Oasis Blog

Getting our hands dirty…

July 23, 2014

The team working on the truck

Trucks, our drivers love them, our travellers love them and we love them.  It’s not uncommon for our travellers to see their driver ‘tinkering’ on the truck at the end of the day.  Whether it’s checking tyre pressures, greasing various parts of the truck or running routine checks, they keep busy.

We are very proud that we still build, run and maintain our own trucks.  This gives us ultimate control over how the trucks are kept and in the long run we feel helps to keep our travellers safe.  Whilst our fleet manager Mark makes several visits out to see the trucks every year, other members of the office team also visit them at various points and run over a few simple checks.

To make sure the whole team are prepared to do this, we recently held a training weekend at our second workshop in Lincolnshire.  The girls in the office donned oversized overalls and set about making the journey north.  When we got there, one of our Trans Africa trucks awaited.  She wasn’t used to having girls work on her, but she quickly got used to it and I think in the end kind of liked it!

After watching a video on basic checks, it was time to get our hands dirty.  Our drivers regularly do ‘MOT’ style checks on the vehicles and so our training followed the same format.  We worked our way through the list, crawling under the truck to listen for air leaks on the brakes (which I am pleased to report we did not find), checked the wheel nuts and tyre pressures, jacked the front of the cab amongst many other things.

Working hard!

Natalie and Ceris investigating brakes!

Once our basic knowledge was up to scratch we moved onto more technical things.  So we looked at how the brakes operated as well as looking at a clutch.  Anything you want to know about slack adjusters and ‘S’ Cams, then we are the ones to ask!  Finally we descended into the ‘pit’ underneath the truck and Mark pointed out what various things do, from the parabolic springs to the water pump.  Move over boys – the girls now have the skills!

All in all it was a very useful long weekend.  Don’t be surprised if someone from the office is on your trip and looking around the truck.  We believe there is no such thing as checking the vehicle too many times, and many eyes help to keep our trucks in tip top condition.  Our drivers do a great job at caring for their trucks, and we are proud that we now have an office team who can go through some simple checks with them on the road.

 

Posted in All Blogs, UK News. Tagged with , , , , .

Work Experience at Oasis Overland

July 16, 2014

Last week David left school for a week to join the Oasis HQ team and gain some work experience in the world of overlanding and adventure travel.  We set him a challenge to write a blog and here it is!

My name is David Bath and I have been doing work experience at Oasis Overland for a week.  When I first started I was quite nervous but when I met the people I was working with, Katie, Ceris, Tracy, Natalie, Jackie and Chris, I started to get more and more confident. The person who normally set the tasks and gave me work to do was Ceris.

The best things about working at Oasis Overland were the editing on www.gapyear.com and the adding of pictures on Pinterest and Facebook.  Gapyear sells some of the holidays of Oasis and the holidays need to be updated after a while because of the changes in costs, routes and other details, also they need to look more appealing to the customers.  I did research on the area and what was on the holiday and added info and pics to the holiday details.

On the first day I was shown around the work place and where I would be working most of the time and where everything was and things like that.  My first work task at Oasis was to see how user friendly the website was by finding information about a holiday and how easy it was to book and to review what was good and what was bad.  So the first day was getting to know what they do, what the holidays were like and what the website was like.

Baby gorilla in AfricaAs I looked through the different holidays the one that is my favorite is the Nairobi to Lilongwe for 40 days trip because you get the chance to see wild gorillas in their natural environment.  You need to get a permit to do so which does cost extra money but it must be such a great experience though.

Thanks to David for his hard work during the week!

 

Posted in All Blogs.

Zimbabwe – by Oasis driver Pete (part 2)

July 9, 2014

Continued on from Zimbabwe – by Oasis driver Pete (part 1)

After our visit to the ruins on this particular trip we diverted from our usual itinerary and visited the Chinoyi Caves which are about 100km North West of Harare. This is a wonderful point of a interest taking about an hour to explore and conveniently placed enroute to our next destination, Kariba. Originally described by Frederick Selous in 1887, the caves traditional name ‘Chirorodziva’ means ‘Pool of the Fallen’ after a incident in the 1830′s involving a migrating tribe who flung all the locals into the Pool.

The murderous use of the pool continued with Chief Nyamakwere, who used the main pool as a place to murder his enemies. This gave rise to first the ‘Silent Pool’ and now the ‘Sleeping Pool’ as the name for the cool, cobalt blue pool where modern divers access the underwater cave system. Chief Nyamakwere was disposed by Chief Chinoyi, who gave his name to the nearby town and the caves. During what were mostly Matabele raids the cave system was used as a refuge for the Mashona Chief and his followers.

For those who can handle the narrow passages and complete darkness, the Chinoyi caves presents one of the best cave diving experiences in the world. Lacking time and paperwork we headed to a view point higher over the sleeping pool, before heading to the Dark Caves. After enjoying a quick run around the cave which affords another view of the ‘Sleeping Pool’ we headed to the truck for dinner, and a game of cricket in the infrequently used campsite.

The Chinoyi Cave and all our other Zimbabwean destinations are gems which have become forgotten as the country’s political situation prevented many potential tourists from visiting. The currency, the Zimbabwean Dollar, collapsed and the USD is now common alongside South African Rand and Botswana Pula. Neighbouring countries describe the benefit of Zimbabwe’s problems to their own situations as the ‘Zim effect’. It affects all industries and relates to the business and expertise that was or should have been in Zimbabwe going elsewhere.

The next day saw a short hop to Kariba, a town on the artificial lake of the same name which was created in 1958 and finally filled in 1963. A massive lake providing hydro power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe, a quick talk to a local quickly reminds you of what tourist related activities used to operate here. As the only truck to come here and not hop straight on a house boat our reception was enthusiastic if slightly chaotic.

One activity we tried was the game drive. Any cynicism I may have had as our evening began was eradicated by Martins account of a simple Zebra and its habits and lifestyle. His detailed knowledge again and again made the very reasonable fee for the game drive seem worth it and many of us went on a night drive the following evening.

Other popular activities involve hiring a speedboat or sailing boat complete with captain and going for a cruise on the lake. Our hosts, Warthogs Bush Camp, worked hard to make us feel welcome and even built us a shelter since our last visit. This is a fantastic destination which used to boast Jet boating, Paragliding, Kayak trips and others alongside the activities we did.

A long drive day took us to Gweru, a town in between Zimbabwe’s primary settlements of Harare and Bulawayo, which is home to Antelope Park. The objective of the park is to support a wild lion population which has been decreasing in recent years. You can support this objective by participating in the many activities at the park, and the opportunity to observe this most famous of African predators up close is special. You can observe the male lion social hierarchy during the lion feeding, and also see how lions hunt in the ‘stage 2 night drive’ and amongst a long list also see lion cubs which are about the size of a domestic cat!

After this experience another fantastic opportunity to get close to one of the big five is presented in Bulawayo at the Matapos park. The burial place of Cecil Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia, modern day Zimbabwe, the landscape is fantastic. The Rhino Safari here involves some motorised transport and depending on your fitness and enthusiasm a fair amount of walking. You learn how to track animals, about wildlife and if you are lucky you will find a Rhino, which when viewing on foot is a special experience.

        

Leaving Bulawayo takes us to the most famous of destinations in Zimbabwe, one which has largely survived the slump in tourism that has beset the rest of Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls. Our spectacular final destination is mesmerising and a variety of activities have sprung up around this waterfall. Rafting, sunset cruises, Devils Pool, paragliding, helicopter rides, bungie jumping, zip wiring, gorge swinging, diving with Crocodiles, and when you’re done with all that, high tea at the colonial era Victoria Falls hotel or game meat buffet at the Boma restaurant, ‘the place of eating’.

Zimbabwe has so much to offer that even the two weeks we spend within its borders does not seem enough, the country has so much wildlife that is affordable to reach, a population that welcomes tourism with far less hassle that you find in some other countries (bar the police!) and a variety of destinations and people which makes it culturally interesting too. If you feel reluctant to visit this fantastic country, reading about its history and contemporary travel blogs will be enough to arouse your curiosity and make you change your mind!

Note: most of our trips do not currently visit Chinoyi Caves or Kariba.

 

Posted in Africa, All Blogs. Tagged with , , , , , .

Who is overlanding through Iran this year?

July 2, 2014

Iran is a country often in the news and usually for the wrong reasons! Although last week the UK announced it was re-opening its Embassy in Tehran and positive noises are emanating from both sides.

The ladies in Iran

Leaving the murky world of international politics aside, in our experience the people of Iran have been extremely friendly and welcoming. Our trip to Iran in June this year crossed the Kavir desert and visited places such as Isfahan, Persopolis, Tehran, Masshad as well as many less well known smaller places. The journey through this unique and interesting country took 19 days, with each day presenting a new adventure or experience.

Our 16 adventurous travellers and Oasis Overland Crew Malcolm and Grace feasted on fantastic local dishes, had their eyes opened by the exotic sights and experienced Persian hospitality at its best. The local guide on board the truck helped to explain some of the history of the places we travelled through. The inquisitive, but polite, local people were so pleased to see foreign travellers again after so many years. Now (and in the next couple of years) it is the time to be visiting Iran before mass tourism returns.

A taster of Iran!

Our next trip departs from Bishkek to Istanbul on 21st August and 5th September 2014 and (as well as Iran) travels through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.

Bishkek to Istanbul 63 days

Bishkek to Istanbul 78 days

Alternatively if you are looking for a shorter adventure through Iran, Katie on our Central Asia desk will be able to suggest a smaller section of the above trips, to allow you to focus on visiting Iran.

Email Katie at: centralasia@oasisoverland.co.uk

 

Posted in Central Asia. Tagged with , , , , , , .

World Heritage List reaches 1000 sites with inscription of Okavango Delta in Botswana

June 30, 2014

We are delighted to hear that Botswana’s Okavango Delta has recently become the 1000th site inscribed on the World Heritage List.

This delta in northwest Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the river Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronised their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. It really is a unique habitat with some spectacular photo opportunities. If you would like to visit this World Heritage site have a look at the following trips

Our 21 day Victoria Falls to Cape Town Deserts and Gameparks trip

Our 35 day Lilongwe to Cape Town Deltas and Dunes trip

Our 56 day Nairobi to Cape Town Coast to Coast trip

Our 75 day Nairobi to Cape Town Grand Adventurer trip

 

 

 

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Zimbabwe – by Oasis driver Pete (part 1)

June 27, 2014

When you mention Zimbabwe to somebody who has not visited the country, their first thought will be of the unrest documented by the news channels and papers. This unrest was due to the corruption, violence and hate that occurred against white farmers and the Ndebele people during the period of land reformation and economic meltdown. As a result, many people still don’t visit Zimbabwe.

Contemporary Zimbabwe is a bit like a apple pie that has been ‘burnt off’ for too long; its ugly on the outside but delicious if you’ll just dig beneath the surface. This means any travel and experience in this country risks a metaphorical mouthful of the burnt crust, but for the most part it is brief compared to the beauty of the country and its people.

On our trip we covered 2300km in Zimbabwe, travelling to towns and attractions in every corner of the country. Our journey started on a pleasant morning near the city of Mutare in the east, with a border crossing from Mozambique where we experienced the proper and often friendly nature of Zimbabwean officialdom for the first time. The border official explained to us that he had the wrong type of visa sticker, and dramatised the long process required to acquire the correct ones while maintaining his jolly nature – so long as we showed respect.

Showing respect to officials here is very important, more so than other countries, and doing so meant that as soon as the stickers arrived we were all allowed on our way, to our first stop in the mountains of Eastern Zimbabwe.

Our first stop was Chimanimani, a small town with a friendly atmosphere. The picturesque views on the hikes you can do here are complimented by opportunities to swim in pools at the base of waterfalls and the chance to pretend to be like a monkey on the ‘Outward Bounds’ course. Tourism took a 10 year break from Chimanimani and many of the facilities, including the lodge we stay at have a rundown feel. There is however no denying the places’ character, and it is rewarding to see our hosts, Heaven Lodge, develop while maintaining this relaxed atmosphere.

 A day later and we traveled on to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the World Heritage Site which gave the country its name. A collection of stone structures built on and surrounding a hill, the ‘Great’ in its name distinguishes it from the many smaller stone structures in Zimbabwe. For just $3 you have a guide who explains what each part of the complex was used for, who lived there and what might have happened there. There is also a museum explaining the time line of events.

Within the Hill Complex, Great Enclosure and Valley Complex this monument at its peak housed 18000 people, was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and was inhabited from the 11th Century when construction began, until the 14th Century when the kingdom declined due to a lack of resources.

                  

This monument was built by the ancestors of the Shona people, one of two tribes living in Zimbabwe and one of the two major ones. The other main tribe, the Matabele or Ndebele, mainly lives in the West, the Mashona in the East. During the Bantu migration south, before colonial rule, the ancestors of the Mashona people settled here. When the Bantu migration hit the North-bound Boer Migration from South Africa it was like a wave hitting a sea wall.

The tribes that were moving South had skirmishes with the Boers before turning around and heading back north. They were militarised as a result of their fighting and often fought each other as competition for land intensified. The Zulu are a famous result of this and the Ndebele are descended from them, settling in Zimbabwe after the Mashona. They had a clear power structure and combined with military capability were a more significant force than the Mashona. They didn’t rule over the Mashona, but frequently stole harvests and livestock from them. A rivalry exists to this day which has led to a estimated 1million Ndebele leaving Zimbabwe in the past decade.

Watch this space for ‘part 2′ of Petes blog & to see where they went next…

 

Posted in Africa, All Blogs. Tagged with , , .

The Oasis Overland Team ‘Behind the Scenes’

June 23, 2014

 

Do you ever have those moments where you are dealing with someone via email or over the phone and you start to form an image in your head of what they look like? I do this all the time, which lead me to thinking that I can’t possibly be the only one…

We occasionally get calls here in the Oasis office from travel magazines and there is one guy, who I will call ‘Bob’ (for story-telling purposes only and named after my favourite South America truck- Sponge Bob).  Anyway, when Bob calls, the ladies in the Oasis office all raise our eyebrows at each other and when we put Bob on hold to transfer the call, we say “It’s the guy with the sexy voice” and we all have a giggle. I’m sure we all have different ideas in our head of what Bob looks like and at the end of the day, we will never know…

For this reason, I’ve decided it’s time for all our travellers to know who the faces are behind Oasis Overland and be given the opportunity to put a name to our ‘sexy’ voices…

Chris – Director

Co-founder of the company and the only man full-time at the Oasis HQ, Chris started Oasis Overland 17 years ago with a good mate Steve. After a few overlanding adventures of his own, including cycling around Africa & South America, he now has to keep the 5 office ladies happy at work – which he does by providing chocolate covered cookies!

Jackie – aka ‘Chris’s better half’ 

Jackie works part- time in the Oasis office. Having started out as a tour leader in Africa, a handsome (?) young man swept her off her feet and 20 years and 2 children later, she is still a keen traveller, balancing family trips to Africa & Egypt with the occasional independent holiday- like the Oasis ‘Trek Morocco- Berber Migration’ tour last year.

Ceris – General Manager

Having done a Trans Africa truck trip in her 20’s, Ceris fell in love with the Overland industry and has been working on and off for Oasis since we began. A keen outdoor enthusiast, when she’s not in the Oasis office, you might find her cycling, kayaking or hiking in the British countryside. Earlier this year she spent 3 weeks in South America catching up with our  ‘Kingdoms & Carnivals’ trucks, travellers & crew.

Mark & the Mongol Rally Car on the Silk RoadMark- Operations Director

Not in the office as much as we’d like to see him but that’s because he is busy checking  our trucks in South America, Africa & Central Asia, as well as driving our Adventure Bus from ‘London to Istanbul’. He also arranges private charters of our trucks and has worked with Philips Lighting as well as a Japanese TV company. An ex- Overland driver himself, all difficult truck questions get fired at him!

Natalie- Africa Sales & Operations

An avid traveller, she recently returned from a 5 month sabbatical which she spent travelling  overland from London to Beijing and beyond with her husband (whom she met on an Oasis Overland trip!) When she returned she switched from the South America desk to the Africa desk. Having completed the ‘Nile Trans’ a few years ago and spending almost a year doing independent travels in South America, her knowledge is vast.

Katie- Central Asia Sales & Operations

An exciting 6 years of her childhood was spent living in Khartoum, Sudan, which lead to her love for Africa & travel in general. Having recently returning from an Oasis ‘Gorillas and Gameparks” tour, where she picked up the nickname ‘Office Spy’ (thanks to our crew Mick & Joe) she is next setting off on the ‘Kyrgyzstan Overland’ 15 day trip in August and we can’t wait to hear all about  her next adventures on a big yellow truck.

Tracy- South America, Morocco & Egypt Sales & Operations

Starting out as an Oasis traveller on an Africa overland trip in 2004, I then went on to become a tour leader in 2008, spending 1 year in the Middle East and 2 years in South America. When not sat behind my desk writing blogs, you can find me chatting to my family in Australia, hiking and dreaming about my next holiday- which is going to be the Oasis ‘Deserts & Gameparks’ trip later this year!

So now when you are calling us or emailing with us- you can put a name to our face and not have to ‘imagine’ what we look like! (I hope that’s a good thing.)

Tracy

 

 

Posted in All Blogs.

Twenty Four Hours in Rio

June 17, 2014

Earlier this year I headed out to Brazil to meet our two overland trucks that arrived in Rio de Janeiro in time for the world famous Carnival.  Starting your South America trip in a city like Rio can be a little intimidating, but after 24 hours I was feeling right at home and loving it!

Rio city view from Sugarloaf Arrival at the airport and getting to my hotel was surprisingly easy, which was especially good as it was late at night.  There was a taxi booth just before entering the arrivals hall and so I booked and paid for a cab, was met in the arrivals hall, bundled into a taxi and taken to the hotel door.

Slightly jet-lagged and having some trouble adjusting from UK winter weather to the city’s sweltering heat I spent my first day on a Rio city tour.

Usually I like to explore a city myself, wander the streets and get to know my way around.  Rio is a pretty big place though and the tour was a really good introduction to the city and also gave me a chance to get to know a few other Oasis Overland travellers!

Catedral Metropolitana, St Francis statue, Rio de JaneiroWe headed off in a minivan to the city centre, first stop Catedral Metropolitana, a modern Cathedral built in the 70s and what looks like an ugly concrete structure from the outside.  Inside though is different with stunning stained-glass windows that stretch 60 metres from the top to the bottom of the building.  It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I found it impressive and l loved the statue of St. Francis of Assisi.  Not to mention it being a cool retreat from the sun!

Lapa Steps, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilOur guide gathered us up back to van and took us to the Lapa Steps, a narrow, stepped street, completely decorated in colourful tiles.  It is the creation of a Chilean artist called Jorge Selarón who began covering the steps in tiles in the 90s and continued until his death in 2013.  People from all around the world sent him tiles – we could have spent hours looking at them all!

Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio Now for the Rio sights everyone has heard of!  The van drove up and up narrow and incredibly steep roads to Corcovado peak and Christ the Redeemer.  It was pretty crowded and super-hot but to look up at this famous statue and look out over the Rio’s coastline made it worthwhile!

Sugarloaf cable car - Rio de JaneiroThe views from Sugar Loaf mountain were even more stunning and we spent our time looking out over the city, mountains and ocean, enjoying a cool breeze and taking photos of some very cute marmoset monkeys! Marmoset monkey on Sugarloaf mountain, Rio

The Rio city tour is an optional activity on our overland trips – here are a few of our trips that travel to or from Rio:

Overland Adventures which travel in our custom built overland trucks:

Quito to Rio (15 weeks) Kingdoms & Carnivals (coincides with Carnival or New Year’s Eve on Copacabana Beach!)

Quito to Quito (29 weeks) Trans South America (coincides with Carnival!)

Rio to Lima (55 days) Trans Amazon Explorer

Regional Explorers travelling on trains, buses and all kinds of local transport – all 3 trips coincide with Carnival!:

Exploratory – RIO to LIMA via LA PAZ (45 Days) – Brazil, Bolivia & Peru Explorer

Exploratory – RIO to CUSCO (37 Days) – Brazil, Bolivia & Peru Explorer

Exploratory – RIO to LA PAZ (25 Days) – Brazil & Bolivia Explorer

 

Posted in All Blogs, South America.

Looking for a Summer Holiday With the Kids With A Difference?

June 10, 2014

If you’re still undecided about your summer holiday plans and are looking for something a bit different this year how about a family adventure to Morocco? Our 9 and 12 day Morocco family trips  will inspire the explorer in you. Morocco’s sights, smells and sounds overload the senses and it’s all less than a four hour flight away! Travelling by minivan, 4x 4 Landcruiser and camel our trip stays at small locally run 3 star hotels along the way, with a night in a traditional Berber camp in the desert. We travel through the stunning Atlas mountains mountains, camel trek in the Sahara, visit ancient Kasbahs and immerse ourselves in Marrakech’s labyrinthine souk and Djemaa-el -Fna. The 12 day trip also allows you two nights in Essaouira on the Atlantic coast, with time for surfing, quad biking or horse riding or just relaxing by the sea.  If your children are learning French at school they can practise these skills while they’re there too and hopefully you’ll all learn a bit of Arabic. These trips will provide lasting family stories and memories. Prices start from just £395 per child; £649 adult.

 

Posted in All Blogs.

Books to read before your Africa overland trip

May 19, 2014

For those of you who love to read, check out this great book list from Oasis Overland driver Dave:

And for those who asked about the Africa books…

Bush camping with Oasis Overland in MozambiqueNothing can totally prepare you for a seventy-five day Grand Adventurer trip with Oasis Overland. The land is simply too vast, the flora and fauna diverse beyond imagination, and the cultures you encounter are as different as those of Europe. The history of the region is finely woven with that of Europe, India, the Middle East, China, colonialism, and the Cold War, not to mention the rise of man.

However, the following list of 16 books is a great place to get started and I think you’ll find your trip even more enjoyable as the written page becomes reality on the Grand Adventurer.

1. West with the Night – Beryl Markham. Beryl was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west, was a pioneer in the aviation field and a legend amongst African bush pilots. Ernest Hemingway said of her prose that it made him feel “as though I was a carpenter who could barely cobble together a pig pen”. Beryl grew up on a farm very close to Kembu Camp, Nakuru, one of our first stops on the Grand Adventurer.

2. Out of Africa – Karen Blixen. This book recounts Karen’s life growing up on a coffee plantation in Kenya. The book was made into a hugely successful movie starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Our base camp in Nairobi is called Karen Camp, and is located in the suburb of Nairobi called Karen, which is named for Karen Blixen. Her home is now a museum and can be visited while we are in Nairobi on the Grand Adventurer.

3. Look for lions on the Grand AdventurerBorn Free – Joy Adamson. The story of Joy raising the lion cub Else and eventually reintroducing her into the wild. This book was also made into an award winning movie. We visit Elsemere, the Adamson’s lakeside home on Lake Navashia and enjoy high tea and a museum dedicated to Joy’s work.

4. Green Hills of Africa – Ernest Hemingway. While not his best work, his stories of safaris in East Africa are well crafted and give an excellent flavor to the days of the “great white hunter” and colonial Africa. We travel to many of the places mentioned by Hemingway while on the Grand Adventurer.

5. A Bend in the River – V.S. Naipaul. A fictional account of an Indian merchant trying to survive in in the troubled DRC. One of Naipaul’s many great books.

6. Gorillas in the Mist – Dian Fossey. American zoologist Dian Fossey spent thirteen years studying the mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcans National Park. Her book, and a subsequent movie starring Sigourney Weaver, brought attention to the plight of these magnificent animals. Fossey was killed by poachers and is buried on the mountain she loved. One of the highlights of every Grand Adventurer trip is the opportunity to hike the mountain and spend time observing these peaceful giants.Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda

7. Shake Hands With the Devil – Romeo Delliare. Commander of UN forces in Rwanda, General Dellaire was present in Rwanda as part of a peacekeeping mission. He watched first hand as the genocide unfolded, powerless to stop the killings without the support of the UN and western powers. The book is extremely well written and is an important viewpoint to understand the madness that gripped Rwanda for 100 days. The Grand Adventurer trip stops at the Genocide memorial in Kigali, a powerful and painful reminder of the darker side of mankind.

8. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families – Philip Gourevitch. Firsthand accounts of Rwandans who lived through the genocide.

9. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun – Peter Godwin. The memoir of a journalist who grew up in Zimbabwe. Godwin relates his experiences and those of his parents in an incredibly well written work. His other book, The Fear, discusses the disputed elections and the violence that ensued in Zimbabwe in 2008. The Grand Adventurer trip spends nearly two weeks exploring this stunningly beautiful country.

10. Don’t Lets Go To the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller. Another Zimbabwean (Rhodesian) memoir. Alexandra’s family lived in Rhodesia during the Bush War, and she later lives in Zambia and Malawi. She writes extremely well and adds yet another perspective on whites living in predominantly black countries. The Grand Adventurer trip travels through both Zimbabwe and Malawi.

11. Whatever You Do, Don’t Run! – Peter Allison. A collection of “true tales” from a Botswana safari guide, this is one of the most upbeat and funny books on the list. A boat ride on the Chobe River and an optional excursion for three days of poling through the Okavango Delta are often listed as highlights by our guests on the Grand Adventurer.

12. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith. Smith has twelve titles in this series featuring a Batswana woman named Precious Ramotswe. His books contain humor, action, and delve into the conflicts between modern society and those left behind.

13African sunset. Cry, The Beloved Country – Alan Patton. Perhaps South Africa’s greatest novel, Patton tells the story of a Zulu pastor named Stephen and his son Absalom. Written before the advent of Apartheid, this book explores the racial, religious, and ideological differences that were already tearing at the fabric of South African society.

14. Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela. The autobiography of lawyer, freedom fighter, Nobel Prize winner, and eventual president of South Africa. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of South Africa. A trip to Robbins Island, the notorious prison where Mandela was held for 27 years can be arranged at the end of the Grand Adventurer trip.

15. The State of Africa – Martin Meredith. An excellent look at Africa since independence swept the continent in the 1960’s. In depth, Meredith explores the rise of one-party states, dictators, coups, and the varying ideologies that developed throughout the continent. Meredith only covers the post-independence timeline. If you are interested in the colonial era then check out….

16. The Scramble for Africa – Thomas Pakenham. One of the best overviews of Europe’s carving of Africa into spheres of influence.

Each of the countries we visit on the Grand Adventurer are rich in history, culture, art, and wildlife. The list above is merely a list of books that I have thoroughly enjoyed. There are many guides, historical, and fictional works available, and the list above only contains books about the countries visited on the Grand Adventurer.

 

 

Posted in Africa, All Blogs.

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