Casablanca to Accra Trip Notes

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Last Modified: 22 Aug 2012
Casablanca to Accra
Trip code: XDOWC
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Get the most out of a trip to the diverse African continent with Intrepid Travel. Depart from the bustling metropolis of Casablanca and head through the African countryside, stopping at all the highlights on the way! Marvel at the sheer size of Todra Gorge, learn the traditional way of life in the remote villages of the Mandingue people, search for the Big Five in national parks and bargain your way through colourful, energetic souqs.
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
StyleDeparture taxEmergency funds
ThemesImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerSingle travellersHealth
Culture shock rating AccommodationSafety
Physical ratingMeals introductionTravel insurance
Physical preparationMealsResponsible Travel
Included activitiesTransportA couple of rules
KittyGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingEmergency 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
Map
Casablanca to Accra
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
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
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 Dakar
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 Dakar depending on flight times and availability.
Day 22 Dakar
No ngoolu daa! Welcome to Senegal!
There will be a group meeting at 10am to meet the leader and any new travellers for the next leg of your trip.
You know when you've arrived in Dakar. Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital bursts with life. This is a city of busy streets, noisy markets, noisy, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife; at first it can seem chaotic but embrace the rhythms of Dakar life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here. In terms of conventional sightseeing, the beautiful Ile de Goree is certainly worth a visit, the bustling centre of the slave trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
If you're interested in West Africa culture you should also seek out the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum, which has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the region. Or you may prefer to just wander the streets, browsing the markets and soaking up the atmosphere. Dakar also has a lively arts scene and you should be able to find some great live music here, there are venues all over the city and regular music and film festivals.
We stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 23-24 St Louis
From Dakar to St Louis should take us around 6-8 hours (300 km), where we make our base for exploring the Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie.
St. Louis is a colonial French town with an unusual setting and relaxed atmosphere, which make it very popular with travellers.
The old town is located on a small island only 400m wide in the mouth of the Senegal River, although development in recent
years means that the city now spreads out onto the mainland and the neighbouring "Langue de Barbarie", a narrow spit of sand. The 'Langue" is well known for its wildlife, particularly pelicans and flamingos, which make it a haven for ornithologists.
We stay in a campsite just outside of the city near the beach.
Optional Activities
  • Entrance to Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie - USD10
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 25-26 Palmarin
We travel further into Senegal and on to the small town of Palmarin (350 km, approx 8-10 hours) where we spend the next 2 nights at a beach campsite with a pool.
Included Activities
  • Pirogue Trip
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 27-28 Kiang West National Park
Included Activities
  • Entrance into Kiang West National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 29 Basse Santu-Su
A 250 km drive through the heart of western Gambia brings us towards the Senegalese border and to a lovely but basic campsite at Basse Santu-Su.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 30-31 Niokolo-Koba National Park
A 230 km drive brings us back into Senegal and to Niokolo-Koba National Park, the largest National Park in Senegal. Here we have two days' guided exploration.
These nights we stay at a campsite in the grounds of a hotel.
Created in 1954 and the largest of Senegal's six national parks, the dry forests and savannahs of Niokolo-Koba National Park are home to an impressive array of flora and fauna. Sitting along the upper stretches of the Gambian River, nearly 200 different
species can be found here, including over 11,000 buffaloes and 6000 hippos. It's also an important habitat for birdlife, as the fertile river banks provide a vital over-wintering area for migratory birds.
Included Activities
  • Entrance and Game Drives
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 32 Kayes/Bush Camp
A 250 km drive takes us across the border into Mali, visiting the French fort at Kayes en route.
The city of Kayes is often used by tourists as a rest point between Bamako and Dakar, although it has many points of interest of its own. Surrounded by mountains, it creates a warm feel as you walk through the centre and explore the thriving markets. Two kilometres away from the town, are the Falls of Falou which are a magnificent site and they are well worth a visit when in or around Kayes.
Tonight we wild camp somewhere near Medine.
Included Activities
  • Entrance French Fort, Kayes
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 33-35 Bamako
We travel on towards Bamako (300 km, approx 8-9 hours).
Bamako, the capital of Mali, is a colourful, lively city, home to some of West Africa's finest musical talent. Over the years Mali has produced some of West Africa's finest musicians and has a long tradition of tribal music. Today the traditional has fused with the modern and Malian music has become popular all over the world. The clubs of Bamako are a hub for local musicians including some of the most famous such as Salif Kita. If you are lucky one of the greats may be playing when you visit. There are also some interesting museums to explore, in fact the National Museum is probably one of the best small museums in West Africa, with some fascinating exhibits relating to Mali's various ethnic groups, including wooden masks, carvings, contemporary marionettes and ancient textiles. The markets are also well worth a look, few tourists head out as far as the Medina so if you want to experience the "real" Mali, it's definitely a good place to start.
Our first night will be spent at a bush camp on the way to Bamako. The next two nights will be spent camping in the grounds of a centrally located hotel.
Included Activities
  • African Workshop community project
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 36-38 Mandingue Country Trek
Today we begin a 4 day trek into the Mandingue country, south of Bamako, towards the border with Guinea. We will camp in local villages, where the facilities will be very basic, exploring a rarely visited area of Mali.
Situated south of Bamako on the road towards the Guinean border, Mandingue country is the birth place of the Mali Empire. The area is full of small villages, sacred hills, waterfalls and prehistoric caves. We will trek between the villages meeting the local people including a visit to Siby, a village nested in the woods which has historical importance for being at the heart of the Kingdom of Soundjata Keita, founder of the Empire of Mali.
Along the trek we will visit fetish hunters villages, see how karite butter is made, stay at the 'magic' village of Sodjancoro and also visit the old Dogon houses near Dogoro from where the Dogon people originated before they left the Mandingue area.
Included Activities
  • 3 night/4 day Mandingue trek
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 39 Bamako
The final day of our trek brings us back to Bamako where we camp at the same hotel for a night of rest and relaxation.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 40 Segou
The morning is free in Bamako and in the afternoon we will drive on towards Segou (250 km, approx 6-7 hours) where we spend the night bushcamping.
The modern city of Segou has a charming and laidback place with a stunning setting on the banks of the Niger River.
Definitely worth exploring is the town's fabulous market, which is excellent for buying some of the beautiful materials and batiks that are made here. One of the most popular things to do here is to take a boat trip up or down the Niger River. You can
travel either by dugout pirogues or on one of the larger motorised pinnasses, often stopping off at one of the local villages. Like many places in Mali, Segou also has a vibrant music and arts scene and every February it hosts the amazing Festival of the Niger, but you can catch local musicians playing in local bars and nightclubs all year round.
Included Activities
  • Niger River Day Trip and Village Visit
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 41 Bush Camp
Today is a long driving day, crossing into Burkina Faso along a spectacular road. We will find a safe location to bush camp for the evening.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 42-43 Ouagadougou
Today we drive 350 km, approx 10-12 hours. In Ouagadougou we camp in the grounds of a hotel.
Located right in the very centre of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou is an intriguing city that's definitely worth exploring. "Ouaga", as it's affectionately known by many travellers, may at first appear shabby and chaotic, but in many ways this is part of its charm. Persevere and you will find one of West Africa's most vibrant cities. This was the traditional capital of the Mossi empire, but all the country's major ethnic groups, religions and languages co-exist here with remarkable harmony. Life moves at a brisk pace and you'll find that contact with the people is much more immediate than in many other West African cities. The night life in Ouaga is famous throughout West Africa, with excellent music, bars and nightclubs and the music goes on all night, so make sure to pack your dancing shoes.
Accommodation
Camp site (1 nt), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 44-45 Bobo-Dioulasso
We travel on towards Bobo-Dioulasso (350 km, approx 7-8 hours). These nights we stay in a local hotel.
Bobo-Dioulasso is one of the most vibrant small cities in West Africa and capital of the Bobo tribe. It has an excellent market, which is a great place to buy the unique masks made in this area. Bobo is also a great place for a night out West Africa style; music and dancing is in the soul of Bobo.
Optional Activities
  • Sacred Fish Pond - USD5
  • Entrance to Grand Mosque - USD4
  • Kibidwe Old Town Tour - USD1
  • Musee Provincial de Houet - USD1
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 46-47 Banfora
A short drive from Bobo brings us to the Banfora region; a wonderful area to explore.
Banfora is located just to the south west of Bobo-Dioulasso, towards the border of the Ivory Coast and although the city itself has not many attractions, the surrounding areas certainly do.
Not too far from Banfora is the small town of Karfiguela, home to the spectacular Karfiguela Falls. Visiting the falls just after the rainy season is the optimum time as they are at their most beautiful. Approaching the falls we will pass through a magnificent avenue of mango trees and the chaotic jumble of rocks over which the water splays are a sight in themselves.
Also near to Banfora is Lake Tengrela, known for its hippopotamuses. Locals believe that these hippos are sacred and therefore will not attack humans although I would not be so confident! Occasionaly crocodiles are found in the lake too however sightings are few and far between.
We camp for 2 nights in Banfora.
Included Activities
  • Domes of Fabedougou, Banfora
  • Visit to Lake Tengrela
  • Visit to Karfiguela Waterfalls
  • Visit to Sindou Peaks
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 48 Bush Camp
Today is a full drive day towards the Ghanaian border. If time allows we will cross the border today or alternatively tomorrow morning. We will find a safe spot to bush camp near the border.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 49-50 Mole National Park
We have a long travel day today, travelling to Mole National Park (280 km, 9-10 hours), where we camp in the grounds of a local motel.
Mole National Park is arguably the best wildlife destination in West Africa, home to a large number of elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes and a variety of antelopes and monkeys. Sitting by a water hole watching the animals come to drink, you could almost be in East Africa, except there are fewer animals and far, far fewer tourists. You can also organise a walking safari out into the national park.
Included Activities
  • Walking Safari and Entrance, Mole National Park
Optional Activities
  • Camera/Video fee, Mole National Park - USD2
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 51 Kintampo Falls
Today we travel 280 km towards Kintampo. We will visit the waterfalls at Kintampo and also the Baobeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary.
Regarded to be amongst one of the most impressive in Ghana, the Kintampo Waterfalls mark the southern passage of the Ovoko River, a tributary of the Black Volta further north. Here you will have the opportunity to bathe in the refreshing waters both of the Kintampo Falls and the Fuller Falls (nearby) where we camp for the night at a lovely community run bush camp.
Included Activities
  • Kintampo Waterfalls
  • Visit the Baobeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 52-53 Kumasi
We have a long drive today to Kumasi (450 km, approx 12-13 hours). In Kumasi we stay two nights in basic rooms in a local guesthouse.
Kumasi was once the ancient capital of the Ashanti Empire. Now it is a thriving, bustling, provincial city with a lively atmosphere. It has the largest market in the whole of West Africa which is well worth exploring if you have the time. This city is one of the main centres of West Africa's cultural heritage and the National Cultural Centre and Museum are well worth a visit to see the famous Ashanti drums. Traditionally these drums were used to communicate over vast distances and today they are a integral part of modern Ghanaian music. The drums usually come in a set with different sizes. Bomaa drums are the biggest drums in West Africa and give the music that deep, melodic, festive feel.
Optional Activities
  • National Cultural Center, Kumasi - USD1
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 54-55 Elmina
Today we drive to Elmina (285 km, approx 7-9 hours), visiting Kakum National Park en route. These nights will be spent camping at a beach resort.
Located in southern Ghana, Kakum National Park's 350 square kilometres of tropical rainforest protect the very rare and endangered Monameercat, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo and an incredible array of birdlife. Visitors to the park can walk along towering canopy walkways through the tops of the trees, offering a unique and unobtrusive way for travellers to experience the forest. The park is also an important habitat for a variety of rare tropical plants, including many that are used by local people for medicinal purposes.
Home to a beautiful natural harbour, Elmina is a busy little fishing town situated on a narrow peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The main tourist attraction of the town is St George's Castle; sub-Saharan Africa's oldest European structure.
Just outside of the town of Elmina is a small village right on the beach called Brenu Akyinin. The local people here rely heavily on fishing and cultivating coconuts, pineapples and groundnuts to make a living. The one small school here is located just a few metres from Brenu Beach, a stunning location for tourists, but far from ideal for the school children. They are distracted from their studies by the vehicles that pass through the school to access the beach, and often cut class in order to sell goods to the tourists or assist their parents with the farming and fishing. Over the last few years, we have got involved with a local grass-roots charity, the Sabre Trust, which is working to improve education for all of the children here. Originally the school here was in a terrible state of disrepair and extremely under-resourced, but gradually this is beginning to improve. On overland trips we stay in Brenu for at least a couple of nights, allowing us time to get involved in a variety of projects at the school. Depending on your groups skills and the school's needs, you could be getting your hands dirty helping out with small building projects, participating in educational workshops, or even helping with the teaching. Getting involved at the school is a great opportunity to lend a hand and give something back to the local people here, albeit in a small way. It's also a great chance to experience everyday Ghanaian life at first hand, getting to know the local children and their families.
Included Activities
  • Sabre Trust School project, Elmina
  • Visit Slave Castle, Elmina
  • Entrance and Rainforest canopy walk, Kakum National Park
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 56-57 Accra
Leaving Elmina behind we travel on towards Accra (185 km, approx 4-5 hours) stopping en route to visit slave castles, pre existing castles that were used to hold slaves before they where transported across the Atlantic.
Accra, Ghana's sprawling capital, is a bustling coastal city with a whole load of beaches that would please even the most discerning sun worshipper. Some of the beaches are more touristy than others and they can all get very busy on Saturdays and Sundays; and whenever you go you should expect to be entertained by an endless stream of musicians and acrobats and pursued by souvenir sellers. Away from the beach, the Perpetual Flame at the Cenotaph in Revolution Square is worth a look, plus the National Museum houses one of the best collections in all of West Africa. Next to the museum you will also find a good craft market, perfect for a bit of souvenir shopping. In the evening you can sample Accra's lively night life, heading out to one of the many bars and restaurants that can be found all over this surprising city.
We will share a final night dinner together tonight.
You are free to depart on the final day as there are no activities planned.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
      Itinerary disclaimer
      We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip.
      Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.
      Culture shock rating

      The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      Physical preparation
      In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.
      Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      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 USD1300.00 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.
      There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. 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 is 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.
      Money Exchange
      It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!
      For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, but in West Africa travellers cheques are almost impossible to change so for that reason we recommend a mix of cash and ATM cards. Please note that most ATMs only take Visa cards NOT Mastercard.
      You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and moneychangers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2003 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Cash machines are readily available in most areas but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges. Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities. Please bring a mixture of small and large denominations as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over $50.
      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
      US$50 departure tax is required for all international departures out of Accra.
      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.
      RAMADAN, EID UL-FITR and EID UL ADHA FESTIVAL 2013:
      In 2013 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress fromTuesday 9th July and will continue for 30 days until Wednesday 7th of August 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 is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be effected.
      Eid ul Adha occurs approximately 2 months after Edi ul- Fitr, in mid October 2013.
      Group size
      Maximum of 21 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) (38 nts), Hotel (12 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nts), Hostel (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Camp site (1 nt)
      The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hotels.
      Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hotel stops depends on the route and area.
      Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild-camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. We will also arrange as many village or local homestays as possible, allowing us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.
      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
      39 Breakfasts, 39 Lunches, 39 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 1150.00
      Transport
      Overland vehicle, Boat, Plane
      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
      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
      Niagara Hotel
      Kojo Thompson Road
      P.O. Box 4079
      Accra
      GHANA
      Phone: 233 302230118
      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.
      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.
      SENEGAL:
      Australia: Yes - In advance
      Belgium: Yes - In advance
      Canada: Yes - In advance
      Germany: Yes - In advance
      Ireland: Yes - In advance
      Netherlands: Yes - In advance
      New Zealand: Yes - In advance
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - In advance
      UK: Yes - In advance
      USA: Yes - In advance
      All passport holders travelling to Senegal now need a visa to enter the country, effective July 1st 2013. All applicants are required to first apply online for a bio-metric visa by visiting http://www.snedai.sn/en/
      You must obtain a double entry visa and this should be obtained prior to your arrival and you may require a guarantee letter / hotel confirmation letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
      Australia and New Zealanders should use the Senegalese embassy in Malaysia as their closest option. For other nationalities the embassy in the UK may be the most convenient and you may require a guarantee letter from Dragoman as part of your visa application.
      Starting your trip in Dakar
      It may be possible to obtain your visa on arrival at Dakar Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, but you
      must have obtained prior approval BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT (please do this well in advance) using the
      website http://www.snedai.sn/en/
      THE GAMBIA:
      Australia: No - Not required
      Belgium: Yes - In advance
      Canada: Yes - In advance
      Germany: No - Not required
      Ireland: No - Not required
      Netherlands: Yes - In advance
      New Zealand: No - Not required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - In advance
      UK: No - Not required
      USA: Yes - In advance
      Some nationalities require a visa to visit The Gambia. If you require a visa it must be obtained in advance from an embassy overseas. Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and some other countries do not need a visa for a stay of less than 90 days. Citizens of the USA, Canada, South Africa and some other countries do need a visa and should apply to their nearest Gambian embassy and ensure that the visa is obtained before arrival.
      MALI (from Senegal):
      Visas will be obtained en route in Dakar, Senegal. Please bring at least 6 passport photos. The cost is approximately US$25.
      BURKINO FASO: Visas can be obtained en route at the border. Allow US$20 cash.
      GHANA:
      Australia: Yes - in advance
      Belgium: Yes - in advance
      Canada: Yes - in advance
      Germany: Yes - in advance
      Ireland: Yes - in advance
      Netherlands: Yes - in advance
      New Zealand: Yes - in advance
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Yes - in advance
      United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
      USA: Yes - in advance
      For most nationalities a visa is required and needs to be obtained in advance. If you are entering Ghana on an overland trip please contact your local embassy to do this as it's no longer possible to obtain these visas en route.
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      LOCKER SPACE:
      The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different sized lockers however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
      CAMPING EQUIPMENT / MATTRESS:
      A sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. If you're travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Pillows are NOT provided so please bring a travel pillow along.
      We don't provide a mattress so please bring your own (a Thermarest / inflatable mattress is recommended).
      A simple plastic bag / waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.
      CLOTHING:
      You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
      BATTERIES/POWER:
      Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
      VALUABLES:
      Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
      We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      YELLOW FEVER:
      A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
      It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
      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.
      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.
      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:
      NATIONAL PARKS:
      On some trips may find yourself staying in unfenced camp-sites within National Parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. It's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour whilst in these National Parks.
      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 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 by The Intrepid Foundation in Morocco include:
      * Project Handicapped Horizon has assisted with the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of more than 3,000 disabled people. With two major departments, one is dedicated to the design, building and fitting of prosthetic limbs and other orthotics, footwear and mobility aids. While the other focuses on training local artisans and selling their products.
      Intrepid Travel also supports the following non-profit organisations:
      * Kasbah Myriam is a carpet and embroidery workshop run by Franciscan nuns with the aim of providing sustainable employment and healthcare to local Berber women.
      * The SPANA animal hospital in Marrakech cares for the health and welfare of donkeys, dogs and cats.
      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.