DMC Africa - Tourism & Conferences

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West Africa Discovery


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FAQ

Q: What services do you provide and what do we need to do or bring ourselves?

As a ground tour operator DMC Africa makes all ground tour arrangements: comfortable ground transportation (air-conditioned 4x4 vehicle, mini-buses and others with dedicated driver), experienced guide, all nightly accommodations with breakfast, plus all transfers, taxes, touring and entry fees. Optional items are also arranged by DMC Africa, upon request; optional items are priced separately.

- Customers need to make their own international flight arrangements, to start and end their tour.
- Customers must also obtain tourist visas for all countries to be visited (DMC Africa can provide a document attesting tour dates and accommodations, to submit with visa applications).
-DMC Africa can however process visa on request for certain countries.
- And lastly, travelers must obtain Yellow Fever vaccination; proof of vaccination must be presented upon arrival in each country to be visited (as with the tourist visa); there are no other health requirements, but malaria prophylaxis is recommended.
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Q: Do you offer airplane charters?

Remote destinations in Africa not only become accessible but also quick to get to. Whether you need to move a camera crew into the deep wilderness or simply wish to do some aerial sightseeing, DMC can provide an airplane suitable to your needs.

If you need to move a film crew into a remote area or to capture aerial footage, an airplane charter with DMC Africa is the way to go. DMC Africa is proud to offer the speed, comfort, and convenience of airplane chartering to our clients.
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Q: Which countries can we visit with DMC Africa?

DMC Africa is based in Mali but specializes in the whole of West Africa and operates in many other African countries.
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Q: What are your departure dates?

Our tours are tailored made, customized and scheduled at the request of each person or group who reserves a tour; there are no group departure dates.
Exception: Festival tours; see our festival page on our website www.dmcafrica.com
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Q: What's included in the tour price?

Prices depend upon the size of your group, and are provided upon request.
DMC Africa prices include:
•       all transportation in-country, including fuel and driver (usually a 4-wheel drive vehicle; sometimes a minibus for larger groups; sometimes a traditional riverboat with outboard motor; sometimes a domestic flight)
•       all lodging (hotels and/or camping), double occupancy, bed & breakfast; check-in is 2:00 pm and check-out is 12:00 noon; day-room is sometimes provided — refer to your tour program
•       continental breakfast; other meals as specified in the tour itinerary (typically during excursions to more remote areas)
•       all camping essentials (except sleeping bags) during excursions requiring camping; travelers must bring their own sleeping bags
•       airport transfers and porterage
•       experienced, English-speaking DMC Africa guide, with other local guides as necessary (for example, a Dogon guide in Dogon country)
•       all hotel taxes, municipal tourism taxes, and site visit/entry fees as per tour program
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Q: What is not included in the price?

Air tickets to/from Africa, entry visas, non-specified meals, drinks, and tips are not included.

Excess baggage charges (on domestic flights) if any, and costs incurred in forwarding lost bags are not included (insurance to cover lost luggage is recommended).

Additional transport or medical treatment required due to any emergency situation is not included (medical/evacuation insurance is recommended).

Day-room is sometimes optional, not included — refer to your tour program for your specific inclusions and exclusions.
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Q: Do you have a minimum or maximum group size?

No; our tours are tailored made and customized, and every "group" is a private party; single individuals are also welcome.
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Q: What type of transportation do you provide?

The type of transportation depends on the group size, and on the itinerary. For getting to some remote towns and villages a 4-wheel drive vehicle is necessary; these are air-conditioned LandCruiser-type vehicles, and will hold 4-6 passengers (plus driver and guide), depending on the model. For larger groups on itineraries that don't require 4-wheel drive, we use minibuses of various sizes. We also offer donkey back trekking in places like the dogon country.
DMC can also provide an airplane suitable to your needs. Remote destinations in Africa not only become accessible but also quick to get to. Whether you need to move a camera crew into the deep wilderness or simply wish to do some aerial sightseeing.
If you need to move a film crew into a remote area or to capture aerial footage, an airplane charter with DMC Africa is the way to go. DMC Africa is proud to offer the speed, comfort, and convenience of airplane chartering to our clients.
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Q: What type of accommodations do you offer?

We offer best or best-available accommodations: typically 4-star hotels in the capital cities (with upgrades to 5-stars possible); in the interior of the country best-available hotels are often unrated but usually comparable to 2-3 stars. We can also arrange camping for travelers who prefer that experience. Day rooms can be arranged on the last tour day to accommodate late flight departures.
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Q: Is West Africa a safe region to visit?

Yes! African countries particularly Mali's hospitality traditions make it a very safe place to visit, and the crime rate is very low, but there are areas to avoid.

Visitors are strongly advised not to travel into deep desert areas in the north of Mali especially along international borders with Algeria, Niger, or Mauritania. At DMC Africa we have very good local contacts that always provide us with very reliable information on security issues.

Please remember that many western cities like New York, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Bali and many other cities have all been victims of horrible terrorist attacks—that is not a reason to avoid these places, and there is also no reason to avoid Mali.

You will be as safe in Mali as anywhere in the world—perhaps safer, because Mali is not a high-value target—but do avoid the deep desert; and otherwise just take the normal precautions against pickpockets etc. that you would apply in any new or foreign environment.

You will be warmly welcomed and treated as an honored guest, a Very Important Person.
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Q: Can you just reserve our hotels or domestic flights in West Africa, without a tour?

Yes, we can make hotel or flight arrangements that are not part of a complete tour or a domestic flight. We charge a percentage of 10% on the total cost.

Please note that arranging your own accommodations in Africa can be a daunting task for a foreigner. Not only are the local hotels difficult to communicate with, they are likely to give higher prices to foreigners. But do not fear DMC Africa is an expert in making hotel and travel arrangements for any travelers visiting Africa.

DMC Africa has partnerships and connections with hotels and lodges in wildlife parks throughout Africa. So whether you're looking to do a safari, spend some time at a tropical beach, or do some urban sightseeing, we can book you the kind of accommodation you are looking for. Anything from basic economy hotels to luxurious five star suites can be arranged for your stay.

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Q: If we opt for camping, what equipment do we need to bring?

Sleeping bags are usually recommended, depending on the season (the cold months are December and January); otherwise sheets and possibly a mosquito net are all that is needed for camping. On specified itineraries, travelers must bring their own tent.
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Q: Are the guides locals, or Westerners?

All of our guides are locals with many years of experience; we believe there's no one like a local person to show you around Africa. Some tour operator groups may also be accompanied by their own tour leader.

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Q: Are the local people friendly towards Westerners?

Very friendly, and hospitable; Africans and specially West Africans are rightfully proud of their hospitality traditions.
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Q: Is there a 'best time' to visit Mali and West Africa?

Conventional wisdom has it that the best time to visit is from October through February, when the weather is relatively cool and dry. If you want to avoid crowds, avoid December and January.

The rainy season (July through September) is also worth considering: it does not rain every day, and the rain doesn't last all day — most roads are paved and unaffected by the rain, and the countryside is green and fresh (dust-free). So the rainy season can be a very pleasant time, with hotels not fully booked and everyone more relaxed because it is not peak tourism season.
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Q: How hot does it get in West African countries like Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania?

Except during the hot months (April, May, sometimes and June) when everyday is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, the 'normal' daily high is in the 80s or 90s; at night the temperatures may drop into the 60s or 50s, or lower in the desert.
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Q: What do you mean by 'adventure travel'?

Exact conditions will vary from place to place and from time to time, but basically it means that there are no five-star hotels outside the capital cities; restaurant menus may not offer much variety; cold drinks may not be all that cold; and when we mention camping, that means no frills, sleeping on a ground mattress in a small tent. Customers should have a spirit of adventure, and always expect to be surprised.

In exchange for accepting these local conditions, you will experience the unique and fascinating cultures that make up Africa.
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Q: You mention treks and camping; what about those who want to take it easier, or who simply prefer to focus on Africa's cultural side?

All of the activities we mention are available but optional—we can create an itinerary to focus on or exclude whatever you'd like. And if culture is what you'd like to emphasize we can include village stays, local markets, and traditional dances of several ethnic groups.
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Q: How much climbing is involved when visiting Dogon country?

As much as you'd like, and no more. 'Climbing' the Bandiagara escarpment is like walking up or down a broken staircase; it's strenuous, because every step is up (or down) from the previous one, and the 'steps' are uneven, as though broken. If you think you'd enjoy this, we can program a lot of time on foot, to go into several villages that are only accessible that way. If this sounds like more exertion than you'd care for, we can limit your tour to the vehicle-accessible villages only. Either way, you'll still have visited Dogon country. At DMC Africa we also offer donkey back trekking, this is only not a nice experience but it makes it all easier.
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Q: I have special dietary requirements; can these be met in West Africa?

It depends on your particular case - please contact us for a personalized response. We want you to be healthy and stay healthy, so please do not hesitate to bring this up, if it is an issue for you.
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Q: Do I need any special immunizations?

Yes, proof of immunization against Yellow Fever is required to enter Mali and neighboring countries—consult your physician or travel health clinic. After receiving the vaccine, you will be given an International Certificate of Vaccination, which is honored worldwide. Your physician may also advise other immunizations (such as rabies, tetanus, hepatitis, etc.).
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Q: Is malaria a concern?

Yes, malaria exists throughout West Africa; it is a serious illness transmitted by mosquitoes, but it can easily be prevented with some basic precautions. First, you should ask your doctor for a prescription for a malaria-prevention medication - this is usually mefloquine (Lariam), doxycycline, or Malarone in tablet form, taken for the length of your trip plus a short period before your departure and after your return. In the U.S., malaria prevention tablets are sold by prescription only; they are not available in Mali. Secondly, while on tour you should try to prevent mosquito bites by covering your arms and legs, especially in the evening, and you should use an insect-repellant.
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Q: What are West African countries entry requirements?

There are only two requirements:
•       a visa (see section below)
•       Yellow Fever vaccination for Mali and neighboring countries (consult your physician or a travel health clinic)
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Q: Do you arrange domestic flights within Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin and other African countries?

DMC Africa does utilize domestic flights within countries occasionally. We regret to say that domestic flights are difficult to obtain and not always reliable, so we recommend that all travel in-country utilize other transportation as much as possible.

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Q: How is payment arranged?

Deposit Due per Person is 40% of cost upon confirmation of tour, whichever is greater. We reserve the right to request additional deposits as required by hotels and suppliers for peak periods, such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and New Year. This will be communicated at time of confirmation of booking. Final payments are due at least 30 days before departure. Acceptable forms of payment are:  wire transfer and major credit cards.
Some international airfares have advance purchase and ticketing requirements, which will be communicated at time of reservation. Additional payment to cover such costs will be requested in order to issue the tickets. Airline carriers impose penalties pursuant to fare rules, and for any changes to post booking air reservations. Reservations received within 60 days of commencement of travel must be paid in full upon confirmation. Reservations received within 30 days of departure date may be subject to a non-refundable rush-booking fee of not less than 20 Euros per person to cover additional expenses incurred in expediting booking. Tours requested within 15 days of travel date will be confirmed subject to special handling requirements, cost, and payment conditions.
The air and tours prices shown are based on tariffs, exchange rates and air-fares in effect at the time of posting, and DMC  African Tours reserves the right to alter prices quoted should such prices be affected by inflation, costs of fuel, labor or material, air fares or foreign exchange rate change.
We do not arrange for loyalty program / mileage free tickets or upgrades, but we will be pleased to provide you with a detailed flight itinerary required for any of these programs.
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Q: Will I be able to use my credit cards or travelers checks in Mali and West Africa?

Credit cards, probably not. As in all developing countries, Many African economies are cash economies. Only the large hotels and restaurants in capital cities accept credit cards, and most of them take only Visa card; a few may take MasterCard — despite American Express' publicity, it is almost never utilized in West Africa).

In the capital cities there are banks and a few ATMs where you can get a cash advance on a Visa credit card (and only Visa); the cash advance is usually limited to $450 USD. In the interior of many west African countries do not count on credit cards at all. It is nevertheless a good idea to bring a Visa credit card for use in capital cities in Africa, in case of emergency.

Foreign exchange: Euros and USDollars (cash) are readily exchangeable in capital cities all across Africa.

NB: Large cash denominations ($100, 100€, 200€, 500€) are preferred and provide a better exchange rate than smaller bills.

Travelers’ checks are also exchangeable, with a variable 5-20% commission.
**Be prepared for lengthy procedures to exchange travelers checks, and be sure to have your purchase receipt — some banks and exchange bureaus will not exchange travelers checks without the purchase receipt.

In the interior of many African countries, cash may also be exchanged (not quite as easily as in capital cities), but travelers checks likely not.

There are also Western Union and/or MoneyGram outlets in most major cities in Africa,where cash can be transferred and accessed the same day. Check the WU or Moneygram websites for locations>

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Q: How can I reserve a tour?

For a customized tour go to our Tour Request page, fill in the pertinent items there, and click on the Submit button at the bottom of the page to e-mail your info to us. Alternatively, you may send us a regular email; be sure in include the number of travelers, the number of days you would like to spend, and the approximate time of year, if your exact dates are not known.
To sign-up for one of our featured itineraries, click on the "Sign-up" link at the bottom of the itinerary page, then fill out the form and click on the Submit button at the bottom of that page.
You will receive an e-mail from us outlining our customized tour proposal for you, and/or providing information on a featured itinerary. If you want to proceed, we will send you our bank references so that you can make your deposit and reserve your tour dates.
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DMC Africa Ltd · ACI 2000 RUE 402 P. 03 · P O BOX: 322 · Bamako - Mali · (+223) 44386332
DMC Africa specializes in business and leisure travel to countries in West Africa. Based in Mali, DMC can arrange vehicles, accommodations, airplane charters, tours, guides, conferences, and events to suit any traveler's needs. DMC Africa is an inbound tour operator with destinations including Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Liberia, and many more throughout Africa.