in the 4th century B.C. Hidden within the Saint Mary Zion Church in Aksum, the Ark rested peacefully until the 10th century when the violent campaigns of warrior-Queen Gudit threatened to destroy the church. To protect the Ark, it was carried far south to the island now known as Tulu Gudo, where it remained for some 70 years before being safely returned to Aksum. Those that brought the Ark to Tulu Gudo came to be known as the Zay people, the guardians of the Ark. Tulu Gudo’s Maryam Tsion Monastery boasts a number of millennium-old manuscripts that are said to have accompanied the Ark of the Covenant on its journey to the island.

On Tulu Gudo Island we learn about the unique culture of the Zay people. Though just 900 of them live on the island, their culture and language are completely different from the surrounding Oromo people. We pass through the village, meet the community, experience the local way of life, and discover traditional weaving. The Maryam Tsion Monastery is the highlight of the tour. Home to a fascinating collection of ancient relics dating back over 1,000 years, the monastery houses relics such as the beautiful Gedle-Kidusen manuscript, a parchment book written in Ge’ez, as well as a number of stunning platters and crosses.

 

 

 

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Day 54 to 56: Bale Mountains National Park

( Sat 29 Aug to Mon 31 Aug )

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

Drive time - 8 hours.

We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the National Park. We will keep one day completely free to head out for 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 second-highest point in Ethiopia (the 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

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: Bale Mountains National Park is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountain peaks which soar to over 4000 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 Simien red fox, Menelik's Bushbuck and the Mountain Nyala. There are some 200 species of bird within the park including 13 of Ethiopia's 23 endemic species.
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Day 57 to 58: Awassa, Wendo Genet

( Tue 01 Sep to Wed 02 Sep )

Today we will head north to the small town of Awassa, where we will visit  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.

Drive time - 7-8 hours.

We will have a a free day to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, and 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

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

Included in Kitty

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
About Awassa:

Awassa (also spelled Awasa or Hawassa) is a city in Ethiopia, on the shores of Lake Awassa in the Great Rift Valley where fishing is it major local industry.

Awassa was capital of the former Sidamo Province from about 1978 until the province was abolished with the adoption of the 1995 Constitution. This city is home to Hawassa University, Awasa Adventist College, and a major market.  Important local attractions include the St. Gabriel Church and the Awassa Kenema Stadium.

During our time in Awassa we will visit the Awassa Childrens Project.  The Awassa Children's Project 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 Awassa Children’s Project (ACP) is a grassroots non-profit organization formed in 2001.  ACP supports several organizations in Awassa, Ethiopia: a children’s centre that provides housing, food and education for over 60 children orphaned by AIDS; One Love Theatre (OLT), an AIDS education theatre company; and the Awassa Youth Campus, a community center in downtown Awassa which features–free to all Awassa children–aikido, sports, tutoring, art, music and a library, among other activities. These organizations continue to grow and dramatically improve the lives of Awassa children and the community in which they live. Especially in these times of dramatically increasing food costs in Ethiopia, your support is critical to our continued success.

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

 

 

About Wendo Genet :

Wendo Genet (also known as Wondo Genet) is a resort town in Ethiopia. Located southeast of Shashemene in the Sidama Zone of the Southern Nations.

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 "Wondo Paradise", in reference to the beautiful panorama with a rich endowment of forests, wildlife and abundant water.

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Day 59 to 60: Arba Minch

( Thu 03 Sep to Fri 04 Sep )

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

Drive time - 9-10 hours.

The next day, we will have a free day for some well-earned rest after the Omo Valley, or to take an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there, or hire bicycles to explore the scenic area.

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

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch

ETB 200
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 seven 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

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Day 61 to 64: Omo Valley Region

( Sat 05 Sep to Tue 08 Sep )

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. 

We will camp in basic campsites on all these nights without possibility of upgrades, and we 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). 

Drive times - 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 tribes 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, Arbore and the Dascensch tribes, among others.

There are also other tribal groupings throughout the area and our guide will point out the different tribes and their customs. Life is distinctly tribal throughout the region, with few modern amenities.

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Day 65: Konso

( Wed 09 Sep )

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.

If we have made good time and do not wish to stay in Konso, we may choose to push on to wild camp at Sode Crater, giving us a chance for some short walks in the morning before crossing the Kenyan border.

About Konso:

In the far south of Ethiopia on the banks of the Sagan river is Konso, gateway to the Omo Valley. The whole way of life in the villages here has changed little over the centuries and old traditions are strongly upheld.

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Day 66: Moyale

( Thu 10 Sep )

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

Today we have a full drive day across the Kenyan border at Moyale, where we will camp at the town's police station or in a local campsite.

Drive time - 9-10 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Remote overland journey through the wilds of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya

Included in Kitty
About Moyale:

The market town of Moyale splits the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. There is a nice atmosphere that runs throughout the town and more of this can be discovered through exploring.

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Day 67 to 68: Marsabit, Samburu community village visit

( Fri 11 Sep to Sat 12 Sep )

Over the next two days we will be travelling through the very rarely-visited region of northern Kenya, crossing the infamous Moyale-Marsabit road to the central Samburu region. Both days will be fairly long hard driving, and the road can be incredibly bumpy and challenging, but scenery makes up for this as we travel through the black lunar landscapes near Marsabit and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.

On the first day of our journey, we will reach the town of Marsabit and will stay in a basic local hotel with shared bathrooms.

Drive time - 9-12 hours (highly dependant on weather conditions).

On the second day of our journey, we will reach the Samburu region near to the small town of Archer's Post, where we will visit a Samburu village. Here we will be shown around the village and their homes, play with the children and learn all about the way of life here for the Samburu people! 

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

Drive time - 8  hours (highly dependant on weather conditions).

Please note that due to security issues in this particular area, we will 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
About Marsabit: Marsabit lies on the extinct volcano of Mount Marsabit. Surrounded by forests on the hills, it is a contrasting image to the deserts in the background. At the heart of the forest is Lake Paradise. This gorgeous site attracts animals such as elephants and buffaloes to the spot and this and the Bongole Crater create a fascinating location for people all over to come and gaze at the beauty of the town.
About Samburu community village visit:

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.

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Day 68 to 69: Samburu National Reserve

( Sat 12 Sep to Sun 13 Sep )

Today we will get up early and enter the Samburu National Reserve, where we will head out for the entire day for 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.

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Day 70 to 71: Naro Moru

( Mon 14 Sep to Tue 15 Sep )

Today we will exit the Samburu National Reserve via a final game drive, to arrive at the small village of Naro Moru at the base of Mount Kenya.

Drive time - 5-6 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

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

Game driving in the wildlife-packed private reserve of Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Sweetwaters Game Reserve

USD 190

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
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Day 72 to 73: Nakuru National Park

( Wed 16 Sep to Thu 17 Sep )

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.

Drive time - 7 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 Nakuru town.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

USD 5

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

Included in Kitty
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. The bushland on the valley floor is home to a large variety of antelope and gazelle including eland, impala, Chandler's reedbuck and the tiny dikdik; and the inevitable pride of lions.You can also see Rothschild giraffe here, but Nakuru's biggest draw is probably it's rhinos. In the late 1980s the Kenyan Wildlife Services used the park as a rhino sanctuary, and it now has a stable black and white rhino population.

 

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Day 74: Naivasha

( Fri 18 Sep )

Today we make our way to Lake Naivasha, 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.

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

Drive time - 3 hours.

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 20
About Naivasha:

On the shores of Lake Naivasha lies the market town of Naivasha.

Here, there are a wide variety of birds to view in and around the lake, and hippos are usually seen wallowing along the shores. 

There is an option here to take an afternoon boat trip along the scenic shallow waters for a closer look at these creatures as well as many other ways to spend your time in this park.

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Day 75: Nairobi

( Sat 19 Sep )

Border Information: If you are finishing in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

This morning we will have some free time in Naivasha to relax at the lake, go on an optional early walk in the Crescent Lake Wildlife Sanctuary or hire bicycles to explore the nearby Hell's Gate National Park!

After lunch we will make our way to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

We expect to arrive back in Nairobi around 4pm in the afternoon. On arrival in Nairobi you will be dropped at our finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi. Please ask at time of booking.

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. Please do not book flights out of Nairobi for later than 8:00pm.

Drive time - 3 hours.

About Nairobi:

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

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Day 76: Nairobi

( Sun 20 Sep )

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

There will be a group meeting at the Kivi Milimani 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.

Address - Kivi Milmani Hotel, Milimani Road, Nairobi

Your trip leader will meet you at the Kivi Milimani Hotel reception, and then we will all head to our well equipped campsite situated in the suburb of Karen for a more detailed talk about your trip. Tonight we have the option of going out for a group meal.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit to the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage 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
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Day 77: Gilgil, Nakuru National Park

( Mon 21 Sep )

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.

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

Drive time - 4-5 hours (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!).

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

USD 5
About Gilgil:

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

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

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

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

We will make direct dontaions to help fund the project.

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Day 78: Nakuru National Park, Kericho

( Tue 22 Sep )

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.

Tonight we stay at a well equipped campsite.

Drive time - 3 hours

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty

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

KES 200
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Day 79 to 80: Jinja

( Wed 23 Sep to Thu 24 Sep )

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!

Drive time - 10 hours.

On the next 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
Explode up the rapids of the Nile in a 12-seater jet boat USD 75
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
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 Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. The most popular activity here is the white-water rafting trip down the Nile. Our base in Jiinja is perched spectacularly on a cliff-top thirty metres above the swirling currents of the young Nile. The camp is home to international rafting guides and several troops of monkeys.

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Day 81: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

( Fri 25 Sep )

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!

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

Drive time - 6-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Rhino tracking at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

USD 40
About Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary:

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was created to reintroduce rhinoceros to Uganda, which have been extinct since 1982.  The 70 square kilometer sanctuary in pristine bush country is currently home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda.  The Sanctuaries 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 will drive to the closest location and then approach the rhinos on foot. 

You will then have an 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!  The tracking excursion lasts on average between 1-2 hours.

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Day 82: Kaniyo Pabidi, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

( Sat 26 Sep )

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 to this afternoon and the other half going tomorrow morning.

Tonight we stay in basic dorm rooms in a small lodge in the Budongo Forest.

Drive time - 3 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Bird watching tour in Ziwa searching for shoebills

USD 35

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

Included in Kitty
About Kaniyo Pabidi:

Kaniyo Pabidi is and eco tourism site part of the Budongo Forest Reserve. The Jane Goodall Institute Uganda took over the management and infrastructure at both sites in 2006 which had been priviously operated by the National Forestry Authority. An eco tourist project was set up in 1993 and opened to the public in 1994 for chimpanzee viewing at both sites. 

The terrain is flat allowing for good on-foot travelling conditions for the average tourist; the campsite is located on the edge of the chimpanzees’ home range, significantly diminishing the risk of long trekking excursion 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. Finally there is an extensive (115km in total) and well-maintained trail system that further facilitates visitor accessibility.

As of June 2006, the Jane Goodall Institute took over management of these two sites on behalf of NFA. This is due through a management agreement between NFA and JGI. The objective of this agreement is for JGI to ensure appropriate development of these sites for ecotourism, while ensuring that the chimpanzee communities are not put at risk due to these activities. At the same time, all profits made from the venture will be returned back into the protection of Budongo Forest Reserve. Improved law enforcement activities, monitoring, conservation education and community collaborative projects will all be funded from the profits made from these sites.

At Kaniyo Pabidi visitors can enjoy chimpanzee tracking, birding and wonderful accommodation in a beautiful natural setting while Busingiro offers birding and a bush camp. The Royal Mile is a popular birding site, also managed by the Jane Goodall Institute-Uganda, which is accessible with a guide from Busingiro.

.

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Day 83 to 84: Murchison Falls National Park

( Sun 27 Sep to Mon 28 Sep )

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 National Park to reach our campsite.

Drive time - 3 hours (to the campsite).

On the next day, we will head out early in the truck for a 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 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 national bisected by the mighty river Nile.  It is named for the dramatic Murchison Falls, as it is 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. Wildlife populations have largely recovered from the poaching of the 1980s; in the lush grassland to the north of the Nile, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a variety of antelope are regularly encountered on game drives, while lion are seen with increasing frequency.  In the southeast, Rabongo Forest is home to chimps and other rainforest creatures.

The Nile itself hosts one of Africa's densest hippo and crocodile populations, and an incredible variety of waterbirds.

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Day 85: Kampala

( Tue 29 Sep )

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.

Drive time - 8-9 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight stay on the outskirts of Uganda's bustling capital city

Included in Kitty
About Kampala: Kampala is the capital of Uganda. This city was practically destroyed in the civil wars and political disturbance in the 1980's, but it is now rebuilt and reorganised. It is a friendly city, with something of a buzz about it now as it's peoples confidence has been restored. Security has improved dramatically in the last few years, which has led to a real resurgence in the city's nightlife, and clubs and bars are beginning to become popular again.
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Day 86 to 87: Kabale, Mbarara, Lake Bunyonyi

( Wed 30 Sep to Thu 01 Oct )

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.

*Please note that due to security concerns on the road to Lake Bunyonyi, we will often not be able to bring our truck here and will instead stay at a well-equipped campsite in Kabale. The decision to go or not will be entirely at the discretion of your tour leader and the Dragoman head office, and will be based on the latest safety advice from local operators - if we cannot bring the truck, it may still be possible to visit the lake as a day trip from Kabale in smaller local vehicles.*

Drive time - 12-14 hours (split over the 2 days - the exact breakdown depends on where we have the intermediary nightstop).

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Day 88 to 89: Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park, Kigali

( Fri 02 Oct to Sat 03 Oct )

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.

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 - up and down hill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself! 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.

Whilst in Ruhengeri we 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 of the other activities here (listed below). 

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

Trek to search for the Golden Monkeys near Ruhengeri (if time allows)

USD 100

Visit the weaving collective at the Red Rocks Community Project (if time allows)

USD 10

Head out for a full day trekking around Visoke and other high volcanos in Volcanos National Park (if time allows)

USD 75

Trek out to Dian Fossey's Memorial in the forests around Ruhengeri (if time allows)

USD 75
About Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park:

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

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

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

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Day 90: Kabale

( Sun 04 Oct )

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

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

Tonight we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Drive time - 4-5 hours.

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Day 91: Queen Elizabeth National Park

( Mon 05 Oct )

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

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

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

Drive time - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
Take a boat trip through the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park Included in Kitty
About Queen Elizabeth National Park:

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

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Day 92 to 93: Mbarara, Jinja

( Tue 06 Oct to Wed 07 Oct )

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 Fort Portal instead. Both of these places 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.

Drive time - 11-12 hours split over 2 days.

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Day 94: Eldoret

( Thu 08 Oct )

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

Today we travel back into Kenya and visit the town of Eldoret, where we have the option to visit a local cheese factory and creamery before heading to our campsite at Naiberi River just outside of town.

In Eldoret we will stay in an excellent campsite with the possibility of an Indian buffet meal.

Drive time - 7-9 hours.

About Eldoret:

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

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Day 95: Nairobi

( Fri 09 Oct )

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.

Drive time - 6-7- hours.

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Day 96: Nairobi

( Sat 10 Oct )

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

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.

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Day 97: Nairobi, Maasai Mara National Reserve

( Sun 11 Oct )

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

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.

There will be a group meeting today at the Kivi Milimani Hotel at 10:00am - your tour leader will meet you at the hotel reception. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note on your arrival, as the previous day is often a travelling day for the tour leader and they will often be unable to reach the Kivi Milimani until this morning's meeting.

Address - Kivi Milmani Hotel, Milimani Road, Nairobi.

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).

Activity Approximate Cost

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
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Day 98: Maasai Mara National Reserve

( Mon 12 Oct )

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
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Day 99: Nairobi

( Tue 13 Oct )

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.

Tonight we stay in a well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen on the outskirts of Nairobi.

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Day 100: Arusha

( Wed 14 Oct )

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.

Tonight we stay in a well equipped campsite.

Drive time - 8 hours (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 Arusha: On our trips we make a short stop in Arusha. Arusha is Tanzania's second major city and used to be the capital of the East African community. The town sits in lush countryside near the foot of Mount Meru and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. Surrounding it are many coffee, wheat and maize estates tended by the Arusha and Meru people. The town is the centre of Tanzania's safari business and is bustling and busy.
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Day 101: Serengeti National Park

( Thu 15 Oct )

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 Ngoronogoro 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 savannah 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
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 Masai word siringitu, "the place where the land moves on forever". Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your amazing sightings from during the day. In normal circumstances we would expect to see the Big 5 during our stay in the Serengeti. The Serengeti Plains usually live up to every-one's expectations. This is the classic East African scenery of rolling grasslands is dotted with Acacia trees. In normal circumstances we would expect to see all of the Big 5 during our stay in the park.

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

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

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

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Day 102: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater

( Fri 16 Oct )

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 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 19km in diameter and 265km² in area. On our trips we make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring the area which is sometimes called the "Garden of Eden". There is an excellent chance of spotting many of the Big Five, not to mention many other species.
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Day 103: Ngorongoro Crater, Mto Wa Mbu

( Sat 17 Oct )

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.

Tonight we stay at a well equipped campsite in the grounds of a good hotel.

About Mto Wa Mbu: Mto Wa Mbu is the halfway point between Arusha and the Ngorongoro crater. It is a place to explore and The Curio market is a good place to start. The local merchants will want you to buy their products, a lot are ebony carvings and Massai spears. They are proud of their goods and want to share the culture with others. Occasionally there is a cattle market where the Maasi people will gather with their cows. It is a spectactular site as thousands of people gather at a time.
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Day 104: Mto Wa Mbu, Marangu

( Sun 18 Oct )

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. 

Tonight we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.

Drive time - 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
Short walks to waterfalls around the foothills of Marangu, where we hope to get incredible views of Mt. Kilimanjaro (weather permitting!) USD 20
About Marangu:

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

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Day 105: Lushoto, Dar Es Salaam

( Mon 19 Oct )

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.

Drive time - 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, Tanzania's old capital, means Haven of Peace. The city acts as the gateway to the beautiful island of Zanzibar and the port area is fascinating to visit with its ocean-going "dhows" and inshore "ngalawas" (outrigger fishing canoes). Many of the buildings display Arabian influences and the melting pot of African, Muslim and South Asian influences give Dar a vibrant atmosphere, making it well worth exploring if you have the time.
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Day 106: Dar Es Salaam

( Tue 20 Oct )

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 6:00pm tonight, this trip overlaps with our "YDF - Dar es Salaam to Victoria Falls" trip, so there will likely be new customers joining your group for the trip to Zanzibar. This is because Zanzibar is part of both trips, so it means customers going all the way through do not go to Zanzibar twice!

Activity Approximate Cost

Fishing Trips (per boat) in the Indian Ocean

USD 220

Snorkelling and Sailing Experience off the coast of Dar Es Salaam

USD 35

Sailing Safari off the coast of Dar Es Salaam

USD 35
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 USD
Learn all about Tanzania's history at the National Museum and the House of Culture TZS 6500
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Day 107: Zanzibar

( Wed 21 Oct )

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

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

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

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

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Day 108 to 109: Zanzibar

( Thu 22 Oct to Fri 23 Oct )

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 Jozano 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
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Day 110: Dar Es Salaam

( Sat 24 Oct )

Border infromation:  If leaving at Dar Es Salaam, you will most likely exit Tanzania from Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (or some customers prefer to stay in Zanzibar at the end of the trip and then exit from Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport).

Today we will return to Stone Town and take the return ferry to Dar es Salaam, where we return to our campsite on the south side of the bay or head straight off to onward flights.

Please note that there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight for those ending in Dar es Salaam, but it should be easily organised by your leader if you would like to stay at our campsite in Dar es Salaam. Please do not book flights for today out of Dar es Salaam before 8:00pm, so that you have enough time to cater for a slow ferry and heavy traffic in the city.

Activity Approximate Cost

Ferry back from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam

Included in Kitty
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Day 111: Dar Es Salaam

( Sun 25 Oct )

Border Information: if joining the trip in Dar es Salaam, you will most likely enter Tanzania at Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport.

There will be an important group meeting today at 6:00pm. If you arrive before that, then you will have a free day to relax at the beach, explore the city centre, or enjoy some activities from the campsite (our truck and leader may not arrive until the afternoon, so please ask the reception about storing your equipment if you wish to go out for the day). Your tour leader will meet you at the campsite reception at 6:00pm for this important meeting. 

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.

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

Hotel for the night: Kipepeo Village

Kipepeo Village

Mjimwema

Kigamboni

Dar

Tanzania

Tel: +255 22 282 0877

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Day 112: Zanzibar

( Mon 26 Oct )

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 is quite comfortable with airline type seats, and 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
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Day 113 to 114: Zanzibar

( Tue 27 Oct to Wed 28 Oct )

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 Jozano 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
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Day 115: Dar Es Salaam

( Thu 29 Oct )

Today we will return to Stone Town and take the return ferry to Dar es Salaam, where we return to our campsite on the south side of the bay. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax at the campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Ferry back from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam

Included in Kitty
Sunset kayak trip to explore the mangroves near Dar es Salaam USD 15
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Day 116: Mikumi, Iringa

( Fri 30 Oct )

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.

Drive time - 12 hours (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!).

Activity Approximate Cost

Journey through Mikumi National Park

Included in Kitty
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, we usually still see a good selection of wildlife here as we pass by along the way.
About Iringa: Iringa is set into the slopes of a cliff and overlooks the Little Ruaha River. One place of interest is the markets. They are full of many Tanzanian cultures including the Dabaga chili sauce. This is a treasure to East Africa. Many locals will flock to the scene and you can always see the vibrant colours of the clothes and of Iringa and Tanzania itself.
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Day 117: Chitimba

( Sat 31 Oct )

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 north-western shores of Lake Malawi.

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

Drive time - 12 hours

About Chitimba: Chitimba is a small village with long, white beaches and clear waters, which make it a great place to relax. On the shores of Lake Malawi, there is some amazing scenery and many places to hike.
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Day 118 to 119: Chitimba, Kande

( Sun 01 Nov to Mon 02 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 6 hours.

On the next day, we have a free day on Kande beach to relax or to get involved in some of the 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
Canoe hire to explore Lake Malawi from the water USD 10
Snorkelling excursion to Lake Malawi USD 15
Windsurfing on Lake Malawi MWK 300
Horse Riding excursions in the forests and beaches near Lake Malawi USD 90
Scuba diving trip in Lake Malawi USD 85
Guided walk and visit to a local Tonga village USD 10
About Kande:

Malawi is dominated by Lake Malawi which covers almost a fifth of the country. The lake provides a source of livelihood for many of the Malawian people. Fishermen, fish traders, canoe and net makers all ply their trade, and a common sight is that of a fisherman in his bwato (dugout canoe made from a hollowed out tree trunk), fishing on the still lake at the break of day. On our trips we head away from the commercialism and crowds and enjoy a few days on the lake's more peaceful beaches.

Kande sits on the coast of Lake Malawi and is a half way point from the towns of Bandawe and Mphoza. Less than 2 miles from the village lies Kande beach, a great spot to kick back an relax. This is also a great place for water sports, you can hire pedalos, snorkeling sets and canoe and the clear waters make it perfect for exploring. As well as chilling on the beach and participating in the many optional water activites on offer, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians, easily some of the friendliest in Africa.

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Day 120: Lilongwe

( Tue 03 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 6-7 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight in the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe

Included in Kitty
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Day 121 to 122: South Luangwa National Park

( Wed 04 Nov to Thu 05 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 7-8 hours.

On the next 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 we stay in a well-equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost
4x4 game drives through the wildlife-packed South Luangwa National Park Included in Kitty
Walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park (alternative to the included game drive) USD 10
Optional extra evening game drive (if time allows) ZMK 220
About South Luangwa National Park:

For scenery and variety of animals, South Luangwa (area of 9050sq kilometre) is probably the best park in Zambia to see hippos and crocodiles - the Luangwa River has vast numbers of them. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species. The plains beside the river are populated with many kinds of buck, kudu, Thompson’s gazelle and red lechwe, unique to Zambia. Luangwa is also home to the Thornicroft giraffe not found elsewhere. The valley experiences two distinct seasons, the Dry Season from May to November, and the Green Season from December to April. The best time to view game is between July and September. The coldest time of year is June and July. By October temperatures reach 37 degrees centigrade but the game viewing "hots" up too as the outlying water dries up forcing the game to the riverine area. The park is also renowned for its large elephant population. Most people comment on the smaller size of these animals as compared to their counterparts in the plains of East Africa or in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. One theory is that this isolated elephant population has some connection to the Forest Elephants of the Congo. African Forest Elephants have straighter tusks and more rounded ears than the Savannah Elephants. They have five toes on the forefeet and four toes on the hind feet, which is the same as in Asian elephants. The elephant of South Luangwa exhibit some of these characteristics, notably thinner and straighter tusks and their size.

While we are staying in South Luangwa National Park, we have the chance organise an optional visit to Kawaza Village to experience rural life in Zambia. Kawaza is a social centre for many of the surrounding smaller villages and is situated about 10 Kms. from the national park. As far back as 1997, it has been the centre of a community tourism project. The local villagers of Kawaza genuinely want to share their culture with the visitors, so that they see, not only wildlife, but also the local life of the people who live in the area. Usually we will take part in or watch one of the village’s two dancing groups. Normally the women’s group will perform local dances and stories and discuss everyday life in rural Zambia. They are very keen for their guests to join in and they will cook a traditional Kunda midday meal for us. The Kunda, who live throughout the Luangwa Valley have been here for thousands of years. Like all traditional farming and hunting communities in this part of Africa, they have suffered over the past years with diminishing resources. National Parks may preserve the wildlife but generally, they do not benefit local people and often there is a conflict of interest between the two. At Kawaza, the villagers are now benefiting directly from our visits and have a stake in the local tourist infrastructure. Initially all profits went to the whole community, but over the years profits have gone to fund school supplies, books, a water pump, local medicines and services for the communities sick. Each year the village decides what is to be done with the money.

Please Note: Between January and March during the rainy season, it may not be possible to visit this village. The exact details will depend on local circumstances.

 

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Day 123: Luangwa River

( Fri 06 Nov )

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. 

Drive time - 10 hours.

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Day 124: Lower Zambezi Area

( Sat 07 Nov )

Today we drive to our 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 tonight.

Drive time - 8 hours.

About Lower Zambezi Area:

The Zambezi Valley has been known outside of Africa for thousands of years. Legends suggest that the kingdoms of Hiram, Solomon and Sheba were enriched by the gold and ivory of Ophir - supposedly part of present day Zimbabwe.  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 conservancy 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 birder's paradise with over 300 species having been recorded and is favored by sports fishermen in search of the famous Tiger Fish.

The lower Zambezi the real destination for serious safari enthusiasts!  The prime pursuit being a canoe safari!

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Day 125 to 126: Lower Zambezi Area

( Sun 08 Nov to Mon 09 Nov )

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
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Day 127: Livingstone

( Tue 10 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 10 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
See the incredible Victoria Falls from the Zambian side USD 20
About Livingstone:

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

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

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

Responsible travel note:

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

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Day 128: Victoria Falls

( Wed 11 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 2 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa Included in Kitty
About Victoria Falls:

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

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

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

Responsible travel note:

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

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Day 129: Victoria Falls

( Thu 12 Nov )

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

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. 

Please note that there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight for those ending in Victoria Falls, but it should be easily organised by your leader if you would like to stay at our campsite. Please also note that no meals are included in Victoria Falls.

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
See the incredible Victoria Falls from the air with a helicopter flight over the waterfalls USD 152
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
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Day 130: Victoria Falls

( Fri 13 Nov )

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

PO Box CT 794

Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe

+27 (0)21 683 6444

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa Included in Kitty
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Day 131: Victoria Falls

( Sat 14 Nov )

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!

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
See the incredible Victoria Falls from the air with a helicopter flight over the waterfalls USD 152
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
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Day 132: Hwange National Park

( Sun 15 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 3-4 hours (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, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Activity Approximate Cost
Jeep safaris through Hwange National Park Included in Kitty
Visit to the Painted Dog Conservation project near Hwange Included in Kitty
About Hwange National Park:

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

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Day 133: Bulawayo

( Mon 16 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 5-6 hours.

About Bulawayo:

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

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Day 134 to 135: Bulawayo, Matobo National Park

( Tue 17 Nov to Wed 18 Nov )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost
Learn all about the eco-systems of Southern Africa at Bulawayo's excellent Natural History Museum USD 10
Visit the fascinating Railway Museum in Bulawayo USD 1
Visit Bulawayo's National Art Gallery USD 2

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

Included in Kitty
Explore the ancient ruined capital of the Butua civilisation at Khami USD 10
Visit the animal rescue sanctuary at Chipangali USD 10
Learn all about the colonial history of Southern Africa at a visit to the grave of Cecil Rhodes Included in Kitty
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 excellent for game viewing.  It is chiefly home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros that we are able to track on foot with our local guide whose knowledge and connections with the local Ndebele tribe is unrivaled.


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

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Day 136: Makgadikgadi Pans

( Thu 19 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 10-11 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Overnight quad-biking trip out onto the Nwetwe Salt Pan, in search of the local meerkats USD 195
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Day 137: Makgadikgadi Pans, Maun

( Fri 20 Nov )

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. 

Drive time - 4 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a guided walk around the immense baobab trees found in the area USD 35
Day trip by 4x4 jeep to explore the Nxai Xini Salt Pan USD 120
Visit and explore a local cattlepost village USD 80
About Maun:

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

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Day 138 to 139: Okavango Delta , Maun

( Sat 21 Nov to Sun 22 Nov )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

Included in Kitty
About Okavango Delta :

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

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

 

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Day 140: D'Kar

( Mon 23 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Walk with the San tribespeople, learning all about their life and culture

Included in Kitty

Watch a traditional trance-dance and storytelling from the San around the fire in the evening

Included in Kitty
About D'Kar:

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

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

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Day 141: Windhoek

( Tue 24 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 9-11 hours.

About Windhoek:

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

 

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Day 142 to 143: Etosha National Park

( Wed 25 Nov to Thu 26 Nov )

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Search for all manner of African wildlife on a safari in our overland truck through the incredible Etosha National Park

Included in Kitty
About Etosha National Park:

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

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

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

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

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Day 144: Spitzkoppe

( Fri 27 Nov )

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. 

Drive time - 6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the stunning primaeval landscape of Spitzkoppe, and walk to the nearby ancient San rock paintings

Included in Kitty
About Spitzkoppe: The wild lands around the mountain of Spitzkoppe are known as 'the Matterhorn of Namibia'. The mountain, which is 700 million years old, is 1987 metres (5857 feet) high. Although you should not attempt climbing to the top, there are some excellent hikes throughout the area, which is rich in plant life, such as the Myrothamnus flabellifolius, Boscia foetida and the Kleinia longiflora. This is a great place to get away from it all and to appreciate the stunning harsh beauty of this sparsely populated country. One amazing sight to witness here are the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises as the colour of the landscape takes on a series of remarkable orange and red hues.
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Day 145 to 146: Cape Cross, Swakopmund

( Sat 28 Nov to Sun 29 Nov )

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. 

Drive time - 6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the largest Cape Seal colony at Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast

Included in Kitty

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

NAD 400

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

NAD 500

Explore the townships of Swakopmund, meeting the local Damara, Herero and Ovambo people

NAD 400

Take a beautiful sunrise balloon flight over the Forbidden Coast

NAD 3000

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

NAD 550

Go in search of dolphins on a sea kayak trip off the coast of Swakopmund

NAD 650

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

NAD 1200

Head out on horseback to explore the beautiful area around Swakopmund

NAD 570

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

USD 150

Learn all about the German colonial history of the area at the Swakopmund Museum

ZAR 25
Learn about Namibia's marine life at the Swakopmund Aquarium NAD 30
About Cape Cross:

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

About Swakopmund:

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

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

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Day 147: Namib Desert, Sesriem & Soussusvlei

( Mon 30 Nov )

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.

Drive time - 9-10 hours.

 

About Namib Desert:

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

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

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

About Sesriem & Soussusvlei:

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

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


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

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

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Day 148: Sesriem & Soussusvlei, Bethanie

( Tue 01 Dec )

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.

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

Activity Approximate Cost

Climb the colossal sand dune of Dune 45 to witness the incredible shifting colours of the Namib deserts at sunrise

Included in Kitty

Take an unforgettable sunrise balloon trip over the Namib desert and Dune 45 (alternative to the included tour)

NAD 4250

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

Included in Kitty
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.
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Day 149: Keetmanshoop

( Wed 02 Dec )

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.

Drive time - 5-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the unique Quiver Tree Forest and the Giant's Playground rock formations

Included in Kitty
About Keetmanshoop:

Named after the German financier of a mission established here in the 100's, 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.

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Day 150: Fish River Canyon

( Thu 03 Dec )

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.

Drive time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the ridge at the top of the incredible Fish River Canyon, and take in the jaw-dropping sunset vistas from the best viewpoint of the canyon

Included in Kitty
About Fish River Canyon:

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

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

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Day 151: Noordoewer

( Fri 04 Dec )

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.

Drive time - 3-5 hours

Activity Approximate Cost

Head out on a short canoe trip on the Orange River, which marks the boundary of Namibia and South Africa

NAD 250

Enjoy a dip in the hot springs at Ais Ais

USD 5
About Noordoewer: Noordoewer is a small settlement on the banks of the Orange River and one of the hottest places in Namibia. Fortunately there is an abundance of water which is used to irrigate the fruit trees - in particular grapes. A few kilometres out of town on the Orange River, we can take the opportunity to go canoeing or rafting for the afternoon.
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Day 152: Citrusdal

( Sat 05 Dec )

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.

Drive time - 8 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost

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

ZAR 70

Enjoy a stargazing talk at our campsite in Citrusdal in the Western Cape

ZAR 75
About Citrusdal:

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

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

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Day 153: Cape Town

( Sun 06 Dec )

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.

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.

Activity Approximate Cost

Return cable-car trip to the top of Table Mountain

ZAR 250

Excursion to the former jail on Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned

ZAR 250

Visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

ZAR 45

Full-day Shark Cage Diving excursion

ZAR 1400

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

ZAR 540

Tour of Cape Town Townships and the District Six Museum

ZAR 395

Explore the beautiful beaches of Cape Town, including those at False Bay, St. James, Clovelly or Fish Hoek

USD

Explore the Dutch-built Castle of Good Hope, the oldest colonial building in South Africa

ZAR 28

Visit to the colourful district of Bo Kaap

USD

Abseiling, canyoning and hiking on Table Mountain and Platteklip Gorge

ZAR 895

Head out on a full-day wine tasting tour of the famous area of Stellenbosch, just outside of Cape Town

ZAR 650
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 it's own right. Whether you're finishing or joining a Dragoman trip here, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in.

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

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

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Important Notes

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

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

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

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

Gorilla Tracking

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

  1. Passport details at the time of booking
  2. A non refundable 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%.

Coptic Christmas - trips in Ethiopia in December and January

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.

Zanzibar Overlap

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 unlikely to be this many.

Travel Warning – Sudan

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.

Physical Preparation

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

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

 

Altitude

Altitude 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.

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.

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 2ndconcurrent 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.

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.

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.

From September 2015 it will no longer be possible to obtain a visa on arrival or at a consulate, and tourists of all nationalities will have to obtain an e-visa 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 USD50, EUR40 or GBP30 for all nationalities.

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 e-visa to re-enter Kenya.

As of May 2014, there is a new East African Tourist Visa available – this is a common visa that covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It is available on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, or any major land border into Kenya (e.g. from Tanzania or Ethiopia). 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.

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

Uganda 

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

The easiest way to get a visa is to obtain it on arrival. This is available for all nationalities at all land borders and airports into Kenya. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD100 for all nationalities, which should be paid in cash on arrival.

Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required (there are only a small number of nationalities that are exempt).

As of May 2014, there is a new East African Tourist Visa available – this is a common visa that covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It is available on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, or any major land border into Kenya (e.g. from Tanzania or Ethiopia). 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.

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

Malawi 

Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will not need a visa to enter Malawi 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. Please note that citizens of Switzerland, Austria, Greece, and many Eastern European countries will need a visa. 

Rwanda 

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

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.

As of May 2014, there is a new East African Tourist Visa available – this is a common visa that covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It is available on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, or any major land border into Kenya (e.g. from Tanzania or Ethiopia). 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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

Zimbabwe

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

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

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

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

Personal Spending

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

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

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

What else you need to know

Currencies & Cash

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

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

You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2006 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Please bring the majority of the money you intend to change in large denominations (USD/EUR100 and 50 bills) as the exchange rate is often significantly worse if you try to change smaller bills; however, it is also a good idea to have some smaller bills as well, as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over $US50.

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

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

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

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

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

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

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

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Who Travels with Dragoman?

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

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Group Size

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

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

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

Our Crew and Guides

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

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

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

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

Accommodation on Tour

Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying hotels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers will share with people of the same sex for the duration of the trip and whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation from time to time.

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

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

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

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The Kitty

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

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

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not in hotels)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meals and Group Participation

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

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

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Dietary Requirements

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

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Itineraries

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

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

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

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

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

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

UK  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

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

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

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

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

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

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Health

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

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

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Altitude

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

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Yellow Fever

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

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

Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases

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

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

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

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

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Vaccinations

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

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

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

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Safety & Security

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

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

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

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Transport Safety

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

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

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

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

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells

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

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

• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver

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

Road Safety

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

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

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

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Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Homestays

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

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Safety – Campsites

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

• Know how to raise the alarm.

• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

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

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

Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

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

• Ensure cooking area is well away from the tents.

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

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

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

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife.

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

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

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

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

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

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

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Personal Safety

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

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

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

• Avoid carrying too much money.

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

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

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

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

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

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

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Activity Safety & Optional Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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Included Activities

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

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Optional Activities

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

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Insurance

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

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

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

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

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Our Liability Insurance

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

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Emergency Contact

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

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

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

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Luggage & Kit List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Ground mat or compressed foam*

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

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

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

• 2 pairs of shorts

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking

• 1 pair of sunglasses

• Warm sweater/fleeces

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood

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

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops

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

• Swimwear

• 2 small towels

• Washing kit, including a small mirror

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

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

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

• Good water bottle at least 1 litre

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

• Alarm clock

• Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)

• Writing materials & notebook/diary

• Multi purpose knife.

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

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

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

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

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

 

*For trips with camping nights

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Personal Medical Kit

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

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

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Passports

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

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Pre and Post Trip Accommodation and Connecting Flights

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

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

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

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

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Continuing Your Trip

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

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Contingency Emergency Fund

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

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Responsible Tourism

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

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

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Water

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

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

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Electrical Equipment

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

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

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A Few Rules

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

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

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Issues on the Trip

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

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

customer-relations@dragoman.co.uk.

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

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Tipping

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

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

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Our Community

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

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Feedback

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

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