We’ve arrived in Africa!
We’re traveling overland (i.e. just driving, no flights) through 5 countries from Lusaka, Zambia to Cape Town, South Africa in a big yellow truck with a company called Absolute Africa. We are with a group of 17 other people ranging in age from age 18 to 62. We have one student on a gap year, one retiree, and a few with interesting job situations that allow a sabbatical or remote work but for the most part everyone is just like us – they’ve quit their jobs to travel long-term. There are five other Americans, a handful of Europeans (lots from the UK), and a couple from Chile. We also have a guide and a driver. We started with Wyclef (from Kenya) and Dave (from Uganda) but have recently seen them replaced by Joe (from Kenya) and Judah (from Zimbabwe).
Group living is a big part of the trip. Everyone is split up into chore teams and we go through a rotation to share the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, keeping the truck tidy, and “security” (being in charge of the keys and locking/unlocking the truck as needed). We keep our things in lockers under the truck or under our seats on the bus. There is surprisingly a lot of room for storage as the truck is massive.
We camp every night (although we’re told there are a few spots along the way we will stay in hostels). At first, I was TERRIFIED of this part. I imagined we’d be out in the bush and within close proximity to lions and other animals which screamed “danger.” However, we mostly stay at campgrounds that are really nice and well-maintained. They have bathrooms with running water and some even have (mediocre) wifi. They’re typically fenced in but we’ve seen some zebras and giraffes and other animals at our campsites which is really cool.
Driving days can be long and we spend them sleeping on the bus, playing cards and other games, listening to music, or hanging out and talking. We stop occasionally for bathroom breaks and for lunch on the side of the road. In the evenings we have dinner together. Sometimes we stop for just one night and keep traveling, others we stay put for a few days to see local attractions.
So far, the most unexpected aspect of our experience so far is that people come and go throughout the trip. We are the only people who joined the truck in Zambia. Most everyone else had been from either Uganda or Kenya, over a month ago. With the exception of one couple, everyone will finish the trip in Cape Town. We had 5 more people join us in Victoria Falls, about a week and a half after we started.
Everyone is really awesome and it’s nice to be traveling via truck because we get to see the countries we are visiting slowly. We’re having a great time so far and are looking forward to the rest of the trip! More photos to come soon!