Adventure travel in comfort

April 14, 2015
Documentary filmmaker/ travel writer/ photographer -

Adventure Travel in Comfort, but it’s still going to be Bumpy Ride

If you are looking for long days, dusty roads, dirty clothes, remote places, but still want a comfortable place to rest your weary bones, then Adventure Travel in Comfort is right up your alley. Travelling in Africa will leave you breathless – whether it’s from witnessing a lion cub playing with its mother, or taking a quick dip in the cold Atlantic Ocean, you will be left feeling invigorated. With Africa being so large travelling long distances is unavoidable if you want to have a satisfying experience of Africa. The roads are long and rough so prepare yourself for many hours of travelling in all sorts of weather conditions. Of course there will be stops along the way for sightseeing and ablutions, but your guide needs to reach their destination so these are sometimes few and far between. If you can prepare yourself for hours of bumpy rides, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

Africa is a developing country and this may come as a culture shock to many travellers (especially if it’s your first travel destination). You need to forget about home and the creature comforts and open your spirit to new adventures. Don’t be afraid to try something new – whether it is trying some suspicious looking local cuisine or climbing Lion’s Head in Cape Town to see one of the world’s finest sunsets! The adrenalin rush and fun you will have is worth overcoming the fear you may have. Fear and Africa don’t go together. Remember you are on a tour with experienced guides who are not going to put you in danger. They want you to have the time of your life, and you are not going to do that by hiding behind the thorn bushes in your head!

So what kind of comfort are we talking about?

Most accommodation will offer hot showers, flushable toilets, healthy and tasty food in lodges, bungalows, chalets, tented safari camps, traditional African huts or dormitories. Often there are swimming pools with outdoor bars to enjoy a cool drink or two. Keep in mind that these facilities will not be 5-star, but will still provide comfort after a long day of travelling.

So how many ‘bumps’ will there be on the road?

Lots! Literally and figuratively! Many roads are not tarred so expect gravel roads, pot holes, rough terrain, detours through remote areas and plenty of rattling and shaking! However, the vehicles (overland trucks) are custom-built for this kind of travel, with soft cushions and good suspension, you will not experience too much discomfort. The guide will always ensure you travel safe routes, with safe pit stops, even if they are remote.

As far as other ‘bumps’ go, there may be delays at borders, an elephant or two in the road, floods or pushing a stuck truck out of a hole! Take it in your stride and expect the unexpected – this is Africa untamed and wild, but safe enough for you to take home many mind-boggling happy memories. This kind of travel is for adventurous, active people who are prepared for any circumstance and a lot of fun can be had.

‘Budget Safaris’ doesn’t mean Cheap and Nasty

Let’s get one thing clear: ‘budget’ means affordable, not ‘we are going to take you on a cheap and nasty ride through deepest darkest Africa!’ That may be many people’s perception, but it is not true. Budget safaris promise to give you a refreshing taste of Africa that will have you booking with us every year for a wonderful adventure holiday destination.

What you will experience is 1 or 2-star accommodation which means you won’t have all the creature comforts that you have at home, but that is quite normal when heading on an adventure. You will have a safe and enjoyable trip without destroying your bank balance or having the stress of paying off your credit card.

As a team we have travelled these routes, we have done the ‘bundu bashing’ for you to ensure you have as much comfort as possible. Thousands of travellers have traversed Africa on bumpy roads, in remote locations and come back with only happy memories and the sand of Africa in their pockets (and money)! Many have gone to Europe and have had high expectations of luxury and comfort, only to find that their accommodation is dingy, dark and dirty… In Africa you are in nature, which is a different kind of dirt – it’s earth – Mother Nature’s beauty locked in for your pleasure.

So what can you expect on a Budget Safari?

Animals – wild and free and amazing. That is why people give up their hot showers and en suite bathrooms – for the animals and everything natural. If you have never had to dig a hole for your ablutions before, you have not lived! It’s true – it is the simple things that take you back to feeling truly human and in touch with nature. We surround ourselves with technology, fast cars, fast food, fast internet and touch-free sensor toilets. When you come on a budget safari, you have to walk backwards a bit to get the feel of how slow things are around here!

Accommodation and Ablutions

Very often you will be camping in two-man dome tents that you will be shown how to set up. At first it may seem daunting, but after a while it will become second nature. The tents often have mosquito nets and there are always mattresses provided. If you don’t stay in a tent then there will be basic accommodation in budget-friendly hotels or lodges.

The ablutions are obviously very basic and they vary from place to place. Sometimes you will have to deal with long drops or digging a hole, but many of these places do have flushing toilets. Please remember that these are septic tanks and only toilet paper can be flushed down the toilets. Hot showers are often available because electricity is provided which are run off of generators. Don’t expect air-conditioners or fans on budget tours because electricity is a valuable commodity in Africa. Remember, there is nothing like sitting around an orange-glowing campfire and seeing millions of bright stars filling the night sky. You may have to compromise on a few luxuries, but natural beauty is not one of them.

So when you go on a budget safari, expect nothing and you will be rewarded with so much. Take an open mind, clothes that you don’t mind turning a light shade of brown, plenty of enthusiasm and you won’t be disappointed.

Luxury Accommodation on your African Adventure

So maybe your buttocks is not built for a mattress on African soil … no problem. At African Overland Tours we have wonderful adventure holiday packages where you can stay in luxury lodges, chalets, cabanas or hotels. Here you will find all the amenities that you will need and indulge in African flavour.

The venues are often set along riverbanks with picturesque views of mountains and colourful flora. With patios and outdoor bars that are a splash away from swimming pools, these are ideal places to let your hair down and chill in comfort. After a long day travelling on hot roads you can look forward to clean en suite bathrooms with baths or showers to polish yourself up for the evening’s entertainment. Or close your eyes and have an afternoon snooze on comfortable, soft beds in air-conditioned rooms.

Each venue is unique with African artefacts and décor. The staff are well-trained to give you the service you are looking for and go out of their way to ensure you have an enjoyable stay. Spa facilities are provided in some of the resorts for your rejuvenation, and some even have natural hot water springs that will ease the ache in your bones after long hikes.

In the evenings you can expect cool sundowners or local beers around the bar where you can meet fellow travellers and share a few jokes before dinner time. Excellent African cuisine is served, and seafood is plentiful – always fresh and perfectly prepared because fish is such a popular food in Africa.

Having luxury and comfort while on a safari means you have the best of both worlds. Pure, unbridled Africa with a large dollop of luxury is a great way to spend your holiday.

What do we mean by ‘Adventure in Africa’?

Adventure in Africa is all about experiencing new things that you would not necessarily be able to do in your home town. There are so many activities that Africa can offer you in the most beautiful places with other highly-spirited adventurers. One needs to have energy and enthusiasm to partake in several adventures in Africa. You can sit back and just relax and enjoy the scenery, but you will feel far more of a rush if you let yourself go and experience Africa as an adventurer.

So what kind of adventures are we talking about?

Well there are hundreds! From hiking up lush green mountains, to shark cage diving in the deep sea, to swimming with the dolphins. Whatever your heart desires, you can do it in Africa! We are not talking about just the activities though, there are also adventures like bucket showers in the bush and having a lion decide to roam right through your camping site at night! Anything can happen, but don’t be afraid – millions of people have travelled to Africa, experienced close encounters and survived to tell the tale…

Popular Adventure Activities in Africa

Whale spotting: This activity is very popular with locals and travellers alike. Seeing a huge whale breach, porpoise or lobtail is a thrilling feeling. One cannot believe how huge these mammals are and seeing how agile they are in the water is amazing. For the more adventurous you can go on a guided sea kayaking trip and experience these giants frolicking in their natural environment.

Mountain climbing/biking: It might be hard, sweaty work on the way up, but once you see the stunning panoramic vistas and the unusual flora, it is well worth it! If you hike up Table Mountain you can always catch the cable car on your way down and experience 360° views of Cape Town – the city by the sea.

Mountain biking requires a bit more skill and you would have to have some experience in order to navigate the rough paths. There are professional guides who will take you on well-known paths so you will be in good hands. Your way down will be a definite adrenalin-rush!

Scuba diving/snorkelling: Africa has the most beautiful oceans in the world. Clear blue waters with high visibility for exploring the underworld means you can expect to see loads of colourful marine life. Scuba dive in a safe environment while learning and discovering the creatures of the ocean. Or quietly snorkel in the cool waters while exploring majestic coral reefs. You will not be bored if you decide to enter the waters and partake in this activity.

Cycle around Africa: Sure, you can hire a car and see Africa through the window, or you can hop on a bicycle and let the fresh air whip through your face and get dust on your clothes. You can stop wherever you please and avoid the pesky traffic. Some great tours are offered where you can visit places that are off-the beaten-track and get a taste of the cultural, historical, economic and physical diversity of Africa.

Fishing: Fishing is a very popular sport in Africa, but also provides income to families who would otherwise be living on the bread line. It may not sound like a great adventure, but when you reel in your first catch of the day, the adrenalin rush is exhilarating. Of course you may be a seasoned fisherman in which case fishing in South African waters is a unique experience. Of course you will get to learn about all the popular fish and maybe spot a shark or two. There is nothing like bobbing up and down on a boat with the sea air swirling around you and catching fresh fish for dinner!

Horse riding: This is a great adventure for any adventurer from 12 years and upwards. The most popular routes are riding along the beach and exploring the coastlines of Africa. If you are not an experienced rider then a guide will hold the reigns while you slowly trot along the water’s edge. Shipwrecks are dotted along the beaches and are fascinating to explore. Look out for whales, otters, seals and plenty of birdlife.

Kayaking: This is for the serious wild adventure seekers! Pack up your troubles and head out onto the great white river rapids that will have you swirling with fun in no time. Safety comes first so your guide will ensure you know the ropes before heading off.

“The Zambezi in Zambia, Africa offers enormous white water rapids, over-sized holes, monster wave trains, glassy face surf spots, powerful eddy lines and huge sucking boils. And of course, not forgetting the infamous rapid #11 tubing wave! Bring your most radical kayak and expect to not only witness, but achieve some unbelievable moves.”

Day and night adventure safaris: Well you ain’t seen Africa if you ain’t been on a safari. True story. This is one of the most adventurous activities that anybody can enjoy – and you don’t need to be muscle man or superwoman. Simply sit back in a tailor-made safari vehicle and be blown away by the animals, scents and sights of Africa. One of the greatest things about a safari is that you never know what you are going to see or experience. Bumpy rides – yes, a herd of elephants crossing the road – yes, a baboon or two trying to steal your lunch – yes!! It’s all in a day’s drive through this beautiful country.

We hope you have an idea of what we mean by ‘Adventure in Africa’, and this is only a taste. Whatever you feel like doing – just Google ‘Africa’ and discover a world of adventure. We hope to see you soon J


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