Sahara overland tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sahara overland tour

Environment

We all know that tourism's major cost to the global environment is the flight travel used. This trip means you only have to take a return flight as we drive you out!

On a local level, when tourism is focused towards community and culture, we have seen with our own eyes how it can have a significant positive impact that outweighs the global impact, especially in countries where tourism has been lacking, as it encourages both local and national preservation and protection of the natural and cultural environments. Where tourism disappears or is absent these are often the first environments to suffer.

This trip takes you to some important but dying cultural and archaeological sites such as Chinguetti and Walata, Timbuktu and Djenne and the Dogon Country. Much of the focus is on displaced or marginalised communities and we pick out the important museums, mosques and sites of interest for you to visit. Tourists visiting places of historical and archaeological interest provide a positive image for local people and governments, and encourages understanding, communication and respect between different world views.

Just as we believe that tourism brings a net benefit to the environment for the destinations we offer, we also encourage tourists to be aware of what they can do themselves to lighten their foot print: pack light, buy the necessaries for the trip locally, leave all disposables at home and drink local tap water where locals do.

In many developing regions bottled water only exists because of the tourist market's perspective that foreign water is unsafe, but we try to encourage that water is water - it is either good or bad - and humans are humans so if locals are drinking local water and they are healthy then the water is good. Moreover, we show that bottled water is not necessarily safer, is often over purified so lacks nutritional value and creates plastic waste that many communities are not used to so have no provision for disposal.

This is not to say there is no place for bottled water - it is portable and convenient. Where bottled water is used we encourage recycling through giving the bottle to children or women to be reused.

Further, we hope on departure that you may take some of the lessons of how remote communities and a nomadic lifestyle deals with waste into your own lives. The great benefit of travel is that there is learning on both sides, and learning and understanding is always good!

Community

We operate in developing regions of the world where tourism is essential to the national and local economy, but also where this industry suffers from a perspective issue and can be fickle. We have seen the devastating consequences to communities when the tourist disappears: economies fall away, instability ensues and conflict or crisis can follow. Whole communities of ours are refugees today because tourism fears to return.

Our experience has left us with the firm belief that tourism is one of the greatest forces for peace, cultural communication, openness and equitable trade that the world has. Every country and every community wants tourism. We don't just promise to support our communities, we do it by encouraging you to go there, but it is you the traveler who is most actively doing the supporting. Without you, our support cannot exist.

Of course your trip with us to the Sahara will specifically benefit our own community of local operators, guides, drivers and hotels that host you. You will be taken to local markets, local restaurants, support local artisans and witness local traditions throughout your journey. As our trips are, by nature, "off the beaten track", we will be taking you behind the scenes to see communities rarely visited, and here your impact will be magnified by your rarity. It is your communication with these communities, even more than your trade, that will be the lasting legacy of your journey with us.

Finally, we believe that the best on going support we can give to our wider community of both travelers and destinations is to educate the market to understand that issues of domestic or international politics and security - the reasons that make tourism fickle - have very little to do with the traveler's every day security on the ground, which always and everywhere comes down to the same thing: your local perspective and expertise. This goes for travel to Africa, Arabia and Persia as it does for Europe and America. We are all the same, or rather we are all "same same but different", but the difference is purely circumstantial. This, in essence, is our mission.

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