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10 reasons why a tour guide is advisable when visiting foreign African countries


Overlanding can be described as an un-scratchable itch that can only be soothed by the aromatic smell of nature and the melodic sounds of its inhabitants.

  • Discover unknown places
  • Unbelievable itineraries
  • Meeting interesting people
  • The beaten track & exploring
  • Explore beyond your comfort zone
  • A holiday & adventure in one
  • The knowledge of nature at its best
  • More magic & less stress
  • Safely visit dangerous places
  • Overlanding trips are filled with educational experiences

Overlanding is a way of life as well as a way to break free from the endless 9 – 5 that we all experience day in and day out. With this being said, we often put off such cravings as it is too tiresome to plan and book a trip, but alas there is an alternative, using a tour guide to take the boarder post blues away.

Here are 10 reasons why overlanders should use a tour guide when visiting foreign African countries:

  • Discover unknown places

Many overlanding companies offer a multitude of trips to areas that you may have been before, places you have not been to or ever heard of, and places that you have dreamt of going to.

Using a tour guide will ensure that the dreams you have of unknown places can become reality, and places you have been to will be a breeze as you are the guest and will be treated like one. You can feel safe in the hands of your guide as they have most likely been to each destination a multitude of times and know the ins-and-outs of the routes.

This knowledge of the routes takes the stress out of worrying about a road you have never been on yourself and having a guide will make you feel more confident, which will allow you to relax and enjoy your overlanding experience.

  • Unbelievable itineraries

By definition, overlanding is about the journey, and this is where a tour guide is invaluable as they know about all the points of interest around the area of your trip and are able to create incredible itineraries for you.

These may come in the form of cultural or heritage sites, as well as hidden gems sprinkled around you such as restaurants, hikes, or pools to swim in and refresh yourself from the drive. These itineraries that are created by your tour guide add a new and exciting element to your trip.

Side activities such as a heritage site, or just refuelling and relaxing while enjoying a lovely meal at a restaurant give both the driver and passengers a well-deserved break from the road, and may be informative.

  • You will meet interesting people

In my experience campers and overlanders are, by far, the most welcoming and helpful people you can get. If you get lost, need a key for a gas bottle, or just bump into them going for a shower, it can be expected that you will be met with warmth and an interesting conversation if you are open to it.

Having a tour guide is like having a treasure trove of knowledge at your disposal, and if you get to know your guide, you may hear some of the most fascinating conversations that may change your view on certain topics as well as learning more about nature, animals and culture in some way.

Meeting the locals through the itineraries that your tour guide has planned can be an incredible way to learn something new. Touring with a guide to places you may not know allows for a uniquely personalised experience where you may meet other like-minded people and possibly people that may fascinate you. I have found on trips when you spark up a simple conversation with someone, they afford you some of the most amazing knowledge.

  • Get off the beaten track and explore

Having a tour guide for your overlanding trip allows you to get off the beaten track and explore foreign African countries with a piece of mind. Going with a tour guide allows you to experience regions and routes that you may never have known exist and are drivable.

Tour guides allows access to areas unknown to you that offer breath-taking views and the opportunity to experience flora and fauna previously unseen and possible sightings that are not as easily seen from the often-travelled routes.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch.

Once you push past the fear that holds you back, you start to live. Having a tour guide on foreign trips allows you to experience more and stress less. The comfort of being with a tour guide allows you as an overlander to let your guard down and live in the moment and experience things you have never seen or done before.

A tour guide will also give you direction to push past your comfort zone in a sense of creating an itinerary that fits your needs. This could be wild camping for the first time or driving a tough 4×4 route. This is where a tour guide becomes a safety net for you as they will have the knowledge to be able to inform you on what to do if you have a lion in your camp or will pull you out if you get stuck in thick mud.

Many people feel under-confident to do big over the boarder trips as you may feel intimidated to book such a trip or maybe you do not know where to start. These are normal feelings to have if you are new to overlanding and a tour guide who takes care of the stress and headaches of a trip will put you at ease, you will sleep easy knowing you have support for your trip if anything goes awry.

  • It’s not just a holiday, but an adventure

Overlanding is about the adventure and with adventure comes risk. Having a guide for your trips means that help is not far away if something goes wrong. Be it a flat tyre, broken fan belt, or being stuck in the mud, you will always have a recovery vehicle with you and that brings a great sense of security about going on a foreign trip as the tour guide will know where the closest town or village is to get spare parts. Click here for the most unbelievable breakdown shakedown that nobody would ever want to experience.


Even if your car is immobile the tour guide can control the situation and get you the help that you need to get back on the road again. Overlanding with a tour guide also enhances the adventure and allows you to sit back and enjoy the experience as you may go on routes that you have never seen before, as the unknown is deeply exciting and adventurous. All hiccups on a trip add to the adventure and allow for some pretty incredible stories.

  • The birds, bees, and tree’s

Having a tour guide on a trip provides you with a wealth of knowledge about the flora and fauna around you. A tour guide may have information about the local trees, birds, and wildlife and these teachings are invaluable in the bush and on a overlanding trip.

Most overlanders go on their trips to foreign African countries especially, to see the wildlife and landscapes that we are so fortunate to possess on this beautiful continent. A tour guide can educate you on all these topics and is a luxury to have on overlanding trips.

  • Experience the magic, not the stress

The boarder crossing blues are a real thing! With the help of your tour guide border crossings will be a breeze as they will know the intricacies of the formidable border crossing! Click here for more information on border basics. Booking for the trip can also be a pain and again a tour guide can do all of this for you. They will also make sure you are at the safest and most raved about camps to ensure your overlanding experience is nothing but magical.

  • Safely visit ‘dangerous’ places

Overlanding can be an intimidating thought when going to foreign African countries, but this stress can be alleviated by going with a tour guide. This being due to their knowledge of the country and routes to take and routes to avoid.

Having this piece of mind allows you to fully enjoy your trip without worrying about your safety as well as the comforting feeling of having a support vehicle with you in case there are any problems.

The tour guide will also have the knowledge on how to keep safe in the campsites and give you tips and tricks to keep yourself safe. These tips could be positioning your vehicle in a lager shape to seal off your camp from the wondering wildlife you may experience. Your tour guide can also give you practice advice such as what to do if a lion walks into your campsite or if you bump into a honey badger rummaging through your food box.

  • Overlanding trips offer educational experiences

Experience moulds are who we are, and there is so much to experience and learn on overlanding trips to foreign countries! Tour guides will be able to plan itineraries that allow you to see what life on the other side of the boarder entails, these may include cultural tours in the surrounding areas, or they could involve learning about nature from your tour guide.

Your guide could tell you facts about a certain plant and how it was used medicinally by a certain community to help with flu symptoms, or why a springbok has black glands by its back legs. These interesting facts can really enhance your trip and send you back home a little more knowledgeable.

If you are an overlander who prefers taking a trip without a tour guide, click here to learn more about what you would need for your trip, recovery tracks and more!

Picture/s: Supplied / Robbie Ellison

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