Top Tips to Really Experience Africa
Author: Alta van Wyk
Have you ever heard of an Overlanding expedition?
Overlanding in Africa is by far the best way to really experience the diversity of Africa. Let's face it; you can only really experience Africa if you truly become part of it. You need to breathe its air, walk on its ground and hear its sounds.
Overlanding shortly defined involves travelling in small groups and by a specific route to remote territories - places that are off the beaten track. This is what makes these trips al that exciting, as not many people have the opportunity to visit such areas. These trips are definitely not ordinary. They are for the fun loving, excited and adventurous at heart.
Tours can last anything between 4 days to 6 months and usually includes visiting more than one country. Group sizes are small varying from 10 to 25.
Overlanding is a very budget style of travel and accommodation, transport, National Park entry fees and most meals are included in prices. The idea behind an overlanding trip is to escape the busy City life and just become part of nature.
These trips are nothing boring; as it includes all levels of adventurous activities and is suitable for all persons with average to good fitness and good health. Tours are carefully planned so that each tour has its own optional activities. These activities can range anything from extreme adventure - like bungee jumping - to more fun adventure activities like elephant back safaris, scuba diving, white water rafting, fishing, horse riding …and the list just continues.
The great thing about optional activities is that you do not have to pay for anything you cannot afford or wouldn't like to do.
You will however be expected to participate in limited amount of general duties on tour like washing your dishes, keeping the vehicle clean, setting up your camp and getting all muddy should the truck get stuck. This ensures that everything on tour runs as smoothly as possible and mostly so that there's not a dull moment. All the more excitement!
Overlanding vehicles are generally specially designed trucks suited for the roads travelled on and can range anything from "rough-it overlanding" trucks to more luxury spacious trucks with comfortable seats.
The accommodation on tour can range anything from plain camping to budget National Park style bungalows or safari tents.
Local payments may be levied from tour participants in certain African countries. This is a very common on overlanding tours. Local Payments are essential in order to transfer the foreign currencies of the countries visited in order to operate the tours.
Your tour itinerary should state if a local payment will be necessary for the countries you will visit.
A good tip is to always carry US$ cash on you when on tour as US dollars are widely accepted throughout Africa.
Air fares to Africa are usually excluded in the tour price, but overlanding companies or booking agents are mostly able to arrange it on your behalf.
Travel insurance is very important and compulsory on overlanding trips. You must ensure that you take out adequate travel insurance to cover the type of activities you may be interested in. Certain overlanding booking agents or companies will even be able to arrange travel insurance for you.
What makes an overlanding tour so unique is that you meet great people, you experience so much about other cultures, and because you travel in a group, you have experienced guides by your side who will be able to explain all the inns and outs on tour - wherever you are off to.
So, my advice to you, if you are looking for an experience of a lifetime, pack your bag of enthusiasm, excitement and sense of humour and you are ready to head off to an African overlanding adventure of a lifetime.
About the author
Alta van Wyk - Holds a degree in Tourism Management and is the Co Owner of Wild Expeditions, a company specialising in quality overlanding trips and safaris in South Africa and parts of Africa. Please visit www.wildexpeditions.co.za for great overlanding and safari adventures.
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