There are three styles of overland tours, camping, accommodated and those that have a combination of the two.
These can further be broken down into Southern and East African tours, with reference to the standards you can expect. In Southern and East Africa the camping tours all use the same kind of tents. Only the facilities at the campsites (like bathrooms) change. Southern African standards for campsites and accommodation are usually much better than those in East Africa.
Camping tours are the easiest to categorise as it is very simple and does not change from one tour to the next.
On camping tours you will be staying in 2-person dome-shaped canvas tents that you will put up and take down. Because of the design of the tents this is a very easy task that you will quickly master. There are mosquito nets over the windows and door area. You’ll share it with a fellow traveller of the same gender.
On all camping tours you need to provide your own sleeping bag and towel. You can purchase these items in most major cities if you do not want to bring them on the plane with you. A small pillow is always great for that little extra comfort! Some of our business partners provide sleeping mats, just check with us before you go.
Generally speaking you can upgrade to accommodation on camping tours depending on availability. Your guide will also tell you where it will be possible to upgrade to accommodation while on a camping trip. You normally just need to pay in the difference between camping and the accommodation upgrade at the time of arrival.
Dormitory accommodation is normally 4-6 people per room.
Single supplements are available on some camping tours. This means that you do not have to share a tent with another single traveller of the same sex if you do not want too. And when the tour stays in other accommodation you will have a single room.
The style of accommodation on accommodated tours is more varied than on the camping tours; they make use of hotels, hostels, chalets, bungalows, traditional huts, rondavels and sometimes safari-tents!
Beach Banda in Tanzania
Some of these terms may not be familiar; hence below you will see some photos that will help you understand those terms better.
Rondavels in Kruger National Park
In Southern Africa all the accommodation used has bedding and towels provided. All accommodation is 2 per room, but not all of them have en-suites. Some accommodation has shared bathroom facilities, i.e. in the National Parks where some bungalows / rondavels have two bedrooms that share one bathroom.
In East Africa the accommodation on overland tours are less reliable and should be treated as a small upgrade from camping. 3-4 people can share per room and single supplements are difficult to provide. As bedding is not always provided you need to bring a towel and sleeping bag on these tours. An upgrade to twin accommodation in East Africa is cheap and usually fairly easy to arrange with the lodge on arrival, depending on availability.
Safari tent Hluhluwe