What to Expect
Truck Life and Day to Day on the Road
Our Africa trips are a lot of fun! The style of travel is group camping. Everyone participates in all the daily routines and some great friendships can develop over the life of a tour as everyone works together quite closely to ensure all stays organised. We keep busy, the day to day routines being centred around setting up camp including pitching tents and taking turns in cooking and shopping, packing away, fire lighting and cleaning. Being based around a group effort you will find the more you put in to your trip, the more you will get out of your time in Africa on an overland truck tour. Those travelling with you are usually like minded people and equally committed to chipping in to get the most out of their trip.
Our Overland Trucks
Whilst we put as many special features on the overland trucks as we can to make them as comfy as possible, it is important to realise you are living "off the truck" "on the road" so you do need to be prepared for this. Day to day there can be some long, dusty drive days and facilities at campsites can vary. Whilst we have a large fridge on the trucks and additional cool boxes as well to keep food fresh and drinks cold, the variety and quality of food available is not always the same as is available in the western world either.
Safari Group Meetings
Group meetings to discuss the ongoing day to day arrangements are organised on the road by the tour leader who will do all he or she can to help the group and encourage all to run smoothly. Group rosters, the different options available, as well as weather and road conditions and other variables impacting on the safari's progress and itinerary are discussed. Security, safety and hygiene procedures are also vital to the safe progress of the trip and the group's well being and the leader will also go through these procedures with the group. Be aware as well we also visit some very different destinations such as game parks and sites with specific safety and health risks. It is essential all instructions and signs are followed carefully.
Three more relaxing days are scheduled into most safaris so you can relax and also really immerse yourself in the world around you. The trips though do vary in pace and you need to be prepared to keep busy and get involved day to day with your group. The tour leader oversees the rosters and in particular helps as much as the cooks need assistance each day with the meal preparation
In general the trips are designed for physically active people between 18 to 40 years of age.
In the different countries through which we travel you will in all likelihood be exposed to diseases and parasites you may not have come across before including malaria, tsetse fly, rabies and water borne parasites such as bilharzia. Remember there is also a tragically high incidence of HIV Aids in the countries en route.
It is vital that you speak to a medical professional who specialises in travel medicine before you depart to discuss where you will be travelling in regards to the above, your immunisation schedule and other requirements. Be aware travelling in malarial areas you will be required to take a course of antimalarial prophylactics and to adhere carefully to other preventative measures such as applying DEET mosquito repellent from dusk to dawn as well. We also ask that you carry a small personal medical kit.
Your crew are experienced travellers in Africa and will keep you informed and advise to the best of their ability. Our staff though are not doctors and if, on the off chance, you do feel unwell we will get you to the nearest medical facility as quickly as possible. The trucks are fitted out with a medical kit in the event of an emergency. It is also recommended that you have a medical check up that covers tropical diseases upon your return after your travels.
It is essential to be adequately insured for the trips including arranging the recommended level of medical and accident rescue cover as well as for cancellation. Theft is an issue in many travel destinations. Ensure your luggage and valuables are protected. Many of the itineraries also include adventure sports as optional excursions, as well as other excursions that may require a special level of cover. Activities such as Kilimanjaro trekking, volunteer activities, walking with lions, white water rafting, scuba diving, quad biking, horse riding, bungee jumping and tandem sky diving may require a separate cover. Do make sure your insurance does cover for all adventure sports and activities you might want to do. Should you need cover for one way travel remember as well to arrange this. It is also of note that travel policies usually only cover expenses while overseas and a policy to cover future consequential loss eg loss of earnings, medical care should also be considered. We have a comprehensive travel insurance available. For further details don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
Adventure Travel, Foreign Office Travel Advisories and Your Security
There is an inherent element of risk in adventure travel, particularly when travelling in third world destinations and as many of the places where we travel do not adhere to western safety standards. Basic infrastructures are regularly not of the same level as those in countries in the West including road, transport and building conditions, post and communications and medical facilities. Banking facilities are also often poor. There is a higher level of crime in many African countries often related to poverty and economic and political insecurity. In general then day to day standards and service delivery in camp grounds, restaurants, bars and hotels and from different local operators used during the trip, will at times not be the same as you might find at home.
Some countries where we travel are also subject to political and economic instability. Foreign Office Travel advisories are an important source of information and we would encourage you to keep yourself informed.
Do be aware also that itineraries need to be treated with a level of flexibility due to operational uncertainties. Itineraries can change for a variety of reasons before or during your Africa trip. We cannot then, whilst it is unusual, guarantee that your crew have always been to a specific area en route nor always guarantee the arrival and departure dates. Departure and particularly arrival dates may vary by a few days. Please arrange flights accordingly allowing at least for two days overrun in particular. We regret that we cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred due to the late arrival or departure of any trip, however caused. Safari itineraries are presented as a guide only. We endeavour to maintain routes true to the published itinerary but changes are at times unavoidable.
As much as can be reasonably expected itineraries, locations, activities and facilities are carefully monitored day to day. At our African workshop, office and crew quarters in Tanzania, the vehicles and equipment are serviced by dedicated staff. Ground arrangements and transfers are also organised here. Much work goes on behind the scenes to check and reconfirm arrangements. Where significant changes occur ahead of time we inform you of these at the earliest possible. At the same time to book on an adventure 'tour' you need to accept there are risks and a range of operational uncertainties are essentially part of the trip. Africa trips are not typical package holidays. Western safety standards may not be adhered to in the places where we travel and an inherent flexibility needs to be accepted as part and parcel of this style of travel which make tightly structured itineraries inappropriate. Do also be aware that optional excursions such as white water rafting, scuba diving, horse riding, sky diving, quad biking are not included in the price and that these excursions are of an essentially adventurous nature with the accompanying risks. So that all runs smoothly our safari leaders may help organise these for you as a service to keep all running to schedule but they are not operated by Absolute Africa and we are not necessarily recommending these. When considering an optional activity once in Africa before booking and paying do take note of all the information available at the time. Excursions are operated by local operators and standards of safety are NOT always as you might find in the Western world.
If you would like more information as to any aspect of day to day life on the road or in regards to a specific overland trip you are considering including itineraries, the style and pace of a specific safari, possible security issues or route changes, or specific optional activities, feel free to ring our office or email for more information. We are more than happy to follow up your enquiries to the best of our abilities and advise where we can.
Our team has been involved in overlanding in Africa since 1979. We bring a wealth of experience to your overland trip to Africa. We look forward to assisting in your Africa travel plans.