After months of fantasizing about travel while at work, I decided I finally needed to make some solid travel plans. My resignation was in the works and I was about to have plenty of free time on my hands. I had a rough year-long travel itinerary racing through my mind, which would commence on January 1st; however, it was only May! Could I possibly wait until January to set my dreams in motion? No! In my head, I was going to end my trip in Africa. In that moment, I decided to flip and reverse my travel plans to start with a two month long “practice trip.” While my plans for the year were to travel solo, Africa is a fairly daunting continent in terms of travel. It is spread out and the transportation is not easy, like say, Europe. I decided to take a tour.
Decide the Type of Tour for You
There are loads of different tiers of tours that traverse all corners of Africa. You can make arrangements for the highest level of luxury all the way down to the shit-in-a-hole budget options. I love traveling on a budget. Ok, I love traveling, and in order to do so as long as possible, I must have a budget. Different types of tours offer different levels of adventure, physical exertion, and tour member participation. After much research, I repeatedly stumbled upon overlanding through other travel blogger’s pages, like Kristin from Be My Travel Muse. The prospect of driving village to village, country to country, and camping along the way excited me to no end, despite the fact that I had never properly camped a day in my life!
Decide which Countries to Visit
I have done my fair share of research on the topic, and there are overland trips you can join for less than a week all the way up to the better part of a year! Considering this was going to be my first time in the continent (aside from a weeklong visit to Cape Town a few years prior), I was looking for a well established route with loads of highlights. Typical routes start in either Kenya or South Africa and travel the countries in between. You can generally join along the way if you do not have two straight months to dedicate to travel. If you have loads of time, there are trips that go all the way from Cape Town to Cairo (or vice versa) as well as the entire west coast of Africa!
Decide which Overland Company
Different overland tour providers offer varying quality of trucks, camping equipment, personal locker space, included activities, and a slew of other factors. I ended up selecting Acacia Africa for this trip, (though I also recommend Oasis Overland). Aside from the positive reviews Acacia has collected over the years, I chose them because their departure time fit my needs, all camping equipment was provided (including sleeping mats), the personal lockers were at the back of the truck which sounded like an ideal location (as opposed to underneath), and there were a reasonable amount of included activities with the choice of lots of optional activities. Acacia also had a sale going on at my time of booking which helped me save a small percentage of the cost.
Now that you have booked the tour of a lifetime, all you have left to do is book flights, arrange visas, get excited, and pack!