General Preparation


If you are new to safari or over landing this will be one of the exciting parts of your tour, but it can also be one of the most anxious times of the tour.

Generally guests on a 4×4 route overdo the preparation part. I am not saying that preparation is not important, just that things should not be overcomplicated. Routes often travel through towns and having the local currency in your pocket is easier than driving your whole garage and kitchen with you.

You will be rather amazed at how easy this is, the most important part is a warm bed, good quality food. Once you have this your morale is good and the rest is a breeze.

Second most important are your camera, binoculars, bird and other ref books and a personal light.

Lastly comes the rest, showers, porta potties, washing machines and whatever else you can buy in the shops.

A few items to consider in no real order of importance:

Bedding and personal

  • Tent. Ground tent or roof top does not matter. I see about a 50/50 split on the use on my tours.
  • Bedding, sleeping on the ground is fine, just take along insulation material to insulate you from the ground. The reflective blankets from the camping stores will work fine, otherwise card board boxes.
  • Mattress, the blow up type is good but they are guaranteed to puncture, the foam type is better but they are bulky, Bring what you are comfortable with.
  • Sleeping bags are still the easiest to use, but a duvet will also work. Take extra blankets in winter, maybe one spare blanket in summer. I find the fleece type blankets the best. Sometimes called a Sherpa blanket, inside or over the sleeping bag on a cold night, and just the blanket on a cool night works the best. A hot water bottle will also help if you don’t like the cold.
  • Warm clothes for the evenings. The nights get a little chilly in winter all over southern Africa. If your head is warm you can cope with rather severe weather. Remember your beanie! Sleeping in a beanie works great on really cold nights. A jacket for winter evenings
  • Sun protection. Hat, sunscreen,
  • Insect protection. Repellent and flying insect aerosol insecticide (Doom), take an extra can. In my experience the “nice” eco friendly and gimmick type repellents do not work. I use Tabard and Doom/Baygon.
  • Medical kit, remember the basics, sore tummy, headache, allergies, small cuts, nausea, diarrhoea, Eno’s and heartburn. You can also ask your doctor for a course of antibiotics in preparation of your safari, tell your doctor that you are going out of country and in to the bush and that you want to be prepared for the event of someone getting sick in your group. They are normally OK with that. Remember on some of our routes we are 2 days’ drive away from civilisation.
  • Toilet paper

Camping stuff & food & water

  • Chairs and a table ( or the tailgate of your bakkie ) to prepare your food at.
  • Fridge if you have one. Remember to limit your raw red meats and dairy in case the vet gates are difficult.
    If you do not have a fridge there are other ways to do this, cooler box, rolled up newspaper etc, speak to me and I will help to plan this.
  • Lights. I will provide a general tube light for the fireplace area, you need lights for your food prep area and inside your tent. Headlamps will be fine, there are thousands to choose from.
  • Pots and pans for cooking. This will be the heavy part if you are not careful. Try to do everything in not more than two pots. I use one large aluminium frying pan for everything.
  • Cutlery, crockery, kitchen utensils, sunlight soap and dish wash cloths.
  • Drinking water in 2 litre bottles is easy to pack, but you might have space for a 5 or 20 litre. Have a look at the itinerary for water availability. Drinking water can be attained by purchasing it, boiling, adding 5ml Jic per litre, purification tablets or drops, filtering etc. Do not overdo the carrying of water, it is heavy.
  • Drinks. Soft drinks and more “heavy” stuff. A wine or sherry always goes down well. A sundowner is always welcome.
  • Snacks for the car. Lunch will be for your own account and next to the road for about 45 mins. Tuna snack packs, crackers, chips, tinned fruit, dried fruit etc will do well for this purpose.
  • Recovery equipment is not necessary as I have all of it.
    You should however have
    Leather gloves, a tyre pump and tyre pressure gauge.
    I will have a spade with me, air jack and the rest. If you have the equipment and want to use it you are welcome. I will use mine as back up.
  • Single spare wheel should be good enough.
  • Cadac or other gas bottle and cooker top.

More on equipment

Tents: The difference between a roof top tent and ground tent is small enough to make no difference at all. It is all about using a tent you know and are comfortable with. Roof tops have built in mattresses, they are off the ground and dry and flat, but you can slip and fall off the ladder. To answer nature’s call becomes difficult if you have to get out of a roof top tent. Ground tents are on the ground and you cannot fall, but you rely on the levelness of the earth to sleep level and the ground might not be smooth. All in all I have an equal number of guests with ground tents as with roof top tents.

The basics are that it must be quick to set up and take down. Taking a leaf out of the overlanders book, they normally get up at 5.30am and leave at 6am they use a small 2.5 x 2.5 dome tent without awnings, easy, fast and one person can set it up.

Recovery equipment: The most important if you would be setting yourself up to do this in future, would be the following: leather work gloves, spade, suitable snatch rope/strap, tow strap, shackles, compressor, tyre pressure gauge, tyre repair kit.

If you do not have the equipment please do not go out and buy everything, speak to me to consult on the correct equipment for your vehicle. Bluerhino also has all the equipment in the lead vehicle and will assist in all recoveries to ensure safety.

What you are expected to have with you on this tour: Spade, tyre pressure gauge, tyre pump. Driving off road will require us to deflate and pressurise our tyres regularly, a good pump is important.

Tyre pump/compressor: If you do not have one, please do not go and buy the most expensive, however be careful of the cheapest as well. Regarding tyre pumps we have two things to think of, how long will it take to pump 4 or 6 tyres, will that be suitable for the time available in the group and will the pump handle the running time? All pumps have a duty cycle, how long they may run continuously before breaking. I prefer to run them as short as possible typically 20 minutes. A good size pump to have is a 75-160 litre/min. 75 is good if you only have 4 tyres, 150 is better if you have a trailer as well.  

With a 160 litre pump I can inflate 4 tyres from 1 bar to 2.2 bar in about 12 minutes; a 76 litre is double that, 24 minutes. If you have a trailer and use a 76 litre pump, it is about 36 minutes.

When we stop to pump tyres we try and keep it as short as possible normally around 20 mins.

If you are not sure contact me on advice on the selection of equipment.

Fuel & Tyres

Check your fuel consumption on the highway at 120kph if you will be towing a trailer use this vehicle configuration for your calculations, note your consumption and calculate the range of your vehicle with the on board tank. Exclude jerry cans for this exercise.

Now calculate 75% of your range. We typically find this to be the consumption in 4×4 mode on tours.

Now establish the additional litres needed per 100km, and calculate the on board fuel required.

My rule of thumb is that you should be able to do 1000km if you are touring southern Africa.

In my experience the diesel vehicle consumption is much better than the petrol engines in off road conditions.

We might see the following typical consumption for non towing vehicles in km per litre off road conditions:

2.5 litre turbo diesels, 7 to 9 km per litre, 11 to 14 litre per 100 km.

3 and 3.2 litre turbo diesels, 9 to 10 km per litre, 10 to 11 litre per 100 km.

3 and 4 litre petrol engines, 4 to 6.5 km per litre, 15 to 20 litre per 100 km.

Towing something will make matters a little worst.


Normal range in the vehicle configuration as you would go on holiday at 120kph on a highway.

I drive a 2.5 td Mazda bakkie loaded as for my holiday I have a range of 1100km.

I achieve this with my built in double tank in total 140 litres,

Thus 1100 km x 75% = 825km

Consumption is 825km divided by 140 litres = 5.9 km per litre

100km divided by 5.9 km/l = 16.9 litres per 100 km.

Thus I can reach 825 km with my on board tank and need 17 litres for every extra 100 km. The itinerary will give you and idea of our longest stretch between stops on our tour.

Road conditions and tyres

The road conditions will vary between tar and deep sand. Tyre choice will depend on the route you will drive. I use all terrain tyres in all my routes, but you can get away with highway terrain tyres as well.