Going on an overland package tour in Africa can be the adventure of a lifetime, packed with awesome activities, amazing landscapes, incredible wildlife, new friends and a lot of fun, but this kind of travelling is not for everyone. It’s definitely suited for adventurous travellers who don’t mind travelling rough, and have a lot of patience, flexibility and good humour!
Check out our blog to find out whether overlanding is for you or not. If you’ve decided that overlanding is definitely your cup of tea, then read on to find out what you’re likely to expect!
1. A lot of driving
The clue to what you’re going to be doing on an overlanding trip is in the name: overlanding involves a lot of driving! While you’re not necessarily in the truck every day, you can expect to be spending a LOT of time in it – journeys range anything from a couple of hours to ten hours. Bring a comfy pillow to sleep on in the truck and lots of entertainment, from books to playlists on your iPod.
2. Bumpy roads
Africa is known for its bumpy roads. Many roads in southern and East Africa are tarred and in good condition, but there are loads of dirt, gravel and pothole-scarred roads that you’ll be encountering on your African overland trip. Expect to bump around like a sack of potatoes in the overlanding truck a fair amount – again, a pillow goes a long way to make your journey more comfortable!
3. No luxury lodges
There are two options on our African overlanding tours – accommodated and camping. If you’re on an accommodated trip, you’ll be staying in basic accommodation, which can vary in quality and comfort. If you’re on a camping trip, which is cheaper than an accommodated trip, then you’ll be staying in two-man tents that you erect yourself at each campsite. The tents are spacious and you are given mattresses to sleep on.
4. “Rustic” bathrooms
With all that driving to remote wilderness areas, there are long stretches of road with no toilets, which means you need to go in the bush. When there are toilets on the side of the road, they’re not going to be the cleanest ones you’ve ever seen (that’s a bit of an understatement). Just remember to pack hand sanitizer and a good sense of humour and you’ll survive!
5. Sparse (or no) wi-fi
Part of the appeal of an African overland trip is that you get to go to some of the most beautiful wilderness areas on the continent, and explore salt pans, forests, deserts and savanna. These are places far from towns or cities, and therefore are largely wi-fi free zones. Even in small towns in Africa the wi-fi can range from unreliable to non-existent. Look at an overlanding trip as a way to disconnect from emails and social media – you can post all those amazing photos when you get home!
6. Early mornings
If you like to sleep in late on holiday, then perhaps an African overlanding trip is not for you – no matter which overlanding trip you choose, there will be a lot of early morning wake ups! Sometimes you have to wake up early to do an activity, such as a sunrise game drive, and sometimes you need to wake up to get on the road so you arrive at your next destination before dark. At least you can always sleep on the truck!
7. The unexpected
Your truck could break down in the middle of nowhere. You could get stuck in a line that lasts for hours at a border post. The weather could suddenly turn violently nasty. A river will flood and the campsite you were supposed to stay at will be closed. There will be roadworks and you’ll have to take a detour that takes hours longer.
Part of the fun of African travel is that it can be rough and adventurous, with unexpected obstacles thrown your way. Try and be as easy going as possible and enjoy the challenges of overland travel!