Absolute Africa Review

Absolute Africa Review

So if you’ve been following me at all on social media over the last few months, you’ll pretty much know that I’ve been on the trip of a lifetime in a landscape made of travel dreams!

Yep 48 days overlanding through Southern and East Africa is the kind of trip many dream about… and I’m lucky enough to have experienced it!

Not my first time to the continent, this has however been my first trip to East Africa, my first organised tour trip and the first time I’ve travelled and pretty much known where I was going to be and what I was going to be doing 2 months ahead of time!

Yes, lots of firsts.

Because sometimes it’s good to push our travel boundaries, perceptions and styles and take the plunge into something new and that’s exactly my African overland trip was all about.

And honestly, I can tell you it was absolutely worth every second of it.

Tanzania, Serengeti, Entrance

From South Africa to Botswana, Zimbabwe to Zambia, Malawi to Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and finally Kenya, the trip gave me an amazing window into the depth and diversity of this very different part of the world.

It swept me up in its charms and provided me with more adventure, memories, highlights, hilarity – and more photographs – than I could ever have hoped for!

Sometimes those challenges pay off I guess.

Especially if you travel with a company like Absolute Africa!

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My African overland safari trip was sponsored by Absolute Africa, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Kenya, Masai Mara, Giraffe Face

Absolute Africa Review

So yes, I was lucky enough to work with Absolute Africa on my overland trip.

But not just lucky as a blogger, lucky as a traveller too.

I think anyone who travels with Absolute Africa could count themselves lucky.

And that’s because these guys really are a fabulous tour company.

From the extremely prompt and helpful admin staff who will help you book and prepare for your trip, through to their excellent range of tours, top safety standards, great guides, brilliant drivers and well-equipped trucks – these are the guys you want to overland Africa with.

Zambia, South Luangwa NP, Lion Cub

Positive Reviews

Ok, so I don’t have an awful lot to compare that too, but I do know that everyone I travelled with across the 48 days had A LOT of positives to say about this company too… And they pretty much went along the lines of exactly what I’ve just said above!

As do many of the reviews you can find online.

Absolute Africa, Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls Portrait

African Specialists

Unlike some of the other big African overland company players, I was drawn to Absolute Africa because they are a smaller company that only focus on this continent.

This of course means they are highly specialised, highly knowledgeable and have probably encountered every question you might throw at them and every situation you might find yourself in!

When you’re travelling to a continent more off the beaten tourist path, it really is so reassuring that someone knows what they’re doing and what you’re doing at pretty much all times!

Absolute Africa, Big Yellow Truck

Everything Taken Care Of!

It’s also wonderful to have somebody tell you what visas you need, what currency you need, what you’re doing that day, where you’re spending the night and how you’re getting there!

Yes, if you take a trip with Absolute Africa, prepare for your brain to turn to mush pretty quickly as you sit back and enjoy the incredible views out the window!

However, as much as I (and my whole group) loved our trip with Absolute Africa I do understand this sort of trip might not be for everyone.

So, to give you a better idea, here’s a breakdown of the people for whom I think an overland trip with Absolute Africa would be an unmissable, unforgettable trip of a lifetime…

Absolute Africa, Zambia, Leopard

Great for Budget Travellers

My tour with Absolute Africa was called the Flight of the Flamingos and took me from Johannesburg in South Africa to Nairobi in Kenya.

While it’s certainly not the cheapest trip I’ve ever made (read. travelling in Africa is not as cheap as you’d expect) I really doubt I could have seen as much as I did on my overland trip for less, even travelling independently.

That’s primarily because Absolute Africa are able to gain discounts with local service providers and then pass those savings onto their customers. This is something you’d never be able to do travelling alone.

The trip is also built around a budget style.

You camp every night in some great, remote places and again this keeps costs down.

Absolute Africa, Camp Zambia 2

If you were travelling independently I really don’t think you’d get to know about all the fantastic places we pitched tents, and you’d likely be over all the driving before you reached them anyway!

The nightly campfire atmosphere of my Absolute Africa trip was also perfectly pitched to budget travellers, as is the often ‘rough and ready’ style of life in a big, yellow truck!

The other reason I think Absolute Africa is perfect for budget travellers is because their tour prices incorporate a huge amount of included costs.

From national park entrance fees to 2 meals a day and all camping accommodation, the majority of the trip spending is all paid at once and you don’t need to shell out for a huge amount of extras if you don’t want to.

But, a word of warning, if you’re not up for going on a wild, adventure tour that includes setting up a tent daily, a lack of hot showers and lots of camp dinner (although actually the food was delicious and our Southern Africa guide was THE BEST cook!), definitely have a think about whether this is the sort of trip for you.

Personally I LOVED it!

This is Africa after all…

Zimbabwe, Hwange NP, Campsite

Great for Solo Travellers

Being new to this type of tour travel, I can definitely attest to the fact that travelling overland with Absolute Africa is also AMAZING for solo travellers!

And that’s largely because you’re automatically going to find yourself an incredible set of travel buddies.

Yep, there’s nothing like travelling on a bus together day in, day out for becoming very close to people very quickly!

As this is actively encouraged by the company, who really exalt a collaborative atmosphere, friends are easy to come by with Absolute Africa!

Dinners are cooked collaboratively, tents are shared, bus seats are swapped and too many stories to recall are recounted over beers in the evening.

Africa, Malawi, Football Players

But there’s also space for you to do your own thing too of course!

With tons of optional activities to choose from, if you want to carve out your adventure as a solo traveller there’s plenty of opportunity to do that as well. From Zanzibar side trips to accommodation upgrades, if you want your own space, you can have it.

That said, if you are used to backpacking solo you may find being on the truck for a long period of time a bit prescriptive, so consider the length of your trip carefully.

Indeed at the beginning, such a shock was this form of organised travel that I wasn’t sure how I going to fair over the course of 7 weeks.

But let me tell you, it’s amazing how quickly you adapt and soon I was the truck’s number 1 fan, especially because I quickly realised I didn’t have to lug my backpack anywhere – dreamy!

Absolute Africa, Uganda, Gorilla Eating

Great for Bucket List Tickers

This is definitely where an overland trip with Absolute Africa comes into its own!

Indeed, bucket list ticks is exactly what this company’s various itineraries are centred on.

So, if you want to come to Southern and East Africa, visit all the major attractions within a certain timeframe and tick a hellavu lot of stuff off your bucket list, I reckon there ain’t no better way to do it!

As I’ve said, the Absolute Africa itineraries include many things into their initial costs, so you’re not going to need to shell out a stack of extra cash to see the stuff you came to Africa to see!

Just some of the bucket list items I got to tick off on my trip included Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi, trekking with gorillas, diving Zanzibar, the Serengeti and MORE safaris and wildlife than I could have even hoped to tick off!

So trust me, it was a full-on itinerary!

Absolute Africa Truck, Spare Tyres

This meant even for a high-energy person like me, an overland trip can become tiring and there’s no denying those long drive days, especially in Southern Africa, can become monotonous and repetitive.

As such, do bear in mind that your overland trip will not be a relaxing and reclining kind of holiday, despite the bus time! In fact, it’s far more likely to be an adventure one… and you need to be prepared for that.

BUT, the different sorts of bucket list attractions are also exceptionally well balanced by Absolute Africa – so that multiple game drives are then offset against some beautiful beach chill days – and the whole itinerary was exceptionally well-timed and well-spaced to make sure you see as much as possible without burning out.

Botswana, Sunset, Tree

Great for Short & Long Trips

This leads me onto my next point, which is that Absolute Africa is great for both short and long term travellers.

With multiple itineraries, departure dates and guaranteed trips, you have a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to picking your tour with Absolute Africa.

This is a massive plus point, as you really can pick and choose / mix n match your African overland adventure based on the amount of time you have and what you want to see.

Absolute Africa also offer a range of add-ons in addition to their set departure date tours.

So, if you want to tag-on a trip to the Kenyan coast or a climb Mount Kilimanjaro, for example, you can do just that.

And, of course, you have the major choice between discovering East or Southern Africa, given that they service both.

Kenya, Masai Mara, Smiling Hyena

If you want my honest opinion, having done both, then I recommend the East Africa section more if you’re pushed for time.

This is simply because the attractions are more condensed in the Tanzania / Rwanda / Uganda / Kenya part of the continent compared to Southern Africa where drives to get to places are longer.

I mean, of course if you have the time, then do both (I still regret I didn’t make it to Namibia with Absolute Africa) but if time won’t allow, I recommend East Africa where you can tick more off your bucket list in a shorter amount of time.

In particular, a tour that incorporated Zanzibar, the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Gorilla trekking, the Serengeti, the Source of the Nile and the Kigali Genocide Memorial would give you an incredible and fascinating glimpse into this part of the world in only a few weeks.

As an aside, I also I think Southern Africa is easier to travel independently and cheaper, so leave the harder, more expensive part to the experts I say!

Botswana, Chobe River, Elephant in Water

Great for Africa First-Timers

I would say that most people on my Absolute Africa trip decided to join a tour, when they normally wouldn’t travel this way, was because it heralded their first foray into Africa.

And I can relate.

Absolute Africa, Truck Interior

Africa isn’t one of those backpacker meccas like southeast Asia and information can be hard to glean and patchy at best.

This means having someone organise all the practicalities for you can remove a massive headache when it comes to travelling in Africa.

In particular, an amazing shout-out has to go to the super office staff at Absolute Africa who, everyone on the tour agreed, went above and beyond in terms of helpfulness, promptness of response and professionalism.

And from the moment you book your trip with these guys, you’re still regularly updated with constant and evolving information, so that if you choose Absolute Africa, you’ll be heading out to this continent fully informed and prepared.

From visa information to health considerations, from suggestions about the currency to bring and how much, to booking pre and post tour travel, Absolute Africa are there to guide you every step of the way.

Kenya, Masai Mara, Striding Giraffe

If you haven’t been to Africa before, this sense of safety, security and peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.

And of course, the fact you are travelling with local guides and drivers makes a huge difference too.

Getting to spend a lot of time with local people in this close way is a very special experience for a traveller, especially when it comes to gleaning on the ground knowledge and cultural insight.

They say on a tour the guides make it and honestly, it’s absolutely true.

These guys did not stop, day in, day out, making sure we had the best time.

Manache (chef extraordinaire) and Kip (ultimate joker) THANK YOU SO MUCH! ❤ ❤ ❤

Too Much LOVE for you beauties!

And there were our 2 fantastic drivers as well. With their incredible skills for manoeuvring a huge yellow truck on some of the craziest roads and keeping us safe, Dave and Steve… you rocked it guys, thank you ❤

Absolute Africa, Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls Selfie

Great for 25-35 Year Olds

As I’ve said, any Absolute Africa trip is going to be an active one, so don’t get confused by the thought of sitting on a bus all day!

To travel with this company, you need be fit enough to put up your tent daily and to hop in and out of a massive, elevated truck and cope with regular bush toilet stops!

Ideally you also want to be fit enough to hike, dive, cycle and swim to enjoy everything on offer.

As I’ve said before, you’re not always going to be guaranteed hot water or wifi, so don’t book an Absolute Africa trip if you can’t live without too many luxuries either!

Kenya, Lake Nakuru, Baboon

But with that in mind, Absolute Africa also isn’t the type of company for 18 year olds who want to party.

Yes, there were some many beers enjoyed on regular basis as part of our trip and some excellent, if not hazy memories of early morning antics, but Absolute Africa caters more for people who really want to see stuff in Africa and not just the bottom of a bottle.

Personally, this was a fantastic combination as it meant my truck mates were all intelligent, engaged and well-informed people with tons of interesting stuff to say and share – delightful!

And of course, our brains were also well-fed by our excellent guides.

In particular, my East Africa guide imparted a huge amount of local information, which as a Kenyan used to dealing with Westerners, he explained in terms we understood perfectly.

But the depth and graciousness with which he imparted a stack of information was astounding. We loved every minute and hung on every word.

So, to sum it all up… would I recommend an Absolute Africa trip? ABSO_FREAKING_LUTELY!

Check out the full range of Absolute Africa tours & prices here.

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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