We offer two types of tours: group tours, with select departure dates, a set itinerary and a maximum group size of twelve people, or tailor-made tours, where we design an itinerary for an individual, couple or a group. Please visit our ‘Group Tours’ or ‘Tailor-Made Tours’ pages for further information.
Our itineraries have all been carefully designed to show you the best of the countries that we visit. Every destination is different so we don’t operate to a ‘set formula’ instead focussing on the true essence of a country, whatever that may be. Some trips, such as those in West Africa, may be focused on the incredible ethnic diversity there while others, such as the Caucasus, may lean more towards experiencing the landscape and history, Having said this, variety is also important, we understand that you don’t just want to see monastery after monastery and, where the destination allows it, we include as many different elements as possible so that you get the best possible insight into a destination.
In many of the destinations that we operate in, traditional tourist sites are thin on the ground – this is part and parcel of getting off the beaten track. We believe that often the best experiences are to be had from the less conventional sites, where you’re not simply one of a crowd and are discovering places and people that may not feature in any guide book (where they exist!). This could mean heading off on dirt tracks to visit a traditional village, exploring a forgotten temple in the jungle or being a guest at a voodoo ceremony deep in the bush. Our extensive personal experience and passion for the unusual means that we look beyond the common to find the truly authentic.
The nature of the countries that we operate in means that tourist infrastructure is often poorly developed, and in some cases non-existent. If there’s one thing that you can expect, it’s that things will be very different to what you’re used to at home. While we work as hard as possible to eliminate the minor issues that are part of travelling in such countries, it’s important to realise that these are not ‘polished’ destinations that have seen thousands of tourists visiting for the past few decades. Undoubtedly there will be times when patience and a sense of humour are necessary – this is all part of the experience of really getting away from the tourist crowds.
We like to keep our group sizes small, to lessen any negative impact on local communities, to facilitate better interactions with the people we meet and enable us to stay in the most characterful accommodation. For that reason, our maximum group size is normally twelve – on a few occasions it may be smaller due to local limitations, and sometimes it may be up to fifteen or sixteen.
Through our years of experience we realise that when visiting small communities, the welcome you receive as a group of twelve is very different to that if you were part of a group of twenty, and allows you to interact far more with local people than might otherwise be the case. We are often visiting quite traditional cultures, and it’s important that we are not seen as ‘invaders’ but are welcomed as guests.
We select places that you stay based on a number of criteria – service, comfort, but most of all their character. This could be a village guesthouse in the remote mountains of Svaneti, a tented camp in the forests of Madagascar or an 18th century house in Samarkand, accommodation which allows you to get ‘under the skin’ of a destination, rather than anonymous, chain style hotels.
Of course, given that the places we travel don’t always have our preferred type of accommodation, this isn’t always possible. In some places, for example, hotels may be basic, electricity and running water may be sporadic, in others, particularly in really remote areas, camping is the only option.
This is often just part of travelling to remote locations, but we feel that the accompanying rewards more than compensate for this.
Please note that if you are a single traveller, a single supplement will be charged. If you would prefer to share a room then please let us know, and if we can match you up with another single traveller of the same sex we will waive the single supplement.
For the most part, we use private transport for our trips – it’s convenient, flexible and allows us to make impromptu stops that just aren’t possible when travelling on public vehicles. There may be occasions though when it makes sense to utilise public transport – perhaps flights or overnight trains – so that your trip runs as smoothly as possible.
We know that the guide can make or break a trip, and are very careful in our selection of who we work with. Rather than use western guides we usually use local guides who are born in the countries that you are travelling in, and have a deep involvement and knowledge of the cultures you will visit. They are chosen for their passion and ability to lead successful trips in challenging destinations, and we work closely with our local teams to ensure that you are accompanied by the right person who will help you make the most of your travels. There may also be occasions where the language skills or quality of guides within a particular country isn’t as high as we would like, and on these occasions it may be necessary to use a guide from outside of that destination. Whatever the case you can be confident that we have selected the most appropriate person for the job.