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What is an Africa Overland Tour?


Customised Overland TruckAfrica Overland tours are a safe way of travelling through Africa via road, with a group of like-minded travellers. It is not a bus tour from A to B, it is a way of experiencing Africa, the expected as well as the unexpected in an overland vehicle that seats between 10 - 24 passengers. Overland tours range from 3 days to 9 months and are usually budget, on the go tours that have you hopping from location to location on a fast-paced trip. You will be able to say that you climbed the tallest mountain in Africa, did the highest bungee in the world, rafted down the wildest river, but also that you spoke in sign-language with a Masai warrior, that you helped build part of a school for Ugandan children, that you joined the locals in eating “ugali” with your hands!

Your overland vehicle is custom built and designed to deal with travel conditions in Africa. Most overlanding is based on camping adventures. This does not only allow you to experience Africa to its fullest, including the typical night sounds, but also to enjoy the group feeling of sitting around a campfire at night, talking about the experiences of that day, whilst devouring a delicious meal cooked on the coals!

History of Africa Group Travel

2 man dome tent at campsite at Lake MalawiPeople have been travelling overland since the days of Marco Polo, and it’s the best way to feel the rhythm and soul of the country you are visiting. In Africa Overlanding started in the colonial days when the great white settlers travelled from Europe in vehicles laden with their worldly possessions hoping to start a new life on the African plains. Then, it was an arduous task to drive from the top of Africa to the bottom, with few roads, facilities, even maps. These were followed in the 1960s by hardy young adventurers in 4x4s that wanted to achieve the Cairo to Cape Town route and painstakingly eased their vehicles across deserts, through steamy jungles, and along barely-there roads.

Africa Overlanding Tours - A trucking good time

Commercial Overlanding was born in the late 1960s when these first overlanders recognized that there were other people out there who wanted to travel overland but didn’t have the unlimited time or money to go in their own vehicles. In the early days, the concept was simple and cheap: bolt some coach seats into a second hand army truck, stock it with spares, tents and food, sign up some punters and hit the road. Six months later, despite mechanical breakdowns, broken bridges and bureaucratic disasters, 20 weary but enlightened overlanders would gaze upon Table Mountain. From the outset, the difference between Overlanding and conventional package safaris was participation, as it still is today. The passengers pitched in, taking responsibility for food shopping, cooking, putting up their tents, lighting fires, and keeping the truck clean. Early itineraries were loose, if they existed at all, and expeditions developed according to the interests and input of their participants. Many of today’s overland companies are still owner-managed by these first overlanders that a few decades ago pioneered the popular overland routes in their own vehicles.

Creature comforts on your Africa Backpacking Adventure

Over the years vehicles and routes have constantly improved. Largely down to better vehicle design with the passengers comfort in mind, and improved infrastructure in Africa. Where once overland groups would camp in the bush each night, today there is a wide range of excellent campsites catering for overlanders and the vehicles, with activities, bars, restaurants, and facilities. There’ll be few nights where you won’t be able to have a shower or a beer; whether they will be hot or cold respectively is another matter however! Many of the barely-there tracks are now tarred super highways, and where it once took weeks to drive a few hundred kilometres, it now only takes a couple of days.

Two weeks or two months?

Overland clients and crewOverland trips have become much quicker and it’s now feasible for people to explore considerable parts of Africa in just a few weeks. A few years ago you would have had to jack your job in, say farewell to the family, pack up your home, and commit to several months of hard slog through Africa. Today thanks to a comprehensive range of trips and excellent flight links with Africa and the rest of the world, you can discover the wonders of Africa on an overland tour that can last from just a week to two months. There is a far greater choice out there to suit your budget and time frame, and still keep that job (and possibly the boyfriend) back home…speak to our consultants about what tour suits your requirements. Overlanding has come a long way since then but Africa is still waiting to be explored, just like many years ago.


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Left quoteThe highlight of my trip had to be Gweru in Zimbabwe, it was my idea of paradise. So much to do there with the animals and the location of it was just beautiful!Right quote

Anne B (27) from Ireland

Left quoteThe trip was great! A very relaxed ride in a mokoro, followed by camping in the Okavango Delta and watching the animals on the islands was awesome!Right quote

Michael & Silke from Germany

Left quoteI loved every millisecond of the entire trip... Guess what I did in Swakopmund? I skydived out of a plane - woohoo was that AWESOME :-)Right quote

JoJo E (61) from Switzerland

Left quoteFinally home and had a great time…. I loved the shark diving, Sossusvlei and Himba people. Saw Lions, a Leopard, Elephants, Giraffes, everything really! Thanks for…Right quote

John E from Canada

Left quoteI did not believe in god till i visited Chobe National Park.Right quote

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