Usually, we like to travel by ourselves. It means we don’t have to consider other people’s wants, needs, and feelings as to what to do, when, and how.
However, some destinations, such as much of Africa, have spotty public transport, challenging terrain, and variable safety conditions. It can be dangerous, inconvenient, very pricey, and inconvenient. That’s not to say you can’t travel independently. It just means there are many more considerations than destinations with better infrastructure.
We acknowledge that every one of the 50-plus countries on the African continent is different, and we have traveled independently in Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, and Egypt.
However, for our longer journeys in Africa, we chose to join a group as part of an overlanding tour.
I’m sure there are other definitions, but we define overlanding as:
long-distance travel through multiple countries in a purpose-built vehicle, camping, and self-catering along the way.
Note: We split this page out from the road trip section because those trips were made independently. In contrast, our overlanding adventures were done with a group, and we think that distinction warranted its own category.
Our first trip was in the late ’90s, and we spent six months on four back-to-back trips through East and Southern Africa.
The second trip was in 2012-13 from Spain, down the west coast, to South Africa. We then went off on our own to the African islands while the truck traveled through places we’d already been, rejoining them in Ethiopia and Sudan.
Our next trips are likely to be along the Horn of Africa and across the top of South America.
While there’s safety in numbers, overlanding still presents many challenges, not the least of which is the behavior of your fellow passengers. We’ve often referred to it as ‘Big Brother on Wheels.’
So if think an overlanding trip might help you tick off some countries off your wishlist, or are interested in our adventures and misadventures, then dive right in.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. And, if you’ve been overlanding yourself, we’d love you to tell our readers about them too.
Learn about how and where to find an overlanding trip that suits you, along with all the things you can do to prepare for the journey. This section includes gear, support services, and getting in the right frame of mind. Find out more HERE.
Back in 1998 we set off on a six month overlanding trip with a company call African OVerland. We explored 13 countries on four back-to-back itineraries, and found ourselves in love with the African continent. You can read more HERE.
5 Months in West and Southern Africa
In 2012 we set off from Spain to South Africa with a company called African Trails. We explored 17 countries and got into no end of tricky situations. If you want to know more about those escapades and the countries we visited HEAD HERE.
After heading out on our own to Mauritius, Madagascar, and Comoros, we rejoined the truck and the remaining passengers in Ethiopia. We then travelled north through Sudan and then onto Egypt. Yet another adventure that didn’t wuite go to plan. Read more HERE.
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