Nomadic West Africa (eastbound) Trip Notes

Nomadic West Africa (eastbound)

Last Modified: 22 Jul 2012
Nomadic West Africa (eastbound)
Trip code: DDOK
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2011
Time for a West African overland journey that never stays still. Cruise rivers on traditional boats, trek through remote villages to meet the reclusive Dogon people, bush-bash through remote northern Mali, help out on community projects and embark on game drives through some of the region's most impressive national parks. Along the way, camp in remote wilderness, meet the welcoming folk of West Africa and discover some of Africa's best music and night-life. Don't just sit there - get moving.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxFinish point description
ThemesImportant notesEmergency contact
MapGroup sizeEmergency funds
ItineraryYour fellow travellersVisas
We also recommendSingle travellersIssues on your trip
Culture shock rating AccommodationWhat to take
Physical ratingMeals introductionHealth
Physical preparationMealsSafety
Included activitiesTransportTravel insurance
KittyGroup leaderA couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point descriptionCarbon offset
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
TippingFinish point
  • 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.
Nomadic West Africa (eastbound)
Day 1 Dakar
No ngoolu daa! Welcome to Senegal!
You will need to arrive by 10am on day 1 for our group meeting. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting.
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.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 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
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Palmarin
A 350 km drive takes us to the coastal town of Palmarin. We spend 2 nights here enjoying a pirogue trip into the mangroves. Nights are spent at a beach campsite with pool.
Included Activities
  • Pirogue Trip
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Kiang West National Park
Included Activities
  • Entrance into Kiang West National Park
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 8 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.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 9-10 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
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 11 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
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 12-14 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
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts)
Days 15-17 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
Hotel (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 18 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.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 19 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
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 20 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.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 21-22 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.
Camp site (1 nt), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 23-24 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
Hotel (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 25-26 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
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 27 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.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 28-29 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
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Day 30 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
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 31-32 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
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 33-34 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
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 35-36 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.
Hotel (1 nt)
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    • Road to Zanzibar (YXOD)
    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
    The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high, can become tiring, as can the constant setting and packing up of camp. You need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down 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.
    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.
    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 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.
    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.
    A trip kitty of EUR560.00 CASH will be required.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
    Money Exchange
    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 is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
    At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
    Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
    Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
    In West Africa, kitties must be paid in EURO.
    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:
    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.
    Camping (with facilities) (29 nts), Hotel (6 nts), Camp site (1 nt)
    Accommodation on this trip is mainly in two-person dome tents.
    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. In Africa it's not usually practical to camp when staying in towns and cities so we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants.
    There may be the occasional night stop, when we stay in the grounds of a hotel or at a campsite which may also have cabins available. In this case there may be a choice of camping or upgrading to a room (at additional cost).
    Keep in mind that if we are staying in dormitory accommodation, you may have to share with other passengers or be split into same sex rooms. Check with your travel agent before travelling about the possibility of upgrading to a private room.
    Campsites do have facilities but they usually aren't to the same standard you would find in western countries. For example the bathroom facilities can be very basic (the toilets may be a squat-style hole in the ground). There is rarely toilet paper provided and shower facilities can be as simple as a hose pipe spurting out cold water. Wild camps have no facilities at all.
    Not all campsites are as basic as this description - it's just to make sure there are no surprises for you.
    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.
    No meals included
    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 350.00
    Your kitty covers the cost of any meals while staying at camp sites.
    A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal and something hot such as eggs or pancakes as well as tea and coffee.
    Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometime with fruit to follow. There may be a chance on occasion to buy your lunch.
    Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish, pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as pap / ugali and stew.
    One thing is sure: you definitely won't go hungry or lose weight on your safari! When you're not camping you'll have the freedom to decide where, what and with whom you eat.
    Overland vehicle, Boat
    Our trucks are purpose-built, self contained safari vehicles. Intrepid’s fleet of vehicles varies depending on your group size, trip route and style. In Southern Africa some departures may use vans and luggage trailers subject to group size and vehicle availability. Your vehicle type may differ from those listed above.
    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.
    There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
    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
    Al Baraka
    35 Rue Abdoul Karim Bourgi
    Joining point description
    Al Baraka is located on a main road in central Dakar near Independence Square and the ministry buildings. Shops, markets and art galleries are also nearby, and there is a supermarket over the road.
    The hotel features 24-hour reception, currency exchange, luggage storage, restaurant and laundry service (for an additional fee).
    Rooms have en suite bathrooms and are air-conditioned and have colour TVs.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    Niagara Plus Hotel
    14th Lane
    Finish point description
    Our hotel is located in Osu, a trendy area of Accra with plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes causing the main street to be nicknamed 'Oxford Street'.
    Rooms have private facilities, 24-hour hot water, TV and bar fridge. There is also a restaurant on site.
    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 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.
    BURKINO FASO: Visas can be obtained en route at the border. Allow US$20 cash.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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
    If you are starting at Dakar, you will enter Senegal at Dakar Airport.
    - Days 6-7 - Enter The Gambia at Farafenni
    - Days 9-10 - Re-enter Senegal at Basse Santu Su
    - Day 11 - Exit Senegal at Kadira, enter Mali at Diboli
    - Days 20 - Enter Burkina Faso at Djibasso
    - Day 27 - Exit Burkina Faso at Hamale, enter Ghana at Hamale
    If you are leaving at Accra. you will exit Ghana at Accra Airport.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
    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:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    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.
    We have become aware of passengers being approached outside of our starting point hotels by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or claiming to be Intrepid employees selling Urban Adventures or Intrepid trips. These people are not employees of Intrepid nor registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you' should suffice. If this does happen to you, please advise your leader or the reception of your hotel immediately so that the person can be reported to the appropriate authorities.
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    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.
    Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 979.00 kgs per pax.
    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.