The excitement of taking an overland tour for the first time could not keep me calm. You see, growing up I often saw tourists in overland touring Nairobi, I wished I could experience that kind of travelling, thus when the opportunity arose I packed my bags ready for this experience. The trip curated by Cheetah Revolution Safaris, to Malindi was going to cover 684 kilometres to arrive the coastal town of Malindi after a nine-hour long and tiring drive. This was my first time to travel via an overland truck and ever since, have had several other overland safaris to the Maasai Mara, a day tour to the Nairobi National park among others.
Overland safaris are popular in Kenya and across Africa. There are several overland tours that often start from the South all the way to Kenya and vice versa. Locally the idea of overland tours has quite taken root and several travel companies plan joining or group tours across Kenya in overland trucks. They are budget-friendly and allows one to travel with a small group, experience different people, different cultures, as well as different professionals making these kinds of tours exciting and adventurous.
Our trip to Malindi was slow as we travelled during the rainy season, that notwithstanding, we arrived Mombasa City at around 6 am just in time to capture the Sunrise. A brief stopover and we were ready for our last leg of the tour to Malindi. We arrived Malindi shortly after 11:00 am and checked in to our stay for the weekend; The Karibuni Villas and Hotel that is located in Mamburi, and fourteen kilometres from Malindi town. The sight of a clear beach was quite welcoming and relaxing after a long trip. It was all worth it after all!
We highlight several tips you need to know before taking that overland tour!
Be clear on what the Tour package Covers and does not cover
This is the rule of every trip you may plan to take. Don’t just hop into any overland tour. Find out beforehand what it entails. Does the cost include park fees and all activities listed? Our tour of Malindi entailed going to the Malindi Marine Park, surprisingly part of the team did not expect to pay an extra cost for that since they assumed the trip entailed excursion too! To avoid such disappointing situations, ensure you are clear on what you are paying for.
Comfort is paramount. Most overland tours are quite long distance and most of your time will be spent travelling from one location to another. Being comfortable should be one of your goals. Carry a neck pillow you will need it to drift away into slumberland as you travel. If the trip entails camping, then ensure you have a good sleeping bag. Depending on the locations you are travelling to, carry a Maasai blanket, it will come in handy in the evenings as well as during cold weather and also doubles up as your cover-up blanket during the day.
Overland trucks have huge windows. Make use of them especially during your game drives. Most seats if not all have a window view allowing one an opportunity to see it, breathe it and feel it; that was my experience to the Nairobi National park. Sighting of wildlife on a sunny afternoon game drive may prof to be a doubting task but not when on an overland truck. We were at an added advantage of sighting lions as they lounged under acacia trees and rhinos who appeared to be in an afternoon meet up probably discussing the hot weather, thanks to the window view seat.
Carry Some Patience
Long road trips can be physically draining making one quite edgy. Practising some patience will be required of you especially when the planned itinerary is not going according to plan. Remember you are travelling with different people who have different personality and likes. Being one that likes things done in an orderly manner, the Malindi trip taught me that without patience you may find yourself ruining an otherwise good adventure.
Be a Team Player
Have you experienced any of Kenya’s enchanting parks, and just when you are enjoying your game drive, your vehicle gets a tyre bust or gets stuck in the mud? What would you do? Well, be part of the team and participate in the resume mission. After all, this is your transport, more like your home, why not participate in all activities that the crew may request? Being a team player will add to the adventure, it may be scarily at first but once all is well, it will create memories that will be with you for a long time to come. Having been stuck in the mud at The Maasai Mara during an evening game drive is one of my overland terrifying experiences. I was scared a lion would be hiding in vast savannah and that it would attack. But once we were off the mud, and got to watch the cloud of semi-darkness covering Mara’s savannah, is an experience that has been embedded in my mind for several years.
Kenyatalii’s verdict: Overland tours and safaris are your ultimate budget travel idea for Kenya. Experience the world running by across the various destinations and live the moment while on that well-deserved overland safari.