|Route:||Dar Es Salaam to Nairobi|
|Transport:||Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Private bus, Ferry|
Of course it's the wildlife that draws most people to
Next to the Serengeti is the phenomenal Ngorongoro Crater, a 19km-wide fertile volcanic caldera that is packed full of some of the most incredible wildlife in the world. You have a very good chance to spot leopards, lions, rhinos, hippos, buffalo, giraffes, cheetahs, elephants, and much more in this natural wonderland.
Tanzania is also home to the fabled tropical
Border Information: if you are joining the trip in Dar es Salaam, you will most likely enter Tanzania at Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (IATA code: DAR).
There will be an important group meeting today at 6:00pm. If you arrive before that, then you will have a free day to relax at the beach, explore the city centre, or enjoy some activities from the campsite (our truck and leader may not arrive until the afternoon, so please ask the reception about storing your equipment if you wish to go out for the day). Your tour leader will meet you at the campsite reception at 6:00pm for this important meeting.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Dar es Salaam before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Dar es Salaam.
In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.
Please note that the first 4 days of this trip overlap with our "YDF - Victoria Falls to Dar es Salaam" trip, so some of the group that come to Zanzibar will leave when the trip returns to Dar es Salaam. This is because Zanzibar is part of both trips, so it means customers going all the way through do not go to Zanzibar twice!
Dar es Salaam
Tel - +255 22 282 0877
Dar es Salaam (meaning 'Haven of Peace' in Arabic) is Tanzania's largest city and was the country's capital until 1974 when the capital was moved to the central town of Dodoma. The city is the most populous in East Africa and one of the fastest growing cities in the world - it is Tanzania's financial centre and the most prominent city in the country's arts, fashion, media, music, film and television.
Dar es Salaam acts as the gateway to the beautiful island of Zanzibar, and the port area is fascinating to visit with its ocean-going "dhows" and inshore "ngalawas" (outrigger fishing canoes). Many of the buildings display Arabian influences, and the melting pot of African, Muslim and South Asian influences give Dar a vibrant atmosphere, making it well worth exploring if you have the time.
On our trips we stay on the beaches of the southern district of Kigamboni - this is a beautiful and serene part of Dar es Salaam, and you'll be forgiven for not realising you're so close to such a big metropolis!
This morning we will head to the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar! We will travel on the local commuter barge from Kigamboni to the city centre of Dar es Salaam, and then take a ferry from Dar es Salaam centre to Zanzibar. The ferry will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
When we reach Zanzibar we will meet our local guide, who will help us check in to our hotel in Stone Town and then give a quick orientation of the town before we branch off and head to lunch! We will have a free afternoon to explore the atmospheric streets of the historic centre of Stone Town, with the option of meeting for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.
In Stone Town we will stay in a good local hotel.
Take the public ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar
|Included in Kitty|
|Explore the beautiful and historic streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town||Included in Kitty|
The exotic spice island of Zanzibar is filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, and its rich history involves everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast makes it easy to imagine what the island was like back in the days of David Livingstone.
Stone Town is the old port town of Zanzibar and is one of the most atmospheric old towns in Africa - the best way to experience the city is on foot, exploring the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and intricate alleyways. When the sun is setting, you can enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront, before trying one of the island's local seafood curries for dinner at one of the town's many restaurants.
The famous spices are grown in plantations outside of Stone Town which we will visit on our trips. This tour will also includes a local meal and a tour around the main sites of Stone Town to learn about the history of its former slave market. In the spice plantations you will have the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, and teas made with these spices. At the end of the day there will also be an opportunity to buy some of the locally-grown spices.
The other major highlight of Zanzibar is of course its world-famous beaches. The northern beaches boast beautiful white sand and sparkling blue seas - displaying the Indian Ocean at its very best. Try snorkeling or diving, eat sumptuous seafood, or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book - Zanzibar is a paradise in every sense of the word!
On our second day on Zanzibar we will join our local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. We will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with our guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best - bright white sand, sparkling blue sea outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere.
On our third day on Zanzibar, we will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozani Forest.
In Nungwi we will spend both nights in a good hotel right on the shore of the ocean.
Snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar
Take a beautiful sunset dhow trip off the coast of Zanzibar
|Explore the beautiful 'Prison' Island near Zanzibar||USD 30|
Take a guided tour of Zanzibar's historical sites, markets, and the spice plantations
|Included in Kitty|
Scuba diving in the incredible waters of the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar (per dive)
Walk through the Jozani Forest in search of the very rare Red Colobus monkeys
Today we will return to Stone Town and take the return ferry to Dar es Salaam, where we return to our campsite on the south side of the bay. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax at the campsite.
Ferry back from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam
|Included in Kitty|
|Sunset kayak trip to explore the mangroves near Dar es Salaam||USD 15|
Today we join our overland truck and set off early to beat the morning trafiic in Dar es Salaam. We have a full day's drive to Marangu, where we have a nightstop camping in the grounds of a beautiful colonial hotel at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. We should have good views of the mountain on the drive in (if it is not covered in cloud!).
In Marangu we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
The small village of Marangu is located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, and is the starting point for the most popular route to climb to the mountain's summit. Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain at 5,895m tall, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world - it is absolutely stunning to see from its base and is a magnificent backdrop to the surrounding grasslands on a clear day!
After breakfast we head west to the town of Arusha, where we will stop for food shopping in preparation for our excursion to the Serengeti National Park. On the drive to Arusha we will go past the whole length of Mount Kilimanjaro where we'll hope for clear skies and fantastic views from the road.
We will then head to our campsite on the outskirts of Arusha. On arrival we should have time to go on an optional walk to a nearby Maasai village, or visit a reptile house and snake-bite clinic that are run by the campsite. We will also prepare and re-pack for the Serengeti excursion starting the following day.
In Arusha we will stay in a well equipped campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
On our trips we make a short stop in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. Arusha is the largest city in northern Tanzania, and used to be the capital of the East African community. The town sits in lush countryside near the foot of Mount Meru and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year, and surrounding it are many coffee, wheat and maize estates tended by the Arusha and Meru people.
Arusha is the centre of Tanzania's safari business and is the gateway for safaris to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater National Parks.
Today we will be met at the campsite by our fleet of 6-person 4x4 jeeps - we will load the jeeps with our camping and personal gear, and then head out for our 3-day excursion to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, leaving our truck behind.
Today will be a full drive along the rim of the Ngoronogoro Crater (stopping to take in the awe-inspiring views!) and then down into the plains of the Serengeti. We will take an evening game drive around the savannah before heading to our campsite - the area is one of the world's premier spot for wildlife viewing and we hope to able to find elephants, lions, leopards, giraffe and other big game during our time here!
Tonight we will stay at a campsite within the Serengeti National Park. The camp where we stay is very basic (with showers and flush toilets, but no other facilities) but is located right in the middle of the plains, surrounded by animals and their nocturnal noises! Your leader will outline the basic safety rules to be followed when camping in an unfenced location where wild animals are present.
Head on an unforgettable 3-day/2-night safari in 4x4s into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater National Reserves - two of the world's most incredible areas for wildlife spotting
|Included in Kitty|
The wide open plains of the Serengeti, green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses, the plains get its name from the Maasai word siringitu, "the place where the land moves on forever".
Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your amazing sightings from during the day. The Serengeti plains usually live up to every-one's expectations - the classic East African scenery of rolling grasslands dotted with acacia trees and teeming with lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, gazelles, impalas, cheetahs, warthogs, hyenas, vultures, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, and much more!
For those who really want to spoil themselves with the ultimate game viewing experience, an optional balloon ride over the Serengeti at sunrise will leave you with some unforgettable memories. Please note that this must be pre-booked in advance through the Dragoman Sales team.
Today we will get up very early and we set off in our jeeps for an early morning game drive in the heart of the Serengeti plains. The early morning is the best time of day for wildlife viewing, as many of the animals are at their most active while it is still cool.
There is an option this morning for to take a hot air balloon flight over the Serengeti instead of the game drive - demand is high for this activity, so this must be pre-booked at the time that you book your trip with Dragoman.
We will return to our campsite for brunch, and then aim to exit the Serengeti at around lunch time. We will head back through the conservation area to our second campsite, on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where we will arrive in the early evening.
Again, the campsite tonight is very basic and unfenced. It can often be quite cold on the crater rim so it is recommended that you take some warm clothes for this night.
Take a stunning sunrise flight over the vast savannahs of the Serengeti in a hot air balloon (alternative to the scheduled morning game drive). This must be pre-booked through your sales consultant.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a huge caldera - a volcano which collapsed in an immense explosion. It measures 19kms in diameter and 265km² in area. The stunning crater is one of the most spectacular sights in Africa, and is absolutely packed with wildlife.
On our trips we make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring the area at the base of the crater. There is an excellent chance of spotting many of the 'Big Five' (lions, buffaloes, rhinos, elephants and leopards), not to mention many other species.
This morning we will have another early start to descend into the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater for a morning game drive. Again, the Ngorongoro Crater is an outstanding area for wildlife spotting, often described as a 'natural wildlife enclosure'. This is the best chance on the excursion to spot black rhinos as well as a myriad of other big game.
We will spend as long as our entry tickets allow in the Ngorongoro Crater before departing, which will usually give us about 3-4 hours of game driving. We will then be dropped off at our next campsite in the small town of Mto Wa Mbu, where we are re-united with our truck. Here we will go on a fantastic community walk around the town where we will see local craft workshops, learn a little about the life here, and enjoy a lunch of delicious specialities from the area. We will then head back to our camp for a relaxing evening at the campsite!
In Mto Wa Mbu we stay at a well equipped campsite in the grounds of a good hotel.
Learn all about the locals' way of life on a village walk with the Mto Wa Mbu village community project
|Included in Kitty|
Mto Wa Mbu is the half-way point between Arusha and the Ngorongoro Crater. It is well known in Tanzania as being a village with great ethnic and cultural diveristy, and is the homeland of many different tribal groupings. There are some excellent handicrafts produced here, such as woodcarving and batik paintings done in the the local 'Tinga-tinga' style. The village is also well known for a unique red banana that grows in the area, that the locals brew into a special 'banana beer' - quite an acquired taste!
Border Information: Exit Tanzania at Namanga, enter Kenya at Namanga.
Today we will set off again in our overland truck and head over the Kenyan border and on to the capital of Nairobi. Here we will prepare and re-pack for our Maasai Mara excursion the following day.
In Nairobi we will stay in a well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen on the outskirts of the city.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes its name from the Maasai meaning 'Place of Cool Waters'. Today it is a busy, bustling place that comes alive through it's many markets, shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention its vibrant nightlife. If you have time to explore the city, the National Museum of Kenya and Karen Blixen Museum are both worth a visit, or you can get up close to the giraffes and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre.
This morning we will be met at the campsite by our 6-person 4x4 jeeps that will take us on our 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We will load the jeeps with our personal gear (but we will not need our camping equipment) and then head off to Maasai Mara, leaving our truck behind.
On arrival we will have the chance for a short evening game drive in the Maasai Mara National Park before heading to our campsite. The Maasai Mara is an incredibly scenic area and is one of the world's greatest places for wildlife spotting which is absolutely teeming with giraffe, buffalo, zebra, elephants, lions, cheetah, leopards, and other big game!
On the next day, we will go out for the full day game driving in the National Park before returning to our campsite for a second night. There is also the opportunity for a sunset balloon flight over the savannah - demand for this activity is very high so you must reserve this at the time of booking your Dragoman trip to avoid disappointment.
On both nights we will stay in a basic campground on the outskirts of the National Park. The campsite has set-tents and bedding, but is self-catered (we will use our kitchen equipment brought from the truck).
Head out on a phenomenal 2-night/3-day safari in 4x4s into the Maasai Mara - one of the best areas in Africa for wildlife and scenery
|Included in Kitty|
|Take a hot air balloon flight to see the sunrise over the incredible scenery of the Maasai Mara (alternative to the scheduled game drive). This must be pre-booked through your sales consultant.||USD 550|
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a vast savanna in southern Kenya, and one of the greatest places in the world to spot East African wildlife in its natural habitat! The area has a phenomenal abundance of wildlife and huge populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, zebra, antelopes, gazelles, wildebeest, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, and many more. As well as being teeming with wildlife, the sheer beauty of the region is equally breathtaking - the rolling hills, scrub, savanna, and trees create a stunning backdrop and atmosphere.
Affectionately known as 'The Mara', a visit to the area including some game drives (and possibly an awe-inspiring sunrise balloon flight!) is one of the major highlights of Africa and an unforgettable travel experience.
Border Information - if you are leaving the trip here, you will most likely exit Kenya from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).
Today we will have a final game drive in the Maasai Mara in the early morning, before heading back to Nairobi and our campsite in Karen, arriving at about 4:00pm or 5:00pm.
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. If leaving today please do not book flights departing from Nairobi earlier than 8:00pm, to allow plenty of time to get back from the Maasai Mara.
The routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only.
These trip notes have been compiled to help you prepare for your journey once you have booked. They include the full itinerary and dates, and information about kit lists, meeting hotels, insurance, vaccinations, visas, and other information that will help you get ready for your trip.
We update these notes regularly, so please ensure you have an up-to-date version of these trip notes.
We intend to follow the planned route but exact night stops and inclusions cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. By their very nature, overland itineraries need to be flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are often unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, which often have poor infrastructure. You should expect that some of these areas do not adhere to 'Western' safety standards.
Travelling in Eastern and Southern Africa or Middle East can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions and basic campsites all provide a challenge. It can be very hot in places, but also can be surprisingly cold at night so please make sure you are prepared! There will be many early starts in Africa, especially on mornings where we head out on wildlife spotting trips.
You will need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts.
The step up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day. There are some long days driving on rough roads on all itineraries.
We will be travelling to areas in remote locations where medical assistance will not be available. If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition that would put you at risk, we would suggest that this is not the trip for you. Also, please be aware that should an emergency occur, there is likely to be a considerable delay in accessing medical care, and by joining our trip you accept this risk.
Many countries that we visit on our travels will require visas to enter. Some are best obtained before you leave home, and others can be obtained en-route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, we will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.
The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible. Please read the information very carefully to make sure everything is clear and you aware of what you need to do. Please also be aware that rules surrounding visas do change, often suddenly, and without prior warning. This is why it is important that you also double-check the information we provide for yourself.
For visas that are needed in advance, you may wish to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate. If you require any supporting documentation for your visa applications, Dragoman will obtain this on your behalf as part of your trip price - we will contact you to request additional information in order to make this application for you.
However, for trips that involve multiple visas, you may find it beneficial to use a specialist visa agency to assist you with your applications. While this does sometimes increase the cost, it usually makes the process much easier for you.
As you will often need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure.
Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry into the country.
For trips that are not yet guaranteed, you may find yourself in the position whereby you will need to start the visa application process prior to your trip being guaranteed - in this situation we still advise you not to purchase flights until your trip is guaranteed. However, you can start your visa application process, ensuring that when applying for your visas or letters of invitation that you allow several days before and after your entry into the country to allow for delays, availability of flights, etc.
Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all EU countries will need a visa to enter Kenya as a tourist for up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
Tourists of all nationalities can obtain a visa in advance at any High Commission. Another option is to apply for an e-visa, this will need to be applied for at least 7 days in advance of arrival into Kenya - please go to www.ecitizen.go.ke to set up an account and apply; it may take up to 7 days to be approved, then they will send a visa approval confirmation to your email address which you must print out to present at the border. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD51, EUR40 or GBP30 for all nationalities.
You are allowed to exit and then re-enter Kenya with just a single-entry visa, provided your travel in between visits to Kenya is only within Tanzania and Uganda. If you have been to any further countries during this time, then this single-entry visa will no longer be valid, and you will have to purchase a new visa or e-visa to re-enter Kenya.
There is also an East African Tourist Visa available – this covers Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. This must be organised in advance with the embassy of the first country that you'll enter (in all Dragoman trips this will be Kenya). At the time of writing (2017), the cost of this visa is GBP65. It will be vaild for 90 days from the date of issue. This is recommended if you are doing our ‘gorilla loop’ through Uganda and Rwanda. Please note that citizens of Ireland can travel to Uganda freely without a visa, so it may be more cost effective to apply for Kenyan and Rwandan visas separately rather than apply for the East Africa Tourist Visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether they are similarly exempt (there are only a small number of nationalities that are exempt).
A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and most EU countries will need a visa to enter Tanzania as a tourist for up to 90 days. Citizens of Romania will not need a visa to enter Tanzania.
The easiest way to get a visa is to obtain it on arrival. This is available for almost all nationalities at all land borders and airports into Tanzania. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD50 for most nationalities and USD100 for USA passport holders - this must be paid in USD cash.
Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required, and whether it will be necessary to obtain it in advance (this is only necessary for a small number of nationalities).
Travelling to and from Zanzibar is still within Tanzania, so does not affect the validity of your Tanzanian visa. However, you will still need to stamp your passport in and out of Zanzibar.
You are allowed to exit and then re-enter Tanzania with just a single-entry visa, provided your travel in between visits to Tanzania is only within Kenya and Uganda. If you have been to any further countries during this time, then this single-entry visa will no longer be valid, and you will have to purchase a new visa to re-enter Tanzania.
A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk). You will almost certainly be asked to show your yellow fever vaccination certificate when arriving to Zanzibar as well.
Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on our trips in all of Africa, we recommend you allow between USD10 and USD20 per day.
This will cover individual expenses such as drinks, meals whilst out (when staying in cities), souvenirs, tips and personal permits.
It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!
For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, a sensible mix of cash and cash passports such as TravelEx cards and ATM cards is best. However, most of our past passengers have said they wished they had been told to bring more cash. Apart from the convenience of being able to change money in many more places, you will sometimes get a much better exchange rate for cash.
You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are no more than 8 years old. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Please bring the majority of the money you intend to change in large denominations (USD/EUR100 and 50 bills) as the exchange rate is often significantly worse if you try to change smaller bills; however, it is also a good idea to have some smaller bills as well, as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over USD50.
Cash machines are readily available in most of East and Southern Africa but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Please note that most ATMs only take Visa cards NOT Mastercard. Please also do not not plan to take out large amounts of USD from the ATMs in Zimbabwe for use on the rest of the trip - the cash in Zimbabwe is often old, dirty and falling apart and will not be accepted anywhere else in the world.
Please note that due to a shortage of money in banks and ATMs in Zimbabwe, many ATMs are running dry of cash and some local banks are putting restrictions on international cards being used. It is also illegal to exit Zimbabwe with more than USD1000 per person, so please make sure that you do not bring a greater amount than this out of Zimbabwe.
Credit cards such as Visa and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges. Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities.
Zambian Kwacha - please note that the currency of Zambia (the Kwacha, old code ZMK, new code ZMW) was re-based in 2013, and the old notes are no longer accepted. Please be careful that you only accept notes of the new currency (2013 and later) when exchanging money as some money changers have been known to offload old currency onto travellers. The new currency comes in denominations of ZMW2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 - any notes such as ZMK5000 are the old currency, do not accept them!
Dragoman was founded in 1981, and has had many years of experience of leading overland trips across 4 continents. Overlanding is all about sharing a great travelling experience with like-minded people. On your trip you’ll travel in one of Dragoman’s purpose-built iconic expedition vehicles on an off the beaten track adventure along rugged roads, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the world up-close. Your journey will be overland, sometimes across vast distances, so some long days spent driving are inevitable - but these will be interspersed with breaks of a day or two at a destination or activity. On an overland journey, you are more than just a passenger and everyone gets involved setting up camp - we supply the tent but it’s up to you to pitch it! As part of your trip, you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting firewood or water, luggage loading, organising food, stores, etc.
Like all great adventures, the more you put in the more you'll get out!
We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of our overland journeys, but before we do there are a few things we would like to draw to your attention.
Our groups are made up of people from around the world, and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split between males to females, and between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends. We believe that overlanding should be open to as many people as possible, and so although we have a minimum age limit of 18 (or 7 on our Family Trips), as long as you are fit, healthy and passionate about travel, we are happy to take you, whatever your age is. One of the wonderful aspects of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way, and the variety of people that you will meet.
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 Cuzco and during the Inca Treks. This means a group starting a trip in Cuzco will embark on the Inca Trail at the same time as a group finishing in or travelling through Cuzco. In practical terms this means there could be more than 22 group members in Cuzco and on the Inca Trail at the same time.
Please note that there is also 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 a group starting their trip there. In practical terms this means there could be more than 22 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.
Please also note that on some departures there may be more than one truck doing the same route. This means that you will be in the same hotel or campsite as another Dragoman group on some days. To ensure that you are not always at the same place at the same time as another group, your itinerary will most likely be slightly altered from the itinerary advertised in these trip notes.
Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 8 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to 6 months on the road as a trainee. Our crew are trained to manage and operate the trip safely and efficiently and their duties include: planning the trip according to the itinerary, driving and maintaining the truck, securing services of local guides, general logistics, health and safety, liaising with bureaucracy, dealing with issues where needed and offering advice and support to our customers. In addition they have a basic knowledge of the places visited and will be able to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your tour leader is new to a particular region or training other crew, new to the area.
On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. However on our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. 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 most other areas of Africa, the Americas, India and Turkey, in addition to our crew we will employ local guides in specific locations of interest (for just a few hours up to a few days).
On the majority of our trips in Ethiopia, Sudan, Central Asia, China and South East Asia, in addition to our crew we will have a local guide on board who will travel with us for the entire duration of our time within one country. In these cases, the local guide becomes a third crew member and is able to offer their local knowledge as well as an insight into their country and the lives of the local people.
Your crew have a duty of care to all members of the group and therefore they have the authority to ask you to leave the trip if you require serious medical assistance, you are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.
Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels or hostels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation when staying in hostels, gers or yurts.
The type, variety and standard of accommodation will vary greatly depending on what options are available at the time; hotels can vary from very basic rooms without electricity or running water to high standard hotels with good facilities! Generally in hotels most rooms will be single sex, twin-share, but in South America many rooms are triple/quad-share. Hostels, gers and yurts are nearly always multi-share and may be mixed sex.
The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we wild camp away from the tourist crowds. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays allowing us to get close to the indigenous population and ensuring that our money stays within the local community.
In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip (please note that there is no kitty on our Family Trips). The kitty is payable in installments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew and the kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip.
The kitty covers all things that the whole group does, such as:
• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees
• Meals whilst camping (not whilst staying in hotels)
• Activities listed as included (e.g. National Park or historical site entrances, excursions, etc.).
The kitty system is unique to overlanding and allows us to have flexibility and transparency on our trips. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally. It also helps to keep the costs competitive and save on administration costs so that we can pass the saving on to you. Dragoman makes NO PROFIT on kitties, as they are the group's fund. We constantly update the kitty prices on our website and the kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Prices can go up or down with no notice, and exchange rate fluctuations will affect costs. If there is money left in the kitty at the end of your trip, then this is divided between the group and you receive a refund.
Once you book your trip it is very important that you check our website on a regular basis and just before departure for any changes to the kitty amount.
The kitty is payable in full at the start of your trip (in installments at the start of each individual trip on combination trips). Alternatively you can pay in advance via a bank transfer 3-4 weeks before the start of your trip - please see http://www.dragoman.com/files/Kitty_doc_v6.pdf for more details - this letter will also be sent in your booking confirmation upon booking a trip. Please also note that this option is not available for our trips to West Africa or Iran.
If you are bringing the kitty out in cash, please try to pay in US Dollars. Your tour leader will be able to accept some of the kitty in local currency if needed, and they will let you know the exchange rate locally - in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines, using either a cash passport or a credit/debit card. Please bear in mind that most cards have a maximum withdrawal amount per day, local ATMs may run out of cash, and your bank could block the card despite you warning them of your travel plans, so it could be impractical to try to get the entire kitty out from an ATM.
We cannot accept traveller's cheques on our trips.
On an overland journey you are more than just an individual passenger - you're part of the team. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. While camping on overland journeys, the 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 group's 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 using 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 them to prepare meals).
An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and tell your crew at your welcome meeting. Our crew will try to cater for any particular dietary requirement or food intolerance whenever possible. However, it must be remembered that it may not always be possible and the variety of dishes may be severely limited in comparison to those available to others. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet, that you would miss from home, or because of an allergy would miss out on, it would be best to bring this with you. Depending on your particular requirements, you may need to allow yourself some extra spending money to allow you to purchase extra food items.
Our itineraries are developed and published with the best of intentions, however travel in more remote areas of the world is unpredictable – borders can close, there can be extreme adverse weather, strikes or maybe mechanical issues that affect the running of your trip, but equally due to the nature of our trips we can often spontaneously include a local festival or event into the itinerary. This being said, the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a priority for Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources:
• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice
• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers
• Leaders reports from off the road
• Local contacts we have built up over many years of experience.
Dragoman follows the British Foreign Office Travel advice when deciding where and where we are unable to travel. We will base our decisions on itineraries and alterations to published routes based on their advice rather than the advice of other governments.
However, we recommend you check the latest travel advisories from your own government for the country you are travelling to before you book and prior to departure. If there are any travel warnings present for the region you will travel to, as well as considering whether you are happy to travel despite the warning you must also check to ensure that it is not invalidating your travel insurance. Here are a few useful addresses:
Australia - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
New Zealand - http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
United States - https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html
We also recommend that you check out the UK Travel Aware website before you travel at https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/. This website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up-to-date country information to help you plan a safe trip.
We will advise you of any significant changes in advice before travel or whilst you are overseas.
You need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in our trips. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assessed your ability to cope with our style of travel. To help you assess if this trip is suitable, please refer to the physical rating. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases you should be prepared for some long driving days and possibly limited facilities. We are always happy to give extra advice if you have additional concerns. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader, you are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to yourself and/or the rest of the group, Dragoman reserves the right to exclude you from all or part of the trip without a refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information prior to travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. We also advise you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your travel insurers upon purchase.
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude; please discuss these options with your doctor. For trips that travel to areas of high altitude, the tour leader will issue you with a self-assessment altitude questionnaire which allows you to monitor how you are coping with the altitude and informs you of danger signals so that you can reports these as soon as possible, either to the tour leader or a medical professional.
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases
Some areas that we travel to have a risk of contracting malaria. If you will travel through these areas, it's always best to get expert advice before travelling about the types of malaria pills available, whether they are recommended, and take any that are prescribed as instructed. Consult your GP or travel clinic for the most up-to-date requirements.
Other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika are continuing to spread and are becoming a bigger problem around the world. Mosquito bite prevention is vital to avoid contracting any of these diseases, as there are no vaccines or specific treatments available. Health professionals have issued warnings for pregnant women travelling to areas affected by the Zika virus - please see more information here.
The mosquito usually bites between the hours of dusk and dawn, so covering up by wearing long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, preferably light-coloured and buttoned at the wrists, can help. Do not sleep without closing your windows, tent door, etc. and use a mosquito net in hotels or if sleeping outside where there are mosquitos present. Use mosquito repellent applied directly to your skin or soaked into your clothing.
Treating clothes and mosquito nets with a Permetherin solution provides significant protection. It should be available at most travel stores. Mosquito coils are useful on still nights and in hotel rooms, but cannot be used inside the tents.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protections vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest specific health advice on the regions and countries you are planning to travel in, so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel. The following websites are also a helpful resource: www.nathnac.org and www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
In the UK, we have been working with Nomad Travel for many years and their website has comprehensive, up-to-date vaccination and health information. You will receive a 10% discount off all vaccinations given at Nomad Travel clinics.
At Dragoman your safety is of paramount importance and we will do our best to ensure that your travel with us is safe and trouble-free, but we do ask that you take that little bit of extra care whilst you are away and to understand about the nature of this style of travel.
Of course we want you to have an enjoyable time, but you must also remember that part of the enjoyment of travel is experiencing a different way of life and cultures. This may also mean experiencing different safety and hygiene standards than those you are normally used to.
Therefore, please take note of the following safety tips and follow any local safety advice or briefings delivered by our crew or any third-party suppliers we use during your trip.
• Our own vehicles have fully-fitted seat belts; make sure you always belt up.
• If you find a safety belt inoperable or missing on one of our vehicles, please inform the crew immediately.
• Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that other vehicles we may use or recommend in some countries will be fitted with seat belts on every seat as it is not a legal requirement in much of the world.
• Please remain seated on board vehicles at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells.
• Ensure you know where your nearest Emergency exit is; this may be a designated emergency exit, a window, a door, or a roof hatch.
• Check the location of the fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver.
• Our vehicles are fitted with roof seats which can be used in certain conditions, such as when driving at low speeds, off main tarmac roads, etc. The roof hatches can only be opened and the roof seats used with the express permission of the crew and you must never sit in the roof seats without seat belts.
• Traffic in some countries travels on the opposite side of the road to what you may be used to, so ensure you look both ways before crossing the road.
• In many countries vehicles do not automatically stop at crossings and driving styles may be very unpredictable, so please remain very vigilant when near roads and vehicles.
• Crash helmets are often not provided with mopeds and motorbikes overseas – we do not recommend you hire these vehicles.
• Ensure you know where your nearest fire exit is and check to ensure that it is operative.
• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.
• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.
• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.
• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.
• Proceed to an assembly point well away from the building.
• Electrics in hotels in many of the places that we visit will not be up to the same standards as at home. Please ensure that you check rooms, especially bathrooms and are aware of any issues that look unsafe. If in doubt inform the crew who will endeavour to sort the situation out if possible.
• Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, have dangerous gaps between the stairs and the wall, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care.
• We often stay in homestays and farmstays. These may range from a traditional yurt through to a tree house or a town house. As these are traditional homes, they may well not adhere to our western standards of safety and so it is important that you make yourself aware of potential risks.
• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with the hotels/hostels or homestays.
Fire Safety – Campsites
• Ensure you know where the nearest source of water or fire extinguisher is.
• Know how to raise the alarm.
• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.
• Observe any regulations regarding fires and bushfires in dry conditions.
• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.
• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.
• Proceed to an assembly point away from the tented accommodation/affected campsite.
Other Campsite Safety & Security
• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.
• Group the tents around our vehicle wherever possible.
• No open flames, smoking or flammable liquids in or near the tents.
• Ensure the cooking area is well away from the tents.
• Ensure all water for cooking and drinking is purified first.
• Ensure any soil toilets are a minimum of 50m away from the tents and the cooking area.
• All food waste should be burned or buried a minimum of 100m away from the site.
• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife in the area.
• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.
• Be aware of any local security issues that might be important.
• Do not set out tents close to perimeter fences which may be a security risk.
• Be aware of the security arrangements and local guards for campsite and if in doubt ask them where and where not to pitch tents.
• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with campsite.
• When wild camping, ensure that you do not wander away from the camp alone. If you do leave camp, ensure that you have notified the leader or other members of the group.
• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.
• Hot food should be hot, cold food should be cold.
• Avoid any uncooked food, except fruit and vegetables (notably those you can peel or shell yourself).
• In many countries you should only drink bottled water or purified water and ensure any seal is intact when purchasing bottles.
• On the Dragoman vehicles we have a tank of drinking water that is kept purified by the crew.
• Avoid ice in drinks as this can cause upset stomachs in hot climates.
• Make sure you wash your hands in antibacterial product when preparing and/or eating food.
• Many of the restaurants that you will eat in, either as a group or as individuals, will NOT have the same standards of food hygiene as we have in the western world. Unfortunately this is a reality of life in these regions. Therefore please think carefully about where you eat, what food you order and be aware of the risks.
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. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on-hand to offer advice. We have come up with a few pointers that we recommend you follow:
• Follow the crew’s specific safety advice in each destination.
• Always remain aware and vigilant, and stay away from situations where you do not feel comfortable.
• Avoid carrying too much money.
• Always avoid carrying your passport, driving licence, air tickets, and other valuable items around with you unless this is essential. Instead, keep valuables such as this locked away in the truck's safe, or the safety deposit box in the room or reception of the hotel/hostel.
• If you are carrying cash, cards or valuables, use a money belt or neck wallet which are more easily concealed and more difficult to pickpocket.
• Do not take any valuable jewellery, watches, etc. away with you in the first place.
• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.
• If possible avoid walking around on your own; it is always safer to explore with others.
• Always try to walk with confidence and purpose, which will help you avoid looking like a lost tourist!
• Take special care when walking to avoid spraining or twisting your ankle on potholes, cobbles and uneven ground.
You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included (e.g. hiking the Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas, visiting the Taj Mahal, etc.), whilst others are optional (e.g. white water rafting in Uganda, zip-lining in Costa Rica, etc.). Some of these activities require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip and its activities to their fullest.
Some activities may have higher risks than you are used to and you must judge whether or not you wish, or have the physical ability, to take part.
Optional activities mentioned by Dragoman are not included in the trip price or kitty, and do not form part of your contract with Dragoman. As such you accept that any assistance given by Dragoman crew members or local representatives in arranging optional activities does not render us liable for them in any way. The Dragoman crew are assisting you in arranging these activities for your added enjoyment whilst on your trip. The operators of these services and optional extras are local suppliers who contract directly with the client ‘on the road’, subject to and in accordance with their own terms and conditions. Dragoman accepts no liability for any action or activity undertaken by the client which is arranged independently of Dragoman while on tour. Crew may take part in an optional activity but do so as private individuals and not as company representatives.
Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.
Ensure that you use the appropriate equipment on optional activities, including life jackets, helmets, etc. This is especially important on activities such as horse riding, white-water rafting, etc.
Always ensure that your travel medical insurance covers you for all included and optional activities that you wish to participate in.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not necessarily be refunded; this is something you will need to check with your leader.
A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This list is designed to be a helpful guide as to what is commonly available in each location, and is neither an exhaustive list, a guarantee that the activity is available, or an endorsement or recommendation. Please note that certain activities may not be available on your particular visit if they are overbooked, underbooked, out of season, or for any other reason - the list of activities is made according to our latest information and in the best faith, but please be aware that things may change between our last visit and your arrival. Please also note that it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, and it is recommended to give yourself extra time in your joining or ending city if you would like to participate in some optional activities there.
Prices listed are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated - again, these prices are displayed according to our latest information and in the best faith, but prices do fluctuate due to exchange rates, season, numbers of participants, and simple increases from the operator - any prices listed are a guide only and certainly cannot be guaranteed.
Optional activities are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Dragoman nor included in the price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Dragoman. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or optional activity form for some optional activities.
It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.
We recommend that any policy has a minimum medical (including repatriation) cover of £5,000,000. We recommend that any policy also has a minimum level of cover for Personal Liability of £2,000,000 and for Cancellation and Curtailment of £5,000 (or the full cost of your trip). Cover for loss of baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice although please bear in mind that personal effects are more likely to go missing whilst travelling and you should ensure that your policy is adequate to cover the value of your personal effects e.g. cameras, tablets, phones, ipods, etc. Please note that Dragoman is not responsible for your personal effects and is not insured for their loss. Please note that you should be insured for trip postponment or cancellation purposes immediately upon paying a deposit.
Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel and make sure it covers any activity that you intend to undertake (whether included or optional). As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding, etc., and that the 24-hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries - for example, that they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes. On activities or side trips that are not recommended by us, please ensure you are happy with the safety of the activity before participating.
Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas. Many credit card medical insurance policies are not valid for travelling outside your country of residence or outside the EU.
Dragoman has comprehensive passenger vehicle liability protection and tour operator insurance. These policies have total indemnities of £5,000,000 and £10,000,000 per incident respectively. This is in addition to local vehicle insurance and your personal travel insurance.
We have an out of office hours number you can call which should only be used once you have left your home country to start the trip 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 you can not get through please leave a message with you name, reference number, contact details and a message with the help that you need and we will get back to you.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.
Although you will not have to carry your main bag for 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 truck's back locker which will be inaccessible during a drive day, so you will also need a small daypack. This can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use. Please be aware that due to the constant dust and vibrations your luggage bag will be subject to extreme wear and tear.
The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. We recommend that your bag be no larger than a large rucksack with a capacity of about 80 litres (approximately 70cm high, 40cm wide, and 40cm deep). The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a maximum of 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
Your clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in, which will vary depending on which part of the world you're heading to. On overland trips, Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats, so you'll need to bring those with you*.
Think about the climate and altitude of the areas you'll be travelling to - there's nothing worse than being cold at night so it's worth investing in a decent sleeping bag if it's likely to get cold. And remember that even when it's warm during the day, it can often get cold at night, particularly in desert regions.
For a general idea of what you need, this list provides a guide:
• Sleeping bag* - check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert, mountain and high-altitude regions and Patagonia can be very cold, especially in winter months.
• Sleeping bag liner* (or sheet folded and sewn up on 2 sides) - this will help keep your sleeping bag clean, provide extra insulation on cold nights, and can be used on its own on warm nights.
• Ground mat or compressed foam*.
• A day pack is useful for short hikes in the countryside, wandering around cities, etc., and also for keeping inside the vehicle for items used during the day.
• 2 sets of comfortable travelling clothes (light, easily washable cotton clothes are best).
• 1 set of casual but smart clothes for evenings out. Men should bring a pair of trousers that covers al their legs and women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting places of worship.
• 2 pairs of shorts.
• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking.
• 1 pair of sunglasses.
• Warm sweater/fleeces.
• 1 waterproof jacket with hood.
• 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes/boots (or ankle height canvas jungle boots).
• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops.
• Underwear and socks - thermals are also a good idea if you are travelling to altitude, Patagonia or to the desert, as it can get very cold at night.
• 2 small towels.
• Washing kit, including a small mirror.
• Clothes washing detergent, small scrubbing brush and washing line (just a length of cord).
• Head torch/flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs - only the 3 standard sizes of round 1.5V batteries are widely available en route.
• Passport photos - at least 4, and more if you are applying for visas en route.
• Good water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity.
• A pouch or money belt to be worn inside your clothing, or an unobtrusive pocket sewn into the inside of a pair of loose fitting trousers.
• Alarm clock.
• Pocket calculator - useful when exchanging money.
• Writing materials and notebook/diary.
• Multi purpose knife.
• Mosquito net - the tents supplied by us have mosquito netting and you will only need a net if you think you will sleep out under the stars a lot of the time.
• "Wet Wipes" (moistened tissues) and hand gel.
• Toilet paper - this can be purchased almost everywhere en-route, but one roll may be worth packing.
• Assorted sized plastic bags - protects clothing and equipment from dust and damp.
• Extra batteries for your camera, etc., as there may are only limited opportunities to recharge them en route.
For a comprehensive kit list, take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel has created. Dragoman customers can receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click here to see the kit list - http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/c/381/Overland
*For trips with camping nights.
All of our trucks have a standard motorist's first aid kit on board for use in emergency situations only. The first aid kit is in compliance with UK standards for first aid provision within motor vehicles, and contain supplies to treat road side injuries. We do not carry prescription medications, therefore in addition to this we recommend that you purchase your own personal medical kit.
In the UK we have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores and Clinics to produce travel medical kits. They have been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contain everything you would need for any minor incidents and health issues. For more details please visit their website:
Overlander kit (including painkillers) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2910/Overlander-Medical-Kit-(P)
Independent kit (including painkillers and antibiotics) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2909/Independent-Medical-Kit-(POM)
Check that your passport will still be valid for 6 months after the end of your 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 your trip. If you change your passport, please remember to inform us as soon as possible - however, please be aware that changing your passport can cause big problems if you need to apply for visas or permits (such as the Inca Trail or Gorilla Trekking) in advance.
At Dragoman we believe you should make the most of the places you visit, so if you would like to see more of the joining or finishing point cities, why not book additional accommodation to extend your stay? Dragoman can take away the hassle of time zones and language barriers by making the booking for you. This accommodation is only available at the joining or finishing city of your trip, immediately before or after the trip you are travelling on.
While Dragoman is happy to assist with booking your pre and post trip accommodation, it is important that you understand that you may be able to book your own room at a cheaper rate directly through the hotel or on the internet. Our additional accommodation prices are based on the hotel’s rate plus an administration fee. Please note our rates do not reflect last minute walk-in rates or internet specials.
We can also book arrival airport transfers for you as long as we have your flight arrival details. These are normally payable in cash upon arrival; however we do have pre-paid transfers in a few destinations.
Please contact our reservations team for details of the accommodation and transfers that we can offer, as not all hotels offer this service.
Having an amazing trip and met a great group of people? Having too much fun to go home yet? If you're on one of our trips and decide that you would like to continue with us, then why not speak to your trip leader who can advise you of the cost and availability of continuing your journey.
Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond Dragoman's control (e.g. a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although Dragoman will help organise travel arrangements, in circumstances outside Dragoman's control you will be required to contribute the additional costs involved and therefore we ask you to bring along a 'Contingency Fund' of USD400. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore never used. We also recommend that you take along an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.
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 from the link below:
The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in the bottle, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilised water stored in the purpose-built storage tank on your overland vehicle. You are free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like. You are helping the environment and your pocket!
Your vehicle will be usually equipped with a 12-Volt socket, so to charge your iPod, MP3 player, camera, laptop and mobile phone you will need a DC 12V 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 adapter for your specific charger.
For mobile phones, please note that most countries in the Americas operate at 850 MHz 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.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs is not only against the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Dragoman groups.
It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the local people who make our destinations so special. The exploitation of prostitutes or children is completely contrary to this philosophy.
Equally Dragoman will not tolerate any violence or threat of violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession, if they use prostitutes, abuse children, use violence or threaten violence, without a refund of the trip price.
We expect you to obey all the laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs (as above), firearms, antiquities and ivory. Any customer found contravening such laws or customs will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.
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
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.
Tipping is entirely voluntary. The Dragoman crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it.
On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own Dragoman crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD 1 to USD 4 per person per day, but check with your crew for an appropriate amount.
At any time before or after you book, you can join our community - Dragoland. This is a great place to ask questions before you travel and to catch up with your fellow travellers once your trip has finished. You can share photos, videos and stories and you can also download a selection of free travel apps. See the home page to sign in - it's free and easy. We also have a Facebook page where travellers regularly swap info with each other, as well as other presence on other social media platforms.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us to understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better, and it allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Please note that there is an overlap in Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi or Victoria Falls will visit Zanzibar at the same time as groups starting their trips in Zanzibar. This is so that any customers travelling all the way are not scheduled to go to Zanzibar twice - this means that in theory there could be up to 44 group members in Zanzibar at the same time, although in reality it is highly unlikely to be this many.