Tuesday, October 13, 2009

5 worst things in Africa

1. Overland trucks
2. Overland tours
3. Overlanders
4. Overlanding
5. People in a group on an organised tour in a big truck

Why? Because they are generally rude and obnoxious with little or no respect for the locals and the customs of the country they are in, if they even know which country it is. Nor do they respect all the other, independent tourists that they meet. Every time a truck from one of these companies rolls up in a campsite you can hear a collective groan. They always party noisily into the night, drinking, shouting and screaming. In this way they are similar to the Brit-trash that ruin our reputation abroad on the various islands of the Med. These tours are promoted as 'something for the adventurous traveller', but they are no more than 18-30 holidays on wheels.

The worst part must be the experience for the people on the trips. They drive from site to sight, stopping for a bare minimum of time before heading off again. It's amazing they have time to drink so much. Heaven forbid anyone would actually want to stay anywhere a little longer. But would they be capable of such thoughts anyway? They never come into contact with local people, instead prefer to gawp from behind the safety of the reinforced windows of their truck. I remember seeing such a truck in Ghana stop in the middle of a street and one member jumped out, the others looking on in awe as he entered the realm of 'the natives' in order to buy some water. I bet he got a round of applause as he boarded the bus! Even worse is perhaps the effect they have on local populations. How would you feel if big trucks came past you everyday with people staring out and taking photos but not stopping to greet you? Wouldn't you feel like an animal in a zoo?

One of the most important features of travel for me is the food, so the idea of eating soggy pasta every night around the camp is total anathema.

I imagine that those that use overland trucks are those that believe they could not travel in Africa (or wherever) by themselves. This is due to the many misconceptions about travelling in Africa, many more than any other area of the world. And if you don't try, how do you know? Or perhaps it would be better to stick to Tenerife next time!

1 comment:

  1. Im planning a cairo-capetown trip with my husband and I keep getting "you're crazy if you do this on your own. Africa is too dangerous" and "I assume you're going on a tour?" ......this post has made me a bit more firm in my decision to go it independently.