UPDATED: This blog was originally published in March 2014.
It’s fair to say that overland travel is a unique style of travel.
You hop in a custom-built vehicle, with your fellow adventurers, a few guides and all your camping gear, then point it at the horizon and drive.
The majority of the trip is mostly off road. There’s camping and it’s pretty hands on. But, it’s probably one of the last serious ways to have a true adventure. And there’s no better place to do it than Africa. Sure, there are long travel days, and there’ll be times when you’re uncomfortable, but I’m here to say these are the BEST things about travelling on an overlanding adventure. This is why:
Long travel days
When did you last allow yourself to spend hours daydreaming? And not just those few minutes on the train, but really let your brain switch off from technology or life admin? On an Overland trip, you’ll have time for long, meandering daydreams set to a backdrop of open savanna, wild animals and endless blue skies.
Yes, it takes time to get between places, but this is a wonderful opportunity to daydream, meditate on life’s big questions, groove away to all your favourite albums or make up crazy games with fellow travellers and laugh yourself silly. Now, that’s time well spent.
Camping in the wilderness
Okay, so pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars may be a little rougher than you’re used to, but let’s face it, you’re only there for a short period of time. Camping in Africa is often far less rough than you may expect and there is something liberating about going without your hairdryer or electric razor. Plus, the payoff for any slight discomfort is you get to TRAVEL IN AFRICA!
It’s also exhilarating to see what we are actually capable of – and everyone knows the funniest travel stories involve the unexpected.
Some people balk at having to pitch in and help chop veggies, wash the dishes or erect their own tent. But I wager that these events will become some of the highlights of your trip. When you’re organising the campsite, it’s the perfect chance to hang out with people in a casual environment and get to know them in a way you wouldn’t while sitting around a table making conversation. Plus, by contributing in this way, you feel like you’re part of a tribe rather than just in a travel group.
A truly authentic experience
On an Overland trip, there’s nothing between you and the great outdoors. You simply open the window of the vehicle and Africa is right there in front of you. You’ll pull up in some pretty remote places and mingle with the locals, you’ll get (respectfully) close to the wild animals and there won’t be anything obstructing the view.
So don’t let a fear of discomfort stop you from travelling through Africa – these concerns fade far into the background once you’re confronted with the beauty and profound nature of this incomparable continent, which is definitely unlike anywhere else on earth.
Africa is waiting for you. Book your own Overland adventure today.
Feature image by Damien Raggatt.