Overlanding in Africa is one of the cheapest and best ways for adventure travelers to experience the beauty and diversity of Africa. Overland trips in Africa often includes travel to several countries and the trips usually last between 2 weeks to 6 months. Most Overland trips are made in specially designed trucks which can take the traveler far off the beaten path. Overlanding in Africa is for those who enjoy participatory camping and roughing it a little.
Why Choose an Overland Trip through Africa?
- It's very cheap. A 30 day trip can cost as little as USD 800. That includes your transport, accommodation (usually camping), entry fees for game parks, campsites and most meals. There's an additional fee for the 'kitty' that you pay into which is used for fresh food and other incidentals. The tour price usually doesn't include air fare to Africa, but most overland companies will help you get your tickets. You also have to pay for your visas and personal travel insurance.
- It's adventurous. You can experience Africa outside of lodges and resorts. You'll often camp in the bush and get to meet a lot more local people on this kind of trip than you would on any other tour. Because this is not a luxury holiday you are expected to be fit and in good health.
- It's relatively safe. You're traveling in a group with guides who know what they're doing and where they're going. Overland companies are always up to date with the latest political happenings in the countries they are traveling through.
- It's fun. If you're young at heart and enjoy group activities Overlanding is for you. You're expected to be a team player and really participate and pull your weight, even if you're not in the mood. That means you'll help cook, clean, fix the truck, push the truck if it breaks down etc. Group size varies but usually don't exceed 25 people. The average age is between 20 and 30 and for most tours you have to be at least 18 (if traveling independently).
Recommended Overland Tours Through Africa
There are many Overland companies out there that offer trips through Africa. Since most of these trips are relatively cheap, it usually comes down to how much time you have to travel. Here are some sample Overland trips through Africa I would recommend from reputable overland companies:
9 Day Johannesburg, Kruger, Botswana to Victoria Falls: This is a great little tour offering a quick insight into Southern Africa. It includes Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls and Botswana. Rates start at $699 per person.
12 Malawi to Victoria Falls: This tour starts in Dar Es Salaam and heads South towards Zambia and the great Victoria Falls. You will experience Lake Malawi, Luwawa Forest and South Luangwa National Park. Rate starts at $900 and $130 kitty.
2 Weeks Kenya and Tanzania: This trip offers the best of East African game parks. It includes Masai Mara Game Reserve and the Ngorongoro Crater. The cost of this tour is 425 British Pounds per person with an extra 210 GBP for the kitty.
24 Day Southern Circle: This wonderful tour takes you through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique. A good combination of game parks, beaches and adventure for a very reasonable price.
This is what Overlanding is really all about, getting to countries and seeing places that are not on regular safari itineraries. The cost of this tour is USD 3100 per person with an additional USD 800 for the kitty.
46 Day Southern Trek: This Overland trip will take you from Nairobi to Johannesburg. You can also take a 46 Day Northern Trek which starts in Johannesburg and finishes in Nairobi. You will travel through Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. Options include gorilla trekking, white water rafting, ballooning and much more. This trip is truly an experience of a lifetime for anyone who is interested in seeing the best sub-Saharan Africa has to offer. The cost of this tour is USD 2350 with an additional USD 975 for the kitty.
The Nile Expedition (18 weeks): If you have the time you should really consider this African Overland trip.
The tour takes you all the way from Cairo to Cape Town. Eighteen glorious weeks of culture, wilderness, wildlife, beaches and some very interesting roads. If the tour seems too short then you can always add on several weeks and start in Istanbul. The cost of the tour from Cairo to Cape Town is 1800 British Pounds with an additional 100 for the kitty.
Trans Africa (23-30 weeks): This overland trip is one of the few that includes West and Central Africa. It starts in Dover, England and you can choose to end it in either Nairobi (23 weeks) or Cape Town (30 weeks). Personally I can't think of a better way to spend a few months. The itinerary includes Morocco, Mali, Ghana, Mauritania, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The cost of this tour from Dover to Nairobi is 1190 British Pounds with an additional USD 595 for the kitty.
Please note all prices are for trips in 2010 and can vary with the exchange rate.