Before taking my blogging hiatus, it would be a disservice to fail to equip you with certain tips that I have picked along the way. I’ll share this every Friday until they’re done.
Definition: Travel by land; on terrain, rather than by sea or air. It’s usually budget friendly travel that involves crossing multiple country borders. One can do it privately or through a tour company (there’s many companies offering Southern Africa safaris, crossing up to 7 borders.) This is done aboard overland trucks that have comfortable chairs, tables, a refrigerator and in some instances, an in-house bathroom.
When I did my trip in 2017, at one point, in Livingstone, there were about 120 Kenyans from 2 different companies plus a private vehicle. This was surprising to me as it was just one campsite! It is an experience I’d recommend to anyone that’s passionate about travel, especially within Africa.
What to expect
1. Weeks on the road. While the trip I took was about 3 weeks, certain companies offer up to 6 months of travel (and that right there, is something I would love to experience)
2. Shared chores. As these are mostly budget trips, there’s a lot of individual and group initiative expected. You will likely be pitching your own tent every evening and packing it up in the mornings. Some shared duties include helping out in food preparation and utensil cleaning as well as daily cleaning of the track.
Typical breakfast set-up.
Our campsite in Livingstone
3. Different types of people. When I took my trip in 2017, most people on the track had come solo. We were going to share personal space for 3 weeks, a feat that is as fun as it is demanding. We had a great team though, brought together by common interests. There will be many moments of great bonding but a few small disagreements cannot be ruled out.
4. Expect the unexpected. I found that this trip was particularly difficult for people that adhere to strict schedules. For example, dinner will not always be ready at a certain time. It may be 8:00 pm today, by a beautiful beach, and 12:00 midnight tomorrow, in a muddy campsite. Some days are longer than others (Cue in that time in Tanzania when authorities stopped us and claimed our vehicle did not belong to us; thus costing us some 3 hours.)
5. Lots of fun! No matter your personality type, you will find people in the group that match you. I was really into partying at the time and I got 2 comrades to do that with!
6.Lots of activities on the way. Take time to look up the activities offered in different towns/countries that you’ll have time in and budget for them. While I knew Victoria falls had a lot to offer, I had not decided what to do exactly and was overwhelmed when we got there. I settled for water rafting, a cruse along the Zambezi and a game drive at Chobe, Botswana. These were all extra activities that were paid for separately.
My raft. I’m somewhere downstream.
7. Lots of bush bathroom-breaks. You will even learn, from each other, that there are different positions to go about it and some are better than others. (Puns not intended)
8. Breathtaking landscapes, cultures and conversations. Malawi is magical. The falls at Zambezi are otherworldly. Some friends we made in Lusaka invited my 2 friends and I to a barbeque and it was interesting speaking to them and debunking some of the things they ‘knew’ about Kenya, as well as learning about their own cultures.
9. Lots of comaraderie. The best way I can highlight this is when I lost my clothes at Kande, Malawi. We’d paid a local to do our laundry and most of my clothes disappeared. People contributed all sorts of clothes to me and this was very moving. We eventually found my clothes in someone’s pile, he’d been handed my clothes by mistake.
10. Mosquitoes. The mosquitoes in some African towns brutal! I ignored requests by the tour company to carry mosquito repellant as I thought there are no mosquitoes I have not experienced already. Trust me, there are!
11. You will look like different (rough) person at the end of your trip. I met some of my friends from the trip a month after we came back and we were all surprised at how good each person looked! By the second week, grooming will mean bare-minimum essentials. A shower and some lotion for those that care enough will be sufficient.
Next Friday: Packing for an overland trip.
(As these trips are very hands-on, what and how you pack can make or break your trip.)
Until next time,
CONTACT GREEN RANGER SAFARIS:
Green Ranger Safaris: +254 721 955 202/ firstname.lastname@example.org