Africa Overlanding

Updated: 23rd January 2023

Camping at Spitzkoppe in Namibia - Africa - On The Go Tours

What is overlanding?

Every year hundreds of overland trucks make the journey across Africa between Kenya and South Africa on what has become one of the most popular and well-established overland routes in the world. On our Overland Adventure Safaris we use custom-built 28-seater overland trucks, carrying a maximum of 16 travelers, plus crew, and carry all the equipment necessary for camping and cooking on a trip of up to 56 days. By using these rugged vehicles, which are capable of travelling long distances over rough terrain, costs are considerably cheaper than a luxury safari that utilizes flights and luxury lodges.

The wildlife experiences you will have in the game parks and reserves are no different than those you’d have on a luxury safari. In fact, with lots of pairs of eyes peeled for a glimpse of an elusive leopard or a camouflaged African wild dog, you may have a far more rewarding wildlife experience from the back of an overland truck than on a smaller safari.

Then there is the added excitement of sleeping under the African sky with the far off roar of the lion. The beauty is that you can share all these travelling experiences with like-minded travelers, many of whom will leave as friends. Camping under the stars, cooking and washing up together, hiking, diving, abseiling, white-water rafting and sharing the odd cold beer or ten - it may not be a luxury holiday, but it’s undoubtedly a lot of fun.

Is overlanding for me?

If you’re an active and adventurous traveler who’d rather spend a night camping in the African bush than luxuriating in a boutique hotel, then overlanding is for you. This is grass-roots travel and you experience Africa first-hand. It’s perfect for people travelling as a group of friends, a couple or alone. Most things are done as a group and chores are shared, so everyone works and plays together.

If you’re a first-time traveler, joining an overland tour still gives you that sense of adventure, but a professional safari crew of two and the companionship of the group, means you’ll always have backup. If you’re looking for a trip that goes beyond a mere holiday and gives you the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and see a lot of new places in a relatively short time, then overlanding is for you!

What will the group profile be?

Our Overland Adventure Safaris appeal to the young and the young at heart. The average age is 30 - 40 years and given the nature of these trips, we are unable to accept travelers aged 75 or above. You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness, enjoy camping and have a good sense of adventure. Our overland trips attract a varied mix of solo travelers, couples and groups of friends from around the world. The group size is dependent upon season or time of the year and the expedition itself, but the maximum group size is 16. As these safaris are modular, new travelers will join the group at different points along the way, so there is plenty of opportunity to make new friends!

All of our Overland Safaris are active so you need to be fit and healthy with a good sense of adventure to enjoy the trip. For seasoned travelers (aged 40 plus) who still want to camp, we highly recommend our Comfort Camping Safaris.

On our Overland Adventure Safaris you will be required to put up & take down your own tent each day, help out with cooking & cleaning duties and you will experience long and often bumpy road journeys. You will also need to be able to climb the ladder steps to get on & off the overland trucks. Passengers over 65 years are required to have a medical certificate and complete a Tour Suitability form before the booking can be confirmed.

What does it involve?

Each overland truck is completely self-sufficient, carrying everything you could possibly need during your adventure. The trucks each have a fully equipped kitchen (food, cutlery, pots and pans and a gas stove). Chores such as cleaning, washing up and helping the crew to shop for supplies and prepare food are shared amongst all passengers, so you have to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and muck in.

Despite this, you'll still have plenty of free time to relax and enjoy some sightseeing or wildlife spotting. There are sightseeing activities and game drives included in our itineraries, as well as plenty of free time for you to spend at leisure. In some destinations we'll be able to dine at local restaurants as well, to give us all a night off cooking!

What conditions can I expect?

Where once overland groups would camp in the bush each night, today there are a wide range of great campsites catering for overlanders and the vehicles, with activities, bars, restaurants and excellent facilities, often including a swimming pool. Our trips spend the night in a secure campsite every night (with one or two exceptions). There are a handful of campsites that may not have a shower or a beer available, though most have running water. Sometimes conditions can be challenging – it may be dusty or rainy, it can get exceedingly hot or very cold – so come prepared for the respective season you’re travelling in and you’ll have little to worry about. You can find information about the campsites and accommodation we use on each tour page.

Africa is a vast continent and distances between the highlights we visit can be big. Some of the drives will be long and there are a few patches where the roads range from lightly bumpy to almost impassable. Long driving distances usually require an early start, so expect to marvel at an array of breathtaking African sunrises during your journey. There may be a few hiccups in the itinerary when a bridge is washed away or there’s a mechanical emergency. But, none of these will spoil your trip if you approach them with the flexible attitude and a good sense of humor.

ATC Roll mat and tents

Camping Overland Adventure Safaris

On these trips we use two man dome tents with mosquito nets over the door and window areas, a sewn in ground sheet and a separate flysheet, which you share with a fellow traveler. If you’re a camping novice, rest assured, the tents are very easy to put up and your tour leader will give you a demonstration. Mattresses are provided so you will just need to bring your own sleeping bag and remember a small pillow is always great for extra comfort.

Tents have a rain cover that is designed to aid the flow of rain water from the tent sides to the ground. These are really effective, but please keep in mind that when camping in the rain one can still expect some dampness and the occasional leak. Our tents are maintained regularly to avoid leaks and each vehicle is equipped with a couple of spares to swap out any tents that may be damaged.

We camp in set campsites along our routes that specifically cater for overland passengers. Bear in mind some of the campsites in Africa can be pretty basic and have a great rustic “under African skies” feel. Campsites in Southern Africa generally have better facilities than their East African counterparts and almost all campsites have a facility to wash many have electricity points to charge your phone and camera batteries. Some nights we may bush camp - this means you are camping without ablution facilities and not at a built up campsite, but being out under the African skies surrounded by her sounds makes this all worthwhile. You'll find details of the campsites on our tour pages.

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