Africa Overland Adventure: A Few Tips During a Self Driving Safari
If you are keen to begin your Africa adventure, we don’t blame you. Who wouldn’t be excited about going on an expedition to this beautiful continent blessed with a rugged landscape and mesmerising wildlife?
Here are some tips to help you enjoy Africa overland adventure so that you can make the most of your trip.
Be Prepared for the Locals’ Gaze
There is no doubt that Africans are very friendly. Once you begin overlanding Africa and get away from the regular tourist hangouts, be prepared for children running after your 4×4, waving and smiling at you. Even the adults will stare at you, and you may feel embarrassed. However, remember it is just curiosity and nothing more. The locals and villagers will always be ready to help if the need arises.
It is best not to hand out candy and treats to village children. Instead, you can think of giving them pens, books, or paper. If you think the village is poor, you can always hand out food to the parents. Just remember that if you give something to one child, you will cause a fight. So, make sure you hand all the kids the same thing.
Never Rely on the Locals for Directions
While the locals are friendly and curious, their navigational skills are questionable. In remote villages, you should not depend on villagers for directions. Of course, most villagers will be more than happy to direct you, but whether those directions are the right ones is something you should stop to consider. If you do rely on the directions given by locals, you could end up in the middle of nowhere, far from your intended destination.
During your expedition to Africa, it is best to rely on your GPS and old-fashioned map to reach where you want to get. Alternatively, you can use the app Maps.me. It is a handy app to have on your phone during your Africa adventure safari. You may be surprised to see that it has remote routes that no one has heard of. Just make sure you download offline maps with Maps.me for the countries that you will be travelling while on your overland Africa safari adventure.
Overlanding Africa is Different from an Overland Tour
When you overland Africa, you take a rugged 4×4 and drive around on your own. You set the pace of your trip and reach destinations you hadn’t thought would exist. On the other hand, an overland tour of Africa is a road trip that is hurried and quick. So, opt for an overland Africa trip where you control every aspect of your journey across this beautiful and rustic continent.
Make Sure You Fill the Tank Before Departure
During your expedition to Africa, you will not find fuel stations as often as you would back home. So, before you set out on your overland trip, make sure you plan your route and determine what you will do for fuel if you need to top up the tank.
Calculate the mileage your vehicle is giving and ensure you have sufficient fuel to get to your destination. Always fill the tank up and also haul a few jerry cans filled with fuel in case you need it.
Learn to be Self-sufficient
Africa is beautiful and wild. So, when you start your Africa adventure, remember help will not be close at hand. Always carry water supply, axe, jack, shovel, two spare tires, tire repair kit, air compressor, sand ladders, winch and tow ropes. Also, learn to use these things the correct way so that you can resolve issues that crop up during your adventure journey.
The last thing you need is your vehicle stuck in the sand on your Kalahari safari and not knowing what to do to get your vehicle out. Knowing how to be prepared for the wilderness will get you out of tricky situations with ease.
Be Comfortable Relieving Yourself Behind a Bush
Once you see the public toilets along the roads of Africa, you will have no qualms about heading behind a bush and relieving yourself. Don’t expect rest stops with toilets like you have in the US and Europe.
Carry ample toilet paper and a shovel so that you can stop near a baobab tree or bush and enjoy your break. Just check the spot to make sure no critters are waiting to surprise you. Carrying hand sanitizer and wet wipes are also helpful if you don’t want to waste precious water to wash your hands.
Take the Cows as They Come
In Africa, you will find cows everywhere. So, be prepared to find cows munching away without worry. Need to get around those cows? You will have no other alternative but to wait until the cows decide that it’s time to move on. It can be frustrating but use the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings, especially if you are in a village.
You will be amazed at how something like a cow can be instrumental in you learning a little bit about the culture in different villages and towns that you drive through.
The beauty of Okavango Delta, the wilderness of Chobe National Park, and the mesmerising Kruger National Park will leave you awestruck. However, this is Africa, and it is synonymous with adventure. So, don’t hesitate to travel off the beaten path and let your hair down.
Smile at the locals as everyone here smiles regardless of the hardship they face. A trip to Africa will help de-stress you and also give you a new perspective about Africa that is very different from what you hear on the news or read in papers.
The Bottom Line
Africa is undoubtedly made for adventure, and there is no better way to experience it than overlanding. So, get packing and carry all the essentials you may need as you navigate the dusty roads and drive through villages where the only drinking water comes from a sprocket a few kilometres away. You will find adventure in every corner, and that is what makes your Africa overland journey unique and memorable.