Why go overlanding?
Overlanding is a great way to explore a country, or a number of different countries, without the hassle of planning it all yourself. Tour operators provide you with safe transport, professional guides and all the necessary equipment. Overlanding with a tour operator is also much cheaper than trying to do it yourself, and a great way to meet like-minded people from all over the world, while enjoying the beauty of Africa.
What kind of transport is provided?
Tour operators use a number of different trucks, which have been modified to suit overlanding safaris. They are fully equipped with first aid kits, spare tyres, safes, fridges and more.
What kind of person do I need to be?
At the moment, overlanding is very much the domain of the international tourist, who comes to experience the wild side of Africa. But international or local, all overlanders have a couple of things in common. They like people. They are relaxed and open-minded. Regardless of age, they all have a youthful mentality and a lust for life.
Is there an age limit?
Most tour operators require a minimum age of 18 and a maximum age of 55, but this changes from company to company and individual to individual. The nature of the transport (in trucks) and accommodation (in tents) can get a bit much the older you are, although, if you are fit and raring to go, most companies will make an exception.
Do I need any equipment?
That's the best part about overlanding. Everything is provided for you. Transport, cooking utensils, tents. The only thing you will need to take along is a sleeping bag, but even that can be arranged.
If I don't need equipment, then what do I need?
Before your departure, the tour operator will provide you with a list of items that you will need to take along. These include toiletries, clothes, cameras etc. It is also essential to pack your sense of humour because overlanding is all about having fun.
What should I leave behind?
Cellphones are not allowed and neither are bad attitudes.
What questions should I ask my tour operator?
When booking your trip, make sure you know exactly what is included in the tour price. Some tour operators offer trips for those travelling on a budget, which means that all activities such as quad biking etc are optional. Also find out if the tour price includes entrance fees for parks or if there will be a 'kitty' for food.
These are usually paid in dollars and are separate from the tour price. Always check what accreditation (eg. SATSA) a company has, as this will provide you with the peace of mind that you are travelling with a reputable professional organisation.
Some parts of Africa require special vaccinations. Check with the operator about which vaccinations you require. Most Southern African countries do not require vaccinations but malaria prophylaxis is essential.
Any other useful tips?
- Pack at least three pairs of shoes, of which one pair should be an open shoe. Smelly feet are not conducive to chatting up your travelling companions or forming life long friendships.
- Take along some Prohep or something else to help your liver cope. Overlanding trips are not all party, party, party but there are some occasions when you might need some help in the morning.
- Take along a small first aid kit. The guides will have one on the truck but a personal one is useful for plasters, aftersun etc.
- Don't forget your binoculars and your camera. You don't want to miss a thing.
- Take along a book or two as an escape from your travelling companions ? if you need to.