Casablanca to Gorillas Trip Notes

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    • XDONC
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    • Overland
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Last Modified: 30 Oct 2012
Casablanca to Gorillas
Trip code: XDONC
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Travel overland through the heart of Africa from Morocco to Kenya on an adventure tour that visits all the major attractions but also delves deeper to get under the skin of the rich African culture. Experience the breathtaking natural wonder of Todra Gorge and Lake Naivasha. Discover a wealth of wildlife, witness flocks of flamingos paint Lake Abiyata pink and search for Africa's Big Five on game drives through national parks. Taste authentic African cuisine and meet traditional tribal villagers in the Omo Valley. Explore man-made marvels in the palaces and castles of Gonder and revel in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Casablanca and Nairobi. Get the most out of your holiday with this all encompassing African trip.
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.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency contact
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency funds
MapYour fellow travellersVisas
ItinerarySingle travellersIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationWhat to take
Culture shock rating Meals introductionHealth
Physical ratingMealsSafety
Physical preparationTransportTravel insurance
Included activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
KittyJoining point A couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
TippingFinish point
Departure taxFinish point instructions
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
Map
Casablanca to Gorillas
Itinerary
Day 1 Casablanca
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco.
The trip begins with a group meeting at 6pm.
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.
Modelled after Marseille in France, the bustling port city of Casablanca is now the undisputed economic capital of Morocco, with one of Africa's largest ports. The architectural style of the city is curious - famous for its art deco French-colonial buildings and Mauresque governmental institutions, an old medina and the phenomenal modern-day masterpiece, the Hassan II Mosque.
A pleasant way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander the old medina and the city walls, then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous - the new medina full of shaded squares and narrow streets, lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start improving your bargaining skills. Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche, watching the locals enjoy sunset football on the beach.
Optional Activities
  • Villa des Arts - art gallery & museum - Free
  • Jewish Museum - MAD20
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Rabat
After breakfast we have a short drive of approximately 130 km to Rabat, the third largest city in Morocco, where we have time to explore the Old Quarter and Rabat Medina.
The great walls of Rabat enclose a largely modern city, but there remain several quarters to remind you of its rich past. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, and has a relaxed atmosphere with virtually none of the hustle and hassle of Morocco's larger tourist cities. It is a fascinating place to explore.
Tonight we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Moulay Idriss
Today we head approximately 130 km to the sacred pilgrimage site of Moulay Idriss to explore the old medina.
Moulay Idriss is named after the great-grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. His tomb is a pilgrimage site for Muslims. Until recently, it had been forbidden for non-Muslims to sleep overnight in the town, although this is now allowed and many locals have begun to convert their homes to guesthouses.
The town is famous for its nougat candy which is sold at stands all around the square and near the mosque. It also has the only cylindrical minaret in all of Morocco.
Tonight we will stay in the home of a Moroccan family, inside the walls of the kasbah.
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Fes
Leaving the homestay after breakfast we head back down through the countryside to make our way to Fes, visiting the ruins at Volubilis en route.
Volubilis was one of the Roman empire's most remote bases, which remained affluent until the 8th century. The main structures remained intact until they were damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, after which much of the marble was taken for construction in nearby Meknes.
The next day we have a full day city tour of Fes with a local guide. In the evening we have the option to go out to a traditional show, with dinner.
Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The most ancient of Morocco's imperial cities, it exists suspended in time.
Descending into the labyrinthine alleyways of the Medina is like taking a giant step back to the Middle Ages. Preserved by the French for its historical value, this preservation also led to the decline of the city's importance, as both government and financial centres were set up elsewhere in the country. With the Jewish population moving away in 1956, and too many rural poor moving in for it to handle, this ancient centre of learning is only a shell of what it used to be. Still, it remains a fascinating living museum where getting lost is half the fun.
Included Activities
  • Entrance to Volubilis
  • Guided city tour with local lunch, Fes
Optional Activities
  • Dinner & Show, Fes - Free
Meals Included
1 Lunch
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 6 Bush Camp
Today is a drive day of approximately 450 km. We will aim to bush camp along the way.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 7 Merzouga/Overnight Camel Safari
Leaving our bush camp we head to Merzouga to embark on our overnight camel ride into the Sahara. We'll arrive at our desert camp slightly exhausted, but after eating a full traditional Berber celebratory dinner, listening to Berber drumming, and lying on Berber rugs looking up at the crystal clear Saharan sky, you'll realise the experience was well and truly worth it.
Tonight we will sleep on beds laid out on rugs on the sand.
Included Activities
  • Overnight camel safari
Meals Included
1 Dinner
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Todra Gorge
After our breakfast in the desert we head back to the truck and then on to Todra Gorge (approx 300 km).
The Todra Gorge is situated on the remote east side of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The huge fault dividing the High Atlas from the Jebel Sahro is at some points just wide enough for a tiny glacial stream to flow through, making it hard to imagine that the river once filled the gorge. It is relatively easy to hike in the gorge and the scenery is spectacular. Local people live in the area and can be seen going about their daily business with small donkeys or herding camels.
We'll stay for two nights near Todra Gorge at a well equipped campsite where you'll have plenty of time for hikes and walks in the gorge.
Included Activities
  • Guided walks
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 10 Ait Benhaddou
We head off after breakfast to Ait Benhaddou (approx 215 km). Arriving in the afternoon, we have gree time to explore the beautiful examples of kasbahs that Ait Benhaddou has to offer.
Centuries ago, Ait Benhaddou was an important stop for the caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory and slaves. Today, its grand kasbah is still one of the most beautiful in all of Morocco and a World Heritage site. This fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture and is also famous for its role on the silver screen, featuring in numerous films such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Jewel of the Nile and Gladiator.
Tonight we will camp in the garden or on the terrace of a hostel, where there is also the opportunity to upgrade to rooms.
Included Activities
  • Visit to the Kasbah
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 11 Talioune
Today is a drive day of approximately 235 km to Taliouine, where we stay overnight in a well equipped campsite.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 12 Ouirgane
Leaving after breakfast we stop at a Saffron Community project for an hour, before a full day's drive up the Tizi-n-Test pass into the High Atlas Mountains. We aim to stop and have lunch at the top of the pass, before descending via the Tin Mal Mosque en route to Ouirgane.
Nestled a thousand metres in the tranquil foothills of the High Atlas Mountains lies the small, pretty Berber village of Ouirgane. The town is surrounded by views of the Toubkal range, and there is a wide variety of birdlife here.
Included Activities
  • Saffron Community Project
Optional Activities
  • Tinmel Mosque - MAD50
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 13-14 Imlil/Toubkal
Today there is the option of an overnight trek up Mt Toubkal (seasonal). Those that choose to trek will leave Ouirgane early in the morning in the truck to go to Imlil to meet the trekking guide for briefing. Trekkers will spend the night at the Neltner Hut refuge at base camp.
Those that do not wish to trek will have a free morning in Ouirgane and will then head to Imlil in the truck once it has returned from Imlil. Non-trekkers will stay in dorm-style Berber salons at the Kasbah du Toubkal.
Imlil is a small village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is located 1,740 metres above sea level. Imlil is the most important village in the Ait Mizane Valley and it is the start of most of the walks in this area. It is close to the mountain Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in Northern Africa. Imlil makes a good base for attempting to summit Toubkal.
The following day the trekkers will spend the day trekking Mt Toubkal, arriving at the Kasbah du Toubkal late in the afternoon.
For the non-trekkers this day is a free day for Berber village visits and walks.
Tonight everyone will meet up again for an evening meal, and overnight at the Kasbah du Toubkal.
Optional Activities
  • 2 day/1 night trek up Mount Toubkal - GBP160
  • Berber Village visit - Free
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 15-16 Essaouira
Leaving the Atlas Mountains behind us, we head to the coast to the stunning coastal town of Essaouira (approx 250 km) where we base ourselves for two nights at a beautiful riad-style hotel.
Your time in Essaouira is free for optional activities, exploring, or simply relaxing.
The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. Its charm is undeniable - within the stone ramparts you'll find whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters, art galleries and wood workshops. This laidback artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations. The town faces a group of rocky islands - called the Mogador - and is surrounded by an expanse of sandy beaches and dunes.
It's still a busy fishing port and its pretty harbour is filled with tiny colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch. Visitors who have been seduced by its charms include Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. More recently, filmmaker Ridley Scott chose the ramparts as an important location for his film, Kingdom of Heaven.
Everything in the small centre is within walking distance and the beach is clean. Wander the harbour and its adjacent fish markets where you can witness the daily auction. A freshly-cooked plate of the day's catch is highly recommended. Browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries that make this little town a particularly pleasant place to unwind for a few days. It has a growing reputation for its unique art and is becoming even more famous for its burled Thuya wood - delicately formed and inlaid in tiny shops, which are built into the thick walls of the Portuguese ramparts. The scent from the oils used to polish the richly coloured wood permeates the air and makes walking down the streets incredibly pleasant.
Optional Activities
  • Boat trip - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 17-19 Marrakech
Full day's drive of approximately 260 km brings us to Marrakech. We base ourselves in a comfortable hotel for three nights, allowing plenty of time for sightseeing and adventure activities.
Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens.
The monuments of Marrakech are numerous and range from the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the Islamic world and the 'sister' to the Giralda in far-away Seville, to the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). There's the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The Saadian tombs are a recently uncovered gem of the Medina. All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that's all part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco.
Optional Activities
  • Marjorelle Gardens - MAD50
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
  • Saadien Tombs - MAD10
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 20 Casablanca
Leaving Marrakech after breakfast we set off back to Casablanca (approx 300 km), aiming to arrive at around lunchtime to allow time for exploring the many sites on offer.
Tonight we will go out for a group meal and stay in a comfortable hotel.
Optional Activities
  • Guided tour of Hassan II Mosque - MAD120
  • Cathedrale Sacre-Coeur - Casablanca - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 21 Fly Casablanca to Cairo
Today is the final day of the Morocco leg of the trip, so there are no activities planned for this day.
Your leader will assist you with getting to the airport for your included flight. You will spend this night in a comfortable hotel in either Casablanca or Cairo depending on flight times and availability.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 22-23 Cairo
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt.
There will be a group meeting at 10am.
Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is a fascinating mixture of modern city and ancient wonders.
There are plenty of things to see and do with free time in Cairo. Travel along the river by felucca, head out to explore the markets or If the crowds and the noise of the city are too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector - with its narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches, it's a haven of peace and quiet.
We stay in Cairo for two nights at a basic hotel and take a guided tour visiting the Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, and the Egyptian Museum.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
  • Guided visit to the Giza Pyramids
Optional Activities
  • Entrance Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid - EGP20
  • Entrance Pyramid of Cheops - EGP100
  • Sound and Light Show at Pyramids & Sphinx - EGP60
  • Cairo Tower Entrance - EGP35
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 24-25 Alexandria
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Cairo behind us, we head 300 km towards the coast to the city of Alexandria, where we will base ourselves for two nights to allow a full day to explore.
Egypt's second largest city and main port, Alexandria was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis.
It was the renowned capital of Ancient Egypt's last royal dynasty, the Ptolemies, and the site of the Pharos. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this lighthouse acted as a beacon, guiding sailors away from this notoriously treacherous stretch of coastline.
Alexandria is also the city of seafood, so be sure to indulge in some fresh ocean produce during your stay here.
Optional Activities
  • Roman Amphitheatre - EGP15
  • Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa - EGP35
  • Alexandria Library - EGP10
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 26-28 Bahariya Oasis/White Desert
We set off this morning to cover the 570 km (approx. 8 hrs) which will take us from Alexandria to Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert.
A flexible day has been added into this itinerary which will be used according to the leaders' and the groups' needs.
Situated in Egypt's Great Western Desert, Bahariya is the smallest of the four oases in this area. It used to serve as an artery between Libya and Egypt, but these days people come here to enjoy the hot springs and palm groves, and to get a feel for the Western Desert. There are numerous sites of antiquities including the Temple of Alexander and various Ptolemaic tombs, as well as a museum that houses the golden mummies found here. Just south of the oasis lie the White and Black Deserts, easily visited from the town.
Desert travel is uniquely romantic. No matter what desert you are crossing, being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by solitude and wilderness, is a fantastic experience. It is even better when you can camp out in the desert and visit true oases. The Egyptian Western Desert has five thriving oases and on our route through the desert we will be able to visit three of these: Bahariya, Dakhla and Kharga. The added bonus of travelling through this desert is that most of these oases have a long and interesting history stretching back to Pharaonic times.
The following day we drive approximately 6 hours and cover 240 km through the desert, visiting the Golden Mummies, Crystal Mountain and the Black Desert viewpoint, before ending up in the White Desert where we bush camp.
Included Activities
  • Visits to Crystal Mountain and Black Desert
Optional Activities
  • Entrance Golden Mummies Museum - Free
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Days 29-30 Dakhla Oasis
Today day we drive 235 km (approx 5.5 hours) to reach the Dakhla Oasis.
Verdant cultivated areas and a great wall of rose-hued rock across the northern horizon make a feast for the eyes in Dakhla Oasis. Dakhla has Pharaonic, Roman and Coptic antiquities, dunes, palm groves and hot springs to explore.
You can also take the opportunity to trek out into the desert here for the day or even overnight on camels. The overnight trip is usually the favourite as you can head off into the desert and camp out by hot springs for the night.
Optional Activities
  • Western Desert Overnight Camel Safari - EGP200
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 31 El Kharga Oasis
Today we drive about 6.5 hours (280 km) visiting El Kharga Oasis and its surrounding area. Here there are numerous other sites of antiquities. You will have the opportunity to visit a number of these including the Bagawaat Necropolis, Hibis Temple and Kharga Museum.
El Kharga Oasis is definitely a place to go for exploration. There are many monumental sites here, including the Temple of Hebes. You can go for a camel ride around the oasis, and this could be an adventure in itself. The palm tree lined city is the spot to find beautiful handicrafts and unspoilt springs. It is a beauty of Egypt and will certainly create life long memories.
Optional Activities
  • Kharga Museum - EGP20
  • Bogawaat Necropolis - EGP20
  • Hibis temple, El Kharga Oasis - EGP20
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Days 32-34 Luxor
This morning we travel to Luxor, a journey of around 8 hours/280 km.
From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
We take a donkey ride on the west bank before visiting the tombs in the Valley of the King's. This is one of the highlights of any trip to Egypt. The amazingly well preserved paintings in the tombs of the Pharaohs are brought to life on this guided adventure. We will also go and see the biggest of all Egyptian temples, the mighty Karnak with a local Egyptologist.
There is also plenty of free time for you to explore. Perhaps hire a bicycle to ride through sugar cane fields and nearby villages to see a different side of Luxor. It is worth visiting the smaller Luxor temple located smack in the middle of town and the small but beautiful Luxor Museum filled with priceless treasures from this amazing area.
In Luxor we stay in a hotel.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of Karnak Temple
  • Guided visit to Valley of the Kings and other West Bank ruins
Optional Activities
  • Luxor Temple - EGP35
  • Karnak Sound and Light Show - EGP75
  • Museums, Luxor - EGP40
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 35-37 Aswan
This morning we head to Aswan for 3 nights, a drive of around 230 km (approx. 4.5hrs).
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan. This Nubian city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town - take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars.
On the way to Aswan we make a stop at The Temple of Horus in Edfu.
The Temple of Horus in Edfu (also known as the Temple of Edfu) is considered the best preserved cult temple in Egypt. This partly because it was built later than most: in the Ptolemaic era from 237 to 57 BC. Edfu is also the second largest temple in
Egypt after Karnak Temple.
Please note that we will obtain our tourist visa for Sudan during our time here in Aswan.
In Aswan we stay in a simple hotel.
At Aswan you can visit the Philae temples, and the high dam, built to control the flow of the Nile thus creating Lake Nasser, the largest artificial lake in the world. There is also an opportunity to trek into the desert by camel to a deserted 6th century monastery. You may take an option to fly or drive down to Abu Simbel to visit the two magnificent temples. They were moved uphill from the rising floodwaters of Lake Nasser by a Unesco project in the 1960s. Perhaps finish off your days with a visit to the stunning new Aswan Museum, before dinner on one of the many floating river front restaurants.
Included Activities
  • Visit to Temple of Edfu
Optional Activities
  • High Dam Trip - EGP8
  • Abu Simbel Flight - EGP700
  • Tombs of the Nobles - EGP25
  • Philae Temple Sound & Light - EGP33
  • Elphantine/Kitchener Island Boat Trip - EGP50
  • Felucca day trip incl lunch - EGP65
  • Entrance Abu Simbel - EGP80
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 38-39 Lake Nasser/Wadi Halfa
The crossing of Lake Nasser is certainly an experience. Don't expect a Nile cruise boat or you may be disappointed! An old passenger ferry plies the waters between Aswan and Wadi Halfa and it has limited comforts. However, to make up for this you will be travelling through the spectacular scenery of a harsh and craggy desert landscape. The journey usually lasts 17 hours, but it is notoriously unpredictable. Depending on sailing routes and conditions we should pass the beautiful temple of Abu Simbel en route.
Accommodation aboard the ferry is very basic.
The port of Wadi Halfa, our entry point to the Sudan is situated on the southernmost tip of Lake Nasser in the Sudanese Sahara and is the most northerly place in Sudan.
The friendliness of the Sudanese people is legendary in traveller circles. For a country that has experienced such a long and drawn out civil war it is amazing that the local people are so welcoming, genuinely warm and always willing to help. This is the country where you want to brush up on your smattering of Arabic. Just a few words can open doors into chai houses, into living rooms and into the world of Sudanese hospitality. People are genuinely curious and pleased to see outsiders.
In Wadi Halfa we stay in basic rooms.
Accommodation
Overnight ferry (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Days 40-41 Nubian Desert
To travel in northern Sudan is to journey across deserts, not on tarmac routes, but off piste, finding your way through the dunes or along the plains. We may be lucky enough to pass some camels, making their way along the infamous '40 Day Camel Route'. These magnificent animals travel in herds of up to 1000 with just two or three herders. They come from either the western province of Darfur or nowadays increasingly from Omdurman and Khartoum, bound for the great camel market in Cairo, as Sudanese camels are highly valued in Egypt.
This portion of the trip is rugged. We will be travelling through the desert sands, following the Nile as it cuts through vast fields of sand dunes. Along the Nile small villages and towns cling to a narrow belt of cultivation. Trade routes through the area date back to ancient times, but the roads are mere sandy tracks, often difficult to find and always a struggle to get through. You will be expected to help sand mat the vehicles and to be part of this expedition. There are no passengers here, only people who are prepared to get stuck in to achieve their goal - the exploration of the relics of the Kushite kingdom and the Nile Valley of northern Sudan. We are well away from civilisation here and you will see few other travellers on this section of the journey.
There are a succession of ruined temples along the River Nile. As you would imagine with such a long history of civilisation, these date back to many different periods of Kushite and Egyptian history. Many are in a poor state of repair, but some are classics. They are often quite inaccessible and we will not guarantee visiting any particular temple. However, we will try to visit one or more of the Temple of Sulb or the Temple of Kawa near Dongola.
Across the river opposite the small village of Wawa lies the remains of the Temple of Sulb. The temple is spectacular and very much in the Egyptian style. We take a half hour boat trip by small boat along the Nile through stunning scenery. It is the positioning and the remoteness of these sites along the Nile that makes them interesting. We usually stay with a local family in the village of Wawa for the night.
These nights we camp out in the desert vastness and sit around our camp fire in the middle of this wilderness.
Included Activities
  • Visit to Temple of Sulb
Optional Activities
  • Temple of Darfufa - USD10
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts)
Days 42-45 Atbara/Red Sea/Atbara
This morning we visit Jebel Barkal.
On the road between Dongola and Merowe we explore ruins at of the Temple of Amun at Jebel (Mount) Barkal. On the hill top of Jebel Barkul the Temple of Jebel Bakul was one of the earliest capitals and spiritual centres of Kush. The all-powerful Pharaoh Ramses II constructed a temple to the Theban god Amun here in the 13th century BC. 600 years later the great Nubian Pharaoh King Taharqa had the mountain's peak covered in gold during his reign in the 7th century BC. A monument remains to him with his name inscribed on it.
Following our visit we journey east beyond the town of Atbara and towards the Red Sea coast. We spend this night bush camping.
The following day we continue our journey to the coast and stop in Port Sudan to pick up supplies before heading approximately 40 km north of Port Sudan to the Red Sea resort where we will have a group meal and camp the night.
The next day is a free day for relaxing or for optional activities such as scuba diving. We will again spend the night camping at the Red Sea resort.
Leaving the coast behind the next day, we make our way west back towards the town of Atbara, bush camping overnight.
Included Activities
  • Kushite temples and pyramids at Jebel Barkal
Optional Activities
  • Scuba Diving - USD150
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 46 Meroe
Today we travel past Atbara and head south towards Naqa, stopping to explore the the Kushite temples and pyramids at Meroe and if time allows today we will also visit the temples of Naqa and Musawwarat.
Meroe is at the heart of the ancient Kingdom of Nubia. Early signs of culture in Nubia (northern Sudan and southern Egypt) first appear around 3500 BC. Meroe's zenith came between 592 BC and AD 350 when it flourished under an unbroken line of kings.
Perhaps the most splendid of all the Kushite temples and pyramids are those at Meroe, Naqa and Musawwarat. The pyramids at Meroe are the most impressive in Nubia and the site is very well preserved and restored. The site of Meroe was home to a large population supported by advanced irrigation and a centralised political system. This was high culture, and the area was in its zenith. Roman baths, royal palaces, pyramids and temples all tell the tale of an advanced Egyptian-style civilisation. Today the site is virtually unvisited. Scattered across the sands of the desert are numerous steep pyramids with entrance pylons. The guardian of this Nubian site has been there since 1977 and has probably seen every visitor who has passed through since then. While the mainstream tourists flock to the Egyptian ruins to our north, you will have this remarkable site to yourself. Only a few travellers and one or two tour groups a year come here.
Tonight we aim to bush camp near the temples of Naqa.
Included Activities
  • Guided trip to Meroe Pyramids, Naqa Temple and Musawwarat Temples
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 47 Khartoum
This morning we'll visit the remote temples at Naqa & Musawwarat if we weren't able to the day before. We'll then drive 200 km to the capital, Khartoum.
Tonight we stay in a well-deserved, comfortable hotel.
Khartoum is really two cities: the colonial city of the British and General Gordon on one side of the river, and the sprawling settlements of Omdurman on the other. Here you find one of Africa's most interesting market where souvenir hunters can get some excellent Beja Ben Amer tribal swords. These tribal people are easy to spot. Very tall and distinguished-looking, with the telltale hair and traditional swords slung over the shoulder. Their ancestors played a major role in the Dervish uprisings in the 19th century at the battle of Omdurman. The best place to find out more about this period of Sudanese history is in the Khalifa Museum in Omdurman, near the Mahdi's tomb.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 48 Gedaref
Today is a drive day of approx 400 km to the Gedaref area where tonight we aim to bush camp.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 49-51 Gonder
Today we have a full day drive of approx 400 km and cross the border into Ethiopia to Gonder. Tonight we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
The historic city of Gonder is known as the city of castles and palaces. This was once the capital of Ethiopia in the reign of King Fasilidas who built the first castle. Successive kings added their own castles to the complex. On the outskirts of the town there is also Fasilidas' Bath, which is an interesting building standing in an artificial pool which is still filled for occasional religious ceremonies. At the Debre Berhan Sellassie Church we can see the famous ceiling which is painted with hundreds of faces of angels and hear about the church's fascinating yet violent history.
The following day is free until a group meeting at 6pm where we'll meet any new travellers joining us for the next leg of the trip.
On our third day here we will take a tour of Gonder, enabling us to gain a fascinating insight into ancient times.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary, meet your new fellow travellers, and collect the next part of your kitty.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of Gonder
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 52 Debark
Leaving Gonder behind we travel toward Debark (101 km, approx 4 hours). We will arrive by midday and spend the afternoon arranging our trek into the mountains. The process can take quiet some time as we arrange permits, campsites, scouts and guides.
Standing at the gateway to the Simien Mountains is the town of Debark. Many people pass through here to experience the wonders that these mountains have to offer. With this beauty in its landscape, Debark has some of the most amazing scenery in Ethiopia.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 53-55 Simien Mountains National Park
We will trek for the next two days, the route we take and time we trek each day will be decided by you as a group, it is also possible to spilt in to two groups if need be.
The Simien Mountains are known for their dramatic and spectacular scenery. Jagged mountain peaks flank deep valleys and high altitude plains where only grasses, junipers and giant lobelias grow. This is one of the major mountain regions of Africa, home to mountain Ras Dejen (4543m), the fourth highest peak in the continent. The National Park was created primarily to protect the a type of wild goat - the Walia ibex - and the Gelada baboon and rare Ethiopian wolf are also found here. Standing on top of a sharp precipice and gazing out over the magnificent landscape here will take your breath away, so it's definitely worth taking a bit of time to explore.
In the Simien Mountains we stay for two nights at a campsite.
The following day we will return to Debark for the night.
Included Activities
  • Simien Mountains trek (2 days)
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Day 56 Enda Selassie
Today we have a very long travel day to Aksum (155 km, approx 13 hours). Whilst the distance is not too far the roads in this part of Ethiopia are rough. We may choose to break the journey and stop over in Selassie for the night if the roads are particularly bad.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 57-58 Aksum
Once in Aksum, we take a guided city tour which will take in the main sights of this fascinating town - the site of Ethiopia's oldest city.
Aksum is the site of Ethiopia's oldest city. It has some impressive obelisks carved from single blocks of granite - the tallest still standing is 23 metres high and was probably transported by elephants from a nearby quarry. The scale of the monuments in this stelae field are testament to the enormous importance that the ancient kingdom of Aksum once enjoyed. Close to the town are the ruins of a palace that is said to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba. There is also a complex of several churches, which have been built over the ages around the same site. The most interesting, is a small unimposing building with a green picket fence that holds the crowns of various former Ethiopian emperors and is said to house the original Ark of the Covenant.
In Aksum we stay in a basic hotel.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of Aksum
Optional Activities
  • Church of St Mary of Zion - USD3
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 59 Mekele
It is a full day's journey from Aksum to Mekele (285 km, approx 10-12 hours).
Mekele is a cultural town famous for its churches and desert landscape. Historians date Mekele to be founded in the 13th century and it is a place with a colourful history. Derg The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front Monument is one of the most famous points and can be seen from nearly any place in the town. The palace of King Yohannes IV is a chance to see so much of Mekele's history during the reign of this king. The churches are worth a visit, as they are just beautiful.
Mekele is our base for exploring the intriguing rock-hewn churches of Tigray.
Sculpted into cliff faces or into pre-existing caves, there are at least 120 churches with many of the churches located in groups, referred to as "clusters" the most famous being Gheralta, Takatisfi, Tembien and Atsbi.
Included Activities
  • Tigray Rock-hewn Churches
Optional Activities
  • Debre Damo Monastery (men only) - USD3
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 60 Woldiya
Today we will leave the town of Mekele behind and travel around 270 km (approx 8 hours), where we will bush camp for the night.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 61-63 Lalibela
Today we drive through more remote parts of Ethiopia, en route to Lalibela (175 km, approx 7-8 hours).
Hidden in the hills of northern Ethiopia is the small town of Lalibela. This medieval village has grown up around 13 monolithic churches hewn from rock in the 12th century. It’s an awe-inspiring feat of engineering which must have taken many years and thousands of men to complete. Fortunately the village is underdeveloped as a tourist site and still has its original Ethiopian charm. Each of the churches is unique in design and beautifully carved. Legend has it that King Lalibela completed all the work in 12 days with the help of a band of angels who carved the rocks for him day and night. The church of Asheten Mariam is hidden in the rugged hills behind the village. You may like to trek there on foot or take a mule to this fascinating monastery and enjoy the incredible views on the way.
We walk with a local guide who is able to unlock the fascinating history of both the churches and Lalibela itself.
In Lalibela we stay in a basic hotel.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of rock churches, monastery & visit to local school at Lalibela
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 64-66 Bahir Dar
It is a full day's drive to Bahir Dar (310 km, approx 12 hours) where we have a 3 night stay. Located on the shores of Lake Tana and only a few hundred metres from the source of the mighty Blue Nile, this is a fascinating place.
A few kilometres down the river from Bahir Dar are the spectacular Blue Nile Falls - locally known as Tissisat Falls (literally translating as 'water that smokes'). After walking around the falls, we use local reed boats to cross the river upstream. On the lake itself are a number of monasteries on islands and peninsulas and we take the opportunity to visit two on our boat trip. These churches feature the traditional murals and decoration of the Orthodox Church. We cross the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge which is 1 km deep, taking a couple of hours to drive down to the bottom, cross the river and drive back up the other side.
In Bahir Dar we stay in a basic hotel.
Included Activities
  • Entrance Blue Nile Falls
  • 1/2 Day Lake Tana reed boat trip
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 67 Dejen
We spend a night in Dejen (270 km, approx 6-7 hours).
Dejen is a transit stop en route to Addis, but if as a group we chose to continue on to Addis today and the roads are favourable we will do.
Included Activities
  • Blue Nile Gorge
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 68-69 Addis Ababa
We have a 215 km drive into the capital, Addis Ababa, arriving late afternoon.
Referred to more commonly as "Addis", Addis Ababa lies amongst wooded hills at an altitude of about 2300 metres, giving it a pleasant climate. Addis has many sights to offer visitors. Get a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia's many tribal groups at the Ethnological Museum, see the stunning fossil collection at the National Museum, and don't miss the chaotic bustle of the Merkato (local market). All manner of arts and crafts can be found in the souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue.
Why not take the chance to head to one of the city's many restaurants for the chance to eat some local food and perhaps listen to some traditional music.
Tonight we stay in a comfortable well located hotel with good facilities.
The next two days are free for you to explore the many sights on offer in Addis Ababa. Some suggestions include:
Visit "Lucy" at the National Museum, Addis Ababa
Stroll through the Merkato, one of the largest markets in Africa.
St George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral) built to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians.
Visit Africa Hall - a symbol of African independence and optimism.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary, meet your new fellow travellers, and collect the next part of your kitty.
Optional Activities
  • St George Cathedral - Free
  • National Museum - USD1
  • Merkato - Free
  • Africa Hall - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 70 Addis Ababa
The trip begins with a group meeting at 6pm.
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.
After the meeting, why not take the chance to head to one of the city's many restaurants for the chance to eat some local food and perhaps listen to some traditional music.
Referred to more commonly as "Addis", Addis Ababa lies amongst wooded hills at an altitude of about 2300 metres, giving it a pleasant climate. Addis has many sights to offer visitors. Get a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia's many tribal groups at the Ethnological Museum, see the stunning fossil collection at the National Museum, and don't miss the chaotic bustle of the Merkato (local market). All manner of arts and crafts can be found in the souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 71 Lake Abiyata
This lake is one of the shallowest in the Rift Valley and is a soda lake. Grass and acacia woodlands surround its crystallised white shoreline. The lake is home to vast flocks of flamingos, which from a distance create a pink carpet effect across the lake. This is an excellent place to look for birdlife, as many species come to feed on the prolific algae found in the lake's waters. Usual species include greater and lesser flamingos, white pelicans, white necked cormorants, herons, stocks, ibises, spoonbills and terns. It also has a resident population of fish eagles as well as a few antelope and smaller mammals around the shore.
Leaving the city behind we travel to Lake Abiyata (215 km, approx 5 hours).
Just north of the town of Shashemene are two of the most beautiful of the Rift Valley Lakes, Lake Abiyata and Lake Shala. These two lakes make up the Rift Valley National Park.
We spend tonight in a bush camp right in the midst of this stunning setting and visit Lake Abiyata with a guide.
Included Activities
  • Guided visit of Lake Abiyata
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 72-74 Bale Mountains National Park
From Lake Abiyata we drive on towards the Bale Mountains National Park (250 km, approx. 12-13 hours). We will drive high onto the plateau in search of the Simien fox and, time allowing, you may be able to hire horses and follow the riding trails.
In the Bale Mountains we stay in a lodge.
Bale Mountains National Park is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountain peaks which soar to over 4000 metres in height. As you climb into the hills the terrain changes from forest on the lower slopes through junipers and heather to the exotic moorlands of the plateau, criss-crossed by fast-flowing streams. This beautiful park is home to three species unique to Ethiopia; the Simien red fox, Menelik's bushbuck and the mountain nyala. There are some 200 species of bird within the park including 13 of Ethiopia's 23 endemic species.
Optional Activities
  • Horse/mule trek - USD15
  • Guided hike - USD15
Accommodation
Lodge (3 nts)
Day 75 Wendo Genet
We head back down the mountains and spend the night at Wendo Genet (280 km, approx. 10-12 hours) where we can spend time relaxing in the hot springs. We will camp tonight in the grounds of the Hot Springs Hotel.
Wondo Genet (also known as Wendo Genet) is a resort town in Ethiopia. Located southeast of Shashemene in the Sidama Zone of the Southern Nations. Wondo Genet is known for its hot springs and is surrounded by primary Ethiopian forests. The Wondo Genet hotel was established in 1964, on land used as recreation site for the royal family until 1975. Emperor Haile Selassie bequeathed its name, meaning "Wondo Paradise", in reference to the beautiful panorama with a rich endowment of forests, wildlife and abundant water.
Optional Activities
  • Hot springs - USD5
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 76 Awassa
Today we will head to Awassa to visit the Awassa Children's Project which is an organisation dedicated to housing, feeding, educating, providing health care and AIDS Education to children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
After visiting the project we will stop in Awassa town for shopping before heading back to our camp in Wendo Genet and more time for relaxing in the hot springs.
Awassa (also spelled Hawassa) is a city in Ethiopia, on the shores of Lake Awasa in the Great Rift Valley where fishing is it major local industry. Awassa was capital of the former Sidamo Province from about 1978 until the province was abolished with the adoption of the 1995 Constitution. This city is home to Hawassa University, Awasa Adventist College, and a major market. Important local attractions include the St. Gabriel Church and the Awassa Kenema Stadium.
During our time in Awassa we will visit the Awassa Childrens Project. The Awassa Children's Project (ACP) promotes sensible, culturally responsible relief work aimed at assisting children primarily orphaned by AIDS, educating people in Africa's Sub-Saharan region about AIDS prevention, and offering a proactive and immediate approach towards the resolution of serious health and social issues facing the region. Formed in 2001, ACP supports several organisations in Awassa, Ethiopia: a children’s centre that provides housing, food and education for over 60 children orphaned by AIDS; One Love Theater (OLT), an AIDS education theatre company; and, the Awassa Youth Campus, a community centre in downtown Awassa which features (free to all Awassa children), aikido, sports, tutoring, art, music and a library, among other activities. These organizations continue to grow and dramatically improve the lives of Awassa children and the community in which they live.
For further information on the project please go to
http://www.awassachildrensproject.org/
Included Activities
  • Awassa Children's Project
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 77-78 Arba Minch
The following day we drive to Arba Minch (305 km, approx 7-8 hours).
Meaning 'forty springs', Arba Minch takes its name from the streams found between the two Rift Valley lakes of Abaya and Chamo. The town has stunning views over the lakes and surrounding forested areas, and also has an excellent and vibrant market.
We spend time here to allow exploration of the area. Options include a five-hour boat trip into Lake Chamo National Park to the Crocodile Market.
Lake Chamo National Park is home to what the locals refer to as the 'crocodile market'. This is a place on the shores of the lake where vast numbers of crocs congregate, some of which reach over seven metres in length. The lake is home to the Guji and Ganjule people who traditionally hunt hippos and are famed for their 'ambatch boats', which resemble the boats carved in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians.
For those who prefer a less strenuous day, you can hire bikes and ride around the local area, or perhaps visit the local government-run crocodile farm.
In Arba Minch for two nights we stay in a hotel.
Optional Activities
  • Bicycle hire - USD5
  • Crocodile Farm - USD5
  • Lake Chamo boat trip and Crocodile Market - USD65
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 79-81 Omo Valley Region
In the far south of the country lies the Omo Valley area. We drive down through this remote region (110 km, approx 2-4 hours) to the settlement of Turmi which is our launch point for the Omo Valley. From here we will spend 3 nights and 4 days visiting a combination of markets and small tribal settlements in the surrounding region.
The Omo Valley region is unusual in that it is home to so many different tribes all living very close to one another in such a small area. Anthropologists believe that this is because thousands of years ago this area of Africa acted as a kind of ethnic crossroads, as different groups of people migrated between north, south, east and west.
Exploring the many small communities and settlements here will give you a fascinating insight into the different tribes, their cultures, traditions and way of life. We travel with a local guide, who will be able to introduce us to the Hamer, Arbore and Dascensch tribes, among others. There are also other tribal groupings throughout the area and our guide will point out the different tribes and their customs. Life is distinctly tribal throughout the region, with few modern amenities.
You should be aware we will be travelling through very remote areas where road and sanitary conditions will be rough. We will staying in basic camp sites.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nts)
Days 82-83 Konso
We travel on towards Konso (145 km, approx 5 hours), home to the local Konso people. We will have time to explore the local market and perhaps take a tour of some traditional houses.
In the far south of Ethiopia on the banks of the Sagan river is Konso, gateway to the Omo Valley. The whole way of life in the villages here has changed little over the centuries and old traditions are strongly upheld.
Due to the nature of this route the following day has been allocated in the itinerary as a spare day which will be used where necessary.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 84 Moyale
Today we make our grand entrance to northern Kenya. We travel to the Moyale border (320 km, approx 7-8 hours), where we set up camp.
The market town of Moyale splits the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. There is a nice atmosphere that runs throughout the town and more of this can be discovered through exploring.
Due to security issues in this particular area we will be accompanied by a police escort.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 85 Marsabit
We travel on to Marsabit (265 km, approx 7-9 hours). We will travel through the black lunar landscape and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.
Marsabit lies on the extinct volcano of Mount Marsabit. Surrounded by forests on the hills, it is a contrasting image to the deserts in the background. At the heart of the forest is Lake Paradise. This gorgeous site attracts animals such as elephants and buffaloes to the spot and this and the Bongole Crater create a fascinating location for people all over to come and gaze at the beauty of the town.
Accommodation
Camp site (1 nt)
Days 86-87 Samburu National Reserve
We travel on to Samburu National Reserve (225 km, approx 7-8 hours).
The Samburu region has hardly been touched by tourism and its pristine wilderness is home to a fascinating mix of Kenya's nomadic tribes who still retain their traditional ways of life. These tribes include the Samburu, Rendille, Turkana, and Kalenjin. The Samburu National Reserve is famous for its reticulated giraffes, Grevy's zebras, graceful gerenuks and Beisa oryx, while crocodiles are often seen in the river. You may also see lions or leopards here, if you're lucky.
We'll take a game drive into the park and also visit the Samburu Cultural Centre outside Samburu National Reserve.
Similar in appearance to the Masai but lesser known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community.
The camp is in the heart of the park. Facilities are drop toilets and cold showers.
Included Activities
  • Samburu - Game Drive
  • Visit to Samburu tribal community and cultural project
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Days 88-89 Naro Moru
Leaving the park early this morning, we travel through the fantastic scenery as we travel to the slopes of Mt Kenya. We will spend 2 nights here camping in the grounds of one of the many lodges that are dotted around the area.
You will have the opportunity to explore nearby Ol Pejeta Conservancy (formerly known as Sweetwater Game Reserve) or take the opportunity to explore the lower slopes of Mt Kenya.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy, formally known as the Sweetwaters Game Reserve, is home to an amazingly diverse range of wildlife including the endangered black and white rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Grevy's zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, Thomson's gazelles, black-back jackals, ostriches, Grant's gazelles, baboons, waterbucks, oryx, elands and several hundred bird species. It's also home to over 40 chimpanzees. While not indigenous to the area, the conservancy is the only place you can see wild chimps in Kenya.
Optional Activities
  • Nayaroi caves (Mau Mau) & waterfalls - USD15
  • Nature trails, Naro Moru - USD10
  • Horse riding, Naro Moru - USD15
  • Game drive - USD100
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 90-91 Nakuru National Park
Leaving the mountain early this morning, we travel through the fantastic scenery of the Great Rift Valley to our campsite near to Nakuru town (75 km, approx 1-2 hours).
The following day we head to Nakuru National Park for a game drive in Jeeps.
Lake Nakuru National Park's small and compact area, based around a flamingo-filled lake, makes it a great location for spotting wildlife. Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru harbours many rhinos and will be the best chance to get a great picture of these magnificent beasts.
Included Activities
  • Game Drive, Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Dairy farm visit
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 92 Lake Naivasha
We drive on to our camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha (100 km, approx 1-2 hours), one of the most beautiful of the Great Rift Valley bodies of water, to relax by the lakeside.
One of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha has floating islands of papyrus reeds and a border of flat-topped acacias. It's also home to a healthy population of hippos and a tremendous variety of birds.
There is an option here to take an afternoon boat trip along the scenic shallow waters for a closer look at the hippos.
Our campground has showers and flush toilets.
Included Activities
  • Elsamere Conservation Centre
Optional Activities
  • Big game walking safari - USD40
  • Hippo spotting boat trip - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 93 Nairobi
We drive to Nairobi this morning where we will have a group meeting at 10am and pick up any new travellers joining us for the next leg of the trip.
Nairobi - which takes its name from a Maasai phrase meaning 'place of cool waters' - has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region.
There will be time after the meeting to explore Nairobi before we meet back at the hotel and head off in the truck to our well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen. Tonight there is the option of going out for a group meal.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary, meet your new fellow travellers, and collect the next part of your kitty.
Optional Activities
  • Karen Blixen museum - USD14
  • Bomas of Kenya - USD10
  • National Museum - USD10
  • Carnivore Restaurant - KES2000
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 94 Gilgil
We leave Nairobi early this morning and head north to the small town of Gilgil (approx 185 km). We will first make a stop at the Saida Children's Home project, where we will learn about the work that is being done to help support orphaned children in and around Naivasha and Gilgil.
Saida Children's Home works to improve the lives of AIDS orphans and other disadvantaged children in Gilgil and the surrounding area. As part of our visit we make a direct donation to help fund the project.
After lunch we then make our way to our second project visit at the Kariandusi School Trust project.
Kariandusi School Trust was started with the aim of improving rural schools and the educational opportunities for disadvantaged rural children. We will visit one of the schools and get involved in small construction or learning projects, and meet the children and their families within the local community. We make direct payments for each visit which help to fund the project.
Tonight we will camp close by to one of the schools we are involved with.
Included Activities
  • Saida orphanage visit & donation
  • Kariandusi School Project Visit
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 95 Kericho
This morning we continue our involvement at the Kariandusi School Trust Project before having lunch and heading on to Kericho (approx 150 km).
Tonight we stay at a well equipped campsite with the opportunity of an optional tea plantation tour.
Included Activities
  • Kariandusi School Project Visit
Optional Activities
  • Tea plantation visit - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 96-97 Jinja
Leaving Kenya behind, we cross the border into Uganda as we travel towards its adventure capital - Jinja (approx 360 km).
Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. Located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria, this is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-traveller who wants to do something really worthwhile in a beautiful area.
We base ourselves for two nights at a well equipped campsite with stunning views of the White Nile. It is from here that we can organise optional activities such as white water rafting.
Optional Activities
  • Bungee Jump - USD115
  • White water rafting - USD125
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 98 Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
We head approximately 220 km north of Kampala today to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, close to the town of Nakitoma.
Tonight we will stay at the campsite within the Rhino Sanctuary.
The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was created to reintroduce rhinoceros to Uganda, which had been extinct since 1982. The sanctuary is currently home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda and their goal is to build a sustainable rhino population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat. In addition to the rhino breeding program, Rhino Fund Uganda also runs community engagement and education programs in the surrounding villages.
During our stay one of the trained rangers will introduce you to the sanctuary and provide you with information about the rhinos. Depending on where our rhinos happen to be when we arrive, we will drive to the closest location and then approach the rhinos on foot. You will then have the opportunity to observe the rhinos in their habitat at a very close, and very safe, distance. The tracking excursion lasts on average about 1-2 hours.
Optional Activities
  • Rhino trekking - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 99 Kaniyo Pabidi Forest
Today we spend the morning at the sanctuary where there is the option to go rhino trekking and learn more about the program.
After lunch we head to Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo Forest for an afternoon of chimpanzee trekking. The Kaniyo Pabidi Forest covers an area of about 8 km within the heart of Kichumbanyobo gate of Murchison Falls National Park.
Kaniyo Pabidi is an eco tourism site, which is part of the Budongo Forest Reserve. The terrain is flat, allowing for good on-foot travelling conditions for the average tourist and the campsite is located on the edge of the chimpanzees' home range, significantly diminishing the risk of a long trekking excursion before contact is made with the group. The site is managed by the Jane Goodall Institute, who ensure appropriate development of the site for eco tourism, while ensuring that the chimpanzee communities are not put at risk. All profits from the venture are returned back into the protection of Budongo Forest Reserve.
Tonight we camp at an eco tourism campsite.
Included Activities
  • Chimpanzee trekking
Optional Activities
  • Rhino trekking - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 100-101 Murchison Falls National Park
If we could not all do the trek the day before, the rest will go this morning. Afterwards we'll cross to the north of the river for an afternoon game drive in the delta.
Depending on timing tonight we will either bush camp in the delta or head to an established campsite at Paraa on the southern banks of the Nile, at the heart of the Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda's largest national park, Murchison Falls National Park is named for the dramatic waterfalls which result from the Nile exploding through a narrow gap in the escarpment and plunging 43 metres below. Wildlife populations are healthy, having largely recovered from the poaching of the 1980s, and elephants, buffalo, giraffes and antelopes are regularly seen, while lions are becoming increasingly common.
The next day we head off for another game drive in the morning. After lunch we embark on a launch cruise on the Nile to Murchison Falls - the main attraction of this part of Uganda. After the cruise we meet back with the truck and head to the outskirts of the park to camp at the Murchison River Lodge.
Included Activities
  • Murchison Falls Game Drive
  • Murchison Falls Launch trip
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 102 Bush Camp
It is an early start today as we have a rather long drive ahead of us. We are aiming to get as close to Queen Elizabeth II National Park as possible. Along the way we will find somewhere to camp for the night.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 103 Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today we travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the camp.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George. During our time in the park we hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks.
This afternoon we take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for its birds such as pelicans and eagles, as well as its healthy population of hippos.
Tonight we camp. The campground is basic and has drop toilets and simple showers.
Included Activities
  • Kazinga Channel boat cruise
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 104 Lake Bunyonyi
Today we travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (approx 250 km).
Located in the south-west of Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi - meaning 'place of many little birds' - is home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the country.
If time allows, one of the best ways to admire the landscape is from on the lake itself by hiring a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro). They can be hard to master at first but great fun.
Optional Activities
  • Mokoro hire (per day) - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 105-107 Kigali/Ruhengeri/Gorilla trek
Leaving Uganda behind, we cross the border, entering Rwanda, and travel toward Ruhengeri (approx 220 km), the gateway to the Volcanoes National Park. Along the way we will stop in at the capital, Kigali, where we will organise a visit to the very moving Genocide Memorial.
Ruhengeri is our base for the next three nights, however if all the trekking permits are issued for the group to trek on the same day, we may use our third night to stay in Kigali, in which case the visit to the Genocide Memorial will take place then instead.
We allow two days for gorilla visits as you are assigned a trekking group/time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day, or even over two days, depending on the time of permit issue and group size. There is a maximum group size of eight on each gorilla visit.
This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than eight per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals.
Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid, but the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.
While you are waiting for, or have completed your gorilla visit, your leader will provide you with options and ideas on how you may wish to spend your time in the area around Ruhengeri.
While in Ruhengeri we stay in dormitories at a local church mission.
Included Activities
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial
  • Mountain gorilla trek & permit
Optional Activities
  • Venge Village walk - USD20
Accommodation
Hostel (3 nts)
Day 108 Lake Mburo National Park
Today we travel to the border with Uganda where we will complete the border formalities. Please check before travelling whether you need a multi-entry visa. We will then head to Lake Mburo (approx 420 km).
Tonight we will camp on the shores of the lake at a stunning location surrounded by wildlife. While tonight's campground is beautifully located, it is very basic, with drop toilets and basic showers.
The flora of Lake Mburo National Park is acacia woodland, different to most other parks in East Africa, which means its fauna is also different to other reserves. It's the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope and has about 68 different species of mammals including zebras, impalas, buffalo, leopards, hyenas and jackals. There are five lakes within the park which are home to hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds, while the papyrus swamps provide cover for the sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek. This small park is less well-known among tourists so it's much quieter than some of the more famous East African parks.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 109 Jinja
Before breakfast today we have a two-hour guided walking safari through the Lake Mburo National Park, allowing us to see some of the animals and the spectacular birdlife. After breakfast we travel from Lake Mburo to Jinja, via Kampala, stopping at the equator.
We camp tonight at a scenic riverside retreat with showers and flush toilets.
Included Activities
  • Guided walk
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 110 Eldoret
Today we leave Uganda behind as we head back over the border into Kenya, and to the cheese town of Eldoret.
One of Kenya's fastest growing towns, Eldoret is home to some of Kenya's most famous runners due to its high altitude.
We stay tonight at the Naiberi River campsite. It is created on a hilly tribal land which was once home to members of the ancient Sirikwa tribe. Preserved on the site are excavations with stone sides, commonly called Sirikwa holes, which are believed to have been roofed and occupied by the inhabitants of the time. The campsite is Indian owned so tonight we will feast on an included Indian banquet.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 111 Nakuru National Park
After breakfast we make our way to Nakuru, approximately 200 km from Eldoret.
Lake Nakuru National Park's small and compact area, based around a flamingo-filled lake, makes it a great location for spotting wildlife. Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru harbours many rhinos and will be the best chance to get a great picture of these magnificent beasts.
Tonight we will stay at a beautiful campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Nakuru town. Depending on what time we arrive we may have the option of a farm visit.
Included Activities
  • Game Drive, Lake Nakuru National Park
Optional Activities
  • Dairy farm visit - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 112-113 Nairobi
We are up very early this morning as we head out in safari vehicles for an early morning game drive of Nakuru National Park. After lunch the truck will meet us again and we'll head back to our campsite in Nairobi, arriving early evening.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (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.
      You'll need to be fit enough to trek to the location of your family of mountain gorillas. This may involve up to 5 hours of walking up and down hills, in hot and humid conditions and through tropical (and at times thick) foliage. There may be mud underfoot which will make the trekking slippery. You'll be expected to carry your own personal needs for this trek including water and a rain jacket as well as your camera equipment.
      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.
      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 (West Africa)/US dollars (East/Southern Africa) 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 USD3630.00 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.
      SHOPPING:
      There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. Popular purchases include: gold and silver jewellery, perfume and Pyrex perfume bottles, essential oils, papyrus art, alabaster statues and silver including cartouches (hieroglyphics).
      While we do not make arrangements for specific shopping excursions due to our passengers feedback, there may be opportunities where your local guides can offer services if you are particularly interested. Please note it's customary for local guides (not Intrepid group leaders) to accept commission from the factory or shop in exchange for their service.
      You are under no obligation to purchase anything from local guides and we do encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.
      Please note that in Egypt, silver is a common souvenir in the form of jewellery and other items. The silver in Egypt is generally stamped with '800' meaning that it's 80% silver and 20% other metal. This is a reduced quality to the silver you may be more familiar with which is '925'.
      In Morocco some services and products are not a fixed price which means that your bartering skills will be tested from hiring taxis to buying a souvenir in the Medina. This can be challenging for those who have not experienced this before. Often the best approach is to smile and have fun as this is an entrenched part of Moroccan culture.
      Many travellers when coming to Morocco are interested in purchasing a carpet - they are colourful, good quality and inexpensive when compared to home. However, be aware that Moroccan carpet salesmen are experts in their field and unwary shoppers can end up paying more than they bargained for. If you are interested in purchasing carpets talk with you group leader about bargaining tactics.
      Money Exchange
      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.
      MOROCCO
      The official currency of Morocco is Dirham (MAD).
      Moroccan Dirhams cannot be purchased outside of Morocco, but it is easy to get cash on arrival.
      The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is by Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Check with your bank for information on international fees. There are now ATMs (which accept both Visa and MasterCard) throughout all Moroccan cities.
      There are few problems changing money. There are many banks, all operating with equal exchange rates, and without commission. Cash in EUR, GBP and USD dollars are favoured for exchange. Please note that Australian Dollars (AUD) are not accepted in Morocco.
      Travellers' cheques are not recommended in Morocco. While some banks and 5 star hotels will change travellers' cheques this is rare and the process is very time consuming, and commissions can be high (up to 10%).
      For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothing.
      EGYPT
      The official currency of Egypt is Egyptian Pounds (EGP).
      It's easy to get money when you arrive at the airport through money exchange or from the ATM. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all the main cities. Check with your bank for information on international ATM fees.
      When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
      We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money at the many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in USD, EUR and GBP are the easiest to exchange.
      Occasionally banks will allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this.
      While some banks and five-star hotels will change travellers cheques, the process is time consuming, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in USD, EUR or GBP. Traveller's cheques are not recommended in the Middle East.
      SUDAN:
      The official currency of Sudan is Sudanese Pounds (SDG). Cash is recommended over credit cards, and there are only limited ATM facilities in Khartoum. Money should be exchanged only at official exchange bureax and banks, and make sure you retain your receipts. There are severe penalties for changing money on the black market. USD and EUR are easiest to exchange, although GBP can also be exchanged in Khartoum.Traveller's cheques are not recommended.
      ETHIOPIA
      The official currency of Ethiopia is the Birr (ETB). There are some ATMs which accept international Visa cards in the major cities. Check with your bank for information on international ATM fees. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money at the many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in USD are the easiest to exchange, although EUR can also often be exchanged. Traveller's cheques are not recommended and while some banks and five-star hotels will change travellers cheques, the process is time consuming, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays.
      KENYA
      The official currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES).
      RWANDA
      The official currency of Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF).
      UGANDA
      The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).
      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 provided 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.
      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
      Your crew: Tipping is entirely voluntary. The 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 crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person
      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.
      GORILLA PERMITS:
      Gorilla Permits need to be bought in advance. In order to secure them, an additional non-refundable deposit of ( AUD1000, USD1000, EUR800, NZD1250, GBP650, CAD1000, ZAR8000, CHF900 ) is needed to secure the permit at time of booking. We also require full passport details at time of booking. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 90 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking. Full kitty payment is applicable on Day 1 of the trip.
      RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL 2014:
      In 2014, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 27 June through until 27 July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.
      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) (44 nts), Hotel (35 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (18 nts), Hostel (5 nts), Lodge (4 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Camp site (1 nt), Overnight ferry (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.
      HEATING:
      Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers, which are a pleasure for most of the year. Air-conditioning systems (if available) don't always function.
      Meals introduction
      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
      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
      66 Breakfasts, 66 Lunches, 66 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 1500.00
      By travelling on an Overland trip you have chosen a participation camping tour. This means that you will be helping your cook prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping.
      Your cook (East Africa only) 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.
      A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal, something hot such as eggs or pancakes, as well as tea and coffee. Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometimes with fruit to follow. There may be a chance on occasion to buy your lunch. Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as ugali and stew.
      On the more remote sections of your trip (for example in West Africa & North Africa), your food and diet will be dependent on what is available locally as well as tinned and dry ingredients.
      One thing is sure - you definitely won't go hungry or lose weight on your safari! When you aren't camping you will have the freedom to decide where, what and with whom you eat.
      Transport
      Overland vehicle, Ferry, Plane
      SECURITY WHILE TRAVELLING:
      Occasionally you may experience armed security and convoys between select towns or regions. Convoys are used to ensure all travellers are transported safely and, in many cases, tourists are only allowed to travel in scheduled convoys of buses and jeeps. On rare occasions you may have an armed guard in your vehicle. We want to warn you so you are not alarmed. This is a practice designed to keep tourists safe, although at times it can appear a little overboard.
      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
      Hotel Guynemer
      2, Rue Mohamed Belloul (Ex Pegoud)
      Centre Ville
      Casablanca
      MOROCCO
      Phone: 212 52227 5764
      Joining point description
      Hotel Guynemer is centrally located approx 5mins walk from Place Mohammed V. The hotel consists of 29 rooms all with en-suite bathrooms, A/C, telephone & TV. The restaurant downstairs serves both Moroccan and International cuisine. There is internet access available for guests in the lobby.
      Breakfast is not included, but available for purchase at the hotel for a fixed price for Intrepid passengers - 20 MAD per person.
      Please note that any day tours and activities that are offered to you by the start-point hotel are not run through Intrepid, but are the hotels own tours. Intrepid does not guarantee the quality or value of these tours.
      Joining point instructions
      Taxis are easy to locate from outside the airport for the 25 kilometre journey into Casablanca city centre. The Taxis are large Mercedes vehicles and have no meter. You need to agree on the price before you get in! The rate is MAD 250 (EUR 25) during daylight hours and MAD 300 after 8.00pm
      Alternatively take a local train from the airport into the central station (Casablanca Voyageurs) and then take a taxi to the hotel. Trains run every hour from 6.00am until 10.00pm, take 35mins and cost MAD 30. From Casablanca Voyageurs Station take a Petit taxi to the hotel. You will have to negotiate the taxi fare before getting in! Aim to pay MAD 25.
      The hotel is well known and located in the centre of town, a few streets away from Place du 16 Novembre. Don't believe any taxi driver that tries to tell you that it is closed or full.
      If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer through Intrepid you will be met in the arrivals hall once you clear immigration. Look for a sign with Intrepid and your name.
      If for any reason you should not make contact with the transfer officer please locate a public phone in the airport and call one of the following numbers:
      Vendome Transport Touristique office: 05222 77619
      Mustafa mob: 06625 09741
      Rachid mob: 06675 23535
      If you are calling from abroad you will need to add the Morocco international prefix of '+212' and drop the first '0' from the above numbers. On contacting one of the above you will receive advice / directions on where to find your transfer representative and be attended to promptly.
      Intrepid's Morocco / Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693
      In the unlikely event that this process fails, make your own way to the hotel (using the information above) and inform your Group Leader of this event.
      If your flight is going to be delayed or cancelled please try to call in advance on the above numbers to explain the situation and advise alternative flight details.
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
      Finish point
      Kivi Milimani Hotel
      Milimani Road
      Milimani
      Nairobi
      100
      KENYA
      Phone: +254 735491064
      Finish point instructions
      It's possible to book a taxi to the airport via our hotel - please enquire at the reception. The price will be approximately US$20 in Kenyan shillings.
      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.
      SCANNED PASSPORT COPY:
      Please note that in order to confirm your booking on this trip we will require a scanned copy of your passport at time of booking.
      MOROCCO:
      Australia: No - Not required
      Belgium: No - Not required
      Canada: No - Not required
      Germany: No - Not required
      Ireland: No - Not required
      Netherlands: No - Not required
      New Zealand: No - Not required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
      Switzerland: No - Not required
      UK: No - Not required
      USA: No - Not required
      Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months.
      EGYPT:
      Australia: Yes - on arrival
      Belgium: Yes - on arrival
      Canada: Yes - on arrival
      Germany: Yes - on arrival
      Ireland: Yes - required in advance
      Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
      New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
      South Africa: Yes - required in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
      United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
      USA: Yes - on arrival
      Visas are easily attainable on arrival at Cairo airport or Aqaba ferry port for most nationalities for US$15 to be paid in cash, but please check with your travel agent or embassy before departure. On arrival to Cairo airport you buy your visa at any of the banks before proceeding to immigration. You will be given a stamp that you then need to put into your passport yourself. A single entry visa is valid for three months from date of issue and entitles the bearer to one month in Egypt. Multiple entry visas are not available at the airport or any border crossings.
      SUDAN - LONG COMBINATION TRIP SOUTHBOUND::
      The process of obtaining a Sudanese visa can be a complicated one so it is vital that you read the following information thoroughly.
      All nationalities require a visa to enter Sudan. All nationalities must check with their respective embassies. If possible it is preferable that you obtain this visa in advance of your trip, however the whole process of obtaining a Sudan visa before travel can take up to 8 weeks.
      For US citizens please visit the Embassy of Sudan in Washington on details of how to apply for the tourist visa www.sudanembassy.org
      For UK citizens please visit the Embassy of Sudan in London for details on how to apply for the tourist visa http://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk
      For Australian citizens please visit the following website for details of your closest Sudan Mission http://protocol.dfat.gov.au/Mission/list.rails
      HERE ARE YOUR OPTIONS IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO OBTAIN YOUR VISA BEFORE TRAVEL: -
      For all nationalities except US citizens you can obtain the Sudan visa in Aswan although the process is time consuming and information can change suddenly (we therefore recommend all nationalities obtain Sudan visas in advance). They cost up to $150USD and take 1-2 days. You must have already obtained your Ethiopian visa and if you are flying out of Khartoum then you must have proof of exit such as your flight ticket.
      You will also need to obtain a letter of approval from your respective Embassy/Consulate in Cairo to vouch for your identity and there may be a charge for this letter. For British Nationals your tour leader will already have a copy of this for you.
      You will need approx. 6 passport photos for the visa.
      For US citizens unable to obtain the tourist visa before travel you can obtain this in either Cairo or Aswan. All Applications must first be presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Sudan by one of the following:
      • A Sponsor (Relatives or Friends in Sudan)
      • A Sponsoring Company based in Sudan
      • Business partner based in Sudan
      • A Hotel or Travel Agency based in Sudan. Please visit www.sudan.net for the list of hotels and travel agencies who can assist with the visa application process.
      Once accepted your authorisation will be sent to either Cairo or Aswan depending on where you have instructed.
      PLEASE NOTE: Due to the process of authorisation being controlled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sudan Dragoman and Intrepid will not become involved in any way in the authorisation process.
      REGISTRATION IN SUDAN:
      Everyone is required to register with the Aliens Department within three days of your arrival in the country (2 passport size photos are needed and the fee is the Sudanese Pound equivalent of around £35). Once registered, you are not required to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. You are required to pay US$20 per person airport tax.
      ETHIOPIA:
      Most nationalities require a visa for entry to Ethiopia. Please see this website to find your closest embassy or consulate: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Ethiopia. If you are flying into Addis Ababa you can obtain a visa on arrival. You'll need two passport photos and approximately US$40. You may be asked for proof of a return ticket - please carry your tour notes as proof that you are leaving overland. If you are entering at any border other than Addis Ababa airport you MUST obtain your visa in advance.
      KENYA - overland from Ethiopia:
      Kenyan visas can be obtained by most nationalities on arrival at the Moyale border crossing. The cost is approximately US$25. Kenyan visas are required by most nationalities, including the EU, US and Australia. If you plan to purchase your visa on arrival you'll need new (post-2003), clean US dollars cash. Currently you don't require a multi-entry visa between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda due to an agreement between the three countries (eg. if you exit Kenya to Tanzania you can re-enter Kenya on the same visa). If your trip visits Rwanda and re-enters Kenya you may require a double entry visa to Kenya, depending on the border guard on the day. This can easily be purchased at the border if required.
      RWANDA:
      Visas are required by all nationalities and need to be obtained in advance. You can apply for this visa online at www.migration.gov.rw.
      You'll need to apply for an Entry Visa on their website (Services tab, Visa) which should take approx 2-5 days to come through. You must print this Entry Facility out to present at the border.
      If you are asked to provide an address in Rwanda on your visa form, please use the address below -
      Centre Pastoral Notre Dame De Fatima
      Avenue de la Nutrition
      Ruhengeri, Rwanda
      Supporting Documents may also be required - the embassy will contact you if they require these.
      The visa costs approx US$60 payable on the border with the exception of USA, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Sweden, Singapore, nationals where the visa is free of charge.
      Note: Rwanda is constantly updating its visa information; therefore we recommended that you check the website carefully for the latest up to date information www.migration.gov.rw
      UGANDA:
      Visas are required by most nationalities, including the EU, US and Australia. Visas are available at point of entry to most nationalities. Some nationalities are required to obtain visas in advance - you MUST check before departure. If you plan to purchase your visas on arrival, you will need new (post 2003), clean American dollars cash and the cost is around US$50. When on one of our gorilla itineraries visiting Rwanda, you may require a double entry visa to Uganda. This is dependent on the border guard of the day and can be easily purchased on re entry from Rwanda for nationalities which qualify for visa on arrival. Please allow US$50.
      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.
      PASSPORT PHOTOCOPIES:
      Please bring two (2) copies of your passport. These may be used to assist with hotel check-in, and sometimes at road security points.
      STUDENT CARDS:
      If you are a student and can produce a valid student card you will be able to get discounted rates at some of the historical sites. Entrance prices are clearly posted at the ticket booth entry points.
      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.
      ETHIOPIA:
      Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.
      Dengue fever is a known risk in parts of this country. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
      Malaria exists in all areas of Ethiopia below 1800m and it is recommended that you consult your doctor about malaria preventative medication.
      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.
      HENNA TATTOOS:
      Henna tattoos are commonplace in Morocco. You should be aware that some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause a painful allergic reaction, including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.
      ASTHMA:
      For some travellers, the Sahara sands can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma even occasionally, we recommend you bring your medication as it can not be administered by your group leader and may not be readily available while you are travelling.
      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:
      DFAT WARNING
      When booking this tour we ask you to consider that it travels to areas which are currently classified by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) at a Level 5, "do not travel". While there are many reasons for an adverse travel warning and not all National Governments classify these reasons to the same degree, travelling in spite of a warning is a serious decision and we strongly advise you to consider the potential ramifications to you and your family before booking. We also recommend that you check before departure that your travel insurance is valid for travel in these regions. 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 advices please log on to
      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.
      SCAMS:
      When walking through touristy areas of cities you may be approached by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or take you to a local spice shop. They will either ask to be your local guide for the day or expect money when you arrive at your destination. Please note these people are not registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you (or 'la Shukran') should suffice.
      MOROCCAN TAGINES:
      Moroccan ceramic tagines bought in the souks or other shops in Morocco may contain high levels of lead. We strongly recommend you have any tagine you buy in Morocco tested before cooking with it or buy for decorative purposes only.
      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 are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
      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 3279.00 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.