The tour is booked! Here’s my thought process on why in the end I decided to go with African Trails Overlanding.
I have been thinking about traveling through Africa for a little while. However, for months I declared it impossible: for financial but mostly for security reasons. When it became apparent that career-wise I was stuck somewhere between a rock and a hard place taking indefinite time off from my career seemed the only sensible way out.
So there I was: back at the point where I wanted to figure out how with a limited budget I could make a journey through Africa happen after all. While I quickly determined that – also thanks to the TaZaRa train line – the East should be comparatively easy to travel as single-white-female-on-a-budget, the West was giving me headaches. I knew I could get to Morocco and through Senegal and Ghana. And I was feeling fairly confident about Namibia as well. But how to get from one to the other?
Flying just doesn’t seem to do a gap-year trip justice. After all, I want to see as much of the continent and life on it as possible. Plus: Flying in Africa can be prohibitively expensive with a flight between two neighboring countries costing more than crossing the Atlantic.
Believe it or not: there is quite a community of freighter travelers out there. And I could picture myself going on a freighter journey myself once my purse has recovered from this trip – it’s not that expensive, it’s relaxed (no on board entertainment crew chasing you…), it takes you places you might otherwise never go. However, there is, unfortunately, no operator that would go from Morocco to Senegal to Ghana to Namibia.
Join an organized tour
After all: you know in advance you’ll get to where you want to get. The downside here is that even though I have found a surprising number of operators none of them is doing tours exactly from where I want to start to where I want to stop and continue on my own.
Hoping for the best
I could always try to go as far as I can. And whenever I get stuck, hope someone will take me along for the next bit of the journey (yacht owners, tour operators, expeditions…) – there should be at least some advantage to being single white female…
However, reasonable as I am (and with my parents in my ears): after pondering my options with hours of research on the web it did come down to the following rationale:
|Hope for the best||Organized Tour|
Though I somehow still wish I was naive enough to have decided to simply start somewhere and hope for the best I did opt for an organized tour with African Trails. that will take me all the way from Gibraltar to Cape Town in 22 weeks.
I chose them because first of all there are less than a handful of companies offering a long trek that will take me all the way through West Africa. We will go from Gibraltar to Cape Town in 22 weeks, passing countries like Mali, Togo, Nigeria, both Congos, and Angola.
Africa Trails is simply the cheapest option: I will pay a grand total of 4,500 GBP (the company is British) for all transport and accommodation, roughly a third of my meals, and even some sightseeing (safaris in Ethosha National Park, for example, are included). That’s roughly 50 USD per day.
Click on the map below to get redirected to the African Trails website where you’ll find a browsable version.