I returned in June from spending 40 days in 7 countries of Africa and camped 26 nights. Before my trip, other travelers gave me tips on things to take that would come in handy and I did some research…so here is a list of some items that you should definitely take on an Overland Truck adventure!
1. Peaceful Sleep Mosquito Repellent. It doesn’t have the toxic “deet” chemical in it, is less expensive and works great!
2. Duct Tape. If you wrap some around a pen or pencil, you don’t have an entire bulky roll with you. I used it a number of times and let others use it also for a variety of purposes.
3. Audiobooks on I-Pod. Many of the roads in Africa are bumpy and even if you have a cast iron stomach like me…reading from your Kindle or book does become a bit aggravating!
4. Items to barter with, for playing with children, or to give away. I took a couple of old t-shirts, 3 pairs of flip-flops from the dollar store, bubbles to blow for the children, and beach balls to play with on the overland truck and then give away to children. If you’re worried about taking up precious suitcase room, you’ll then free up some space to bring home some African crafts…like their beautiful wood carvings.
5. Headlamp (hands-free). This should be number 1! You’re arriving to your campsite, sometimes after dark, and putting up your tent is so much easier with a headlamp!
6. Large plastic bag for clothes. Many of the showers are very small and your clean clothes will get wet if you don’t have them in a plastic bag. Actually, I had quite a few different size plastic bags…they come in handy!
7. Rolling duffel bag with compartments. Most of the people had a backpack and they would have to pull everything out of it to gain access to anything. This rolling duffel that converts into a backpack worked great and I used my regular backpack for all of my electronic gear and other items. I was able to roll it just about everywhere, rather than carrying! If you’d like to know exactly what I packed, see this post.
8. Sewing kit with needle. A fellow passenger and I both used the needle for a splinter.
9. Extra camera. The camera of one of the guys on our trip malfunctioned because he used it at Victoria Falls! When you’re traveling and camping through all types of terrain… sand, water, dirt, and having to keep track of all of your possessions, anything can happen!
10. Laundry soap & plug. You can have someone do your laundry for you, but some places are rather expensive, so I do my own also.
11. Wet wipe sanitizer. I also had regular liquid sanitizer, but the wet wipes were nice because it’s very dusty/dirty in the desert and just camping in general!
12. More $ than you thought you’d need. I continually took money out of the ATM, even though I took $400 with me. At one point I was a millionaire. In Zambia, the Kwacha is 5,300 to $1 US dollar. So, when I took out 1,000,000.00 it equaled $189.00.
13. Your sense of adventure and patience. Being cooped up on a bumpy vehicle for 140 hours over the course of 20 driving days out of the 35 total tour days, with people of different age groups, nationalities and personalities, can be taxing. I think our group did a great job of getting along together! The rewards are definitely worth it!
On my trip, I broke my Kindle on one of the flights over to Africa, lost my expensive yoga towel (used as my super absorbent all-purpose towel), my Swiss army knife was confiscated at the Amsterdam airport on my way back (I forgot to pack it in my checked bag), I broke the wireless mouse for my laptop and forgot to take my camcorder charger. I’m the type person that doesn’t let things like this bother me…because once its done…its done!
I hope this helped and have a great time on your Overland Truck Adventure in Africa!!