Flying Safari or Overland? That is the question in choosing the right holiday in Africa.

Choosing the right holiday in Africa can be a little daunting. Very daunting! Do you want to travel overland or would you prefer a flying safari or even a guided 4WD self drive safari? The options are endless and there are multiple choices of tour packages out there. So here, I am going to offer my years of experience in travelling and leading safaris and expeditions across Africa to help you along.

Obviously what you ultimately decide will depend on your budget and the amount of time you have. Here are some of the pros and cons of each style of travel.

Flying Safari

If you have limited time and want to see and do as much as possible on your holiday in Africa then this may be the best option. A flying safari cuts out or greatly reduces travel days meaning there is more time to enjoy the highlights. This is particularly popular when visiting national parks and game reserves which often take a full days drive to access.

Another benefit of flying safaris means you can cover more ground in a limited amount of time, meaning you are not restricted to just one country on your 2 week holiday but can include highlights in 2 or 3 countries. For some people this is the perfect solution as they know they will visit Africa only once and therefore can tick off highlights on their bucket list in one swoop.

Although this option may appear to be expensive, in reality, if you only have 2 weeks to visit the Continent of your dreams and by opting to fly, means you cover more ground, see and do more than you ever expected; than in my opinion it is well worth the investment. It can be difficult to find a tour package that covers more than 1 country however they are out there

The downside is you may risk missing out on the local experience of travelling by road through villages and towns, stopping at local markets to explore and interacting with local people.


Whether you have 2 weeks or 2 months overland travel is the only way to travel in some people’s opinion; there are those who believe Africa can only be experienced from the ground level. By travelling overland means you have the opportunity to be closer to local communities, have a more authentic experience and see the real Africa.

Advent overlanders will argue that there is no other way to truly experience a country. While travelling overland means you see how real people live, travel on the same roads as locals, drive through villages, see and smell the environment.

The downside to overlanding is if you only have a couple of weeks for your holiday then you are restricted to the distance you can cover during this time. A fair amount of your time is allocated to getting from one destination to another, this is not necessary a bad thing, after all it is also about the journey not just the destination!

Guided 4WD Self Drive Safari

Now this is for those who are after a real adventure, it is definitely not your average holiday package found in brochures and large travel websites. Guided 4WD self drive safaris and expeditions are specialized and therefore only available through experienced on the ground operators. We are not talking about standard car hire in South Africa but a multi-country overland experience where you are driving yourself with backup support from a lead vehicle and support crew.

Guided 4WD self drive safaris are not for the faint hearted, not only do you need to be a confident driver but you also need to be open minded and excited to experience the real Africa like a local. Negotiating road blocks and border crossings puts a completely different perspective to travelling overland; while you have a lead vehicle with crew to guide you along, your the one driving.

The benefits to this type of travel is the satisfaction of meeting the challenge of driving across Africa, something many people dream of, but seldom few have. There is also an element of independent travel thrown in, while your expedition is fully supported (accommodation, meals, vehicle maintenance, international paperwork etc), you still have the flexibility to game drive in National Parks at your own pace, rather than share this with many others. This is a huge bonus, you decide how long to stay by that pride of lions or at the Mara River crossing waiting for the wildebeest to cross.

Another benefit is your vehicle is your home for your overland adventure with just you and your partner and/or family sharing the vehicle; no one else.

Of course this is just a brief overview of the pros and cons to each style of travel and I could write pages about the topic, but you would probably fall asleep long before finishing the article!

If you are having trouble deciding which style of travel or tour package to choose then please contact me and I will be more than happy to assist.

Debs from Africa Expedition Support has over 15 years experience in leading safaris and expeditions in Africa, South American and the Middle East.  Contacts Debs on or via


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