If you’re looking for adventure, an opportunity to travel with like-minded travellers and to get off the beaten track then this type of trip is for you! We will sometimes be covering long distances over a period of a few days but will then most often be camped up for a few days with opportunities for adventure activities, visiting local communities, time in a town or city to chill out or wildlife viewing experiences. The roads are sometimes bumpy and you need to expect the unexpected! This type of travel is through regions where things can change and experiences are more important than luxury – borders sometimes close and there may not always be hot water in the showers! You will generally be camping out under the stars, sometimes out in the bush, but generally more on campsites. (Our South America and Central Asia trips also use small locally-run hostels and guest houses). The trips are fully participative so you will be involved shopping for food in local markets, cooking for your group (on a rota system), collecting water and setting up camp. If you’re not confident about doing any of these things beforehand, don’t worry our crew are there to help you and you’ll be good at it by the time you finish!
You will be travelling on one of our own purpose built overlanding vehicles with up to 24 travellers, many of whom will be travelling on their own. It is a great way for solo travellers to travel. We have lost count of the number of travellers who have met their future spouse on one of our trips! Our vehicles are fully equipped with tents and cooking equipment and are designed for great all-round viewing and a sociable seating plan. You will be accompanied on your trip by a Driver and Tour Leader and, depending on your trip, we often use local guides at sites of specific interest for more detailed information.
This type of travel will provide you with a plethora of memories and stories to tell, new-found travelling companions and friends and a well-exercised spirit of adventure!
Responsible tourism: Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda overland tour
Visiting the mountain gorillas is one of the ultimate wildlife-viewing experiences. There are thought to be only 700 of these magnificent creatures left in the world. They are essential to the tourist economies of both Uganda and Rwanda and somewhat controversially the tourist dollar is essential to the survival of the gorillas. The gorilla trek and permit money is used for anti-poaching programs and maintenance of the National Parks-the gorillas natural habitat.
Visits to the gorillas are very well controlled by the Parks Authority in order to minimise the potential negative impact on the gorillas. Group sizes are limited to eight; visits last for one hour (and there is only one visit allowed per day) and a distance of seven metres has to be maintained. Every effort is made to ensure that the gorillas are not exposed to human bacteria. Physical contact is not allowed and visitors are not allowed to trek if they are suffering from a cold. A tourist infrastructure has also built up around the gorilla trekking points-providing accommodation, food, transport and souvenirs-creating lots more local employment.
We also visit a number of other conservation /community projects en route-that support local communities and conservation initiatives. In Uganda for example, our clients have the opportunity to visit the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary which cares for rescued or orphaned chimpanzees. In Kenya clients can visit Elsamere-the home of the Elsa Conservation Trust which has donated millions to wildlife and conservation projects and has an on-site conservation centre.
We support local wildlife directly in Kenya , by sponsoring an orphaned elephant named, Kamboyo, at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, just outside Nairobi .
On this trip we stay at small, locally run campsites and where possible buy our food in local markets, thereby directly supporting local communities. We use local companies to run all our excursions. We have been working with our Gorilla trekking co-ordinator for many years now and indeed, have known him since he was a child selling us cakes and drinks before our gorilla treks. He has expanded his range of activities, available to our travellers over the years to include things like banana beer making with the local community. This provides extra income to the local community and great opportunities for immersion in the local culture.
At Lake Bunyoni, in Uganda our crew and travellers have helped us support a local pygmy village. When possible we have lunch with the villagers. They cook us a traditional meal which we pay for and this helps bring an income into the village. Some of the villagers also make handicrafts which our crew and travellers buy further supporting local skills and traditions and providing much needed income. We have also helped the village purchase some land and materials to build their own school.
Before commencing the tour all our clients are provided with detailed pre-departure info which includes information on Responsible Travel. This information is re-emphasised by our Tour Leader at the start of the trip-clients are, for example, advised about respecting local customs particularly in terms of dress and behaviour; water conservation; respecting and conserving wildlife and their habitats; purchasing of endangered species products and so on.