What is the Rock My Adventure travel style like?
I am a backpacker at heart, so the trips are backpacking style. Having travelled around Africa for the last 9 years, I feel that backpacking Africa is THE BEST way to see it.
But I also like a little luxury now and again, so we will mix it up between backpacking and flashpacking – cheap and cheerful places/activities and some nicer ones too. For instance, one day we might eat samosas from a street vendor and the next we might go for Afternoon Tea at the nicest hotel in town. Or sometimes we take public transport and sometimes we have our own private vehicle – it really depends.
There are planned activities most days, although I also like to build in ‘free’ days where you can do your own thing.
Occasionally we’ll have travel days, that’s Africa, but I try to keep these to a minimum and make them as fun/bearable as possible.
Sometimes we’ll stay in and have quiet nights, sometimes we’ll party! But if you don’t like to party, that’s also fine!
Why choose Rock My Adventure?
I live and breathe Africa travel.
I started the Helen in Wonderlust blog to dispel the myths about Africa travel and help others to see the wild, wonderful and colourful Africa I know and love. Taking my passion and knowledge of Africa travel I created Rock My Adventure.
Our aim is to literally ‘rock your adventure’ and each trip has been designed to make sure you have an amazing experience on your trip to Africa by creating an epic itinerary at an affordable price but without the stress of planning, booking and organising everything yourself.
Rock My Adventure trips are perfect for those who want to make the most of their limited time, for those who want the experience of backpacking but want someone else to do all the work or those who want to travel with a group of likeminded new friends.
I’ve never been backpacking (or flashpacking) before, what can I expect?
Backpacking in Africa is great! It’s not always easy or comfortable, but you will be blown away by the experience and once you get the Africa bug, it never really leaves you!
This can mean travelling on public transport, eating at local restaurants, meeting other travellers, meeting locals and being out of your comfort zone every now and again, but every day will be an adventure and you will go home with the best stories to tell your friends!
But as I said above, I also throw in a few little luxuries here and there so you get the best of both worlds but at an affordable price.
I wrote this blog post to try and explain just what it’s like to go backpacking in Africa. This is aimed at independent travellers, but you will get the idea, so give it a read!
Our groups will usually consist of 8 people (sometimes 10 – 12 on the Malawi, Zambia & Botswana and Namibia trips) to provide you with an intimate and authentic backpacking travel experience. Keeping numbers low ensures that the trips don’t feel too ‘tour’ like and allows us to get to know each other properly and make new friends as we go too.
Who will be the group leader?
Usually it will be me, Helen (Helen in Wonderlust). However, as Rock My Adventure expands, it may be someone else! I can’t be everywhere at once!
I like to get to the heart of the places I travel, to go on epic adventures, to be out in the wild, to meet local people, to experience the nightlife, to try new things, to immerse myself in the culture and most of all to have fun! All Rock My Adventure tours are planned with all these things at the forefront.
But don’t worry if it’s not me leading the tour, my group leaders are personally chosen by me for their knowledge, enthusiasm and general awesomeness! And they all love Africa travel as much as I do!
I also plan every trip, so with or without me, I promise you a great adventure!
What type of people come of your trips?
Cool people, obviously!
In all seriousness, there are a real mix of ages, nationalities and personalities!
I’ve had people from UK, USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Switzerland, Albania, Germany, Spain, Argentina… so far!
Most people are solo travellers but sometimes we get couples or friends joining the group too.
We have a Facebook group for those who have joined the trips so you will be able to meet, interact and ask questions before you go.
Am I too old to come on one of your trips?
There is no upper age limit for the trips. The average age is mid-twenties to mid-forties, however the youngest has been 20 and the oldest 70, so as long as you are laid-back, in good health and happy to get a lot with people of different ages, then you are not too old.
I’m 37 (almost 38) and I personally like to have a mix of ages and genders in the group!
What’s the minimum age for your trips?
At the moment it’s 18. This is because many of the trips are designed to be backpacker style and not child friendly. However I am looking to start doing some family trips in the near future.
Please feel free to enquire if you want to come with children/teenagers and we can discuss!
How fit do I have to be to go on one of your trips?
Some of the trips are more physically demanding, so you need to be able to cope with the level of physically required. The most physically demanding trip is the Rwanda, Uganda and DRC trip and you need to be in pretty good health to come on this trip to climb Mount Nyiragongo and do the gorilla trekking.
All other trips only need a moderate level of fitness.
But do be aware that travelling in Africa can be physically and mentally tough, with the heat, the bad roads, the crowds and the general chaos, so if you think any of those things may affect you physically or mentally, please feel free to discuss with me before you book.
Can I do my own thing sometimes?
Of course! If there are any of the activities you don’t want to do, you don’t have to! The trips are designed to be pretty flexible, so if you decide you want a day off from the group or you want to do something different or you want to stay in when others go out, that’s cool! This is your holiday!
What types of transport do you use?
Anyone who knows Africa will tell you that the journey is all part of the adventure! why fly when you can go overland, stopping in random places and meeting local people!
Between the main destinations on the trip, we usually use buses or trains.
But we also use anything from private mini buses, safari vehicles, to local taxis, to ferries, to trains, to a local dhows, to coaches and tuk tuks.
Do you use local companies?
Yes! All the time. I am passionate about promoting local businesses and we work with the best local operators to provide you with the highly personalised African adventure you’ve always dreamed of.
I also work with a number of knowledgeable, local guides to give you the best experience possible.
Is there much interaction with local people?
Yes of course. Throughout the trip we’ll interact wth lots of local people – our guides, out and about in town and with my friends. Having spent a lot of time on the African continent, I’ve been fortunate enough to make a lot of local friends in all the places we go and they often want to come and hang out with me and my groups when we’re in town!
Do you help me prepare for the trip?
Yes of course!
I send comprehensive pre-departure information to each participant before the trip.
This includes all the information you need on:
- Health & Safety
- Money & Budgeting
- What to Pack
You are also free to ask any questions as you go!
Do you include or book flights?
Currently no. However, I can help look for flights and advise on which flights to book!
Do you offer any other type of support?
If you are travelling elsewhere in Africa either before or after your Rock My adventure trip, I am able to offer some planning advice/support based on my own knowledge and contacts.
This is an exclusive offer to anyone who books a Rock My Adventure trip.
What type of accommodation do you use?
It depends on the trip. We can stay in backpacker hostels, hotels, eco lodges, overnight trains, tented camps (glamping) and on some safaris, basic safari tents (which are actually the best because there’s no mosquitos).
I usually try to split the groups into 2’s and 4’s for sleeping, however, occasionally the room split may be different, depending on the availability in the accommodation we use.
Where possible I like to stay in eco lodges or cool, quirky hostels & guesthouses. And I always like to stay in the best affordable accommodation around.
On the ‘What’s Included?’ section of each individual trip, you will find more information about the accommodation used on that specific trip.
What if I want my own room?
This is a backpacking trip, so most of the accommodation (and cost) is based around shared rooms, however, if you want your own room I can definitely look into this for you.
If you are a couple, I will try to secure you your own room (where possible).
*Specific room requests may come at an extra cost.
Is there a single supplement?
No. These trips are designed for solo travellers (although it’s perfectly fine if you come with a partner/friend) so there is no single supplement.
What are the toilets like?
Pretty much everywhere we stay will have the western-style toilets that you are used to. Occasionally the places we stay have compost eco toilets, which are pretty much like western-style toilets (you sit on them) but they are a long drop and they don’t flush. You do your business and then put some sawdust down the loo. They’re really not bad at all.
Sometimes the bathrooms will be ensuite and sometimes they will be shared.
However, on the trip you may come across other types of toilet when we are on the move. The different types of toilet you usually find are:
- Western-Style: Toilets that you probably have at home. Some flush, some don’t and have a bucket of water next to them for flushing.
- Flushing Squat: Ceramic squat toilet. It they aren’t the flushing type, they’ll probably have a bucket of water that you can use for flushing. Most of the service stations have these but they vary in standard!
- Hole in the Ground: This is usually a long drop squat toilet in an outhouse. The state of these vary greatly. You find these when we are travelling, usually in rural areas but sometimes in towns too, especially in petrol stations.
- Compost Toilet: A long drop toilet, but seated rather than squat. Usually found at eco-lodges.
- Bush Toilet: Find a bush, squat behind it and do your business. Usually found on safari or long overland journeys.
At a rest stop on a long bus journey in Mozambique, I once had to use a toilet block that had no doors meaning that you were facing someone else who is also on the toilet. This is rare though and very funny looking back on it.
What type of food will we eat?
Well mix it up!
Some meals we’ll eat very local foods, like maize porridge (ugali/nsima/nshima), goat, chapatis, rice and beans, greens and fish and then other times we’ll go for pizza, burgers, curries or salads or whatever else we can find.
Some of the meals are set, but I often leave it open so that we can see how we feel on the day!
Do you cater for special diets?
I’ve had vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerants, celiacs, seafood allergies, chilli allergies, tomato allergies, you name it!
I always make the restaurants aware of any dietary requirements and it’s generally fine to avoid certain foods, but in some of the restaurants we go to, it is difficult to make sure your dietary requirement is met 100%. But usually you can avoid food that you can’t or don’t want to eat.
The most difficult is where people have severe allergies, as you cannot always guarantee that your food will be kept separate from everything else, so if your allergy is severe, you must carry your epi-pen with you at all times and you travel at your own risk.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, to come on any of my trips you need your own travel insurance. If you get sick or injured whilst on the trip, many of the hospitals won’t treat you until they see that you either have the money to pay for your treatment or that you have the insurance to cover it.
I will ask you for your travel insurance details at the beginning of the trip and if you don’t have it you will not be able to join the trip.
Travel insurance doesn’t cost that much, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Do I need malaria tablets for the trip?
This is entirely up to you. Some people prefer to take them, some people don’t. Malaria is prevalent in some of the areas we visit on the trips, so I would advise to take them if you can but I suggest that you speak to your doctor and between you make the decision and take the necessary action.
Do I need a Yellow Fever certificate for the trip?
It depends on the trip! Some do and some don’t! And it can also depend on where you are coming from! Feel free to ask about the individual trip you are interested in and I can advise.
How do I join a trip?
Start by emailing me to check on the availability of the trip. I will then send you the info on how to join and pay your deposit.
Once you’ve done that, I will add you to the Facebook group to meet your fellow travellers, send you your invoice/receipt and your pre-departure information. Then we go from there…
How do I pay for a trip?
Most people pay by bank transfer or by a transfer company such as Transferwise (where you can use credit/debit cards).
I am in the process of setting up credit card facilities which will hopefully be completed soon.
The money goes to a trust account as required by UK law. This keeps your money safe until your holiday is completed.
When is the balance due?
The balance is due 62 days prior to departure, except if you book later than 62 days from departure. In that case the full balance is required when booking or asap!
Can I pay you in installments?
Yes of course you can. As long as you have paid the balance 62 days before the start of the trip, I don’t care how you pay! 🙂
What do I need to pack?
I send out a packing list with the pre-departure information but you can also find my online packing list here.
Can I bring sweets for the kids?
No, please don’t. Not all of the kids we’ll meet will have access to dental care and it also encourages them to beg.
If you want to bring anything, bring clothes or pens.