African Overland Travel Tips
There are numerous preparations you should make before you leave for your overland trip to Africa.
It is especially important to be aware of the physical conditions and safety considerations if you are considering a trip to Africa. African travel needs a traveller to be prepared in order to keep themselves safe and healthy.
Research the political situation in the country you are planning to visit before you book and confirm your travel. Official web sites on the Internet will provide you with complete and up-to-date information.
Before You Leave Home
A crucial consideration is to pack wisely and don’t over-pack. But how do you determine what‘s essential and what’s not? Although having the proper clothing is very important, the key is to travel light but travel smart. It is recommended that you check out the local climate and weather conditions before you embark on a safari. If you have booked through an African travel specialist for your trip to Africa, contact that company for clothing suggestions during the specified period of your African travel.
Be sure to include good walking shoes that are comfortable and already broken in; don’t make the mistake of bringing brand new shoes. Include comfortable, but protective clothing for your safari. Long-sleeved shirts help protect your arms from the sun and long pants will help protect you from mosquitoes, especially in the evenings. Wearing neutral-colored clothing will help you blend in with the surroundings while you are admiring the wildlife and will also reflect the sun, keeping you cooler. You may also want to bring along a warm jacket for cool nights. In addition, you’ll want to take some “dressier clothes” for when you’re planning to be in one of the larger African cities where more formal attire is appropriate.
Regardless of the time of year your trip to Africa is, the sun’s heat will be significant during the day. High SPF sunscreen and lip balm are a must, as well as a hat, bandana, sunglasses and so forth. Covering up when in the sun is the best approach to ultraviolet ray protection. Generally, fabrics with a tighter, denser weave give the best protection. Knit constructions, such as cotton t-shirts, give relatively poor protection (SPF rating of 4.8) since UV rays pass through loops on the knit structure. African travel can be dangerous for those who do not take the necessary precautions.
What about Health Care and Medicine?
You should definitely schedule a doctor’s visit for a complete medical check up well in advance before you depart on African travel. First and foremost, you should remember to have prescriptions filled with an adequate supply of the medications you are currently taking. If you are visiting an area known to have malaria, you should consider taking prophylactic malaria medication. Your family physician and safari travel company can offer advice regarding this medication based on the region you are planning to visit. It is also a good idea to have a dental check-up before your trip to Africa.
Be sure to enquire about the quality of the drinking water and, if in doubt, drink only bottled. Many people become dehydrated when on safari because they forget to drink enough water – be sure to drink plenty of water every day. Re-hydration tablets are also a good item to bring along, just in case.
Pack a medical kit with painkillers, bug repellants, anti-diarrhea pills, bandages and antiseptics for yourself and anyone traveling with you. Finally, ensure that your insurance coverage is adequate in case you become sick or injured abroad. There are insurance companies that specialize in overseas travel insurance and offer short-term coverage’s to suit all needs – your travel agent can help with recommendations.
When You Arrive
After you arrive at your destination, there are some additional points worth noting to preclude illness, accident, or injury so you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest. First, to relieve symptoms of jet lag and fatigue, eat lightly, drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeine for a few days after your arrival. Also, try to adjust your activity levels to the local time zone as soon as possible to get you physically in sync with the local time.
One of the most common reasons for injury abroad is automobile accidents. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the local driving culture, road signs, speed limits and local police vehicles before attempting to drive.
When walking in cities and urban areas on your African travel experience, you may want to consider using two wallets. Hide one of them with the bulk of your cash, traveler’s checks, credit cards and other essential items in a safe place on your person. Fill the second wallet with a small amount of money, and use that for routine spending. In addition, you should avoid counting your money in public, as this will cause the unwanted attention of potential thieves.
Finally, if you must take an expensive laptop or camera when walking around in populated areas, try to conceal them as much as possible, preferably in an older or beat up bag.
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- Minette - OverlandingAfrica.com24 Apr 2012
Hi Hein; we only sell scheduled overland truck safaris and would not be familiar with ferry times or costs. Best would be to contact the local tourism information center for more assistance. Happy trails!
- Hein24 Apr 2012
I would like to travel by train from Istanbul to Kusadasi via the ferry and on the overnight from Izmer back to Istanbul. Do you have any information or links on what the timetables and links are?
- Dayne - OverlandingAfrica.com18 Jun 2010
Hi Terence; Overland trucks have huge fuel tanks and we dont have to stop often for fuel. I suggest you contact your local AA or 4X4 club for information on stops for fuel and road conditions. I have emailed you some suggestions on routes to follow. Good Luck with your adventure.
- Dayne - OverlandingAfrica.com18 Jun 2010
Hi Jean; Please check out weather information on the Rwanda page or use the navigation bar on top to look at weather in different African countries. Weather in Africa is never cold enough for jeans but i suggest you bring one along for as evenings can get a little colder. Good Luck.
- terence tracey07 Jun 2010
i am planning a rather advertureous or possibly an outrageaous trip from Joburg to London in a 50 year old car. would you be prepared to offer me some advice on such things as best route to aim fpr; road surface to be expected; distances between filing stations; poitical tolerance of 'white' travellers through aAfrica? Terence
- Jean Golladay04 Jun 2010
I will be visiting Rwanda sometime in Oct and would like to know what the temperatures are for that time of the year. would denim jeans be too hot? Thanks; Jean
Africa Overland Travel Preparation
Below are suggested pages to read on how to prepare and what to bring with for your trip to Africa of a lifetime.
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