In November 2021 this 56 day overland tour broke new ground as we became the first ever overland truck to visit the Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula. This trip has now become one of our most popular tours especially as it visits Saudi Arabia, one of the least explored Kingdoms in the world, as well as 6 other Arabian countries including the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, & Jordan.
On this tour you will spend half your time staying in 3 & 4 star hotels and the other half of the time wild camping in the deserts, mountains & beaches of Arabia while visiting iconic destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Muscat, the Rub al Khali Desert, Jeddah, Manama, Kuwait City, Madain Saleh & Amman!
Price: £2495 Expedition Payment + $2000 Local Payment
Length: 56 days, 55 nights
Accommodation: 50% 3 & 4 star hotels, 50% wild camping
Meals: 55 breakfasts, 26 evening meals
Transport: 100% custom-built Madventure overland truck
Age restrictions: none, all ages are welcome
Group size: 25 is average, minimum is 15, maximum is 36
Our proposed itinerary is here to give you an idea of where we will be going and what we will be doing during this expedition. This itinerary is the ideal route we would like to take providing all political and natural situations are acceptable during the time of our travels. Situations sometimes change during an expedition so please be prepared to take an alternative route in the event we encounter any problems. It’s all part of the adventure!
For those travelling from Amman to Dubai the itinerary below will be reversed.
This tour begins in Dubai, a glamorous start to the trip where you can take an elevator up Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), visit palm-shaped islands & wander through city-sized malls. Please note that this tour departs Dubai at 0800 on the first morning of the tour so if you would like to see the highlights of Dubai we recommend you arrive a few days early.
On our way into Abu Dhabi we first visit the idyllic Jubail Mangrove Park where a meandering boardwalk allows you to learn about the ecological importance of this beautiful sanctuary. Later in the day we visit the impressive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a triumph of Islamic architecture. The following day is free for you to wander the corniche, marvel at the Emirates Palace and soak up some culture at the world-class Louvre Art Gallery.
We now head inland and visit the quirky Emirates National Auto Museum which houses Sheikh Hamad’s collection of over 200 vehicles including the world’s largest truck.
Our next destination is Liwa Oasis on the fringes of the Rub al Khali Desert (the Empty Quarter) where we find an endless landscape of undulating sand dunes dotted with traditional adobe forts. Here you can climb the Moreeb Dune, the tallest sand dune in the UAE, and enjoy a stunning sunset over a sea of sand.
Our final stop in UAE is at Al Ain, a laid-back cultural hub set amid date-palm plantations with a selection of UNESCO heritage sites including forts & palaces. Here you will also have the option to visit a bustling camel market and a date oasis. We end the day at our hotel set atop Jebel Hafeet, the 2nd highest mountain in the UAE offering fantastic views over the region.
Our first destination in Oman is Ibri where we visit the enormous Sulaif Castle which has been sensitively restored to give you a flavour of life here 600 years ago.
We continue to the Al Ayn Beehive Tombs, a 4000 year old burial site dramatically silhouetted against the backdrop of the towering Jebel Misht mountains.
At Jabreen Castle we have the opportunity to visit one of Oman’s most well preserved castles featuring elaborately painted ceilings and latticed-window courtyards.
The nearby UNESCO listed Bahla Fort is a highlight of this region looming high above the village below and offering a sweeping vista from the battlements.
A steep track now leads us into the dramatic Hajar Mountains where we get a view of Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest peak, but the real highlight here is Wadi Ghul where we have a few hours to hike the Balcony Walk trail with unsurpassed views over the ‘Grand Canyon of Arabia’.
Back down the mountain we visit Al Hootah Cave, a natural gem in the area featuring stalactites & stalagmites as well as providing a perfect habitat for blind cave fish and bats.
The historic town of Nizwa is best explored at night where the high-walled souq comes alive and the 40m tall fort tower affords us fantastic views over the old town.
A desolate road now leads us south through a gravel desert into the Dhofar province where we visit a grove of ancient Frankincense trees prized for their fragrant sap.
In Salalah you have the chance to relax for a couple of days and enjoy the coconut-fringed beaches of the area where it is not uncommon to see camels on the beach feeding off the lush vegetation.
Rated as one of the best days on the tour we now start our journey north via the dramatic coastal route with highlights including the cascading waters of Wadi Darbat, the enormous sink-hole known as Taiq Cave and the 1000m sheer drop from the Jebel Samhan viewpoint.
Further north we pass by roadside stalactites, historic castles and other-worldly rock gardens before arriving at Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve where you have the option to take a tour of the beach that turtles frequent nightly to lay their eggs.
In the town of Sur we discover its rich heritage in boat building and have the option to take a tour of one of the boatyards where traditional wooden dhows are still built by hand.
Wadi Shab is considered to be one of Oman’s most scenic destinations and rewards walkers with views of turquoise pools, waterfalls and terraced plantations. The nearby Bimmah sinkhole is also worth a stop giving us the chance to take a dip in an unusual natural feature.
Wedged between mountains and ocean, the delightful city of Muscat is filled with treasures such as the Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Mutrah Souq, National Museum and Sultan’s Palace, all well worth exploring.
In the heart of the mountains of the north we now visit Nakhal Fort, an impressive sight with round towers and spiked doors all designed to keep enemies at bay.
Our last drive in Oman is into the Rub al Khali, the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, where we will attempt to cross the newly opened (2021) Ramlet Khelah border into Saudi Arabia. Please bear in mind we will most likely be the first tourists here in an overland vehicle so if we are refused entry for any reason we will have to return to the UAE and enter Saudi Arabia that way.
Providing we are allowed to cross the newly opened Ramlet Khelah border we will spend our first night in Saudi Arabia in the Rub al Khali Desert amongst the sand dunes that have made this region so naturally dramatic. If for any reason we are refused entry via this new border we will have to return to the UAE and enter Saudi Arabia that way.
After a brief first visit to Saudi we now cross into Qatar where we have 3 days to explore an ancient land steeped in tradition. Fill one of your day’s by exploring the atmospheric Souq Waqif and learn about falconry. Fill another day by visiting Doha’s peerless Museum of Islamic Art and take a trip through time at the National Museum of Qatar housed in a magnificent structure inspired by the desert-rose.
After crossing back into Saudi for a night of coastal wild camping we now enter Bahrain and have 3 days to explore the famous Manama Souq, learn the history of Bahrain at the National Museum and discover a collection of Qurans dating back to the 7th century at Beit Al Quran.
We return to Saudi for a night of desert camping before continuing along the gulf coast to Kuwait where we have 3 days in Kuwait City to explore highlights such as the Souq Mubarakiya, Grand Mosque, Kuwait Towers, Tareq Rajab Museum and one of the Middle East’s best aquariums at the Scientific Centre.
We now start our journey through Saudi Arabia by first visiting Buraidah, home to the world’s largest camel market where thousands of camels, goats and sheep are traded each morning. This lively market is an attack on the senses and a true Saudi experience!
We continue to the cultural heritage village of Ushaiger, a living museum where we can wander through the maze of twisting alleyways that lead to hundreds of yellow mud houses displaying traditional Najdi architecture.
One of our best nights camping is at Jebel Fihrayn, otherwise known as The Edge of the World, a dramatic escarpment that rises steeply out of the rocky desert floor offering uninterrupted views of the horizon.
On our way into Riyadh we stop at the mud-brick ruins of the ancient town of Diriyah, a UNESCO heritage site where the At-Turaif open-air museum showcases quintessential Najdi architecture.
In Riyadh you now have time to explore the highlights of the Saudi capital including the National Museum, Masmak Fortress and Murabba Palace. Those seeking a more adrenaline fuelled activity can take a 180kph lift up the 99th floor of the Kingdom Tower and brave a walk across the Sky Bridge for unsurpassed views over the city.
We now travel along the fringes of the Rub al Khali desert to the Asir province in the southeastern part of the country, so named after the local Asir tribe. This is an entirely different face of the Kingdom with the area boasting big mountains and lush vegetation, a huge contrast to the desert landscapes further north.
Our first visit in Asir is to the hanging village of Al Habala which is dramatically perched on the ledge of a sheer cliff. Built nearly 400 years ago by the Qahtan tribe and only accessible by rope ladders, this village is the only one of its kind in the Kingdom.
We continue on to Al Yanfa, a village that sits atop a warren of underground tunnels which resembles something out of a fairytale. Wandering through the labyrinth of low ceilinged tunnels is an experience not to be missed.
In the town of Abha you will have the opportunity to visit the mud-walled Shada Palace, a showpiece of traditional Asir architecture, as well as stroll through the brightly muralled Al Muftaha village to discover the artistic side of town.
In Asir National Park we explore this area of outstanding natural beauty which is home to troops of Hamadryas baboons and has many short walking trails leading to incredible viewpoints. Those really keen on stretching their legs will have the opportunity to climb Saudi Arabia’s highest peak, Mt. Soudah (3000m).
After descending into the valleys we now visit Rijal Almaa, a village displaying dark block-like fortresses elegantly studded with white quartz. The men of the village wear colourful wrap-around skirts and adorn themselves with floral wreaths which give them the nickname ‘Flower Men’.
From our base in Jazan you now have the option to take a ferry to the Farasan Islands, an archipelago made up of more than 80 islands with pristine coral reefs & white sand beaches. Here a day can be enjoyed swimming in the azure waters, wandering through the Al Qassar sandstone village and exploring the historic Pearl Merchants Neighbourhood.
Continuing north along the coast we now reach the ancient port of Jeddah, the cosmopolitan hub of the country displaying a vibrant mix of new & old. Highlights include a walk along the lively corniche, Al Rahma floating mosque, King Fahd’s fountain, Tayebat City Museum and of course Al Balad, the UNESCO listed historic centre of Jeddah where narrow alleyways lead you to spice-scented souqs, art galleries, quirky cafes & traditional bakeries. Some of the old coral merchants’ houses and mosques have been carefully restored and turned into living museums of which Naseef House and Al Shafee Mosque are two of the finest examples.
We now visit one of Saudi’s most dramatic natural wonders, Al Wahaba crater. At 4km wide & 250m deep this volcanic crater offers you the chance to walk along the rim for outstanding views over the vast hollow with an opaque lake at its centre.
The holy city of Mecca is still off-limits to non-muslims so we continue to the holy city of Medina which seems to be opening up to tourism. The city centre and Prophet’s Mosque have traditionally been off-limits to tourists but this is slowly changing and we use our time here wisely to visit as many of the historic sites as possible.
We continue to AlUla, an area not only famous for its ancient tombs but also for its natural beauty where you have the options to visit the iconic Elephant Rock, the Lion Tombs of Dedan, Hegra Old Town and of course Madain Saleh where we find well-preserved tombs with magnificent facades carved into the sandstone rocks by the Nabataean civilization nearly two thousand years ago. The best part about these sites is that we usually have them all to ourselves!
Our last stop in Saudi is the ancient rock art site of Jubbah. This area was once an oasis where thousands of years ago the Arab ancestors left traces of their passages in numerous petroglyphs in the rock face including representations of humans, lions, ibex, horses, camels and ostrich.
From Jubbah we now continue towards Jordan wild camping in the desert along the way.
Our final destination on this tour is Amman, Jordan’s lively capital where it is definitely worth spending a day to explore the Citadel, souqs, mosques & coffee houses that make this city so memorable. The nearby Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash are also worth a few hours of your time.
On the final evening of the tour in Amman you will be invited to a farewell dinner to say goodbye to your crew and fellow travellers.
The tour ends in Amman after breakfast on the last day of the tour so you can make your onward travel arrangements from here.
The information below pertains to the Dubai to Amman route only. There are no options to extend the Amman to Dubai route.
Before the start of the Dubai to Amman route our truck travels through Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Tibet, Western China, the 5 Stans, the Caucasus & Turkey so you are able to add on any of those places to this tour should you wish to.
After Amman this tour continues to the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. We then take a ferry over to Egypt where we visit Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula before ending in Cairo, so you are able to add on any of those places to this tour should you wish to.
We are happy to create a bespoke itinerary and price for you so please feel free to contact us to discuss all options.
HOW TO BOOK
To make a booking please fill in our online booking form and then pay a £300 deposit by Bank Transfer, Paypal, WISE or Credit/Debit Card. Please note that payments made via Paypal or Credit/Debit Card attract an additional 4% surcharge.
Once we receive your online booking form and deposit we will confirm your booking by email and send you all relevant information necessary for your expedition preparations.
The Expedition Payment of £2495 is the main bulk payment for your expedition and is payable in the UK in GBP (£ Sterling). In order to reserve a place on this expedition you must pay a £300 deposit. Eight months prior to departure a further payment of £1000 must be paid to secure your booking. The final balance of your Expedition Payment £1195 must then be paid in full at least four months prior to the expedition start date. If you book between 4 to 8 months prior to the departure date a deposit of £1300 should be paid upon booking. If you book within 4 months of the departure date the full Expedition Payment of £2495 should be paid upon booking.
The Expedition Payment can be paid by Bank Transfer, Paypal, WISE or Credit/Debit Card. Please note that payments made via Paypal or Credit/Debit Card attract an additional 4% surcharge.
Bank Details for Direct Transfers
Please use your full name as a reference when paying by direct transfer.
Account name: Madventure Ltd.
Sort code: 400810
Account number: 91618415
IBAN : GB14HBUK40081091618415
Swift/Bank BIC: HBUKGB4B
Branch BIC: HBUKGB4116A
Bank address: HSBC Bank, 6 High Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 5AZ, United Kingdom
Please use your full name as a reference when paying by Paypal.
Paypal account name: email@example.com
Please note that payments made via Paypal attract an additional 4% surcharge.
Don’t have a Paypal account? Create one now – www.paypal.com
Please use your full name as a reference when paying by WISE.
WISE offers a cheap & fast international money transfer service where you can choose to make a payment using either your bank account or credit/debit card.
Don’t have a WISE account? Create one now – www.wise.com
Credit/Debit Card Payments
Call us on +44 7851 968 021 in order to make a Credit/Debit Card payment over the phone.
Please note that payments made via Credit/Debit Card attract an additional 4% surcharge.
This is a cash payment of USD $2000 that must be paid to your expedition leader at the beginning of your trip and will be used to pay for all expenses while you are on the road.
Please bear in mind that this is not a kitty and is not refundable. The local payment is simply a way for us to get cash to the expedition leaders so they can run the trip.
Please bring your local payment in new unmarked $100 bills if possible.
Although all local payment amounts are advertised in USD you can bring the equivalent amount in either EUROS or GBP.
Below is a list of the most popular optional excursions along with the most recent prices. Prices can of course change and are not controlled in any way by Madventure so please use the list below as an approximate guide only.
United Arab Emirates
Burj Khalifa entry & elevator to viewing platform £50
Jubail Mangrove Park £4
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Free
Louvre Art Gallery Abu Dhabi £13
Emirates National Auto Museum £11
Al Ain fort Free
Al Ain Palace museum Free
Al Ain camel market £7
Sulaif Castle Free
Al Ayn Beehive Tombs Free
Jabreen Castle £5
Bahla Fort £1
Wadi Ghul Balcony Walk Free
Al Hootah Cave £15
Nizwa Fort £10
Frankincense grove Free
Wadi Darbat Free
Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve £16
Sur dhow boat building yard £2
Wadi Shab ferry £2
Sultan Qaboos Mosque Free
National museum £10
Nakhal Fort £1
Souq Waqif Free
Museum of Islamic Art Free
National Museum of Qatar £11
National museum £2
Beit Al Quran Free
Grand Mosque Free
Kuwait Towers £1
Tareq Rajab Museum £1
Scientific Centre & Aquarium £20
Buraidah camel market Free
Ushaiger Heritage Village Free
Edge of the World Free
At-Turaif open-air museum £10
Riyadh National Museum £2
Masmak Fortress Free
Murabba Palace £2
Kingdom Tower elevator to viewing platform £15
Al Habala village Free
Al Yanfa village Free
Mt Soudah Free
Rijal Almaa Free
Farasan Islands return ferry Free
Al Balad old town Free
Wahaba Crater Free
Medina guided tour £10
Elephant Rock, AlUla Free
Lion Tombs of Dedan, AlUla £12
Hegra Old Town, AlUla £13
Madain Saleh, AlUla £20
Jubbah Rock Art Free
Amman Citadel £3
Roman Theatre £2
We will be travelling in a purpose-built Madventure overland vehicle 100% of the time on this expedition. A standard bus simply wouldn’t be able to tackle a lot of the terrain we travel over.
Our overland truck can accommodate up to 36 passengers although most of our expeditions travel with approximately 25 people.
Comfort and safety is of course a big factor during expeditions of this length and nature so all our vehicles have high-backed coach seats with safety belts. The seating is on the upper level of the vehicle giving you an almost 360° view of the surrounding scenery.
Our vehicles are designed to allow sufficient luggage storage and are also equipped with lockers to keep all your gear safe.
Our long range diesel and water tanks ensure our self sufficiency in remote areas and the equipment we take with us is also of vital importance. In case of a breakdown we are equipped with a good selection of spare parts as well as a comprehensive tool kit to undertake any necessary repairs on our own if we need to.
There may also be times when we get stuck in the sand or mud when travelling off road so all necessary recovery equipment such as sand mats, cables, ropes, shovels and pickaxes are also on board.
We usually carry 500 litres of treated drinking water and we are equipped with a good kitchen which includes all cutlery, plates, cups, pots, pans, utensils, gas cooker, BBQ grate, etc. for when we prepare meals on the truck.
All our vehicles are equipped with a small fridge which is used for the cook group’s breakfast & dinner food only. For personal food & drinks we have cooler boxes for everyone to use.
Fold up chairs are provided for outdoor seating and we also have a large tarpaulin to keep us dry on those rainy days.
We carry a portable shower & shower tent so you can take a shower every day on this tour if you like, even when we are wild camping in remote areas.
Our vehicles are equipped with USB charging points only so try and bring all of your important electronic devices such as telephone, tablet & head-torch to charge from a USB socket. We do not have a 120V or 240V power supply on the vehicle but you will have the opportunity to charge your 120/240V electronic equipment at the hotels we stay at.
We carry a comprehensive first aid kit for emergencies but we recommend you bring your own for general use.
Eating well is a very important factor on our expeditions and good food is vital for everyone’s health and well-being. When we are camping we usually eat breakfast and the evening meal from the truck. For lunch we usually stop at a cheap local restaurant giving you a chance to taste the local fare. Occasionally we may prepare lunch on the truck when we are in remote areas.
When staying in hotels (usually in cities) we always strive to provide you with one healthy, wholesome and plentiful meal every day, usually breakfast at the hotel. Lunches and evening meals are at your own expense when we stay in hotels. Local food is generally very cheap so if you are on a budget then eat what the locals eat. Western restaurants tend to be more expensive.
When it comes to shopping and cooking while camping we will divide ourselves up into groups of 3 or 4 people (depending on group size) who will do their own fresh food shopping, prepare the day’s meals and clean up at the end. This will work out that you roughly get to cook once every 10 days (depending on the group size).
Fresh food is generally available daily so when we are camping we try to eat meat and vegetables for every main evening meal. We do cater to vegetarians but we do not cater to vegans or fussiness. In these group situations everybody must appreciate we cannot cater to restrictive diets or individual likes & dislikes.
Don’t worry if you are not a gourmet cook as your crew are also always there to give advice.
All our vehicles are equipped with a small fridge which is used for the cook group’s breakfast & dinner food only. For personal food & drinks we have cooler boxes for everyone to use.
Cleanliness plays an important role throughout this expedition and your crew will make sure an acceptable level of general hygiene is maintained throughout your journey to ensure the wellbeing of the group.
You will spend 50% of the time on this expedition staying in 3 & 4 star hotels and 50% of the time wild camping in your tent.
The majority of our wild camp locations are usually very scenic and we always strive to find the perfect spot behind a dune in the desert, on a remote beach, overlooking a canyon, etc. but sometimes we just have to camp wherever we can find a spot.
From past experience on expeditions of this length and nature we have found that people prefer to supply their own tents as they are then not forced to share and they can pick a tent that suits their needs. As a general rule, try and choose a good quality lightweight and waterproof free-standing tent that is easy to erect, take down and carry.
When we are not wild camping (usually in cities) we always use 3 & 4 star hotels, however, taking into consideration the sometimes unpredictable nature of our expeditions and the remoteness of some of the areas we visit, please be aware that in some circumstances we just have to take what we can get – good or bad. When staying in hotels you can expect to share your room with other expedition members of both sexes.
If you prefer not to share a room with anyone you can pay a single supplement fee of £1000 and have a private room all to yourself.
We recommend a budget of £120 – £150 per person per week to live comfortably during this expedition. This budget should cover day to day things like lunches, snacks, soft drinks, meals when not camping, the odd few beers, etc.
Budget approximately £300 for your visas, security clearances and letters of invitation.
Souvenirs are something that can be very cheap or very expensive so if you are going to be buying things like silk carpets you should budget for it.
Please also have a look at our Optional Excursions list as you may want to budget for a few of those activities too.
We recommend you bring 1/3 of your money in cash US Dollars and the rest of your money on your credit/debit card.
They generally accept all major currencies for exchange but US Dollars are accepted everywhere.
ATM’s are widely available for you to draw local currency using your credit/debit card.
To keep your money/credit cards/ipad/camera/laptop safe we recommend you purchase a ‘Pacsafe Travelsafe’ product. They offer various size portable anti-theft bags that can be attached to the vehicle when travelling and also attached to the toilet/bed/closet in your hotel room when off the vehicle.
Below is general information and recommendations regarding visas and passports. Visas are ultimately your own responsibility to obtain and visa requirements may vary according to your nationality and place of application, so use the information below as a guide only. Madventure is in no way responsible for obtaining your visas or passports.
UAE & Jordan visas can be obtained on arrival for most nationalities but if you are unsure please check your requirements with the relevant embassy.
Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain & Kuwait visas can be obtained online.
Approximately 3 months prior to departure you will be sent the information required in order to complete your applications and apply for your visas (there are often time restrictions on visas so you can not apply earlier). We recommend that you make your passport available 1 month before departure in order to obtain your visas comfortably.
Budget approximately £300 for all your visas and letters of invitation.
Please ensure you have 5 free pages in your passport in order to accommodate all the visas and ensure your passport is valid for at least 8 months after your departure date.
You will need a digital colour copy of your passport, a digital colour passport photograph and a digital colour copy of your Covid 19 vaccination certificate with QR code (all 5 – 100 Kb in size) downloaded onto your phone/tablet/laptop in order to apply for your visas.
Vaccination requirements are constantly changing so we recommend you seek the latest professional medical advice at least 8 weeks before departure to ensure you allow yourself enough time to obtain all necessary vaccinations. Nomad Travel’s website has up-to-date information on vaccinations, malaria and other general medical advice for all the countries we will be visiting and they also administer vaccinations at their Travel Clinics in various locations in the UK.
Alternatively speak with your local health professionals for current accurate information. You will need to make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic and take a list of the countries you are visiting with the approximate dates when you will be there.
An up to date Covid 19 vaccination certificate displaying a valid QR code must be brought with you as it will be required to enter all countries on this trip. Please also have a digital colour copy of your Covid 19 vaccination certificate downloaded to your phone/tablet/laptop in order to apply for your visas and to show health officials at borders.
An up to date Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate should be brought with you as it is sometimes required to enter certain countries on this tour.
Medically Fit & Able
You need to be in good general health for this expedition and be reasonably fit & able. The main concern is that everyone is able to pitch in equally and do their fair share when it comes to group activities like the communal cooking and cleaning up, packing gear in and out of the truck, erecting your own tent, etc. You do not need to be super-fit by any means and all ages are welcome. We always attract a very broad age range on these expeditions, from people in their 20’s through to people in their 70’s.
Please inform us of any medical conditions that you have before departure so that your crew know how to deal with a medical situation if it should arise. All information will be kept confidential unless you request us to inform your fellow travellers. For example, it may be wise to inform fellow travellers if you are allergic to something like bee-stings so they know what to do if you get stung.
First Aid Kit
We carry a comprehensive first aid kit aboard the vehicle but it is recommended that you bring your own basic first aid kit for general use.
It is compulsory that every person who travels with Madventure obtain travel insurance for the complete duration of the tour. Proof of travel insurance must be shown before joining a tour.
As this is a relatively short tour you may be covered under your credit card’s travel insurance so it may be worth checking with your credit card provider first.
When applying for your Saudi Arabia e-visa you may be given the option to include local Saudi Arabian travel insurance so please take that into consideration when applying for any other policies as it could reduce the amount of time you require on your other policies.
There are various travel insurance companies to choose from and a Google search will bring up a vast selection but for a comprehensive reliable policy that includes Covid Cover and Medical Repatriation we recommend a London based company named Campbell Irvine, www.campbellirvine.com, +44 20 7938 1734. They are familiar with what we do so if you mention Madventure and the tour you are travelling on they should be able to provide excellent cover for you.
For people based in North America a company called Allianz offers good cover – Tel: +1 866 884 3556, www.allianztravelinsurance.com
If you choose to obtain your travel insurance through another company please ensure you read the small-print and make sure your policy includes Covid Cover and Medical Repatriation.
Tent: A good quality lightweight and compact waterproof free standing tent is recommended for this expedition. A removable fly-sheet will help you stay cool on warm dry nights. If you are travelling on your own you are restricted to a 1-2 man sized tent. If you are sharing a tent, you are restricted to a 2-3 man sized tent.
Sleeping bag: It can get cold on this tour so we recommend a good quality 4 season sleeping bag with a ‘Mummy Hood’. Please make sure that your sleeping bag has a ‘crush bag’ so it can be compacted down.
Sleeping bag liner: A Thermal Fleece or Silk Liner will bring your sleeping bag up a season when it’s cold and they are good to use on their own when it’s too hot for your sleeping bag.
Roll Mat: A compact inflatable Thermarest roll mat is recommended. A non-compact mat will not be permitted as they take up too much room.
Pillow: If you do wish to take a pillow (although most just bring a pillow case and stuff their fleece in it at night) then Thermarest makes a good stuff pillow that compacts down small.
Backpack/sports bag/suitcase: We recommend you carry your luggage in a backpack but irrespective if you prefer a sports bag or a suitcase you are restricted to a maximum 100 litre volume.
Day bag: You are also permitted to bring a day bag with a maximum 40 litre volume that you can carry in the overhead luggage rack or under your seat on the back of the truck with you.
Pacsafe: In order to keep your valuables safe we recommend a Pacsafe product. They make a range of anti-theft bags which vary in sizes and can accommodate your money, credit cards, passport, camera, laptop, etc. They can be attached to a fixed part on the back of the vehicle when travelling and/or to a fixed item in your hotel room.
Headtorch: An invaluable investment! Check out the Petzl range of USB rechargeable headlamps.
Water purifier: Quite a handy thing to have to purify contaminated water and avoid stomach bugs. Check out the range of Lifestraw products.
Kindle: Optional but great to keep all your travel guides and books in one place.
Ipad/Tablet: Not a necessity but many places have WiFi available these days so having your own Ipad or Tablet will save you hanging around internet cafes.
Smartphone: This is a necessity on this tour as you need covid apps on your phone to be able to enter most sites, restaurants, supermarkets, etc. A smartphone is also very convenient for emailing, taking photos, mapping and calling home using local sim cards.
Camera: Completely up to you but most people bring one.
Toiletries: Available everywhere but start with some toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, soap and shampoo.
Sunblock: Minimum SPF 15 recommended.
Towel: A microfibre travel towel is a good option as it dries quickly and packs down small.
Sunglasses: Polarised lenses offer great protection.
First aid kit: Only a basic one is recommended but should include plasters, antiseptic cream, bandage, pain relief tablets, scissors and safety pins.
Digital passport photo: You will need a digital colour passport photograph (5 – 100 Kb in size) downloaded to your phone/tablet/laptop in order to apply for your visas.
Digital passport copy: You will need a digital colour copy of your passport (5 – 100 Kb in size) downloaded to your phone/tablet/laptop in order to apply for your visas.
Digital Covid 19 vaccination certificate: You will need a digital colour copy of your Covid 19 vaccination certificate with QR code (5 – 100 Kb in size) downloaded to your phone/tablet/laptop in order to apply for your visas.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificate: An up to date Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is sometimes required to enter certain countries.
Passport: Please ensure you have 5 blank pages in your passport to accommodate all the visas & stamps required on this tour.
Clothes & shoes:
1 x flip flops
1 x walking shoes, trainers or boots
4 x socks
4 x underwear
1 x thermal underwear
1 x thermal gloves
4 x t-shirts
1 x lightweight long sleeve top
1 x fleece top or fleece jacket
2 x zip-off trousers which can be worn long or short
1 x ‘abaya’ for the ladies
1 x thermal beanie or woolly hat
1 x headscarf for the ladies
1 x baseball cap
1 x swimming trunks/bikini
Arabia was once a conservative Islamic area but over the last few decades change has swept through the gulf countries and people are now much more free to wear western style clothing.
Females no longer need to wear headscarves (hijab) and the traditional ‘abaya’ if they don’t want to. These days it is not uncommon to see women wearing jeans and t-shirts however we still recommend that our female travellers err on the side of caution and have a headscarf handy along with a long loose shirt that covers their arms and hangs down to mid-thigh level. Women will need that to get into many of the religious sites too.
Males no longer need to wear long trousers or the traditional Arabian attire if they don’t want to either and many younger men are seen wearing shorts & t-shirts during the day. We still recommend men err on the side of caution and wear long trousers as that will also ensure you get access to all the sites we visit.
Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia and they enforce severe punishment for being caught in possession so don’t be fooled into thinking you can sneak a couple of bottles of wine into the country because you could get yourself into serious trouble. If you are offered alcohol in Saudi Arabia please do not accept as you not only jeopardise your own freedom but also the well-being of the entire group.
Public displays of affection are uncommon and it would also be deemed unusual to shake a woman’s hand when meeting her.
In general Arabia is a very friendly, modern, clean and hassle-free destination. If we all respect Arabian traditions, culture & religion we will have an unforgettable experience in one of the most welcoming regions of the world.
As our expeditions are not your average run of the mill overland tours we would like to go through every aspect of the trip with you to ensure that you are as informed and prepared as possible. At Madventure we believe in giving you the nitty-gritty details as well as the obvious highlights, as in our opinion these are just as important. If after reading this, you decide that this expedition is not for you then, as long as it is within 14 days of your initial booking, you can cancel your booking and receive a full refund of your deposit.
The following may sound a little negative at times but it’s just so we are secure in the knowledge that we have provided you with as much information as possible for the benefit of you, us and your fellow expedition members. There is nothing worse than booking on the trip when it is not what you wanted or expected, our expeditions are too long and too full on. You need to know what you are in for and be able to handle it!
Weather: At the time of year we run our Arabia Overland tours it tends to get quite hot during the day and it can get very cold at night so be prepared for all the elements and you will be comfortable.
Altitude: We travel up to 3000 metres high on this tour so if you suffer from altitude sickness be prepared for it and have altitude-sickness tablets with you.
Hygiene: As wonderful as Arabia is, some places do not have a western infrastructure and their acceptable level of hygiene standards may be very different to ours, so be prepared to use squat toilets and accept that things may not be as clean as they are back home.
You must also maintain your own personal hygiene and ensure that you and your clothes are washed regularly. If anyone stinks or is noticeably unclean the tour leader will have a word with that person to ensure a decent level of personal hygiene is maintained by everyone aboard the vehicle.
Group diversity: We have no restrictions when it comes to age, gender or nationality and if there is one thing we have come to realise it is that the more that is in the mix the better.
Mucking in: This is a full participation expedition so you need to be able to participate fully in all aspects of the trip including cooking, cleaning, truck security, carrying water, collecting firewood, digging your vehicle out of sand & bogs, pitching your own tent, etc.
We get everyone to agree that you are medically fit and able and can physically participate fully in all aspects required. Don’t worry, you don’t need any prior experience and you don’t need to be super fit, just be happy to do your share and have a willingness to get stuck in when necessary.
When things go wrong: The only thing we can guarantee is that at some point things will not go according to plan! We have to follow the legislation of each individual country and they all have different regulations which can sometimes slow us down. It is however usually obstacles such as bad roads, border closures, breakdowns and natural disasters that have a bearing on the expedition. Expect the unexpected and accept that things will go wrong from time to time.
These instances are usually the stories that remain with everyone so enjoy the experience. An easy-going approach will help the situation immensely. Moaning about every little thing that doesn’t go our way will not!
Attitude & group living: A good, easy-going attitude will help you get through this trip and ensure you are liked by your fellow travellers as well as the locals. The one thing that is extremely detrimental to an expedition such as this is your common ‘moaner’. It has nothing to do with age, gender or nationality, the reality is they signed up for this expedition ‘in theory’ they can not cope ‘in practice’ and it’s always got to be someone’s fault. It sounds a bit harsh but by weeding out any moaners early on we can have a chat with them and ensure your expedition is as good as it can be. It’s hard enough at the best of times without in-house problems so by ensuring everyone is on the same page from the start will put us in good stead.
Laziness and selfishness will also be spotted early on so we advise everyone to pull their weight. We can guarantee that at some stage during the expedition you will have to just fit in and go with the flow when it’s not what you personally wanted to do. When situations arise where we can’t please everybody we always aim to please the majority of the group, not the individual.
Please be aware that if any particular person is constantly causing the group or the crew grief due to their behaviour they will be warned and then asked to leave the expedition if nothing improves. No refund will be given if this happens. This is obviously the most extreme situation but we will not let one or two selfish lazy individuals spoil the tour for everyone else.
Usually everybody who joins our expeditions has a relaxed approach to life and gets on well with other people. Aggressive antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated. This is a once in a lifetime experience so let’s all enjoy it!
Drive times, routes & proposed itineraries: This trip is designed to allow plenty of free time in all the places of interest but we are driving a fair distance across Arabia in 56 days so yes, there are going to be a lot of drive days and some of them will be long. This is where you have to be able to take pleasure in the scenery or a good book from time to time.
Generally on a drive day we leave in the morning around 7 – 8 AM (after breakfast) and arrive at our destination before dusk in daylight, but this really depends on the distance between destinations and the road conditions (which are generally good in Arabia).
Sometimes it will be a full day’s drive between destinations and you’ll have the following day or two free. On rare occasions it may be 2 or 3 drive days in a row where you’ll leave early, stop overnight at a wild camp or hotel and then continue early again the next morning. Areas like the Rub al Khali Desert can be remote and the pleasure is in the scenery. Sometimes however it’s only a few hours drive between destinations.
Our proposed itinerary is the ideal route we would like to take providing all political and natural situations are acceptable during the time of our travels. Situations sometimes change during an expedition so please be prepared to take an alternative route in the event we encounter any problems. If a border closes unexpectedly then we have to try and find a safe alternative route which may not be to everyone’s liking. In the worst case scenario we may get stuck with no way forward and at that point we would have to decide whether to fly over the obstacle and continue on local transport or abandon the trip. We have never had to abandon any trip before but we want you to be aware of the worst case scenario.
Please note that we may be placed under military or police escort when travelling through troubled areas. This has never happened on this tour before but if this does occur then we follow their directions and they make the decisions with regard to driving hours and routes. We do not argue with those who are trusted to ensure our safety, so please be aware that if this happens the pace may be faster or slower than we would personally choose and the route they pick will be the one we follow, regardless of our proposed itinerary.
Delays: We always strive to arrive at our destinations on time but if we experience any delays we will adjust our itinerary accordingly. If we experience any major delays our end date can be extended to suit our needs.
The proposed itinerary is just that, ‘proposed’, and can and will change at the crew’s discretion if need be.
Drugs & alcohol: Please be aware that drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are illegal in Arabia and they enforce severe punishment for being caught in possession. There is NEVER to be any illegal drugs carried by any travellers on this tour as you would not only jeopardise your own freedom but also the well-being of the entire group if you are caught in possession.
If you are caught with any kind of illegal drugs on this tour, regardless of the amount, you will be asked to leave the tour immediately and no refund will be given. Any inconsideration can lead to the tour being cancelled and innocent people arrested. We will not hesitate to remove someone if we have to so please respect your fellow tour members and remember, Saudi Arabia enforces the death penalty if you are caught in possessin of hard drugs!
Please also note that alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia so there is never to be any alcohol on the truck while we are in Saudi. If you are caught carrying alcohol on the truck in Saudi you will be asked to leave the tour and no refund will be given.
Dress: Arabia was once a conservative Islamic area but over the last few decades change has swept through the region and people are now much more free to wear western style clothing.
Females no longer need to wear headscarves (hijab) and the traditional ‘abaya’ if they don’t want to. These days it is not uncommon to see women wearing jeans and t-shirts however we still recommend that our female travellers err on the side of caution and have a headscarf handy along with a long shirt that covers their arms and hangs down to mid-thigh level. You will need that to get into many of the religious sites too.
Males no longer need to wear long trousers or the traditional Arabian attire if they don’t want to and many younger men are seen wearing shorts & t-shirts during the day. We still recommend men err on the side of caution and wear long trousers as that will also ensure you get access to all the sites we visit.
Your Crew: On this tour you will have 1 driver and 1 tour leader. On some expeditions we may also have a cameraman who is there to help market our tours and update our social media accounts.
Your driver will be responsible for driving & maintaining the expedition vehicle.
Your tour leader will be responsible for setting the itinerary, booking accommodation, arranging group travel permits, organising border crossings, ensuring the food & hygiene is to a high standard and generally ensuring the smooth running of the expedition.
Your crew members are not tour guides and will not be giving you the history and facts of every country you travel through. Apart from the odd optional extra that needs to be organised in advance, we leave most of that stuff to you guys, this way ensuring you get to do what you want, at the price you are happy to pay.
You do the reading up on the places we are going to in advance and decide how you want to spend your time and what activities you want to do. Apart from some basic truck rules this is not a trip where we hold your hand, it’s an expedition and we expect that you will want to be as independent as possible when it comes to your free time.
Your crew will be hand-picked and trained by Madventure and will have experience of overland travel but they may or may not have done this expedition before. They will however have detailed notes from previous expeditions and backup from our office in the UK.
Tipping: Tipping the crew at the end of your expedition is always appreciated. As this is a fairly long expedition we recommend you tip your driver and tour leader a minimum of $100 each if you are happy with their service. Thank you.
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