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Inca Trail Permit Availability

If you’re thinking of trekking the Inca Trail this year don’t leave it too late to book your trip. Inca Trail trek numbers are strictly limited by the Peruvian government and permits do sell out. We know, for example, that permits for September are selling very fast. September is a great time to trek – being in the dry season, with clear, dry days (but be prepared for very cold nights!) So, if you think you may want to join one of our Peru, or Peru/Bolivia trips this year don’t leave it too long to book.

Peru and Bolivia Trips 2018

 

 

Posted in All Blogs, South America.


5 Reasons to Visit Bolivia in 2018

Bolivia, situated in the heart of South America, is one of only two landlocked countries in the continent. It is a country of superlatives-with an incredible diversity of landscapes from the vast Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats),  the ecologically packed Amazon Jungle, the Andean Peaks to the crystal blue waters of Lake Titicaca– the largest navigable lake in South America. It also encompasses  South America’s largest percentage of indigenous people-making it not only geographically diverse but culturally fascinating. Bolivians love a Parade or a Festival and there is nearly always a colourful celebration going on. There are so many highlights in this incredible country, but here are 5 to whet your appetite

  1. La Paz – at an altitude of about 3500m, and more in places, is a fascinating city. Boasting the highest international airport in the world and the world’s largest and highest urban cable car system you’ll need to take time to acclimatise to the altitude when you first arrive. The teleferico (cable car system) is a great, inexpensive way to explore the city. The Witches Market is a fascinating place to visit. Many indigenous Bolivians still practice Andean customs and use natural remedies to cure illnesses. At the Witches Market, dried llama foetuses, amulets, aphrodisiac formulas, dried herbs and frogs are on sale to bring health, love, wealth and longevity into peoples’ lives.

       

2. Salar de Uyuni – the  largest salt deposit concentration in the world and once part of a prehistoric lake.  A truly unique landscape and great for all those ‘forced perspective’ photos. How creative can you be?

3. Bolivian Jungle –  one of the most biodiverse spots on earth and just stunning! Look out for macaws, parrots, alligators, capybaras, jaguars, turtles, tapir, pink dolphins, anaconda (!), squirrel, howler, titi and spider monkeys. ..to name a few!

4. Lagoons, Geysers and Hot springs – Reserva Nacional Eduardo Avaroa in south west Bolivia is home to Laguna Verde (green), Laguna Colorado (red) and Laguna Hedionda (stinky!). All live fully up to their names! Three of the world’s six species of flamingos live in this area. The scenery is spectacular . You can experience the hot springs at first hand-don’t forget your bathers. The bubbling mass of mud and steam geysers is a sight to see.

5. Cholita Wrestling – you’ll either love or hate it! This female wrestling in Paz, by petticoat-skirt clad, bowler- hatted women is a theatrical spectacle and tough! The matches are supposed to be confined to the ring but the ‘fight’ often spreads out to the auditorium…drinks get spilled and spectators might attract attention!

If you are interested in visiting Bolivia , here are a few of the trips we have on offer

11 Days Bolivia Encompassed

                                           15 days Bolivia Encompassed

                                           34 days Peru and Bolivia Encompassed

Posted in All Blogs.


Crew Focus : Tour Leader Danny

 

How long have you been overlanding? Since 2012

What was your first overland trip? Rio to Quito Kingdoms and Carnivals. I really wanted to go to Macchu Picchu and Iguazu Falls and this trip went to both those places…and a lot in between! I wasn’t very well prepared and didn’t even bring a sleeping bag, or roll mat!

Funniest Overlanding moment : there have been a few:

  • Being asked what the altitude is when camped up on a sandy beach
  • a monkey poo-ing down my back in Puerto Maldonado

Happiest overlanding memory: again, there are a few

  • waking up to put the kettle on in the morning, and someone’s already done it! A great feeling!
  • getting a full load of dry laundry back!

Favourite place/activity: El Chalten, Patagonia -beautiful walks, ice climbing, stunning scenery, artisan brewery next door and Patagonian lamb for dinner! Perfect!

Recommended destinations for 2018: The Guianas, and, Patagonia in winter

Best truck meal: Have had so many excellent truck meals. My worst meal stands out more: cheesy pasta…cement! Inedible!

Advice for Oasis travellers:

  • Don’t hook up with another traveller on day 1….day 2 …….in fact any day before day 7!!
  • Bring wet wipes, a head torch and a headphone splitter with you

Final Words of Wisdom: Hydrate before you dehydrate!

Posted in All Blogs.


Discounted Water Bottles

In these days of increasing concern over plastic usage and, in particular, single use plastic water bottle usage Oasis Overland have joined forces with Water  to – Go to help our travellers reduce their plastic water bottle consumption. 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, allowing you to fill your water bottle from virtually any water source during one of our trips. Purchasing one of their products will not only help the planet by reducing single-use, plastic water bottle consumption but it will also help your finances by reducing the need to purchase bottled water. (We do also provide free, treated water on all of our truck trips, but this will help when you are away from the truck too).

Our partnership with Water-to -Go is great for Oasis travellers also, in that Oasis travellers with receive 15% discount on any Water-to-Go purchases made. Just enter OASIS15 when you check out your purchases.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better….Water-to-Go will also donate 15% to one of our Projects We Support for every OASIS15 purchase made. We’ll keep you updated on this.

We think this is a great partnership and look forward to seeing plenty of Water-to-Go bottles on our trips. Please send us in any photos/clips of you filling your bottles in unusual places!

 

Posted in All Blogs.

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Our new Privacy Policy, and, ……a Cute Guinea Fowl!

We are sure, by now, that any of you living in the EU will be experts and a bit over GDPR! So we thought we’d accompany it with a cute picture of a guinea fowl!

(For anyone who doesn’t know, GDPR refers to The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) – a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.)

At Oasis Overland we have always taken the security of your personal information seriously . We have however, updated our Privacy Policy in line with current GDPR requirements and you can read a copy of it here. This will tell you how we collect your personal information, who we share it with (don’t worry we have never sold it on to anyone else), how we will contact you, how to unsubscribe from any further contact from us, and how to find out about what information we hold about you.

Now, here are a few more cute animal photos!

 

Posted in All Blogs.


Our Tips for Long-Haul Travel

There’s no arguing that long-haul flights can be frustrating and often leave people
feeling ruffled – even if you’re a pro-flyer! All that time sat in plane isn’t
the most fun you’ll ever have in your life (but it’s worth it once you land!) If you’re
preparing for a long-haul flight for your Oasis Overland tour, then we’ve got some
handy tricks that’ll make it a whole lot nicer up in the sky.

Take A Big Water Bottle

Never get on a long-haul flight without a good-sized water bottle – either an empty
one you’ve bought from home or a full one you’ve bought in duty free. It’s so
important you stay hydrated during your flight as the air conditioning can really dry
you out, and those little cups they bring you definitely aren’t enough! Ask them to fill
up your bottle at regular intervals to keep your mind and body hydrated.

Protein-Rich Snacks

Although you’ll probably get at least one meal included on a long-haul flight, bring
protein-rich snacks just in case you get hungry (or in case your meal doesn’t look
great or doesn’t fit your dietary requirements). It’ll save you from splashing the cash
on their high-priced crisps and sweets!  Things like bags of mixed nuts and protein
bars will keep you fuller for longer and keep any low blood sugar levels at bay.

Sleeping Essentials

If you want to get a good few hours of sleep on the flight (who doesn’t?!) then you could bring an eye mask, a neck pillow and the all important ear plugs to help you nod off.

Get Up and Move

It’s so, so important that you move about on a long-haul flight.  All that time up in the
air isn’t good for anyone’s circulation, so get up and get moving! No one’s going to
think you’re strange if you wander about the aisles and even when you’re in your
seat make sure you’re moving your feet around to keep the blood flowing. We also
recommend wearing flight socks underneath your usual socks, these are deigned to
prevent DVT and can also reduce any foot swelling that often happens on long haul
flights.

Dealing with Jet lag

Jet lag can be such a pain when you arrive at your destination. You want to start
having fun but the change in time zones has really affected you! To improve your
chances of a gentle jet lag, here are some tips:

  1. Change your watch – Adjust mentally to your new-time zone a few days
    before you leave by setting your watch
  2. Sleep schedule – Using the new time on your watch, try and sleep a few
    hours earlier or later to prepare (but don’t be late for work!)
  3. Ditch alcohol and caffeine – Drink plenty of water on the plane but avoid the
    dehydrating effects of alcohol and caffeine
  4. Don’t fill-up – Avoid tons of carb-rich foods at the end of your flight and when
    you land as these will make you feel heavy and sleepy, which definitely won’t
    help with jet-lag!

We hope these little tricks will make your long-haul flight easier, but just remember
that even if the flight is rough it’ll definitely be worth it when you touch-down at your
destination!

Posted in All Blogs.


Trekking the Karakorums

When I first considered going to Pakistan some 10 years ago, it was the thought of the endless mountain landscapes of the Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindu Kush that really drew my attention.  Finally, when I had the opportunity to visit this vast land in 2015, they certainly didn’t disappoint.

For anyone remotely thinking of going north from Islamabad and up in to the Hunza valley, I can certainly recommend tagging on a few days to make the trek up to Rakaposhi Base Camp.  Sounds like fun?  Then read on…..

Trekking in the Karakorum

 

As tasty as it had been for the last 2 weeks, I was   feeling slightly fed up with curry in its various forms and as I sat looking at Rakaposhi peak (7788mtrs) up the valley, in a little cafe in Minapin town (2030mtrs), I was astounded to find chicken and chips on the menu and quickly ordered a large portion – yes!  It didn’t disappoint.

We were introduced to our guide, Ali, with whom I instantly knew we were in safe hands.  Stories of climbs to beyond 8000mtrs were lightly mentioned and you quickly realised the capabilities of the guy.

Kit checked, we stocked up on water and were on our way.  A donkey was available for our backpacks, but we preferred to carry our own gear, as said donkey looked to have enough to contend with, carrying our kitchen tent and provisions.

We wound our way out of the village on a stone road, admiring the crops that each little farmstead had growing in neat rows.  From dried apricots to cannabis, they seemed to cater for every eventuality!

Crossing the water flow from Minapin Glacier on a small wooden bridge you realise the sheer scale of what is to come.  This flow is carefully managed and harvested and turned in to electricity by the nearby hydro electrical plant.

The walk really started from here, on a narrow track up steep switchbacks, and as we slowly ascended, the burning in our lungs began, as the air got thinner.  For many this could have been a walk in the park, but ascending 1200mtrs to Tagaphari basecamp, carrying our gear, was certainly a little higher than the Lincolnshire plains, which I’m used to.

Lunch was provided in an area that looked to be right out of the Sound of Music, with green fields and a trickling stream.  Ali was keen to press on, should the glorious weather change, and how right he was.

Climbing over the ridgeline, some 4 hours after leaving Minapin, we get our first view of the Glacier proper, and it’s time to don a warm jacket as the icy blasts off the glacier pound us.  We see some less prepared ‘Punjabi’s’ from the south making the trek in light clothes and trainers, and realise how lucky we are to have Ali by our side.  There seems to be no love lost between the tribes of the north and the people of the south.

The final stretch to base camp is along a narrow path with a vertiginous drop to our left hand side.  By now we were out of the wind, so a little more comfortable and grateful of a nice hot brew waiting for us at our camp for the night.

Base camp is little more than a flat green area with Minapin Glacier’s moraine to one side and hills to the other.  However, in close proximity are the mighty peaks of Diran and of course Rakaposhi.  My colleague, having not felt the altitude as much as myself, decided he needed to climb a further 200mtrs for a ‘view’.  I preferred setting up my camera, perched on top of the moraine, for some stunning views of sunset across the glacier, with the peaks in the back ground.

I am always surprised by the amazing food that gets served on treks, with little more than a dented pot and a small fire!  Ali didn’t disappoint us, with a large array of tasty and filling food.  Our evening was punctuated by an escaping donkey, complete with trailing rope, and for some reason Ali thought by grabbing on to the rope, he could stop the donkey.  He was lifted off his feet and dragged along the ground like something out of a Carry On film, but still hung on!  We were not much help as it was one of the funniest scenes we’d seen in a while and neither of us could walk for laughing!  After a circuit of the campsite, with Ali in pursuit, he finally came proudly back with the donkey in tether.

With a good guide, Minapin Glacier can be traversed without any major skill or crampons.  There are certainly serious moraines to cross to get on to the glacier, and major pitfalls to the unwary, but as I said before, we were in safe hands and Ali picked a route through the various craters and ice mounds.

Hopefully by saying that in 4 hours we didn’t quite cross the glacier, it gives you some idea of scale!  Our trek back, with the day’s melt water in full flow, was a little more difficult.  This is where you could see the real skills of the guide.  He picked us a route around the flows, and with a few jumps and climbs, we safely reached camp again, exhausted.

During our 2nd night there were no donkey runs for the hills, but the food was equally as spectacular.  With zero light pollution, the stars were spectacular and neither of us could resist an hour of playing with our cameras to try to capture the scene.

All too quickly the descent had to begin, and our camp was broken as we took our last glimpse of this stunning array of mountain scenery.

To have not added in these days to our itinerary, would have meant missing out on one of the most impressive hikes I’ve completed in my life.  How many times do you get to cross a 16km long glacier, surrounded by 7000mtr+ peaks!?

Mark in local dress - after the trek!

Mark in local dress – after the trek!

Mark’s trek can be added to any of our Northern Pakistan trips – please ask for details:

Pakistan Karakorum Highlights (15 days)

Pakistan Karakorum Highlights and Chitral Valley (21 days)


 

Posted in Central Asia.

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5 Reasons to Visit Kyrgyzstan

Where???

Situated between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, Kyrgyzstan gained independence from Russia in 1991. A mountainous, landlocked country with spectacular scenery and proud nomadic traditions it is a unique travel destination, well off the beaten track.

If you are looking for chic, cosmopolitan bars to sip cocktails in and cool city culture Kyrgyzstan is probably not the destination for you. However, if it’s incredible natural beauty and proud, nomadic traditions that inspire you, Kyrgyzstan is the destination for you.

Here are 5 Reasons we think it’s a great place to visit in 2018:

  1. Spectacular Scenery: Described as the ‘Switzerland of Central Asia’, 90% of Kyrgyzstan lies above 1500m and the Tien Shan mountain range extends across approximately 95% of the whole country. Alpine lakes, fast-flowing rivers, arid steppe , snow-capped peaks and endless grassy rolling plains , valleys and basins cover the country. With a population of only 6 million people, there are only 29.5 residents for each kilometre of land, making it one of the least crowded countries in the world. Although the country is land-locked the large, clear, high altitude lakes are magnificent!

2. Unique Culture : The beauty of Kyrgyzstan for visitors is that it has something of everything: nomadic traditions, central Asian mystique, Soviet-era trappings,  spectacular and prehistoric Silk Road sites and a unique culture influenced by shamanism, Zoroastrianism,  Sufism,  and communism.

3. Value for Money: Kyrgyzstan is a very good value destination. Expect to eat out for a few dollars.

4. Food: Kyrgyz food  has influences from Russia, Turkey and Asia. There’s Plov from Osh, a savory rice, yellow carrot, and meat (optional) dish that’s as hearty as it is tasty. Or Ashlan-fu, a flavourful, spicy soup in Karakol ; a range of dumpling dishes called Manti; Lagman – meat, vegetables and noodles served in a broth and Kymyz-a drink made from fermented mare’s milk!

5. Visa Free: For the vast majority of nationalities visas are free on arrival in Kyrgyzstan.  In a region where most other countries have expensive visas that require complex letters of invitation this is a real bonus!

 

If you want to visit Kyrgyzstan in 2018 have a look at our

15 day Bishkek to Bishkek Expedition

36 Day Ashgabat to Bishkek Silk Road Highlights

41 day Bishkek to Beijing

Posted in All Blogs.


Quito to La Paz overland through Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia

Wroxy, who writes for the Irish Sun, recently did our QUITO to LA PAZ (37 days) Andes & Amazon overland tour in South America.  Here are her favourite moments and photos!:

“GOING on an epic adventure to far flung destinations can be terrifying. Whether it’s for a week or a year, to head off into jungles, deserts and the unknown, even with the safety of a group is a scary thing. There is one thing scarier though – coming home.

Yep, everything will be as you left it and things will be the same, but you won’t be. Even if you were only away a week you will find yourself pining for the journey you just embarked on, with every day different than the next.

The one thing that keeps me going when I suddenly find myself challenged with the routine of the daily grind – reminding myself of all the amazing places I have been, crazy things I have done and all the unique people I have met.  As someone that the road beckons after a few days of staying still, my photos are my happy place.

I have just returned from an Oasis Overland tour, from Quito, Ecuador to La Paz, Bolivia and am happy going through all the photos I took on the way. Here are some of my favourites for a number of reasons.

  1. HEARTBREAKING… Woolly Monkey, Retro

Retro the Wooley Monkey in Ecuador

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little guy was a resident of Amazoonico, an animal rescue centre in the Ecuadorian jungle. The main aim of the place is to rehabilitate rescue animals, mostly from the illegal animal trade, back into the wild – some however can never go back.

Although it’s terrible that they have to remain in captivity it’s a lot better here than some places they could be. The way Retro bounded up to us peering through the bars like he was in jail nearly broke my heart.

 

2. BEAUTIFUL… Punta Sal Beach, Peru

Punta Sal beach in Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No prizes for guessing why this picture is a favourite. Beautiful beach we got to camp directly on, hot weather, blue seas, total relaxation – a welcome change to long travel days and setting up camp in the rain.

 

  1. ROUTINE… Bush Camp, Peru

Bush camp breakfast overland style in Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed in various lodgings and campsites, some of which were rural to say the least. Here we are having breakfast after a bush camp somewhere in Peru. I love this picture as it captures the normality of camp, and our daily routine when not in a hotel. And it reminds me of how, for some of us, coffee was the most important meal of the day!

 

  1. QUIET… Vanessa at sleep

Inside the Oasis Overland truck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our huge yellow vehicle, Vanessa, could be a loud, obnoxious woman at times, unless that is there was a large night the previous day. Then Vanessa would become as quiet as a church mouse with everyone taking advantage of the time to sleep. This was the view from my seat on one such day, makes me smile every time I look at it.

 

  1. ADVENTURE… Paracas National Park

Paracas National Park bush camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this picture for so many reasons. Firstly, the Paracas National Park where it was taken was visually the most stunning of the entire trip to me. Even if the panoramic was so flat you had to walk across the dunes for miles so no one would see you pee.

Secondly, Vanessa had sunk in the sand and gotten stuck. The action men of the group relishing the chance to flex their muscles and dig her out, it was a great group bonding experience.

Then the camp we put up was done in a howling winds and a sand storm of biblical proportions. As a frequent traveller I have my own tent, in these conditions however it was impossible to put up as it was so lightweight. I ended up spending the night sharing an Oasis all-season tent with two generous guys in the group – hilarity ensued!

 

  1. TASTY… Satay Chicken, Mancora

Satay Chicken lunch in Mancora, Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a number of food highlights along the way, from fresh, local jungle produce to a Peruvian-French fusion restaurant in Puno.

This lunch stands out the most for me, and this picture of my curried peanut satay chicken starter makes me salivate just looking at it. I was in Mancora, Peru, and it was the first time I decided to splash out a bit and not go for the cheap and cheerful lunch option. At 35 Sol (about £7.80) for a three course meal and drink, that boasted a fish and quinoa main course, it was expensive for Peru but so worth it.

 

  1. EPIC… Machu Picchu

Exploring Machu Picchu in Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bucket list destination and highlight to the entire trip, I love this picture as it sums up the visit there for me.

Opting for the train I was fairly fresh and lively, however my partner, Gary, had just hiked for days to arrive. The weather typical of the season and was damp, foggy and freezing. Because of this, the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains we expected were just white clouds. The hoards of people milling around were dressed in the cheap plastic macs in an array of colours – looking like life-size jelly babies.  Yet myself and Gary were smiling because, despite the weather, lack of views and overwhelming tiredness of the rest of the group, we were in a once in a lifetime destination and realised how fortunate we were to be there.

 

8 & 9. HAPPY… Cable Car, La Paz

Cable car in La Paz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A happy overlander in La Paz!La Paz is a fairly sizeable city with a fantastic cable car system from one end to the other, it also takes you up the mountains on either side and is a great way to spend the day.

These two photos are favourites as I loved the views we got for pennies, and love this picture of me – it instantly transports me back to that cable car and the surround tourist day I spent in La Paz, the finale to my adventure. Happy… very!

 

 

 

 

  1. FAMILY… our Oasis Overland group

Our Overland Travel Family

This one needs no explanation other than these are the wonderful humans I got to spend my days  and nights with for this adventure.

As any family there may have been ups and downs but I wouldn’t change a single one of them and feel fortunate to have made friends for life – as only those who’re brave enough to take the leap into overlanding will know.

 

 

Thank you Wroxy for these fantastic images and memories of your South America overland trip!  You can read Wroxy’s article about her trip in the Irish Sun

Posted in South America.

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Crew Focus: Driver Steve

How long have you been overlanding? Since 1978 !!

What was your first overland trip? Delhi to Athens

Funniest Overlanding moment: Libby, a traveller on one of my most recent Central Asia trips,  running around in Kyrgyzstan in a T-Rex suit! It bemused other travellers and locals alike!

Happiest overlanding memory: meeting Janet

Favourite place/activity: Driving through the Democratic Republic of the Congo….I don’t like motorways!

Recommended destinations for 2018: Iran….the people are really friendly and welcoming and it has interesting historical sites and good variation in roads

Best truck meal: Roast beef and pig on a spit in Eureka Camp, Zambia for the millenium

Advice for Oasis travellers: Bring 3 things with you – clothes pegs, a washing line and a sense of humour

Final Words of Wisdom: I’ve seen many changes in my time in this business, and overlanding is still a fantastic way to travel. I’ve met so many good people and seen so many things .

Posted in All Blogs.


Y Travel Show in London

Y Travel Show in LondonThere’s a new travel show coming to London… and we will be there!

The Y Travel Show is at Lost Rivers, a fantastic bar and venue under Waterloo Station.  There will be tour operators, live entertainment, special offers, competitions and loads more – a great way to escape the cold and to start booking your future travels!

Danny and Katie from the Oasis office will be there to answer all your overlanding questions.  We will also have some special offers and a competition of our own so drop by our stand to find out more.

Oasis Overland at the Y Travel ShowY Travel Show

Saturday 10th March

10am to 6.30pm

Stay till late for the after show party!

Lost Rivers, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN

See you there!

Posted in All Blogs, UK News.

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