Wanting to travel in Africa, but having no-one to travel with I decided the easiest and safest way was to join an overland truck tour. I went with a company called Truck Africa and the journey was 6 weeks from Nairobi in Kenya to Harare in Zimbabwe. Along the way we went through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and finally Zimbabwe. The transport was this huge truck with a driver, guide and local Kenyan helper called ‘Often’. We camped in tents every night. Those travelling solo like me buddied up with other solo travellers for tent mates. Sometimes we camped at a place for a couple of nights, others for one night only. There were long days of travel on bumpy roads and other days of sights and experiences that I will never forget.
In Tanzania we saw some wildlife and spent 3 nights on the lovely island of Zanzibar (really rough ferry crossing). Malawi saw us camping by the lake and swimming first thing. The highlight of Zambia was definitely getting up close and personal with Victoria Falls. Our brief visit into Botswana was wonderful for seeing herds of elephants. I spent the most time in Zimbabwe where I saw the ruins of the old civilization of Great Zimbabwe, spent some time in the beautiful (if chilly eastern hills), a couple of days in Bulawayo and lots of time in Victoria Falls where I rafted, bungee-jumped and saw lots of rock art.
View Overland Africa Trip in a larger map
It was a fabulous experience. Challenging at times (we had to make our own entertainment a lot) I read a lot of books, listened to music a lot and definitely gained some self-confidence.
Practical Info: Here is a link to the company I used: http://www.truckafrica.com/ There are other companies offering similar journeys. Some are more comfortable, some are more basic.
With Truck Africa they provided all overland transport once you arrived at the departure point. They provided tents and cooking and eating utensils. They give you money from the kitty to buy the food (you shop in the markets then cook on the campfire). I had to bring my own sleeping bag, sleeping mat, medicines such as malaria tablets, water-bottle.
Tips: The countries are malarial – find out what you need to take and take it! I took Lariam with no side affects, but it can cause problems for some. Remember that whatever you buy you eventually have to carry or ship home! Keep the shopping to a few small things (I bought way too much and too many big things).
Bring a good sleeping bag! (I had an old one and was cold most nights).
There are some long travelling days, bring good books (to read & swap)