Tips on Travelling on land in South Africa

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Road tripping is a great way to see Africa and with car hire in South Africa being as affordable as it is, your overland adventure may simply be a click away. Car rental websites often have special offers and if you go through the trouble of checking regularly you are guaranteed to get a good deal.

Overland trips are a great way to spend family holiday. You can join up with a self-drive safari group, but if you’re feeling adventurous why not tackle the road on your own? It is simple enough to create an online itinerary and once you’ve landed in South Africa, all you’d need to do is buy supplies, back up your 4×4 car hire and be on your way.

Travelling by car (

Travelling by car (

Packing for a normal road trip may seem simple enough, but once you hit the bushveld things are a bit different. There are no 24 hour convenience stores and, except if you have booked place in expensive hotels and lodges along the way, you will be relying on your own camping gear come night-time. We have compiled a helpful list of packing ideas that should make your car rental road trip a bit more comfortable. These include:

• Being selective: Pack everything you plan to take for your car hire overland trip on your bed. Take a good look at it. Now pack half of that back into your closet. You won’t need it all and loading your car up with non-essentials like 14 changes of clothing will mean that there will be less space for things like water and tents. Furthermore, leaving some space in your luggage will make it easier to bring back souvenirs.

• Rethink your luggage: Suitcases are not ideal for an overland trip. Think more along the line of a duffel bag or a large backpack with a removable frame. If you will be travelling for long stretches at a time, it is a good idea to pack a small daypack to keep with you in the front of the 4×4. This should contain things like chronic medication, sunscreen, snacks, your travelling visa, as well as relevant maps.

• Toiletries: Bring everything you normally use and add some high factor sunscreen, insect repellent, lip balm and a hat. (We’re not talking a big flouncy garden party hat here – think Indiana Jones and you’re halfway there. The African sun is not a joke.) Also remember a pair of sunglasses. If you wear contact lenses, you may want to think about bringing along a pair of reading glasses – the air is very dry and may irritate your eyes initially.

• Other Africa essentials: The type of camping gear you bring is up to you. Some people like to rough it and sleep under the open sky, while others travel with tents that should technically qualify as mobile homes. Once you get to South Africa and you’ve secured your car rental, you will be able to tell what type of gear you can accommodate in your ride. Get in touch with a reputable outdoor store – some rent out camping equipment, which means you won’t have to buy your own. Aside from the tent, you’ll also need the following:

? A sleeping bag and light blanket.
? A roll-up or blow-up mattress. If you take the blow-up version remember to bring patches and glue to fix any unexpected punctures.
? Mosquito netting if you are planning to sleep ‘al fresco’.
? A washing line.
? A solid torch with LOTS of spare batteries. Once you head out into the bushveld, chances are that you may not find any replacements, so with LOTS we do mean LOTS.
? A camera with relevant batteries, chargers and film/memory card. If you do go the digital route, invest in a large memory card – these are not readily available in most developing countries.
? A small first aid kit. This should include items such as pain killers, rehydration sachets, anti-diarrhoea medication, antihistamine tablets or cream, antiseptic cream, tweezers, after sun treatment, as well as sterile gauze and plasters.

And there you have it – a handy little list that will have you packing like a pro in no time at all. A well planned overland trip can be the experience of a lifetime. Why not call ahead and book your 4×4 car rental today?

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