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Cape Town to Victoria Falls Special Offer!

We have a new Africa overland trip this summer!

 

It’s one of our most popular routes through Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa but you can now do it in the reverse direction from Cape Town to Victoria Falls.  The trip starts on 1st July 2016 and is discounted by £100 bringing the cost to £445 plus US$445 local payment.

Cheetah rescue centre in Namibia

Cheetah rescue centre in Namibia

This is a journey through a stunning area of Southern Africa.  Starting in the buzzing city of Cape Town with its bars, shops, beaches and Table Mountain backdrop, it ends three weeks later in Victoria Falls where you can do a bungee jump, white water raft the Zambezi, sip tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel or simply look out over the mile long waterfalls.

Cape Town and Table Mountain

Cape Town and Table Mountain

In between you have the spectacular landscapes of Namibia – the vast Fish River Canyon and the huge sand dunes in the Namib Desert.  Floodlit waterholes in Etosha National Park allow you to see wildlife at night or for a more close up experience you can sidle up to a cheetah at a rescue centre.

Sunset in the Namib Desert

Sunset in the Namib Desert

In Botswana you have the opportunity to head into the Okavango Delta for an overnight wilderness experience and in Chobe National Park you can witness elephants and other wildlife on a river cruise.

There are too many highlights to mention so here are a few more pics to tempt you and if you would like more information, head to the Cape Town to Victoria Falls trip page or contact us for more info.

Oasis Overland at the Tropic of Capricorn

Oasis Overland at the Tropic of Capricorn

Ladies of the Himba tribe

Ladies of the Himba tribe

Elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

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Halfway up the Hindu Kush, A Journey to Northern Pakistan

Oasis Operations Director, Mark recently travelled where few others have… Northern Pakistan:

Northern Pakistan river valley

“Oktoberfest, Munich 2014 – We’d talked about it for nearly 8 years and never really had the time, and we were both very aware that from a safety point of view, it probably wasn’t the place to go at the moment……or was it all just media hype?  After several large Bavarian beers, a plan was loosely made and it was left to chance if we’d both keep our word and make it happen.

Dressed in shalwar chemise

Dressed in shalwar chemise

Islamabad July 2015 – Dressed in a Shalwar Chemise, the local Pakistani clothes, and both sporting copious amounts of facial hair, my friend and I jumped in to a 1970’s ex-military jeep and headed north.  Due to the potential instability of the area and the delicate cultures we were to visit, we’d decided to do a tour of sorts.  Local knowledge really cannot be beaten, and our driver and guide proved invaluable in all manner of things, from what areas we could sensibly reach, to what to say and how to behave in the company of each ethnic area.  It is to be remembered that not only were we in an area of potential terrorism, but more dangerous in many ways were landslides, floods and the very real issue of a road traffic accident.  These are all good reasons to invest your money in people that know the area and dangers, and that have up to the minute information and vehicles to cope with the terrain.

Our guide Ehsan and us, ready to explore

Our guide Ehsan and us, ready to explore

Gilgit was our first major stop – it’s a hustling city in the heart of the far north, and is kind of the travellers’ hub to all other areas – well it would be if there were any other travellers! Our guide Ehsan, who lives in town, announced that we were his 2nd and 3rd western guests this year!  It became very apparent the more we travelled, that since 9/11 and the demise of tourism in the area, local people are really struggling to survive.  We were told that tourism stopped like ‘turning off a light switch’ in 2001 and it hasn’t returned.  Pakistani’s do venture north on holiday, but it seems that locals much prefer ‘foreigners’ due to their friendliness and appreciation of their country, and from our experience, certainly not for their potentially larger wallets!  Once there, Pakistan was a very cheap country to travel, with excellent food, friendly people, and actually very little to spend money on!  If wild party nights are your thing, then this is not the place for you!

Ferry across Lake Attabad

Ferry across Lake Attabad

Venturing north on the Karakorum Highway (KKH) we travelled to Karimabad, where 2 Tibetan style forts, from almost 900 years ago, sit atop high rocky outcrops, surveying the valley down below.  Landslides are a real hazard in the area and can quickly change travel plans, so our itinerary was fairly fluid and anyone travelling this area should take this as part of the adventure.  As an example, 5 years ago a slide on a biblical scale blocked the road south of Passu, flooded several villages and created Lake Attabad.  Entrepeneurs in the area quickly had wooden boats transported up from Karachi, adapted them with planks to transport vehicles, and started a ferry service on the 45 minute journey over the lake!  So this was to be our ride too – I have to say my heart was in my mouth as Matu inched the Jeep on to the planks, and came to rest with a rock behind each wheel, across the boat with both front and rear axles stuck out over the water!

Our initial plan was to travel the entire KKH to Kashgar in China, but both visa and weather issues were to make life difficult.  With hindsight our time was well spent in Pakistan itself and it gave us more time to appreciate its people and landscapes.  You cannot believe that you are sitting at 4000mtrs and a large number of mountain summits around you are a further 3 to 4000mtrs higher!

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Driving through northern Pakistan in our open top jeep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did eventually make it up the Khunjerab Pass to the Chinese border at 4700mtrs, on the one day it opened, and just before the river completely took out the road again!  Like I said, it’s all part of the Pakistan experience!

On reflection, cycling down from this height to a little under 3000mtrs on a local bike with a wobbly wheel and traditional ‘non disc’ brakes, was a bad idea.  Think hairpin bends, oncoming Chinese trucks driven at full throttle, rocks the size of small bungalows sat on blind corners, and you have an idea of the next 45 minutes of our lives!

Apart from freefalling down the Karakorum range on a bike, one of the greatest memories I will take away with me was our trek to Rakaposhi base camp.  It was quite a slog carrying our gear the 1400mtrs in elevation from Minapin to 3800mtrs in an afternoon, but once there, I really cannot think I have ever sat in a more impressive landscape.  Our guide Ali, who said he was ‘the best’, proved his worth on our 2nd day, as he took us across several kilometres of glaciers, winding his way around crevasses and over melt-water channels that were spilling down from the 7000mtr peaks of Diran and Rakaposhi, and all without any climbing gear or crampons!

As with all great adventures, our time in Pakistan had to come to an end, but I certainly only have amazing memories.  Of course we cannot forget that terrible things have happened in this, and other, parts of the world, but unfortunately in my opinion they have been dramatised in the media, mainly due to one man being in the cross hairs of the USA.  So I would say that if it has been on your ‘to visit’ list for as long as my colleague and I, don’t wait – go now!”

We are now offering two itineraries to this spectacular part of the world, our 15 day Pakistan Karakorum Highlights and our 21 day Pakistan Karakorum Highlights and Chitral Valley.

Call us or drop us a line if you would like some more info about these trips to Pakistan.

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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.

 

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Bulawayo 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

Posted in All Blogs, Africa.


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.

buy occasion dresses NZThe 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 bridesmaid dresses UK
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!

headbands bridal hair accessories

 

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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.

 

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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!

Posted in All Blogs, UK News.


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.blue bridesmaid dresses online store

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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