Lizzy

What Is The Difference Between Camping, Overlanding And Glamping In Africa?

Imagine you, surrounded by the vast African savannah, the starry night skies, and the raw and untamed wilderness. That’s the backdrop of my own adventures across this magnificent continent. And in this vast playground, I’ve dived into three distinct outdoor experiences: camping, overlanding, and glamping and I have experienced all three of them!

As a couple, we ventured into the world of glamping in Pongola Game Reserve, and I can tell you, it’s a story in itself. Meanwhile, Overlanding was my first experience with Africa when I joined a group, and it transformed the way I view traveling through Africa. And then yes, the overlanding was combined with “regular” camping 🙂

Now, before I share those tales and take apart the characteristics of each adventure style, let’s start with getting to know what camping, overlanding, and glamping really stand for.

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What is the difference between Camping, Overlanding, and Glamping?


Camping in Africa


Camping in Africa can be done in different ways.

You can either strap a tent to your backpack, go on hikes, and always pitch that tent under the wide savanna sky, stoking a fire, and sleeping to the sounds of the bush.

This means that this is raw, immersive, and as straightforward as it gets: you’re going to find out about self-sufficiency and the purest way to connect with nature. Keep in mind that this is the hard way and not always easy for a tourist who has never been to Africa, so be sure to keep it as safe as possible!

Some of the safety tips for overlanding that I wrote about here, can also apply to this way of camping and traveling, especially the robbery part! On the other hand, sleeping in your tent in Africa is completely safe against wild animals: they don’t come in your tent and you can zip it up all the way to protect you against mosquitoes!

The couple in this YouTube video who stayed camping in Krugerpark, has some beautiful footage, wish I had a camera like that haha!

Yes, I have camped in a lot of countries in Africa, and never had issues with any animals, big or small, seeking into my tent, just don’t get out in the middle of the night in a national park between the lions!

But you can also just camp beside your overlander or even have a tent on top of your overlander, and sleep in there. Whatever you like!

Overlanding in Africa


Overlanding, though, takes a different spin. This isn’t just about a night under the stars; it’s about the (longer) journey. Packed with gear, I joined an overlanding adventure twice, and I traveled through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, and Botswana.

The key here is the drive itself through diverse terrains, creating a powerful narrative of travel and discovery over time and distance. So, this usually takes you a lot more miles, and even several countries, as I did before.

me at the Etosha Pan national park

Glamping in Africa


Glamping was a later discovery. Here, luxury tents with plush beds awaited. I quickly learned this is the wilderness in high style, offering an upscale version of my camping experiences. The dazzling African landscape was still a stone’s throw away, but so was the private hot tub, air-conditioning (in a tent wow!), and the expanded breakfast basket.

Personally, we stayed at White Elephant camp at Pongola game reserve, as you can see in the video below.

In my opinion, if you’re looking for nature without forgoing the comforts of a guest lodge or hotel, glamping’s got you covered.

My experiences with each accommodation have created unforgettable memories.

Comparing the Trio: A Comparative Look


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The three wilderness experiences offer dramatically different adventures. Let’s break it down with a table comparison that analyzes price, adventure level, danger, and more – all tailored to Africa travel.

AspectCampingOverlandingGlamping
AccommodationTents, backpacking, or next to your overlanderCustomized off-road vehicles (often times with a tent on the roof) or camper vansLuxury tents that have all comfort, including airco
PricePocket-friendlyCosts vary widely, depending on the vehicle, or if you travel in group, etc.Customized off-road vehicles (oftentimes with a tent on the roof) or camper vans
Adventure LevelHighModerateCurated, generally lower
DangerReal danger; potential wild animal encounters,
crime victim..
Moderate; managed risks by experienced guides if you go in group, and some overlanders are very well protected against wild animalsPricier, luxurious, but can be less expensive than overlanding, it all depends!
ExperienceImmersive, self-sufficientDiscovery-focused, adventureLuxurious, comfort-focused
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Camping in Africa can often be the most pocket-friendly option, but it doesn’t skimp on adventure. I’m in charge, from pitching my tent to fending for myself in the wild. The danger can be very real; I always recall that unnerving night a hyena wandered through our camp.

Overlanding is for those with a thirst for discovery. The costs vary widely, but the experiences are priceless. There’s a moderate level of danger, as experienced guides usually manage risks well. When I left to Africa by myself, joining a group was a game-changer; their expertise made it unforgettable and I felt very safe and taken care of.

Glamping is the luxurious cousin in this family. It’s pricier than regular camping, but the allure of the African bush in a five-star tented camp is incredibly captivating. The adventure is curated and generally safer, perfect for when my partner and I wanted to enjoy the wild without giving up on comfort because we are getting older hahaha!

(and in our glamping tent, we could even have separate beds, because he snores a lot lol!)


My Final Conclusion.

When you’re heading for the first time on an African safari, you might wonder what to chose between all the different options to travel around.

When you’re young, active and healthy, you could travel around camping in a small tent and manage that, but when you are 50 plus, you might consider a bit more comfortable way like our glamping experience 🙂

Either way, whether it’s camping, overlanding, or glamping, Africa’s heartbeats can be felt in every experience!

I hope that you understand the differences now and that I could help you decide on what to choose, I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards,

Lizzy

I now have a YouTube channel as well!

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