What is overlanding?
Adventure touring in Africa, aka overlanding, is a great way to experience the best of the continent within a set time frame and budget, in the safety and fun of a group setting.
Your ‘home on wheels’ will be an overland vehicle, ready for rough-roading and kitted out with camping equipment. Buses these are not! – but they do feature some comforts such as coach-style forward-facing seats; large windows for game viewing; ample locker space; a fridge for catering and a cooler box for snacks and drinks. Some of the vehicles have docks for MP3 players and/or CDs.
The trucks are safe and well-maintained, but breakdowns do happen on Africa’s dusty, bumpy roads. Your crew will do their best to get you up and going again, and your patience will be a great help. It’s all hands on deck should the truck get bogged or a tyre need changing, and in that case, the brightest smile can win the day!
Your crew will include a qualified driver and a tour leader, whose job it is to facilitate the trip. These crew will be happy to answer questions and share nuggets of knowledge with you. The addition of a cook on some trips is an added bonus, but do be aware that participation is part of the adventure.
Accommodation is either in tents or rooms, depending on the tour type you’ve chosen. Further information can be found in the tour types under camping- and accommodated tours.
Are you ready to rough it? Camping vs accommodation
The basic rule of thumb is, if you are young – or young at heart! and relish the thought of roughing it, camping is a budget-savvy option. Otherwise you might consider the accommodated option, for that extra bit of comfort.
Southern Africa is more established and in general, has better tourist facilities. East Africa is more rustic but it more than compensates with exceptional wildlife, welcoming people and beautiful scenery. Toilets en-route are usually a bush so be prepared for this!
Weather conditions vary from cold and wet to very hot and humid, depending on the country and the season. Roads can be long and bumpy, and some re-routing may be necessary, due to heavy rainfall and other external conditions. In this case, your crew will do their best to find an alternative route that is just as good, and often even more interesting.
Be ready for doing most things in community; travelling, eating, cooking, packing, sharing in the adventure and doing activities. Layover days offer the chance to do your own thing, but in general overlanding is very much a group vibe.
What group sizes apply?
Group size tends to vary between 12 – 25 passengers on an overland safari, though some trucks can seat up to 28 passengers, and in season (June – October) they do tend to reach full capacity.
Accommodated safaris are usually restricted to 18 passengers, whatever the vehicle capacity. Small group safaris guarantee a maximum of 12 passengers, while exclusive tours work on a maximum of 16.
What are the activities?
Overland tours are built to include as many highlights as can be had in the time and for the budget. Whether interacting with locals and learning about new cultures, spotting lion, rhino, elephants, or a myriad other creatures, rating on the Zambezi or scuba diving in Mozambique, as much as can be done will be offered, either as part of your package or optionally.
A rotating roster will ensure fairly shared duties, such as cooking, cleaning and packing. Arrivals at dusk and arising at dawn are part of the experience – though seeing the sun rise and set over breath taking scenery is more than worth it!
What are the age limitations?
Overlanding does require a certain amount of vigour, so good general health and age limitations are necessary. There is a general age limit of 55 years for the camping trips, and 65 years for accommodated trips; though attitude overrides age in some cases! Travellers aged over 65 years will require a physician-endorsed “fit for travel” certificate before joining a trip.
The minimum age for a standard overland trip is 18 years, though younger passengers can be included on selected trips with guardian consent. Family tour age begins at 6 years although some tours require a minimum age of 8, 12 or 16 years depending on area and/or activities.
How is safety managed?
The crew are trained in safety procedures, and are the final authority on all decisions affecting the trip. The safety and enjoyment of the group as a whole is their first priority. Should you experience problems with a fellow passenger, do try at first to sort it out with them. Obnoxious behaviour or unsafe actions will not be tolerated and should be reported to the tour leader immediately.
In the unlikely event that you experience a problem with the crew, please report it to us at the next available opportunity. We will then contact the operator, who will investigate.