Sat 20 Oct - Sun 28 Oct 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

Climate

Terrain

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Should I take gifts or clothes for the locals?

Typical day

What happens if I fall ill, can’t keep up or there is an emergency?

Accommodation

Do we need to take our own sleeping bags and mats?

Food & Drink

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Safety

Training

Training weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Maasai Bush Trek is graded as “challenging”.  

You can tell your supporters that on your Maasai Bush Trek you will be:

  • Trekking up to 22km per day.
  • Battling the heat in the Rift Valley and Crater Highlands.  
  • Sleeping in a tent for 5 nights

Money

Currency: The Tanzania shilling is a soft currency and you cannot obtain shillings before leaving the UK. US dollars are accepted in most places and should be used in country. Tanzanian Shillings cannot be exported, therefore should be reconverted against your currency declaration form.  

Exchange: The Bank of Tanzania performs all currency transfers; all other offers of currency exchange are illegal. There are also foreign exchange bureaus in most towns and cities where you can change cash or travellers’ cheques at the prevailing free market exchange rate. The best currency is the dollar (US). For up to date currency exchange, go to: http://www.xe.com/

Credit cards: Major credit cards are sometimes accepted at larger hotels. Other than that their use is limited and are not generally accepted in restaurants, shops etc. Bring enough money and do not carry all your cash on you. Cash point machines, which allow the use of Visa & MasterCard etc with a PIN, can be found in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Marangu, but are rare in smaller towns.

Travellers cheques: Travellers’ cheques are recommended; the US dollar is the most widely accepted currency

Spending money: You will not need to carry a large amount of money during this trip, and other than at the start and end of the trek, you will be in the bush away from any foreign exchanges or banks. There will be a bush bar (cash payments only) during the trek and again in the lodges there will be bars and shops. We recommend that you take a sufficient amount of cash. Somewhere in the region of £200 in US dollars should be enough to cover presents, tips, and drinks. Please note that there is no opportunity to obtain Tanzanian shillings before the start of the trek. You will be able to make purchases in dollars so you should bring low denominations. If you want Tanzanian shillings you will be able to exchange money and cash travellers cheques at the end of the trek at the lodge for tips and final gifts.

Tips: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. US$70 for the entire trip which should be given to the challenge leader at the end of the challenge, who will distribute it among the support team. In the event that a particular member of staff gives you extra service you might leave him spare trekking gear at the end. If you do want to give one member of staff an extra tip, please also leave this until the end and allocate over and above the recommended tipping amount. Make sure you have plenty of $1 dollar bills for tipping.

Visa

Your full ten-year passport must have at least six months left to run from the end of the challenge. You will need a Single Entry Tourist Visa to enter Tanzania. 3 months prior to departure we will provide you with the necessary application form and details to apply. You will need to send the form special delivery along with 2 x passport photos & £40 by postal order from the Post Office made payable to the ‘Tanzania High Commission’ or deposit in cash to Barclays Bank – see notes enclosed with visa form. Allow two weeks to get the visa by post (it is strongly suggested that you also enclose a pre-paid special delivery envelope for the safe return of your passport with the visa). Alternatively you can obtain it, in person, at the Embassy. The visa is valid for three months and becomes valid from the date of issue so make sure you do not apply too early otherwise it will run out before you arrive in Tanzania. If you are travelling overland to/from Nairobi you will also need to pay for a transit visa on arrival in Kenya and when re-entering Kenya prior to departure. This you will need to obtain at the airport or when crossing the border and costs approx. US$20 / £10 /€40. Nb. if you are just in transit in Nairobi and will not leave the airport you will not need a transit visa.

Vaccinations

Nomad Travel Stores Medical Centre recommended the following vaccinations: diphtheria; tetanus; poliomyelitis; hepatitis A; typhoid. Please check the latest advice regarding whether you will need a yellow fever certificates as this often changes. If you are over landing into Tanzania or have a long lay over in an ‘at risk country’ you may require this for entry.
Vaccines sometimes advised: tuberculosis; meningococcal meningitis; hepatitis B; rabies; cholera. Malaria precautions are essential in all areas below 1800m, all year round. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Also see Health notes. *Requirements change and these are recommendations only* For the latest information please see www.nomadtravel.co.uk/pages/travel-vaccination-country-guide or www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

Flights

You will be flying overnight from London to Kilimanjaro airport, this will either be via Nairobi or Addis Ababa depending on the group flights. Your flight tickets will be issued to you upon departure at the airport. If for any reason we cannot get the connecting flight to Kilimanjaro airport you will be transferred overland from Nairobi to Arusha or Marangu, this transfer can take from 6-9hrs, depending on the road conditions. If you choose to book your own flights you must confirm with the Charity Challenge office before paying otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance). Please note that we are unable to arrange transfers between the hours of 21:00 and 06:00 due to safety issues, so please avoid flights that arrive during this period.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be a minimum of 16 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 25 people due to the wilderness environment in which the challenge takes place. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 15 people by charging a small group supplement of £75 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Leadership

We employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, all of whom speak fluent English. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group. The itinerary is there as a guide and may change due to unusual weather patterns, the strength of the group, and so on. While we will do our very best to keep to the set itinerary, we cannot be held responsible for any last minute changes that may occur. In all such circumstances, your challenge leader will have the final say.

Climate


There are two Maasai Bush Treks in 2016 giving you the chance to experience the best of both seasons. In June it will be just after the rainy season where the land will be lush and green. October is the dry season meaning you get the traditional bush experience. However, weather has been very unpredictable in East Africa in recent years, and it is remotely possible that it will rain, especially near to Ngorongoro in October. The temperatures can range from around 32c rising to 38c at noon, and lowering to 25c as afternoon welcomes the evening.

Terrain

This trek takes place in the wild African bush – home to several Maasai communities. Terrain will be dry and bumpy varying along the way.

Luggage allowance and valuables

Luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your Kit List. You will need to carry a daypack during the day while the luggage vehicle will carry your main rucksack. Your daypack should be about 35-litre capacity. NB. You should take a soft-sided bag or rucksack as hard suitcases are too unwieldy. Your main pack should be 70-80 litres capacity. On your outward journey, please wear your trekking gear, hiking boots, and carry a spare change of clothing in your hand luggage. No formal clothes are needed.

While we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Your passport and money should be kept on you at all times. The camps will be watched over by Maasai guards at night.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Should I take gifts or clothes for the locals?

It is a nice gesture to give the local children small gifts, but we actively discourage the giving of sweets or money, however small, because this encourages begging. It is better to bring pencils and notebooks for the schools in the villages you will be passing through. Please give any gifts or donations to the tour leader as they will know who to distribute it to. We will be investing money into a local community project to help improve local living conditions.

Typical day

During the trek you will be walking for up to 22 kms a day. Depending on the weather and the day, rest/water stops will be set up regularly, where you can regroup, rest and relax while drinking water and eating your snacks. Lunch will be a packed lunch stopping in a reasonable spot. You will get to your campsite in the afternoon where you can relax, have a drink and eat your dinner.

What happens if I fall ill, can’t keep up or there is an emergency?

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking ability. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. In the event of an emergency, one of our backup vehicles will take you to the nearest clinic. We are always in contact with the backup vehicles by radio and also with the Arusha office. Quality medical services are available in Nairobi.

Accommodation

Camping throughout the trek is in two person tents. There will be toilet and shower tents, an awning for restaurant and a small bush bar selling drinks and bottled water. Maasai warriors will guard and guide your group in partnership with your own support crew of qualified guides, camp team and drivers. At the end of the trek, you will be staying in more comfortable accommodation in a hotel. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Do we need to take our own sleeping bags and mats?

Yes, you will need to bring a light sleeping bag. A sleeping bag liner, which can be used in place of your sleeping bag if you get too hot, is also advisable. You are also advised to bring a foam sleeping mat – there may be mats provided; however, for your comfort you should bring your own – two mats will work better than one! Do not bring Thermarests because of the thorns. Also see Kit List.

Food & Drink

There will be a hot breakfast (porridge, eggs, toast, tea and coffee) to start the day, a packed lunch in the bush, and a filling hot meal in the evening (soup, followed by rice, potato or pasta and sauce, and usually fruit for dessert.) We hope to provide some drinking water which has been purified, but because of limited water availability in such remote areas, bottled water will be available to buy every day at camp ($1.50 per 1.5l). Whilst we do everything to purify enough water for everyone, please take your own purification tablets too in case it is necessary. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You don’t need a clean pair every day, but enough to make sure you have dry socks each morning. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are high quality gore-tex waterproof and windproof jackets and trousers, and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. Walking poles are also recommended, as a preventative as well as for anyone with any pre-existing leg injuries or niggles. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoor Hire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

We arrange basic long drop toilets in the camps. Your camp team will provide washing bowls of warm water as you arrive at camp at the end of the day’s trekking, and there will be shower tents with canvas bush showers specially set up at most of the camping places. Please be aware that sometimes local water can be in short supply – if this is so at the time of your visit, we will not provide daily showers, we shall offer on certain days only showers for half the group. The other half will receive bowls of water for washing. The following day the procedure will be reversed. Please take plenty of wet wipes and anti-bacterial hand gel with you. There are no toilets on the trek route during the day, so you must make sure you bury all waste, and carry out wet wipes.

Phone and WiFi

There is wi-fi at the hotel at the end, but not on the trek.  Phone signal is available, but intermittent.

There is no opportunity to recharge any electrical equipment during the trek, but if you want to bring a solar charger these can work well to charge phones.  There are charge points in your rooms at the hotel.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!

In terms of your Maasai Bush Trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking through the African Bush
  • Terrain can be sandy and rocky
  • Basic toilet and shower facilities

Training

A good level of fitness is definitely required. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be able to complete the challenge, as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to it. Don’t forget that the temperature and climate will be different from the UK, and that you will be exercising constantly for a number of days.

In your Charity Challenge account you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page here.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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