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Oasis Overland Photo Competition Winners!

Here we have the long awaited news of the winners of our latest Oasis Overland Photo Competition! Congratulations to you all and we look forward to seeing you on another trip with us soon.

A lizard in the Serengeti1st Prize goes to Jennifer who took this brilliant photo of a lizard in the Serengeti during her Nairobi to Harare Savanna Dawn adventure trip. Jennifer wins a £200 voucher off any Oasis Overland trip!

 

 

 Group Sandboarding Peru2nd Prize goes to Sarah – this fantastic photo was taken in the Huacachina Desert in Peru where her group were sandboarding. She was experiencing the Oasis Quito to Rio Kingdoms & Carnivals trip! Sarah wins a £100 voucher off any Oasis Overland trip

 

 

 

 

Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda

3rd Prize goes to Becky who captured this wonderful shot of a Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda.  Becky trekked to see Mountain Gorillas on our Nairobi to Cape Town Grand Adventurer overland. Becky wins a £50 voucher off any Oasis Overland trip!

 

 

 

Congratulations to Jennifer, Sarah and Becky who are all winners in our Oasis Overland Photo Competition!  We wonder which trips they will choose to go on next?  Thanks to everyone who entered, all the photos we received were fantastic and as always it was really hard to choose the best ones.  Our next competition closes end of August 2016 so enter your Oasis Overland trip photos to be in with a chance of winning money off your next overland adventure!  You might see some of your photos on our website too.

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A few reasons why we love Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe holds a special place in our hearts for us here at Oasis Overland.  We have been taking trips through this beautiful country for 17 years and have been visiting ourselves for even longer than that.  Here are a few reasons why we love it!:

Fly over Victoria Falls by helicopter or microlight

 

Scenery… wildlife… adrenaline rush!
Where else in the world can you see the most stupendous mile-long waterfall that sends spray 400 metres high into the air then scare yourself silly by white water rafting grade 5 rapids, throwing yourself off a 111m high bungee jump or a 95m gorge swing and end your day sipping a cold beer whilst watching a herd of elephants enjoying their evening drink at a waterhole?  It can only be Victoria Falls!

Gorge Swing at Victoria Falls Baby elephant, Zimbabwe Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridal Veil Falls in Chimanimani National Park

On the opposite side of the country Chimanimani National Park in the Eastern Highlands is absolutely stunning with huge granite mountains and waterfalls on a slightly smaller scale.  It’s a genuine hidden gem where Zimbabweans are surprised and happy to see you and where you can trek in the cool mountain air.

Rhino walking safari in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe

 

 

In Matobo National Park, tracking Black Rhino on foot gets your heart thumping again.  It’s very different to viewing game from a vehicle!  And more wonderful scenery here with beautiful sunsets over the vast landscape of rocky outcrops and hills.

 

Rock art, Matobo National Park

Africa is not just wildlife…
Still in Matobo National Park, rock art adorning the walls of caves were painted thousands of years ago and give a glimpse into ancient past lives.  Further east, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins were originally built a thousand years ago.  It’s not on ancient Egypt’s scale but it’s one of the few places to see Africa’s past in archaeological form.

 

Bulawayo to Victoria Falls train, ZimbabweBulawayo to Victoria Falls train
The train is basic (produced in the 1950s!) but the journey is awesome.  You don’t expect to arrive on time, possibly hours late, but you can pass your time gazing at countryside you may not otherwise see and meeting other travellers, Zimbabweans and tourists alike.  If you’re lucky and depending on how late the train is, you may get to spot game as you pass through Hwange National Park!

 

Welcome to Zim…Zimbabwe child's welcoming smile
Zimbabweans are lovely and make you feel welcome – enough said!

 

You can visit Zimbabwe on our Africa overland trips.  Here are our top picks:

NAIROBI to VIC FALLS (34 days) Savanna Dawn

HARARE to CAPE TOWN (34 days) Deltas & Dunes

CAPE TOWN to NAIROBI (56 days) Coast to Coast

NAIROBI to CAPE TOWN (75 days) Grand Adventurer

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Free gorilla permits – for our Grand Adventurer and Apes & Lakes 6th April 2016 trips

Free gorilla permits in April 2016!

Free gorilla permits in April 2016!

Yes you read that right!

If you are thinking of joining either our Grand Adventurer, Apes & Lakes (41 days), Apes & Lakes (53 days) trip starting on the 6th April 2016, you can get a free gorilla permit!  Gorilla permits are usually £535 so this is a huge saving.

Seeing gorillas in their natural habitat is just an incredible feeling, and a once in a lifetime experience, which if you are like us, you will be talking about for years to come.

Here are some gorilla pictures & a short video for inspiration….!

click here to watch a video of a baby gorilla!

baby gorilla in Africa Silverback gorilla in AfricaBaby gorilla in Africa

 

 

 

 

 

Gorilla Rwanda

Silverback Gorilla in Rwanada

Silverback gorilla in Rwanda

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Feeling Good About Ourselves…

Oasis Overland Helps Plant Trees in Kenya!

imagesTourism is said to be the world’s largest employer, it accounts for 10% of global GDP and employs more than 10% of the world’s workforce. It plays a crucial role in world economics and has a significant impact on many people’s day to day lives. If managed well it can be used to preserve natural environments, wildlife and peoples lifestyles and help people climb out of poverty. If managed poorly it can destroy natural environments and habitats and lead to serious human rights abuses.

At Oasis Overland, we’ve always tried to keep an eye on the impact we have as a company in the areas we travel to. We are a member of Tourism Concern and the Ethical Tour Operators Group, and consistently try to ensure our travellers travel responsibly; that they’re aware of the measures they can take to ensure they travel with minimal impact on the environment and communities we come into contact with. We believe that our trips should benefit local people and their environments, or at the very least not harm them. In recognition of our efforts we have been awarded 4 Responsible Travel Stars by AITO, something we’re really proud of!

CCL 1We also support various charities throughout the regions we travel to, be it through monetary donations to certain hospitals/health centres, second hand clothing to communities, school equipment to schools and orphanages, or even time, where volunteers actually work on a project or with an organisation. One such organisation who we are supporting this year is The Community Carbon Link (CCL). Based in Wales, CCL has pledged to plant half a million trees in Kenya. It’s a 3 year scheme and works with 125 schools in the coastal provinces of Kenya.

CCL 2The idea is that these trees, in time, will yield various fruits and nuts which can be sold in order to buy education resources like books, pens and desks. Of course there’s also an environmental benefit: the trees will absorb thousands of tons of CO2 and help keep the planet just a little bit cooler! The guys at CCL are very aware of the large carbon footprint that Wales (like most developed countries) generates and now want to help keep carbon emissions down in developing countries like Kenya, while also helping provide millions of school children with school supplies. By doing it in this way, they are also enabling the kids to take control of their own education, and develop a business mindset!

To show our wholehearted support for the fantastic work CCL are doing, Oasis Overland has donated TWO places on our Gorillas & Gameparks Expedition, to their “Half a million Trees” raffle. All the funds generated from the raffle will help buy tree seedlings to be planted in Kenya.

The Gorilla checks out the tourists: You looking at me?!

The Gorilla checks out the tourists: You looking at me?!

Oasis Overland’s Gorillas & Gameparks trip starts in Nairobi and travels through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and finishes back in Nairobi 19 days later. The lucky travellers will have the option to raft the River Nile, explore the Western Corridor of the Serengeti, bargain in local markets and trek to see the majestic Mountain Gorillas!* CCL will also donate £1000 towards flights for the lucky winners!

To enter the raffle, you can buy a ticket from the CCL website: Half a million Trees Raffle. Tickets cost £5 for 3, and the draw will take place on 30th June 2016 at the University of Wales in Lampeter, and the winner will be notified by email on 1st July 2016.

More information on The Community Carbon Link and what they’re trying to do is at Community Carbon Link. Kenya is an amazing country, and Oasis has enjoyed running trips here since we first started operating in Africa! Even if you’re not able to buy a raffle ticket, please share this blog with your friends and family – you might find yourself on a free trip to East Africa!

GOOD LUCK! :)

If you’d like to know more about the Gorillas & Gameparks trip, click here: Gorillas & Gameparks

Further details of other projects supported by Oasis Overland can be found here.

*Please note that Local Payment and a Gorilla Permit will be at the travellers’ cost, as with all costs that are not included in any of our trips.

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It’s PARTY TIME at RIO CARNIVAL!

One of our groups in Rio this year

One of our groups in Rio this year 

One of the floats in the Sambadrome

One of the floats in the Sambadrome

What do you think of when you hear the word “Carnival”? Bright colours? Crazy dancing? Costume Parades? Revelling in the streets? Carnival in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro, combines all this – and more!!

Carnival has been happening since the 18th Century, although they have evolved somewhat! When the Portuguese settled in Brazil, they brought with them Catholicism, which in turn introduced Brazil to Lent, or “Quaresma”. During Lent, the Catholics were expected to abstain from certain luxuries for 40 days, and meat was one of them.   Indeed, the original meaning of “carnevale” is to stay away from meat. To relieve the anticipated tensions, a feast was celebrated and enjoyed before Lent. Over the years this became a party, or “Carnaval”, with street parades and costumes; ideas borrowed from the European carnivals. Carnival is now a huge celebration, one where everyone can relax, have fun, celebrate, and enjoy a party where even the laws are temporarily laxed!

rio 4

Some of the costumes from Carnival!

Some of the costumes from Carnival!

 

 

The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the biggest parties in the world! Not only are there street parties all over the city, famously on the steps of Lapa, in Ipanema and at Copacabana beach, but the best Samba schools from all over the country come to strut their stuff through the Sambadrome. Dance and music are essential ingredients in any celebration, but the Samba, a Brazilian dance with African influences, is a historical link to Brazil’s past.

 

 

 
rio group 3 rio group 1 Danny

 

 

Experiencing Carnival is a must if you like all things bright and party, and Oasis Overland can help you get there! We have trips in South America which either end or begin with the Rio Carnival; you can visit Christ the Redeemer statue or Sugar Loaf Mountain; sunbathe at the beach, go hand gliding over the city, party at the Sambadrome, or even check out the favelas with a local! The great thing about doing it with Oasis means you can share it all with new friends as well!

Oasis Overland Group ready to party at the Sambadrome!

Oasis Overland Group ready to party at the Sambadrome!

 

Fancy joining the party?! You can choose to travel from Santiago, Lima or Quito to reach Rio for Carnival:

Coast to Coast (51 days) Expedition: Santiago to Rio

Kingdoms & Carnivals (12.5 weeks) Expedition: Lima to Rio

Kingdoms & Carnivals (15 weeks): Quito to Rio

These trips also run in the opposite direction, so if you fancy starting your trip with a bang, you could party at Carnival before you start your trip with us! Check out all the other options all over South America:

Experience South America! Please click here for our list of trips

Happy Travels! Hope to party with you soon! :)

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We are at the TNT Travel Show on 27th February

TNT Travel Show

Come and see us at London’s biggest free travel show! If you haven’t yet decided where to go this year or you are planning ahead for future years, the TNT Travel Show will give you lots of great travel ideas. Not to mention competitions, music, food and a bar!  Oasis will be there to talk overlanding with you and give you all the info you need about our overland trips.

TNT Travel Show will be held at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London N1 0QH

Saturday 27th Feb 2016 – 9am to 5pm

Entrance is free, but you need to pre-register on the website: www.tnttravelshow.com

Hope to see you there!

Oasis Overland group and truck

 

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Oasis Overland at Destinations Travel Show

Destinations Travel ShowWe are at Destinations Travel Show this weekend so we hope anyone in the London area can come along and chat to us about our overland trips.

Destinations is at Kensington Olympia, and lasts until Sunday 7th Feb. You can find us at stand AA60.

Our UK team will be on hand to give you detailed information about all our overland trips to South America, Central Asia, Africa and Europe.

Destinations is a huge show with hundreds of operators, tourist boards and travel related companies exhibiting. Listen to fascinating talks in the ‘Meet the Experts’ Theatres and the Travel Writers Festival. This year’s celebrity speakers include Levison Wood, John McCarthy and Simon Reeve. If you still have some time to spare after wandering the stands and listening to talks you can view the stunning images entered into Wanderlust’s Travel Photo of the Year Gallery or try some exotic food at Experience the World.

 

Overlanding through Kyrgyzstan

Tickets on the door cost £13 and times are:

10:00am – 5:30pm Friday 5th Feb
10:00am – 5:30pm Saturday 6th Feb
10:00am – 5:30pm Sunday 7th Feb

To get there, the nearest Tube is Kensington (Olympia) on the District Line, which also has a London Overground stop. Alternatively buses 9, 10, 27, 28, 49 and 391 stop nearby. For more info check out the Transport for London website.

We hope to see you there!

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Come and see us at the Adventure Travel Show in London!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next trip, or you’ve already got an idea and want to know moAdventure Travel Showre, then you could do a lot worse than checking out this year’s Adventure Travel Show in London.  We’ve been exhibiting here for a number of years now, and we are always impressed by the variety of travel options on offer and inspired by the guest speakers – it tickles our itchy feet just as much as yours!

At this year’s show, along with offering expert advice on our trips and the places we visit, some exclusive special offers for the show and displaying some of our favourite photos from our crew and travellers on the road.Chris, Jackie, Ethan and Seth at the equator in Kenya

There will be a number of guest speakers at the event, including Simon Reeve, host of many inspirational travel shows on the BBC over the past decade, including Meet The Stans, Tropic of Capricorn and Caribbean, where he has visited many places we travel through on our trips.  Also appearing are extreme adventurer Sean Conway,  travel writer and independent motorcyclist Lois Pryce, and Dave Cornthwaite, dubbed ‘the most positive man on the UK adventure scene.  There will be, in total, more than 100 free inspirational talks over the course of the weekend.Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders), or Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Aside from ourselves, there will be around 100 other exhibitors offering everything from exploratory expeditions to fascinating world cuisine – the only time all year the entire adventure travel industry gets together under one roof!

If you can’t make it, then fear not!  We will also be at the Sunday Times Destinations Travel Show, also at Olympia from Thursday 4th – Sunday 7th February inclusive.

Tickets on the door cost £10 for one day, or £15 for a weekend pass, but if you book them in advance they are reduced to £8 and £12 respectively – under 16s get in for free.

The show times are:

Saturday 17 January:   9am to 6pm

Sunday 18 January:      9.30am to 5pn

To get there, the nearest Tube is Kensington (Olympia) on the District Line, which also has a London Overground stop.  Alternatively buses 9, 10, 27, 28, 49 and 391 stop nearby.  For more info check out the Transport for London website.

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Aswan now and 16 years ago

Elephantine Island in the Nile River at Aswan

Elephantine Island in the Nile River

I flew into Aswan in Egypt on Friday 13th, with many of my friends and family thinking neither the date nor the destination a good idea. It was only a few days after the tragic plane crash in the Sinai but 16 years since my last visit to this laid back town on the Nile. I arrived without incident (and without my luggage which hadn’t made the short connection in Cairo) and was soon enjoying both Aswan’s warm climate and warm welcome.

Time didn’t allow me to visit the sites usually at the top of the sightseeing list such as Philae Temple, the High Dam and Elephantine Island hover I did get to wander the souk, enjoy a High Tea at the swanky Old Cataract Hotel and stroll around the beautiful and peaceful Botanical Gardens.

A rather dusty souvenir shop in Aswan

A rather dusty souvenir shop in Aswan

16 years ago was well before the Arab Spring and I certainly noticed some differences. The lack of tourists and tourist shops was extremely apparent. Walking through the souk, the dozens of souvenir shops had been turned over to selling every day goods. The owner of one existing tiny ground floor shop opened up his upstairs area for me. It was like a treasure trove, stored souvenirs, carpets, clothing and various trinkets stacked on shelves and gathering dust.

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High Tea on the Banks of the Nile in Aswan

 

I found prices more expensive but the pressure to buy less. In fact the attention paid to tourists seemed to be less altogether, still calls of ‘come into my shop!’ but not the insistence there used to be and no apparent attention paid to some western female tourists I saw who before would have had a lot of unwanted attention for showing rather too much bare skin.

Sunset over the River Nile at Aswan

Sunset over the River Nile at Aswan

 

Other things had not changed at all since I last came here. The warm welcome, the laid back feel, the helpfulness and hospitality of our local agent Mohamed Abouda, the beauty of the Nile and its green banks and the way Egyptians just seem to make things happen, like my luggage magically appearing the next morning.

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Review your Oasis Trip before Dec 15th for a chance to win £250 off your next adventure with us

Here at Oasis we really value your feedback on our trips. It helps us evaluate the trips and travel service we provide and make changes if necessary. We know that your feedback is invaluable too, to other Oasis travellers, deciding on a trip. Did you know that you can review your trips on our website?  Anyone that completes a review by 14th December 2015 will be entered into a free prize draw for the chance to win £250 off your next Oasis trip, for yourself or a friend. The winner will be notified, by e-mail on 15th December 2015. If you’ve done more than one trip with us in the past you will get a prize entry for each review you complete. We look forward to seeing your reviews and good luck with the competition!

(Terms and Conditions-not many,but: A future trip has to be booked by 30th June 2016 (to travel at any time) and the offer cannot be used with any other discount codes or promotions.)

Where will your next trip be?

The Gas Craters of Turkmenistan

The Waterways of the Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Perito Moreno, Glacier of Argentina

 

 

 

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