How to Find Overland Tour Leader Jobs in Africa

When I first went out in search of overland tour leader jobs in Africa, there was zero information to be found online. Although the online world has advanced, it would still seem that there is little by the way of how to become an overland tour leader.

The truth is, this is quite a grey area. Most tour operators will encourage readers to visit the job or career section on their website. However, you may have noticed, there never seems to be any overland tour leader jobs available on these same pages.

In this post, I would like to outline precisely how I got my first job as an overland tour leader in Africa.,

How to Find Overland Tour Leader Jobs

You can surf the job sites all you want but the chances are, you will never find any overland tour leader vacancies. For this reason, you are best to confine this search to the actual website for each tour company. If there is not mention of a job or application process, don’t worry – these companies are always on the look out for excellent crew!

The Right Way to Apply for Overland Tour Leader Jobs

Anyway, here are the steps involved and the only pragmatic way to go about getting an overland tour leader job in Africa:

Email Every Tour Operator

Sending emails to tour operators is a great idea, so long as you put some proper thought into it. That is to say, take time to craft a meaningful email and do not simply email the “info” address at the bottom of the homepage. Instead, contact this email address and request that they provide you with contact details for the person in charge of human resources.

At this point, you can address the right person and craft a meaningful message that will grab their attention. Tell them whatever you like but my main advice here is to make sure that the email conveys a sincere sense of enthusiasm.

Take an Overland Tour as a Paying Customer

So now that the tour company has ignored your email or blown you off, let me ask you something; have you experienced an overland tour already?

Believe it or not, this is an unsaid prerequisite for almost every overland tour company. They want to know that you have at least travelled on an overland tour in the past and preferably with their company. With that said, this is the very first step to nabbing yourself an overland tour leader job – take one.

NB. I wrote an article recently about how to choose the best overland tour in Africa.

The Importance of Networking

Instead of advertising, many of these companies request their employees to recommend a friend for their vacancies. During my time as a tour leader, I was also asked for these recommendations. It made me realize something about the overlanding industry in general – it relies on word of mouth. Companies find customers through word of mouth and the same happens when they need new overland crew.

Moral of the Story: If you know someone in the industry, make contact and ask for their advice. Otherwise, befriend the tour leader on your next trip and make sure to express your interest in the role. Honestly, this is a super smart way to get a foot in the door!

Stay Patient and Be Persistent

You know how long it took before I got my overland tour leader job? It took one year. In fact, I often emailed select tour operators and continued to do this even when they failed to reply. Although don’t let this put you off, this is a numbers game and you could be contacting the company at the perfect time.

Overland Tours


It takes patience and persistence to find an overland tour leader job in Africa. However, you need to remember that these companies simply do not advertise the positions and you need to have your name in the hat in order for them to pick it out. So don’t be disillusioned, keep on with those applications and remain defiant that eventually, you will get what you want!

I would like to thank the readers who have kindly bought me a “cup of coffee” as a means of appreciation for the above advice!

Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen is an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and writing about travel in Africa for many online media publications. If you would like advice or information for your trip to Africa, you can speak with him directly through the LiveChat box!

Similar Articles

The Author - Derek Cullen

I worked as an overland tour leader in Africa for many years. I now want to help you book the trip of a lifetime and find out everything you need to know about taking an overland tour in Africa.

Travel Insurance for Africa