Travel Tips to ensure your overland tour is what you dreamed it to be….
Know your equipment
Solar chargers, water filters, satellite modems, GPS systems, power invertors: these are just some of the unfamiliar items you’ll be packing. Make sure you not only know how they all work but double check they are in full functioning order before you go.
Make sure all your paper work is in order
Pack little, Wash often
How much simpler it is to pack light. This is something that I’ve finally learned after a 12 day trans Botswana trip. I must admit, to begin with I was a little panic stricken. 12 days, different temperatures and minimal washing facilities. Not possible I thought.
However, after only a few days on the road I began to understand how little we actually do need on a daily basis and yes, it really does fit into one small stuff bag.
Obviously it depends on you and where you’re going, but a couple of shorts or boardies, a couple of t-shirts, a decent sweatshirt, a comfy long pair of pants, thin rain jacket, swimmers, strong underpants that won’t split and tear if washed frequently, walking shoes and reef sandals is probably all you need.
It’s amazing what you find you don’t need, and after a while you tend not to mind. It really doesn’t matter if you look a bit dusty and travel worn, because probably everyone else on a camping trip will be in the same boat, so to speak.
No make up – No worries!
You will get used to the easy maintenance routine pretty quickly and ironically on your return to ‘real life’ you will find it hard to find time for beautifying. Sunscreen is all makeup you will need.
Despite my hideous vanity, which took some beating down when I realized there would be no mirrors or hairdryers. I found it was really freeing not to have to worry about make-up, or how my hair looked, or if my clothes were dirty (they were) and I began to relax to the fact that what you haven’t got, you can’t worry about.
The little fiends seem to be everywhere these days, so keep mosquito repellent and anti itch cream handy at all times.
If you’re sleeping in a tent or a swag and you’re woken by a mossie buzzing gleefully right by your ear, you need to find that spray quickly.
Out of the comfort zone (Loo antics)
Africa will quickly teach you how to find a private spot in the bush to have a pee:
- A) Where nobody else can see you (or view you in the rear view mirror of the truck
- B) Where you won’t get attacked by Lions, Ellies or Red ants.
Be helpful !!!
What we need to learn is how to be helpful, because there may be camp chores that everyone needs to pitch in with. Don’t ask what you can do, find out what needs to be done and jump in and help.
You also need to be packed up and ready to leave on time each day.
So smile and relish the uncertainty.
Don’t forget your sense of humor
Whether dealing with tricky border guards, police officers at roadblocks, it’s amazing how far a bit of humor and a winning smile can get you. And however bad something might seem, wouldn’t you rather be changing a tyre in the Namib desert than stuck in traffic or just another day at the office? This might be one of your most important travel tips.
It’s a lifestyle
Slowly you’ll find yourself within yourself, and relax into a simpler life stripped down to basic requirements without all the, mostly unnecessary, modern conveniences of home.
This much I know is true:
Get into the simpler lifestyle and soon you’ll be feeling at one with the mother Africa, or the bush and you’ll probably never want to leave.
Africa taught me lots about myself (not all of it nice) and some good stuff about life on the road in general.
So here are some packing tips and suggestions that I hope you find useful to help you have a wonderful trip – wherever that may be.
- Keep life simple.
- Go with the flow.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Never put your camera on a rock near a gorge full of water 🙁
- Mosquitoes are everywhere. Be prepared, especially at dusk and dawn. Spray yourself and your clothes. Wear long sleeve pants and shirt at night.
- Don’t worry about work – because it’s miles away and completely un-contactable.
- Stop fretting about checking for phone messages – there’s no signal for days on end.
- Travel insurance is a must.
- Understand how things work on a tour with a tour group and get into the swing of them.
- You’ll probably feel as if you know everyone on the tour really well after a short 24 hours. Be the person you would like to travel with.
- Be nice to everyone and never gossip. NEVER!!
- Girls should definitely pack a sarong. This can be used as a towel, a sheet, a light cover, a pillow, a picnic blanket or a shawl at night.
- Don’t take ‘maybe’ items – you won’t use them.
- Take a pack of wet-wipes, tissues and toilet roll.