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The Ultimate Overland Budget African Safari

I’m going to put it out there. I think an African Safari is one of the top 5 things to do on an adventure traveler’s bucket list. And it has certainly been at the top of mine for as long as I can remember. 
Daydreaming about luxury lodges with balcony’s overlooking game reserves;  private game drives at sunset where sundowners are served as the wildlife walks by and guaranteed sightings of ‘the big 5‘ (thats the Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, Leopard & Elephant if you weren’t sure)  I always thought I would have to wait until I was earning mega-bucks before my dream would become a reality. Then I found another way. Overlanding. It’s the ever growing, ‘get involved & get dusty, live on a converted truck, camp under the stars and cook your own meals’ budget African safari that is allowing more and more people the opportunity to visit this incredible continent.

Let me tell you all about it as I travel through 5 Countries in 6 Weeks. It’s Safari Time Baby!

Budget Overland Safari Africa

the best Overland Budget African Safari

Thinking about a budget safari but not sure where to go?
Take a peek at our post about
The Best Places To Visit in Africa

the overland companies 

There are several companies that offer Overland adventures, with the majority following the same routes. The difference between them boils down to cost and – in some cases – level of comfort. We booked with Absolute Africa. They hit all the major spots in Southern Africa and offered exceptional value for money (read: they were the cheapest!). Along with a fantastic African guide and driver(s), well equipped truck and quality camp gear (tents and sleeping mats provided) the company has years of experience in Africa. After moving their head office from London to Arusha (Tanzania), they can proudly say they all ‘all African’. If you are looking to experience the real Africa I cannot recommend them highly enough.

(NOTE: I am not in any way affiliated with Absolute Africa, I was (and still am) thoroughly impressed with the company and cannot wait to see more of Africa with them)


The Cost of an Overland Budget African Safari

For our 31 day tour we paid less than £1000GBP/$1650AUD/$1250USD plus a $650USD local payment (per person). This covered life on the truck: breakfasts, dinners, camp equipment, jeep safaris and some park fees along with a driver and a guide. Some activities  listed below were included, others were an additional cost and we bought lunch everyday. We also added additional days to the beginning and end of the tour to make up the 6 weeks. Nothing short of a Bargain!


Life on the Truck 

Expect Overland Safari Africa

This is one of the ‘Absolute Africa’ big yellow trucks – the lower lockable compartments store the bags, the food, cooking equipment, tents and roll mats. The group of travelers sit on a raised platform above the lockers in ‘coach-style’ seating. Thee driver and guide sit in the cabin. All members of the group are split into equal teams – dependent on the number on board – who take turns to cook, do dishes, clean the truck and make sure the truck is secure and locked each time we exit. Each group has 1 day off in every 5, and everyone is responsible for putting up and taking down their own tent.

The cooks are each day responsible for shopping (with the group kitty money – kept by the guide) and preparing the evening meal, with breakfast stuffs (toast, cereal, eggs, fruit etc) purchased for the truck and prepared individually each morning. Lunch is the only meal you are required to purchase yourself each day. There is a fridge/freezer on board the truck and this stores the group and individual food – and can get extremely full if buying for a three day stretch!

If the above sounds a bit too much like ‘roughing it’ – other companies offer options to suit your budget which include an on-board chef and/or staff to put up/take down the tents for you, some of which are also fully catered. If this sounds more like what you are looking for check out Intrepid, Nomad, G Adventures – and for those who need a child friendly route – Dragoman. (Tour Radar offer all these Safari tours and more. If you’re ready to book, scroll to the bottom and claim your 5% discount. Valid on any tour – not just Safari’s!)

RELATED – Overlanding on a camping safari is one heck of an adventure – check out these other incredible African Adventures to add to your Africa Bucket List + Our African Safari Packing List to make sure you have everything you need.



The Budget African Safari Route


Days 1 – 6 : Zimbabwe & Zambia

Overland Budget African Safari

If you’re struggling to decide which side of the falls to stay, read my post about which side of the falls is best – zimbabwe or zambia?


  • Victoria Falls National Park
  • White Water Rafting the mighty Zambezi
  • Ziplining
  • Canyon Swing
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Microlight or Helicopter rides over Victoria Falls
  • Sunset Cruise
  • and so much more!

Can’t wait for the details? Read all about these activities in Top Things to do in Victoria Falls! And Once you’ve worked up an appetite you’ll want to make sure you know  Where are the Best Places to Eat In Victoria Falls


Days: 7 – 12 : Botswana

Overland Budget African Safari

Walking Safari in the Okavango Delta


  • Game Viewing in Chobe National Park
  • Okavango Delta Mokoro Safari
  • Scenic Flight over the Delta
Overland Budget African Safari

Sunset Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta


Days 13 – 26 : Namibia 

Overland Budget African Safari

Climbing Dune 45, part of the Sossusvlei Dunes to watch the sun rise – these are one of the top  destinations in Africa


If you’re needing Inspiration to visit Namibia here’s 10 Reasons to Visit Namibia in 15 Beautiful Photographs!

Overland Budget African Safari

Feeding Time @ the Cheetah Sanctuary on our Overland Tour


Days 27 – 42: South Africa

Overland Budget African Safari

Watching the Hot Air Balloons taking off at sunrise


Can’t wait for the details? Read all about our epic Road Trip along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Johannesburg which covers all of the activities listed for South Africa + Includes the Best Time To Visit SA

Overland Budget African Safari

You can climb into a cage in the water meters from a great white shark!

Do you want to know more? 

So there you have it. The ultimate overland budget African safari route and just a taster of the activities on offer in each country. If I have piqued your interest, you’re in luck! Over the next few weeks I will be posting detailed articles about each and every aspect of the Africa tours and activities including cost breakdowns and budgeting tips.

Fell like you need to stay in the loop? Hit subscribe, Follow us on Facebook or Pin this article and check back next week for the next installment!

And if you liked this guide to the best overland budget African safari, take a look at the other packing tips & travel gear and travel inspiration posts in this series:

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Hi There! Thanks for reading our post about the The Best Budget African Safari! I just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something after clicking a link, I may get a small commission – which is at absolutely no cost to you. If you enjoyed this article and are going to be searching for some of the things I mention anyway, I would love it if you could click through from the links above & thank you in advance! Read my full Disclosure here.












Thursday 13th of February 2020

Nice information. Thank you for sharing this kind of post. No doubt Africa is best known safari parks. It is useful to many.


Saturday 6th of April 2019

Month-long road tripping in Africa! Sounds like a dream! Thanks for the comprehensive information!


Monday 14th of November 2016

Wow! Done with a very reasonable budget. I have to get there... one of my long cherished dreams.

Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

Wednesday 19th of October 2016

Vicki, this looks incredible! My heart is pounding with excitement. Were any of the activities you listed included in the basic price or did you have to pay extra for them?


Wednesday 19th of October 2016

Hi Jackie - none of the activities in Victoria Falls were included - so it could get pretty pricey very quickly depending on how much you wanted to do!


Sunday 16th of October 2016

Vicki, We are trying to book a budget safari more north in Uganda. We've done the southern portion before, and as amazing as it is, want to see something new. Budget Africa are two words that don't seem to go together well, do they?


Monday 17th of October 2016

They don't go well together - but it's wonderful when it works! Happy planning - and I hope you find what you are looking for. I highly recommend Absolute Africa if you're looking for super cheap!

Comments are closed.