Nairobi to Addis and Gorillas Trip Notes

Travel to Africa and visit the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi and the castles and palaces of Gonder as well as game driving through national parks in search of wildlife, and discovering traditional African villages.

    • 66
    • YDOVC
    • Trip Price tool tip
      USD $4,895
      CAD $4,995
      AUD $5,100
      EUR €3,725
      GBP £3,050
      NZD $6,045
      ZAR R46,395
      CHF FR4,370
    • Kitty tool tip
      USD $2,790
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $7,595*
      CAD $7,920*
      AUD $8,084*
      EUR €5,698*
      GBP £4,838*
      NZD $9,239*
      ZAR R75,106*
      CHF FR6,759*
      *
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    • Overland, Wildlife
    • Basix
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‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
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Last Modified: 24 Oct 2014
Nairobi to Addis and Gorillas
Trip code: YDOVC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2015
Travel to Africa and explore Ethiopia before heading on an overland tour through the continent in search of Africa's Big Five and the illusive mountain gorilla. Admire the castles and palaces of Gonder and visit the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi as well as game driving through national parks and discovering traditional African tribal villages in the Omo Valley. With the perfect combination of natural beauty and rich African culture and tradition, this is the perfect African vacation.
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 funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Physical preparationTransportResponsible Travel
Included activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
KittyJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
TippingFinish point
Departure taxEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Map
Nairobi to Addis and Gorillas
Itinerary
Day 1 Nairobi
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya.
The trip begins with a group meeting at 10am.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your kitty, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
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.
If you arrive early, you can head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.
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.
Optional Activities
  • Karen Blixen museum - USD14
  • Bomas of Kenya - USD12
  • National Museum - USD10
  • Carnivore Restaurant - KES3500
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 2 Nakuru National Park
After breakfast we make our way to Nakuru, approximately 160 km from Nairobi. Tonight we stay at a beautiful campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Nakuru Town, and depending on what time we arrive, there may be the option of a farm visit.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Kericho
This morning we rake a morning game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park 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
  • Game Drive, Lake Nakuru National Park
Optional Activities
  • Tea plantation visit - Free
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 4-5 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 6 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 7 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 8-9 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 10 Kampala
We set off early today as we have a rather long drive day ahead of us through to Kampala.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 11 Lake Mburo National Park
This morning we make our way towards Lake Mburo visiting the equator line en route.
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.
In the afternoon take a walking safari.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 12 Lake Bunyonyi
Today we travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (approx 250 km).
( In wet weather we may opt to head to Kabale instead of Lake Bunyoni.)
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.
( *Please note that due to security concerns on the road to Lake Bunyonyi, we will currently not be able to bring our truck here and will instead stay at a well-equipped campsite in Kabale. The decision to go or not will be entirely at the discretion of your tour leader and the Dragoman head office, and will be based on the latest safety advice from local operators - if we cannot bring the truck, it may still be possible to visit the lake as a day trip from Kabale in smaller local vehicles. The leader will be able to provide further information*)
Optional Activities
  • Mokoro hire (per day) - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 13-14 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 two nights.
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
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nts)
Day 15 Kabale
This morning we have some free time for optional activities before we make our towards Kabale this afternoon.
We exit Rwanda and enter back into Uganda through Cyanika.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 16 Queen Elizabeth National Park
Make our way towards Queen Elizabeth National Park this morning.
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 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.
Optional Activities
  • Kazinga Channel boat cruise - USD30
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 17 Mbarara
There is free time this morning to take an optional game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Later today we make tracks to Mbarara.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 18 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 to Jinja.
We camp tonight at a scenic riverside retreat with showers and flush toilets.
Included Activities
  • Guided walk
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 19-21 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.
Optional Activities
  • Karen Blixen museum - USD14
  • Carnivore Restaurant - KES3500
  • Nairobi National Park safari walk - USD30
  • Bomas of Kenya - USD12
  • National Museum - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Day 20 Nairobi
Make tracks back to Nairobi where we will spend the next two nights before continuing on the rest of this adventure.
Included Activities
  • Game Drive, Lake Nakuru National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 22 Lake Naivasha
This morning we depart for our camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha (140 km, approx 4 hours), one of the most beautiful of the Great Rift Valley bodies of water.
Our campground has showers and flush toilets.
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.
Included Activities
  • Elsamere Conservation Centre
Optional Activities
  • Big game walking safari - USD40
  • Hippo spotting boat trip - USD20
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 23-24 Lake Nakuru
We have the morning free to explore a little more before departing for our campsite near Nakuru town (120 km, approx 2-3 hours).
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.
The following day we head into Nakuru National Park for a game drive in jeeps.
Included Activities
  • Game Drive, Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Dairy farm visit
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 25 Mt Kenya/Naro Moru
Leaving the park early this morning we travel through fantastic scenery as we travel to the slopes of Mt Kenya, spending the night in the grounds of one of the many lodges that are dotted around the area.
We might choose to utilise one of our spare days here to explore nearby Sweet Water Game Sanctuary, or take the opportunity to explore the lower slopes of Mt Kenya.
Optional Activities
  • Nayaroi caves (Mau Mau) & waterfalls - USD15
  • Nature trails, Naro Moru - USD10
  • Horse riding, Naro Moru - USD15
  • Game drive - USD100
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 26-27 Samburu National Reserve
We travel on to Samburu National Reserve (140 km, approx 4-5 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.
Here we 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.
Our camp is in the heart of the park. Facilities are drop toilets and cold showers.
Included Activities
  • Samburu community activities
  • Visit to Samburu tribal community and cultural project
  • Samburu - Game Drive
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 28-29 Marsabit/Moyale
Today we travel on to Marsabit (240 km, approx 6-7 hours). We'll travel through the black lunar landscape and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, water courses, 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.
The next day we cross the border into Ethiopia and the border town of Moyale (265 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 basic facilities) (1 nt), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 30 Konso
We have a full day of travel on towards Konso (330 km, approx 7-8 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.
The follow day is a spare day, either being spent in the Konso or travelling on towards the Omo Valley. You will decide this as a group.
Included Activities
  • Konso Market
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 31-33 Omo Valley
In the far south of the country lies the Omo Valley area. We drive down through this remote region (145 km, approx 5-6 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.
Included Activities
  • Guided excursions to tribal markets and villages
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nts)
Days 34-35 Arba Minch
The following day we drive to Arba Minch (110 km, approx 2-3 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 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.
Optional Activities
  • Crocodile Farm - USD5
  • Lake Chamo boat trip and Crocodile Market - USD65
  • Bicycle hire - USD5
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 36-37 Wendo Genet/Awasa
We head back down from the mountains and spend the night at Wendo Genet en route to Arba Minch (280 km, approx 10-12 hours) where we spend time relaxing in the hot springs. Tonight we camp in the grounds of the Hot Spring 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.
Wendo Genet is located approximately 35 km from the town of Awasa, on the shores of Lake Awasa.
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/
After visiting the project we will stop in Awasa town for shopping before heading back to our camp in Wendo Genet and more time for relaxing in the hot springs.
Included Activities
  • Awassa Children's Project
Optional Activities
  • Hot springs - USD5
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 38-40 Bale Mountain National Park
Leaving Wendo Genet we drive on towards the Bale Mountains National Park (280 km, approx 10-11 hours). We'll 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.
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.
Included Activities
  • Driving and game excursions
Optional Activities
  • Horse/mule trek - USD15
Accommodation
Lodge (3 nts)
Days 41-42 Lake Ziway
North of the town of Shashemene is the beautiful Lake Ziway.
We will stay at Lake Ziway for 2 nights during which time we will take a boat tour across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island for a guided tour.
Included Activities
  • Lake Ziwa Boat trip
  • Tulu Gudo Island Guided tour
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 43-44 Addis Ababa
We travel from Lake Abiyata to Addis Ababa (215 km, approx 5-6 hours).
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 and try some local food and perhaps hear some traditional music.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • St George Cathedral - Free
  • Africa Hall - Free
  • Merkato - Free
  • National Museum - USD1
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 45 Itinerary
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 46 Dejen
We spend a night in Dejen (260 km, approx 7-8 hours), visiting the Blue Nile Gorge en route.
We cross the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge, which is 1 km deep, take a couple of hours to drive down to the bottom, cross the river, and drive back up the other side.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 47-49 Bahir Dar
Today we travel on to Bahir Dar (270 km, approx. 6-7 hours), located on the shores of Lake Tana and only a few hundred metres from the source of the mighty Blue Nile.
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 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.
Included Activities
  • 1/2 Day Lake Tana boat trip
  • Entrance Blue Nile Falls
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 50-52 Lalibela
A full day journey of 310 km takes us to the medieval town of Lalibela where we stay for three nights in a friendly local hotel.
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.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of rock churches & monastery
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 53 Bush Camp
Leaving the town behind, we travel around 170 km (approx 7-8 hours) before bushcamping for the night.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 54 Mekele
From our bush camp it is a full day's journey to Mekele (266 km, approx 8-9 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 the 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
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 55-56 Aksum
It is a full day's journey from Mekele to Aksum (300 km, approx 8-9 hours).
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.
We'll take a guided city tour, which will take in the main sights of this fascinating town.
Included Activities
  • Guided tour of Aksum
  • Palace and church ruins
Optional Activities
  • Church of St Mary of Zion - USD3
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 57 Enda Selassie
Leaving Aksum behind we travel toward Debark (255 km, approx 13 hours). It is a very long travel day to Debark as while 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)
Day 58 Debark
Once in Debark we set to arranging our trek into the mountains. The process can take quite 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 59-61 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 adventurous may choose to hire mules to trek even further in search of klipspringer, Walia ibex or the gelada baboon and perhaps if you are lucky a glimpse of an endangered Simien fox.
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 return to Debark for the night.
Included Activities
  • Simien Mountains trek (2 days)
  • Entrance Simien Mountains National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 62-63 Gonder
Leaving the mountains behind, we travel on to Gonder (100 km, approx 4-5 hours). We spend two nights in Gonder at a small pension.
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.
On our second day here we'll take a tour where we gain a fascinating insight into ancient times.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Church of Debre Berhan Sellassie
  • Castle Complex and Fasilidas' Bath
  • Guided tour of Gonder
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 64 Mersa
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 65 Debra Birhan
Make our way to Debra Birhan where will spend the night in a bush camp.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 66 Addis
This morning we make our way to Addis. No accommodation is provided this evening.
      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 all included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases.This Kitty price indicated on the trip notes below is indicative only. Please refer to the 'Check availability' page on the 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.
      You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars 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.
      As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only. Follow the link below to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
      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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
      Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
      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.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
      The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
      At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
      Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
      Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
      Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
      Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
      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 65 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.
      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 accommodation (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) (33 nts), Hotel (17 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (7 nts), Lodge (3 nts), Hostel (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
      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 hostels or hotels. Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hostel or hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hostel and 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. On some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, which allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
      Please note that camping is participatory, which means you will be expected to set-up and pack down your own tent.
      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.
      On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple!
      If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
      Meals
      All meals when camping
      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 650.00
      Transport
      Overland vehicle
      There are many long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience which is right for you.
      African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.
      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
      Kivi Milimani Hotel
      Milimani Road
      Milimani
      Nairobi
      100
      KENYA
      Phone: +254 735491064
      Joining point description
      The Kivi Milimani hotel is very simple but clean, comfortable and safe. All rooms have en suite with hot water. The hotel's surroundings are lovely with a pool area perfect for relaxing and groovy retro (but original!) 70's bar and restaurant.
      Joining point instructions
      There is a taxi stand outside the airport building. A taxi should cost approximately US$20, and must be paid in Kenyan Shillings.
      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.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Addis Ababa
      Addis Ababa
      ETHIOPIA
      Emergency contact
      Dragoman have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
      If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.
      Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
      For further contact details please use the following page:
      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.
      EAST AFRICA TOURIST VISA:
      Effective 20 February, 2014, The East Africa Tourist Visa will allow travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with the same multiple entry visa. The visa can be issued at any of the diplomatic representations of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, at the immigration offices of the respective countries, or on line where applicable. The East Africa Tourist Visa is multiple entry visa and is be valid for 90 days.
      Rwanda
      For those beginning their trip in Rwanda, you can apply through the Rwanda Online Visa Application System. Under "Type of Visa" select "East Africa Tourist Visa." For more information contact your local Rwanda embassy.
      Kenya
      For those beginning their trip in Kenya, you can find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Kenya embassy's website.
      Uganda
      For those beginning their trip in Uganda, you can find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Uganda embassy's website.
      The visa costs US$100.
      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).
      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: length 20 inches, height 9.5 inches and depth 26.5 inches. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
      CAMPING EQUIPMENT / MATTRESS:
      A sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. If you're travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Pillows are NOT provided so please bring a travel pillow along.
      We don't provide a mattress so please bring your own (a Thermarest / inflatable mattress is recommended).
      A simple plastic bag / waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.
      CLOTHING:
      You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
      BATTERIES/POWER:
      Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
      VALUABLES:
      Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
      We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      YELLOW FEVER:
      A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
      It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
      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.
      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:
      TRAVEL ADVISORY:
      Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:
      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.
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Responsible Travel projects
      Organisations and projects currently supported in Kenya include:
      * New Hope Children's Centre aims to assist the less fortunate in society and give them hope. The centre currently caters for 170 children, both boys and girls, from many parts of Kenya: 130 are residents and 40 live with their grandmothers, with New Hope paying for their school fees and assisting with clothing where necessary.
      * Saidia Children's Home first opened its doors in 2004 with just five children in a disused and near derelict college building. They now have their own building and land, which is home to about fifty children. Their aim is to improve the lives of AIDS orphans and other disadvantaged children in Gilgil and the surrounding area, ultimately by creating projects that will become independent of outside aid.
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 1857.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
      Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.