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Guides & Crew
Travellers on an Overland tour can expect a crew of up to 3 though the usual number is 2. Each crew member has specific responsibilities detailed below although they often end up performing a number of roles, adapting to the group and events as they unfold.
Overland crew members are personable, keen and conscientious young men and women with a passion for the countries they are taking you through. It’s important to realise however that Overland crew are not guides but leaders. They can’t identify every single mammal, bird, insect and plant in Africa - specialist guides with that depth of knowledge usually work for the most exclusive, most expensive safari companies - but what overland crew do have is the extensive knowledge and experience to get you safely from one end of Africa to the other in a relaxed and enjoyable way.
Sometimes the crew has to make a decision with regards to health, safety, security and other issues caused by circumstances beyond their control. This may not always be a popular decision. As far as possible, your crew will take into account the wishes of the group as a whole, but your understanding and patience at these times will be much appreciated. The tour leader has complete authority on tour and his/her decision is final.
The driver of an overland truck or 4X4 is responsible for not only driving you safely from A to B but for mechanical maintenance and repairs as well. Overland drivers service the vehicle between tours and know what to do if the truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere or gets stuck in mud or sand. They have a proven ability to “make a plan” – after all, who knows if there is going to be a convenient workshop close by. All drivers hold an HGV or PSV license or equivalent and have extensive mechanical knowledge.
The Tour Leader
The Master Planner: it’s the tour leader’s job to organise everything en route and ensure that the whole trip runs smoothly. They are ‘leaders’ rather than ‘guides’ and use their experience to get the passengers from A to B in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. Steering the group through otherwise unfamiliar terrain, it’s their job to provide food and accommodation for the group, information about the areas they are travelling through, and organise optional excursions and activities. They manage the finances, do the accounts and additional paperwork, and supervise the group when crossing borders or obtaining visas.
The Safari Cook
Some companies employ a third member of crew as a safari cook - but they’re neither expected to be cordon blue chefs nor to peel spuds for 20 people on their own. Passengers on an Overland tour take turns helping to set up equipment, chopping vegetables, washing up and so on. It’s the cook’s job to provide enough good, wholesome food for the group and he or she is responsible for taking care of the truck’s kitchen and the food shopping.