This 10 week overland expedition travels in-depth across Northeast Africa to fascinating sights such as Kenya’s Samburu National Park, Ethiopia’s lip-plated tribes of the Lower Omo Valley & Sudan’s Pyramids of Meroe, as well as exploring the Horn of Africa’s rarely visited countries of Somaliland, Djibouti & Eritrea. This trip is all about getting well off the beaten path and discovering unusual destinations!
In total you will visit 7 countries on this madventure including Kenya, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan & Egypt.
Price: £2995 Expedition Payment + $1000 Local Payment
Length: 71 days
Accommodation: 60% hotels, guest houses & hostels, 40% camping
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!
Our tour starts in the bustling capital Nairobi where we camp in a quiet neighbourhood just outside the city centre. Popular day outings include the local giraffe centre and elephant orphanage. The modern shopping malls are a pleasant retreat after a hard day’s sightseeing and Carnivore Restaurant is a must-do for any meat-lovers. Please note that we depart Nairobi the day after the tour starts so if you would like to see more of this city you should consider arriving a few days early.
Driving north we pass by Mt. Kenya, Africa’s 2nd highest peak, and continue into the remote northern part of the country where you will have the option to take a safari into Samburu National Reserve, famous for its array of rare species such as Grevy zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and Beisa oryx. The park is also home to predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah & wild dogs as well as having over 450 species of birds.
Travelling along dusty gravel tracks we now head on an exploratory leg of this tour towards the crocodile infested Lake Turkana and get to meet remote indigenous tribes on our way to Ethiopia. This route may involve crossing soft river beds so be prepared for sand-matting & digging!
Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley is a true African gem with a real ethnic diversity that will fascinate you. Here you will have the opportunity to meet the Karo tribe with their intricate body painting, the Hamer tribe with their ‘Jumping of the Bulls’ ceremony and the Mursi tribe with their mind-blowing lip plates!
Following the spectacular Rift Valley we pass by numerous crocodile-filled lakes with great camps on our way to the capital Addis Ababa where we will base ourselves for a few days to obtain visas required for onward travel. While we wait you can explore the city’s famous Merkato (Africa’s largest open air market) and enjoy the convenience of a modern city.
From Addis we now head east to Awash National Park where you have the option to take a safari in search of Beisa oryx, Soemmering’s gazelles, greater & lesser kudus, defassa waterbuck and colobus monkeys. Keep an eye out as other mammals such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, black-backed jackals, caracals, servals, wildcats and aardwolves are also found in the park, but are rarely seen.
With its crumbling walls and animated markets Harar is a travelers delight where during the day you have the opportunity to visit Ras Tafari’s house, the Smugglers Market & Jamia mosque while in the evening on the outskirts of town you can see locals feeding wild hyenas sticks of meat by hand, and even by mouth!
From Harar we continue on a real adventure into Somaliland.
This will be an exploratory section of the tour. We have been given assurances from both the Somaliland & Djibouti consulates that their borders with Ethiopia are open and we can enter with a foreign registered vehicle so if all goes to plan we will be the first ever overland truck to pioneer this route. In the unlikely event we are prevented from entering with our own vehicle we will conduct this section of the tour on local transport.
Hargeisa is the slightly odd capital of Somaliland where we have a couple of days to explore this friendly city and get a feel for a place that is undergoing a rapid transformation after a long civil war.
We continue to Laas Geel where you have the opportunity to view hundreds of ancient rock art paintings in perfect condition adorning the walls of a series of interconnected caves. One of Africa’s best-kept secrets!
The coastal town of Berbera is an eerily quiet & brightly colored slice of heaven where we have a day to enjoy the areas superb beaches and sample fresh seafood.
Crossing into Djibouti we first visit the busy port of Djibouti City where highlights include a visit to the imposing Hamoudi mosque, a stroll through the colourful Les Caisses market & wreck diving off the islands of Maskali.
We continue to Lac Assal situated 155m below sea level, a spectacular crater lake encircled by dark, dormant volcanoes. The aquamarine water is ringed by a white salt field which contrasts starkly with the black lava fields surrounding it, an incredible sight!
Our last stop here is at Lac Abbe you will get to see an eerie plain dotted with limestone chimneys belching out puffs of steam making for sensational photos.
Crossing back into Ethiopia we now visit Lalibela where you have the option to visit the areas fabulous 12th century rock hewn churches originally built to give Christians a place of worship and spare them the dangerous journey to Jerusalem.
Further north we visit the laid-back town of Mekele from where we take a newly built road out to the active Erta Ale volcano. Providing the volcano is not too active you will have the opportunity to hike to the rim and get a view over an incredible lake of bubbling lava.
We continue into the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest, lowest & driest places on earth, where you will have the option to take a 4×4 over salt flats dotted with warts of twisted orange sulphur, take a dip in a natural spa pool and watch the Afar people hack blocks of salt out of the ground to be loaded onto the famous camel caravans.
We now start an exploratory leg of this tour as we aim to be the first ever overland truck to enter Eritrea. The country’s border has only recently opened and no official customs office has been opened yet but with the assistance of our agent in Eritrea we aim to get permission from the government to enter with a foreign vehicle. Should we however be denied entry with our vehicle we will have to conduct this part of the tour on local transport.
Our first visit will be to the impressive Qohaito ruins near Adi Keih, where a few hours can be spent exploring the areas tombs, temples & rock art sites.
Winding our way through a series of canyons we reach Massawa, a beach town displaying historic whitewashed Ottoman, Italian & Egyptian architecture. The nearby Dahlak islands can be visited by boat and are a great day out for any beach lovers.
Back inland we travel through villages displaying traditional round thatched huts on our way to the historic market town of Keren where you will have the chance to visit the Mariam Dearit Shrine, a Catholic place of worship built into a 500 year old baobab tree.
In the delightful capital city of Asmara we have a couple of days to explore highlights such as the Opera House, tank graveyard & central market, as well as hang out at the authentic coffee houses where locals will gladly give you an insight into the country’s recent turbid history.
Back in Ethiopia we travel to Aksum, famed home of the Queen of Sheba and supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The area is also filled with ancient tombs making this an explorer’s dream.
Travelling along a snaking mountain road of switchbacks we now head into the Simien Mountains where you have the option to trek into the beautiful national park famous for its incredible scenery and grass-eating Gelada baboons.
Once out of the Ethiopian Highlands we visit Gondar where you have the option to visit the castle and discover the history behind the huge stone walls that stand proudly as this intriguing town’s centrepiece.
From Gondar you have the option to do a day trip to Lake Tana to explore the monasteries on the islands within the lake as well as visit the Blue Nile Falls along the way.
The Sudanese are perhaps the most hospitable & friendly people in Africa and our first destination is the surprisingly modern capital city of Khartoum. Here we camp near the confluence of the Blue & White Niles where highlights include a visit to the National Museum, a wander around the camel market and lunch at the R2D2 building.
We continue into the red sands of the Nubian desert and visit the spectacular Pyramids of Meroe where we will probably have the site to ourselves. The pyramids also house some well-preserved hieroglyphics and the ruins of the ancient Royal City are nearby.
Travelling north we get to see more Pyramids near the town of Merowe before camping at a petrified forest in the Nubian desert.
Our final stop in Sudan is at the small Nubian village of Abri situated on the banks of the Nile from where you have the option of visiting historic Sai Island as well as the Temple of Soleb, a clear indication that we are now close to the land of the Pharaohs.
A short ferry ride across Lake Nasser brings us to the iconic temple of Abu Simbel, a colossal monument to the Pharaoh King Ramses II and perhaps Egypt’s most impressive site.
We continue to the town of Aswan which lies on a particularly beautiful stretch of the Nile with palm-fringed islands and flotillas of white sailed feluccas. Highlights here include the botanical gardens, the craft market & high tea at the Old Cataract Hotel.
From Aswan you now have the option to travel for 2 days on a traditional felucca boat which will take you down the Nile and stop off at the spectacular temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu. Those who opt not to do the felucca trip will have extra time in Aswan and Luxor.
In Luxor you will have the opportunity to visit the temples of Hatshepsut, Luxor & Karnak, as well take a trip to the incredible Valley of the Kings where you will be amazed by the well-preserved ancient tombs filled with hieroglyphics.
Hugging the Nile River we now travel north to Cairo where you will get to see 2 of Egypt’s most iconic sites, the Sphinx & Pyramids of Giza. A trip to the Cairo Museum is also a must-do and houses over 100 000 ancient artefacts including the golden treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen, a magnificent ending to an incredible overland journey across Northeast Africa!
If you would like to extend your trip you could join the tour a week early and add on the Masai Mara & Lake Naivasha.
If you want to add on extra countries you could join the tour earlier and add on any of the following countries – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa.
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 realize 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.
Giraffe centre £7
Elephant orphanage £5
Samburu NP safari £100
Lower Omo Valley tribes tour £50
Danakil Depression 4×4 tour £50
Aksum historical sites £10
Simien Mountains guide fee per day £15
Lake Tana & Blue Nile Falls day trip £60
National Museum £1
Meroe pyramids £15
Blue & White Nile boat trip £10
Merowe pyramids Free
Sai Island & Soleb Temple day tour £40
Abu Simbel £10
2 day Felucca boat trip on Nile £40
Kom Ombo £5
Edfu Temple £7
Valley of the Kings £12
Hatshepsut Temple £6
Balloon flight over Luxor £70
Luxor Temple £8
Karnak Temple £8
Cairo museum £10
Pyramids & Sphinx £12
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. Please note that we may have to use local transport in Somaliland, Djibouti and/or Eritrea if we are refused entry for any reason.
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 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 40% of your time on this expedition in your tent camping and 60% 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 at 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 £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 Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card.
They generally accept all major currencies for exchange but US Dollars are 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 – Ethiopia (multiple entry & 3 month validity), Somaliland, Djibouti, Eritrea & Sudan.
Somaliland, Djibouti, Eritrea & Sudan visas can be obtained in Addis Ababa during the tour if necessary but you will save yourself time if you obtain them before departure.
Kenya issues most nationalities a visa on arrival but if you are unsure please check with your relevant embassy that your nationality qualifies for this.
Egypt issues most nationalities a visa on arrival but if you are unsure please check with your relevant embassy that your nationality qualifies for this. For example, South Africans need a visa in their passport before arrival.
Some nationalities may also require a Letter of Invitation in order to apply for certain visas (for example, Americans need an LOI in order to apply for the Sudan visa). Sometimes we can provide these for you for a fee.
Budget approximately £300 for all your visas and letters of invitation.
Please ensure you have 10 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 10 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 in the 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.
For people based in North America a company called Allianz offers good cover – Tel: +1 866 884 3556,
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 10 passport photos for the duration of the expedition.
Passport: please ensure you have 10 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 Somaliland & Sudan 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 Northeast 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 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 strict rule as any inconsideration can lead to the vehicle being impounded, the expedition cancelled and other innocent parties 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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