The Banjul Run- Morocco to Gambia overland

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January 2020

 A mind bending rollercoaster ride though 5 African countries: Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal & Gambia. Crossing the largest desert in the world and experiencing the vivid culture change from North Africa to 'real' Africa. A road trip to top all other road trips. Get on board for the classic Trans-Sahara!   

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Itinerary

 Day 1 - Agadir
Day 2 - Tan-Tan Plage - After stocking up in the last decent supermarket you'll see we take a drive down the windswept coast of the Atlantic before arriving in Tan-Tan. A city guarded by 2 enormous  stone Camels, though I'm never sure why. There's not a lot here so we head down to the beach and the tranquility of Tan-Tan Plage a great little camp site down on the beach.
Day 3 - Laayoune - Capital of disputed territory Western Sahara, we are now well and truly in the Sahara. Last chance to get out here (or in) with super cheap flights to and from the Canary Islands from this city. There is a desert camp just north of here. Just off the road and may even have cold beer! A magical find in this area!
Day 4  Dahkla - The drive into Dahkla resembles that of driving across the moon as we enter this KIte Surfing mecca. In recent years a few beach bars and cafes have sprung up here to serve the surfers and adventurous overlanders who make it this far.
Day 5 - Mauritania - Time is a relative term here. 'In Africa when one is asked what time does the meeting start, the answer is simple: when everyone is here.' (R.K) Remember this and you may never get impatient in Africa. Staying in the bustling fishing town of Noudhibou once across the border.
Day 6
- Nouakchott - A final crossing of the Sahara driving along the coast between the desert and the deep blue sea takes us down to the Mauritanian capital. Hectic and messy but also peaceful compared to other sprawling African cities Nouackchott offers a welcome break from the endless desert. There's a couple of decent restaurants in town and if you're prepared to pay the price you can even find beer here. But not always, this is offically a dry country where alcohol is forbidden. We don't stay long. ;)
Day 7-10 - Senegal - Rosso is often mentioned amongst overlanders  through Africa as the worst crossing in the whole continent. Having experienced a few I would disagree. But it is nonetheless a fascinating, cajoling and long border crossing. 'When asked what time does the bus leave the answer is simple 'When it is full'. Time takes on a different meaning here.
The Senegal river runs between the two countries and we'll cross this by ferry, canoe or any other means that makes itself available. Ideally not Crocodile though.
Zebra Bar and St Louis - After succesfully crossing what some say is the hardest border in Africa I dare anyone to not be in need of a drink. Zebra bar down the coast is a beautiful camp site on the edge of a lagoon. Celebrate crossing the largest desert in the world in style here and upgrade to a beach house. Either way you are now in a much greener sub-Saharan Africa. Let the fun begin.
St. Louis is the gem of Senegal and one could argue one of the gems in the whole of West Africa. Old colonial hotels and buildings as well as some really great Africa food makes this visit the first real culinary adventure since Morocco.
Dakar - A sprawling mass of chaos, Dakar has some interesting sites but is not really worth the chaos it oozes out in my opinion. We may have to make a stop here for various vehicle documents - or we may bypass it altogether.
Day 11- 13 Gambia - white sand beaches, massages, great retaurants and cocktails. You have arrived at the pot of the gold at the end of a desert rainbow. Gambia has someting for everyone. As well as the great beaches to lounge and wander along collecting shells and the odd - sometimes unwanted - massage. There is also a nature park where monkeys will run all over you if that's your thing, luxurious hotels and spas and real African adventure can still be had inland.
For those who have signed up for the inclusive package get ready for theing drive back to Morocco!
OR
Fly home from here direct to UK or onto somewhere more exotic.
 
 

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Cost and Dates

 

 5th-22nd January  2020
- £595
Visa costs - £50
Agadir to Banjul (Gambia) Overland.

Return Option 1 - Return Overland from Gambia to Morocco. Price includes return flights from London to Morocco.
Return Option 2 - fly direct from Gambia to UK for extra cost. Contact me for details.

Deposits of £245 secure a place
15 places Maximum! 

Balkan Xtreme

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September 2019

A wild ride through 4 Balkan countries. Non stop action for those who can take the pace. Whitewater rafting in Bosnia, caving in Kosovo, paddle boarding in Albania, epic boat ride along Lake Komani  plus a 4 day trek through the Accursed mountains to join it all together. You'll be meeting locals, sampling great food, seeing some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe and you might even be able to fit in the odd cocktail on the beach as well!

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Itinerary

 

Balkan Xtreme

Day 1-2 - Arrive in Podgorica Montenegro and we head out of the city and on a beautiful drive to the Tara Canyon. The second deepest on earth this Canyon cuts between two countries. Bosnia and Montenegro. Camping on the Bosnian side with the option to upgrade to wooden cabins (€5)

Next day is rafting day. (£40) Leaving around 11am we head back into Montenegro and a 4x4 drive down the side of the river banks to the starting point for the rafting. Rapids ranging from level 1-3 make this a perfect mix of adventure and tranquility as we make our way down one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. Stopping on the way got jumps off high things, swims in cold places and maybe a beer (or raki) at the waterfall bar.

Back to camp for dinner around the fire at the bar before heading off the next day to Albania

Day 3-5 Lake Shkodra Resort, Albania. Luxury camp site on the edge of the warm and shallow Lake Shkodra. Option to upgrade to Glamping or hits here of available. Must be booked in advance.

Lots to do here for 2 days. Rent pedalos or paddle boards to take onto the lake or a bicycle to take you into the countryside. The town of Shkodra is only 7km away so you can also visit here and get a sample of Albanian nightlife as well as bit of culture and history at the castle.

Or you can simply chill on the sun loungers with a cocktail and delicious Albanian food cooked on the premises.

Day 6 - Lake Komani boat ride and Valbona mountain village. Leaving early at 6am we head in minibuses up into the mountains to take a ferry ride through massive gorges the length of Lake Komani. This is fantastic scenery and a leisurely ride through some untouched parts of Europe. The ferry docs at Fierze where we take taxis the short distance to Valbona. A beautiful authentic mountain village at the edge of the Accursed mountains. 2 night here enjoying Albanian hospital and local food before we begin to trek from this country into the next.

Day 7- 10 - Hiking through the Accursed mountains. This trek is known as one of the best in Europe. But is also in an area not frequented by mass tourism. Yet. Expert guide and adventurer Fatos Katallozi meets us here and takes charge of the trek over 3 days and nights to reach his home town of Peja in Kosovo on the other side of the mountains. See separate itinerary below (Accursed mountain Trek) for full hiking details. All meals are included in this period. Not drinks or snacks. Large Bags will be carried by 4x4 to meet in Peja. 


Option to also be carried by road for those not able (or willing) to hike.

Day 11 - Peja - Caving or chilling out. The choice is yours. This is Kosovo's adventure capital and plenty more to do here if the trek hasn't finished you off. Fatos is also in the forefront of the caving exploration here and take you on a fairly easy trip through down vast caverns or down into some slightly more intrepid darker canyons. Or you are free to chill out and explore the town with a well deserved beer or two.

Day 12-14  - Pristina  Europe's newest capital and an easy bus ride away. We finish the trip spending two nights meandering the streets of this quirky city. Cafe culture is what makes this city tick. That and the old clock tower in the ancient part of the city. Some of the best coffee in the world and a vibrant night life make this the ultimate finish to and trip of extremes.

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Cost and Dates

£545 including all flights and accomodation + £55 supplement for 4 day trek (all food included on trek)

September 2nd - 16th.

Accursed mountain Trek

Itinerary

  Via Dinarica Albania & Kosovo
  
  4 day Hiking Adventure Explore the Via Dinarica along Albania and Kosovo, an area not yet frequented by many hikers. This route is  a playground for active travellers: Spectacular waterfalls and limestone peaks; traditional food tasting; breathtaking views; colorful wildflowers; medieval villages; and warm welcoming culture.  These will be  unforgettable days of exploring.  
  Day 1 – Meet and Greet and start hiking from Valbona-Qerrem-Doberdol-AL  After breakfast take a short ride to Qerrem mountain village and from here start hiking towards Doberdol mountain village for overnight stay and dinner at guesthouse Bashkimi (hot shower, shared bathrooms, no phone connection). Moderate walk. 6-7 hours walk/ +1290m, -680m /16.5km     
  
  Day 2 –Hike from Doberdol-AL to Milishec mountain-KS  After breakfast start hiking towards Milisheci mountain village for overnight stay and dinner at guesthouse Lojza (hot shower, shared bathrooms, no phone connection). Moderate walk. 8-9 hours walk/ +1100m, -1180m /18.5km  


  Day 3 – Milisheci mountain to Liqenati Lakes and Peja. After breakfast start to hike towards Liqenati Mountain Lakes. Transport to Peja for overnight stay and dinner at Hotel Camp Karagaq. Moderate hike/ 500m/ 6-7 hours Day 4 - Caving in Peja exploring numerous caves around the adventure capital of Kosovo.    
  
  
  What is Included -Fully equipped English speaking Tour Leader/Guide  -Accommodation for 3 nights  -Meals specified in itinerary  -All fees and taxes for National Parks & VAT  -Cross border permit  

What’s not  -Meals not specified in itinerary  -International travel insurance  -Optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff  -Souvenirs and items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)  -Any items not specifically mentioned in the program  
  Note on Itinerary  Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather.  
  Note on Services  To comply with regional laws and regulations, we sometimes use local suppliers, who provide services that may include transportation, equipment, logistic support, and other services (hotels, restaurants, etc.). We work with service providers, who share our commitment to safety and quality, and work closely with them to develop itineraries unique to the Via Dinarica.  
  ABOUT YOUR TRAVEL IN KOSOVO…  
  Accommodations  In Peja we stay at Hotel Kamp Karagaq. In Accursed Mountains National Park, we use guesthouse Lojza. Also in Doberdol and Valbona we’ll be using preferred guesthouses. In these accommodations toilets and showers are shared.    
  Meals  We provide breakfast on all days except day 1.   Lunches during the hikes will be picnic style unless specified, including bread, cheese, sausage, meat and vegetarian pate, salad, chocolate bars, cookies, trail mix, and soft drink.  Vegetarian and special diets will be catered to, but options are limited throughout entire trip. Please inform us of any specific requirements upon booking.    Transportation  We use comfortable and air conditioned Mercedes Sprinter (16+1) or (12+1) depending on the size of the group, and for the mountainous terrain 4x4 Land Rover Defenders, with experienced drivers.  
  Isn’t There a War in this part of the Balkans?  No. Kosovo recently celebrated 19 years of peace. The disintegration of the old Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led to armed conflict in the region. In Jun 12, 1999, peace was signed between the various parties involved, and fighting ceased. Since then, the countries infrastructure has been largely reconstructed and tourists are returning to the country in ever-increasing numbers, making tourism the fastest growing economic sector. 

  Activity Level - Moderate  (Trips rated MODERATE typically have 5-7 hours of activity per day, with hikes up to 15 kilometers on rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails at altitudes of up to 2300 meters).  
  www.outdoorkosova.com  www.facebook.com/outdoorkosovo   
 

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Maroc N Roll

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June & Sept 2019

The original wild road trip around Morocco.
Still one of the most fascinating and magical countries out there - Morocco has it all: Golden beaches, rugged mountains. giant waterfalls and mystic deserts. We get you riding horses on the beach, scaling the highest mountain, jumping off the waterfalls and trekking through the sand dunes on camels. If that isn't enough you also get to visit one of the most vibrant and crazy cities on the planet - Marrakech. Add to that the most magical blue and white mountain village in the world and you have Maroc N Roll.
If you haven't experienced it yet - or if you fancy doing it all again - then it's time to get on board.
 

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Itinerary

 Day 1-3 What better place to start a trip than on a beach - Essouaria, a great surfing town on the windy Atlantic coast this is the perfect spot to start our trip. Horse riding, quad biking, surfing and wind surfing are all options here where we stay together in one huge apartment in the centre of the old medina.

Day 4 - Marakech - for those of you still wondering at the wonderful sunsets on the beach and the lapping of the waves on your toes...wake up!! This is Marrakech - one of the most vibrant and hectic cities in the world. Keep your wits about you or we'll lose you to the never ending market souks where you can buy anything from a Magic carpet to a talking chameleon. Staying on the rooftops of Hotel Ali looking out over the famous Jemma Fna square

Day 5-6 - Toubkal is North Africa's highest mountain and at half the height of Everest this is no picnic. It takes 2 days and nights to summit but for those of you that make it it's worth every enduring step! There's no experience or equipment needed here, it's a simple case of mind over matter as you head past tiny Berber villages and up the slopes of the High Atlas mountains before sleeping at base camp and making your final push for the summit through the odd pile of snow left over from the winter.

Day 7 - Back to Marrakech to rest and recuperate - you'll need it. :)

Day 8-9 Cascades D'ouzoud - the largest waterfalls in Morocco these are really spectacular. Over 100 ft high and surrounded by campsites and restaurants you can even take a tiny boat and get rowed into the falls themselves - as long as you don't mind getting wet! We'll be staying in some Berber tents down below the falls giving us a great view for 2 days whiling away the time jumping off high things or exploring the pathways on foot.

Day 10 Ait Benhaddou - 'Hollywood of Morocco' this is the setting of numerous movies and TV including 'Gladiator', 'Babel' 'KIngdom of Heaven' and more recentley 'Game of Thrones'. One night here sleeping on the rooftops before heading towards the desert.

Day 11-12 Todra Gorge - A couple of hours from the desert and we're in a completely different setting but just as stunning. A huge gorge in the rocks here opens up to offer spectacular views and some great climbing oppurtunities. Ropes, helmets and harnesses supplied for those of you wanting to scale the cliffs. For the rest of you just chill out by the pool washing the sand off yourselves from the desert or walk through the beautiful palmery that covers the river bed below.

Day 13 - Sahara & Erfoud - Arriving in the desert kingfdom of Erfoud we'll have lunch a look around thiss intersting 'gateway to the desert' town. Then in the afternoon we'll head off to Merzouga where we chill out in a plush hotel with swimming pool before our night in the dunes commences. If a night in the dunes just isn't for you then yes you can stay in the plush hotel for the same price as the camel trek. As evening draws in it's off road into the desert by camel for a 2 hour trek into the dunes. Sleeping under the stars or in a bed - the choice is yours - you'll dine in the dunes before sleeping then waking up to the sun creeping over the sand. Leaving before it gets too hot out here we head back with our camels for our next adventure.

Day 14 - Camping with the Nomads. Now that you're familiar with the culture let's go and meet some locals, and enjoy their hospitality. Heading south towards the desert we'll stop over and camp under the stars surrounded by forests where you may well spot a monkey or two as well as learn to make some bread or weave a carpet nomad style.

Day 15-17 Chefchaouen - Hidden in the Rif mountains and only really visible once you are upon it, Chefchaoeun is a stunningly beautiful, chilled out blue and white village where we begin our adventure. A day trip to paradise falls here in Akchour make this an unforgettable way to start the journey and bring you gently into the dramatic culture change from Europe to North Africa. Staying in a small hotel in the centre of the town.

Day 18 - Heading back to London from Rabat on the coast 3-4 hours drive from Chefchouaen.
 

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Costs and Dates

£545 including all flights and accomodation. (+£50 for optional Toubkal trek)

Dates June & Sept 2019 Choose your month)  Contact me for exact dates.