40 days in Africa | G Adventures Africa Overland Tour Review and Summary

by | Last updated Sep 29, 2023 | Solo Travel, Africa, Road Trip | 0 comments

Are you thinking of doing an overland trip through Southern or Eastern Africa, or maybe trying to get some inspiration to travel the area on your own? If you need any further encouragement to make a trip to Africa happen, this is your sign to go!  This blog post explains everything you need to know for a G Adventures Africa Overland Tour and my personal account and review from taking the trip in 2023. 

Southern Africa was at the top of my bucket list for years. I wanted to see wild animals in their natural habitat, experience new cultures, and simply see parts of Africa with my own eyes and perspective.  For about a year leading up to the trip I did research to figure out where exactly I wanted to go, how I would get around, and how long I would stay there.  In the beginning, I thought about buying or renting a car, but that proved to be too costly.  (Looking back now, I’m glad I didn’t do either of those options).  My other idea was to use a combination of public transportation, hitchhiking, couch surfing, and hotels/Airbnb’s to explore the same places the tours go on my own.  This was a viable option, and many before me have done it, but I decided I wanted the safer organized option for my first visit to the continent.

Here is the link to the exact G Adventures Africa Overland tour I did:  Serengeti, Falls & Cape Town Overland: Sunsets & Safaris

Elephants in Maasai Mara Monsoon Rain

This post includes affiliate links to products and services I use and love.  I sometimes make a small commission from these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! – Tristan

Going with an overland tour group saved a lot of headaches with logistics like border crossings, car rentals, corrupt police, etc. Also as a solo traveler, it was a great way to explore Africa with other like-minded people, many of whom were my age and also solo travelers (I signed up for an 18-39 year old’s trip, although the mean age was mid-20s).  I did a G Adventures Africa Tour and would definitely recommend them to others. Many other tour agencies (Intrepid, Contiki, Absolute Africa, etc.) do similar routes and I imagine would have similar experiences, with the biggest difference between them being the length of the trips and different types of accommodation and transportation (hotels/hostels vs. camping like I did and occasional flights instead of long bus rides). What also convinced me to go with G Adventures over the other tour options, was the 39-year age cut-off. I didn’t want to be stuck on a bus for 40 days with a bunch of couples or retired people, and I thought this gave me the best odds. 

40 days is a long time, and there’s so much I could say about this trip but that would take forever. Also, Africa is BIG!  We only explored a small chunk of the 8 countries we visited over 40 days, and Africa still has 53 more countries I’d like to explore.


This trip report and review gives a high-level overview of the 40-day G Adventures Africa Overland Tour. 

One of the main reasons I’m writing this is because when I was doing research on if I wanted to do an Africa Overland tour, there were no reviews or personal accounts from the trip to help me decide, I went in blind. And luckily it all worked out really well! 

I was not sponsored by G Adventures to write these posts and I do my best to honestly include all the positives and negatives from the entire trip.  I have, however, included some affiliate links and G Adventure ads within this post.  If you end up booking a similar trip, please consider using my links so I can can get a small reward. Thank you! 



About me

  • I’m a 28-year-old white male from the U.S.
  • This was my first time in Africa, and my first time solo traveling for an extended period of time
  • I was fortunate to be granted a few month’s sabbatical from work, and I’m funding this travel off of my savings

Trip Summary

  • Nairobi to Cape Town (I initially wanted to do the trip in the other direction to maximize good weather probabilities, but I’m glad I went this direction, Cape Town is a much better city to end a 40-day trip in than Nairobi) 
  • Late May – Early July (This is winter for these countries)
  • 40 Days (34 nights in a tent, I did not do any upgrades)
  • 8 countries visited
  • 10 game viewing safaris (from jeeps, boats, planes, the Lando (bus), by foot, and mokoros)
  • Myriad hikes, tours, swims, and exploring points of interest
  • 6000+ km driven
  • 2.5 bus groups (16 people on the first half of the trip, 22 people on the second half of trip)
  • 8000+ photos/videos taken
  • Made several new friends from all over the world 
G Adventures 40 Day Tour Map

Countries visited:

  • Kenya – 1 day (I also did an extra 5 days here beyond the trip)
  • Tanzania – 10 Days
  • Malawi – 4 Days
  • Zambia – 5 Days
  • Zimbabwe – 3 Days
  • Botswana – 5 Days
  • Namibia – 10 Days (Favorite Country Overall)
  • South Africa – 2 Days (I also did an extra 5 days here beyond the trip)

Trip Highlights

  • Serengeti National Park Game Drives, Tanzania 
  • Ngorongoro Crater National Park Game Drive, Tanzania 
  • South Luangwa National Park Game Drives, Zambia
  • Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park Walking Rhino Safari, Zambia
  • Okavango Delta Walking Safari and Mokoro Ride, Botswana 
  • Etosha National Park Watering Hole Camp, Namibia 
  • Spitzkoppe Rock Scrambling, Namibia 
  • Sandwich Harbor Dune Exploring, Namibia 

Trip Lowlights

  • Getting Traveler’s diarrhea for the first week and a half on a bus with no bathroom 
  • Catching a contagious cough, twice 
  • The 2-day drive from South Luangwa National Park to Victoria Falls (super long with no interesting stops)
  • Making the whole group late to depart waiting for my food at a slow Hungry Lion in Swakopmund

Do I recommend the G Adventures Africa Overland Tour?

The short answer is Yes.  If you don’t have any time or money restrictions and want to see a lot of Eastern and Southern Africa, definitely do the whole trip. 

The longer answer however is: If I could do the trip over again, I would skip a pretty big chunk from the first half of the trip. 

Zanzibar, Lake Malawi, and South Luangwa National Park were the highlights of this section of the journey, but don’t compete with the non-stop highlights and shorter drives on the second half of the journey.  The first half of the trip also had much longer bus rides than the second half of the trip.  On multiple occasions during this stretch, we’d get up at 4 AM, pack up camp, drive all day, and then arrive at the next campsite around sunset without any time to really enjoy the area.  

Instead, I would do the game drives in Kenya and Tanzania: Massai Mara, Lake Nakuro (for rhinos), Serengeti, and Ngorogoro Crater (maybe throw in Mount Kilimanjaro) and then fly to Victoria Falls for the second half of the trip. 


The Africa Overlanding and Camping Experience

The Group Dynamic

I was definitely concerned about the group dynamic when booking this trip.  40 days is a long time to spend with people if you don’t get along with them. But I also thought… It takes a certain type of person to take a camping road trip through Africa. 

I got lucky with two great groups and several new lifelong friends that I’m already planning to see again soon! It was easy to get along with everyone on the trip; we were all like-minded people. The demographics of the groups were:

  • 2.5 bus groups (41 people traveled with total)
  • Mostly mid 20’s individuals (4 people were 18-21,  4 people were 30-35)
  • Mostly solo travelers but also 2 couples, 2 pairs of sisters, and 2 pairs of friends
  • All but 3 people were from Western Countries 

I had 2.5 bus groups, which I didn’t totally realize when booking this trip, and I’m glad I was on the good end of these group shuffles.  The first group of 16 of us traveled together from Nairobi to Victoria Falls.  At which point all but 6 of us ended their African Adventures and we got a brand new group of 22 total.  Then in Windhoek, 2 people left, and 3 new people joined. Some of our friends from the first half joined another group going to JoBurg when we got to Victoria Falls that had been traveling together for a month, and weren’t big fans of that situation.  

If you’re worried about being alone, you won’t be.  You’ll have the opposite problem:  struggling to find time or space to be alone if you need it, but there are some opportunities. You can also opt to have your own tent instead of sharing with someone, or sometimes upgrade to a private room for a cost.  

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The Lando

The big purple Lando was our main mode of transportation overlanding across Africa. It’s a customized 25-seater bus capable of traversing Africa’s rough roads. G-Adventures has a lot of the same Lando to run multiple trips simultaneously, and ours for the entire trip was named Gacheri. The Lando had no bathroom on board, so we would often pull over on the side of the road to let everyone “bushy bushy.”

The Lando had USB outlets near every seat to charge smaller electronics but no outlet power on board. 

On the first half of the trip, since we only had 16 people, about half of the group would have 2 seats to themselves, which was great.  We would rotate seats every day to give everyone a fair opportunity of sitting alone, getting a better view out of the front, or the better A/C in the back.

G Adventures Africa Overland Tour Bus

Camping, Accommodations, and Facilities

Most of the trip (34 nights) was camping in tents. The tents were made for 3 people, but only 2 people shared, so there was plenty of room for our gear inside as well. We had to provide our own sleeping bag and pillow, but we were provided a tent and a thick and comfortable sleeping mat. I shared the tent with Luke from Australia for the first 20 days, and Ryan from the U.S. for the second 20 days. 

We also had a few nights in Hostels, Hotels, and Eco tents. There were also about 15 opportunities to upgrade at the campsites to a private room or dorm. The prices for upgrades typically varied between $20-60.  The quality of the upgrades varied a lot from place to place.  I personally never upgraded, because that’s beer money and I was used to the sleeping bag life within about 5 days.

Participation Camping

We were split into 3-4 person groups for the duration of the trip to do different chores every day. 

  • Kitchen – Help prepare meals for the day
  • Cleaning – Clean the dishes for the day
  • Packing – Pack/Unpack the gear in the Lando
  • Cool Box – Buy ice, clean the cooler, and the Lando Floor
  • Day Off

About every 5-7 days there was a chance to do laundry. The prices ranged from $5-15 depending on location and how much you needed to wash.  I also hand washed things several times. 

All the campsites besides the bush camping in the Okavango Delta and Namibia had toilets and showers.  Hot showers were very hit or miss. Depended on location, which shower you chose, and the time of day (early morning usually had better odds).  I think I was cursed on the trip because I only got about 5 hot showers.  But most people probably had around 50% hot. My best-cursed shower story is when we got to our camp in Deadvlei. The outdoor shower had hot water, epic sunset mountain views, and I brought a shower beer to enjoy my first hot shower in a while.  As soon as I finished soaping up, all the water shut off (cold and hot), so then I had to go skinny dip in the ice-cold pool.

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For most meals, our CEO’s (chief experience officers) would cook meals for us.  These ranged from pasta dishes, to chicken and ugali, steak, sandwiches, etc.  I thought the cooking was above average for a camping trip, but I was only wowed twice. It’s tough to cook for 20 people all at once. I’m apparently a pretty tough food critic, though; other people on the trip thought I was too harsh with my reviews of the cooking when we were all discussing our trip experiences at the end.

We’d also stop at gas stations and/or grocery stores at least once a day to stock up on snacks and drinks. 

Almost every campsite had a bar. Sodas, juices, and beers were typically $1-2 at the campsite bars. The cheapest beer I saw was for $0.50 USD at a Spar (grocery store) in Malawi.

I guess this is also a good section to mention I gained weight on this trip.  There was barely any physical activity for 40 days and snacking is easy to do when you’re bored on a bus. I knew this going in and had plans to do workouts throughout the trip but only ended up doing 3. Long trips on the bus or safari vehicles are surprisingly exhausting and I typically wouldn’t have the motivation to workout.

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I did this trip in the winter, and I would do it again in the winter. For all my Northern Hemisphere people, keep in mind winter in Africa is approximately May-September, and summer is November – March.  I can’t imagine doing this trip in the summer, it’d be really hot in Kenya and Tanzania, it was even hot in the winter.  I prefer camping when it’s cold out, but also winter is a great time to do game drives in a lot of the countries.  When I was doing initial trip planning and trying to figure out when and where to go, I made this consolidated table to help me narrow things down.

Africa Weather Table

May marks the end of Monsoon season for Eastern Africa, so we are still in shoulder season. If it worked with my schedule, I would have delayed my trip a few weeks to avoid this. It rained several times at the beginning of the trip until we got to southern Tanzania, at which point there wasn’t any rain for the rest of the trip. 

The first several nights of camping I was sweating and not using my sleeping bag. The first night it got a bit chilly was in Ngorogorgo Crater; probably in the low 50’s F (10 C). Then the first time it got around freezing was in Lusaka, which has an elevation of 1250 m. 

Most days we would shed layers of shorts and short sleeves until around sunset when it cooled back off again. 

According to our guides, we experienced fairly mild winter temperatures while we were in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. I was surprised and prepared for colder weather.  I only used my thermal base layers twice on the whole trip (but I also run hot while sleeping).

Lions by Safari Vehicle
Leopard by Safari Vehicle



Our CEO’s would warn us about areas to stay alert in such as Nairobi, Stone Town – Zanzibar, Victoria Falls, Windhoek, and some parts of Cape Town. For me, Nairobi was where I had to be the most on guard because I was solo traveling here and hadn’t met up with the group yet. By staying in groups and being smart, nothing bad happened to anyone on the trip for the whole 40 days. 


I was surprised that nobody carried guns in the bush camps or game drives to protect us from animals (except for the walking rhino safari, but it was more for poachers). We had a lot of different animals visit our camps at night: Lions, Elephants, Hippos, Cape buffalo, baboons, and Hyenas. If you see eyes in the night with your headlamp when you want to get out to pee, stay in your tent. The animals avoid man-made structures, so as long as you kept your tent door closed, you were safe.


I brought Malaria pills but didn’t end up taking them for very long.  I got traveler’s diarrhea right after starting the pills so I stopped taking them to try and  figure out if it was from the pills or a stomach bug, I think it was the latter. Because I did this trip in the African Winter, by the time we got to Zambia, it was pretty rare to see mosquitoes, so I just decided to use mosquito spray when needed and stopped taking the pills altogether. 


We couldn’t drink water from our accommodations for almost the entire trip (until we got halfway through Namibia). And the water tank on the bus was having issues, so we all had to frequently buy jugs of water. 

Sickness on the Bus

A cold went around the bus twice, and I got it twice.  Sore throat, runny nose, and cough (some people got fevers). It was a lot more contagious the second time around. So definitely bring some meds in your first aid kit for different scenarios.

Etosha National Park Oryx and Ostritch

Digital Communications


The wifi on the Lando didn’t work, and it apparently hasn’t been on the Africa trips since Covid.  The wifi in the campsites was also pretty unreliable. It’s best to typically assume no wifi unless it’s one of the non-camping nights.


I didn’t buy a sim in every country.  It was nice to go dark from the internet, but at least one person did and this is what we found:

Physical sims work better than E-Sims and are cheaper in pretty much every country except South Africa. Definitely don’t get an Africa Regional E-Sim, that’s the biggest rip-off.  Physical sims are really easy to get in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Sometimes at the border crossings, locals would come up to us to sell sketchy sims. It worked the 2/2 times I tried it and I got prices like 10 gigs for $10 USD.   

Many of the physical sims claim to work in multiple countries, but none of us could figure out how to get that feature working, so we bought new sims in different countries.

The cell service with physical sims was also more widespread than I thought it would be.  There are definitely several dead zones but I figured it would only work in cities. 

Starting with Botswana onward, acquiring physical sims got more complicated.  You had to go to cellular service stores and register and buy a sim (hidden cost) with a passport, and then sometimes go to another store to buy a voucher to buy airtime, then call a number to convert the airtime to data.  In the starting countries it was just plug and play. 

The e-sims from Airalo for South Africa were actually cheaper than the physical sims and worked great.  Use my code TRISTA5157 for $3 off your purchase of any e-sim!


Trip Expenses

Base Cost of 40 day G-Adventures Africa Overland Tour: $5300 USD


I also did most but not all of the additional excursions (safaris, tours, etc.) offered on the trip, which was an additional approximately $1000.


Add-on Excursions and Tours

Zanzibar Snorkeling  Tour $75
Kande Beach Walking Tour $12
South Luwanga Game Drive Safari $50
South Luwanga Night Safari $50 $50
Zambezi River Sunset Cruise  $50
Victoria Falls Helicopter Ride- $225 $175
Victoria Falls Park Entry $50
Mosi-oa-Tunya Rhino Walking Safari $120
Chobe Sunset Cruise Safari $55
Chobe Game Drive Safari $52
Etosha Game Drive Safari $55
Sandwich Harbor 4×4 Dune Exploration $125
Swakopmund ATV Dune Ride $45
Namib Desert Bushmen Walk $15
Deadvlei Shuttle Ride $10
Cederberg Wine Tasting $10
Total $950

Additional Costs

I didn’t track these very precisely since it was mostly cash; these are all estimates based on my ATM withdrawals 

    • Food, Drinks, Water – $150
    • Souvenirs – $50 (I didn’t buy much stuff, because I couldn’t carry it in carry-on only luggage)
    • Tips – $250 (with a big chunk going to our CEO’s at the end of each trip. I’d usually give a $3-5 tip for each of the excursions)
    • Visas – $125
    • SIM cards – $75
    • Misc – $50
    • Total Additional Costs – $700

Grand Total –$6900 USD

Other currency related things

  • We would always stop in towns directly before and after border crossings to visit Currency Exchanges and ATMs.  It was tough to exchange Malawi and Zambia’s currency once out of the country; most people ended up stuck with their leftover money.
  • USD cash is king and accepted in every country.  It’s also the main currency in Zimbabwe after hyperinflation.  I became a billionaire while I was there.
  • Credit Cards were rarely accepted until we got to Namibia and South Africa. 
  • Namibia accepted the Namibian Rand or South African Rand.  We could ask stores and restaurants to trade Namibian Rand for South African Rand, especially the closer we got to the Namibia/SA border. 
  • Almost every price is negotiable. You can even trade goods instead of cash. My best tactic for bargaining prices was: after some initial negotiations, flashing the cash of the final price I was willing to pay.  My alternate strategy was announcing my final price after the initial negotiations and then walking away hoping they’d change their minds. That almost never worked.  YMMV. 
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Packing List (for Winter)

Below is an image of the packing checklist I made for the trip.  Alternatively, here is a link to the same Google sheet to use or tweak to fit your needs.

Solo Travel Packing List

Must Haves:

  • Pen for Customs Forms at Border Crossings
  • Camping pillow (sleep is so much better with one of these than no pillow or wadding up your clothes. I’ve been using the Nemo Fillo Camping Pillow for years and can’t recommend it enough! 
  • Headlamp (I’ve been using the Rechargeable Petzl Actik Core for years)
  • Noise Canceling Headphones (I have the Anker Pi3’s which are a 5th of the price of Apple AirPods and I believe have almost the same sound quality)
  • Binoculars and/or Zoom Camera
  • Packable Tote Bag (laundry, groceries, etc.) 
  • Gloves (de/attaching the hooks on the tents can hurt your fingers, plus warmth when cold)
  • Microfiber towel (Don’t get the cheapest option, there’s a noticeable quality and drying difference with more premium ones)
  • $USD Cash

Leave Behind:

  • Reusable water bottle (unfortunately, there’s rarely anywhere to fill it)
  • Drone (illegal or hard to get permits in national parks,  90% of where we camped)
  • Wooden or Bone Souvenirs — Leave no Trace
Namibia Spelled Light Painting

Additional Miscellaneous Things

  • My universal power adapter didn’t work everywhere in Namibia and South Africa because I didn’t have a Type M Plug
  • Power outlets at the campsites were infrequent
  • I was able to fly my drone only twice.  It was either illegal or complicated to get permits to fly everywhere we went, which was typically in National Parks.
  • Last-minute excursion ad-ons were fine, so you don’t need to decide everything when initially booking the trip.
  • The group consensus for best aerial ad-on was the sunrise hot air balloon ride in Serengeti, also the most expensive. (Okavango Delta was next)
  • Open-roof safari vehicles that have walls are much better for wind protection than fully open jeeps. Constant wind can really fatigue your eyes. Sometimes you can choose the type of vehicle; if not, bring glasses and/or sunglasses.
  • G Adventures required travelers insurance with a medical, air lift, and repatriation services up to $250k USD since we were in the middle of nowhere most of the time.  The cheapest (and I think the best deal) I found and used for the entirety of my travels was with SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. It met all the requirements and more and was significantly cheaper than the insurance G-Adventures offered.



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