This 11 week expedition has a bit of everything Africa has to offer! You will experience parts of West Africa rich in history, parts of Central Africa rich in culture & parts of Southern Africa rich in wildlife!
In total you will visit 12 countries on this madventure including Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia & South Africa.
Price: £2995 Expedition Payment + $1000 Local Payment
Length: 11 weeks
Accommodation: 90% camping, 10% hotels/guest houses/hostels
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!
This tour starts in Ghana’s capital Accra which offers us a taste of African big city life. The district of Jamestown’s dishevelled colonial buildings and fishing port are also well worth a visit.
Heading inland we visit the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary where you have the chance to get up close & personal with Mona monkeys that will gladly sit on your shoulder as you feed them bananas.
Our last stop here is at the beautiful Wli Waterfalls, the tallest in West Africa, where you have the day to hike to the falls and enjoy one of Ghana’s best natural sites.
Togo is only 50 km wide and on our first day we will visit the artistic town of Kpalime which is famous for its traditional crafts of woodcarving & batik.
We continue to the capital Lome where a day out can include visiting the bizarre fetish markets, marvelling at the displays in the Museum of West African Arts and exploring the labyrinths of the colourful Grand Market.
Across the border is Benin, the birthplace of voodoo. Here our first day is spent camping on the shores of Lake Aheme and if our luck is in we will get the opportunity to watch the locals perform the traditional Zangbeto voodoo dance for us.
The remarkable town of Abomey is our next stop where you can explore the ruined temples and palaces of the Dahomeyan empire.
At Lake Ganvie you have the option to take a boat out to a village in the middle of the lake that is home to 30 000 Tofinu people who reside here in stilted bamboo huts.
Passing through Cotonou for a brief stop we now head for the Nigerian border.
Abeokuta is our first destination in Nigeria where we visit the Olumo Rock formation, an historical natural fortress used during inter-tribal warfare in the 19th century.
In Osogbo we visit the Sacred Grove Forest to explore the sanctuaries, shrines, sculptures & artworks created in honour of Osun, the Goddess of Fertility.
In Benin City the national museum offers us an insight into the Benin Empire with a significant amount of ancient artefacts. For those more interested in modern art a walk down Bronze Casters Street will show you some fine bronze works of art.
Our last stop here is the lively colonial port town of Calabar where highlights include a visit to the Slave Trade Museum, National Museum and Drill Monkey Ranch.
Our first stop here is at the relaxed beach town of Limbe where you have the option to either take the 3 day trek up Mt. Cameroon (4095m), visit the local primate reserves or just relax on the beach.
We continue inland to the capital Yaounde where you can visit the local markets & monasteries and enjoy one of West Africa’s most pleasant cities.
Equatorial Guinea is a little-known gem that has only recently opened its doors to tourism but obtaining the Letters of Invitation from the government to allow us entry is still a bit of an uncertainty so please be aware that if we do not obtain permission we would have to skip this country and continue straight to Gabon. After much discussion with their government in 2019 we were assured that the process would be made easier in the coming years but there is still no guarantee.
Providing all goes well and we get permission to enter our main objective for visiting is to look for gorillas in the Monte Alen NP. This is one of the cheapest places to see the incredible gentle giants and the park is also home to chimpanzees, elephants, mandrills and crocodiles.
Situated on the equator we get a real taste of Africa at the Reserve de la Lope where we spend a couple of days in the reserve with the option of game drives or trekking through the forest in search of mandrills, forest elephants and buffalo.
In the capital Libreville the National Museum of Arts & Tradition will give you a good insight into local culture. If you are feeling more adventurous you can take a boat over to Pongara National Park, a beautiful mangrove reserve and a favourite spot for nesting turtles where you also have the chance of spotting elephants, chimpanzees & buffalo.
In Lamberene we visit Dr Albert Schweitzer’s hospital which is now a museum where we can get an understanding of the Nobel Prize winning work he done here for the African community.
Our first 2 days in the friendly Congo are spent on dirt tracks which often turn into thick mud and test our vehicles off-road ability.
The small town of Dolisie is a welcome relief where we have a couple of days to get a feel for the local culture and sample the delicious street food.
On the coast we visit the red Gorges of Diosso which are referred to as Congo’s Grand Canyon. The local museum is a quaint place that explains the areas history.
Conkouati-Douli National Park is a highlight of the Congo where you have a good chance of seeing the thriving chimpanzee population that inhabit the areas islands. The park is also home to elephants, leopards, turtles & gorillas.
A brief stop in the town of Pointe Noire will give you the chance to visit the African Circle Museum and also stock up on goods at a rare supermarket.
We have a short day’s travel through the oil rich Angolan exclave of Cabinda before we reach the DRC and encounter more mud tracks on our way to the mighty Congo River.
Boma is a bustling little port where you will have the chance to get out and visit a true Congolese river town.
We cross over the Congo River via the huge Matadi suspension bridge and spend a day in Matadi town to sample the local fare and explore the bustling markets.
The town of Mbanza Kongo is the first Kingdom the original Portuguese navigators discovered and here today you can visit one of the oldest churches in sub-Saharan Africa as well as explore the Royal Museum.
Travelling through scenic landscapes we arrive at the impressive Calandula Falls. These falls are one of Africa’s largest waterfalls but because they are so remote they are also rarely visited by tourists so we will most likely have the place to ourselves.
The capital city of Luanda offers us some modern convenience as well as a step back in time with wonderful colonial architecture and fabulous historical museums.
On our route south we visit the Miradouro de Lua where bizarre rock formations form a sort of mini Grand Canyon stretching out into the Atlantic.
A brief stop in the town of Benguela will give you enough time to get a feel for this ancient slave port.
Our last stop here is at the cool & picturesque Lubango where Christ the King Statue overlooks the town and the surrounding mountains offer us spectacular views from the Tundavala Gap.
Our first stop in Namibia is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife viewing venues, Etosha National Park, where we spend a couple of days driving through the parks desert & bushveld landscapes in search of lions, buffalo, elephant & giraffe, plus many of Africa’s other great mammals.
After exiting the park we will then visit a traditional Himba village and get an insight into these indigenous nomads way of life.
Near Kamanjab we will be visiting a Cheetah Park where we get to see these incredible animals up close and watch them feeding.
On our route to the coast you will have the option to visit a petrified forest with 45m long trunks and also take a guided tour around the bushman rock engravings at Twyfelfontein.
The Skeleton Coast is a desolate place and a drive through this wilderness will allow us to see an abandoned oil rig, numerous shipwrecks & a noisey seal colony.
Spitzkoppe is ‘Namibia’s Matterhorn’ and the sight of these bold granite outcrops rising dramatically out of the flat surrounding plains make it an awesome spectacle.
The adventure sports capital Swakopmund is where you will have the opportunity to go deep-sea fishing, quad-biking, sand-boarding, camel riding & skydiving, or just relax on the deserted beaches and enjoy the German influenced resort towns hospitality.
We now head to the iconic towering red sand dunes of the Namib Desert at Sossusvlei where you will have the option to climb the famous Dune 45 for sunrise. The more spirited ones can attempt the climb up the much more arduous Big Daddy dune to get a view over one of the driest landscapes on earth.
Our last stop in Namibia is at the awesome Fish River Canyon NP where you will be amazed by one of Africa’s most incredible natural rifts.
South Africa’s Cape West Coast offers beautiful landscapes and our last night of the tour is spent here at Highlanders Vineyard where we get a taste of SA’s famous wines and enjoy a traditional farewell dinner.
Cape Town is our last port of call where your tour ends upon arrival. Before heading home we recommend you take time to relax and enjoy the area’s attractions such as the nearby penguin colonies, Robben Island, cage diving with sharks and brilliant V&A Waterfront. Not to be missed is a day trip around the Stellenbosch wineries, a must-do for any wine lovers and a divine last taste of Africa!
If you would like to extend your trip you could join the tour earlier and add on any of the following countries – Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco.
After Capetown our truck continues up the East Coast of Africa so you can add on any of the following countries – Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan or Egypt.
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 direct bank transfer or Paypal, or call us to pay using your credit or debit card over the phone. 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 £2995 is the main bulk payment for your expedition and is payable in the U.K. in GBP (£ Sterling). In order to reserve a place on this expedition you must pay £300 as a 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 £1695 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 £2995 should be paid upon booking.
The Expedition Payment can be paid by direct bank transfer, Paypal or credit/debit card.
Bank Details for Direct Transfers
NOTE: 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
Paypal account name: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a cash payment of USD $1000 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 may be asked to bring the equivalent amount in either Euros or GBP.
We realise that not everyone is going to visit every site or take part in every activity along the way so we have left most of these activities as optional and therefore kept the expedition payment to a minimum.
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.
Kakum NP canopy walk £10
Cape Coast slave fort guided tour £5
Museum of West African Arts £4
Lake Ganvie boat trip £15
Mt. Cameroon 3 day trek £120
Gorilla trekking £70
Reserve de la Lope guided walk/jeep tour £35
Reserve de la Lope river safari £35
Pongara NP day trip £40
Game fishing £100
Hot air ballooning £300
Scenic flight, Sossusvlei £250
Cable car to Table Mountain £15
Abseil Table Mountain £60
Cage diving with Great White sharks £150
Robben Island guided tour £20
Stellenbosch wine tour £40
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 many of the roads we travel on.
The overland vehicle we use is a custom-built expedition truck which can accommodate up to 36 people 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 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 as and when 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 spend a lot of nights around the campfire so we take along good axes and saws for the times when we have to replenish our wood supply.
We usually carry 500 litres of treated drinking water and we are equipped with a good kitchen which includes all cutlery, plates, cups, pots and pans, utensils, gas cooker, BBQ grate, etc.
All our vehicles are equipped with a small fridge which is used for the cook groups 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.
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 when we stay at campsites & hotels.
We carry solar showers and a toilet tent with us for those times when we are bush camping without amenities.
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 so we always strive to prepare healthy, wholesome and plentiful meals.
We will be cooking a lot of meals from our own kitchen on the truck. 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 too. Lunches are at your own expense. When we are staying in hotels/guest houses/hostels (usually in cities) it is often impractical to cook on the truck so we do not provide any meals at these times.
When it comes to shopping and cooking we will divide ourselves up into groups of 3 or 4 people (depending on group size) who will shop for and prepare the day’s meals and clean up at the end. This will work out that you roughly get to cook once a week (depending on numbers).
Fresh food is generally available daily so we try and eat meat and vegetables for every main evening meal. We do also cater for vegetarians but we cannot cater for fussiness. In these group situations everybody must appreciate we cannot cater for individual likes and 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 groups 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 90% of your time on this expedition in your tent camping and 10% of your time staying in local hotels, guest houses and hostels.
Quite often we will wild camp by ourselves out in the bush or in the desert and other times we will use designated campsites with amenities. The majority of our wild camp locations are usually very scenic and we always strive to find the perfect spot on the banks of a river, overlooking a canyon, behind a dune in the desert, 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 camping (usually in cities) we always try to use decent, clean budget hotels, guest houses and hostels, however, taking into consideration the sometimes unpredictable nature of this expedition 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/guest houses/hostels you can expect to share your room with other expedition members of both sexes.
In many of the places we stay there are upgrade options available so should you prefer not to camp or you just want some time alone you can often rent yourself a private room at your own expense.
We recommend a budget of £100 – £120 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 £800 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 ¼ of your money in cash US Dollars, ¼ of your money in cash Euros and the rest of your money on your Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card.
They generally accept all major currencies for exchange but Euros and US Dollars are generally accepted everywhere.
ATM’s are often available for you to draw local currency using your Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card except in a few countries where it is recommended you have cash available for exchange.
To keep your money/credit cards/ipod/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.
We recommend you obtain the following visas in your passport before departure if possible – Ghana, Togo, Nigeria & Cameroon.
It is possible to get your Togo visa issued in Accra in 24 hours and you can also get your Nigeria visa issued upon arrival providing you have completed an online application prior to arrival.
All other visas can be obtained en-route.
You can either obtain visas yourself or use the services of a visa agency such as www.thevisamachine.com
Those who are travelling on non-European passports may require additional visas to travel in Southern Africa so please check your requirements with the relevant embassies.
Some nationalities may also require a Letter of Invitation in order to apply for certain visas. Sometimes we can provide these for you for a fee.
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 2 months before departure in order to obtain your visas comfortably.
Budget approximately £800 for all your visas and letters of invitation.
Please ensure you have 15 free pages in your passport in order to accommodate all the visas and ensure your passport is valid for at least 9 months after your departure date.
You will need approximately 12 passport photos for the duration of the expedition.
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 within UK.
Alternatively speak with your local Health Professionals for current accurate information. You will need to make an appointment with your GP or Travel Clinic and take a list of the countries you are visiting and the approximate dates when you will be there.
NB: YOU MUST HAVE AN UP TO DATE YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATE WITH YOU DURING THIS TOUR AS IT IS A REQUIREMENT AT CERTAIN BORDERS.
Medically Fit & Able
You need to be in good general health for this expedition and be reasonably fit and 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 travelers. For example, it may be wise to inform fellow travelers 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 expedition. Proof of travel insurance must be shown before joining an expedition.
There are various travel insurance companies to choose from and a Google search will bring up a vast selection but for clients who are resident in the UK we recommend a London based company named Campbell Irvine, www.campbellirvine.com, tel. 020 7938 1734. They are familiar with what we do, so mention our name and the expedition you are travelling on and they will provide excellent cover for you.
If you choose to obtain your travel insurance through another company please ensure you read the small-print and make sure you are covered for 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 hot 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: Any good quality 2/3 season sleeping bag will be fine but one with a ‘Mummy Hood’ is a good idea for the times that it will be cold. 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 do 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 liter volume.
Day bag: You are also permitted to bring a day bag with a maximum 40 liter volume that you can carry in the overhead luggage rack 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 the overhead luggage rack on the back of the vehicle when travelling and/or to a fixed item in your hotel.
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 ‘Delhi Belly’. Check out the range of Lifestraw products.
Kindle: optional but great to keep all your travel guides and books in 1 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 – not a necessity but 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.
Towel: a microfibre travel towel is a good option as it dries quickly and packs down small.
First aid kit: only a basic one is recommended but should include plasters, antiseptic cream, bandage, pain relief tablets, scissors and safety pins.
Passport photos: You will need approximately 12 passport photos for the duration of the expedition.
Passport: please ensure you have 15 blank pages in your passport to accommodate all the visas required on this tour.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificate: an up to date certificate is required to enter certain countries.
Clothes & shoes:
1 pair of flip flops
1 pair of walking shoes, trainers or boots
4 pairs of socks
4 pairs of undies
4 t-shirts and/or vest tops
2 pairs of zip-off trousers which can be worn long or short
1 swimming trunks/bikini
1 lightweight long sleeve top
1 decent fleece top or fleece jacket
1 beanie/woolly hat for the cold days
1 wet weather jacket
1 light-weight dress/skirt for the ladies
1 collared shirt for the blokes
A pair of thermal gloves
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 and we want to explain the expedition in as much detail as possible so you can be sure you are suited and prepared for one of our overland adventures. 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 off the expedition 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, the good and the bad, to ensure everybody is completely aware exactly what type of trips we run for the benefit of you, us and your fellow expedition members as there is nothing worse than getting someone booking on the trip when it is not what they actually wanted or expected as our expeditions are too long and too full on. You need to know what you are in for and be able to handle it!
At times you will be exposed to all the elements, from extreme cold to intense humid heat and high altitude. And, for example, as wonderful as places like Nigeria & Congo are, they do not have a western infrastructure and their acceptable level of hygiene standards are very different to ours.
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, 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 or knowledge or to be a fitness freak, just to 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 may all have different regulations and attitudes towards us. Generally everyone is always friendly and it’s usually obstacles such as breakdowns, bad roads and natural disasters that have a bearing on the expedition. Everything changes from trip to trip depending on what the current situation or problem is, so it’s not ‘if’ something goes wrong, it’s ‘when’.
Please be prepared to 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 travelers 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, sex or nationality, it just matters that although they signed up for this ‘in theory’ they can’t 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 get go will start us off in good stead.
We have no age restrictions and if there is one thing we have come to realize, through experience, is that it’s the mental attitude that counts the most and a broader age range is better on a long trip as it stops the stereotyping – the more in the mix the better.
There will be parties and there will be quiet nights. There are no set rules and it always sorts itself out depending on the individual personalities of who’s on board.
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 rest of the group (or the crew) grief due to their behavior they will be warned and then asked to leave the expedition if nothing improves and no refund will be given. This is obviously the most extreme situation but we will not let one or two lazy or selfish individuals spoil it for everybody else. Everybody knows the score from the start and this is for everyone’s benefit. Usually everybody who does our trips has a relaxed approach and everybody gets on very well and any unsuitable people do not last long and leave on their own accord.
This is a once in a lifetime experience so let’s all enjoy it!
Drive times, routes and proposed itineraries: We are driving a long way across Africa in a restricted time frame, so yes, there are going to 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.
As a general rule on a drive day we leave in the morning around 7-8am (after breakfast) and pull up just before dusk in order to set up camp in the daylight, but this really depends on the distance between destinations.
Sometimes it will be a full day’s drive between destinations and you’ll have the following day free. On rare occasions it will be a 3-4 day long drive where you’ll leave early, stop late and wild camp in-between, then have a few free days at your destination. Sometimes it’s only a few hours between locations. Driving is a huge part of the trip so be prepared for a lot of it and expect the odd long drive into the night.
Please note: At times we may placed under military or police escort when travelling through troubled areas. If this occurs then we are at their mercy 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 sometimes the pace will be much faster 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.
We advise you not to book onward flights until we get within a week of our final destination.
Drugs: In a lot of the countries we travel through drugs such as marijuana are in abundance and readily available. Please be aware that they are still illegal and some countries hold the Death Penalty as punishment for being caught in possession. Obviously you are free to do whatever you want to do in your own free time but there is NEVER to be any illegal drugs onboard the expedition vehicle at any time.
If you are caught with any kind of illegal drugs on the expedition vehicle, regardless of the amount, you will be asked to leave the expedition immediately and no refund will be given. This is a very serious rule as any inconsideration can lead to the vehicle being impounded, the expedition cancelled and other innocent party’s arrested. We will not hesitate to remove someone if we have to so please respect your other expedition members.
Your Crew: You will normally have a crew of 1 experienced person who fills the role of being the driver/expedition leader. Sometimes our crew prefer to work with a partner so there may occasionally be 2 crew who share the roles of driver and expedition 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 crew member will drive and maintain the vehicle as well as sort out all the accommodation, permits, border crossings and generally ensure the smooth running of the expedition. Your crew member is not a tour guide 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 organized 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 the office in the UK.
Tipping: Tipping the crew at the end of your expedition is always appreciated. As this is a long expedition, but also a budget one, we recommend you tip your driver/expedition leader a minimum of £1 per day if you are happy with their service. Thank you.
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