Africa Overland Travel Advice

What to pack for an Overland Tour in Africa

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You will not need a fire-starter on an Africa overland tour, nor will you need a compass, an emergency blanket or the loudest whistle in the world for when animals are chasing you. That being said, no harm in having emergency supplies such as a first aid kit which will usually have some of these. Point is, when considering what to pack for an overland tour in Africa, the same rules apply as anywhere else in the world – take as much as you need but as little as possible.

However, here are just a few things to keep in mind when packing for an overland tour in Africa:

The Bag

Firstly, although it will stay on the truck for the majority of your Africa overland tour, a suitcase is always a bad idea for the reason that they are big, bulky and take up a lot of space. This matters on the truck especially when it’s a big group and having a backpack like everyone else will not only make it more convenient for when you do need to carry it somewhere, but it will also mean you are not taking up too much space.

Sports bags are fine but the best option when packing for an overland tour is always the backpack as these are much easy to move about and can take a lot of wear and tear. It doesn’t need to be expensive but make sure its waterproof and if it comes with a detachable day-pack, all the better.

Sleeping Bag

Trust me, you want a good sleeping bag – it will be the one item you use every night and it will be the difference between getting a good nights sleep or freezing your ass off. Yes, it can get cold in Africa and rather than forking out on a heap of blankets when you get here, be careful with what to pack for an overland tour in Africa and invest in a good sleeping bag.

As a rule, go with a four season sleeping bag – its better to be too warm than too cold. Also, the therma-rest sleeping mattresses are great but make sure it is not too big or bulky.

Last of all – a pillow, my god, don’t forget the pillow.

Footwear and clothing

What clothes to bring on an overland tour in Africa? Here’s the thing, people always take too much with them the first time around.

Avoid anything military style and don’t feel like you need to have special safari clothing because you don’t. Lightweight clothing is always great, some warm items for cool mornings/evenings, a rain-jacket and even jeans, again – it can get cold in Africa.

As for the shoes, bring flip-flops (jandals) as well as a pair of shoes for trekking. Again, avoid expensive clothing and take what appears to be practical.

For anyone going on safari, take neutral colours and avoid having only black/blue as the tsetse flies love this colour.

Important items




UV lip balm

Anti malaria tablets

Sunscreen/insect repellent

Head-torch with batteries

What to consider



Alarm clock

Travel adapter

Toilet paper

Ear plugs

Hardrive, laptop, USB

What to pack for an overland tour in Africa

Obviously there is a lot more you will need when sitting down to thing about what to pack for an overland tour in Africa, but this should be a good start but as an overland tour leader in Africa, I can tell you that I see people make the same mistakes on every trip by taking too many items they just don’t need. If you should have any questions about overland tours in Africa in general or what to pack for an overland tour, please feel free to leave comments below or contact me directly.

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Adventurer & Adventure Travel Blogger from Dublin, Ireland. In late 2013 after the loss of both parents and a realization that his life was descending into chaos, Derek began riding a bicycle solo across Africa while sleeping in a tent. It was here that he discovered a true passion for the outdoors, travel writing and the general unexpected nature of life.


  1. D of Love C and D

    April 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    A useful post and definitely true. During our travels this year we saw so many people with ginormous bags or wheelie suitcases in situations where a small backpack was needed. I think a lot of people don’t really Africa gets cold at night too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. ada

    April 3, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Great and useful post ! I would love to visit Africa soon! Such an amazing land ! Thank you for sharing your tips! ( I wouldn’t think Africa can get cold 🙂 )

  3. Halef (the Round The World Guys)

    April 4, 2017 at 11:17 am

    My good friend Anthony did his overland African tour a few years back, and ever since hearing his stories, I always plan on doing this someday! Thank you for some of the pointers. My guilty pleasure of traveling is to always bring my regular pillow from home (I know what you light packers are thinking), so I can’t imagine of not having it. LOL at the tsetse flies with blue/black clothing – who knew?
    Again thanks for sharing –

    the Round The World Guys

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