PRE-DEPARTURE MEETING INFORMATION
GENERAL TOUR INFORMATION GUIDE
Thank you for choosing Nomad! Were confident that youve chosen the best overland company in Africa and we go out of our way to prove it.
You are embarking on an awesome adventure in the capable hands of Nomad and the care of our excellent guides. Nomads Adventure Tours have been enjoyed by thousands of people from all over the world over the past six years. A great attitude, an open mind and being well-prepared will go a long way to helping you get the most out of your tour.
Remember you are in Africa. Standards and service should not be compared to first world countries. You came here to get away from all that to experience Africa as she really is.
The unexpected is included in your tour free of charge!
On the 20 days of your trip you will be covering over 6500km. That involves a lot of driving and cannot be rushed for 2 reasons:
1. You are in a truck not a sports car
2. We will be travelling along winding dirt roads. Safety is paramount.
So keep this in mind when you are tired, hot and irritated. This is a magnificent tour. You will see one of the biggest canyons in the world, the highest dunes, the oldest desert, the unique delta, the widest waterfall. The list just goes on and on.
Our vehicles are Mercedes Benz trucks
NOT A BUS OR TAXI BUT A TRUCK THEY ALL HAVE NAMES SO PLEASE DO NOT REFER TO THEM AS A BUS THEY HAVE FEELINGS!!!!
We have custom built the rear of the truck to our clients specifications, in order for you to travel as comfortable as possible.
All the trucks have hardtops with large opening windows for excellent viewing opportunities.
We have a radio cassette player SO PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN TAPES,
KENNY ROGERS, NANA MOUSKOURI, NEIL DIAMOND.
Optional Experiences Its Your Choice
The optional experiences and activities are carefully and strategically selected to give you a break from the routine of travelling overland style. They enhance your holiday and give you an adrenaline rush when you need one! These are selected for their value for money, enjoyment factor and the feedback from clients.
Optional activities are not included in the price of the tour for three simple reasons:
Not everyone can afford to do them all
Not everyone wants to do them all! (No point in throwing you out of a plane if you cant bear heights!)
We leave the running and safety of these specialised activities to the people who do them best. We take you there and then let the professionals take care of you in pursuit of your thrills and spills!
All optional activities are to be paid for on tour. Many will need to be paid in USD cash - this is due to the instability of many African currencies and unforeseen price changes by the local operators.
Pre-departure meeting are designed to give you the chance to meet your fellow travellers and guides, helping ensure that you get the most out of your trip. They cover important points about your tour and give you the chance to finalise any last minute arrangements and paperwork. Your tour dossier contains information on where and when your meeting will be held. Please contact our reservations department (details at end of this document) if you need directions.
On the Road with Nomad
All of our tours cover long distances on the roads of Africa. Our job is to show you the magnificent sights of this continent. This involves many hours spent driving which cannot be rushed for the following reasons:
You are in a truck. Its not a sports car!
Distances in Africa are often on a bigger scale than those at home.
We will be travelling along winding dirt roads. Your safety is paramount.
Keep this in mind when you are tired, hot and your butt has had enough of sitting!
Participation & Interaction
All Nomad tours are limited participation tours: All we require is that you assist with washing up duties. loading and unloading your bag and for putting up and taking down your tent. The first time is a challenge thereafter, its a breeze! You are however welcome to assist wherever possible and the more willing hands, the smoother things will run, and the more enjoyable it will be for all.
Your tent and camping equipment and kitchen utensils are provided on your tour. Please take care of our equipment, as anything broken or lost on tour cannot be easily replaced.
Our guides do all the cooking, however you are welcome to share your culinary skills with the group.
You are on a camping tour and will be sleeping in 2.2m x 2.2m two-man Nomad canvas Dome tents with flexible self-supporting poles. No unnecessary pegs to fight with! The tents have with a flysheet for rainy weather and a thick industrial mosquito net, which should be kept closed at all times.
We enjoy the luxury of bedded accommodation in Swakopmund and Victoria Falls at Savanna Lodge.
Most of the campsites we use have toilet and shower facilities, but hot water is often a luxury. Fortunately, most places we visit on tour are warm to hot and a cold shower will be appreciated! Some places that we visit are bush camps where there are no facilities. Our truck is self-sufficient under these circumstances. If you are travelling into the wilderness area of the Okavango Delta there are no facilities at all.
You Guides & Authority on Tour
Sometimes our tour leaders and drivers have to make a decision with regards to health, safety, security and circumstances beyond their control. This may not always be a popular decision. As far as possible, your guide will take into account the wishes of the group as a whole, but your understanding and patience at these times will be much appreciated.
The Tour Leader has complete authority on tour and his/her decision is final.
Nomad tour groups usually range in age from about 18-35, and there is usually an equal balance of the sexes! Theyre typically made up of adventurous, fun loving, dynamic individuals and couples of many nationalities - all with a sense of adventure and a zest for life! Travelling in a group offers many advantages and allows you to share the experience with like-minded fun-seekers! Its also a cheaper and more secure way to explore an unfamiliar continent. Making friends with your tour mates will definitely help you make the most of your tour and an open mind may sometimes be necessary.
What to Bring.
Your luggage is limited to ONE backpack and ONE daypack weighing no more than 20kg.
As a general rule, if you cannot lift your own luggage - youve got too much stuff!
Suitcases are not suitable on tour especially huge samsonite-style cases!
Remember bags with wheels are of no use when you are moving you bag from the truck to your tent through sand.
You should pack the following:
Kit for all weather conditions including:
2 pairs of long pants/jeans
2 pairs of walking shoes/boots/trainers
1 pair of sandals
3 or 4 T-shirts/sundresses
Smarter change of clothes
Underwear & socks
Sun Hat preferably one that covers the back of your neck.
Towel & facecloth
Sleeping bag and mat. (The African ground is famously hard! but we hire these for a small fee)
Torch & enough spare batteries
Camera & spare batteries and film
Water bottle. (A 2-litre Coke bottle works well )
Insect and Mosquito repellent
Suntan lotion & after sun lotion
Music! Cassettes no CDs
Biodegradable laundry detergent
A small basic First Aid kit (painkillers, band aids, after-sun lotion, eye drops, anti-diarrhoea tablets etc.)
BEFORE LEAVING ON TOUR - IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER
Please ensure to inform us of the following before you leave on tour:
Sleeping Bag & Mat We hire these two items for a small fee that covers cleaning and replacement. Payment can be made beforehand or on the morning of departure. Please make sure you let us know if you need either item beforehand or we may not have enough on hand.
Special Requirements - Please confirm if you have any special dietary requirements, allergies or intolerances. We need to know a day or two before departure to arrange any special requests. This does not include I dont like mushrooms you can tell you guides about your likes and dislikes we need to know if mushrooms (for instance) will make you ill, or if you cannot eat them for religious reasons.
Medical conditions - Please inform us of any medical conditions or allergies e.g. asthma and of any medication you may be taking e.g. insulin for diabetes etc. This is especially important if your medication has to be kept at a certain temperature we must know about this beforehand.
Medical Insurance Please note that it is a condition of booking on any Nomad tour that you have adequate medical insurance. We require the details of your insurance policy for our records before you will be permitted to depart on tour. Please check the small print of any credit-card insurance your insurance must cover you in the instance that you need to be airlifted to a hospital. As many public hospitals in Africa are below western standards you might have to be airlifted to South Africa for a simple problem. Many insurance policies do not cover adrenaline sports: i.e.: bungee jumping please check this before you book the activity.
Outstanding Monies Please settle any outstanding monies at least 14 days before the tour. We reserve the right to cancel a booking if payment is not received in full. You will not be allowed to depart on tour unless payment in full is received.
Onward Travel Arrangements: Please ensure that your onward travel arrangements are made BEFORE you depart on tour, as these cannot be made while on tour. We will gladly assist you in booking flights as we have secured discounted rates with our airline partners.
Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure from Africa.
Your passport must also have sufficient pages for any visas. 3-6 pages are usually adequate.
Please ensure that you take your own passport out from your hostel safe the night before departure.
It is good practice to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it separate from the original.
Very Important! Please check all your relevant visa requirements CAREFULLY. Please remember that these are your responsibility! We can give you a good indication of which passport holders require visas for which countries, but we do not arrange these for you.
We recommend that you have the following vaccinations for Africa:
Hepatitis A (Havrax)
Tetanus Booster Shot
If travelling further north of Vic Falls, then you will definitely require proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination.
South African Airways and British Airways Travel Clinics provide vaccinations and Malaria tablets, as well as free consultations. This is useful before and after the tour. Many of the clinics listed below also have branches in Johannesburg or Pretoria.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS TRAVEL CLINIC
Tel; +27 21 423 1401 Information Centre,
Cnr. Castle and Burg Streets
Tel: +27 21 423 1401
NETCARE TRAVEL CLINIC
Fountains Medical Centre, Adderley St,
Tel: +27 21 419 3172
Clock Tower Development, V&A Waterfront
Tel: +27 21 419 1888
Additional Medical Information
There is a comprehensive First Aid Kit for emergencies on board, but you do require your own personal kit. All of our guides are qualifies in First Aid.
The guide has authority on tour at all times. All decisions made by our guides are for your personal safety.
AIDS is an enormous problem in Africa. HIV estimates range between 20% and 50% of the population. In some areas it is even higher than this. Please be careful and practical! Condoms are cheap and freely available.
Travel insurance for personal belongings is also advisable, as you are not covered by Nomad for personal items such as clothes, cameras etc. You are responsible for your possessions at all times.
Malaria is a serious problem in Africa. It does not have to be a problem for you as long as you are vigilant about using your mosquito repellent and you take your malaria pills. Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and is more prevalent where there are high concentrations of people i.e.: in towns.
There are two main malaria strains: Falciparumand & Vivax (Vivax accounts for about 90% of the cases)
The main points to remember: Prevent getting bitten!
Use an effective prophylactic!
How to avoid getting bitten: Basic rules
Insect repellent is the single most important line of defence. Make sure you bring enough of an effective (preferably stick or lotion) repellent and that you use it liberally and frequently! You need to look for the active ingredient (DEET) on the bottle.
Keep the mosquito nets in the tent closed at all times.
Wear long-shirts, socks/shoes and long-pants after dark. Most mosquito bites occur below the knee.
Malaria prophylactics do not prevent Malaria, but do treat it if you come down with the disease. They also prevent you from getting seriously ill.
It is NOT true that Malaria cannot be cured.
You have TWO broad malaria prophylaxis choices:
Daily tablets: Doxycycline or Chloroquine & Paludrine combination pills
Weekly tablets: Larium, Mefliam, Mefloquine, Malarine.
Please note that the Chloriquine & Paludrine combination pills are virtually ineffective in East Africa due to their widespread usage there in the past. We do not recommend that you take this type of prophylaxis unless you are unable to take any of the others.
You may have heard negative reports about Larium and its side effects. However, it is 95% effective while the daily tablets are only about 30% effective. Please consult your doctor before selecting your prophylaxis.
It is very important to begin taking your tablets one week before entering a malaria area, and for four weeks after leaving, as this is the incubation period.
For more information on Malaria, visit www.travelclinic.co.za
CURRENCY, MONEY AND BANKING FACILITIES
The South African Rand is usable throughout Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe.
Travellers cheques can be used to pay for activities in Namibia.
Credit cards can be used in South Africa and Namibia. Credit cards should not be used in Zimbabwe.
You will have only one banking stop along the way, but this is not guaranteed. Get ALL your US Dollars before you depart on tour.
Central & East Africa
Credit cards should be avoided in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
US Dollars are the most widely accepted currency in Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya. You should not bring $100 bills or older notes, as these will not be accepted. Small bills are best.
It is generally cheaper and easier to arrange your foreign exchange in your home country.
Foreign Currency can be purchased in South Africa but you will require proof that you are travelling out of South Africa i.e.: your Nomad tour voucher or onward air ticket.
FX AFRICA - FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Protea Assurance Building, Green Market Square, Cape Town
Telephone +27 21 426 5310
It is difficult to estimate how much you will spend on tour as this depends largely on your personal preferences - smoking, drinking, shopping, snacks etc. For the average person USD5 15USD per day for few curios, postcards, drinks, tips etc. is about average.
Spending money is a separate issue to the optional activities you should budget for these separately based on the information in your tour dossier.
Speak to our reservations department - they have personal experience of these issues and will give you sound advice about exchange and currency matters on tour!
HEALTH AND HYGIENE
It is important that you inform us of any medical conditions or prescription drugs that you are taking such as diabetes or asthma etc. as we are sometimes 300km or more from the nearest medical assistance.
Please report to the tour leader if you are feeling even slightly ill, as they may need to make plans for you to get to medical assistance promptly.
Being ill on tour is no fun and the enjoyment of the group as a whole depends largely on everyone being healthy.
Personal hygiene is very important on tour as you are travelling together in the truck in warm to hot climates. Please be considerate and attentive to your personal cleanliness.
It is quite normal for some people in the group to have travellers diarrhoea at some stage of the tour. This is generally not serious, usually being the reaction to the food, water and the anti-malarial tablets. It is often also the result of a lack of attention to basic hygiene. If you suffer from this at any stage please inform your guide immediately.
All fresh foods we use are sanitised with a sterile solution.
Please pay attention when washing dishes and cutlery, as this is the quickest way for the whole group to fall ill. Make sure that your plates are thoroughly cleaned. We provide anti-bacterial washing up liquid please use it liberally.
We supply an anti-bacterial soap for the washing of hands. Please ensure that you use it regularly, especially before meals.
CLIMATE AND WATER
The African sun is fierce, deadly even, especially in Namibia and Botswana. We suggest a factor 30 sunscreen and that you wear a hat.
From October until April you can experience extremely hot temperatures. During the winter months the nights can be cold, even dropping down to zero, but the days are generally warm to hot.
In Southern Africa, the short rains are from October to December, but the main rainy season begins in February and can last until April. In Central and East Africa the rainy season is from December to around April. Cape Town experiences winter rainfall. Botswana and Zimbabwe/Zambia experience low average rainfall, usually during the summer months from October March April.
From October until April you can expect temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius in the desert regions of Namibia and Botswana. During the winter months the nights can be cold, even dropping to freezing, but the days are warm to hot. The Namib Desert is one of the driest places on earth.
Please note that this is only a general indication the weather is not within our control and sometimes the rains start earlier or finish later or dont come at all
One of the most common ailments on the tour is dehydration. You should be drinking a minimum of 3 litres of water per day, and even more during the hot summer months.
The water on the route is generally drinkable, but your guides will advise you when not to drink the local water. There is a 200-litre water tank on the truck for drinking and cooking.
If you do not like the taste of the local water we provide juice concentrate to mix with it
Mineral water available in most places, but this can be expensive.
ALCAHOL AND DRUGS
At Nomad we do not run booze-cruise type tours. We want you to enjoy yourselves and it is great to sit around the fire exchanging stories enjoying your favourite tipple, but the attitude of drinking from early morning until late at night makes for unpleasantness. You dehydrate even quicker consuming alcohol.
Unfortunately alcohol is very much in your face in Africa and most campsites have a bar. Please use these facilities responsibly.
We have a firm policy about drugs on tour. We do not tolerate them! Police regularly inspects our trucks and campsites and we make numerous border crossings.
If you are caught in possession of illegal substances we cannot help. You do not want to add a spell in a local jail to your experiences!
COMMUNICATION ON TOUR
Although you will not be able to communicate easily on tour we are always able to find you. Feel free to provide your family with our contact details and should there be any kind of emergency at home we will be able to contact you almost anywhere. Please bear in mind that in certain instances there may be a charge for this in some areas there are not even radio facilities - should we have to physically send someone by boat, road or air to your campsite, the person we send will expect to be compensated. Please inform your families that although we can find you it must be a real emergency - as we will not be sending one of our local contacts 500km over terrible roads to remind you to change your underwear regularly!
We advise that you should contact family and friends before leaving and tell them that you are on an overland tour and that it can be very difficult to keep in contact en route.
There are telephones in some places but do not count on these being all that reliable! Mobile cellular phones have poor or no reception outside of South Africa. In East Africa you can expect to pay up to USD3 per minute for a phone call.
E-mail facilities can be found in Swakopmund, Victoria Falls, Zanzibar and Nairobi, but can be slow and expensive.
FACILITIES ON TOUR
Most campsites have hand-washing facilities and in Swakopmund, Vic Falls and certain campsite in East Africa there are laundry facilities. Please remember to bring some washing-powder for your laundry. For a small fee you can often have your laundry washed by someone else ask you guide for assistance en-route.
The truck has a safe for passports, money, credit cards and flight tickets only. Please use this facility as lost passports/money causes delays and may result in you having to leave the tour.
The camps that we use are generally safe but please be aware all the time, as tourists are easy-to-spot targets in Africa. As well as in the rest of the world!
Make photocopies of travel documents and keep separate from the originals.
Please ask the driver to stop if you would like to take photos at any time. He will also stop at panoramic viewpoints along the route.
Dont take pictures at border crossings, government buildings, and military installations and avoid photographing army or police.
Certain tribes in Southern and Central Africa do not allow their picture taken. Please ask your guides before whether it is permissible or not. You may also have to pay a nominal fee to take photos of some local people.
Please stock up on film and spare camera batteries before departure, as these can be difficult to find en route. 100asa film is generally suitable.
Please take care of your photographic equipment in the dusty areas we pass through.
At some campsites power points to recharge batteries for video/digital cameras are available, but you will have to provide the necessary connections and adaptors. The cigarette lighters on the trucks can also be used.
Responsible Overland Touring
Nomad is committed to the principles of responsible environmental tourism. It would be appreciated if you would respect the customs, laws and environment of the countries and areas we visit.
Please be green-minded and dispose of rubbish in the appropriate manner. We have a dustbin on board and we ensure that we have cleaned up everything before leaving our campsites.
Elena Travel Services &
Car Hire CC
P.O. Box 3127 Windhoek, Namibia
Fax: +264 61 244558
Reservations are only accepted in
writing: by fax or via e-mail.
Final availability confirmation: in writing: by fax or via e-mail.
Direct contact numbers can be supplied at a fee.
See also: Terms & conditions, Payment options and Cancellation policy
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