How To Survive an Overland Trip through Africa
Traveling through Africa in a massive overland truck and camping every night doesn’t sound like the ideal relaxing vacation for some. Luckily for those adventure seekers, budget, or want to try something new travelers, traveling overland can be the perfect fit.
Africa is a big continent, filled with diverse countries, languages, people, and cultures, which can be overwhelming. Traveling overland can help you narrow down your choices so whether you have a week or a month you can find one that caters to your needs. It also takes away the pressure of booking accommodations, transportation, finding activities & sightseeing points, or buying meals.
You have a knowledgeable and experienced guide, a skilled driver, and a truck filled with like minded travelers who are ready for adventure like you. Lastly safety is a top priority so for those solo travelers coming to Africa alone you are in good hands. But you don’t need anymore convincing because you already decided to take the plunge and booked your trip.
So here are 5 easy tips on how to survive your first overland tour:
1. Be Patient
Patience is key when you are traveling through Africa. The concept of African time is real so be prepared to wait because things can and will take longer, from ordering a meal at a restaurant to crossing the border. You also need to be patient with other people because everyone has different needs and you have to be considerate of that. Easier said than done, I know but it will help your trip be more enjoyable. Lastly, you have to be patient with yourself. You are in a new country with people you don’t know. The first 2 days of the trip can be the hardest because that’s when reality hits. No, you didn’t make a mistake by booking this trip and things will get better, just wait and see.
2. Get Involved
Traveling on a overland truck is a lot of work and requires everyone’s participation. From putting up tents, cleaning the truck, ,helping prepare meals, or washing dishes. Your overland tour leader will split the group into teams and your duties will rotate each day, so don’t forget to check the board. Your participation is wanted and needed, so don’t be that person who sits around while everyone works. It will not only make an amazing trip for your group but enhance your overland experience as well.
3. Open Mind
They call it the “African stare” so if your skin complexion is on the lighter side please get used to it. Unlike in western society staring at somone is considered rude, many Africans stare not because they are rude , but because you look different. Some even point and yell out words like “white” or “foreigner” in the local language. Even if your complexion matches those in the country you’re in, some will still stare. Another reason they might stare at you is because you’re in a massive obnoxiously bright color truck, but know one knows for sure. So come with an open mind and know that people are interested in you and they might show that interest in unconventional ways.
4. Change Your Seat
People can get quite territorial when it comes to seats. Remember back in middle school when somone would take your seat, the one close enough to the front , but near the back, diagonal to the window and you would get so mad. Well you have to let those middle school days go, because tour leaders encourage groups to switch seats especially on long travel days. Changing your seat allows you to see the passing scenery from different perspectives, it also gives you the chance to talk to someone you don’t normally speak to. Look at you making a new friend or maybe not , but you won’ t know for sure till you make the switch.
5. Bring Your Own Entertainment
You will have long travel days on the bus so bring things to entertain yourself. Get your Spotify playlist together, bring that book you’ve been trying to read or a deck of cards to help the hours pass. Or if you are like me you can catch up on some much needed sleep. Don’t forget to bring your pillow , it might not be on your packing list but trust me put it on it. This little luxury makes a world of difference whether you’re sleeping in the truck or tent.
“So that’s it?“ you’re probably thinking that there must be more tips but that’s it. Traveling overland is a fun and innovative way to see different countries in Africa. Whether you are on a 7 day or 73 day tour you can apply, these tips that will not only help you survive but thrive on your first overland safari tour.
By Ayodele Campbell
If you would like to experience this incredible continent for yourself search top rated Africa tours or safaris today. Recommended companies to travel overland with include G Adventures and Oasis Overland.