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New! Shortest Oasis Trip Ever!

2015-08-04 23-00 Copy of Camel Trek to Desert CampWe recognise that not everyone is able to commit to one of our longer expeditions and there are times we all could benefit from a short travel fix! With this in mind we have just released dates and an itinerary for our shortest ever Oasis adventure! From January 2016 we will be offering 2 departures per month on our new 5 day- Morocco Express Adventure, taking in the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, a camel trek and overnight into a Saharan Desert Camp and ending it all with a day on the coast in Essaouira-with options to surf, quad bike or just chill! Just enough time and adventure to recharge the batteries!

With reasonably priced budget airline flights into Marrakech and less than a 4 hour flight from the UK, this trip won’t blow the budget, or annual leave allowance!

We also have a new 8 day Moroccan Highlights trip and 9 day Family Berber and Beach adventure.


Traditional Moroccan pottery


Colours to match every outfit!


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Meserani Snake Park – a campsite that also saves lives

Successful treatment of a snake bite

Successful snake bite treatment

Meserani Snake Park Campsite in Arusha is always popular with all our Africa crew (& office staff!) as well as with anyone on our trips that go through Tanzania. For many of us it is like a home from home, with Ma and BJ always making us feel so welcome there.

What you may not realise is that the bar at Snake Park actually donates all its earnings to a small clinic they set up back in 1993 after they quickly realised there was a demand from local people for snake bite treatments. The small clinic was originally set up for the local Maasai but this has now expanded and they are treating people from 100’s of kilometres away.

The cost for various serums and antidotes administered by their clinic averages at about $200 each, and sometimes more than one needs to be given to an individual being treated.

The girl in the picture was bitten in her bed by a Red Spitting Cobra, and came to the Snake Park Clinic where she ended up spending a month, and as you can see she is now back to being her happy, smiley self again.

The Snake Park clinic treats between 60 to 100 snake bites per year.

Having a few drinks at the bar (all for a good cause!)

Having a few drinks at the bar (all for a good cause!)

So for all those drinks you have had or may have at this campsite just remember that this is contributing to this great cause.

Ma & BJ both wanted to pass on their thanks to everyone that has come through and had drinks at their bar and for helping to support their clinic. And we say a massive thank you to them for all they do – we think they are legends!

You could be drinking at this bar too if you end up on our Grand Adventurer trip, which has monthly departures.


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The Road to the Door to Hell; ‘we’ll laugh about this afterwards’


Sandmatting up the first dune into the Darwaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan. We were still full of beans at this point..


‘Portal of unknown building’ in Konye Urgench, Turkmenistan

Right, so if anyone has read any of my other posts on this topic, you’ll know that I’ve recently been out running our Central Asia trip and that it involved a whole lot of visa-related headaches. I now have the luxury of sitting in the Oasis office on a gloomy English-Autumn day reminiscing about my time out there. All that pre-trip stress seems like a distant memory that has been  washed away by the awesome, and sometimes ridiculous, experiences and memories that I have taken away from the trip. The thing is, I’m finding it quite difficult to sum these up. If I had to say one thing about that area of the world is that it is a land of extremes and contrasts. There were mountain passes over 3500m, and long straights through empty deserts. It was the hottest, it was the coldest. I had my longest border crossing and 4 days later had my shortest border crossing ever. We drove on some of the best, empty 8 lane highways in Ashgabat, then drove into central Tehran that is so ridden with traffic I struggled to even cross the road. We got stuck in the sand, then on mud, then we got stuck in mud, then we never thought we would get out of the sanddunes we were stuck so deep.

This last incident is one of those experiences that I think will stay with me forever is the day we took Habibi (our big yellow 16T truck) to see the Darwaza Gas Craters in Turkmenistan. This relic of soviet gas exploration (which is now a continually burning hole in the ground) lie about 8 km off the tarmac’d highway in the middle of the Karakum Desert, half a day’s drive north of Ashgabat. We were coming from the other direction and arrived at the turn off around 3pm after an early start. It was still pretty hot at this stage, so at the foot of the first climb into the dunes, we all jumped off the truck and stocked up on water and sunscreen before Colin took off in the truck without us for his first attempt up the dune. I would say he made it about 3/4s of the way up before stopping short of lodging 6 tyres in the sand.

Then out came the sand mats. For those of you unfamiliar with these, they are long, heavy metal mats that allows the truck traction on mud or stops it sinking in sand. 6 of these bad boys are stored on the truck for just the occasion as this. It became a process of lying them in front of the front and back tyres, driving forward until the truck was off the last set, stopping, dragging them to the front, re-positioning them, and doing it all again. It took us about an hour to get the truck up to the top of the dune where the sand was hard enough for it to finally go on without us…

It took all of about 50m for it to hit the deep stuff again. The next couple of hours was filled with digging, sandmatting, pushing, and more digging, then some more sandmatting. A couple of times Colin managed to get a run on, only to sink in again after a painfully short amount of time. All the while the sand mats were bending, requiring un-bending and more digging and pushing. Also, to my distress, I had met a driver of a 4×4 tour that had told me of another, easier, road in. Apparently, we were taking the scenic but sandy road. Oh well, we were here now!


Sandmatting, Photo thanks to David Wanderlust!

After a champion effort we hit the downhill and were away and running, well driving. So we all piled in with the sandmats in tow, and made some significant progress on the stoney desert floor. Until we hit the next sandy patch that was. I’ll make this one quick, suffice to say that the sun had set at this point and exhaustion was setting in (evident by our state-assigned guide refusing to even get out of the truck, having done nothing to help the first time round apart from advising Colin to ‘go faster’). Everyone pitched in a stellar effort and we were out in under 2 hours (we were getting a well oiled routine down by this point). For a second time we all jumped in and made our final approach to the gas crater.


In the darkness we could see the glow of the gas crater behind the next sand dune (which we went around, rather than over). When it finally came in view, all our hard work was rewarded with one of the most stunning, breathtaking sights of the whole trip. Made even more dramatic when Colin turned off the headlights and made to drive straight into it! Luckily he stopped a safe distance from it before our Turkmen guide needed new underwear.

Beers were cracked, photos were snapped and eyeballs were scalded when the wind changed direction and blew burning hot air in our faces!

We learnt our lesson and set up camp far enough away so that if the wind changed during the night we wouldn’t melt, and cook group did an amazing job of pulling 2 courses out of a sandstorm next to a giant burning hole in the desert. By the time we had eaten and everyone had settled their curiosity with the giant burning hole, we settled down for a solid (or not so solid) 4 hours shut eye. 6am we were up and about ready to do it all again, back the way we came…

Luckily, we followed some local advice and took a different route out, with much more success. After a short breakfast stop, which the boys used to run a recon mission, we made a break for the tarseal…. and got stuck. This time for only an hour which ended by being towed out by an ancient Russian 4×4. Success!

2015_darwaza_truckpeople 2015_darwaza_truckcrater

A  a couple of 100 kms later we were in the capital, Ashgabat, freshly showered with cold beers in front of us, talking fondly of “that night we spent in the Turkmen desert”. Although I think I was getting sand out of my ears for days to come!

So a massive thanks to everyone who was there and suffered with me to make that a very memorable night!

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‘Unstoppable Happiness and Smiles’ – Megan’s Volunteer Experience in Quito, Ecuador

Megan recently completed our 69-day Southern Trans Oceanic trip from Quito to Rio.  Before the trip she spent a month in Quito, Ecuador, learning Spanish at a local language school and took part in a volunteer project at a Foundation on the outskirts of the city for orphaned children.  Here is her account of her experience:


I’ve always wanted the opportunity to volunteer so when Oasis was recommended to me and they offered some really good looking projects I was quick to find out more. All the lovely people in the Oasis office were incredibly helpful, making the project and Spanish school fit in before my trip.

I arriveAtahualpa Spanish Schoold in Quito, Ecuador on the morning of the 17th of May and was taken from the airport to my apartment in the Atahualpa Spanish School in the centre of the city. I stayed there for two weeks having Spanish lessons Monday to Friday in the morning and then in the afternoons being taken around the city by my teacher. I had my own personal tour guide for two weeks! Luismila was incredibly patient with me and was a fab teacher; I could speak no Spanish when I arrived, but by the end of my time there I had a basic knowledge and understanding of the language, and I was even able to partake in day to day conversations.

From the school I moved 25km out of the city to the Aliñambi Children’s Foundation for my two-week volunteer placement. The Foundation is really well set up for volunteers, with an apartment that sleeps up to seven, two bathrooms and a kitchen – I was the only one occupying it at the time! But for the most important bit, the kids, I would have happily camped on the field to spend an extra week with them.

Megan at the FoundationAliñambi can house up to 24 children, between 0 to 16, both boys and girls. Two ladies, who they call ‘Tia’ (Aunt), live full time with them. There is also a school on site that many of the children in the surrounding area come to, as well as the ones in the foundation.

A typical day looked a little like this: I got down to the kitchen for 6am to help prepare breakfast with some of the older girls. I’d eat with the kids and was then in charge of washing up. Once that was done I’d head off to school at 7.30am. I was in the class with the littlest ones (5-8 year olds) helping with their Spanish, Maths, Sciences and PE. I would play with all of them at break time, try and learn some of their games, join in with the imaginary play and they would try and teach me more Spanish! School would finish at 12.30. I would go and help serve lunch, eat with them all and then wash up. The afternoon was homework and free play – I participated in more football than I had in my lifetime in those two weeks!

Foundation, Quito

I was working closely with the two youngest that lived there: Michaela and Francisco. Michaela has Downs Syndrome and Francisco is incredibly shy so both had a tendency to play alone and not get involved. My task was to play with them and involve them as much as possible. I quickly learnt their favourite games; puzzles, memory games and cards! The evening was then shower time followed by dinner. I helped to shower Michaela and then ran down to serve dinner. I ate with them all, washed up and then had an hour or so to myself. I’d then go and say goodnight to them all and rather quickly after I was on my way to bed as well!

Whilst it soundsMegan looking triumphant on the Inca Trail like a fairly mundane day, I had the time of my life and would have happily stayed for much longer. I was humbled daily by the simplistic way of living, the lack of personal possessions, the absent family but the unstoppable happiness and smiles that constantly graced their faces. Being somewhere and knowing you’re making a difference to people’s lives is undeniably rewarding, but just spending time with them was a blessing in itself. Having to leave was absolutely heartbreaking but I definitely plan on going back. I would highly recommend it to everyone – there is no chance you could regret it.


Thanks to Megan for taking the time to write about her time in Quito and for all of her valuable time and efforts at the Foundation.  If you’d like to make a difference in Ecuador you can do the same either before or after your Oasis trip.  Get in touch with us at E-Mail Oasis Overland for more information.  We do not charge you to volunteer – all costs are for accommodation, meals and transport only, along with an included donation for the Foundation.

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View the Geminid Meteor Shower from the Sahara this December

geminids2The Geminids are a meteor shower that happen every December. In 2014, the Geminids put on a dazzling display that wowed skywatchers around the world. Astronomers consider it to be one of the ”best and most reliable showers” of the year. The Geminids appear to come from the constellation Gemini, but, in reality, it is fragments of 3200 Phaethon that cause the sky fireworks. Geminids are the only major meteor shower not associated with a comet, but with an asteroid. The asteroid has a debris trail in orbit around the sun. Once a year, Earth runs into this dusty path, which intersects our planet’s path through space. Our 6 December Morocco Encompassed trip will place you in the Sahara, on the peak dates for Geminids, a great viewing spot with generally clear, uninterrupted skies and minimal artificial light-just lie back and gaze celestially!

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Christmas and New Year Get-Aways

Christmas on the beach-Sierra Leone

Christmas on the beach-Sierra Leone

With just over 10 weeks to go, if the prospect of Christmas and New Year is not filling you with festive cheer, it’s not too late to book on one of our late December/ early January departures. Make the most of those Bank Holidays off work and make it a memorable start to 2016!

We have trips ranging from 8 days to 39 weeks to get you away for the festive season and beyond. Click here to see the full range of what’s available.

How about

                       8 days exploring the wonders of Jordan

                     15 days adventure in Bolivia

                     21 days discovering the highlights of Victoria Falls to Cape Town

                     35 days travelling from Nairobi to Victoria Falls

This is just a small selection of what we have on offer.

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Best Destinations for Overland Travel: From East Africa to the Silk Road

If you’ve never heard much about Overlanding, or you’re unsure about whether to go on an Overlanding adventure, Nellie Huang from Wildjunket has written an inspiring blog about some amazing Overlanding destinations. Below are a few of the destinations that we have to offer here are Oasis Overland, but the blog continues, and can be read here.

Traveling overland is a fantastic way to really get to know a region. Watch the world fly by and sample every bit of it as you slowly weave your way through the back roads of a country. See what exists between the large towns and cities and the tourist traps and you’ll often be surprised and discover incredible gems that you would not normally be aware of if you flew direct into the places you were visiting. Below are a few fantastic places to head out on an overland journey where every inch of land will thrill and entertain.

If you are looking for a wild ride, there’s no better place than Africa. The continent is packed with adventurous routes, whichever part of it you choose: a wild safari in the East African savannas, meeting Masai tribes in Kenya, climbing sand dunes in Namibia, floating on a wooden canoe in the Okavango Delta, doing extreme sports in Zimbabwe, trekking in Madagascar, desert trips in the Sahara up North. Alternatively, if you have enough time, why not just take it all in with one long and crazy overland tour through the continent. It will take you anywhere between 17-25 weeks to enjoy a Cape to Cairo experience, the best way to experience Africa overland.


If you are intrigued by unspoilt natural scenes and exotic tribal cultures, then following in Che Guevara’s steps in South America will seduce you. Choose from exciting cities and rugged nature as you chart your journey through the continent, from the southern tip of Argentina to the northern end of Colombia. This is the perfect continent for those who are looking for outdoor activities, horse riding, treks, camping, kayaking, and other blood pumping activities like desert safaris and glacier hikes. Head into the fabled Amazon forest for a taste of unadulterated nature, walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, or cruise to the Galapagos Islands, or camp in the stunning Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. For those who like to get a taste of local culture, the time your trip to coincide with the world’s biggest carnival: the Rio Carnival!

south america

The Silk Road is the greatest travel route of all time, spanning 8,000km across continents, weaving through deserts, mountains and grasslands. For centuries, caravans of over 1,000 camels trekked through Central Asia – from Turkey and Iran to Kyrgyzstan and China – bringing traders from East to West and vice versa. The original overland odyssey has long lured travelers, the likes of the world’s first professional traveler, Marco Polo. Today, only adventurous travelers head this way for a taste of exotic flavors and historical legends. Expect to find epic sights like the Darvaza gas craters in Turkmenistan, animal markets in Kazakhstan, the stunning architecture of the Registan in Samarkand, and the deserts of Iran. While this is a less-trodden path, it’s a great region to enjoy the fusion of culture, history, with a huge amount of stunning scenery.

central asia

Many thanks to Nellie for allowing us to reproduce her blog.
Happy travelling!

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THANK YOU for an epically awesome trip!

Having just completed the 2014-2015 Trans Africa trip with Oasis Overland I’d like to say a big THANK YOU for an epically awesome trip! I’d like to give special individual thanks to the following people.

Stuck in the mud
To Natalie in the Oasis office for doing a great job in the office pre-trip on planning, assisting and problem solving in order to kick start this trip off with smoothest start possible. She was exceptional in returning emails, providing information and most importantly reassuring passengers that everything was in fact going to work out just fine!

To Katie in the Oasis office ongoing support throughout the trip, it was valued and appreciated by all.

To various other Oasis crew we met along the way who provided inter-truck entertainment and company (apologies if I forget names here, I blame the whisky and tequila provided): Pete & Tabitha, Mick & Alan, Mark D. & Liam, Chris and Mark.

To Mr Steve Newsway on the West Coast for his undeniable fountain of wisdom, noble integrity, sense of calmness, and most of all his wealth of experience that truly helped us all in so many ways throughout our journey.

To Mr Steve Lloyde on the West Coast for his undoubtable craziness, undeniable young at heart attitude, immaculate knack to lighten a Trans group mood, and most of all his wild sense of adventure and need to forever try to get lost, taking with him those crazy enough to volunteer… or more often those who just happened to be in the back of the truck at the time!

To Mr Gareth Redington on the East coast for his excellent driving skills, laid back positive attitude, “creatively” memorable history lessons, generous displays of party mood, and most of all for his hard work in consistently never pulling short on going out of his way for his passengers to ensure they have the best trip they can have.

To Mr Joseph Kennedy, the man crazy or stupid enough to take on an outrageous Trans Group the whole way – UK to Cairo via Capetown! For all his well appreciated, often understated hard work, his careful planning to make things run smoothly and help pax get the absolute most out of their trip, and most of all for his get-on-with-it T.I.A. attitude that pulled the Trans all the way across 27 countries of the African Continent on an epic adventure never to be forgotten!

And finally to the incredible passengers who took on the journey in all stages. A unique diverse group who never failed to pull together and get on with it as a team. Couldn’t have asked for a truly better group!

With these staff, crew and passengers the 2014-2015 Trans Africa was certainly a life changing experience I recommend for anyone keen on adventure!

Shared toilet experience

Cheers, Martha

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Jumping through hoops; travel in Central Asia

If you have ever travelled in Central Asia, or even looked into one day maybe heading out there, I’m sure you would have heard about the visas. It’s often said that nothing in life worth having comes easy and nothing portrays is better than travelling the old Silk Road.

The 5 ex-soviet states of Central Asia have each carved out their own unique identities since their independence in 1991. From the welcoming mountains of Kyrgyzstan to the deserts of Turkmenistan, which is such a state-controlled approach that it has been nicknamed ‘the other North Korea’, with these personalities comes a unique set of hoops to jump through when it comes to obtaining visas, which all depend on where you come from and what you want to do.

Last Saturday, we started our Silk Road journey beginning in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Although, most people can get their visas on arrival at the airport (with only minimal fuss), we were taking our truck Habibi across the Caspian Sea from Baku, therefore needing visas in advance. It all looked to be sorted until a simple mistake by the London Embassy (which they refused to acknowledge…but I’m not holding a grudge) lead to weeks of stress, multiple embassy visits in multiple countries, endless emails and phone calls, and culminated in getting a rather simple process of getting a visa extension at the 11th hour in Ashgabat the day before the trip started.

But we are here, and so far travelling in Turkmenistan has been like nothing I have experienced. Although I have been to neither Pyongyang nor Las Vegas, I’ve heard it mentioned that Ashgabat is some sort of strange hybrid of the 2, and I can see why. We spent the first part of our trip exploring the city and it seems almost every block has a monument to this country or one of its 2 presidents. Most recent of which is one in the shape of rocket ship, to commemorate the launch of Turkmenistan’s first satellite into space (sent by the USA), which has a thermometer on the side of it to constantly remind you that it’s not going to get below 40degrees any time soon.

It was hot, but nothing prepared for the heat of the Karakum desert, or the furnace that is the Darwerze Gas Craters, where we spent our first night camping. When viewed from a distance, there is no doubt about why it is called the ‘Door to Hell’. Over the next few days the onslaught of heat and rough roads continued as we made our way into northern Turkmenistan, and then Uzbekistan, we have arrived in the Silk Road city of Khiva. After the much needed shower and beer, an explore around this historic walled city, with its many minarets, mausoleums, medressas and mosques, makes all those visa headaches all so worth it.

Turkmenistan bush camp

Turkmenistan bush camp

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The Oasis Trans Africa Expedition finally reaches Cairo

Congratulations to our crew and travellers on completing our Trans Africa Expedition 2014/15



Last week our group of tenacious travellers crossed their final frontier from Sudan into Egypt 9 months and 27 Countries after departing UK. Tomorrow this successful Trans Africa group will complete their journey in Cairo. This mammoth trip, as with all our trans-continental expeditions, has not been without its trials, tribulations, risks, border and visa issues, illness, massive highs and lows and a huge sense of achievement.Our Trans Africa expedition is not for the faint hearted. Our group who have completed this trip have shown tenacity, guts, ingenuity and have had to be compromising, patient and willing to help out in all sorts of ways.
From our Oasis Overland HQ in Somerset, we would like to extend our thanks and congratulations to our team who have lead this trip, Joe, Gareth, Steve and Steve as well as our travelling group who have made this trip possible. I believe Oasis Overland are the only overland company to undertake the Trans Africa expedition as most shy away from the huge undertaking of planning, back up, uncertainty and resources needed to operate a successful trip of this nature. But most of all, I’d like to thank our clients who choose to travel with us on this expedition and trust us to get them across Africa safely.


Thank you and Well Done to all of you!

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