Overlanding into Mozambique opens up a vast array of options for travellers, as one can visit remote areas that are otherwise challenging to get to. Overlanding allows off-roading into local villages and stops at uncommon locations with the opportunity to gain rare insights.

Kerry-Lee Martheze, Office Manager at Drifters Adventours says: “Mozambique is an extremely large country and not that accessible to most regions off the beaten track. The infrastructure has developed over the years, however the majority of the country is still very wild in essence. Overlanding is an easier and more affordable way of seeing a country as opposed to self-driving, especially if it is the first time travelling to Southern Africa.”

Carol Martin, Cape Town Office Manager of Nomad Africa Adventure Tours, says overlanding is aimed at the more adventurous and budget-conscious traveller, as travel is to less-visited destinations. “An adventure tour aims to provide a more inclusive experience. We include cultural interaction, game viewing, and social interaction.

“Our belief is that it’s not about the arrival at a destination, but the total experience of the journey that is important. We travel together, eat together, learn from each other’s cultures and form a strong supportive team.”

Overlanding via the Kruger into Mozambique

The Giriyondo Transfrontier gate serves as an exit point through the Kruger National Park, as well as entry point into Mozambique. Tourvest DMC’s Market Manager for the Benelux, Esther Ruempol, says the route is occasionally requested by their more adventurous FIT clients.

“I believe it is a great ‘off the beaten track’ itinerary, which can work well in certain market. A 4×4 is required for this route and accommodation options are somewhat limited, but it’s definitely a very scenic and exciting self-drive option for experienced travellers,” explains Ruempol.

The Kruger National Park is the first experience on Nomad Africa Adventure’s Discover Mozambique 14-day tour, says Martin. “It is definitely a highlight, as it offers a great variety of a bush and beach experience.”

Who uses overlanding?

According to Martheze, the majority of the Europeans, who constitute a significant market for Drifters, prefer to have their tours structured and planned out, therefore, offering better security and assurance while travelling in a Third World country such as Mozambique.

She says guests who travel with Drifters are between the ages of 18 and 55, the core of which is 26 and 40 years of age. “They are generally looking for adventure and experiential travel in a controlled environment that offers something different to a standard tour – a tour that offers a taste of culture, gaining knowledge, and meeting new people from different countries.”

Martin says that in the past, groups tended to be rather young, as the majority of travellers to Africa were backpackers. However, as Africa has become progressively a more mainstream destination, their guests have also changed.

“The average age of our campers is between 20 and 45 and of our accommodated guests is between 35 and 60,” says Martin. She says these are just an estimate, as each tour is different and campers and accommodated guests travel together.

During university breaks, she says, younger travellers tend to make up the majority of their tours.

Mariska Yntema, Product Manager for Jenman African Safaris, says those opting for overlanding tend to come from Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

What’s on offer?

Drifters Adventours currently offers a Mozambique 14-day tour, which will be replaced in 2018 by the Southern Highlights 16-day tour, which includes Maputo, Inhambane, and Xai Xai. The tour operator also offers the Southern Circle 24-day tour, which includes Chimoio, Vilanculos, Inhambane, and Maputo.

Nomad Africa Adventure Tours offers a 14 day Discover Mozambique tour, starting in Johannesburg and travelling to the Kruger National Park. The tour takes guests to Swaziland, and then on to Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route with stops at Three Rondavels and God’s Window. From there guests are driven to Tofo, Mozambique, a surfing paradise, and then on to the Bazaruto archipelago, where guests can experience a dhow safari and go snorkelling.

Yntema from Jenman Safaris says the southern parts of Mozambique up to Vilanculos can easily be included in a private overlanding safari, although they do not offer fixed departures at the moment. She says they would combine this region with a safari in the Kruger, or a trip to one of the game reserves in KwaZulu Natal.

“A trip to Mozambique is bound to include a couple of days relaxing at the idyllic beaches, exploring local villages and the rich cultural history. Many activities are available, including various water sports such as snorkelling and boat cruises,” says Yntema.