Going on an Overland safari is probably the best way to see and experience the real Africa. But is Overlanding for you?
Check out this video for a small snapshot of what a 22 day Overland Safari with Africa Travel Co is like 🙂 👇 and then read on for more info!
What is Overlanding?
Overlanding is the name used for travelling to remote destinations, where the journey is the goal, as much as the place’s being visited.
Each trip will have different and various activities and game drives included.
But stock standard inclusions are:
– airport pickup on first day
– transport in fully equipped overland truck
– tents and sleeping mats
– 3 person crew
– most meals
– camping fees and first night accomodation
It’s a Truck… not a Bus!!!!
This beast of a vehicle is most definitely a truck! Purpose built to go off road and long distances, all while carrying up to 30 passengers.
There is also ample storage for tents, sleeping mats, kitchen equipment, luggage etc.
Think a massive people mover with the whole kit and caboodle. So don’t call it a bus!! Otherwise you might be made to donate to the “truck” jar. Or be made to do pushups in front of everyone ha ha. This was just some of the punishments we have experienced.
– Early starts. Lots of them
– Putting up and down your own tents (often when it’s dark)
– Participation with duties like meal prep, washing dishes, cleaning the truck, unloading tent bags and poles etc
– Long, bumpy drives to places. Like really long. Sometimes up to 14 hrs (worst case)
– Using bush toilets
– “Roughing it” think the occasional cold shower, or none at all. It’s def not a “glamorous” holiday.
With the above being said, the positives are you will see many beautiful sunrises.
You will get better at putting up and down the tent. Plus there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade!
Depending on group size you might not have specific duties. Everyone just pitches in. But if you’re in a bigger group there will be a roster and duties are done on rotation, with days off.
You can nap, read, listen to music or play cards to kill the time.
Sometimes a bush toilet maybe more appealing then a toilet en route anyway ha ha. Good thing is you won’t see many mirrors.. So you won’t have any idea how unglamorous you really look haha.
Actually come to think of it, it isn’t even a “holiday.” It’s an adventure!!!
What’s your Overland crew like?
Usually made up of three people. You will have a tour leader, driver and cook.
Your tour leader is there to keep the trip running smoothly and for any questions you might have.
The driver gets you from Point A to B safely. While everyone else on board is napping they put in the long hours and get you where you need to be.
Your cook will prepare and cook you lots of delicious meals. If you think you will lose wait on this trip.. think again!
What kind of people will I meet?
– You will meet lots of people from all walks of life.
– There’s a wide range in ages. On our last trip the youngest was 13 and the oldest 70! The average though is 20 – 50.
– More than likely they will be Australian ha ha. Australians really seem to like overlanding!
But we have had a good mix of people from different countries as well.
So far we have overlanded with Dutch, German, English, Denmark, Luxemberg, Russian, Chinese and Korean.
How much does it cost?
– Overlanding prices are usually broken into two payments. The first is a tour payment which is for company overheads. Things like truck maintenance and staff salary etc
– The second is a local payment that is paid direct to your tour leader on your first day. This needs to be in $US dollars and is the money used on the road. This covers the expenses of food, fuel, camp ground fees etc. Some companies may have the one all inclusive fee so check their brochure or website to clarify. If they do, it usually works out more expensive. But at least you know what it is upfront and you might prefer it that way.
– On top of that, you will need spending money. Now this can blow out because Africa isn’t as cheap as you might think. You need to budget for snacks, gifts or curios, optional activities and when you want to upgrade from your tent ha ha.
– Any pre trip expenses like visas, insurance, vaccinations and meds
– Tips for your crew
Cash is KING!!!
EFTPOS and credit cards are not widely available or accepted. So plan ahead with cash and a travel card. Most African countries happily accept $US dollars. But depending on where you’re travelling from the conversion may not be favourable.
We found it easier to pay our local payment with $US and withdraw money in local currency from our travel card. Just make sure your card is VISA as that seems to be more readily acceptable than Mastercard.
Important things to Pack
Aside from clothes to suit the climate, here are some other essentials:
– head torch
– Tupperware container (to save your sandwiches getting squashed or when you want a salad)
– sleeping bag
– first aid kit
– insect repellant
– meds (panadol, antibiotics, anti nausea etc)
So is Overlanding for you?
If you want the luxurious type of African safari where you stay in 5 stars lodges and wake up whenever you like this probably isn’t for you.
If, however you consider yourself a fun and adventurous individual this could be for you. No prior camping experience or even liking of camping is needed….
As this is WAY better than normal “camping.” And if you don’t mind being out of your comfort zone, overlanding could definitely be an option for you!
Why I love Overlanding
The reason I love Overlanding is because you get a real sense of adventure! When you stay at an all inclusive 5 star lodge, you’re kept in a luxurious bubble. And I don’t think you would get a feel of the real Africa.
But with Overlanding you’re more in touch as you are constantly giving back to the local communities. Often we would stop while driving through local villages and the cook would buy fruit and veggies from street vendors.
You also get to create lifelong memories from all these once in a lifetime experiences! Added bonus of creating them with a group of people that start off as strangers… But end up as friends for life!
As you will always share this special bond, because of all the great experiences you shared!!!