Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau

Dec 12-21, 2022

Burkina Faso

Feb 2-8, 2023

South Sudan

March 23-26, 2023

Papua New Guinea

August 16-29, 2023

In May of 2010, Calvin started The Monsoon Diaries as his personal travel blog where he would post daily updates to let the world (and his mother) know he was okay. As his readership expanded, a large humble following of good people asked if they could join on his adventures.

So what began with a trip for a few friends now has blossomed 5 years later into the popularly recognized travel style known as monsooning, and has featured on TEDx, The Huffington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Business Insider, and Rachel Maddow. Every few months Calvin himself, and some of his most dedicated repeat monsooners, will lead scores of international young-at-heart travelers on their premier expeditions around the world.

Take a look at any of the offered trips below and sign up even if you’re just curious about travel; we will take care of the rest!



West Africa

Part 1: Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau

Dec. 12-21

Dakar, Senegal

Port Louis, Senegal

Lake Retba, Senegal

Banjul, The Gambia

Kunta Kinteh Island

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau

West Africa

Part 1: Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau

Dec. 12-21, 2022

 

  • Day 1-2: Dakar, Senegal
  • Day 3: Lake Retba, Senegal
  • Day 3-4: St. Louis, Senegal
  • Day 5: Dakar, Senegal
  • Day 6: Banjul, The Gambia
  • Day 7: Kunta Kinteh Island, The Gambia
  • Day 8: Banjul, The Gambia
  • Day 9: Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
  • Day 10: Bissau, Guinea-Bissau

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do you recommend travel insurance?

Yes! These days you can never be sure. After years of trying everything we recommend going with G1G insurance.

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Price inclusive of:

  • All accommodations
  • All transport to complete the tour
  • All guides
  • Admission fees

Price exclusive of:

  • Transport/International flights to begin and end the trip
  • Visa fees
  • All meals
  • Drinks and personal spending

Interested in joining us for Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau 2022 or 2023?

15 + 9 =

West Africa

Part 3: The Gulf Of Guinea

Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria

TBD

Abidjan

Grand Bassam

Cape Coast

Kumasi

Accra

Lomé

Ouidah (Porte du Non Retour)

Porto-Novo

Badagry

Lagos

West Africa

Part 3: The Gulf of Guinea

Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria

TBD

  • Day 1: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Day 2: Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Day 3: Cape Coast, Ghana
  • Day 4: Kumasi, Ghana
  • Day 5: Kumasi & Lake Bosomtwe, Ghana
  • Day 6: Accra, Ghana
  • Day 7: Lomé, Togo
  • Day 8: Ouidah, Benin & Porto-Novo, Benin
  • Day 9: Badagry, Nigeria & Lagos, Nigeria
  • Day 10: Lagos, Nigeria

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do you recommend travel insurance?

Yes! These days you can never be sure. After years of trying everything we recommend going with G1G insurance.

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • All accommodations
  • All transport to complete the tour
  • Admission fees

Price exclusive of:

  • Transport/International flights to begin and end the trip
  • Visa fees
  • All meals
  • Drinks and personal spending



Interested in joining us for West Africa 2022 or 2023?

13 + 5 =

Burkina Faso

February 2-7, 2023

Ouagadougou

Banfora

Sindou

Bobo Dioulasso

Tiébélé

Burkina Faso

Feb 2-7, 2023

For our partners at YPT, Burkina Faso has to be one of their favorite countries to visit in Africa. Home of Thomas Sankara, pan-African revolutionary, home of stunning scenery and striking incredible culture, not to mention home to a whole lot of wonderful people!

We begin with an arrival into Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso where we’ll meet our local guide and driver, then kick off a road-trip to Koudougou, a vibrant Burkinabe city with museums, workshops and a bustling marketplace.

We then head to the capital city, Ouagadougou, where we’ll explore the surrounding beautiful natural scenery, spending some time in one of the most artistically stunning villages in Africa and finally see out the tour with a magnificent farewell party in the marquis and open-air bars beloved by local Burkinabe.

Thursday 2nd February – Ouagadougou – Koudougou (Burkina Faso)

  • Arrival into Ouagadougou at your own convenience. Those joining from our earlier Mali tour arrive from Bamako. (Expected at 11:20
  • Pre-tour meeting and get-together with YPT guide and fellow travellers in the lobby of the Auberge du Grand Calao hotel to go over our itinerary and any plans for the coming days.
  • Head out for lunch at a local restaurant to explore a little of Ouagadougou and get to know each-other before starting off proper.
  • Kick things off with a short road trip to Koudougou, Burkina Faso’s third most populous city.
  • Check out the Rayimi Museum, home to many old artefacts and photos, including an old national flag that went on the moon!
  • Visit a brass workshop to see how local Burkinabe people work and what kind of crafts they produce.
  • As the sun sets, it’s time to head out and explore the local nightlife and find a nice place for dinner.
  • Overnight in Koudougou at the Hotel Dima.

Friday 3rd February – Banfora

  • Breakfast in town
  • Morning departure to Banfora via Dedougou and Bobo Dioulasso, complete with some stops at local roadside villages. We’ll be checking out granaries, a village potter, the pottery market of Tcheriba and their beautiful adobe (mud-brick) mosque.
  • Visit the Fabedougou Domes to watch the sunset. These stunning rock formations are over 2 billion years old, yet they’ve hardly weathered at all in millennia. Looking closely, one can see the signs of ancient ocean erosion, from eons ago when the land was covered in water. This area was historically used by locals to hide from neighbouring tribes.
  • Dinner in town with plenty of options from local maquis to nice and cosy French restaurants.
  • Overnight in Banfora at the Hotel Calypso

Saturday 4th February – Sindou – Bobo Dioulasso

  • Early sunrise boat trip on the Tengrela Lake where we can watch hippos up close and personal! (But not too close and personal… Though according to local legend, the hippos are sacred and would never attack humans.)
  • Lakeside breakfast
  • Travel onwards to the village of Sindou.
  • Hike 1.5km to the Karfiguela Falls, a series of waterfalls that marks one of Burkina Faso’s most popular tourist sites.
  • Picnic lunch by the falls and a dip in the refreshing water to cool off from the hot Burkinabe sun.
  • Explore the village and the impressive rock formations for which it is renowned for, the ‘Peaks of Sindou’. Reaching a grand 415 meters above sea level, it’s the highest point in Burkina Faso. Historically, the peaks were a popular place for many to live as it offered excellent natural defence against invaders. Each rock formation has a story and our local guides can tell us all about them while we enjoy the stunning views of Burkina Faso.
  • Drive out of Sindou and visit Kawara – a village of potters known for performing a traditional pottery dance.
  • Continue onwards to Bobo Dioulasso, the second largest city in the country and home to beautiful neo-Sudanic architecture for dinner.
  • Visit the maquis, typical Burkinabe open-air bars which turn into nightclubs. A good opportunity to mingle with the locals and have a fun time!
  • Overnight in Bobo Dioulasso at the Hotel Villa Rose annex

Sunday 5th February – Bobo Dioulasso – Ouagadougou

  • Breakfast in town
  • Explore the old neighbourhood and grasp the feeling of what life was like in old Burkina Faso, or as it was known during the colonial times – the Upper Volta. Burkina Faso, the name given by Thomas Sankara, can be translated as “The land of the upright men.”
  • Visit the Grand Mosque, built in traditional Sudanic architecture from the late 1900s, when this area was part of the ‘Kingdom of Sia’.
  • Time allowing, followed by a short drive and a 1km hike to Dafra – known for the famous pilgrimage site in Burkina Faso where people come from far to sacrifice animals to the local catfish. Things get very real as we get up close to those animist rituals. Please note that it is taboo to wear red clothes and take photos on this site.
  • Road-trip to Ouagadougou. We’ll make scenic stops and have a lunch break along the way to stretch our legs including a last stop in Bazoule – a sacred crocodile pond. Much like with the hippos earlier, the locals respect and co-exist with the crocodiles. The crocodiles are never hunted, harmed or killed. In exchange, the crocs do not eat the locals. Believe it or not, it’s even possible to play with the crocodiles, some of which are believed to be over a hundred years old, with the oldest dubbed the ‘old man of the lake’.
  • Arrival in Ouagadougou, where we’ll find a restaurant to eat at and then go enjoy some night-life!
  • Overnight in Ouagadougou at the Auberge du Grand Calao hotel.

Monday 6th February  – Ouagadougou – Tiébélé – Ouagadougou

  • Early breakfast and 7am pickup for another long road-trip to Tiébélé via the city of Pô. It’s in this city where the military first rebelled in 1983 to overthrow the president and bring pan-African revolutionary Captain Thomas Sankara to power.
  • Arrival in Tiébélé, where every house is a work of art! The traditional Gourounsi architecture is met with elaborate decorations to the walls of home, turning what could have been simple brown mud-brick to vibrant, intricate exhibitions of the local artistry of the Kassena people. Sometimes the paintings are purely decorative, other times they are an expression of local religion or commentary on life, much like western graffiti art.
  • After a long look around, including visiting the local Royal compound, we’ll have lunch in a local encampment or in Pô.
  • If possible, we may get to attend a traditional Kassena dancing ceremony!
  • At around 3pm, we’ll make our way back to Ouagadougou for dinner and more nightlife exploration.
  • Overnight in Ouagadougou at the hotel.

Tuesday 7th February – Ouagadougou

  • Morning breakfast and an early trip to Laongo granite park. Here, over 2000 sculptures carved into stone greet visitors, expressing the history, culture, spiritual practices or even just the basic raw creativity of local Burkinabe artists.
  • Return to Ouagadougou in the early afternoon to take in its sights properly.
  • Explore Ouaga 2000 – the futuristic city project where you’ll visit two monuments of great importance: the Monument to National Heroes and the Monument to the Martyrs. If you’ve visited North Korea, you’d feel that these monuments would fit right into Pyongyang.
  • Visit the roundabout of the Second of October – commemorating the day Sankara announced the Burkinabe revolution.
  • See the local railway station, a pride of Sankara’s revolution where the Burkinabe people built the rail with their own hands, without foreign aid.
  • Visit the statue of Thomas Sankara, where we’ll learn about Sankara’s role as ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’, a socialist revolutionary who continues to enjoy immense popularity among the Burkinabe population.
  • Check out local bronze workshops to see some of the artisanal crafts the capital has to offer, following up by buying some crafts ourselves at the village markets!
  • One last ‘Farewell’ dinner at a lovely restaurant in Ouagadougou, serving some of the best meals Burkina Faso has to offer.
  • Tour concludes with airport drop-off arranged according to your flight details – YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for flights. For those departing later, YPT can arrange visits to the National Museum, Music Museum and handicraft market of Ouagadougou.

Mali is a country where tourism hasn’t only collapsed, it has died for now. It is a country that has been left hanging by international aid but is still the country that before 2011, that was renowned for its unique culture and incredible scenery. During our research trips there, we have bonded with incredible people, learned more about their rough but inspiring lives and totally fell in love with the country while always feeling safe. But there are some things, however, that you need to know before you go.

CERTAIN ZONES AREN’T SAFE

Some country collectors will fly to Bamako and then leave the country, scratching it off the list under the pretext that the rest of the country is too dangerous. That would be missing out, big time as Bamako is your average African capital and doesn’t show the whole reality of Mali. In fact, there are many places which will give you a good idea of Mali where you can go.

For the time being, there is a security line jointly manned by the UN and the FAMA, the Malian Armed Forces. This line is around Mopti — more specifically, by the town of Sévaré. If you make it up there, you will see a plethora of tanks, armored vans, and planes warding off the terrorist groups in the north of the country. By our own assessment, places south of this zone are relatively safe and include many mesmerizing places such as Segou, Djenne, Mopti itself and the Dogon Country which you don’t want to miss. This also means, however, that places north of this line, such as, very sadly, Timbuktu and Gao shouldn’t be visited, as they are still extremely volatile, especially for non-locals. While Timbuktu is probably Mali`s most famous tourism site along with the Dogon country, know that there is plenty of things to do, see and people to meet in the south of Mali. For a taste of the things you would find in Timbuktu, visit Djenne, where you will find the same representations of Islamic culture, scriptures and also the Grand Mosque of Djenne: the biggest mud building in the world.

 

DON’T GO THERE ALONE AS AN OUTSIDER

When visiting Mali, knowledge and connections are the key to a pleasant and successful trip. There are many things that outsiders just don’t hear about in Malian society, which is still pretty reliant on old tribal traditions and it is important to have someone who understand these codes to show you around.

Furthermore, by being with someone who is part of the community you are falling under the protection of that person. It is thus important to know and travel with influential people in the community. This will dissuade anyone to attempt anything with you as they will fear the retribution that would fall on them from everyone who is connected to your local contact, be it by tribe, family or friendship.

it is important to be with someone who knows the right person for every situation, not only for your safety but for the ease of your travels. Mali is a country where people aren’t relying on the state and government to solve their problem like we might be used to. So for any problem, there is always someone that you need to know to fix it. You’ll find that while there isn’t a one-stop shop to fix all problems, problems are often fixed faster than in the way due to the multitude of contacts people have to fix their problem.

YPT & TMD teams up in Mali exclusively with expert local guides who are respected pillars of their community and will give you the feeling that they know everyone.

 

HAVE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION

It’s a golden rule of travelling to the kind of places YPT/TMD visits: ‘’There aren’t dangerous countries so much as dangerous places and times within said countries.” A place that was dangerous last week might be safe next week and, likewise, a safe place might turn dangerous.

In Mali, as in many other African countries, you can’t really rely on the media and internet to get information. In the media, information is often simplified since it is directed towards people looking for a general point of view and who haven’t been to Mali. On the internet, things tend to be out of date as most local people do not have access to the internet yet and things are mostly written by outsiders.

So this point is kind of linked with the previous one; it is important to know people on the ground that you can trust to give you the word on the street. Usually, there are signs that things are brewing and our local guides are trained to spot these signs. At YPT/TMD, we will not hesitate to change our itineraries based on the latest local news for our group’s safety. Generally, however, the places we visit are the ones which have not known trouble for a long time and are kept orderly by their community.

 

REGISTER AT YOUR GOVERNMENT TRAVEL SERVICE

Every government has a kind of travel service where citizens of the country can register. Usually there is a website where you can do that in a few minutes. It is important to do that when visiting Mali as this gives your government knowledge of the fact that you are in Mali and important information to reach you and your relative in the unlikely event where any trouble should happen.

Usually, embassies and consular missions will be much more helpful if you have registered to them in advance and this can save some precious time.

 

GET GOOD HEALTH, TRAVEL AND CANCELLATION INSURANCE\

Insurance: one of the only things, along with nuclear weapons, which we pay for praying that we never have to use it. While it might seem like a waste of money when you don’t use it, you’ll be glad to have spent a few euros or dollars on insurance should you need it.

Hospitals in Mali can be quite simple and should you get sick or hurt, you’ll want to either go to one of those expensive international hospitals or be carried to another country. This can be very costly but your insurance should cover it.

As Mali is considered a danger zone, however, you should know that regular insurance companies won’t cover it and you’ll have to sign up with an insurance company specialized in risky areas. For a couple of dollars, you can get sufficient insurance for the duration of your trip with companies such as G1G or First Allied, who specialize in conflict zones.

 

With these tips in hand, we are sure you will have a memorable experience in Mali and will not fee unsafe wherever you go.

To have a great experience without the hassle and worries, come with us on our next Mali & Burkina Faso tour with YPT!

-Pier Doyon

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Price inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in twin share basis rooms or camping single tents
  • Letter of Invitation and full visa support
  • Air conditioned 4WD transport
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Dinners when camping
  • Entrance fees and tributes/gifts to communities
  • English speaking local guide and YPT/TMD tour guide

Price exclusive of:

  • All flights
  • Dinners in cities
  • Visa fees
  • Single supplement (€220)
  • Extra drinks and personal spending
  • Any COVID-19 test if applicable

Interested in joining us for Burkina Faso?

13 + 9 =

South Sudan

March 23-26, 2023

Juba, South Sudan

Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan

March 23-26, 2023

South Sudan gained its independence in 2011 earning the title of the world’s newest country and capturing attention from all travellers around the world. We’ve designed our South Sudan Budget tour aligned with our ethos of making off the beaten path’ destinations affordable and accessible to you.

Your journey starts in Juba, the capital of the young nation, where you’ll visit the Presidential Palace, explore the Jubek Tomb, meet the students of Juba University, wander the largest market in the country where you’ll encounter many different traditional dresses, tattoos and body scarifications and overnight to experience what the nightlife has to offer.

South Sudan may have one of Africa’s most horrible road conditions we’ve ever experienced but nothing that’ll stop our 4WDs. We’ll begin our road trip to a rural settlement of the Mundari people – a fascinating tribe that have safeguarded their unique way of life. The locals here are incredibly welcoming and aren’t shy to invite you to join them. If you’ve seen photos of the Mundaris, you’ll probably know how photogenic, dreamy and intense the atmosphere of their cattle camp can be. It’ll be one of your favourite highlights in all of Africa.

Due to logistical restraints we can only hold spots up to 12 group members. Be sure not to miss out and join our unbeatable budget tour to South Sudan.

Thursday 23rd March – Juba, South Sudan

Morning

  • Arrive at your convenience into Juba – the capital city of South Sudan which have flights connected from a few countries within Africa and Dubai (airport transfer included)
  • Pre-tour meeting will be held at the lobby of the hotel at 5:00pm to discuss tour itinerary and to meet your fellow travellers and YPT guide.
  • Dinner and drinks by the Nile at the AFEX camp
  • Overnight at the hotel

Friday 24th March – Juba – Mundari Camp

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel.
  • Visit Juba University – founded in 1975 in response to the need for higher education in southern areas of Sudan. Here is a great chance to meet South Sudan’s sharpest students.
  • Explore Jubek Tomb – Jubek is one of the most important figure of the Bari people and his history is linked to lots of underlying tensions. Jubek is highly regarded in the country hence the capital being named after him.
  • Explore Konyo Konyo – South Sudan’s largest market. It is an incredible place where the immense ethnic diversity of South Sudan mix.

Afternoon

  • Afternoon departure to Mundari camp – the driving time differs, as the Mundari always move around with their camp. It can be anywhere between 15 min to a 3 hour drive!
  • On the way stopping at small villages or for photo opportunities
  • Continue onwards to a Mundari settlement where you will be introduced to the village chief so that he personally grant you further access to the local tribe.
  • Trip highlight – By sunset, the herders will return to the village with their livestock in masses and start preparing them for the evening stay. The mist created by the smoke the Mundari prepare to repel mosquitoes will create a unique atmosphere.
  • Dinner prepared by our very own cook
  • Evening of games with the Mundari people
  • Overnight camping

Saturday 25th March – Mundari Camp – Terekeka – Juba

Morning

  • We recommend waking up early to watch or partake the herders preparing their cattle for the day ahead. The morning is always the busiest time of the day for the locals. Feel free to assist with any chores.

Afternoon

  • Early lunch at the camp before we return to Juba.
  • Check-in to your hotel room and freshen up
  • Drive by the Presidential Palace – the residence of South Sudan’s leader, easily recognised with his distinctive cowboy hat, Salva Kiir Mayardit.
  • Stop by the John Garang Mausoleum – John Garang lead the revolution as well as promoting the concept of Sudanism, an ideology that all Sudanese should go beyond the divisions of the people (Animists, Christianity, Islamic, Arabs, Blacks) and embrace all cultures of South Sudan and unify under one Sudanese.
  • Finish up the day by exploring Juba’s Craft Market
  • Farewell dinner with our local guides and group members
  • Explore Juba’s nightlife
  • Overnight at the Hotel

Sunday 26th March – Juba

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Tour concludes with airport drop-off arranged according to your flight details – YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for flights.

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Price inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in twin share basis
  • Entry Permit (for visa on arrival) and all required permits for travel
  • All transport by airconditioned 4WD
  • Breakfast, lunch and campsite dinner
  • Entrance fees
  • English Speaking local guides and YPT tour leader
  • Camera permit for 1 camera body (phones do not count)

Price exclusive of:

  • All flights
  • Visa fees ($100)
  • Single supplement (on hotel nights: $200)
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks and meals in Juba
  • Personal spending
  • Tribute to the tribes we visit (to purchase animal medicine, amount discretionary)
  • Extra camera permit (+$100 per extra camera)

Interested in joining us for South Sudan?

4 + 14 =

The Eastern Horn of Africa Independence Day Tour

Djbouti, Somaliland, Eritrea

May 14 – 31, 2023

Djibouti City

Lake Abbe

Lake Assal

Hargeisa

Berbera

Asmara

Massawa

Keren

The Eastern Horn of Africa

Djbouti, Somaliland, Eritrea

May 14-31, 2023

Our partners at YPT are proud to bring back to the Horn of Africa this year again and during the Independence Day season! So join us for a truly off the beaten track experience to two of the planet’s least visited destinations – Somaliland and Eritrea and Djibouti.

We begin in the former French colony of Somalia, now know as Djibouti. While it is very small, Djibouti has some of the most outlandish scenery in the world. We’ll be taking in its two most famous lakes, Lac Abbe and Lac Assal, which being salt and Sulphur lakes, create some hellish, highly photogenic sights. It wouldn’t be a MD/YPT tour without also sampling the nightlife of Djibouti: soldiers, nomads and some of the world’s military units stationed there.

Moving to another part of greater Somalia, we now move to what was a British protectorate and now the self-declared republic of Somaliland. This de-facto state declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991; however, no international organization has recognized its sovereignty.

Still recovering from a brutal civil war, today the area is very safe and the local people are extremely welcoming and interested in foreign visitors. Somaliland is fundamentally different from the other countries in the region — and almost anywhere else on the planet. We’ll take you to smoke shisha with the locals, swim in untouched waters and visit ancient cave art!

Next we move onto Eritrea. This fascinating country falls well below most travelers radars which makes it a unique off the beaten track experience. Eritrea boasts pristine coastline and untouched Red Sea islands as well as some of the best-kept colonial architecture in Africa. On top of all that we take part in the two-day festival to celebrate Eritrea’s independence!

Having been colonized in part by the Turks and Egyptians, Eritrea took on a European flavor with the arrival of the Italians in 1885 during their belated entry in the “scramble for Africa”. The legacies of successive foreign forces, combined with a rich mix of nine local ethnic groups have created a diverse cultural landscape that offers the best of African, Middle Eastern and European influences.

The Eritrean capital city of Asmara is like a film set from an early Italian movie, with vintage Italian coffee machines and outstanding examples of Art-Deco architecture. Although the country faces numerous hardships, it paradoxically remains one of Africa’s most peaceful, secure and welcoming destinations.

Please note that the itinerary may change depending on the Somaliland government. Your safety is our top priority. Safety and security are the first questions in many people’s mind when travelling to a foreign country. If you are considering joining us on this exciting adventure, please note that Somaliland is NOT Somalia; and the country has been free from terrorist attacks since 2008. The Somaliland government does everything to ensure the security of their country, especially foreign visitors. We have a strong network in the country to provide us with the most up-to-date security information, including a leading international travel security consultant firm and the local government. We only lead our tours to protected regions. We will travel with Special Protection Unit soldiers when outside of Hargeisa. They are trained specially to protect foreign visitors. We also have several backup itineraries – i.e., in the unlikely event that an alert occurs in our destination, we will immediately change our itinerary.

In order to give you maximum flexibility in your trip as well as control over mileage programs, we chose not to include the flights between countries but have put recommendations in the itinerary. If you wish us to include the international flights (Djibouti to Hargeisa to Asmara) in your tour price this can be done for an extra $500. This price is valid until two months before tour, after which individual quotes will have to be given due to the fluctuation in flight ticket prices.

Sunday 14th May – Djibouti City

  • Arrival at your convenience in Djibouti city where you will be greeted by an airport pickup and driven to our hotel, Auberge Boulaos
  • Around 4:00pm we will gather in the hotel lobby and head out on our exploration of Djibouti City.
  • During this walk, we’ll go see the two most famous mosques of the country, the Hammoud Mosque as well as the Al Sada Mosque and stop by the old colonial train station.
  • After we’ve built up an appetite walking around town, we will head to café Melting Pot to try some of the best local food or sushi!
  • After dinner, we’ll check out the port of Djibouti and stop for drinks in what is probably the busiest nightlife of the Somali world.
  • Overnight in Djibouti City, Auberge Boulaos

Monday 15th May – Djibouti City/Lake Abbe

Morning

  • After breakfast, we will start our excursion to Lake Abbe, located on the border between Djibouti and Ethiopia.
  • On the road there, we’ll stop by the Little and Grand Bara, which are large fields of white clay, upon which mirages are frequently seen alongside the local gazelles and antelopes.
  • While travelling through the beautiful countryside, we might also spot some of the local nomad shepherds, who have made this desert region their home, even though it is amongst the hottest and most hostile places in the world.
  • Stop for a local lunch along the way.

Afternoon

  • Late afternoon arrival at Gite d’Asboley, which is just on the border of Lake Abbe and should offer us a wonderful night view. Here the land is flat apart from one hill and clouds are a rarity!
  • Dinner of local dishes and overnight in Gite d’Asboley.

Tuesday 16th May – Lake Abbe/Lake Assal/Djibouti City

Morning

  • Wake up early to check out the sunrise over Lake Abbe, a formidable sight as the sun rises unobstructed over the lake with hundreds of natural limestone chimneys, spitting out steam and sulphur. You will wonder if you woke up on the same planet!
  • After breakfast, we head out on a trek around the lake before the sun rises and scorches the earth. The trek shall take two hours but will reward us with massive colonies of pink flamingos – perfect for photos.
  • During this trek, we might meet the local donkey and camel herders and our local guide will introduce us to them allowing us to learn about how locals live in this area.

Afternoon

  • Lunch back at the accommodation.
  • We then make our way to the second lake of Djibouti, and certainly its most famous, Lake Assal
  • Lake Assal is located no less than 150 metres below sea level, making it Africa’s lowest point and the world’s third-lowest point. It is crowned by an almost alien chain of volcanoes spewing black lava. The border of the lake is surrounded by salt banks of a white so bright that it looks like snow. This lake is the world`s biggest reserve of salt.
  • Once we’ve visited the lake to our heart’s content, we will drive back to Djibouti City, arriving in the late afternoon.
  • After our return to our hotel we’ll partake in a well-earned shower and then head back into town to check the sights we might have missed on our first night.
  • Dinner at restaurant La Mer Rouge for a feast of fresh seafood.
  • Head for drinks before overnight at Auberge Boulaos

Wednesday 17th May

Morning

  • Today we transfer to Somaliland! To get there, the two choices are the cheaper but less reliable Air Djibouti at 8:00am or take a non-direct, more expensive but more reliable detour through Addis Ababa. (Flight not included in the price of the tour in order to give you more flexibility)

Afternoon

  • Our local guide in Somaliland will greet us at Hargeisa Airport and take us to our hotel, hotel Sugaal.
  • Dinner at a lively canteen off the main drag of Hargeisa. We’ll have a chance to chat with them and hear how they find life in Somaliland.
  • After dinner, you can walk around the bustling city center in Hargeisa, and have some chai with the friendly locals or do some shopping for t-shirts and flags for Independence Day. 
  • Overnight in Hargeisa, Hotel Sugaal.

Thursday 18th May – Independence Day!

Morning

  • We’ll get up nice and early for a quick breakfast before hitting the streets to observe the military and civilian parades. Everyone will be dressed in the national colours on the street, and this is one of the only places on earth to take part in an Independence Day celebration in an unrecognized country!

Afternoon

  • After lunch and a short break from the heat, we’ll visit the Somaliland national museum and cultural center. A great place to chat with the youth of Somaliland
  • We will have a traditional dinner at Summer Time Restaurant, an institution in town, that evening and toast to this small nation!
  • Overnight in Hargeisa

Friday 19th May – Hargeisa

Morning

  • Visit the best view of Hargeisa, the Massala View. From there, we will be able to spot most of the important buildings of the city but also the twin hills called Naaso Hablood (“Girl’s Breasts”), also known as Hargeisa’s landmark. On the way, we visit the cemetery for British Soldiers who died here battling against the Italians during the Second World War. Hargeisa is the former capital of British Somaliland, while Italy controlled what is now Somalia.
  • Stop for lunch at a Somali-Yemeni restaurant with some Somalilander intellectual icons who will give us a political, social, historical and cultural introduction of the country.

Afternoon

  • We will then take a walking tour around the city center of Hargeisa to get a sense of the people and the city. Here you will see street money exchangers and their “chunk” of bills, the central market, and the MiG Jetfighter War Memorial which stands for the atrocities committed by the dictator during the Civil War. The War Memorial is in the middle of the buzzing centrum and an excellent place for a coffee and chats with Somalilanders about politics and history.
  • Visit to the busy market in downtown Hargeisa for some evening shopping and people watching.
  • Dinner of traditional camel meat at Ararat Restaurant
  • Overnight in Hargeisa.

Saturday 20th May – Laas Geel/Hargeisa

Morning

  • After breakfast, we will take a visit to the livestock market where you can purchase your own camel or goat! For those who can’t fit a camel in their luggage, this market will provide an excellent photo opportunity and a chance to see how the locals do business.
  • Lunch of traditional Somali dishes.

Afternoon

  • Afternoon visit to Laas Geel, the most important rock art site in Africa. These caves contain some of the oldest cave paintings on the horn of Africa; the vibrant colours and well-preserved paintings are estimated to be around ten thousand years old.
  • Make the 60km drive back to Hargeisa and spend the evening at your leisure.
  • Buffet dinner at a Yemeni restaurant.

Sunday 21st May – Berbera

Morning

  • We will head to the most important port of Somaliland, Berbera. Upon our arrival, we will visit the historical Ottoman Mosque and Ottoman houses.
  • Late lunch will be served at the Ottoman houses, and we will relax a bit to cool off (it will be sweltering).

Afternoon

  • We’ll take a short boat trip to go hunt for shipwrecks in the Gulf of Aden.
  • We will relax and swim at the untouched beach, where local youth and families come and enjoy their downtime. (Due to local culture, ladies will need to cover their bodies while in water.) For those who have their diving license, it may be possible to organise a diving excursion in the stunning waters of the Gulf of Aen (extra cost, optional)
  • Tour the historic town of Berbera in the early evening, where you will find more Ottoman, Persian, and British architecture of historic interest. A photographers dream
  • We will have fresh seafood on the waterfront for dinner.
  • Overnight in Berbera

Monday 22nd May – Hargeisa

Morning

  • After a hearty breakfast, we will depart Berbera
  • We’ll drive to the small town of Sheikh in the mountains, stop for some afternoon tea, lunch, stretch our legs and enjoy the pleasant climate.

Afternoon

  • We’ll make the drive back to Hargeisa for our last dinner in Somaliland.
  • Overnight in Hotel Sugaal, Hargeisa

Tuesday 23rd May – Asmara

Morning

  • We continue onwards to Eritrea!
  • Airport pickup from the airport. We recommend catching the noon flight to Addis Ababa and transfer to Asmara, arriving at 5:25pm. (The flight is not included in the price of the tour, you can also book another flight according to your preference)

Afternoon

  • Our local guide will meet our flight at the airport and we will be transferred to our hotel,
  • Check-in to our hotel, the Top Five Hotel, and begin to get our bearings around Asmara
  • We will meet our new group members at the hotel before heading out for our first group dinner and drinks in Eritrea at Harnassien Restaurant.
  • Tonight, Harnett street should be busy with the carnival so we will head there to check out the various pre-Independence Day celebrations including modern and folklore dances.
  • Festival continues into the night culminating in a massive fireworks show at midnight to celebrate independence.
  • Overnight in Top Five Hotel, Asmara

Wednesday 24th May – Independence Day!

Morning

  • For those brave enough there will be a 6 am 21-gun salute to mark Independence Day.
  • Free time to walk around the city after breakfast and mingle with locals.
  • There will be various art exhibitions along the pedestrianized streets of the Main liberation avenue.

Afternoon

  • After lunch, we join the celebrations at Asmara Stadium. There will be various displays by the Military music band, and the Eritrean Air force will fly over the stadium in a spectacular color show! Multiple dramas will be shown by many artists during the afternoon.
  • The Eritrean President will deliver a speech on the occasion of the Independence Day. The show will come to an end at about 7 pm.
  • Dinner and drinks to close out the Independence celebrations at a traditional restaurant, Hed Mona, where you can sample injera and local alcohols… Followed by a dance party!
  • Overnight at the hotel in Asmara.

Thursday 25th May – Asmara

Morning

  • After breakfast, we will have a walking tour of the center of town. We will see the spectacular art deco of Asmara built by the Italians at the turn of the last century, such as the Post office built 1916, Albergo Italia built in 1899, the presidential palace built in 1907, and the Hotel Hamasien built in 1916. Great photo opportunities!
  • Lunch of local Eritrean dishes.

Afternoon

  • We check out the Tank graveyard where we can see out-of-use tanks that were demolished during the war with Ethiopia.
  • Visit the City Hall to see various photo displays in commemoration of the thirty-years bitter struggle and the post-independence progress. The City Hall was established by the Italians in 1890 and is one of the oldest institutions in Africa. There will also be various inventions on display by young people.
  • Overnight in Asmara

Friday 26th May – Asmara

Morning

  • An early start and some breakfast as we have an exciting day. Today we will board a 100-year-old train and ride all the way to Arbaroba or the end of the maintained track.
  • Along the way, we will go through tunnels and winding roads. This is definitely a trip highlight!
  • Onboard the train we will be offered a traditional coffee ceremony.

Afternoon

  • Arrive back in Asmara.
  • In the afternoon, we will have some time to walk around and visit more of Asmara, possibly heading to the recycling market.
  • Head to the incredible bowling alley for a step back in time.
  • Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Saturday 27th May – Massawa

Morning

  • Hit the road for the 3 hour drive to Massawa
  • On arrival, we’ll check in at our seaside hotel
  • We’ll visit Gurgusum Beach, where we can swim and relax with local people.

Afternoon

  • Walking tour to take in the unique mixture of Turkish and Italian architectural design.
  • Dinner at the “Salam Restaurant”. Fresh fish prepared in traditional oven. This is a real local experience.
  • After dinner, we explore the nightlife of Massawa and find some bars.
  • Overnight in Massawa at an hotel reminiscent of the era of the Italians, the Grand Dahlac Hotel.

Sunday 28th May – Massawa

Morning

  • After breakfast, we visit a local school in Massawa to learn about Eritrea’s education system and meet with the children.
  • Take a boat to Dahlac Marine National Park, the Red Sea’s largest archipelago of which just four islands are inhabited.
  • We visit ruins from the early Arabic/Islamic settlers of the 8th century, and also some local Tigranyan villages.

Afternoon

  • Those who have a diving license can experience a dive in the Red Sea! (additional cost for diving). Don’t dive? No problem – snorkelling equipment is also available.
  • In the late afternoon/early evening, we will make our way back to Massawa.
  • Dinner at Almaz Bar & Restaurant, YPT’s favourite meal in Massawa. There, we can try Ja-Ja fish, an incredible stir-fry made up of thick pieces of fish
  • Drinks and overnight in Massawa

Monday 29th May – Asmara

Morning

  • After a late breakfast, we will hit the road back to Asmara.

Afternoon

  • Arrival in Asmara at around 4 pm – we will have free time in Asmara. We may be lucky enough to watch football in the famous Cinema Roma or, if interested, have a chance to briefly talk about your country or profession to young Eritrean students.
  • Dinner and group drinks in Asmara.

Tuesday 30th May – Asmara

Morning

  • After breakfast, we head to Keren city.
  • We take in the shrine of Mariam Dearit. Here happens a real highlight of the religious festival calendar in Eritrea. Thousands of Eritrean come here in pilgrimage to see the statue of the holy virgin hidden in the trunk of a tree.
  • Lunch in Keren

Afternoon

  • Free time in this quaint town to check out the local markets and explore the lively streets.
  • In Keren, we will have the chance to catch some great views from the top of Hotel Keren
  • We will then visit the old train station of Keren and stop by some architecturally interesting buildings.
  • Drive back to Asmara and stop by some destroyed Ethiopian tanks along the way!
  • Last group dinner at the National Union of Eritrean Workers Restaurant (what a YPTesque name!) and overnight in Asmara.

Tuesday 31st May

  • End of tour.
  • We are able to arrange airport transfers for those who require, depending on flight times.

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Djibouti + Somaliland

May 14-23, 2023
$2100/per person
  • Djbouti and Somaliland!
  • At popular request and in order to give you maximum flexibility in your trip as well as control over mileage programs, this price does NOT include international flights between Djbouti, Somaliland, and Eritrea. We chose not to include the flights between countries but have put recommendations in the itinerary. If you wish us to include the international flights (Djibouti to Hargeisa to Asmara) in your tour price this can be done for an extra $500. This price is valid until two months before tour, after which individual quotes will have to be given due to the fluctuation in flight ticket prices.
  • Prices will increase after February 1st 2023
  • You can ensure a lower price by submitting a 40% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins

Somaliland + Eritrea

May 17-31, 2023
$3100/per person
  • Somaliland and Eritrea!
  • At popular request and in order to give you maximum flexibility in your trip as well as control over mileage programs, this price does NOT include international flights between Djbouti, Somaliland, and Eritrea. We chose not to include the flights between countries but have put recommendations in the itinerary. If you wish us to include the international flights (Djibouti to Hargeisa to Asmara) in your tour price this can be done for an extra $500. This price is valid until two months before tour, after which individual quotes will have to be given due to the fluctuation in flight ticket prices.
  • Prices will increase after February 1st 2023
  • You can ensure a lower price by submitting a 40% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins

Price inclusive of:

  • All Transport (unless otherwise stated)
  • All Accommodation on twin-share basis
  • Breakfasts
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise stated)

Price exclusive of:

  • All flights
  • Visa Fees (Eritrea – 70 USD, Somaliland 60 USD).
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Single supplement ($600 USD)
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Local guide tips

Interested in joining us for The Eastern Horn of Africa?

13 + 1 =

Papua New Guinea

Mount Hagen Festival & Bougainville Tour

Aug 16-29, 2023

Port Moresby

Mount Hagen

Goroka Road

Lae

Buka, Bougainville

Arawa

Buin

Pokpok Island

Kieta

Papua New Guinea

Aug 16-29, 2023

For our Papua New Guinea tour, our partners at YPT will be making the most out of one of the most remote parts of Earth and partaking in the festival celebrations allowing you to see the traditional Papua New Guinean life in all its feathered glory. The Mt. Hagen Festival, which goes on for three days, consists of hundreds of tribes from all over the island showcasing their tribe’s traditional dresses and dancing.

During the tour, we will stop by the capital, Port Moresby where you will meet our local guide and fellow travelers over drinks at the Yacht Club, before heading deeper into the jungle.

The majority of tourists partaking in the celebrations enter Mount Hagen, watch the show, and depart. We want to give you a better taste of PNG. We will head deeper into the highlands, visiting the cities of Goroka and Lae. We’ll break bread with the locals over a Pig Mumu feast and participate in lesser-known festivals. Thus breaking away from the resorts and experience the real Papua New Guinea!

For Group B, you will have the chance to explore one of our new favorite secret – the island of Bougainville. Bougainville is extremely distinct from mainland Papua, with its own cultures and languages. Here you’ll continue with us deeper into the thick jungle seeking not only abandoned tanks and cannons but also the pride of WWII relics hunter: the plane wreck of Admiral Yamamoto. Bougainville is a pristine part of the world with peaceful lodges and incredible snorkeling, which we will certainly partake in!

One of the major highlights of our Group B tour is to be the first group of foreigners to visit the micronation of the Twin Kingdom of Me’ekamui and Papaala. The Kingdom rules over a single village where the locals have access to their own currency and defense force. The king wears an actual crown of gold.

Don’t miss out on this incredible chance to see one of the least explored parts of the world!

Tuesday 16th August – Port Moresby

  • Arrive at your convenience into Port Moresby – the capital city of Papua New Guinea which is well connected with flights from Australia, Singapore, the Philippines and Hong Kong.
  • Pre-tour meeting will be held at the lobby of our hotel at 4:00pm to discuss tour itinerary and to meet your fellow travellers and MD/YPT guide.
  • Head out for a group dinner and drinks at the new Waterfront Boardwalk.
  • Overnight in Port Moresby

Wednesday 17th August – Mount Hagen

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Early morning transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Mt. Hagen with PNG Airlines departing at 8:30am and arriving in Mt. Hagen at 9:30am.
  • Upon arrival, we will meet our local guides and transfer to our hotel for check in.

Afternoon

  • After check-in, you will go on a guided city tour to Mt Hagen main market and visit the fresh produce market where you can see all kinds of tribal artefacts unique to the interior of the New Guinea highlands. Here we’ll also grab lunch.
  • Afterwards we head out into the surrounding mountains for more sightseeing where you’ll encounter different kinds of wildlife, much of it unique to PNG, such as multiple species of birds, highland echidnas and cassowaries.
  • Return to Mt Hagen for dinner, drinks and overnight at Kuri Lodge.

Thursday 18th August – Mount Hagen

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel and begin making our way deeper into the highlands to join the villagers as they begin preparing for the celebration for our arrival.
  • The locals will prepare Pig Mumu – Pig Mumu involves the slaughtering of a pig, which is then prepared and cooked in a hole covered by hot rocks with yam and corn. While we wait for it to cook, the villagers will introduce us to different customs and traditional skills such as fire making and archery.

Afternoon

  • After a massive feast, we will go for a trek to the nearby waterfall where we can swim and enjoy the refreshing cool water.
  • Return back to Mt. Hagen for dinner and drinks at Kaibar – local hole in the wall kind of restaurant
  • Overnight in Mt. Hagen at Kuri Lodge.

Friday 19th August – Mount Hagen

Morning

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Begin our drive one hour out to the Luglamp community.
  • Here you’ll have the chance to mingle with villagers of this community on their school’s cultural day. It is a much lesser-known festival organized by students, teachers and the administrators of the community. Contrary to the Mount Hagen Festival, we will be the only foreigners at this event.
  • Return back to Mt. Hagen

Afternoon

  • Lunch at a local restaurant in Mount Hagen
  • Tour around a local coffee plantation – Mount Hagen is renowned around most of the world for the high quality coffee beans produced here on site.
  • Return to the city for dinner and drinks at the Highlander Hotel
  • Overnight back at Kuri Lodge.

Saturday 20th August – Mount Hagen Festival #1

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Today’s the big day! We head to the local football field which converts into the site hosting the Mount Hagen Festival. We’ll arrive early to ensure you can meet each of the members of the tribes preparing their costumes to get more of an insight of the event.
  • You may choose to participate in the games, and opt to have the locals prepare your dressings and make up. (extra charge)

Afternoon

  • We’ll grab some delicious various snacks and meals prepared outside on the grounds by the locals
  • You will have a unique opportunity to meet the Huli Wigmen – a tribe that wears extremely elaborate headdresses made from their own hair and other materials sourced locally.
  • Once the show completes we’ll return to the hotel for dinner.
  • Overnight in Mt. Hagen at Kuri Lodge.

Sunday 21st August – Mount Hagen Festival #2

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Day 2 at the festival – today you’ll have a chance to spectate the Waipa also known as the “big jump” dance which is a mass dance only found in PNG, quite an incredible sight and definitely the highlight.

Afternoon

  • Lunch at Banz Cafe, just beside the show.
  • Night out in Mt Hagen to celebrate the end of the festival and tour, we will go for dinner and drinks partying PNG style!
  • Overnight in Mt. Hagen at Kuri Lodge.

Monday 22nd August –Mt Hagen – Simbu – Goroka Road

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • We’ll begin our long days drive through Simbu province to reach Goroka on our private bus to explore more of the highlands regions. We’ll be stopping on the way for multiple photo opportunities. Goroka is the site of the other big festival in PNG and its oldest one.

Afternoon

  • Lunch will be halfway at Mt Wilheam Hotel in Simbu Province.
  • We’ll meet the Mindima Skeleton Tribes – Legend has it that the ancestors of this tribe were tormented by the presence of a monster in a cave and full of bones. So to attack the monster they disguised themselves as bones which was a success according to the locals.
  • We’ll greet the tribal chief of Nintul village and visit the Snake village.
  • Arrive late afternoon in Goroka, check into our lodge for dinner and overnight sleep.

Tuesday 23rd August – Lae

Morning

  • Breakfast at lodge
  • Stop by the J.K McCarthy Museum – in the city which is made up of several rooms showcasing everything from WWII relics and traditional PNG objects. A highlight of the exhibition is a collection of photos showing PNG as it was when it had its first contact with Australians during the 1930s.
  • We make our way towards to the beautiful coastal town of Lae – the capital of Morobe Province. On our way we’ll pass incredible sceneries through the thick of the jungle and up the mountains.
  • Once through the mountains, we’ll be driving down Shaggy Ridge and through Ramu Valley. Some of the fiercest combat between the Australian and Japanese forces happened here during World War II.
  • We’ll stop by Markham Valley village

Afternoon

  • We’ll take a break here to stretch our legs and enjoy a picnic within the wilderness of Ramu Valley.
  • Arrive later afternoon in Lae – Lae is one of the busiest cities of Papua New Guinea and an important trade centre. This city is not connected to the highland provinces so most freight comes by boat.
  • We’ll partake in a city tour which will include a visit of the WWII cemetery, explore the the shipwreck of the Myoko Maru, and a Japanese War Memorial.
  • Dinner, drinks and overnight at Morobe Hotel in Lae

Wednesday 24th August – Port Moresby – Buka

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Board an early flight departing Lae back to Port Moresby.
  • Group A members conclude the tour.
  • Group B members continue the tour onwards to Bougainville as we depart on our next flight to Buka.

Afternoon

  • Once arriving at Buka Airport we’ll be greeted by our local Bougainville team and escorted to our accommodation at Masalang Village
  • Explore the village and visit a small business that produce traditional clay pots.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Board our bus to Kubu to visit the parliament house and access a gorgeous viewpoint allowing us to observe the whole of Buka passage, a strait filled with shipwrecks of WWII.
  • On our way back to Buka we will stop to explore the ruins of Japanese WWII bunkers in Hahela.
  • Dinner and overnight in Masalang Village

Thursday 25th August – Buka – Arawa

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Depart by bus to a historical site located next to the police station in Buka Town. This site is known as the mass graveyard for the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the Bougainville civil war. Our local guide will share facts of what happened during those troubled times.
  • Board an iconic banana boat and cross the Buka passage to Kokopau.

Afternoon

  • Jump in our 4WDs and embark on a 4 hour journey to Arawa with stops along the highway for photo opportunities and lunch
  • Before we arrive in Arawa we visit the decommissioned Panguna Mine – this mine used to be the largest open cut mine in the world with a total width of 2 kilometres and a depth of 430 metres. Farmers protested for the mines closure in 1989 which sparked the secessionist movement in Bougainville and the civil war. It’s common to see locals visiting the mine and panning for gold. Here you’ll explore the abandoned installations of this monstrous monument to careless exploitation.
  • Continue driving to the Siwai Region until we reach Panakei Lodge
  • Dinner, drinks and overnight at Panakei Lodge

Friday 26th August – Siwai Region

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • We begin our WWII relic hunting tour! Bougainville was a the centre of the Pacific Campaign and where the Australian and American forces were locked in a brutal fight against the Japanese. During our relic hunt, we’ll see an Australian tank, cannons, artillery and a small museum, where a local exposes the artefacts he finds regularly.
  • Explore a few nearby villages where the locals receive very few tourists each year and are very eager to show off their performances and local welcoming rituals.

Afternoon

  • The village prepares an absolute feast of local delicacies for us. Bougainvillians eat mostly yam, root vegetables and chicken. We might have the opportunity to try other very special delicacies.
  • Tour highlight – As part of the preparation of our Bougainville tour, MD/YPT will prepare your visas to visit the micronation of the Twin Kingdom of Me’ekamui and Papaala. During the civil war of Bougainville, and after the takeover of Panguna Man, the leader of the rebellion group, Francis Ona, owned half of the island and proclaimed himself as Kim of Me’ekamui. However, on the other side of the island, another man known as King David Peii II proclaimed himself King of Papaala. Upon Francis Ona’s passing, King David Peii II then combined both kingdoms of the island into a Twin Kingdom. We plan to be the very first tourists to set foot in this fascinating micronation.
  • Head to the Hurai Guesthouse for dinner and drinks. Located right under a Digicel satellite tower, this guesthouse probably has the best network signal on the island.
  • Overnight at Hurai Guesthouse.

Saturday 27th August – Buin Region

Morning

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Begin the drive south towards the region of Buin.
  • We’ll take our 4WD as far as possible but eventually we’ll need to get out and explore by foot for roughly two hours until we reach the wreck of Admiral Yamamoto. Admiral Yamamoto was the leader of the Japanese Army who planned the attack against Pearl Harbor –  thus declaring war against the US. Yamamoto was flying to inspect his troops within a certain region of PNG. His flight itinerary was intercepted by the Allies and a surprise attack caused Yamamoto’s plane to crash into the remote jungle.

Afternoon

  • After successfully exploring Yamamoto’s wreck,  we’ll continue our drive south towards the coast and to stop for lunch.
  • Explore Japanese War Relics such as bunkers and artillery cannons. From here it’s possible to see the islands belonging to the Solomon Islands. It’s common for the locals to take their boats across to enter the Solomon Islands which share a similar culture with Bougainville. Most agree that Bougainvillians feel more like Solomon Islanders than Papua New Guineans.
  • We return to Arawa, which used to be the capital and take a boat to cross to Pokpok Island, stopping on the road to buy some refreshments!
  • Check into the Uruna Resort to drop our luggage before we head out for an afternoon of island hopping.
  • At this moment, there is nothing more heavenly than Uruna Resort. This will be the nicest accommodation arranged during your tour. We’ll be based on a pristine island without a single other tourist in sight. The ocean is crystal clear, our surrounding is incredibly peaceful, what perfect way to relax.
  • Fresh seafood for dinner, and our little own party on the island!
  • Overnight at Uruna Beach Resort

Sunday 28th August – Pokpok Island – Arawa

Morning

  • Breakfast at resort
  • Continue island hopping where we can swim, snorkel and fish in untouched waters.
  • Board a banana boat and travel to a cliff over the sea called “Eberia”. “Eberia” literally translates as ‘’this way‟ in the local language and according to local folklore is rumoured to be the gateway to the Underworld. It is a truly unique and spooky sight. We’ll stop and explore the abandoned Arovo Island Resort. Its services were disrupted by the civil war.

Afternoon

  • Continue by banana boat to Pidia village, if you are familiar with the movie ”Mr. Pip”, staring Hugh Laurie, which tells the story of a girl in Pidia village going through the events of the Bougainville civil war. It happened here!
  • On our way back on the mainland, we’ll stop by a WWII memorial by the town of Kieta where a Japanese Zero plane and a Japanese tank are exposed.
  • We stop by Arawa market to meet the locals and shop for souvenirs – most of this city was destroyed from the civil war.
  • Visit Topiniang village where villagers will welcome us to stay and eat with them. They will show us their flower gardens as well as a living bridge made up of vines from a Ficus tree. The most intrepid of us will get to cross this bridge which goes over a mountain stream and takes us to pools and caves for us to explore.
  • Back in the village of Topinang, we will see women weaving a traditional fan called Biruko and relax in the afternoon by the beach.
  • The villagers will send us off with our own personal ‘singsing’ and a night of storytelling
  • Dinner and overnight at a homestay in the village.

Monday 29th August – Kieta

  • After an early breakfast, we transfer to Kieta Airport to catch our morning flight back to Port Moresby.
  • Tour concludes with airport drop-off arranged according to your flight details – MD/YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for flights.

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Mount Hagen Festival only

Aug 16-24, 2023
$3100/per person
  • For only the Mount Hagen Festival!
  • Prices will increase after June 1st 2023
  • You can ensure a lower price by submitting a 40% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins

Bougainville

Aug 24-29, 2023
$1600/per person
  • Bougainville only!
  • Go hiking in the jungle of Bougainville, encountering rare wildlife and the plane wreck of Admiral Yamamoto
  • Prices will increase after June 1st 2023
  • You can ensure a lower price by submitting a 40% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins

Price inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in Mt. Hagen and Port Moresby
  • Flight from Mt. Hagen from Port Moresby
  • Flight from Lae to Port Moresby
  • Meals in Bougainville
  • Show admission tickets
  • Micronation visa
  • Local guide and MD/YPT guide

Price exclusive of:

  • Visa (we can provide support if needed)
  • International flights to and from Papua New Guinea
  • Meals and drinks in Port Moresby and the Highlands
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for the local guide
  • Single supplement

Interested in joining us for Papua New Guinea?

8 + 13 =

Georgia & Abkhazia

TBD

Georgia & Abkhazia

TBD

Tbilisi

Sokhumi

Stepantsminda

Batumi, Georgia

Borjomi

Georgia (+ Abkhazia)

TBD

When I stopped by Georgia back in 2016 on a layover after a Silk Road monsoon, I failed on a few things. Although I managed to visit the site of Stalin’s birthplace in Gori and reached as far as South Ossetia’s border, winter snow prevented me from reaching the Gergeti church the way I wanted to when at Kazbegi. 6 years later, I feel I have another chance with better weather and no snow drift to get in my way. And this time I endeavor to get there with a posse of monsooners to revel in the experience with me.

We’ll start with the city on a hill in Tbilisi, one of my favorite drives in from any airport, before heading off to Stepantsminda and sweeping views from Gergeti Church. And then we return to Tbilisi for an overnight train to Zugdidi before we cross the border and enter one of the least visited places in the world: the autonomous region of Abkhazia. After a day trip in the capital of Sukhumi, we’ll cross back over and head onwards to the Black Sea resort town of Batumi. Then it’s a round trip via Bojormi National Park before sipping on wine back in the capital city of Tbilisi to celebrate.

  • Day 1-2: Tbilisi
  • Day 3: Stepantsminda
  • Day 4: Tblisi & overnight train
  • Day 5-7: Abkhazia
  • Day 8: Batumi
  • Day 9: Bojormi
  • Day 10: Tbilisi
WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

 
Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We have expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do you recommend travel insurance?

Yes! These days you can never be sure. After years of trying everything we recommend going with G1G insurance (with options for medical coverage included!).

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.  

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.  

TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.

Price inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in twin share throughout trip
  • All transportation inside Georgia to complete the tour
  • Admission and tour guide gees

Price exclusive of:

  • Transport to and from Georgia to begin and end the trip from your point of origin
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • All meals
  • Optional day trip excursions
  • Single Supplement
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal spending

Interested in joining us for Georgia?

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