With a friendly atmosphere, a country brimming with history, tribes and national parks.
Along the Sudanese frontier it changes from semi-desert to high mountains. The highland area and the
The principle national park is the
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
Vegetables and meat are the basis of many of the dishes in
In the lively capital of
Of course it's the wildlife that draws most people to
Mount Kenya is the country's highest mountain and is the 2nd largest mountain in
Tribes all over
Border Information: If Joining in Addis Ababa, enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole airport.
Group meeting at 18:00hrs. Staying in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
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.
Sarem International Hotel
Belay Zeleke Street (around Semien Mazegaja)
Tel: +251 11 126 2088/99
Overnight in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa
|Included in tour|
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.
Leaving the city behind we travel to Lake Ziway (160 km, approx 3 hours).
We will stay at Lake Ziway for 2 nights during which time we will take a boat tour across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island for a guided tour.
During your time at Lake Ziway you will also have the option to become involved in the Stoves and Livelihoods community project whereby you can make a donation to the project.
Our 2 nights will be spent in a small local run hotel.
Guided tour of Tulu Gudo Island on Lake Ziway
|Included in tour|
Scenic boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island
|Included in tour|
Lake Ziway, about 60 miles south of Addis Ababa, and its surrounding area, nurtures an array of wildlife. Birds, hippopotamuses and fish roam the lake, which is dotted with five islands. One of the islands, Tulo Gudo, is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the ninth century. Long inhabited by the Gurage, an ethnic group rich in history and culture, the areas surrounding the lake are now under unprecedented pressure from deforestation.
Promoting Energy Saving Stoves to Save Livelihoods
Sustainable Environment and Development Action (SEDA)
Persistent poverty has created an informal industry of deforestation. Workers cut trees to sell as fuel and women gather wood to cook long hours over open fires.
The “Stoves and Livelihoods” project is designed to improve the health of local families and conserve the natural environment by introducing energy saving stoves to communities throughout the Central Rift Valley. These low-tech stoves cut firewood consumption in half. In addition to conserving local forests, the project protects women and children, who are most susceptible to the common respiratory illnesses caused by traditional indoor cooking methods. Often responsible for cutting firewood, women and children save up to two hours a day gathering fuel. And by protecting the natural environment, the project and its champions are creating a virtuous cycle that promotes a sustainable tourism economy, which pays dividends to workers and maintains the destination’s iconic appeal.
How you can help..........................
You can provide a cook stove to someone in need by letting your tour leader know you want to make a donation during the visit to the project. You can donate directly to our project partners in the field as part of your visit. Upon return you can also donate to these projects on the Global Giving website online.
Even small donations can make a huge impact!
$34 = 1 cook stove provided to a family, and training to help ensure reduction in deforestation and cleaner household air
SEDA has been working on promotion of environmentally friendly technologies complimented by various environmental rehabilitation, livelihood development and community based eco-tourism projects in numerous districts of Central Rift Valley since 1994. The organization has focused on promoting energy saving stoves as a key environmental development strategy. So far, more than 2000 women have been trained and given fuel efficient stoves through SEDA.
Among Ethiopia’s many ancient legends is that of the Ark of the Covenant. One of the islands on Lake Ziway, Tullo Gudo, is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the ninth century
The story goes that King Menelik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, brought the powerful relic to Ethiopia in the 4th century B.C. Hidden within the Saint Mary Zion Church in Aksum, the Ark rested peacefully until the 10th century when the violent campaigns of warrior-Queen Gudit threatened to destroy the church. To protect the Ark, it was carried far south to the island now known as Tulu Gudo, where it remained for some 70 years before being safely returned to Aksum. Those that brought the Ark to Tulu Gudo came to be known as the Zay people, the guardians of the Ark. Tulu Gudo’s Maryam Tsion Monastery boasts a number of millennium-old manuscripts that are said to have accompanied the Ark of the Covenant on its journey to the island.
On Tulu Gudo Island we learn about the unique culture of the Zay people. Though just 900 of them live on the island, their culture and language are completely different from the surrounding Oromo people. We pass through the village, meet the community, experience the local way of life, and discover traditional weaving. The Maryam Tsion Monastery is the highlight of the tour. Home to a fascinating collection of ancient relics dating back over 1,000 years, the monastery houses relics such as the beautiful Gedle-Kidusen manuscript, a parchment book written in Ge’ez, as well as a number of stunning platters and crosses.
From Lake Ziway we drive on towards the Bale Mountains National Park (240 km, approx. 12 hours).
We will drive high onto the plateau in search of the Simien fox.
In the Bale Mountains we stay in a lodge for 3 nights.
3 nights in the wilds of Bale Mountains National Park
|Included in tour|
We head back down the mountains and spend the night at Wendo Genet (280 km, approx. 10-12 hours) where will spend time relaxing in the hot springs. We will camp tonight in the grounds of the Hot Springs Hotel.
Relax in the Hot Springs at Wendo Genet
Wendo Genet (also known as Wondo Genet) is a resort town in
Wendo Genet is known for its
Wendo Genet is located approx. 35Kms from the town of
Visit to the Awassa Childrens Project
|Included in tour|
Awassa (also spelled Awasa or Hawassa) is a city in Ethiopia, on the shores of Lake Awassa in the Great Rift Valley where fishing is it major local industry.
Awassa was capital of the former
During our time in Awassa we will visit the Awassa Childrens Project. The Awassa Children's Project promotes sensible, culturally responsible relief work aimed at assisting children primarily orphaned by AIDS, educating people in
The Awassa Children’s Project (ACP) is a grassroots non-profit organization formed in 2001. ACP supports several organizations in Awassa, Ethiopia: a children’s centre that provides housing, food and education for over 60 children orphaned by AIDS; One Love Theatre (OLT), an AIDS education theatre company; and the Awassa Youth Campus, a community center in downtown Awassa which features–free to all Awassa children–aikido, sports, tutoring, art, music and a library, among other activities. These organizations continue to grow and dramatically improve the lives of Awassa children and the community in which they live. Especially in these times of dramatically increasing food costs in
For further information on the project please go to http://www.awassachildrensproject.org/
The following day we drive to Arba Minch (305 km, approx 7-8 hours).
We spend time here to allow exploration of the area. Options include a five-hour boat trip into Lake Chamo National Park to the Crocodile Market.
For those who prefer a less strenuous day, you can hire bikes and ride around the local area, or perhaps visit the local government-run crocodile farm.
In Arba Minch for two nights we stay in a hotel.
2 nights exploring Arba Minch and the surrounding area
|Included in tour|
Bicycle hire, Arba Minch
Boat trip on Lake Chamo to see the crocodile 'market'
Visit to the Crocodile farm, Arba Minch
Meaning 'forty springs', Arba Minch takes its name from the streams found between the two Rift Valley lakes of Abaya and Chamo. The town has stunning views over the lakes and surrounding forested areas, and also has an excellent and vibrant market.
Lake Chamo National Park is home to what the locals refer to as the 'crocodile market'. This is a place on the shores of the lake where vast numbers of crocs congregate, some of which reach over seven metres in length. The lake is home to the Guji and Ganjule people who traditionally hunt hippos and are famed for their 'ambatch boats', which resemble the boats carved in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians
In the far south of the country lies the
You should be aware we will be travelling through very remote areas where road and sanitary conditions will be rough. We will staying in basic camp sites.
Guided Omo Valley Tribal Tour visiting either the Hamer, Banna, Mursi or Ari tribes.
|Included in tour|
The Omo Valley region is unusual in that it is home to so many different tribes all living very close to one another in such a small area. Anthropologists believe that this is because thousands of years ago this area of Africa acted as a kind of ethnic crossroads, as different groups of people migrated between north, south, east and west.
Exploring the many small communities and settlements here will give you a fascinating insight into the different tribes, their cultures, traditions and way of life. On Dragoman trips we travel with a local guide, who will be able to introduce us to the Hamer, Arbore and the Dascensch tribes, among others.
There are also other tribal groupings throughout the area and our guide will point out the different tribes and their customs. Life is distinctly tribal throughout the region, with few modern amenities.
We travel on towards Konso (145 km, approx 5 hours), home to the local Konso people.
During our stay in Konso we will have time to explore the local handicraft market; become involved in the tree planting community project in Gersale Village or take in a tour of the village of Konso.
We will camp for 2 nights in the grounds of an eco lodge.
Overnight in Konzo, centre of the Konso people
|Included in tour|
Take a guided tour of the village of Konso
Visit the cultural handicraft market in Konso
In the far south of Ethiopia on the banks of the Sagan river is Konso, gateway to the Omo Valley. The whole way of life in the villages here has changed little over the centuries and old traditions are strongly upheld.
Border Information: Exit Ethiopia at Moyale, enter Kenya at Moyale.
Today we make our grand entrance to northern Kenya.
We travel to the Moyale border (320 km, approx 7-8 hours), where we set up camp.
The following day we travel on to Marsabit (265 km, approx 7-9 hours). We will travel through the black lunar landscape and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.
Due to security issues in this particular area we will be accompanied by a police escort.
Both nights we will stay at campsites.
Remote overland journey through the wilds of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya
|Included in tour|
The market town of Moyale splits the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. There is a nice atmosphere that runs throughout the town and more of this can be discovered through exploring.
We travel on to Samburu National Reserve (225 km, approx 7-8 hours).
We'll take a game drive into the park and also visit a Samburu Village just outside the Samburu National Reserve
The camp is in the heart of the park. Facilities are drop toilets and cold showers.
Wildlife safari in Samburu National Reserve
|Included in tour|
Visit to Samburu tribal community and cultural project
|Included in tour|
The Samburu region has hardly been touched by tourism and its pristine wilderness is home to a fascinating mix of Kenya's nomadic tribes who still retain traditional ways of life. These tribes include the Samburu, Rendille, Turkana, and Kalenjin.
The Samburu National Reserve is famous for its reticulated giraffes, Grevy's zebras, graceful gerenuks, and Beisa oryx, whilst crocodiles are often seen in the river. If we are lucky, we may also see lions or leopards here. The Ewaso Nyiro River meanders through the reserve forming a ribbon of oases in the parched landscape.
We will visit the Samburu Cultural Centre outside Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but lesser known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.
We stay at a Samburu village just outside the Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but less known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.
Leaving the park early this morning, we travel through the fantastic scenery as we travel to the slopes of Mt Kenya. We will spend 2 nights here camping in the grounds of one of the many lodges that are dotted around the area.
Overnight in Naro Moru at the foothills of Mount Kenya
|Included in tour|
Horse riding, Naro Moru
Nayaroi caves (Mau Mau) & waterfalls, Naro Moru
Nature Trails, Naro Moru
Leaving the mountain early this morning, we travel through the fantastic scenery of the Great Rift Valley to our campsite near to Nakuru town (75 km, approx 1-2 hours).
The following day we head to Nakuru National Park for a game drive in Jeeps.
Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park
|Included in tour|
Kenyan colonial farm visit
Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1968 to protect the huge flocks of lesser and greater flamingos that live here. At times there are over one million of these spectacular birds roaming around the acrid waters of the soda lake that is the centrepiece of the park. Even if you are not a keen birdwatcher the sight is inspiring and it is not hard to understand why the lake has become such a favourite for African wildlife documentaries. Nakuru is also where much of the film "Out of Africa" was shot.
The park is located on the floor of the Rift Valley and is a mixture of bushland, forest and rocky escarpment. Each area is an important habitat for many different species of wildlife. Besides the prolific birdlife, the park is also well established as one of East Africa's premier parks for big game. Beside the lake, hippo, waterbuck, warthogs, Bohor's reedbuck and zebra can regularly be found. Further up in the forests there's a large population of black and white colobus monkeys; and the ultimate forest predator, the leopard. The bushland on the valley floor is home to a large variety of antelope and gazelle including eland, impala, Chandler's reedbuck and the tiny dikdik; and the inevitable pride of lions.You can also see Rothschild giraffe here, but Nakuru's biggest draw is probably it's rhinos. In the late 1980s the Kenyan Wildlife Services used the park as a rhino sanctuary, and it now has a stable black and white rhino population.
We drive on to our camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha (100km, approx 1-2 hours), one of the most beautiful of the Great Rift Valley bodies of water, to relax by the lakeside.
Our campground has showers and flush toilets.
Visit to the Elsamere Born Free foundation & High tea at Lake Naivasha
|Included in tour|
Walking safaris with big game in Naivasha
Hippo spotting boat trip, Lake Naivasha
One of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha has floating islands of papyrus reeds and a border of flat-topped acacias. It's also home to a healthy population of hippos a tremendous variety of birds and the Elsamere Conservation Centre, once the home of the Adamsons of 'Born Free' fame.
Border Information: If finishing in Nairobi, exit Kenya at Nairobi Airport.
Today we cut back across the Great Rift Valley, passing through the lands of magnificently dressed Masai tribes people, who are often seen tending to their herds of cattle. Our return trip to Nairobi takes roughly 3-4 hours (150 km).
We expect to arrive back in Nairobi around 4pm in the afternoon. On arrival in Nairobi you will be dropped at our finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi. Please ask at time of booking.
NNP Animal orphanage & Safari walk, Nairobi
Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi
Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi
Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi
National Museum, Nairobi
Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes it's name from the Maasai meaning 'Place of Cool Waters'. Today it is a busy, bustling place that comes alive through it's many markets, shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention it's vibrant nightlife. If you have time to explore the city, the National Museum of Kenya and Karen Blixen Museum are both worth a visit, or you can get up close to the Giraffe's and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre.
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.
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.
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.
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
Tel: +251 11 126 2088
Kenyan visas are required by most nationalities.
Single-entry visas are available at the point of entry to most nationalities and cost USD50. In some cases you may be able get a transit visa upon arrival for USD20. Some nationalities require visas to be purchased in advance - you MUST check before departure.
Multiple-entry visas are required for people travelling to Rwanda to visit the Gorillas. We recommend that you obtain this in advance as you cannot obtain a multiple-entry visa at the border. However if you are unable to obtain a multiple-entry visa before travel, you will have to purchase single-entry visas at the border upon each entry into Kenya.
For more information, including application forms and visa fee rates, is available at http://www.kenyahighcommission.net. Kenya there is an airport departure tax of USD20. Payment is also accepted in Kenyan Shillings. This tax is normally included in the price of airline tickets but if you are unsure, you should check with the airline or travel company.
IMPORTANT: Please take note ALL flights passengers travelling to Nairobi require a yellow fever certificate, if you do not have one you risk being denied boarding at the gate.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 leaders
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.
All Dragoman travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on 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 group 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 a trip without 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
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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
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.
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.
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 printin. 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.
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.