Douala to Dakar Trip Notes

Visit Africa and travel overland from Doula to Dakar, safari in Cameroon jungles, relax on Senegal's beaches and tour Nigerian cities.

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    • Overland, Wildlife
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Last Modified: 27 Jul 2012
Douala to Dakar
Trip code: FDOAC
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 30 Jun 2012
Visit exhilarating West Africa and travel overland from Douala to Dakar, sampling all the sights and sounds of this diverse corner of the globe. Cruise the Niger River on a traditional pinasse boat, explore Cameroon’s mountains and jungles, trek through Mali’s remote countryside and mingle with locals in Dakar, one of the busiest cities in Senegal. Make the most of the pristine wilderness by exploring lush, tropical forests on game drives in national parks and by lazing on gorgeous beaches. Spanning 69 days and visiting eight inviting countries, Douala to Dakar is the definitive tour for those seeking to discover some of Africa’s hidden gems.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxFinish point description
ThemesImportant notesEmergency contact
MapGroup sizeEmergency funds
ItineraryYour fellow travellersVisas
Itinerary disclaimerSingle travellersIssues on your trip
Culture shock rating AccommodationWhat to take
Physical ratingMeals introductionHealth
Physical preparationMealsSafety
Included activitiesTransportTravel insurance
KittyGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Map
Douala to Dakar
Itinerary
Day 1 Douala
Bonjour! Welcome to Cameroon.
The trip begins with a group meeting at 10am.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your kitty, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and the capital of Littoral Province. The town lies on the banks of the Wouri River and has a bustling, tropical ambiance. Leafy, colonial decay rubs shoulders with the modern, marble facades of banks, five-star hotels and business houses. It's a lively and cosmopolitan city with a brilliant nightlife, so despite the hot and sticky climate, it makes for an interesting stop.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Kribi Beach
This afternoon we head to the beach side town of Kribi (200 km, approx 2-3 hours).
Similar to Limbe, Kribi is Cameroon's other main beach resort - but unlike the black volcanic sands of Limbe, Kribi has a beautiful white sand beach surrounded by palm trees. The area is rapidly developing and has recently become something of a playground for wealthy Cameroonians and foreign tourists, with a number of hotels and resorts springing up along the coast. Nevertheless it's a pleasant town and a good place to relax.
Optional Activities
  • Pygmy Excursion (overnight) - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Limbe
A 275 km drive to the black sand beaches of Limbe where we camp at a beach hotel. There is an optional visit to Limbe Wildlife Centre to see the drill monkeys and gorillas.
Limbe is a small, scenic seaside town in Cameroon with it's black sand beaches sandwiched between the nearby mountains and the Atlantic ocean. It's a good place to kick-back and relax on the beach and sample the local seafood.
Optional Activities
  • Limbe Wildlife Centre - USD3
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Cameroon Rainforest
We spend these days travelling through Cameroon with long travel days of up to 9 hours a day. There's always something interesting to look at out the window and there may even be the chance to push the truck should the roads be in really bad shape! These nights we bush camp.
Cameroon is not found in many tour brochures but, with beautiful rainforests, beaches, wildlife, stunning scenery ranging from tropical to virtual deserts and some of Africa's most scenic mountains, it is definitely a place to visit if you intend going to West Africa. The south is deeply Christian and the north Islamic. The people vary from forest pygmies in the south through to the Fulani, semi-nomadic cattle herders of the Sahel and semi-deserts in the north.
Cameroon also has some of the most amazing tropical rainforest in Africa and this gives a perfect insight into how quickly the rainforests of the world are being destroyed. Deforestation is happening faster here than in the Amazon Jungle.
The roads during this section can be very difficult and our progress will be slow; mud holes, obstacles and poorly maintained dirt roads make this part of the trip through remote forest the most adventurous part of the journey.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Days 8-10 Drill Ranch Monkey Sanctuary
Depending on the road conditions over the last couple of days, today we should cross the border and enter into Nigeria. We will head to the Afi Mountains where we will stay for a few nights and visit the Drill Monkey Sanctuary where there is the chance to see pandrillus and possibly gorillas.
Situated in the Afi Mountains on the Cameroon border is one of Nigeria's most interesting wildlife projects. The Drill Ranch is the world's most successful facility for the highly endangered drill monkeys. They have recovered over 62 orphan drills from the bush meat trade over the last 14 years and over 80 drills have been born to these successfully rehabilitated animals. Bush meat (monkeys and primates) is a major problem in this area, as it is traditional protein to many of the local inhabitants. Additionally, the project is home to 22 chimpanzees that have also been rescued. We will spend our time here either walking in the forests or hopefully being able to help around the sanctuary.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 11 Bush Camp
Today is a full day 600 km drive towards Yankari. We will find somewhere safe to bush camp en route.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 12-13 Yankari National Park
We arrive at the remote Yankari Game Reserve where we camp at a lodge. We enjoy game drives and a visit to the hot springs.
Yankari is home to one of Nigeria's finest national parks. The Yankari Game Reserve is quite remote and rarely visited but those who make the journey here are more than rewarded by the incredible wildlife and beautiful landscape. The area is home to more than 50 different species of mammal, including buffaloes, waterbucks, bushbucks and baboons. There are also large herds of elephant, as well as giraffe, ostrich, lion, hippo and antelope here; so there is certainly a chance of seeing some big game. Amazing though the wildlife is, most people's favourite memory of a trip to Yankari is a visit to the Wikki Warm Springs. These crystal clear hot springs are a constant 31 degrees Celsius, which makes them the perfect place to relax after a day of safari - or you may prefer to spend the entire day immersed in the warm waters.
Included Activities
  • Game Drive and visit to hot springs
Optional Activities
  • Overnight forest trek - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 14 Jos
Today we continue our journey through Nigeria, heading 300 km towards Jos. If local circumstances permit there may be an optional guided visit of Jos Museum. We will find a secure spot to bush camp for the night on the road to Abuja.
Optional Activities
  • Entrance Guide Jos Museum Complex - USD1
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 15-17 Abuja
Today we have a 230 km drive to Abuja where we camp in the grounds of a hotel.
Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria and it has many places of interest. One of the most popular is Millennium Park. Fountains line the path way and there are many grassy areas to lie back and relax. The peaceful areas are great if you have been exploring all morning and the many attractions including the Zuma Rock and the Ladi Kwali are perfect if you want to carry on discovering Abuja.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 18 Bush Camp/Abeokuta
We will cover 640 km over the next 3 days, visiting Oshogbo en route, and the Osun Sacred Forest. We will bush camp for the first 2 nights, with our aim being to reach Abeokuta on the third day.
The town of Abeokuta lies upon the banks of the Ogun River and has some fascinating sites in caves and shrines across the town. Communities preserve the traditional customs, religious rites and sometimes the names of their original village. The main trade in Abeokuta is palm oil, timber, rubber, yams and Shea butter. Explore the markets and you can find some of these local products.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Days 19-20 Abomey
Crossing the border into Benin we head 170 km for Abomey, where we camp. There's a guided trip of the palace and museum plus plenty of free time to explore.
Abomey is the ancient capital of the Dahomey kingdom, once one of the most powerful empires in Africa.You can still see some of the original Dahomeyan palaces and temples here, and the Musée Historique d’Abomey is a good place to learn about the history of the region. The palace is full of gold, silver, thrones, tapestries of bloody battles, testament to the proidigous wealth of this once great kingdom.
Included Activities
  • Guided Tour of Palace and Museum, Abomey
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 21 Ganvie
This morning we break camp after breakfast, bound for Ganvie (70 km, approx 2-3 hours). Here we'll take a pirogue trip and stay in an auberge in the village.
Ganvie is home to more than 10,000 people, even though it is built entirely on stilts in the middle of a lagoon and can only be reached by pirogue (dugout canoe). The ancestors of the Toffinu people used the lake as a refuge from the slave traders, and the Toffinu have lived on the lagoons ever since. Possibly the largest lake village in the whole of Africa, the local people here depend on fishing and fish farming for their livelihoods.
Included Activities
  • Pirogue (dug out canoe trip) on Lake Togo
  • Stilt Village Boat Trip
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 22-23 Ouidah
We drive 120 km to Ouidah, giving you ample time to explore the town and pay an optional visit to the museum. We stay at a campsite by an auberge.
Benin is a country that takes Voodoo very seriously, so much so that it is recognised as an official religion and is practised by over 60% of the population. It all centres around the small town of Ouidah, which is the centre of voodoo culture in Benin; voodoo is part of everyday life here and Ouidah hosts many voodoo festivals and celebrations throughout the year. The Musée d’histoire d’Ouidah gives an interesting insight into voodoo history and culture in the area. The town also has a fascinating and colourful history, having been an important centre during the slave trade. The Portuguese, English and French all constructed forts here to protect their trading interests, one of which now houses a museum that gives you a unique glimpse into the terror and destruction that the slave trade wreaked on this part of the world.
Optional Activities
  • La Maison Bresil at Ouidah - USD3
  • Route des Esclaves - USD3
  • Temple des Serpents - USD1
  • Entrance Ouidah History Museum - USD2
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 24-25 Grand Popo
A short drive brings us to Grand Popo. The next couple of days offer free time to enjoy the beach.
Grand Popo is a great place for a bit of rest and relaxation on the beach, West African style. Located in south west Benin, the town originally grew as a port servicing the slave trade, although coastal erosion has destroyed most of the old buildings. Today it's a good getaway spot for travellers, a pleasant spot to spend a lazy couple of days.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 26-27 Agbodrafo
From Grand Popo we travel across the border, entering Togo and on towards Agbodrafo (86 km, approx 4-5 hours).
Agbodrafo, an old Portuguese city formerly known as Porto Seguri, is a quiet small town on the shore of Lake Togo. The real draw here is the lake itself, a 13 square kilometres. This is a really idyllic place to relax and do some watersports. There are a number of water resorts, which are very popular with the Togolese from Lome. The lake is surrounded by a number of small villages and fishermen ply the waters in dug-out canoes. It is possible to get a ride across the Lake to Togoville in a dug out canoe with the local fishermen. These 'pirogues' ply the lake between Agbodrafo and Togoville and if you wish to travel by pirogue, the truck will be driving around to Togoville.
Included Activities
  • Pirogue (dug out canoe trip) on Lake Togo
  • Guided city tour of Togoville
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 28-29 Mt Klouto
A 200 km drive across the border into Togo, brings us to the spectacular Mt Klouto. We stay here for 2 nights in dorm accommodation and enjoy an evening of drumming and voodoo.
Hidden away in mountains of Togo, Mont Klouto is a couple of hours north of Lome, a welcome relief from the heat of the coast. The mountains here are covered in dense forest, punctuated by gently cascading streams and waterfalls. A nature reserve has been established in the area because Klouto is an important habitat for butterflies, over five hundred different species can be found here, many of them incredibly beautiful. It's an ideal place for hiking and you can take a guided walking butterfly safari through the forests with a local naturalist guide.
Optional Activities
  • Butterfly Safari and Forest walk (Full Day) - USD20
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Day 30 Akosombo/Lake Volta
A 255 km drive takes us into Ghana. We stop at Akosombo by Lake Volta where we stay for the night in a campsite.
Lake Volta in Ghana spreads over a massive 3275 square miles and runs for over 320 miles from the most northern point, to the most southern point. The White Volta River and The Black Volta River combine to form the Volta River which eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are tropical temperatures most of the year round, which has created the opportunity to find many local fisheries.
Optional Activities
  • Visit Akosombo Dam - USD2
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 31-32 Keta
A 350 km drive brings us to the beach at Keta for a couple of days relaxing in a beachside hotel.
Keta is part of the Volta estuary region, comprising several small islands and a complex of lagoons. The area is abundant with bird, fish and butterfly species and also the endangered waterbuck. The Keta Lagoon Complex is the largest wetlands site in Ghana covering 1,200 sq. km. from the eastern shores of the Volta River to the international border with the Republic of Togo.
Optional Activities
  • Fort Prinzenstein - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 33-34 Accra
Today we have a 190 km drive to the coastal capital of Accra. Spend the night in a friendly, comfortable hotel in central Accra.
Accra, Ghana's sprawling capital, is a bustling coastal city with a whole load of beaches that would please even the most discerning sun worshipper. Some of the beaches are more touristy than others and they can all get very busy on Saturdays and Sundays; and whenever you go you should expect to be entertained by an endless stream of musicians and acrobats and pursued by souvenir sellers. Away from the beach, the Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, plus the National Museum houses one of the best collections in all of West Africa. Next to the museum you will also find a good craft market, perfect for a bit of souvenir shopping. In the evening you can sample Accra's lively night life, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
The following day is free to explore Accra.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 35-36 Elmina
Today we have a short drive to Elmina (180 km, approx 4-5 hours) stopping en route to visit slave castles, pre existing castles that were used to hold slaves before they where transported across the Atlantic.
Home to a beautiful natural harbour, Elmina is a busy little fishing town situated on a narrow peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The main tourist attraction of the town is St George's Castle; sub-Saharan Africa's oldest European structure.
Just outside of the town of Elmina is a small village right on the beach called Brenu Akyinin. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living. The one small school here is located just a few metres from Brenu Beach, a stunning location for tourists, but far from ideal for the school children. They are distracted from their studies by the vehicles that pass through the school to access the beach, and often cut class in order to sell goods to the tourists or assist their parents with the farming and fishing. Over the last few years, we have got involved with a local grass-roots charity, the Sabre Trust, which is working to improve education for all of the children here. Originally the school here was in a terrible state of disrepair and extremely under-resourced, but gradually this is beginning to improve. On overland trips we stay in Brenu for at least a couple of nights, allowing us time to get involved in a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your groups skills and the school's needs, you could be getting your hands dirty helping out with small building projects, participating in educational workshops, or even helping with the teaching. Getting involved at the school is a great opportunity to lend a hand and give something back to the local people here, albeit in a small way. It's also a great chance to experience everyday Ghanaian life at first hand, getting to know the local children and their families.
These nights will be spent camping.
Included Activities
  • Visit Slave Castle, Elmina
  • Sabre Trust School project, Elmina
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 37-38 Kumasi
A 250 km drive brings us to Kumasi, the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire. There are optional visits to the Manhyia Palace museum & Asantehene's Palace. Plus the chance to win prizes at the legendary Friday night karaoke!
Kumasi was once the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire. Now it is a thriving, bustling, provincial city with a lively atmosphere. It has the largest market in the whole of West Africa which is well worth exploring if you have the time. This city is one of the main centres of West Africa's cultural heritage and the National Cultural Centre and Museum are well worth a visit to see the famous Ashanti drums. Traditionally these drums were used to communicate over vast distances and today they are a integral part of modern Ghanaian music. The drums usually come in a set with different sizes. Bomaa drums are the biggest drums in West Africa and give the music that deep, melodic, festive feel.
En route we stop at Kakum National Park.
Located in southern Ghana, Kakum National Park's 350 square kilometres of tropical rainforest protect the very rare and endangered Monameercat, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of birdlife. Visitors to the park can walk along towering canopy walkways through the tops of the trees, offering a unique and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest. The park is also an important habitat for a variety of rare tropical plants, including many that are used by local people for medicinal purposes.
In Kumasi we camp in the grounds of a local guesthouse.
Optional Activities
  • National Cultural Center, Kumasi - USD1
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 39 Kintampo Waterfalls
A 250 km drive brings us to Kintampo Waterfalls. We visit the Baobeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary before camping the night near the falls.
Regarded to be amongst one of the most impressive in Ghana, the Kintampo Waterfalls mark the southern passage of the Ovoko River, a tributary of the Black Volta further north. Here you will have the opportunity to bathe in the refreshing waters both of the Kintampo Falls and the Fuller Falls (nearby) where we camp for the night at a lovely community run bush camp.
Visit the community run Baobeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary. This small sanctuary consists of a triangle of forest bounded between the villages of Fiema and Boabeng. Two local villages, Baobeng and Fiema have got together to protect the forest area between the two villages. The two species of monkeys which can be found in the forest, the Mona monkey and the black and white Colobus, are sacred here. The monkeys live in harmony with the villagers and are seen as equal. They even get a real funeral if one dies. A local guide from one of the communities will take us on a guided visit.
Included Activities
  • Visit the Baobeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary
  • Kintampo Waterfalls
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 40-41 Mole National Park
We have a long travel day today, travelling from Kumasi to Mole National Park (450 km, 12-13 hours).
Mole National Park is arguably the best wildlife destination in West Africa, home to a large number of elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes and a variety of antelopes and monkeys. Sitting by a water hole watching the animals come to drink, you could almost be in East Africa, except there are fewer animals and far, far fewer tourists. You can also organise a walking safari out into the national park.
Included Activities
  • Walking Safari and Entrance, Mole National Park
Optional Activities
  • Camera/Video fee, Mole National Park - USD2
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 42-44 Banfora
A 300 km drive takes us to the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. We will stay here for one or maybe two nights in a friendly hotel.
Banfora is located just to the south west of Bobo-Dioulasso, towards the border of the Ivory Coast and although the city itself has not many attractions, the surrounding areas certainly do.
Not too far from Banfora is the small town of Karfiguela, home to the spectacular Karfiguela Falls. Visiting the falls just after the rainy season is the optimum time as they are at their most beautiful. Approaching the falls we will pass through a magnificent avenue of mango trees and the chaotic jumble of rocks over which the water splays are a sight in themselves.
Also near to Banfora is Lake Tengrela, known for its hippopotamuses. Locals believe that these hippos are sacred and therefore will not attack humans although I would not be so confident! Occasionaly crocodiles are found in the lake too however sightings are few and far between.
Included Activities
  • Visit to Lake Tengrela
  • Domes of Fabedougou, Banfora
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
Days 45-46 Bobo-Dioulaso
A short drive of some 100 km takes us to the wonderfully named Bobo-Dioulasso where we have free time to explore and enjoy optional activities. We stay in a centrally located hotel.
We will have a full day to explore the town and its markets.
Bobo-Dioulasso is one of the most vibrant small cities in West Africa and capital of the Bobo tribe. It has an excellent market, which is a great place to buy the unique masks made in this area. Bobo is also a great place for a night out West Africa style; music and dancing is in the soul of Bobo.
Head out of town in search of this unusual spot : "La mare aux poissons sacres de Dafra" (the sacred fishpond of Dafra). Local people come here to sacrifice chickens to the fish, which are understandably enormous now!
Optional Activities
  • Sacred Fish Pond - USD5
  • Mare de Hippopotames canoe on lake - USD5
  • Mare de Hippopotames transport by van - USD10
  • La Guinguette (Crystal Swimming Lake) Entrance and Taxi - USD38
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 47-48 Ouagadougou
Accommodation
Camp site (1 nt), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 49-50 Segou
A further 150 km over some rough roads brings us to Segou where we bush camp by the river
The modern city of Segou has a charming and laidback place with a stunning setting on the banks of the Niger River.
Definitely worth exploring is the town's fabulous market, which is excellent for buying some of the beautiful materials and batiks that are made here. One of the most popular things to do here is to take a boat trip up or down the Niger River. You can
travel either by dugout pirogues or on one of the larger motorised pinnasses, often stopping off at one of the local villages. Like many places in Mali, Segou also has a vibrant music and arts scene and every February it hosts the amazing Festival of the Niger, but you can catch local musicians playing in local bars and nightclubs all year round.
Included Activities
  • Boat Trip to Local Villages, Segou
Optional Activities
  • Drumming Performance (3 hours), Sevare - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 51-52 Bamako
A 240 km drive brings us to Bamako where we have a few days to enjoy the sights and sounds of the capital. We will arrange a city tour, a night out in Bamako's famous clubs and a visit to a community project we support, the African Workshop. We camp in a lovely hotel, not far from the city centre.
Bamako, the capital of Mali, is a colourful, lively city, home to some of West Africa's finest musical talent. Over the years Mali has produced some of West Africa's finest musicians and has a long tradition of tribal music. Today the traditional has fused with the modern and Malian music has become popular all over the world. The clubs of Bamako are a hub for local musicians including some of the most famous such as Salif Kita. If you are lucky one of the greats may be playing when you visit. There are also some interesting museums to explore, in fact the National Museum is probably one of the best small museums in West Africa, with some fascinating exhibits relating to Mali's various ethnic groups, including wooden masks, carvings, contemporary marionettes and ancient textiles. The markets are also well worth a look, few tourists head out as far as the Medina so if you want to experience the "real" Mali, it's definitely a good place to start.
Optional Activities
  • Drumming or Kora Workshops, Bamako - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 53-55 Dyas 53-55 Mandingue Country trek
We begin a 4 day trek to the seldom visited area of Mandingue country, south of Bamako. We will trek between the local villages amidst wonderful scenery and stay in the villages overnight.
Situated south of Bamako on the road towards the Guinean border, Mandingue country is the birth place of the Mali Empire. The area is full of small villages, sacred hills, waterfalls and prehistoric caves. We will trek between the villages meeting the local people including a visit to Siby, a village nested in the woods which has historical importance for being at the heart of the Kingdom of Soundjata Keita, founder of the Empire of Mali.
Along the trek we will visit fetish hunters villages, see how karite butter is made, stay at the 'magic' village of Sodjancoro and also visit the old Dogon houses near Dogoro from where the Dogon people originated before they left the Mandingue area.
Included Activities
  • Entrance into Kiang West National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 56 Bamako
The final day of our trek brings us back to Bamako and a chance to rest some weary legs and perhaps enjoy a last blast of Malian sounds on a night out in the capital. We camp at the same hotel as previously.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 57-58 Kayes
Two days transiting and wild camping between Mali and Senegal where we will cover almost 1000 km. This is time to relax on the truck and also visit sites of interest such as the French fort at Kayes.
The city of Kayes is often used by tourists as a rest point between Bamako and Dakar, although it has many points of interest of its own. Surrounded by mountains, it creates a warm feel as you walk through the centre and explore the thriving markets. Two kilometres away from the town, are the Falls of Falou which are a magnificent site and they are well worth a visit when in or around Kayes.
Included Activities
  • Entrance French Fort, Kayes
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 59-60 Niokolo-Koba National Park
A 250 km drive leads us to 2 days guided exploration of Niokolo-Kobo National Park. We camp at a hotel overlooking the river. If time allows we may even spend a further night here as a spare day is built in the itinerary to allow for flexibility.
Created in 1954 and the largest of Senegal's six national parks, the dry forests and savannahs of Niokolo-Koba National Park are home to an impressive array of flora and fauna. Sitting along the upper stretches of the Gambian River, nearly 200 different
species can be found here, including over 11,000 buffaloes and 6000 hippos. It's also an important habitat for birdlife, as the fertile river banks provide a vital over-wintering area for migratory birds.
Included Activities
  • Entrance and Game Drives
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 61 Basse Santu-Su
We leave Niokolo Koba behind and head 300 km, crossing into the Gambia. Tonight we will stay at a campsite at Basse Santu-Su, the most easterly settlement in Gambia
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 62-63 Kiang West National Park
We head on west through Gambia towards Tendaba where we visit Kiang West National Park and camp for a night or two.
Established as a national park in 1987, Kiang West is now the largest national park in the Gambia. Situated on the south bank of the river it encompasses dry deciduous woodland, savannah, mangrove creeks and tidal flats. Over 300 species of birds have been sighted in the area, including 21 raptors: vultures, harrier eagles, sandgrouse, Blue-breasted, Kingfisher hawks, white-shouldered black tit and falcons. An ideal spot to watch birds is Tubabkollon Point. Also can be seen are the West African Manatee, otters, sitatunga and roan antelopes plus rarer sightings of animals include the hyenas, leopards and dolphins.
Included Activities
  • Entrance into Kiang West National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 64-65 Palmarin
We cross back into Senegal and a 200 km drive takes us to the coastal town of Palmarin. We spend 2 nights here enjoying a pirogue trip into the mangroves and 2 nights at a beach campsite with pool.
We spend the whole day exploring this amazing delta on board a traditional pirogue. The whole area is extremely diverse with its unique habitat of mangrove, salt flat, grasslands and forests supporting a huge variety of flora and fauna.
A few hours south of Dakar, the small community of Palmarin is situated on the Sangomar Peninsular. A laid-back place, you can explore the mangroves here by canoe with the help of the local fishermen, or kick-back and relax on the local beach.
Included Activities
  • Canoe trip in Atlantic mangroves
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 66-67 St Louis
From Palmarin to St Louis should take us around 8-10 hours (350 km). We camp just outside of the city overnight.
St. Louis is a colonial French town with an unusual setting and relaxed atmosphere, which make it very popular with travellers.
The old town is located on a small island only 400m wide in the mouth of the Senegal River, although development in recent
years means that the city now spreads out onto the mainland and the neighbouring "Langue de Barbarie", a narrow spit of sand. The 'Langue" is well known for its wildlife, particularly pelicans and flamingos, which make it a haven for ornithologists.
Optional Activities
  • Entrance to Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 68-69 Dakar
We have a short drive today to Dakar (100 km, approx 2-3 hours).
You know when you've arrived in Dakar. Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital bursts with life. This is a city of busy streets, noisy markets, noisy, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife; at first it can seem chaotic but embrace the rhythms of Dakar life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here. In terms of conventional sightseeing, the beautiful Ile de Goree is certainly worth a visit, the bustling centre of the slave trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
If you're interested in West Africa culture you should also seek out the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum, which has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the region. Or you may prefer to just wander the streets, browsing the markets and soaking up the atmosphere. Dakar also has a lively arts scene and you should be able to find some great live music here, there are venues all over the city and regular music and film festivals.
On the final day of your journey you can explore the city and depart at any time as there are no activities planned for this day.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
      Itinerary disclaimer
      We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed 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. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip.
      Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.
      Culture shock rating

      You're really out there! You'll need to pay specific attention to health and hygiene. A large proportion of locals’ living conditions are a world away from standards you are used to at home. You may have difficulty finding an English speaker and there's little or no access to services. Paying heed to local customs is essential.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      Physical preparation
      In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.
      Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll 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. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.
      Kitty
      On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and some included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases. Please check our website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.
      Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.
      In West Africa we generally use Euros and not US$. Please note that although we quote kitties, personal spending and other items in US$ (because we operate globally), for trips passing through these countries you will want to use Euros and NOT US dollars for the kitty, tipping and personal spending. As the exchange rate is variable, the trip leader will confirm the exact exchange rate between US$ and Euros to be used for the kitty at the pre-departure meeting.
      You may pay your kitty in a mixture of Euros cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose 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.
      If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.
      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.
      Kitty does not cover food while staying in hotels and hostels.
      KITTY CHANGES:
      We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.
      A trip kitty of EUR955.00 CASH will be required.
      Optional activities
      A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in 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 doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
      Money Exchange
      Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
      The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
      CASH:
      Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
      ***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2006. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2006 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2006 SERIES***
      EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
      TRAVELLER'S CHEQUES:
      Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
      VISA AND MASTERCARD:
      With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
      The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
      At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
      Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
      Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      Important notes
      LOCAL PARTNER:
      Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.
      MINIMUM AGE:
      The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
      Group size
      Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
      www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
      Accommodation
      Camping (with facilities) (49 nts), Hotel (10 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (5 nts), Hostel (2 nts), Camp site (1 nt)
      The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hotels.
      Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hotel stops depends on the route and area.
      Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild-camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. We will also arrange as many village or local homestays as possible, allowing us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
      Meals introduction
      When travelling on an Overland trip you have chosen a participation camping tour. This means that you will be helping your leader prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping!
      Your leader will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. Participating in the camp is usually done on a duty roster system with group of 5 or 6 people (depending on group size) having a different camp job each day. If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting.
      Meals
      48 Breakfasts, 48 Lunches, 48 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      USD 690.00
      Transport
      Overland Vehicle, Overland vehicle, 4x4
      Roads can be very rough which makes for long, slow travel days. It's all worth it however for the spectacular scenery and novelty of truck travel.
      Group leader
      On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.
      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. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.
      We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders
      On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
      Joining point description
      Rooms have en suite bathrooms, cable TV and air-conditioning. The hotel also has a restaurant/bar on site.
      Joining point instructions
      The best way to get from the airport to the hotel is by taxi. A taxi should cost around CFA2500-5000 but you may have to bargain hard.
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
      If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Al Baraka
      35 Rue Abdoul Karim Bourgi
      Dakar
      SENEGAL
      Finish point description
      Al Baraka is located on a main road in central Dakar near Independence Square and the ministry buildings. Shops, markets and art galleries are also nearby, and there is a supermarket over the road.
      The hotel features 24-hour reception, currency exchange, luggage storage, restaurant and laundry service (for an additional fee).
      Rooms have en suite bathrooms and are air-conditioned and have colour TVs.
      Emergency contact
      Dragoman 24 HOUR EMERGENCY NUMBER Tel: +44 (0) 1728 862 222 This is an answer-phone. If calling outside UK office hours for non urgent questions, please leave a message. There is a number provided to call for a 24 hour manned mobile, in case of genuine emergency. For further emergency contact details go to:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      CAMEROON: Please organise your Cameroon visa before arrival. The procedure and cost will vary depending on your nationality but it is common to require quite a lot of paperwork for this visa. This may well include a copy of our vehicle carnet (licence to travel through Cameroon in our truck), guarantee letter with full itinerary and a reservation letter from a hotel in Cameroon confirming your first nights' accommodation and stamped by the local police of which we can provide for you.
      NIGERIA: The visa needs to be obtained in advance.
      Nigerian visas for most nationalities can now be applied for on-line at www.immigration.gov.ng. Complete the application and take the printed and signed form together with evidence of payment and photos to the Nigerian Embassy / High Commission for further processing.
      When obtaining Nigerian visa, you MUST KEEP the receipt as you will need to also show this at the border on entry.
      As part of the visa application you are likely to require a copy of the vehicle carnet and a guarantee letter with full itinerary (which we can provide), a letter from your employer and a bank statement or US$60 in travellers cheques for every day in Nigeria.
      Please note that gaining a Nigerian visa can be a difficult and inconsistent process. Some nationalities may be asked to provide a letter of invitation and a letter from a host from a country in Nigeria. We are unable to provide this information, and the advice we have received is that it is actually not necessary for a tourist visa application. Previous passengers have been able to bypass this by applying for their visa in person at the embassy or consulate. We suggest that you start the process early and allow plenty of time for any delays that may occur.
      BENIN:
      Australia: Yes - in advance
      Belgium: Yes - in advance
      Canada: Yes - in advance
      Germany: Yes - in advance
      Ireland: Yes - in advance
      Netherlands: Yes - in advance
      New Zealand: Yes - in advance
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - in advance
      United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
      USA: Yes - in advance
      Please obtain your Benin visa in advance. We advise you to check current visa requirements with your nearest Embassy or Consulate. Australians & New Zealanders will need to apply through the Embassy in London.
      It may also be possible for most nationalities to obtain a visa for Benin in Accra, Ghana. An express visa in Accra takes 1-3 working days but may be subject to additional fees.
      TOGO:
      Australia: Yes - In advance
      Belgium: Yes - In advance
      Canada: Yes - In advance
      Germany: Yes - In advance
      Ireland: Yes - In advance
      Netherlands: Yes - In advance
      New Zealand: Yes - In advance
      South Africa: Yes - In advance
      Switzerland: Yes - In advance
      United Kingdom: Yes - In advance
      USA: Yes - In advance
      Please obtain your visa to Togo in advance. We recommend that you check current visa requirements with your nearest Embassy or Consulate.
      Please note that it may be possible to obtain a visa for Togo at the Togolese Embassy in Accra. It is sometimes possible to get this visa in 1 day (if you drop your application off in the morning – Weekdays only). However, visa information is subject to change on a regular basis.
      This may be a good option if you are arriving in Accra before the trip however we advise that you check with your nearest embassy. Please bring at least 3 passport photos.
      GHANA:
      Australia: Yes - in advance
      Belgium: Yes - in advance
      Canada: Yes - in advance
      Germany: Yes - in advance
      Ireland: Yes - in advance
      Netherlands: Yes - in advance
      New Zealand: Yes - in advance
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - in advance
      United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
      USA: Yes - in advance
      For most nationalities a visa is required and needs to be obtained in advance. If you are entering Ghana on an overland trip please contact your local embassy to do this as it's no longer possible to obtain these visas en route.
      BURKINO FASO: Visas can be obtained en route at the border. Allow US$20 cash.
      MALI: Visas will be obtained en route in Accra, Ghana. Please bring at least 6 passport photos. The cost is approximately US$25.
      SENEGAL:
      Australia: Yes - In advance
      Belgium: Yes - In advance
      Canada: Yes - In advance
      Germany: Yes - In advance
      Ireland: Yes - In advance
      Netherlands: Yes - In advance
      New Zealand: Yes - In advance
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - In advance
      UK: Yes - In advance
      USA: Yes - In advance
      All passport holders travelling to Senegal now need a visa to enter the country, effective July 1st 2013. All applicants are required to first apply online for a bio-metric visa by visiting http://www.snedai.sn/en/
      You must obtain a double entry visa and this should be obtained prior to your arrival and you may require a guarantee letter / hotel confirmation letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
      Australia and New Zealanders should use the Senegalese embassy in Malaysia as their closest option. For other nationalities the embassy in the UK may be the most convenient and you may require a guarantee letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
      Starting your trip in Dakar
      It may be possible to obtain your visa on arrival at Dakar Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, but you
      must have obtained prior approval BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT (please do this well in advance) using the
      website http://www.snedai.sn/en/
      THE GAMBIA:
      Australia: No - Not required
      Belgium: Yes - In advance
      Canada: Yes - In advance
      Germany: No - Not required
      Ireland: No - Not required
      Netherlands: Yes - In advance
      New Zealand: No - Not required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - In advance
      UK: No - Not required
      USA: Yes - In advance
      Some nationalities require a visa to visit The Gambia. If you require a visa it must be obtained in advance from an embassy overseas. Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and some other countries do not need a visa for a stay of less than 90 days. Citizens of the USA, Canada, South Africa and some other countries do need a visa and should apply to their nearest Gambian embassy and ensure that the visa is obtained before arrival.
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative 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/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of 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.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      LOCKER SPACE:
      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. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
      CAMPING EQUIPMENT / MATTRESS:
      A sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. If you're travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Pillows are NOT provided so please bring a travel pillow along.
      We don't provide a mattress so please bring your own (a Thermarest / inflatable mattress is recommended).
      A simple plastic bag / waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.
      CLOTHING:
      You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
      BATTERIES/POWER:
      Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind 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. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
      VALUABLES:
      Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
      We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. 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 or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid 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 or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      YELLOW FEVER:
      A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
      It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
      DRINKING WATER:
      As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
      Safety
      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      BALCONIES:
      Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
      On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
      SCAMS:
      We have become aware of passengers being approached outside of our starting point hotels by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or claiming to be Intrepid employees selling Urban Adventures or Intrepid trips. These people are not employees of Intrepid nor registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you' should suffice. If this does happen to you, please advise your leader or the reception of your hotel immediately so that the person can be reported to the appropriate authorities.
      TRAVEL ADVISORY:
      Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, 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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes 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.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 2002.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.