Overland adventures in Africa are great fun and something you will remember for the rest of your life. But always keep in mind that overland travel is not the same as staying in a 5 star resort and you won’t have a shopping mall in the African bush, so there are quite a few important things to remember to pack when you go on your overland tour!
Let’s start with the essential documents. Obviously you have to bring your passport with enough empty pages for all the countries you’re planning on travelling to. Also make sure it is valid for another 6 months after the day you’ll fly back home. Depending on your nationality, you might have to apply for some of the visas you need before starting your Africa overland trip. Visas are your own responsibility and no tour will include this as part of the package.
A good idea is to make copies of your passport, your proof of travel insurance, your vaccination certificate and any other important documents you have, and then email them to yourself in case you lose any of them.
Most of the overland trucks have limited space so please don’t bring a big hard suitcase as it won’t fit in the lockers located in the bus. Rather go for a soft backpack or a large duffel bag. Also check if your tour operator has weight or space restrictions on luggage. It may also be necessary to bring a small daypack for excursions as well.
When packing your cloths please keep in mind you’re travelling in Africa, so you can leave your fancy dress at home! Bring clothes which are easy to wash & dry. Try and avoid synthetics as the can become uncomfortable.
Most people make two common mistakes:
The first is that they bring to many cloths. Rather bring less and wash them while on tour, than overload your backpack (speaking of washing- don’t forget washing powder).
The second mistake is that people underestimate the temperatures in Africa. It can get extremely cold in the desert at night so better bring something warm! Especially in winter, a beany and some gloves will make you so much happier.
Below is a list of additional items you should bring on your overland tour to make sure you’re comfortable and don’t miss out on anything:
• a torch or headlamp (including batteries)
• sunblock is very important since you want to protect your skin from the African sun
• a pocketknife is always handy
• strong mosquito repellent (particularly important in high risk malaria areas!)
• a camera with enough memory cards to capture all the memorable moments on picture
• if going on one of our camping overland trips, you need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow
• a book, a card game or whatever sort of entertainment to kill time when driving long distances
• a toiletry bag with small bottles of shampoo and soap, a toothbrush and other essentials
• sunglasses – really important for some daytrips
• zip lock bags – to keep your stuff organised and dry
The best advice is to plan in advance (maybe write a list) what you think you’ll need for sleeping somewhere in the African bush.
Another important thing to consider is what medication you should bring on the trip:
• painkillers – a lack of sleep and staying in a tent can be tough
• diarrhoea medicine – if you camp in the bush you want to keep the time you spend on the “toilet” as little as possible
• anti-histamine cream to put on bites or rashes
• some antibiotics – just in case
• Plasters for any cuts and scrapes you might get
In many parts of Africa, you’ll find tropical diseases such as Malaria or Yellow Fewer to be very common. Be sure you have all the preventive medicines and vaccinations you will need. Always consult a travel doctor before you start your trip. Also don’t forget your vaccination certificates as you will need them when entering/leaving certain countries that are affected by these diseases.
For great quotes and travel advice on overland tours and budget safaris, contact us at Ashanti Travel Online.