After choosing Africa as a first destination, we had to choose how we would travel once we were there.
Africa is a very peculiar continent. I think it is one of the most untouched continents, but also where we will find more difficult situations, tied to poverty, insecurity and lack of healthcare.
Therefore, travelling in Africa requires significant research. As mentioned in the previous post, we opted for an overland tour. Other options we considered were:
- Buying a car upon arrival and selling it before departure: We would have more freedom. For the period we needed it (3 months) the costs would be high, we would be very tired from the driving (the distances in Africa are huge). There would always be the possibility of not being able to sell the car before departure.
- Public transportation and hitchhiking: by far the cheapest option. It would still be insecure and especially uncertain. On the other hand, finding bus companies online to go from point A to point B in Africa is quite a challenge.
- Renting a car: it would be quite expensive, probably lots of bureaucracy due to all the borders we will cross, and also very tiring.
After looking at the pros and cons of each option, we decided that an overland tour would be the best, both in terms of safety and the amount of things we would be able to see and do. After deciding on an overland tour, we started searching for the best options.
There are multiple companies that organize these trips. All of them have in common that they charge a base price and a local payment, destined for the general expenses of the trip (food, fuel, included activities). Therefore, as you can imagine, there are prices for all types of travelers, from those that want the all inclusive experience, sleeping in hotels or luxurious lodges, until those that don’t mind sleeping in a tent and cooking shared meals.
We wanted the trip that could offer the most, for the least daily cost. There is a search engine for overland tours that helped us a lot: Tourradar. From here, we quickly saw the two most competitive companies were Absolute Africa and Oasis Overland. Still, you need to pay close attention to what is included or not.
For that reason, we ended up choosing to book with another company, African Overland Tours, that while more expensive per day, had more activities included (namely the safari in Ngorongoro and the visit to the Okavango delta), as well as more meals. Also, they were the more responsive and nice when answering our e-mails.
Here you will find a table comparing the prices. From Africa Overland Tours we considered three different trips, but we opted for the shortest one due to our budget.
All the trips considered started in Nairobi (Kenya) and ended in Cape Town (South Africa). Some of them also run in the opposite direction.
We hope to have made the right choice!