Life on the Road

African Trails tent
Roomy Two Person Dome Ten

The Africa Overland day starts at dawn; 6am in the tropics

Trip life on a safari truck. While the cook group sorts out the breakfast, everyone takes down their tent, rolls up their sleeping bag and stows their bags on the truck. After breakfast, normally tea, coffee, cereal and the occasional cooked breakfast or pancakes, we wash up and pack up and try to be on the road by 8am. Of course there are days where we hit the road earlier, and others with a lie in. For an idea of what it’s like to cook on an expedition, read Peggy’s Blog

Days on the road vary from 100km to 600km.

We aim to have one long drive day and then a few short ones; there are days where we don’t go anywhere; such as Zanzibar, Lake Malawi, Victoria Falls and Swakopmund. Lunch is normally at noon where we visit small eating houses so that you can try the local food, if there is nothing available on the road we eat off the truck.

The long long road in Namibia

Life on the road

AFrican Trails dinner
Cooking on an Open Fire – Brilliant!

Each day’s different, that’s half the beauty of overlanding. Much depends on where you are – you could be spending an afternoon by Lake Malawi, or you could be driving along a dusty road complete with bumps and potholes trying to read a book but not able to keep it still for long enough.

However you spend your day, evening falls quickly in Africa

Sun sets at 6 pm and it’s dark in 30 minutes, so it’s always best to you can set up camp well before dark. Stretch, stop gazing at the view, or put the book down you’ve been trying to read, then climb down from the overland truck. If you aren’t cooking that night (as a group, you take it in turns to cook, so that you will probably cook once a week) you would start scouting around for a good place to set up your tent.

Dome tents are easy to set up

The sleeping mats we provide on our East African tours are far superior to the camping mat variety and are, by all accounts, very comfortable. Though our trips are camping, there are many places where you can upgrade to a room if you would like a night off from your tent. Now’s a good time to put your long pants and shirts on and spray yourself with mossie repellent.

African Trails Truck
A perfect night sky, a perfect campsite

Most nights are spent at campsites

Some campsites have cold showers and others, loads of hot water. In most places you can charge your equipment, wash clothes, and have a cold drink at the bar. Meanwhile the cooks of the day are having their tent put up by someone nice, and busy getting hand washing bowls out, lighting the fire, opening up the kitchen.

Then you get down to – and really appreciate – your freshly cooked dinner put together from the stores on board with ingredients purchased in a local market. You will very likely sit around chatting, update your diary – there are lights in the truck to allow writing and reading – or studying the stunning night sky

African Trails
Just sit round the fire and watch real TV

We pack the kitchen up as night draws in and the toothbrushes come out. The rest we leave to your imagination – chances are though you’ll have sweet dreams.

Trans Africa and Nile Expedition trips

Our Expedition trips are different from our other departures and other holidays you may have taken. We go through areas where no tourists go, the roads can be bad. Food can be limited to what we have stocked on the truck, campsites are few and basic. Visas can be hard to get and communication to the outside world limited or unavailable at times. We guarantee; we’ll break down, that we will have to wait somewhere we don’t really want to be for; visas, spare parts, or just for someone to open a closed road as well as having to dig the truck out of mud and sand.

The trip might overrun, so finish late; the route can change due to rains, closed roads visa issues, breakdowns and politics. It’s best not to book your return flights home until you finish the trip. That’s trip life.

Come and be part of a team

You need to be able to share with the others on the trip.

Some of the things you’ll never forget are

  • The satisfaction of getting a 16 ton truck out of a bog
  • Cooking over open fires after collecting the firewood
  • Pitching a tent and getting it right even when it rains
  • Going to sleep when it’s dark and waking at dawn
  • Wanting to get out of your sleeping bag to start another day
  • Full Days in which you have no idea of what will happen
  • Washing in rivers, not washing and not caring that your dirty
  • Living outside for months
  • Seeing more than you have ever before
  • Trying to learn French Arabic or Swahili and having people understand what you say
  • Finding out just how far away places are from where you started off
  • How different other places can be
  • See just how unaffected out of the way places are from the world we normally live in
  • Most people who do an expedition find it a lot of fun, though of course, trip life can be hard at times.

See you out there!

See what past passengers have said about trip life in their blogs