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RAW TALKS: PLASTIC

We took RAW Foundation on a bespoke journey across Africa from Cairo to Cape Town in their mission to track disposable plastic waste.  Find out more about it at Raw Talks: Plastic at the Royal Geographical Society on May 31st.

Raw Talks Plastic RGS London

There will be inspiring talks, panel discussions and a photographic exhibition.  Find out more about the journey across Africa, the causes of the proliferation of disposable plastics, and what we could and should be doing about it.  Inspirational speakers include Jeremy Irons, who will talk about the film ‘Trashed’.

RAW Foundation’s campaign, to eliminate single-use plastics by 2030, is part of a global campaign and growing global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment.  The evening at RGS is a ‘collaborative event showcasing plastic-free solutions, to inspire and challenge EVERY one, EVERY where to drastically reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste they generate and make plastic-free part of EVERY day!’

Raw Talks: Plastic takes place on 31st May 2017 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR.  It is hosted and coordinated by Raw Foundation, supported by a number of organisations and NGOs worldwide, and backed by Natracare.

RAW and Oasis Overland in Cape Town

Read more about RAW Foundation here and if you’re interested in supporting them, please get in touch at info@rawfoundation.org

You can travel from Cairo to Cape Town with us on one of our scheduled expeditions or contact us if you are interested in chartering one of our vehicles for your own bespoke journey.

Posted in Africa.

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Kazuri Bead Factory in Nairobi

Showing us how the beads are madeFinding myself with some spare time in Nairobi recently, I consulted with Smiley as to what to do.  Smiley is famous amongst Oasis overlanders as he is literally the smiling face that greets us at Nairobi airport and transports us to Karen Camp.  The Kazuri bead factory was recommended and Smiley drove us out to the nearby factory and shop.

 

 

Our tour guide at the Kazuri bead factoryThe word ‘factory’ might give you the wrong impression as this is a small scale business and everything is handmade.  We were instantly greeted by a gentleman in a long white overcoat who took us on a tour, showing us how the beads were made from start to finish – there was no charge and no pressure to buy anything!

 

 

Elizabeth, one of the original workers at the Kazuri bead factoryKazuri Beads has an interesting story.  Founded by Lady Susan Wood in 1975, she started by employing two African women and the clay used for the beads initially came from Stoke in England.  Now the clay comes from Mount Kenya, the business employs 300 local women and their products are sold worldwide – John Lewis in the UK are stockists!   Many of the women are single mothers or suffer some kind of disadvantage in life and this is a vital employment opportunity that is hard to find in Kenya.

Clay mouldsWe were shown the machines that squeeze the water from the clay, firing kilns, electric kilns, moulds, a potter’s wheel and finished products ranging from tiny beads to dinner plates.  This all took place in the working factory and all the ladies were happy to explain what they were doing and encouraged us to take photos.

 

We finished up in the small shop where we made a few small purchases – at a much lower cost than at John Lewis!

Kazuri beads - the finished product!

Kazuri means small and beautiful in Swahili and this sums up the whole organisation and their products.  Thanks for the recommendations Smiley!Thanks Smiley!

Posted in Africa.

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6 Tips for Planning Your Next Overland Adventure

Oasis Overland truck trip through AfricaIf you’re looking for the ultimate adventure holiday then here at Oasis Overland, our overland tours have the potential to give you unforgettable experiences and take you right out of your comfort zone…and then some!  After going on an overland adventure, lots of people keep on coming back for more, but if you’ve never been on this type of tour before then we’ve put together some tips for you to think about before your first trip. We’re confident that you’ll have a unique and inspiring adventure, where you’ll make friends for life and see the world in a new light.

Pack Lightly

Before you travel, really think about the types of items you’ll need to take with you because you won’t have room for everything you’d usually take on a typical holiday. You’ll be moving about, which means that you want your luggage to be accessible and easy to take with you, so pack your essentials.  The old adage is, estimate how much you’ll need and then take just half of it!

Meeting local children on the Lares trek in PeruBe Prepared

Torch, pens, notebook, lightweight towel, insect repellent, personal medication; just some of the items you should think about taking on your adventure holiday. Try to choose items to take with you that will add value to your experience or come in useful. Take a look at the Before You Go section on each of our trips for our ‘What to Take’ suggestions.

Language

It’s a good idea to look at the countries you’ll be travelling in and learn a couple of key phrases.   This is a nice way of interacting with locals and getting to know an area better.

Entertainment

It’s no wonder that when you’re travelling overland, there will be long stretches of travelling and being on the road. Taking a good book with you to pass the time or a game or two to play with your fellow travellers can help you all to bond, have fun and break the ice.

Overland truck bogged in TurkmenistandTeamwork

Be prepared to pitch in and help out when you travel overland. Making sure that before you travel, you’re in the right mind-set and ready to be considerate to your fellow travellers and help each other out. When hiccups occur, everyone needs to be able to support each other, instead of concentrating on only themselves.

Have Fun

You’re going to see amazing things and have the trip of a lifetime, so get involved and get out of your comfort zone!  You’ll enjoy the experience all the more if you put your all into it and throw yourself into the adventure. Have fun, let your hair down and meet new people.

Oasis Overland group starting in Bishkek - soon to be friends!

 

Africa Overland Trips

Central Asia Overland Trips

South America Overland Trips

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Overland by Bicycle!

Two of our ex Africa travellers were so inspired by the community school and orphanage that they saw at Lake Bunyoni in Uganda during their trip with us that they are now cycling 3600kms to try and raise money for the community! Their journey begins in France and will take them through 10 different countries until their arrival point in Bulgaria. Armed with a tent and a passport we can maybe think of a more relaxed way to travel overland through 10 different countries!!!

The team at Oasis Overland wish Julia and Steve all the best for their inspiring trip. If you are interested in following their adventures just click here and almost more importantly if you would like to support their efforts to raise £5000 for the Lake Bunyoni Community Village please donate here.

Happy Cycling Julia and Steve!

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5 Ways Oasis Overland is Different to Other Overland Tours

To us, Oasis Overland is the obvious choice for all your overland adventures, but we sometimes forget that not everyone knows that.  With so many companies all telling you the same thing, it’s hard to know who really is the best and what actually makes all of these overland tours different!  So, we thought it was about time we said why we stand out from other companies.  Here are 5 of our overland tour attributes that put us at the top of the game.

Bush camping in Namibia1) Camp on the Wild Side

If you really want to experience the bush, overnight camping is the best solution. We really value the experience of wild bush camping here at Oasis Overland, and to confine your adventures in this beautiful place to daylight is such a waste. The bush at night transforms completely and is utterly unmissable! This is why we offer far more overnight bush camping experiences than any other overland tour, so if you want an authentic, unforgettable trip, we’re the company for you!

Oasis Overland truck - custom built!2) Our Trucks

When the majority of your travel will be done by truck, you want it to be comfortable. Our trucks are custom designed to deal with different and difficult types of terrain and climates that may otherwise cause a bit of trouble along the way. Our Africa overland trucks have a raised beach area in the front of the truck and an open roof, for amazing views of the African landscape!  All our trucks are custom built and they are maintained regularly on the road by our awesome drivers.

3) Money, Money, Money

Of course, a large factor in deciding which overland tour you will pick is money. Here at Oasis Overland, we believe that our tours are excellent value for what you pay, packed with exciting excursions, great accommodation and all-round unforgettable experiences! We also invest your money responsibly, giving it back to the local communities we visit by buying everything from gear to food locally. Some of these communities rely on people like us to survive so this should be a very important factor when picking your overland tour.

4) South America Circuits

Our new South America circuit is a reason in itself to choose Oasis Overland! Going from Quito to Quito, this 31-week expedition does a full circuit of South America, exploring the Guyanas, Suriname, Argentina, Brazil and countless other incredible places. It’s a completely unique trip and the most comprehensive of this area, where you’ll explore rainforest, deserts, coastline and all the other wonders this continent has to offer!

Trans Africa Expedition

5) 40 Week Expedition

Amongst all of the overland tour companies, Oasis Overland are the only one to offer the adventure from UK to Cairo via South Africa. You’ll visit 27 incredible countries over the course of 40 weeks, making you a well-seasoned traveller in just one trip!  This is one of our most adventurous expeditions and one we believe can never be beaten by another company.

Well, there you have it!  Five things that make us at Oasis Overland different from all the other overland tour companies. If you’re not already convinced, then take a look at our long list of other reasons as to why you should book with us – they’re all pretty good if you ask us! If you have any questions about our company and the tours we offer then feel free to get in touch with us – we’re always happy to help.

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Three Days in Yerevan

Up until very recently my knowledge of Armenia, the smallest nation in the Caucasus region, was embarrassingly thin.  So upon booking flights to Yerevan to go and join our first Oasis Overland trip through the region, I didn’t know what to expect.  I briefly looked into it and built up in my mind a number of preconceptions: this was a former Soviet city, nestled between Iran and the Caucasus, so I expected bland concrete tower blocks, grey skies and nondescripts restaurants selling earthy meals of meat and potatoes.

Once I actually got off the plane and had a look around Yerevan, these stereotypical and frankly UKIP-ish views were, of course, way off the mark.  As I had a day to spare until the Oasis group arrived from Iran I spent my time idly wandering around the city.  With a crumpled map handed to me a friendly member of the hostel staff (who spoke better English than me) I strolled lazily and without any direction through the city centre and found myself in a cosmopolitan, buzzing and yet remarkably relaxed place.  I walked down one street lined with pavement cafes, from which the aroma of freshly ground coffee drifted while locals sat flicking through broadsheet newspapers in the warm autumnal sun.  More than anywhere this reminded me of the less-touristy parts of Barcelona.

Reaching the end of the café street I next stumbled across a huge open square dominated at one end by an intimidating-looking opera house, with harsh bruatlist architecture.  ‘Ah, this is more like it’, I thought, ‘that last bit was obviously the exception, this is definitely what Yerevan is like, it’s so Soviet.’  This was instantly reversed when I turned around to see some local traders setting up small, battery-powered racing cars that toddles were jumping in and zooming around gleefully aiming for the adults who walked across the square.

As the day wore on, having one impression instantly turned against you became a constant theme.  Approaching a kiosk to buy a drink, a hard-looking man in scruffy clothes who I would’ve put good money on having just escaped from a homeless shelter approached me and as I prepared myself to be mugged he simply put out his hand and welcomed me to Armenia before carrying on happily with his day.  The streets were spotlessly clean, the shops full of exotic and interesting goods and the food and drink plentiful, cheap and delicious.  Not once did I even see stewed vegetables, let alone eat them.

Walking down a dark alley one night we went past a bar where a man who was stood outside appealed for our attention.  Expecting to be accosted by a drunk man, as you would find if you went past a Wetherspoon and someone started taking to you, I found myself in discussion with a man no older than his mid-twenties who invited us in, using perfect English, to see his band play.  we played road bike for a while ,We accepted, and entered a smoky underground bar that would not be out of place in a Raymond Chandler screenplay, and were treated to a rousing display of Beatles covers and big Armenian beers.  We even got some free peanuts.

In total I spent three full days in Yerevan, and during that time ticked off many of the main sights, such as Republic Square, a huge public space with intense Stalinist buildings providing a backdrop for an incongruous water and light show every night, the vast Cascade, a flight of steps dotted with modern art installations leading up on the hills that surround the city, and also the hugely significant Armenian Genocide museum (if you haven’t heard of this I wouldn’t be surprised, I hadn’t beforehand, but do yourself a favour and look it up).

There were many museums and brandy distilleries I didn’t make it to (did you know Armenian brandy was Winston Churchill’s favourite, and when his preferred distiller was imprisoned by Stalin, Churchill personally lobbied for his release, which Big Joe agreed to), but this was probably because the real joy of Yerevan was simply being there, soaking it in and being surprised at every turn.  Sometimes it’s nice to be proven wrong.

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From Poshy La La Princess to Overlanding Pro: Life-changing travels on the Big Yellow Truck

“Euuuuwwww”, she exclaimed, as Amazonian Jungle mud oozed through her toes, marring the pretty purple design. Suddenly she started madly flapping her hands about her head, desperately trying to persuade the oversized fly that she wasn’t a suitable enough perch to land on. After a pause to make sure the bug had definitely moved on to the next person in line, Lauren finally stumbled out of the boat and started trudging up the hill into our Jungle Camp. air max pas cher “Wow” my driver Kyle murmured under his breath, “this might be a long 4 months…!” And a long four months it was; it was an absolutely brilliant trip through South America, one that I’ll never forget. Because I met and got to know Lauren; a girl who’d never camped before in her life, didn’t particularly like getting dirty, had (and still has) issues with shower curtains that left me in fits of laughter, and has a not so small terror of flying things (I won’t even go into her fear of the dark!). Yet, despite all of this, she’d decided to embark on a 15 week journey from Quito to Rio de Janeiro, on a truck, where half her nights were under canvas. It was her first foray into the world of “Adventure Travel”, and she was jumping in at the deep end.1452358_10152022634580733_1310999367_ncheap bns goldbuy bns gold Overlanding attracts a whole demographic of people from all over the world. nike air max 90 pas cher Generally speaking, they like the outdoors: they have camped before; they might enjoy trekking, and like cooking over the fire. They’re sometimes even used to rolling out a sleeping bag and brushing the bugs away before putting their head down for the night. Occasionally, (and thankfully it’s happening more and more), you get people who have no idea what they’ve let themselves in for. Sure, they’ve read that they will be spending most of their nights sleeping in a tent (yes, that means on the ground!), have glanced at the temperature chart to check if they really need that woolly hat when they’re also packing their bikini; they might even have thought to bring a car charger that means they can fire up their smart phone while the truck is driving! But the idea that they won’t be able to have a lie in on every morning of their “holiday”, or that they will have to cook outside for the entire group even when it’s raining, or they might have to help dig out the truck and then not shower for 3 more days…that’s all new. And not always exciting. 15181663_10100830070411274_5927773426294015328_n Lauren was a complete newbie. Her first time putting up her tent was her first night sleeping under canvas ever. Her first cook group was the first time she’d ever cooked outside, and for a big group of people (she later admitted to going out to eat almost every night of the week at home, because that’s what people in the city do). And, just to help set the scene, I should also let you know that Lauren is very pretty, very blonde, speaks in a wonderfully posh accent, and at first glance, could be assumed to be – in overlanding terms of course – a “Princess”. nike air max 2016 pas cher But she’s also a person who gets involved, who always wants to help, who loves to start the party, and who endears herself to everyone because she’s a great person to be around. air max 2017 dames The perfect person to have on an overland truck, and very much not a princess! (Well, until there’s mud…and bugs…) And get stuck in she did! She tackled and completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (and the mandatory 24 hour challenge afterwards!); she survived three days in the Amazon Jungle; she pitched and took down her tent about 100 times; prepared not only her own cook groups’ meals but helped out with almost all of the others, and wasn’t even the first in the shower queue after not washing for 4 nights!! And to think that at the very start of the expedition, she’d never done anything like this before! 1622818_10202466900966942_616461627_n Overlanding is a “different” way to travel. It challenges you; it takes you so roughly out of your comfort zone that often you have to redefine the boundaries. asics pas cher It will probably make you sweatier, dirtier, and more dishevelled than you’ve ever been before. You will learn that pooing in a hole you dug yourself is nearly always preferable to every other option; that t-shirts really can endure 5 days in a row without disintegrating (and that you smell yourself before others do…usually), and that talk of bowel movements is perfectly acceptable at breakfast time. You will also realise that drinking beer around the campfire is the best way to enjoy them (as long as there’s ice in the esky!); you really don’t need to care about what you look like (an incredible relief!) and you will probably make some of the best friends you’ve ever had on your trip, as a result of the amazing (and some not so amazing and way more personal) experiences you’ll share. 1558401_10100218540771574_797062823_n Lauren, in fact, enjoyed her first Oasis trip with me so much that when she saw I was later running trips through Central Asia, she was the first to book! And this time she came armed with knowledge about the sh*t shovels, how best to roast marshmallows around the fire, how long her hair can last before she really does need to wash it, and when to party and when not to risk that hangover at altitude again! She also arrived with bucket loads of enthusiasm and “getting involved” vibes, which infected everyone and helped us all have an incredible few months. And, I think she’d agree that her trip also gave her the confidence to start travelling all over the world. So if you’ve always thought overlanding wasn’t your thing; that you couldn’t handle it, or you’re scared, think again.

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TNT Travel Show

We will be at the TNT Travel Show  in London on Saturday 4th March so come along and chat to us about all things overlanding!

IMG_1173

You’ll find us at:

  • Business Design Centre Islington
  • Saturday 4th March 2017 – 9.30am to 5pm
  • Stand 18

Entrance to the TNT Show is free for those who pre-register – jump online here.

 

Our UK office staff and overseas crew will be on hand to answer all your questions and help you plan your next adventure.

Also at the show will be an online flights booking zone powered by StudentUniverse so if you need to book a flight for your trip you can do so with discounts on offer too.  There will be opportunities to talk to lots of operators and to win a free trip with TNT’s famous Lucky Dip!

We hope to see you next weekend!

travelshow2017_mpu_su

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Three Days in Yerevan

Up until very recently my knowledge of Armenia, the smallest nation in the Caucasus region, was embarrassingly thin.  So upon booking flights to Yerevan to go and join our first Oasis Overland trip through the region, I didn’t know what to expect.  I briefly looked into it and built up in my mind a number of preconceptions: this was a former Soviet city, nestled between Iran and the Caucasus, so I expected bland concrete tower blocks, grey skies and nondescript restaurants selling earthy meals of meat and potatoes.

Once I actually got off the plane and had a look around Yerevan, these stereotypical and frankly UKIP-ish views were, of course, way off the mark.  As I had a day to spare until the Oasis group arrived from Iran I spent my time idly wandering around the city.  With a crumpled map handed to me a friendly member of the hostel staff (who spoke better English than me) I strolled lazily and without any direction through the city centre and found myself in a cosmopolitan, buzzing and yet remarkably relaxed place.  I walked down one street lined with pavement cafes, from which the aroma of freshly ground coffee drifted while locals sat flicking through broadsheet newspapers in the warm autumnal sun.  More than anywhere this reminded me of the less-touristy parts of Barcelona.

Reaching the end of the café street I next stumbled across a huge open square dominated at one end by an intimidating-looking opera house, with harsh brutalist architecture.  ‘Ah, this is more like it’, I thought, ‘that last bit was obviously the exception, this is definitely what Yerevan is like, it’s so Soviet.’  This was instantly reversed when I turned around to see some local traders setting up small, battery-powered racing cars that toddlers were jumping in and zooming around gleefully aiming for the adults who walked across the square.

Freedom Sq 9

The Soviet-era Opera House in Yerevan, with tricycles for hire in the foreground.

As the day wore on, having one impression instantly turned against you became a constant theme.  Approaching a kiosk to buy a drink, a hard-looking man in scruffy clothes who I would’ve put good money on having just escaped from a homeless shelter approached me and as I prepared myself to be mugged he simply put out his hand and welcomed me to Armenia before carrying on happily with his day.  The streets were spotlessly clean, the shops full of exotic and interesting goods and the food and drink plentiful, cheap and delicious.  Not once did I even see stewed vegetables, let alone eat them.

Walking down a dark alley one night we went past a bar where a man who was stood outside appealed for our attention.  Expecting to be accosted by a drunk man, as you would find if you went past a Wetherspoon and someone started taking to you, I found myself in discussion with a man no older than his mid-twenties who invited us in, using perfect English, to see his band play.  We accepted, and entered a smoky underground bar that would not be out of place in a Raymond Chandler screenplay, and were treated to a rousing display of Beatles covers and big Armenian beers.  We even got some free peanuts.

Artist Sq 2

Local art for sale in a European-style plaza in the centre of Yerevan

In total I spent three full days in Yerevan, and during that time ticked off many of the main sights, such as Republic Square, a huge public space with intense Stalinist buildings providing a backdrop for an incongruous water and light show every night, the vast Cascade, a flight of steps dotted with modern art installations leadin

Genocide Museum 6

The flame that burns at Yerevan’s Genocide Museum

g up on the hills that surround the city, and also the hugely significant Armenian Genocide museum (if you haven’t heard of this I wouldn’t be surprised, I hadn’t beforehand, but do yourself a favour and look it up).

There were many museums and brandy distilleries I didn’t make it to (did you know Armenian brandy was Winston Churchill’s favourite, and when his preferred distiller was imprisoned by Stalin, Churchill personally lobbied for his release, which Big Joe agreed to), but this was probably because the real joy of Yerevan was simply being there, soaking it in and being surprised at every turn.  Sometimes it’s nice to be proven wrong.

 

Fancy seeing it for yourself?  We now include Armenia in the following Oasis Overland trips:

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Adventure Tours to Peru or Bolivia

Here at Oasis Overland, we’re passionate about adventure holidays and we think they’re one of the best ways to see the world and explore. In Peru and Bolivia, we will take you across breath-taking landscapes and allow you to reach new terrain, all with the help of our knowledgeable and experienced crew – Ricardo from Peru and Marco and Williams who call Bolivia their home. You’ll be able to meet new friends, see incredible sights and go on a trip you’ll never forget. You can choose an adventure holiday in a multitude of eclectic countries, but the two countries that we want to highlight are Peru and Bolivia. You can truly get a taste of South America and experience everything it has to offer. Read about a couple of the adventure tours we have on offer.

Colourful knitted hats in Bolivia/Peru

La Paz to La Paz (15 days) Bolivia Encompassed (Inc. Amazon Jungle)

Head to Bolivia and take a trip around this amazing South American country. Bolivia has a very diverse terrain, with snowy peaks and bustling jungle to be explored. You’ll start this trip in the vibrant city of La Paz, which is situated within a valley and surrounded by mountain peaks. You’ll learn about Andean Culture and wander the market lined streets. You’ll travel through Bolivia in a variety of transport including buses and trains and will explore the salt flats by 4×4 Land Cruisers, visiting Inca Huasi Island and the Red Lagoon on the way and taking in the awe-inspiring scenery. You’ll feel like you’re in the film Jurassic Park when you’re taken to The Cretaceous Park, which is home to thousands of dinosaur footprints.  Returning to La Paz you can either finish your trip here (11 day Bolivia Encompassed) or continue to experience 4 days in the Amazon rainforest and the Pampas grasslands.

4x4s on the salt flats, Bolivia

Cusco to Lima (12 days) Inca Trail & Titicaca

You’ll start off in Cusco where a local guide will help you get used to your surroundings and show you what the city is all about. Have an unforgettable experience when you embark on the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu. Your trek will take 4 days, where you’ll be with expert, professional guides who will ensure your safety and enjoyment. You’ll witness breath-taking views and visit one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Then you’ll move on to Lake Titicaca, I saw a carport kit.which borders Peru and Bolivia. Here you’ll have a memorable experience visiting the floating reed islands and spending time immersing yourself in the community and culture of the Uros Indians. Spending a night with a local family, you’ll learn about their customs and traditions and you will gain a unique insight into their way of life.

Plaza de Armas at night in Cusco

Smiling women of the Uros islandsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

We have several more tours to Peru and Bolivia ranging from 11 to 34 days.  Book your adventure now, and travel to some of the most vibrant, welcoming and exciting places in the world!

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