How to spend time while driving on an Africa overland tour

You can expect plenty of downtime on an Africa overland tour, especially when you do not partake in any activities and the truck is stopped in the one place for a few days. At the same time, you will spend a lot of your time on the road on an overland tour as the truck takes you from one place to the next. The following is a short piece about how people tend to spend time while driving which will also hopefully give you a few ideas regarding what to pack for an overland tour in Africa:

Things to do while driving on an Africa Overland Tour

Read a Kindle (or read a book)

It makes some feel ill and others uncomfortable but if you can handle the bumping around, books are the absolute best way to pass time on the road. Whether you take books with you or the new Kindle Fire HD, it doesn’t matter but do keep in mind that books (especially the ones you want) are near impossible to come across on an Africa overland tour.

Play games with each other

In recent times, I have found more and more groups spending their time playing games in the back of the truck. I have no idea why this is happening more often but from what I can see, this is the case.  It’s also great to see people getting on so well and being social as this certainly helps for the overall happiness of the group.

It can begin with iSpy and lead onto many other games whether they are card orientated or not. Guess the celebrity, fingers in the middle, word association – the options are endless. Either way, a deck of cards and pens with paper are always useful to have on the truck. You can also donate these at anytime during an Africa overland tour.

Wave at locals (all day long)

I feel as though this is almost a past time on overland tours in Africa as every few minutes of every day you are likely to encounter many locals waving at the truck. On occasion, you should also hear some children asking for money or pens or sweets but in most cases, they just want to interact with the passing circus and the easiest way to do this is by waving.

I know how mental this might sound but you will spend quite a lot of time waving at the locals, so much that you’ll sometimes put the book away and embrace their welcoming nature.

Elephants next to an overland truck

Listen to music while looking out the window

Yes, for a very long time.

In my own case, I enjoy looking out the window while listening to music on a drive day but this is not for everyone. I reckon some people will even feel lonely at the prospect of keeping to themselves for so long but you should realize that others might find this the most entertaining way to pass time.

However, listening to music for 8 hours straight is probably not a very realistic option most days and in between, I find these people will usually spend the rest of the time chatting to fellow passengers.

Get to know each other

Yes, people actually speaking to each other – imagine that!

Listen, this is the absolute best thing about an overland tour whether you believe it yet or not – the people. Expect times in which you are mad at someone or frustrated at the lack of space but similarly, expect to get wrapped up in amazing conversations with amazing people.

During my time as an overland tour leader, I can tell you this is the most beautiful thing about these adventures. Not only will you have incredible conversations but at some point, you also seem to wind up have captivating conversations with people you would not usually speak to on a daily basis back home. Do you know what I mean by this?

Not everyone gets on with everyone in the world but it’s nice when it happens that your own misconceptions or perceptions of a person are proved entirely wrong – just because you decided to actually speak with them.

Enjoy your tour and thank you to everyone who “bought me a cup of tea” as encouragement for putting out the content on this website!

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!

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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.

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