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Group tours proving popular with gappers

2nd July 2013 Print
Acacia Africa travellers on a small group safari

Gapping season is just around the corner, and adventurers from across the globe are looking forward to twelve months of unabated thrill seeking on distant shores. According to Acacia Africa a growing number of gappers are adding in group tours along the way, the independent backpacker brigade choosing to head overland, take on a small group safari or voluntour as part of their experience.

Leanne Haigh, Sales & Marketing Manager for Acacia Africa comments, “Social networking has played a huge part in this trend, and it’s no longer group versus independent gapper. Many of our adventurers are travel bloggers and online personalities in their own right. Their opinion has had a major impact on people who might not have previously considered taking a group tour on their year out.”

Erin Michelson, Editor of the Go Erin Go blog, comments, "During my two-year around-the-world journey I took small group tours at least 10 times and they always added to the fun – meeting new travel mates and having adventures that you can’t do solo. I took an Acacia Africa 6-day overland tour from the capital of Uganda, Kampala, to see the mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park. As a single female traveler, the group tours not only offered a bit of safety and comfort, but also allowed me to share the cost of travel."

Wild Gappers – Tour operators cover more than the established destinations and small group safaris allow backpackers to get off the beaten track and appreciate Africa in a more intimate setting. Enter Swaziland, and a village headed by one of the few female chiefs in the landlocked kingdom. Not simply an onlooker, here you can immerse yourself in the culture, participate in traditional music and dance (an integral part of Swazi life from cultural rites to marriage ceremonies) weave baskets, grind grain or prepare thatching for the village huts. 7-day Kruger, Swaziland & Durban from £585pp + local payment from £247pp. Starts Johannesburg – ends Durban.

Social Gappers – Not all best friends make the best travel buddies, the high and lows of the unfamiliar putting a strain on the closest of relationships. With no single supplement charge, overlanding is now seen as one of the ideal ways to meet a mate in Africa, a few weeks of T.I.A. (This Is Africa) experiences, ensuring you make a wise decision on your choice of backpacker companion at the end of the tour. 19-day South West Safari from £775pp + local payment from £396pp. Starts Livingstone – ends Cape Town.

Gap Breakers – Even for the hardiest of independent travellers, sometimes it’s nice to take your foot of the gas and let a tour leader take over the logistics for a while. Small group safaris or shorter overland expeditions are viewed as a great way to recharge your batteries - new friends and magical tour moments adding a fresh dose of wanderlust to the year-long adventure. 7-day Coast To Cape Town from £595pp + local payment from £205pp. Starts Durban – ends Cape Town.

Give Back Gappers – There are plenty of people who decide to volunteer as they travel. A ready-made voluntour is proving popular, as established operators will have vetted the program, ensuring gappers are giving back to ethical organisations. Any traveller could find themselves kicking back on Spice Island’s sands, but on the 21-day Zanzibar, Community & Wildlife Safari you can pitch in with village education for the first 13 days of the tour. From £1,555pp + local payment from £403pp. Starts Zanzibar – ends Nairobi.

Prep Gappers – are generally single travellers who want the thrill of the open road all to themselves, but also want to get acquainted with Africa. Safety and age are the main reasons to add in a tour, an increasing number of younger gappers and female adventurers heading overland before they gap. 7-day African Insight from £395pp + local payment from £167pp. Starts Johanesburg – ends Victoria Falls.

Leanne Haigh, comments “Obviously, budget constraints and careers can hamper our chances of taking a whole year out, another reason why overlanding has become a popular choice."

Ideal for anyone taking a shorter sabbatical the 58-day Ultimate African Overlander expedition, Acacia Africa’s longest tour, covers eight countries. From £2,395pp + local payment from £1,246pp and gorilla & chimp trekking permit from £358pp. Starts Nairobi – ends Cape Town.

Known as Gap Tasters, shorter tours covering several countries are ideal for those who haven’t yet pinned down the ultimate year out, the 13-day Desert & Delta Express itinerary allowing overlanders to learn the logistics of big tripping and experience Botswana, Namibia & Zambia. From £525pp + local payment from £288pp. Starts Swakopmund – ends Livingstone.

For more information, visit

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Acacia Africa travellers on a small group safari