I have just finished six months travelling with Overland Club (AKA On the Go, AOC), firstly on the Middle East trip, and then Cairo to Cape.
I am writing to say how unhappy I have been with the company. Although I really enjoyed the Middle East bit of the trip, the Cairo to Cape part failed to live up to expectations.
The vehicle we met in Addis Ababa (we had to fly over Sudan, as had the previous year's trip), and spent two months travelling on, was substandard - not only was it uncomfortable, but also unsafe, lacking in fuses, a first aid kit, spare tyres and other essentials.
The seats were inward facing and had high backs, making looking out of the window awkward and uncomfortable. All bar the tallest people's legs would dangle, which became painful after a few hours. The lockers - which were not individually lockable, as promised - were situated under the seats and badly designed. They trapped and ripped our backpacks, and cut and scraped our hands as we tried to access our gear.
The single CD player did not work, and the wires that attached it wore through, creating a fire hazard, as the truck was not fused. When we eventually located the laughably small fire extinguisher it was buried under truck spares, and took half an hour to get to. We actually had two electrical fires on the truck due to this fault.
On top of all the problems with the truck, we were messed around totally with the itinerary, spending a month in Ethiopia, a month in Kenya and then racing through all the good stuff at the bottom. Whilst in Kenya, we were told that we would have to wait around for two weeks longer than planned to pick up extra passengers - basically the owner, Ron, had booked an extra four people on a shorter trip, and our trip and itinerary suffered because of it. At one stage we were travelling with 31 passengers in a 30-seater truck.
A number of us attempted to make contact with Ron, to discuss our dissatisfaction, and see if anything could be done to address the issues, but to no avail. I myself am still waiting for him to reply to an Email I sent in November, and again in December. A fellow passenger attempted to speak to Ron on the 'phone, but he was rude to her and refused to discuss the subject.
The saving graces on my trip were the tour leader and driver, who were great and did everything they could. They get totally stuck in the middle, and do the best that they can. One of these people has now left the company, as he could no longer work under the conditions imposed.
If you have already booked to travel with this company, then good luck to you, and I hope you fare better than my tour did. If you have not yet booked, then I'd advise you to think carefully, and have a good look around at the other companies on offer, or travelling independently.