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Overlanding Africa with kids: would you do it? This week's guest just finished an amazing trip through six African countries — all in a Land Rover. If you're interested in what it's like to drive across the African continent, listen in!
Overlanding Africa with Kids
If you've ever thought about driving across Africa, then this is an interview for you. Jenny Lynn and her family have just returned from overlanding Africa for months. They started in South Africa. Then they drove through Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia.
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Land Rovers, Camping, Self-Drive Safaris & More
In today's episode of Epic Education Radio, we talk to Jenny about shipwrecks, self-drive safaris, sand traps and more. We talk planning, budgeting and the on-the-ground experience of overlanding Africa. If you're interested in exploring places like Mozambique, Tanzania, and Namibia with kids, then listen in.
Or look for more overland travel stories
The last time we spoke to Jenny, she and her family were living in India. As we catch up, she tells me about the changes since we last talked. Her husband decided to take a voluntary redundancy package so they could plan an overland trip in Africa with their two young boys.
IN THIS EPISODE
- 03:29 Leaving India for Africa
- 09:25 Planning no Planning
- 13:36 Land Rover
- 16:02 Budget
- 18:47 Tanzania
- 24:39 food & cooking
- 29:33 Health & Safety
- 34:45 Africa bad rap
- 40:11 Country by country
- Names: Jenny Lyn, her husband, and their two young boys
- Hold passports from: the UK
- Type of travel: Overland travel
- A few places they've been: India, Nepal and many countries. On this trip, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia.
- LINKS & RESOURCES
FIND THEM ON
What is Overlanding?
The term "overlanding" is the idea of driving yourself from country to country. No planes. The term is often used when talking about driving across continents like Africa, Australia or South America. However, I consider any long-term, multi-country trip where you drive yourself the entire way to be overlanding, or overland travel. That could be by car, train, boat or bicycle. It could be on foot. As long as you stay on the ground and cross over the land that way, let's call that overlanding.
How to Plan an Overland Trip
One of the trickiest parts of the planning became an act of pure luck and serendipity. A South African friend rented them their own Land Rover, complete with stove, fridge, and tents that pop up on the top. They camped their way through Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Namibia, stocking up at local markets along the way. She describes their ride and the patterns of life in more detail in the podcast.
Did they have any experience overlanding in Africa? Not really. They had backpacked in various African destinations before kids. They had also had driven a 2-wheel-drive car there. That said, they learned that overlanding Africa is a completely different thing.
Did they have any 4-wheel-drive training? Not before they left. They learned along the way. It was a challenge but worth it, she said. There were roads turned to slush because of massive rains. There were sandtraps where local kids helped them push the landrover out. Overlanding in Africa is not for the faint of heart, but at the same time, it's not as hard as one might think.
Is Overlanding Africa Safe?
Many of you are probably asking yourself: is overlanding Africa safe? According to Jenny, absolutely yes. Sure, there are hazards to navigate: wildlife, bad roads, and the corrupt police are a few. That said, Jenny says that it was much easier than you might expect.
As for health and safety, we discuss immunizations and first aid. Aside from a few scrape and bruises (kids are kids after all), they had no incidents. As for food, Jenny says that they could always find things some of their staples. Things like eggs, potatoes, and bananas were common, with other things available in different places.
We also talk malaria: a genuine concern in many countries in Africa. She talks about the medicine they took and her reasoning behind it.
Overlanding Mozambique with Kids
According to Jenny, many had warned them that Mozambique would be a challenge. That they would be stopped frequently by local police and other irritations. However, this turned out not to be the case for them at all. They had no issues overlanding in Mozambique and enjoyed some of its amazing beaches. In fact, Jenny says that they rival the beaches of Australia — a bold statement to be sure.
Overlanding Tanzania with Kids
For the Lynn family, it turns out, overlanding in Tanzania was the real challenge. For one thing, there are political changes happening in the country. This made some interactions with police and government officials more awkward. Then there were the prices. For example, everyone wants to see the Serengeti, right? So did Jenny and family. However, the prices and paperwork made it a no-go. However, they chose a lesser-known National Park (Tangiri) for a self-drive safari. The result: it was a 10th of the price but with plenty of wildlife.
Another challenge in Tanzania was the weather: the country was having the worst rains in a decade. This made overlanding Tanzania even more of a struggle. They ended up speeding through the country and leaving earlier than they planned. But not before seeing Mount Kilimanjaro, which made the visit all worth it.
Overlanding Malawi with Kids
Jenny says that despite some initial issues with their entry visa, they loved their time in overlanding Malawi. The people were warm and welcoming, she says and there are some great hikes that even little kids can do. The country is dense, so it's easy to get from one place to the next without long drives. Of course, Lake Malawi is another highlight.
Overlanding Namibia with Kids
Out of all the African countries they visited on this trip, Namibia is where she recommends to first-time visitors to the continent. Overlanding Namibia is easier, she says. There are better roads, good medical care, and affordable self-drive safaris. What's more, Namibia has some of the most unique and otherworldly landscapes in the world. There are deserts and jaw-dropping landscapes. Then there is the Skeleton Coast, with its many shipwrecks just off of the beach.
Have You Been Overlanding in Africa?
I'd love to hear your stories, tips, and advice for overlanding Africa. Let us know! It's definitely on our list. How about you?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your travel. If you're really considering overlanding in Africa I hope this helps! I'm also always looking for more tips and info on Mozambique with kids, Namibia with kids, Malawi with kids, Zambia with kids, and Tanzania with kids. Help us make overlanding Africa with kids better for other traveling families!
Full-on family travel fundamentals. Epic Education Radio is interviews, stories and advice for people who decide to make travel a priority in their family's life...and for those who want to. Tune in each week to hear stories and advice from new traveling families, and hear how they've handled various family travel-related issues like education, socialization, working, budgeting, accommodation, road-parenting, safety, technology and more. We talk gear, websites, apps and other resources for traveling & nomadic families, and answer questions from those who would like to do something similar.
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