Ivory Coast is wonderfully rich in culture and natural attractions. The national anthem describes the country as a land of hope which is indicative of the positive attitude of its people. Always friendly and welcoming, the good nature of the Ivorians will be encountered wherever you go.
It’s really the modernity that sets Côte d’Ivoire apart from other West African nations. Abidjan is one of the most modern cities in West Africa, and its shimmering skyscrapers will astound. Yamoussoukro in the centre of the country is famous for its basilica, an astonishing replica of Rome’s St Peter’s, which epitomises the Houphouët-Boigny era, as does the Presidential palace not far away. The north is decidedly less developed, a region where you can experience a more traditional way of life and the customs that go with it, set amongst the beautiful landscapes that dominate this part of the country.
Security note: Ivory Coast is moving on from its recently troubled past with the election of a new President. We will be monitoring the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice before we set off and when we are on the road. We also have contacts on the ground who will let us know if the situation changes further ahead and we can re-route accordingly. We are happy to say that there have been no travel restrictions in place for any of our route through Ivory Coast for some time now.
Ghana was the first African country to gain independence from Britain, today it is a proud and friendly place. It has had a chequered post colonial history, but certainly now appears to be forging ahead both economically and politically. It is a very friendly country, which surprisingly has close ties to its French speaking northern neighbour, Burkina Faso. Its beaches are the envy of all West African nations, its Ashanti culture is fascinating and it has one or two excellent national parks. Internationally Ghana is acclaimed for its music, with Ghanaian artists such as Kofi Ghanaba giving concerts across the western world.
The capital of Ghana is Accra, and is on the coast. It is home to some of the most amazing museums in the country and is the place to learn about Ghana from the prehistoric times to the present day.
The music is ever present in Ghana, with many of the regions have their own personal sound. All over Ghana, the local communities want people to hear their sounds, and love welcoming visitors to join in their celebrations. Dance is the same. If there is a chance to dance, then the Ghanaians will dance. From celebrations, to funerals and even storytelling. Ghana is a country to try new experiences. The food has to be experienced and each region like to give dishes their own personal touch. The variety of flavours all over the country, make the range of dishes so diverse. Many dishes are usually served with a stew or a soup and a lot are rice based. With many exotic tastes available, it is clear to see Ghanaians like to express their culture through food.
The textiles in Ghana are extremely important as cloths are used to make different clothes. The different colours and patterns have different meanings and are usually worn for important social and religious occasions. A written language and history is represented through the beautiful Kente cloth. This is yet another area in which the Ghanaians are very proud of.
Ghana has a welcoming feeling, and with the chances to join in with the amazing culture, it is the country to visit if you want to experience West African hospitality.
Guinea, a country few travellers ever get to visit, can boast of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the whole of West Africa, a strong musical tradition, and friendly peoples.
You will be awed by the expansive savannahs, stunning highlands in the Fouta Djallon region, numerous waterfalls, and the jungles of the forest region, noted for its resident populations of forest elephants and chimps. Vine bridges over rivers and canyons are a particular highlight in parts of Guinea.
Guinea is diverse with more than 300km of flat coastline that becomes even more spectacular with mountainous landscapes as you move inland. Due to this majestic beauty, Guinea is often called the ‘Switzerland of Africa.’ Lower Guinea is covered with undulating plains, which provides some of the best trekking terrain in West Africa.
Rich in culture and tradition, Guinea offers the traveller a wonderful insight into everyday life of the various ethnic groups which make up the country.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, is one of the smallest nations in continental Africa. The country has had a turbulent past, but in recent years relative stability has returned and the number of travellers visiting this little known country is growing. Whilst lacking the quantity of ‘attractions’ that neighbouring countries can boast of – Guinea-Bissau will charm you with its off the beaten track feel and welcoming people.
The capital city of Bissau is like a city suspended in time, with its crumbling colonial architecture, pastel coloured buildings, and narrow alleyways which take you to numerous cafes and artisans. Moving further inland, the mangrove lined rivers and tropical vegetation kicks in, signalling a return to the more typical landscapes so associated with West Africa.
Senegal is a facinating place to visit in West Africa. Long sandy White-beaches, a traditional music Scene, a crumbling colonial heritage, wildlife and incredibly friendly people make this a superb place for those who want to explore West African culture, or just kick back and get into the vibe of the real Africa.
Senegal is bordered by Guinea Republic and Guinea-Bissau to the south, Mali to the east and Mauritania to the north, and encloses the confederated state of The Gambia. To the west lies the Atlantic Ocean. On the coast between Dakar and St Louis is a strip of shifting dunes. South of Dakar there are shallow estuaries along the coastline, which is fringed by palm trees. In the northern part of the country, south of the Senegal Basin, lies the arid Fouta Ferlo, a hot dry Sahelian plain with little vegetation.
The cosmopolitan capital city of Dakar with its coastal location, temperate climate and vibrant atmosphere reflects this countries modern and diverse outlook. You can spend time browsing around the museums, the coulourful markets, or just relaxing on the stunning beaches.
Whether you want to mingle with the trendsetters of urban Africa, or be alone with your thoughts and the sounds of nature – Senegal is the place to be.
The Gambia with its magnificent coast invites visitors to laze and linger, tempting with luxurious beach resorts and bustling fishing villages. But there’s more to Africa’s smallest country than sun and surf. Stunning nature reserves, such as Kiang West National Park and River Gambia National Park and the historical slaving stations of St James Island and Jufureh offer peaceful breaks from the clamour of the nearby coast.
The Gambia coast offers miles of superb golden beaches and the vibrancy of Bakau, Serrekunda and the capital, Banjul, is as colourfully African as you might imagine. During the day, fish for Barracuda on the Atlantic Ocean, strike a bargain in one of the many markets and in the evening, sample the wide variety of Gambian cuisine.
The Gambia's idyllic cocktail of sunny days, warm welcomes and relaxing Atlantic beaches makes this a place you will not want to miss.
Border information: If you are starting at Dakar, you will enter Senegal at Dakar Airport.Today is an arrival day with a pre departure meeting at 10:00hrs. There are no activities planned so you can arrive at any time. Your leader will leave a note in reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting. The afternoon will be free to explore the cosmopolitan city of Dakar and Ile de Goree.
Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Hotel Al Baraka
35 Rue A. Karim Bourgi
+ 221 33 8225532
Explore the atmospheric Island of Goree
You know when you've arrived in Dakar. Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital bursts with life. This is a city of busy streets, noisy markets, noisy, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife; at first it can seem chaotic but embrace the rhythms of Dakar life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here. In terms of conventional sightseeing, the beautiful Ile de Goree is certainly worth a visit, the bustling centre of the slave trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. If you're interested in West Africa culture you should also seek out the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum, which has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the region. Or you may prefer to just wander the streets, browsing the markets and soaking up the atmosphere. Dakar also has a lively arts scene and you should be able to find some great live music here, there are venues all over the city and regular music and film festivals.
Today we start our overland journey as we head south from
Tonight we will aim to stay in a small local run hotel or campsite in Toubakouta.
Visit to the Great Mosque at Touba, the holy city of Mourdism
|Included in tour|
Visit to the Kaolacks Medina Baay Mosque, one of the largest and best known in Senegal
|Included in tour|
Kaolack is situated on the Saloum River about 100 kilometres from its mouth. It is the capital of the Kaolack Region and is an important regional market town. Kaolack is Senegal's main peanut trading and processing centre and also a major centre of Islamic education. The Medina Baay mosque in Kaolack is one of the largest and best known in Senegal.
Situated amongst a maze of mangroves this tiny town is one of the most beautiful spots of the Sine-Saloum Delta. Toubakouta is a greatb place in which to base ourselves for excursions into the Parc National du Delta du Saloum which is teeming with wildlife.
We head out today to the Sine- Saloum Delta for a pirogue trip in search of the stunning array of birdlife that the Delta area hosts.
Tonight we will stay again in the small local run hotel or campsite in Toubakouta.
Pirogue trip through the Sine-Saloum Delta
|Included in tour|
The Sine-Saloum Delta is an 180,000-hectare area that encompasses the Saloum Delta National Park, and is a truly stunning part of Senegal.
Formed where two rivers converge on the mighty Atlantic Ocean, it's a region of great diversity consisting of a unique estuarine environment, glorious beaches, mangrove swamps, sand islands and ever-shifting dunes.
The region is a pleasure to explore; by navigating the lush greenery of the labyrinthine waterways in a pirogue you're sure to absorb the region's gentle magic. Thanks to its ecological diversity it is also rich in animal life, and for birdwatchers, the Delta will also not disappoint; home to a stunning variety of birds, such as flamingos, pelicans, herons, gulls, terns, egrets and avocets. Many of the hotels will arrange special birding trips to view them in their natural habitats.
Border information: Enter The Gambia at Farafenni.
We head across the border from
Tendaba camp is located opposite the Baobolong Wetlands and The Kiang West National Park. he accommodation at the Camp is simple round huts in the so called African rondavel- style, and they are completely made out of natural materials from the bush. We will stay here for 2 nights where we will take an included pirogue trip into
Pirogue trip through Kiang West National Park
|Included in tour|
Established as a national park in 1987, Kiang West is now the largest national park in the Gambia. Situated on the south bank of the river it encompasses dry deciduous woodland, savannah, mangrove creeks and tidal flats.
Over 300 species of birds have been sighted in the area, including 21 raptors: vultures, harrier eagles, sand grouse, Blue-breasted, Kingfisher hawks, White-shouldered Black Tit and falcons. An ideal spot to watch birds is Tubabkollon Point. This protected reserve of mangroves boasts an outstanding wealth of birdlife, impressive enough to excite even the non-bird watcher!
The West African Manatee, otters, sitatunga and roan antelopes can also be seen, plus rarer sightings of animals such as hyenas, leopards and dolphins.
From the Gambia River we head southwest to the Bintang Bolong Eco lodge situated on the
We stay here for 2 nights in huts allowing you time for the array of optional activities on offer in this area.
Excursions on foot or by boat through mangrove forests and the natural surrounds of the lodge
Visits to the nearby local village of Bintang
Visit to the Crocodile Pond
Bintang Bolong is a large tributary of the Gambia River. The banks of the tidal river are lined with mangroves. Tucked away among the maze of shrubs lining the shores is the stunning Bintang Bolong Lodge, an ecofriendly camp made almost entirely from local mangrove woods and clay bricks.
Bintang village has at present 700 inhabitants, whose main sources of livelihood include rice, peanuts and vegetable farming. The village is divided into three Kabilos (zones): Ceesay kunda, Manneh kunda and Jobateh kunda. Each Kabilo is alternatively responsible for the entertainment of the guests of the Bintang Bolong Lodge and provides an equal amount of employees. Their earnings are spent on development of the zones.
The lodge consists of stunning huts that sit on stilts by the river. If the tide is high, you can almost leap from your bedroom into a canoe and go bird-watching or fishing in the mangroves. The lodge offers plenty of activities such as boat trips, visits to the local crocodile pool, where you can get close-up views of baby crocs are a favourite and guided walks - a great place to explore the natural surroundings of central Gambia, and catch a glimpse of rural life - the camp is closely integrated with the local community, employing villagers and investing in schools and hospitals.
Bintang is also famous for its popular "Kankurang" dance. The Kankurang dancers wears a costume made of leaves and upon their head they sport a mask of red cloth with piercing horns. Women, singing and clapping, supply the rhythm and beat for the Kankurang dancers.
Border information: Enter
We journey back into
From the town of
Whilst in Cap Skirring we aim to stay in rooms in a local Campement.
Due to the nature of this itinerary there has been a “flexible day” added here to be used at the discretion of the leader.
Free time to explore and relax on the beaches
|Included in tour|
Cap Skirring is a town on the Atlantic Ocean coast of the Basse Casamance region of Senegal. It is a popular seaside resort with miles of palm-fringed sandy beaches with perfect ocean temperatures. The town itself was first occupied by fishermen and it was discovered by the French of Ziguinchor as a balneal zone in the 1960s.
Border information: Enter Guinea Bissau at Sao Domingo
Today is a full drive day as we journey from Senegal to Guinea Bissau. We will aim to wild camp this night.
Leaving our wild camp early we set off on another long drive to reach our destination of
During your stay in
We stay in
Absorb yourself in the old colonial port city of Bissau and experience the buzzing arts and handicrafts scene.
|Included in tour|
Border information: Enter Guinea at Kandika
Our journey from Koundara takes us into the highland region of Fouta Djallon in the centre of
We base ourselves for 3 nights in a small local run hotel in one of the small towns in this region. From here you free time for the option to take guided walks, visits to beautiful waterfalls or hire bicycles in this stunning part of
Time for guided walks and cycling in Guineas stunning highland region of Fouta Djallon
The Fouta Djallon Plateau is one of the most scenic areas of
Leaving the Fouta Djallon region behind us we head south east through
Reaching the Forested mountainous region in south-eastern Guinea we base ourselves for 2 in the surrounding area. We aim to camp here however we may stay in a local guesthouse depending on the facilities in the area. During our time here you have the option of visiting nearby villages to see their famous vine bridges or exploring the surrounding area.
Time to explore the forested region of Guinea on foot
|Included in tour|
Visit the famous vine bridges in the forested region of Guinea
Forested Guinea, or otherwise known as Guinée Forestière, is a forested mountainous region in southeastern Guinea, extending into northeastern Sierra Leone.
It is one of four natural regions into which Guinea is divided and covers 23% of the country.
It is known for its diverse ethnic population, including the Toma and Lissi groups, and also shelters a large number of refugees from the Sierra Leone Civil War, the Liberian Civil Wars and the Côte d'Ivoire Civil War.
We take the opportunity to trek and explore the Forested Region on foot and learn about the fascinating culture and peoples of the region. The area also has rich fauna and flora making beautiful walking trails to waterfalls.
Border information: Enter Cote
The next couple of days are spent driving from the forested region of
Odienné is the chief town of Odienné Department of Côte d'Ivoire, lying in the northwestern part of the country. Sites in Odienné include a large mosque and nearby gold mines. The Deng Kele Massif is a solitary granite mountain, 600 metres above sea level, about 15 kilometres to the west of, and visible from, Odienné.
Heading directly east to the north-central region of Core
Tonight we stay in a small local hotel
Guided tour of the local cloth weaving in and around the area
|Included in tour|
The northern town of Korhogo is famed for cloth weaving, jewellery and antiques. Visiting the surrounding area will give you a fascinating insight into the life of the Senoufo people. Le quartier des sculpteurs in Korhogo is definitely worth a good look around for souvenirs – be prepared to haggle!
French Roman Catholic missionaries established a church and school in the town in the late 19th century. Korhogo's Senuofo wood sculptors, practitioners of a traditional art utilized by the Poro secret society, also create artifacts for the tourist market in Abidjan.
After a fairly long drive we arrive into the capital of the
We stay here for 2 nights in a local hotel allowing time for you free time to explore the sites on offer.
Visit Le Basilique De Notre Dame De la Paix - The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, consecrated by Pope John Paul II
The capital of Ivory Coast in name alone; Yamoussoukro was the hometown of long serving post-independence President, Felix Houphouet-Boigny who spent exorbitant amounts of money to make it the new spectacular capital.
Marvel at the Presidential Palace (where the late President was buried), and his showpiece, the Basilique De Notre Dame De la Paix.
Despite such a low percentage of the population actually being Catholic, the President spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a grand Basilica, almost an exact replica of St Peter’s in Rome! The town itself also boasts 6 lane highways that lead nowhere, grand hotels and monuments on a par with any other capital city of the world but all in a relatively small settlement of 250,000 people. A surreal place that has to be seen to be believed!
Leaving the Capital behind us we head south to the old French colonial capital city of
We stay here for 2 nights in a local hotel allowing time for you to explore the old colonial town.
Due to the nature of this itinerary there has been a “flexible day” added here to be used at the discretion of the leader.
Explore the sites of Grand Bassam, the original French capital of Ivory Coast.
This town was the original French capital in Ivory Coast before being moved due to outbreaks of disease. Grand Bassam allows for time to explore the old colonial town, watch local artists at work, or simply kick back and relax on the serene beaches
Border information: Enter
Today is a rather long day as we cross into
We camp here for 2 nights at a beach resort allowing to time to visit Elmina castle and also to get involved with a local community project.
Help out at the Sabre Trust School project
|Included in tour|
Visit and explore the historic Elmina Castle
|Included in tour|
Brenu Akyinin is a small village right on the beach just outside the town of Elmina. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living. The one small school here is located just a few metres from Brenu Beach, a stunning location for tourists, but far from ideal for the school children. They are distracted from their studies by the vehicles that pass through the school to access the beach, and often cut class in order to sell goods to the tourists or assist their parents with the farming and fishing.
Over the last few years, Dragoman have got involved with a local grass-roots charity, the Sabre Trust, which is working to improve education for all of the children here. Originally the school here was in a terrible state of disrepair and extremely under-resourced, but gradually this is beginning to improve.
On Dragoman overland trips we stay in Brenu, allowing us time to get involved in a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your groups skills and the school's needs, you could be getting your hands dirty helping out with small building projects, participating in educational workshops, or even helping with the teaching. Getting involved at the school is a great opportunity to lend a hand and give something back to the local people here, albeit in a small way. It's also a great chance to experience everyday Ghanaian life at first hand, getting to know the local children and their families.
We journey north to visit
We will camp tonight in the national park.
Visit to the stunning jungles of Kakum Nat. Park including an amazing canopy trek
|Included in tour|
Kakum National Park is in southern Ghana; 350 square kilometres of tropical rainforest protecting the very rare and endangered Mona-meercat, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of birdlife. In the park we walk along towering canopy walkways through the tops of the trees, offering a unqiue and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest. The park is also an important habitat for a variety of rare tropical plants, including many that are used by local people for medicinal purposes.
The final journey of this section brings us to the capital of
Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Explore the capital city of Accra
|Included in tour|
Accra, Ghana's sprawlingcapital, is a bustling coastal city with a whole load of beaches that would please even the most discerning sun worshipper. Some of the beaches are more touristy than others and they can all get very busy on Saturdays and Sundays; and whenever you go you should expect to be entertained by an endless stream of musicians and acrobats and pursued by souvenir sellers. Away from the beach, the Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, plus the National Museum houses one of the best collections in all of West Africa. Next to the museum you will also find a good craft market, perfect for a bit of souvenir shopping. In the evening you can sample Accra's lively nightlife, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
Today is your final day and there are no activities planned. No accommodation is provided for tonight, unless you are continuing on with us, however we are able to book you additional accommodation in
Border information: If you are leaving at
We intend following the planned route but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. By their very nature overland itineraries need to be flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are often unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, often in areas without western infrastructure. You should expect that some these areas do not adhere to western safety standards.
Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond our 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 alternative transport or even flying the whole group over an area. Although Overlanding West Africa will help organise travel arrangements, you should be prepared to contribute towards the costs and therefore we ask that you 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 card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; thought these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.
This is very much an exploratory route and due to the unpredictable nature of this expedition it is not always possible to follow the exact itinerary as set out below. By their very nature overland itineraries are flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, often in areas without western infrastructure. You should expect that some these areas do not adhere to western safety standards.
We will always endeavour to visit all the places listed, and often more that are not. All the information regarding the itinerary is given in good faith and is subject to change, dependant on visas, local political or country instabilities, weather, security & road conditions etc. Any major itinerary changes will be decided by the crew & company directors and will be discussed with the group beforehand whenever possible.
Roads in these parts of Africa can be very rough which makes for long travel days. You may be travelling across deserts, through Jungles and through wild Africa savannah lands. . It is however all worth it for the spectacular scenery and for travelling through regions that very few other westerners go (OK, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman perhaps, but we were there first)! Where there are public camp sites the bathroom facilities can be very basic and may be non existent in the case of many of the bush camps on this itinerary. There is never toilet paper provided and shower facilities, if existing are often a hose pipe spurting out cold water. Once again, the spectacular serenity and chance to sleep so close to nature makes a little inconvenience all worthwhile and part of the African overlanding experience. Note that not all campsites are as basic as this description; it's just to make sure there are no surprises for you. There will be plenty of nice surprises along the way! Lastly, 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 at least 8-10 times a day, as can the constant setting and packing up of camp.
Most countries we visit on our travels will require visas. Some are best obtained before you leave home and others can be obtained en-route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, we will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.
The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible. Please be aware though that rules do change, often without prior warning, which is why it is important that you check for yourself.
For visas that are needed in advance you can choose to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy /consulate. However our recommendation is that you use a visa agent to assist you with your applications. While this does increase the cost it will make the process much easier for you. Dragoman have teamed up with ‘The Visa Machine’ to create a safe, secure, hassle-free way of obtaining visas and visa advice. Our unique link within their website is designed to make the visa process as straightforward as possible. Simply go to https://dragoman.thevisamachine.com and click on your region of travel followed by your trip route and ‘The Visa Machine’ will advise you about not only the required visas but also the dates by which you should apply. ‘The Visa Machine’ can then assist you in the actual visa application thus taking all the worry and hassle out of the process. This should apply for ALL nationalities and countries of residence.
As you will need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure. However if you do need to travel in this period please let us know as soon as possible so that we can help you work out the options for your visa application process.
No visas are required for American, British and Canadian passport holders for stays up to 3 months.
For those nationalities that do require a visa for Senegal you must obtain a double entry visa and this should be obtained prior to your arrival and you may require a guarantee letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
Australians and New Zealanders currently do require a visa for Senegal and should use the Senegalese embassy in Malaysia as their closest option.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Senegal.
Other nationalities may need a visa to enter The Gambia; we recommend that you check with your respective embassy, consulate or visa agency for the latest information. It may be possible to obtain a visa for The Gambia on arrival at a land border but again we ask you to check this information before travel.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter The
Most nationalities require a visa for Guinea. We recommend that you check with your respective embassy, consulate or visa agency for the latest information.
It is recommended that you obtain this visa in advance.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are on an trip that continues to Accra, you must obtain a double entry visa to Guinea.
Visas for Guinea Bissau will be obtained en route in
We recommend you ontain your visa in advance. These allow for a stay of up to 60 days and can be a single or multiple entries.
You may be asked to provide references for your visa application of which you can use the following:-
The Stumble Inn
Aubrey Malcolm Green
Sabre Trust Project
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Ghana.
If you flying into Ghana you can only obtain a single entry visa on arrival in Ghana if you have received pre-approval from the director of Ghana immigration at least 48 hours beforehand. You must hold a letter of pre-approval, which should contain the visa number and passport number to check in for your flight. If you don't hold a visa or pre-approval, you will not be allowed on your flight. The visa costs USD100 on arrival and you will need to present your return flight tickets.
You must apply directly to your closest embassy or consulate for this visa. For British Nationals please go to http://www.snedai.com for information on how to apply for the visa. Citizens of Australia can use a visa agency for this visa.
Generally 2 visa application forms, 2 passport photos, employment letter , proof of departure showing round trip travel and onward travel (e.g. travel itinerary), plus a copy of confirmed hotel reservation.
Dragoman will be applying for the hotel reservation letter for you approx. 3 months in advance of the trip and once received will forward this to you. In order for us to be able to do this you must provide Dragoman with your passport details in advance. The application for this letter can only be made once we have received passport details from everyone in the group so any delay in us receiving these details will delay when this letter is received.
Please note that this letter can take some time to issue and Dragoman cannot guarantee a specific date for receiving this letter. We therefore recommend that you wait until you have received this letter before making any appointments at the
Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on this trip, we recommend you allow between a minimum of US$10 and a maximum of US$20 per day.
This will covers expenses such as your optional activities, drinks, meals whilst out and also when staying in hotels, souvenirs, tips and personal permits.
Euros not Dollars - In North and West Africa (Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo & The DRC) we use Euros and not US Dollars. Please note that although we do quote kitties, personal spending and other items in US Dollars (because we operate globally), for trips passing through these countries, you will want to use Euros and NOT dollars for the kitty, tipping and for personal spending. As the exchange rate is variable, the trip leader will confirm the exact exchange rate between Dollar and Euros to be used for the kitty at the pre departure meeting.
In term of local money 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, but in West Africa travellers cheques are almost impossible to change so for that reason we recommend a mix of cash and ATM cards. Please note that most ATMs only take Visa cards NOT Mastercard.
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 2003 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Cash machines are readily available in most areas but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard 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. Please bring a mixture of small and large denominations as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over $50.
At Dragoman we believe you should make the most of the places you visit, so if you would like to see more of your joining or finishing point cities, why not book additional accommodation to extend your stay. Dragoman can take away the hassle of time zones and language barriers by making the booking for you. This accommodation is only available at the joining or finishing city of your trip, immediately before or after the trip you are travelling on.
While Dragoman is happy to assist with booking your pre and post trip accommodation, it is important that you understand you may be able to book your own room at a cheaper rate directly through the hotel or on the internet. Our additional accommodation prices are based on the hotel’s rate plus an administration fee. Please note our rates do not reflect last minute walk in rates or internet specials.
We can also book arrival airport transfers for you as long as we have your flight arrival details. These are normally payable in cash upon arrival, however we do have pre paid transfers in a few destinations.
Please contact our reservations team for details of the accommodation and transfers that we can offer as not all hotels offer this service.
Dragoman overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers will share with people of the same sex for the duration of the trip, in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share. The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. We will also arrange as many village or local homestays as possible, allowing us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
The maximum group size we take on our overland journeys ranges from 19 to 22 depending on the geographical location, however the average number of passengers is more likely to be around 16.
Please note that there is an overlap of 2 trips in
Our passengers come from around the world and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split, males to females and between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends. We believe that overlanding should be open to as many people as possible and so although we have a minimum age limit of 18, as long as you are fit, healthy and passionate about travel, we are happy to take you, whatever your age is. One of the beauties of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way and as well as the variety of people that you will meet.
At any time before or after you book you can join our community - Dragoland. This is a great place to ask questions before you travel and catch up with your fellow travellers once your trip has finished. You can share photos, videos and stories You can also download a selection of free travel apps. See the home page to sign in, it's free and easy.
We also have a Facebook page where travellers regularly swap info with each other - you can join here
Our crew are passionate about travel and always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all overland companies, spending 10 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK and then up to six months on the road as a trainee. On all Dragoman overlanding trips two western crew who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation will accompany you. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. In East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes. In the rest of Africa, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people.
(If travelling in East & Southern Africa, also please see the note about our code-share crew)
Your tour leader has a duty of care to all of their passengers and therefore they have the authority to ask passengers to leave the trip if they require medical assistance, are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.
We ask all of our passengers to declare any pre-existing medical conditions and in some cases you will be asked to complete one of our medical questionnaires. For trips that travel to areas of high altitude we also require all passengers to complete an altitude questionnaire. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases passengers should be prepared for some long driving days and possible limited facilities. We are always happy to give extra advice if you have additional concerns.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to region and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest advice on the region(s) you are planning to travel in. It is essential that you check with either your doctor or a travel clinic in good time before you travel.
In the UK we have been working with Nomad Travel for many years and their website has comprehensive, up to date vaccination and health information. Dragoman customers will receive a 10% discount off all vaccinations given at Nomad Travel clinics.
A good source of up to date information is the World Health Organisation - http://www.who.int/en/
Get expert advice before travelling about types of malaria pills and take them as instructed. Recommended types do change from time to time and from area to area. Consult your vaccination centre for the most up-to-date requirements
The mosquito usually bites between the hours of dusk and dawn and so covering up by wear long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, preferably light coloured and buttoned at the wrists can help. Do not sleep without closing windows, tent doors or, if sleeping out, use a mosquito net. Wear repellent applied directly to the skin or soaked into clothing.
Treating clothes and mosquito nets with a Permetherin solution provides significant protection. It should be available at most travel stores. Mosquito coils are useful on still nights, in hotel rooms but cannot be used inside the tents.
On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger, you’re part of the crew, pitching in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. We operate a rota system, dividing the group into smaller units of 5 or 6 people, so that these duties are shared equally amongst the group. These jobs will include things like collecting water and firewood, loading the back locker, supervising the kitty and food stores etc. While camping on overland journeys, all meals will be included in the kitty and this means that you will be working as a group to prepare meals and cook for your group. (On trips south of Nairobi we have a cook on board the truck, however you will still be required to help prepare meals). If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal and something hot such as eggs or pancakes as well as tea and coffee. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto, pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
Dragoman is committed to ensuring that we have a positive impact on local communities and that we implement policies to minimise any negative impact on the local environment. We are dedicated to making sure that we adopt a responsible attitude to the areas through which we travel and believe that our trips should benefit the local people and their environment. Dragoman recognises that we are guests of local communities and strive to make these communities our partners, so that they benefit directly from our visit.
You can find full details of Dragoman’s responsible tourism policy linked from the home page. All passengers are required to obey all laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs, firearms, antiquities and ivory. Any passenger found contravening such laws or customs may be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.
One of the real advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly equipped overland vehicle, with safes, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in much of the world. We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt whilst travelling for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items (although most of these can be locked in the safe whilst you are on the trip) and advise passengers to leave any valuable jewellery, watches etc at home. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on hand to offer advice.
Please note: Any personal effects that are left on the truck, even if they are stored in the safe, are left at your own risk and Dragoman cannot be held responsible for any damage or theft that may occur.
The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources:
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice
Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers
Leaders reports from off the road
Local contacts we have built up over 29 years of experience
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. You should always make yourself aware of the travel advice before you book and again before you travel. Below are links to some of the websites
New Zealand. http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
United States. http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html
Dragoman has comprehensive passenger liability protection and tour operator insurance. These policies have total indemnities of £3,000,000 and £10,000,000 respectively. This is in addition to local vehicle insurance and your personal travel insurance.
We have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in theses trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564.
It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.
Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel. As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding and that the 24 Hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries – for example they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes. Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas. We recommend that any policy has the following minimum levels of cover: Medical (incl. repatriation) £5,000,000 Personal Liability £5,000,000 Cancellation and Curtailment £5,000 Loss of Baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice.
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. If this is the case please contact our customer relations department on firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also choose to provide details in your feedback questionnaire which we ask you to complete at the end of your trip but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
Check that your passport will still be valid for 6 months after the end of the trip - this is important as some countries WILL refuse entry to anyone whose passport is due to expire. A temporary or "visitor's” passport is not valid on our trips. You will need to provide us with your passport details prior to departing for you trip. If you change your passport please remember to inform us.
Although you will not have to carry your main bag long distances you will need to help load and unload them onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the back locker so you will also need a small daypack. This can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use.
The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different-sized lockers however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
Your clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in. On overland trips Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats (except on routes between Nairobi and Cape Town where ground mats are provided).
The clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in, which will vary depending on which part of the world you're heading to. On overland trips Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats*, so you'll need to bring those with you. Think about the climate and altitude of the areas you'll be travelling to, there's nothing worse than being cold at night so it's worth investing in a decent sleeping bag if it's likely to get cold. And remember even when it's warm during the day, it can often get cold at night, particularly in desert regions.
*Ground mats are provided on our non "in-depth" overland trips that run in South and East Africa, between Nairobi and Cape Town.
For a general idea of what you need this list provides a guide:
For a comprehensive kit lists take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel have created. Dragoman customers will receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click to see the kit lists www.nomadtravel.co.uk/kitlist/overlanders-kit-list
The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 liters of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your Overland vehicle. You are free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like. You are helping the environment and your hip pocket!
All of our trucks have a fully stocked medical kit onboard for use in emergency situations only. Therefore in addition to this we recommend that you purchase your own personal medical kit. In the UK we have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores and Clinics to produce the Dragoman Travel Medical Kit. It has been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contains everything you would need for any minor accidents. For more details please visit their website:
Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt socket so to charge your iPod, MP3 player, camera, laptop and mobile phone you will need a DC 12 volt adapter - the type that can be used from a cigarette lighter in your car. Please be aware that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets and the majority of the campsites we stay at have electricity points so please bring along your normal charging adapters as well. You will need to ensure that you have the correct country adaptor for your specific charger.
The Kitty is a group fund paid separately from the trip price at the start of your trip which covers all things that the whole group does, such as:
It is an amount that each passenger puts into a central fund and is monitored by the Dragoman crew. It’s payable in full at the start of your trip, and in instalments at the start of each individual trip on combination trips
The kitty system is very unique to over landing as it allows us to have flexibility on the road. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally.
The kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Local inflation and costs vary throughout the year and so we review kitties on a monthly basis. 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.
Your kitty can be paid in a mixture of US Dollar cash and local currency and most of our travellers choose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.
Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.
Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond Dragoman's control (e.g. a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although Dragoman will help organise travel arrangements, in circumstances outside Dragoman's control you should be prepared to contribute towards the costs and therefore we ask you to bring along a 'Contingency Fund' of USD400. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore never used. We also recommend that you take along an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.
Tipping is entirely voluntary. The Dragoman crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own Dragoman crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person.