Cairo<- ->Addis Ababa (ECA)

Cairo to Addis Ababa 49 days, departing 05 Apr 2014

Ratings for this trip

Comfort Zone: Basic / Adventurous

Basic comfort levels. Expect to rough it every now and again. On OVERLAND TRIPS be prepared to have some nights wild camping, campsites with basic facilities as well as some basic hotels, often on a multi-share basis. Some of the roads we travel along may be poor. On our ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS you will stay in simple, budget (1-2 star) accommodation with some shared facilities. Some accommodation may be on a multi-share basis and transport will be mainly local.

Physical Challenge: Strenuous in parts

STRENUOUS IN PARTS: These are physical tours; we may well be travelling at high altitudes, across deserts or through hot and steamy tropical countries. Physically it can be quite tough, but not necessarily all the time and there will be plenty of rest days and time to relax as well. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the trip.

Countries Visited

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.

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.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1 to 2: Cairo

Sat 05 Apr to Sun 06 Apr 2014

Border Information: If joining in Cairo, enter Egypt at Cairo Airport.

We stay in Cairo for two nights at a comfortable hotel located in the district of Dokki, Giza. The hotel is a short drive from the Egyptian museum and downtown Cairo.

On the first day in Cairo you will have a group meeting at 10.00hrs where your leader will collect your kitty payment, please bring notes/bills in large denominations. 

After the meeting we will make any necessary visits to embassies and in the afternoon take a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum.

On the second day in Cairo we head out in the truck for our guided tour of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

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

Guided visit to the Giza and Saqqara Pyramids, Cairo

Included in Kitty

Guided tour of the Cairo Egyptian Museum

Included in Kitty

2 nights in the bustling city of Cairo

Included in Kitty

Sound & Light show at the Pyramids & Sphinx, Cairo

USD 10

Entrance to Cairo Tower

USD 6

Entrance to Red Pyramid & Bent Pyramid, Cairo

USD 5

Entrance Pyramid of Cheops, Cairo

USD 15

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.

Day 3 to 4: Alexandria

Mon 07 Apr to Tue 08 Apr 2014

We leave the hustle and bustle of Cairo behind us and head 300kms towards the coast to the City of Alexandria where we will base ourselves for 2 nights allowing a full day to explore.

Whilst in Alexandria we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

2 nights to explore the city of Alexandria

Included in Kitty

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.

Day 5: Bahariya Oasis

Wed 09 Apr 2014

We set off this morning to cover the 571 km (approx. 8hrs) which will take us from Alexandria to Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert.

Desert travel is uniquely romantic. No matter what desert you are crossing, being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by solitude and wilderness, is a fantastic experience.

The Egyptian Western Desert has five thriving oases and on our route through the desert we will be able to visit three of these: Bahariya, Dakhla and Kharga.

 

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Overland journey into the Western Desert Oasis Route

Visit to the Valley of the Golden Mummies, Crystal Mountain and Black Desert

Included in Kitty

Bahariya Oasis

Situated in Egypt's Great Western Desert, Bahariya is the smallest of the four oases in this area. It used to serve as an artery between Libya and Egypt, but these days people come here to enjoy the hot springs and palm groves, and to get a feel for the Western Desert. There are numerous sites of antiquities including the Temple of Alexander and various Ptolemaic tombs, as well as a museum that houses the golden mummies found here. Just south of the oasis lie the White and Black Deserts, easily visited from the town.

Day 6: White Desert Wildcamp

Thu 10 Apr 2014

Today sees us complete approx. 6 hours travel and cover 240 km through the desert with a visit to Golden Mummies, exploring of Crystal Mountain and the Black Desert viewpoint and end up in White Desert for wildcamp.

Day 7 to 8: Dakhla Oasis

Fri 11 Apr to Sat 12 Apr 2014

Today day we drive 235 km (approx 5.5 hours) to reach the Dakhla Oasis.

We base ourselves here for 2 nights where you can take the opportunity to trek out into the desert here for the day or even overnight on camels.

The overnight trip is usually the favourite as you can head off into the desert and camp out for the night.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overnight Camel Safari into the Western Desert

USD 35

Dakhla Oasis

Verdant cultivated areas and a great wall of rose-hued rock across the northern horizon make a feast for the eyes in Dakhla Oasis. Dakhla has Pharaonic, Roman and Coptic antiquities, dunes, palm groves and hot springs to explore.

 

Day 9 to 11: Luxor

Sun 13 Apr to Tue 15 Apr 2014

This morning we travel to Luxor, a journey of around 8 hours/280 km.

We take a donkey ride on the west bank before visiting the tombs in the Valley of the King's. This is one of the highlights of any trip to Egypt. The amazingly well preserved paintings in the tombs of the Pharaohs are brought to life on this guided adventure. We will also go and see the biggest of all Egyptian temples, the mighty Karnak with a local Egyptologist.

There is also plenty of free time for you to explore. Perhaps hire a bicycle to ride through sugarcane fields and nearby villages to see a different side of Luxor. It is worth visiting the smaller Luxor temple located smack in the middle of town and the small but beautiful Luxor Museum filled with priceless treasures from this amazing area. 

In Luxor we stay in a hotel

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided tour of the Karnak Temple & Valley of the Kings at Luxor

Included in Kitty

Karnak Sound and Light Show, Luxor

USD 15

Luxor Temple, Luxor

USD 6

Museums, Luxor

USD 5

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.

Day 12 to 13: Aswan, Edfu, Felucca Journey

Wed 16 Apr to Thu 17 Apr 2014

This morning we head to Aswan, a drive of around 230km (approx. 4.5hrs).

On the way to Aswan we make a stop at The Temple of Horus in Edfu (also known as the Temple of Edfu) which is considered the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt.

We will spend the first night in Aswan in a basic hotel and the second night sailing along the Nile on a traditional Felucca boat. 

Activity Approximate Cost

3 night stay in Aswan to explore the surrounding area

Included in Kitty

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.

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.

Day 14 to 15: Aswan

Fri 18 Apr to Sat 19 Apr 2014

We return to Aswan where we will have 2 full days to explore the sites of Aswan however please note that if you were unable to obtain your Sudan visa in advance you will have to buy the tourist visa for Sudan during our time here in Aswan.

In Aswan we stay in a simple hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Philae Temple Sound & Light, Aswan

USD 5

Excursion to Abu Simbel

USD 120

High Dam trip, Aswan

USD 2

Elephantine/Kitchener Island Boat Trip, Aswan

USD 10

Tombs of the Nobles, Aswan

USD 5

Day 16: Lake Nasser

Sun 20 Apr 2014

The crossing of Lake Nasser is certainly an experience. Don't expect a Nile cruise boat or you may be disappointed! An old passenger ferry plies the waters between Aswan and Wadi Halfa and it has limited comforts. However, to make up for this you will be travelling through the spectacular scenery of a harsh and craggy desert landscape. The journey usually lasts 17 hours, but it is notoriously unpredictable. Depending on sailing routes and conditions we should pass the beautiful temple of Abu Simbel en route to Wadi Halfa.

Accommodation aboard the ferry is very basic.

Day 17 to 18: Wadi Halfa

Mon 21 Apr to Tue 22 Apr 2014

Border Information: Exit Egypt at Aswan, enter Sudan at Wadi Halfa.

The port of Wadi Halfa, our entry point to the Sudan is situated on the southernmost tip of Lake Nasser in the Sudanese Sahara and is the most northerly place in Sudan.   This is where we will meet our local facilitator who will accompany us on the truck for the duration that we are in Sudan.

The friendliness of the Sudanese people is legendary in traveller circles. For a country that has experienced such a long and drawn out civil war it is amazing that the local people are so welcoming, 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.

In Wadi Halfa we stay in basic rooms.

Day 19 to 20: Wawa Wild camp, Dongola, Merowe Wildcamp, Temple of Sulb

Wed 23 Apr to Thu 24 Apr 2014

To travel in northern Sudan is to journey across deserts finding your way through the dunes or along the plains.

On the road from Wadi Halfa in the north through to Atbara in the south there are a succession of ruined temples along the River Nile. As you would imagine with such a long history of civilisation, these date back to many different periods of Kushite and Egyptian history.  Many are in a poor state of repair, but some are classics.  We will try to visit one or more of the following: the Temple of Sulb, the Temple of Deffufa near Dongola and the pyramids and temple complex on top of Jebel Barkal near the town of Merowe (as opposed to Meroe which is near Atbara). 

This portion of the trip is rugged. We will be travelling through the desert sands, following the Nile as it cuts through vast fields of sand dunes. Along the Nile small villages and towns cling to a narrow belt of cultivation. Trade routes through the area date back to ancient times, but the roads are mere sandy tracks, often difficult to find and always a struggle to get through. You will be expected to help sand mat the vehicles and to be part of this expedition. There are no passengers here, only people who are prepared to get stuck in to achieve their goal - the exploration of the relics of the Kushite kingdom and the Nile Valley of northern Sudan.

These nights we camp out in the desert vastness as we sit around our camp fire in the middle of this wilderness.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Temple of Deffufa

Included in Kitty

Visit to the Temple of Sulb

Included in Kitty

Temple of Sulb

The road between Abri and Dongola heads along the River Nile. Oases punctuate the beauty of the desert. Date palms line the shoreline and the traditional plain white houses are all dotted with coloured Nubian doorways. Our route takes us from village to village through deep-sanded tracks. Across the river opposite the small village of Wawa lies the remains of the Temple of Sulb. The temple is spectacular and very much in the Egyptian style. We take a half hour boat trip by small boat along the Nile through stunning scenery. It is the positioning and the remoteness of these sites along the Nile that makes them interesting. We usually stay with a local family in the village of Wawa for the night.

Day 21: Jebel Barkul, Atbara area Wild Camp

Fri 25 Apr 2014

After our visit to Jebel Barkal in the morning our journey now takes us Eastbound beyond the town of Atbara towards the Red Sea Coast.

This route provide us with some fantastic wild camping opportunities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit to the Kushite temples and pyramids at Jebel Barkal

Included in Kitty

Jebel Barkul

On the road between Dongola and Merowe we explore ruins at of the Temple of Amun at Jebel (Mount) Barkal. On the hill top of Jebel Barkul the Temple of Jebel Bakul was one of the earliest capitals and 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.

Day 22: Red Sea Resort

Sat 26 Apr 2014

We continue our journey to the coast and stop in Port Sudan to pick up on supplies before heading approx. 40 Km north of Port Sudan to the Red Sea Resort where we will have a group meal.

Tonight we will be camping at the Red Sea Resort with Facilities.

Day 23: Red Sea Resort

Sun 27 Apr 2014

Today is a free day for relaxing or for optional activities such as scuba diving.

Tonight will be spent camping again at the Red Sea Resort with facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Scuba Diving at the Red Sea Resort, Sudan

USD 150

Day 24: Atbara area Wild Camp

Mon 28 Apr 2014

Leaving the coast behind us we make our way westbound back towards to the town of Atbara wild camping along the way.

Day 25: Meroe, Naqa Wildcamp

Tue 29 Apr 2014

Today we travel through the town of Atbara and head south towards Naqa stopping to explore the Kushite temples and pyramids at Meroe. If time allows we will also visit the temples of Naqa and Musawwarat.

Tonight we aim to wild camp near the temples of Naqa

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.

Day 26: Khartoum, Naqa

Wed 30 Apr 2014

We rise early to visit the remote temples at Naqa & Musawwarat in the morning if haven’t done the day before and drive 200 km to the capital, Khartoum.

Tonight we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided visit to the Naqa and Musawwarat Temples

Included in Kitty

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.

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.

Day 27: Gedaref

Thu 01 May 2014

Today is a drive day of approx 400kms to the Gedaref area where tonight we aim to Bush camp.

Day 28: Gondar

Fri 02 May 2014

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

Today we have a full day drive of approx 400Kms and cross the border into Ethiopia to Gondar.  Tonight we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

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.

Day 29: Gondar

Sat 03 May 2014

Border Information: If joining in Gonder, enter Ethiopia at Gonder Airport.

There will be a group meeting at 18.00hrs.  

In Gonder we stay in a basic pension.

 

Hotel for the night: Lammergeyer Hotel

Lammergeyer Hotel

PO box 57

Gondar

Ethiopia

Tel: 0581 12 29 03

Day 30: Gondar

Sun 04 May 2014

Historic Gondar: Today take our tour of Gonder where we gain a fascinating insight into ancient times.

 

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided tour of Castles and Bath complexes in ancient Gondar

Included in Kitty

Day 31 to 33: Simien Mountains National Park

Mon 05 May to Wed 07 May 2014

This morning we drive to the stunning Simien Mountains.

We will be trekking during our time here, the route we take and time we trek each day will be decided by you as a group, it is also possible to spilt in to two groups if need be. The adventurous may choose to hire mules to trek even further in search of klipspringer, Walia ibex or the gelada baboon and perhaps if you are lucky a glimpse of an endangered Simien fox. This park is very impressive, with huge volcanic cores jutting up from the plateau to from high altitude plains where only grasses, junipers and giant lobelias grow. There are some fabulous views to be enjoyed. 

We will stay at a campsite for three nights.

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided treks in the Simien Mountains National Park

Included in Kitty

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.

Day 34: Debark

Thu 08 May 2014

This morning we travel to Debark where we can then relax for the afternoon.

Overnight in a local hotel.

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.

Day 35: Enda Selassie

Fri 09 May 2014

Today we have a very long travel day to Aksum (155 km, approx 13 hours). Whilst the distance is not to far the roads in this part of Ethiopia are rough. We may choose to break the journey and stop over in Sellassie for the night if the roads are particularly bad.

Day 36 to 37: Axum

Sat 10 May to Sun 11 May 2014

Once in Axum (Aksum), we take a guided city tour which will take in the main sights of this fascinating town, the site of Ethiopia's oldest city.

In Axum (Aksum) we stay in a basic hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided tour of palaces and temples in historic Axum

Included in Kitty

Visit the Church of St Mary of Zion at Axum

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.

Day 38: Mekele

Mon 12 May 2014

It is a full day's journey from Axum to Mekele (285 km, approx 10-12 hours).

Near to Mekele, we will have the chance to visit one of the intriguing rock-hewn churches of Tigray. Sculpted into cliff faces or into pre-existing caves, there are at least 120 churches with many of the churches located in groups, referred to as "clusters" the most famous being Gheralta, Takatisfi, Tembien and Atsbi. 

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the Tigray rock-hewn churches at Mekele

Included in Kitty

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.

Day 39: Woldiya

Tue 13 May 2014

Today we will leave the town of Mekele behind and travel around 270 km (approx 8 hours), where we will bush camp for the night.

Day 40 to 42: Lalibela

Wed 14 May to Fri 16 May 2014

Today we drive through more remote parts of Ethiopia, en route to Lalibela (175 km, approx 7-8 hours).

We walk with a local guide who is able to unlock the fascinating history of both the churches and Lalibela itself.

In Lalibela we stay in a basic hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Guided tour of the ancient rock churches and monasteries at Lalibela

Included in Kitty

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.

Day 43 to 45: Bahir Dar

Sat 17 May to Mon 19 May 2014

It is a full day's drive to Bahir Dar (310 km, approx 12 hours) where we have a 3 night stay. Located on the shores of Lake Tana and only a few hundred metres from the source of the mighty Blue Nile, this is a fascinating place.

In Bahir Dar we stay in a basic hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Boat trip on Lake Tana from Bahir Dar to visit the monasteries

Included in Kitty

Witness the stunning Blue Nile Falls

Included in Kitty

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.

Day 46: Dejen

Tue 20 May 2014

We spend a night in Dejen (270 km, approx 6-7 hours).

Dejen is a transit stop en route to Addis, but if as a group we chose to continue on to Addis today and the roads are favourable we will do.

Activity Approximate Cost

Overland journey into the immense Blue Nile Gorge

Included in Kitty

Day 47: Addis Ababa

Wed 21 May 2014

We have a 215 km drive into the capital, Addis Ababa, arriving late afternoon.  

Why not take the chance to head to one of the city's many restaurants for the chance to eat some local food and perhaps listen to some traditional music.

Tonight we stay in a comfortable well located hotel with good facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa

Included in Kitty

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.

Day 48: Addis Ababa

Thu 22 May 2014

Today is a free day for you to explore to the many sights on offer in Addis Ababa or simply enjoy the array of restaurants on offer.  Tonight we stay in the same hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit "Lucy" at the National Museum, Addis Ababa

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

Visit Africa Hall - a symbol of African independence and optimism, Addis Ababa

St George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral) built to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians, Addis Ababa

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

Day 49: Addis Ababa

Fri 23 May 2014

Border Information: If finishing in Addis, exit Ethiopia at Addis Airport.

If you are coninuing your journey then today is a free day to explore the sights of Addis Ababa.

Visa Information:

Important Notes

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

 

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.

Specific Sudan notes

Rough roads, remote deserts and few western amenities, a true expedition. This itinerary will be flexible and is likely to vary from that published. There is little or no tourist infrastructure in Sudan.

Directional differences to this itinerary

The itineraries for this trip differ depending on the direction of which you are travelling.

The Southbound trip will spend 2 nights in the city of Alexandria in Egypt, 9 nights will be spent in Sudan including 2 nights on the Red Sea Coast North of Port Sudan.

The Northbound trip will spend either 7 or 8 nights in Sudan and will not visit the Red Sea Coast. In Egypt you will have 2 extra nights in the Desert at Siwa and 2 nights in the city of Alexandria*

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

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 check out 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

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

The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible.  Please be aware though that rules do change, often without prior warning, which is why it is important that you check for yourself.

For visas that are needed in advance, you can choose to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate.  However, our recommendation is that you use a visa agent to assist you with your applications. While this does increase the cost, it will make the process much easier for you. Dragoman have teamed up with ‘The Visa Machine’ to create a safe, secure, hassle-free way of obtaining visas and visa advice. Our unique link within their website is designed to make the visa process as straightforward as possible.  Simply go to https://dragoman.thevisamachine.com and click on your region of travel followed by your trip route and ‘The Visa Machine’ will advise you about not only the required visas but also the dates by which you should apply.  ‘The Visa Machine’ can then assist you in the actual visa application, thus taking all the worry and hassle out of the process.  This should apply for ALL nationalities and countries of residence.

As you will need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure. However if you do need to travel in this period please let us know as soon as possible so that we can help you work out the options for your visa application process. 

Egypt

We recommend that all nationalities check with their respective embassies.

Visas are easily attainable on arrival at Cairo airport or ferry ports for most nationalities for USD15 (to be paid in cash), but please check with your embassy before departure. On arrival to Cairo airport you have to buy your visa at any of the banks before proceeding to immigration. You will be given a stamp that you then need to put into your passport yourself. A single entry visa is valid for three months from date of issue, and entitles the bearer to one month in Egypt. Multiple entry visas are not available at the airport or any border crossings.

Southbound Egypt & Sudan trip

Most nationalities can obtain an Egyptian visa upon arrival (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand. Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA). Some nationalities must obtain a visa in advance.

Northbound Sudan & Egypt trip

Most nationalities can obtain an Egyptian visa upon arrival at the port in Aswan (see above). Some nationalities must obtain a visa in advance.

Sudan visa note

If you plan to obtain a Sudan visa en route in Nairobi or Addis Ababa on a Northbound trip you will need to obtain an Egyptian visa in advance. Please refer to Sudan Northbound visa information for further information.

Ethiopia

Most nationalities require a visa for entry to Ethiopia and you must obtain this before travel in your country of residency. Most Embassies or Consulates of Ethiopia only accept visa applications from nationals of the county in which the Embassy is located - for example, the Ethiopian Embassy in London will only accept applications from British passport holders or those who hold an appropriate work/residency visa in their passport. Please see this website to find your closest embassy or consulate  http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/ethiopia

Important: If you have not obtained an Ethiopian visa before travel this could result in you having to send your passport back to your country of residency to obtain the visa at an extra personal cost, and could even result in you missing days of the trip waiting for your passport to return.

Please also note: If you are travelling on a long combination trip i.e. starting in Cape Town or Cairo you must apply for a multi entry visa valid for 3 or 6 months to ensure the visa is still valid upon entry. The 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. If your visa is due to expire during your time in Ethiopia you must extend it at the Immigration office in Addis Ababa.

Visa Validity: Please be aware that the visa is valid from the date of issue and not the date of entry into Ethiopia. It is no longer possible to post-date visas, so please give careful consideration as to which length of visa will be suitable for your stay. You must take into account the time taken to process your visa application as well allow for postage times and the number of days in advance of your travel you have applied, as your visa will have be valid from the date it has been processed at the Embassy.

For example, if you are visiting Ethiopia for 20 days, and you are applying for a single tourist or business visa more than a week in advance of your departure, you must take into account the length of time it takes for post to reach the Embassy, the time it takes to process the visa, the length of time it takes for post to reach you from the Embassy and consider exactly how many days in advance of your journey you have applied. If the total exceeds the 30 day limit, you must apply for a multiple entry 3 month visa.

If you wish to stay in Ethiopia for a longer period you will have to visit the Immigration Office in Addis Ababa and ask for an extension but we cannot guarantee that this will be granted. 

Visa on arrival at Addis Ababa airport

Tourist visas can sometimes be issued on arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

A 3 month tourist visas can only be issued on arrival to:
• foreign nationals who are coming from countries where there is no Ethiopian Mission OR
• foreign nationals who are coming from and are permanent residents in any of the following internationally recognised tourist-generating countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.

If applying for a tourist visa on arrival, visitors will need to bring with them two recent passport-sized photographs and no less than USD20 before their application can be processed.

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.

When applying for the visa the form will ask you for a contact in Ethiopia please put:

Sarem International Hotel
Belay Zeleke Street
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 126 2088

 

Sudan Northbound

The process of obtaining a visa for Sudan can be a complicated one so it is vital that you read the following information thoroughly.

All nationalities require a visa to enter Sudan and it is recommended that you obtain this visa in advance of your trip.

All nationalities must check with their respective embassies.

The whole process of obtaining a Sudan visa before travel can take up to 8 weeks and there are a few ways in which you can apply for your Sudan.

In advance

1. Direct with the embassy

If you choose this option please check with the Embassy as some embassies will organise the authorisation for you as part of the visa application service. If the Embassy does not provide this authorisation then you will have to obtain this through waleed.travel@gmail.com at Lendi Travel who can help you obtain this for a fee of between $50 - $165 depending on the type of letter required.

For UK citizens please visit the Embassy of Sudan in London for details on how to apply for the tourist visa http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk

For US citizens please visit the Embassy of Sudan in Washington on details of how to apply for the tourist visa www.sudanembassy.org

For Australian citizens please visit the following website for details of your closest Sudan Mission http://protocol.dfat.gov.au/Mission/list.rails

Through a visa agent - The Visa Machine

If you decide to obtain your visa through The Visa Machine please contact them directly for all the information. 

En route (on trip) / before your trips starts

1. Embassy of Sudan in Nairobi, Kenya

If you have obtained both your Ethiopian visa and Egyptian visa in advance OR if you are flying out of Khartoum and have proof of exit such as your flight ticket. You can apply for a Sudan visa in Nairobi without an authorisation letter. You will however, be required to submit a letter of Introduction from your own Embassy confirming your nationality and stating there is no reason you cannot travel. Some Embassies charge a fee for this letter.

The visa cost can vary significantly, between $50 - $180 USD and takes 1-2 days. You will need approximately 6 passport photos for the visa.

US citizens who are unable to obtain the tourist visa before travel can obtain this in Nairobi, however you must first apply for your authorisation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Sudan. We recommend that you contact Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel in Sudan - waleed.travel@gmail.com who can apply for your authorization number on your behalf for a fee (approx. $165 USD)

2. Embassy of Sudan in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

If you are travelling on a longer combination trip, you can obtain your visa en route in Addis Ababa but the process can take 3 working days. In order to apply for a Sudanese visa in Addis Ababa you must first apply for an authorisation letter in advance. We recommend that you contact Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel in Sudan - waleed.travel@gmail.com who can apply for your authorization on your behalf for a fee (approx $165 USD).

On arrival at Khartoum International airport

If you are starting your trip in Khartoum it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival at Khartoum international airport. Please note that you MUST first apply for your authorisation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Sudan. We recommend that you contact Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel in Sudan - waleed.travel@gmail.com who can apply for your authorization number on your behalf for a fee (approx. $165 USD). Please tell Waleed that you intend to collect your visa at Khartoum airport on application. The actual visa will cost an additional $100 USD (or $150 USD for Americans) at Khartoum airport. 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the process of authorisation being controlled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan Dragoman will not become involved in any way in the authorisation process.

We do try and keep these notes as up to date as possible however the process of obtaining visas can suddenly change at any time. For this reason we advise you to always check with the Embassy.

Registration in Sudan

Everyone is required to register with the Aliens Department in Sudan. 2 passport size photos are will be required for this and a fee charged per person (payable in Sudanese Pounds and equivalent of around $55). Once registered, you are not required to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. You are required to pay US$20 per person airport tax.

Sudan Southbound

The process of obtaining a visa for Sudan can be a complicated one so it is vital that you read the following information thoroughly.

All nationalities require a visa to enter Sudan, and it is recommended that you obtain this visa in advance of your trip.

All nationalities must check with their respective embassies.

The whole process of obtaining a Sudan visa before travel can take up to 8 weeks and there are a few ways in which you can apply.

1. In advance

Directly with a Sudanese Embassy or Consulate.

If you choose this option please check with the Embassy, as some embassies will organise the authorisation/invitation letter for you as part of the visa application service. If the Embassy does not provide this authorisation letter, then you will have to obtain this through Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel (Email: waleed.travel@gmail.com) who can help you obtain this for a fee (approximately USD50 - USD165 depending on the type of letter needed at the specific Ebassy or Consulate). Please note you will also have to pay for your visa fees on top of this.

Please contact Waleed well in advance (8 weeks before the start of your trip), and clearly state to him where you will obtain your visa (e.g. London).

For UK citizens, please visit the Embassy of Sudan in London for details on how to apply for the tourist visa - http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk

For US citizens, please visit the Embassy of Sudan in Washington DC for details of how to apply for the tourist visa - www.sudanembassy.org

For Australian citizens, please visit the following website for details of your closest Sudan Mission http://protocol.dfat.gov.au/Mission/list.rails

2. Through a visa agent - The Visa Machine

If you decide to obtain your visa through The Visa Machine, please contact them directly for all the information.

3. En route (on trip or before your trip starts)

A) At the Embassy of Sudan in Cairo, Egypt - For all nationalities (except US citizens) it is possible to obtain the Sudan visa in Cairo (if you are there on a weekday); however, the process can be time consuming and the information and requirements can change suddenly (we therefore recommend all nationalities obtain Sudan visas in advance)

The latest information is as follows: If you have obtained your Ethiopian visa in advance OR if you are flying out of Khartoum and have proof of exit such as your flight ticket, you can apply for a Sudan visa in Cairo without an authorisation letter (again, we recommend you check this in advance). You will however, be required to submit a Letter of Introduction from your own Embassy confirming your nationality and stating there is no reason you cannot travel. Some Embassies charge a fee for this letter.

The visa cost can vary significantly (between USD50 - USD180) and takes 1-2 days. You will need approximately 6 passport photos for the visa.

B) At the Consulate of Sudan in Aswan, Egypt – This is a second option for obtaining your visa en route. However, you must have an authorisation letter in advance obtained through Waleed Arafat at Lendi Travel (Email: waleed.travel@gmail.com) who can help you obtain this for a fee (approximately USD165). Please note you will also have to pay for your visa fees on top of this.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the process of authorisation being controlled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan, Dragoman will not and indeed cannot become involved in the authorisation process.

Registration in Sudan

Everyone is required to register with the Aliens Department within three days of their arrival in the country (2 passport size photos are needed, and the fee is the Sudanese Pounds equivalent of around USD55). Once registered, you are not required to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. If you are flying out of Khartoum airport, you are required to pay USD20 per person airport tax. 

Personal Spending

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on this trip, we recommend you allow between a minimum of USD10 and a maximum of USD20 per day.

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

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

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 USD50.

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

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

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 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.

Accommodation on tour

Dragoman overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers will share with people of the same sex for the duration of the trip, in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share. The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. On some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, this allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities. 

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 groups starting their trips in Dar es Salaam. In practical terms this means there could be up to 44 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.

Who travels with Dragoman?

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.

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 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 and guides

Our crew are passionate about travel and always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all overland companies, spending 10 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK and then up to six months on the road as a trainee. On all Dragoman overlanding trips two western crew who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation will accompany you. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. On trips South of Nairobi in East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes. In the rest of Africa, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. 

Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your crew is new to a particular region or training other crew.

Your tour leader has a duty of care to all of their passengers and therefore they have the authority to ask passengers to leave the trip if they require medical assistance, are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.

Health

All Dragoman travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in our trips. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Dragoman reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of the trip without a refund. 

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

For trips that travel to areas of high altitude we also require all travellers to complete an altitude questionnaire. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases customers should be prepared for some long driving days and possibly limited facilities. We are always happy to give extra advice if you have additional concerns. 

 

Vaccinations

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

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

A good source of up to date information is the world Health Organisation - http://www.who.int/en/

Malaria

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.

Meals and group participation

On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc.

While camping on overland journeys, all meals are included in the kitty. This means that you will have to work together to cook for everyone in your group. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple! (On trips south of Nairobi we have a cook on board the truck; however you will still be required to help prepare meals).

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

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.

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 customers.  It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the local people who make our destinations so special.  The exploitation of prostitutes or children is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes or abuse children.  Equally Dragoman will not tolerate any violence or threat of violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. 

 We expect all our customers to obey all the laws of the countries through which we pass.  This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs (as above), firearms, antiquities and ivory. 

Any customer found contravening such laws or customs will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.

Safety and security

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

Please note: Any personal effects that are left on the truck, even if they are stored in the safe, are left at your own risk and Dragoman cannot be held responsible for any damage or theft that may occur.

The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources:

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

Leaders reports from off the road

Local contacts we have built up over 31 years of experience

Dragoman has also teamed up with the UK Foreign and commonwealth office (FCO) in their 'Know before you go campaign' www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougoThis website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up to date country information to help you plan a safe trip.

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. You should always make yourself aware of the travel advice before you book and again before you travel. Below are links to some of the websites

Britain. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

For a comprehensive kit lists take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel have created.  Dragoman customers will receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click to see the kit lists www.nomadtravel.co.uk/kitlist/overlanders-kit-list

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 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!

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:

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

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.

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. The kitty is payable in instalments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew & kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip.

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

The kitty system is very unique to overlanding and we believe it allows us to have flexibility & transparency on our trips. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally. It also helps to keep the costs competitive & save on administration costs so that we can pass the saving on to you. Dragoman makes NO PROFIT on kitties as they are the group's fund. 

We constantly update the kitty prices on our website and the kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Prices can go up or down with no notice and exchange rate fluctuations will affect costs. If there is money left in the kitty at the end of your trip then this is divided between the group and you receive a refund.  Once you book your trip it is very important that you check our website on a regular basis and just before departure for any changes to the kitty amount.

At least half of your kitty should be paid in cash in the specified currency on the website (US Dollars or Euros in West Africa). The outstanding amount can be paid in local currency during your trip; your leader will give you the exchange rate.  Most of our travellers choose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.

Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.

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 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.

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 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

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.