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5 of the Most Renowned Pieces of Ancient Egyptian Architecture

Egyptian Architecture

Ancient Egypt is well known for its culture and creativity. It’s art dates as far back as 3000BC, and it teaches us a whole lot about the civilisation. Their architecture, is diverse, ranging from pyramids to temples. They are widely considered to be one of the most influential cultures that developed many sciences and arts, including architecture. Many of the more notable structures still stand, even though they were built over 4,000 years ago, with hieroglyphs that tell the story of an empire. While some facts about the structures are really surprising, others are just amazing, and we’ve put together information on 5 of the most renowned pieces of ancient Egyptian architecture for you.

Great Pyramid of Giza

Otherwise known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops, this structure is considered to be the oldest of all the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Of the three pyramids in Giza (Khafra and Menkaure being the other two) it is the only one to have three separate pharaohs command over its construction; Pharaoh Khufu, Khafre then Menkaure.

The construction took almost 20 years, and around two million blocks of stone were used to make it stand a staggering 139 meters into the sky! It is the highest pyramid in Egypt. Its interior contains three chambers, one a beautiful bedrock, the second specifically for the king and queen and the last room – made of granite – is solely for the king.

Valley of the Kings

Containing the tombs constructed for the Pharaohs and most potent Egyptian Nobles, the valley sits on the west banks of the river Nile. Each of the 63 tombs and chambers has a level of remaining decoration which consists of the art and architecture of Egyptian mythology of the time.

Tutankhamun tomb is one of the most famous of all the monuments in the valley. It’s one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the monuments holding some of the most sacred remaining objects.

Colossi of Memnon

A vast structure courtesy of Pharaoh Amenhotep III who ruled in the Dynasty XVII – the structure now sits in the slightly more modernised city Luxor. Unfortunately, the faces of the statues have been victim to erosion and therefore are no longer recognisable. Regardless, the picturesque figures still stand 75 ft high and weigh a modest 750 tonnes.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Dedicated to the sun god Amon-Ra, the incredible structure was commanded into existence by Hatshepsut who ruled the kingdom from 1479 BC until his death in 1458 BC.

Located on the cliffs at Deir el Bahari and is considered one of the unique monuments in all of Ancient Egypt.

The wall of the temple has been crafted so that the sunlight will come from the rear wall of the chapel. This temple is a unique example of classical Ancient Egyptian architecture.

Pyramid of Djoser

Also known as the step pyramid, the Pyramid of Djoser was the first ever to be ordered by Egyptian Kings. Constructed during the 27th century BC for the purposed of burying the Pharaoh Djoser by Imhotep and his vizier.

With a substantial mortuary complex surrounded by beautiful structures and decorations, the architecture, built in decreasing mastabas, stands 62 meters high and consists of limestone.

See It All for Yourself

If you’ve always had a longing to check out the art and architecture, why not consider a trip with Oasis Overland? Our journey from Cairo to Addis Ababa takes in an incredible culture, and although you won’t be able to see everything on our list, you will be able to take in iconic sights such as the pyramids and sphinx, the moments at Tiya, and so much more.

If you’ve got any questions about our Egyptian adventure, feel free to ask our team – we’re always happy to help!

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Group Travel: The Best Bits

Group Travel; What’s it like?

A lot of people have an opinion on travelling in a group. Some people think it’s the best thing ever; others might worry they’ll be stuck with a group of non like-minded travellers. Why not find out for yourself? Whether you’re a solo traveller, travelling with a partner or wanting to tag along with a friend, our overland group trips enable you to have a fantastic trip! We travel throughout Africa, South America and Central/South East Asia, and truly believe that group travel our way really does mean that everyone comes away with an incredible experience.

Here are eight of the best reasons why we at Oasis Overland think it’s better to travel with a group.

Friends from around the world

How cool is it to start your trip with immediate friends? They might not be the same people you’d hang out with at home, and as time goes on you might find you have more in common with others in the group, but generally speaking everyone on your trip is up for an adventure. This means you all get to have the trip of a lifetime! Then there’s the added bonus that you end up with friends from all over the world – more opportunities for people to visit! I personally have met friends for life on Oasis Overland trips, and have seen relationships blossom into marriages and families. The bonds you develop and the experiences you share are with you for a long time after your trip ends😊

There’s always someone to tag along with

Within any group, there are plenty of individuals who each prefer their own way of travelling. Some people want to tick off everything the Lonely Planet tells them to do; others prefer to seek out lesser visited sites off the tourist trail. Sometimes people like to find a good café for a coffee and a wifi session – everyone’s different and will feel like doing different things each day. The best thing about being in a group is that you can choose who to tag along with on any given day! Perhaps one day you really do want to see every church in Cusco, but then at the next stop you’re happy to chill by the pool and miss the cultural tour. You have company for all activities!

Group Sandboarding Peru

The research is done for you!

When it comes to sky diving over the Namib desert, or mountain biking down Death Road in Bolivia, it can take a lot of time to check out various suppliers and make sure they provide great experiences and importantly, they take responsibility for your safety seriously! Travelling with a company who’s been there before means you can leave the decision making to them and spend your time doing something more fun!

Insider tips for the best coffee/bar/souvenir shop/tourist attraction

Our truck trips at Oasis Overland are run by two crew, a Tour Leader and a Driver/Mechanic, while our regional explorer trips are led by an experienced Tour Leader. These guys have often been to places a LOT of times, and therefore are on hand to advise where you really can get a good coffee in the morning, or where best to watch the sunset from and get a good cocktail! You might want more tailored advice for whatever you’re into, and if they can’t help, I’m sure they’ll know someone who can!

Your day is organised for you

Think of all the time you spend working out what to do in a country, or how long to spend in a place. Pre-planning is a lot of work! During our trips, there is a day by day itinerary for however many weeks you’re on tour. Within this, there are some days set aside for whatever activities you choose to do. Your Tour Leader will try to budget in “down time” in places where there is lots to do, such as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, or Cusco in Peru. Otherwise, you can just relax and wait to hear when and where you need to be!

Free transport and accommodation

Okay, so it’s not exactly free – you have paid for it! But once you’ve paid for your trip, that’s it! Your accommodation is covered (unless you fancy treating yourself to an upgrade one night), as is your transport in one of Oasis’ expedition vehicles! That leaves you to spend your pennies on other things that might be more fun…!

Someone else can do it first

Not sure you want to sample that mopani worm, or taste the toasted termites? May be holding the tarantula is just a step too far, or perhaps you’re not quite ready to throw yourself off the bungee bridge. Well, let your fellow travellers do it first! See how they get on, decide whether it’s worth it, and then do it! Some activities require a minimum number too – there’s benefits to already having a group behind you!

Borrow anything you’ve forgotten

A big advantage of travelling with others is being able to share. Phone chargers, camera cables – even swapping dollars for local currency; your fellow travellers are available! You can swap books during the trip, pool photos at the end of it; travelling in a group just makes your life easier!

Check out our website now for our many group travel adventures!

Happy Travels! 🙂

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Crew Focus: Tour Leader Ricardo

How long have you been overlanding and how did you get into it? Which Oasis areas have you worked in?

I have been a Tour Leader running Peru and Bolivia trips for almost 9 years.  I decided to stay in South America and become an expert in my area as in my opinion; there is nothing better than showing my own country to all those adventurous travellers who want to explore it. I have also led overlanding trips in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and some countries in Central America.

Where are you now? Next trip?

Right now I am visiting family in Arequipa my home town whilst having a one month break. Each time I have the time off, I use it to explore a new part of this planet; it is so big and we have so much to explore. After this break, I will be doing my favourite trip Lima to La Paz

What was your first Overland trip? Any particular memories?

Lima to La Paz was my first Overland trip and I always remember being amazed by the Desert in Ica and riding in buggies over the Sand Dunes was the coolest thing I ever did back in those days.  Many years have now gone by and I am still enjoying every single second of it.

Funniest overlanding moment:

One night the whole group decided to go out for a drink and party, it was so much fun that we didn’t realize what the time was until we walked out of the club to find it was daylight!!! We then went white water rafting that day, and I remember people saying to me the whole day: Ricardo this is the last time we believe your question: SHOULD WE GO OUT FOR ONE DRINK? I guess the water from the river woke everyone up because exactly the same happened again the following night…!

Happiest overlanding memory:

One of the travellers decided that his Peruvian trip was the right time to propose to his now wife and he spent the whole trip deciding where was going be the best place to do this. After 15 days of giving him options he decided it was to be in the Amazon Jungle, so we organized for him to have a private island in the middle of the Amazon River with a fire and nice bottle of champagne.  The couple came back after the magic moment incredibly happy about the engagement! I am so pleased that it all worked out really well! There was a huge Amazon Jungle celebration that night!

Favourite places/ activities:

Camping in Huacachina Desert, the Amazon Jungle, watching the milky way in the Salt Flats in Bolivia, walking the Inca Trail, I could go on as I have such a long list… I also love scuba diving and pretty much all water related activities, sand boarding and martial arts.

Where would you like to travel next?

I have always been fascinated with the northern lights and I want to dive between two continents. Diving Silfra may well be my next new stop as this is the top of my list.

Best meal on a trip:

The best Peruvian meal I probably would have to say “Jalea de Mariscos”; which is a mixture of ceviche and deep-fried seafood.

Advice for Oasis travellers:

“It will never be the same as someone tells you, the best thing is to go and see it yourself”

Posted in All Blogs, South America.

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South Africa- a fantastic destination even in the winter!

A regular question I get asked is; when is the best time to go on a trip. I totally understand this question, as I would want to know myself.

However this can be hard to answer, mainly because with the current climate this makes the weather not as predictable as it used to be and it depends on where you want to go and what you want to do.

It’s usually all about the sunshine and warmth come July, with the northern hemisphere’s sizzling summer temperatures enticing you to the world’s most popular places.

So when you think about coming out to Africa you are probably not going to think about booking a trip in their winter time even though this is actually our summer time in the UK! However there are definitely pros for travelling to countries in the winter time (as well as the summer) particularly when travelling to Africa and that is exactly what I just did!

Let me dispel a few myths, firstly that it will be cold the whole time….I have pretty much been in shorts daily and enjoying lovely weather with blue skys, which you can see from my pictures that I have been taking whilst on this trip.

I’m not going to lie, it has been getting very cold in certain places at night and once the sun goes down you will need some extra layers and a good sleeping bag for this time of year. What is important to remember is that whatever time of year you come on this trip you will get some cold weather as we visit places that are at high altitudes, such as Lesotho, or being surrounded by the Drakensburg mountains.

I also get asked about the game viewing in the winter and what animals can be seen at this time of the year. From first hand experience on my current trip, this has definitely not been disappointing either; in Addo National Park which is included in the trip, it felt like we almost had the place to ourselves as there were only a few other vehicles, making it brilliant viewing for us! And there were so many elephants that I lost count of how many we saw, as well as spotting lions and rhinos.

Of course wildlife is wild so even hour to hour what one person may be lucky enough to see, you may not, but the animals are all still there whether it is the winter or the summer. Whales are more likely to be spotted in the summer months in South Africa but I saw people taking boats out whilst I was there and they were coming back saying they had seen both whales and pods of dolphins,  so it is definitely not a write off in the winter.

Rain – whenever I think about winter I think about rain! I was on this trip for 15 days and we had one afternoon of heavy rain – not that we minded as we kept ourselves entertained in a bar on the waterfront! Then we had one other morning where there was some light drizzle for about an hour before turning into another glorious hot day!

I shall finish by saying that a winter trip over here has definitely opened my mind up about when is a good time to travel!

Whenever you decide to go I am sure you will have a fantastic time, just make sure you have a big enough SD card for your camera, as if you are anything like me you will be taking hundreds of photos to sort through once you are back home!

I have just completed the Cape Town to Johannesburg (17 days) trip.

If you want to chat about the trip with me, I am more than happy to give you more information and hints and tips of where to go and what to see. You can email me at africa@oasisoverland.co.uk or call +44 (0)1963 363400.

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Top Lakes to See on your Travels

The world is full of natural wonders, and we think it’s a waste never to see at least a few of them. So, why not join us on an Oasis Overland adventure and start viewing more of the spectacular world we live in? As an example of the sights, you could see along the way, check out these top lakes to see on your travels – all of them are included on an Oasis Overland tour!

Sunset at Mwanza on Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

The largest lake in Africa, this is also the second largest freshwater lake in the world, so if it’s the size you’re looking for then you should check this one out! It’s also the source of the River Nile and sits within three different countries; Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Marvel at the African sunset as it reflects upon the water; explore the surrounding wildlife spots.  See this huge lake on our NAIROBI to NAIROBI (19 days) Gorillas & Gameparks

 

Oasis Overland truck and group at Lake Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan

Lake Issyk-Kul

Another impressive lake when it comes to size, Lake Issyk-Kul is the second largest alpine lake in the world. It’s located in eastern Kyrgyzstan in the northern Tian Shan mountains and is also the seventh deepest lake in the world. Hike through the hills and take in all the beautiful lake views.  We travel around Lake Issyk-Kul on our BISHKEK to DUSHANBE (18 Days) Pamir Explorer

 

Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan

Lake Song Kol

Another wonder in Kyrgyzstan, Lake Song Kol sits amongst the high mountain pastures. Explore the surrounding areas where livestock graze and, between June and August, the herdsmen live in little yurts.  You can see this lake on our BISHKEK to BISHKEK (15 days) Kyrgyzstan Overland

 

A reed island on Lake TiticacaLake Titicaca

Delve into the lively culture of South America by heading to Lake Titicaca, which runs between Peru and Bolivia. With deep blue waters surrounded by rugged mountains, this lake is a sight to behold. Travel by boat to the floating islands of the Uru people and enjoy the breath-taking views on one of our Peru & Bolivia small group adventures.

 

Horse riding at Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

Head to East Africa and Malawi to discover paradise. Lake Malawi is home to a whole variety of unique fish and marine life, and the clear blue waters make them easy to spot.  Dive in to snorkel before heading to one of the sandy beaches for an afternoon sunbathing. Sounds perfect to us!  Experience it for yourself on our NAIROBI to HARARE (22 days) Savanna Dawn

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Reducing your SUP (single-use plastics) on your Oasis Overland Trip

Many of our travellers are pretty clued up about cutting out plastic in their lives at home. I’m sure you’re the same: getting your take out coffee in a reusable cup, refusing plastic straws, or taking reusable bags to the supermarket. However, when travelling, sometimes, these good habits lapse. It’s easy to accept the plastic straw when you’re drinking a pretty cocktail, or say yes to the plastic bag because you didn’t bring a reusable one with you. It might even be that faced with a camping holiday, you don’t know what to pack or what alternatives you can bring to help reduce the amount of plastic you use. Because many of our trips are camping based, it’s also easy to assume you have to prioritise convenience over being eco-friendly. With this in mind, we at Oasis have put together some ideas to help you pack sustainably without compromising on comfort. Here’s what we suggest you add to your list.

 

Reusable Water Bottle

Bringing your own bottle to drink from is a fabulous way to cut down on single use plastic bottles. We have  partnered with Water – to – Go to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles consumed during a trip. Water-to-Go is a filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from any non-salt water source. Click here and enter the code OASIS15 to purchase your Water -to -Go products at 15% discount. Water – to – Go will then donate a further 15% to Oasis Overland Charity projects.

When travelling on an Oasis Overland Expedition Vehicle, you can fill up your bottle whenever you like to make sure you stay hydrated! Our lovely trucks carry around 360L of clean water for drinking and cooking, and refill at local sources throughout your trip. If you’re travelling on a Local Transport trip through South East Asia or Peru and Bolivia, you can download the “Refill My Bottle” app, which shows you on a map various places you can refill your water bottle. This is a fantastic way to travel with your own bottle and know that you’ll be able to safely refill through your journey.

 

Reusable Travel Mug

It’s something we use all the time at home, but is often missed off the packing list when preparing for a trip abroad. More and more now, cafes are popping up in the most unlikely places, keen to cater to parched tourists. It’s great if you have the time to enjoy a delicious beverage in the cafe, but if you’re on a schedule, how fantastic would it be if you’re able to take it with you and enjoy a local brew on the go?

Canvas Bag/Reusable Shopping Bag

On our Overland Trucks we carry “Cook Group Bags” to take to local markets in order to shop for the group. These are reused over many trips and help us to encourage stall holders and shops to put our items directly in our bags, rather than into plastic ones. It’s always a great idea to bring one or two bags with you in case you want to buy things at the market, or carry any newly purchased souvenirs around. Even when transporting things from your tent to the truck –everyone needs a bag at some point! Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania have banned plastic bags too, so you’ll need your own if you’re visiting East Africa.

Biodegradable Wet Wipes & Face Wipes

Given that water is a protected commodity while camping – especially in hot climates – many travellers bring wet wipes and/or face wipes to stay fresh. In the past, these wipes haven’t been made to decompose and contain plastic fibres – if they make their way into the ocean they cause huge damage to the ecosystem. Happily, there are now various products you can buy which produce wipes that are much more planet friendly, and will still keep you clean!

Soap Bars vs Bottles of Shower Gel, Shampoo

Shower Gel has become the ubiquitous way to keep yourself clean, but what happened to good old fashioned soap?! It’s easy to transport, doesn’t leak all over your bag, and doesn’t leave you with an empty plastic bottle at the end of its life! Shampoo bars are also becoming more popular – it’s worth doing a bit of research to make sure you find one you like, but the benefits are the same as with regular soap, with the added bonus that you can save your pennies on longer trips as the bar lasts longer. That means an extra cocktail in my book!

Eco-friendly Feminine Hygiene

This is for our female travellers: how many of you have dreaded having your period whilst travelling, especially when camping? To help with disposing of used items, try to purchase organic tampons – not only are the biodegradable, but the lack of chemicals means they are better for you too!  Check out disposable sanitary bags as well: you can buy biodegradable bags (some are tiny and sealable), which means you can safely transport any unwanted products without anyone knowing until you’re able to throw them away properly – perfect!

Unwrap before you go!

It sounds obvious, but how many of us buy brand new products to travel with, and end up running out of time, throwing it all into the bag, and unpacking it on arrival. This might mean that you have to dispose of the packaging in a country without recycling facilities, but it also takes up precious kilos in your baggage allowance! Next time, try and budget time to unpack everything, recycle the packaging, and then you’ve left room for extra goodies for your trip.

Bring your own straw

Paper straws, metal straws, even bamboo straws – they’re all the rage in the cafes and bars near where I live. This message hasn’t reached everyone though, and plastic straws litter many a sidewalk or beach front in various holiday destinations. We understand you want to drink your fancy exotic cocktail from a straw, but why not bring your own? Then you can still drink your drink in the manner you want, but can do it through your own personal straw. Win!

 

We hope these tips have been useful, and that you consider incorporating them into your travel. If you have any other suggestions for travellers, please let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

Happy Travels 🙂

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Crew Focus: Tour Leader Prosper

How long have you been overlanding? Which Oasis areas have you worked in?

I have been overlanding for 11 years and I am currently a Tour Leader in Africa.

Where are you now? Next trip?

We have recently started a Grand Adventurer trip which is now in Kampala. We are on the way to the Gorillas.

What was your first Overland trip? Any particular memories?

It was in June 2008 with Wildtreck Adventures. The whole trip was so good and what made it incredible was seeing my first “big 5” (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) in Kruger National Park.

 

Funniest overlanding moment:

The Dress Up Party at Kande Beach is always so much fun!

Happiest overlanding memory:

Finishing trips with happy passengers makes the trip memorable and gives me the energy to continue onto the next trip.

 

Favourite places/ activities:

Zanzibar and Swakopmund are my favourite places.

For activities it has to be; bunji jumping and white water rafting in Victoria Falls, pony trekking in Lesotho and skydiving in Namibia

Where would you like to travel next?

I would love to travel from London to Turkey. I have heard the Ultimate Overland Asia Exploratory next year is going to be unbelievable!

 

Best truck meal:

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Advice for Oasis travellers:

Let us do the worrying so you can sit back and relax!

 

 

 

Final words of wisdom:

Africa is a vast continent with 54 countries – it is NOT a country. Come and do an overland trip or a few with us as it’s the best way of seeing this incredible continent!

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Not all insurance policies are created equal!

Insurance; I know it isn’t the most exciting topic when thinking about booking your next trip, but it is hugely important to consider!

The question to ask yourself is; what have I got in place to protect myself or to protect the costs of my trip if the worst were to happen?

Travel Insurance is compulsory on all Oasis Overland trips. And these days a quick search online produces hundreds if not thousands of policies for you to pick from. You may even have it as an added extra with a bank account. BUT how well do you actually know the policy that you have or choose to go with and do you know exactly what it includes?

Are you covered for the full range of activities that you might choose to do during a trip as not all insurance policies cover higher risk activities like quad biking, sand boarding, tandem parachuting, white water rafting and high altitude trekking.

Imagine this, you are on the trip of a lifetime and your travel buddies decide to go sand boarding in Huacachina, white water rafting at Victoria Falls or hot air ballooning in Cappadoccia. You really don’t want to miss out, but you aren’t sure if your insurance covers you so miss out on the opportunity to do this incredible once in a life time activity!  A scenario I am sure you wouldn’t want to happen.

When selecting your policy, you need to know what you are covered for and ensure that it is specifically designed for adventure & overland travel as not all policies are.  Maybe great for sitting on the beach, but not for hang-gliding over it!

Our insurance policy is tailor made for overland adventure travel with specialist Insurance Brokers Campbell Irvine and covers most activities you may think about doing on your trip.

It is also extremely important that you check the full extent of your cover related to 24 hour Medical Emergency Assistance. In the event of you needing medical treatment you want to know that you have the best cover available to you so that your enjoyment of the trip is not over taken by an unwanted bout of sickness or an accident – after all you have paid good money to go on this amazing trip.

Things to think about and make sure you have in place include the following:

  • 24hour Medical Emergency Assistance and Repatriation
  • Cancellation
  • Personal accident – Death, Loss of limb, eyes, disability
  • Personal liability – Damaging others/others property
  • Travel delays
  • Legal expenses
  • Baggage

Something else to think about is whether you are travelling to areas that The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against as your policy may become invalidated if you travel to some of these areas. The FCO provides the latest travel advice by country including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health. We would always advise you to double check your policy with your provider if travelling somewhere that may be on their list.

The great thing about Campbell Irvine policies is that they can be flexible and include additional higher risk activities and areas that you are not advised to travel to.

What’s also great about their policies is that they have their own settlement agency and a dedicated team which means that one person deals with your situation from start to finish.

Make sure you’re ready for an adventure of a life time with travel insurance from our trusted partner Campbell Irvine.

Contact us now to find out more or get a quote.

Posted in Africa, All Blogs, Central Asia, Middle East, South America, Southeast Asia.

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South Africa – Katie’s Blog

Katie from our Africa desk trip joined one of our fantastic South Africa trips. It sounds like an incredible jounrey so far, check out where she has been and what she has seen below……

I am currently sat with the Drakensburg Mountains as a back drop in a campsite in the Royal Natal National Park, which is a truly beautiful setting to be writing this blog from! There is currently Zimbabwean music playing while our tour leader prepares another amazing treat of an evening meal for us.

Tomorrow we have a free day for hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains and we can do anything from one and a half hours to around six hours. So I shall see how active I am feeling tomorrow!

But let me take you back to the beginning of this trip, which started in Cape Town, and has travelled across the Garden Route, along the Wild Coast and into Lesotho before our current location.

I can definitely recommend getting in to Cape town at least a few days ahead of the trip start date if you can, as there is so  much to do and see here, from Robben Island, Table Mountain, walking tours, museums and so much more!

Day one of our journey takes us out of the hustle and bustle of city life and to the Cape of Good Hope.  Straight away you are treated to beautiful views and you can either stroll up to the lighthouse or you can use the funicular railway. When you are at the top it does get rather blustery so hold on to your cameras!

From here we made our way to our first campsite in Gansbaai. This is a lovely campsite right on the edge of the ocean where if you are lucky you can get to see whales – they are apparently in calfing season at the moment. A free day here allows you to go for strolls along the coastal paths to find lovely bays and you can also go shark cage diving or take a boat out to look for the marine big 5 – whale, shark, seal, penguin and dolphin!

Oudtshoon was our next destination where we got to go and explore the impressive chambers of Cango Caves.  There is an adventurous option there for those that want, although you do have to be a certain size, as you may have seen on the video of Prosper on our Facebook page!  We also went to an ostrich farm where we got up close and personal to these powerful birds.

Our next stop along the coast was Knysna, where we stayed on the edge of the lagoon. Once again  there are plenty of different activities to do here, from walks, boat rides or just a relaxing day at the waterfront with plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants to keep you occupied – all a short distance from our campsite, where we actually stayed in rooms, as half this trip is accommodated!

From Knysna we travelled on to Tsitsikamma and down to Storms River mouth. For those who like a bit of adrenaline you can go kayaking followed by lilos down the river. Or you can take a scenic hike along the coastal path to the suspension bridge and on up to the look out point. There are quite a few steps so you definitely get a good calf workout!

Island Vibe Backpackers lives up to its name with a really fun lively bar to relax in over the evening, while dorm rooms take in the view of Jeffreys Bay and if you want to upgrade there are some lovely seaview ensuite rooms. There is a good chance of spotting dolphins here so worth keeping an eye out.

A safari in Addo National Park is included in this trip, which is where we headed next and we were not disappointed with the game that we saw.  Just 2 seconds through the gate we were greeted by a large elephant. From here the wildlife kept on giving, with herds of elephants almost around every corner, with one group being around 40-50 in number! There was plenty of kudu, meerkats, birds and even a black rhino too!  In the evening as we camp right next to the entrance we were able to walk down to the floodlit watering hole where luck was on our side as another rhino walked passed just as we got there.  We were also treated to a further game drive in the morning, where we got to see plenty more wildlife including two male lions.

Buccaneers is a well known destination on the Wild Coast and I can see why.  Driving down a small track you are greeted by a lagoon and a view of the Indian Ocean. This really is a beautiful location where we got to stay for 2 nights. Not only are the views beautiful, but there is once again plenty to do, from hikes, walks, kayaking, horse rides along the beach, village walks and a soup kitchen and of course a swim or a surf in the warm Indian Ocean. In the evenings there is a lovely bar to hang out at and you may even bump in to someone you know – such as a past Oasis traveller (it’s a small world!).

We finally left the coastline and headed inland to Lesotho. This is a new country for me, and wow is all I can say… the views in every direction are just incredible! I am also quickly taken back to East Africa in that wherever you see people, they start waving at you and you are automatically made to feel very welcome. We reached Malalea Lodge and I am running out of words to describe the beauty of this location, where you have a mountainous backdrop and individual huts for rooms. We spent 3 nights here enabling us plenty of time to explore the local area, with pony trekking of various lengths and even overnight options, to long hikes and short village walks… all of which kept us busy over the next few days and really made us feel integrated in to the village life. In the evenings we were also treated to the truly beautiful singing of the local choir and band, who have made their own instruments from metal containers and twine and other household goods – the music really takes you to another place as the night sky draws in and is lit up by the beautiful African stars.

This brings me back to my current location in the Drakensburg Mountains! So thanks for taking the time to read my journey so far….

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Crew Focus : Driver Cary

How long have you been overlanding and how did you get into it?

On and off since January 2015

A friend did a trip in South America with another company which inspired me to start doing it.

Which Oasis areas have you worked in?

I’ve worked in South America and Central Asia

Where are you now?

I’m living in Ireland at the moment.

Next trip?

I’ll be the driver for the Exploratory – London to Istanbul via Kathmandu (26 weeks) Ultimate Asia Overland Expedition.

 

What was your first Overland trip? Any particular memories?

My first trip was the Kingdoms and Carnivals (15weeks) from Rio to Quito.

I really enjoyed driving through the mountains in Patagonia.

 

Funniest overlanding moment:

A passenger once asked how the military trained the Guerillas (Gorillas!)

The things tour leaders say on long drive days!

Happiest overlanding memory:

Thank you letters from the Passengers. I keep them all!

Favourite places/ activities:

Horse riding in Kyrgyzstan

Mountain biking on Death road in Bolivia.

Plane ride to Angel Falls in Venezuela

Where would you like to travel next?

India, Pakistan and Nepal – How convenient!

 

Best truck meal:

The 3 types of Curry and rice and the chai tea at a bushcamp in Kyrgyzstan.

 

Advice for Oasis travellers:

Dig a little deeper – it’ll pay off.

 

Final words of wisdom:

Ask Kate…..or whichever tour leader I’m working with!

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