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Travelling in the Slow Lane

Life today is full to the brim. We bustle from home to work to the gym, some people have kids to ferry around and organise, others whirl around in a social haze of engagements. Holidays are meant to be a sanctuary from the craziness of everyday, a balm to our busy brains. Too often though, we urge ourselves to pack in as much as we can into our “break”, rushing at speed from must-see highlight to the next tourist hotspot. Oasis Overland are experts at slowing down the pace. Travelling overland means you really see the countries you journey through, and if our trips are a bit longer than other companies, it’s because we like to take our time, time for our travellers to make their memories. We offer trips of all lengths, from 5 days to 40 weeks. Here are a few of our favourites; where you can balance adventure with some much-needed relaxation too.

Morocco: The Berber Migration (Marrakech to Marrakech 11 Days)

Trekking traditional migration trails with Berber families and their livestock, this trip is the epitome of slowing down. This trip runs twice a year, following the shepherds bi-annual activity. Each journey is unique as so much is left to your hosts: they will decide which paths you take dependent on the conditions on the day. Walking mainly in the mornings, you’ll have afternoons to relax, read, unwind – or continue exploring if you prefer. With the majestic Atlas Mountains as your backdrop and the prospect of a hammam in Marrakech at the end, this trip is one to add to the list!

Colombian Adventure: Cartagena to Quito (22 Days)

Sometimes you just want to get to know a country better, and the more time you spend in this beautiful country, the more you’ll want to stay. Colombia promises an abundance of ecosystems, from stunning palm-fringed Caribbean beaches, rolling green hills bursting with coffee beans and the crumbling desert cliffs of Tatacoa. The cities range from the colonial cobbled streets of Cartagena to the cosmopolitan vibrance of Bogota and Medellin. Whether you enjoy relaxing on white sand beaches, wandering between museums in a city or just watching everything pass you by over a good cup of coffee, you’ll be enchanted.

Kyrgyzstan Overland: Bishkek to Bishkek (15 Days)

Kyrgyzstan is a jewel in the crown of Central Asia, and yet still very untouched by tourism. Once you leave the capital city, you’re plunged into rolling green hills, and snow-capped peaks seem to frame every vista. The sparkling waters of Lake Issyk-Kul glimmer under the sunshine, and horses really are the key to life out here as much of the population live in rural areas or are nomadic shepherds. The country is small, so drive days are shorter and be prepared to spend a lot of time in the mountains, whether you’re hiking, driving or simply enjoying the view. This country is solace for the soul.

South Africa & Lesotho: Cape Town to Johannesburg (17 Days)

South Africa is spectacular, another country with a deluge of “wow” features. This trip encapsulates so many: wildlife, beaches, mountains and two of the country’s most iconic cities. Begin your trip getting up close to penguins, ostriches or for the brave, great white sharks, and reflect on all your adventures in the dramatic scenery of the Drakensburg Mountains. You can soak up the nature in Tsitsikamma Forest, watch elephants play in water holes in Addo National Park, or sit on the stunning beaches on the Wild Coast. Not everyone who wants to travel to Africa wants to do it all under canvas, and this trip also offers the opportunity to sleep in a bed half the time – the best of both worlds!

Trans Africa: London to Cairo via Cape Town (40 Weeks)

Okay, you weren’t expecting this one, were you? Our epic African adventure near-circulates the continent and really does force you to surrender yourself to everything outside of your control, whether it’s which country’s embassy will grant your Nigerian visa or whether the rains come early in the Cameroon jungle. It’s long, it’s arduous, but it’s magnificent, combining everything into 40 weeks of incredible adventure. It’s a life-changing expedition, forcing you out of every imaginable comfort zone whilst also giving you the opportunity to read all those books on your wish list. Even if you can only do sections of this trip, it’s utterly worth it.

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Travelling Without Flying

We are all increasingly aware of the negative impact flying has on our planet. If it was a country, aviation would be the 7th largest emitter of CO2 in the world. In addition, aircraft emit more than CO2, meaning aviation’s total impact on the environment could be between two and four times greater than CO2 alone. Left unchecked, aircraft emissions could contribute over a quarter of the world’s carbon footprint by 2050.

Environmentalists advise us that if we are going to fly – ‘to make it count;’ to take direct flights; pack less and fly on more modern planes…amongst other things.

Many of us feel really compromised at present – recognising the negative impact of flying on our planet, but also acknowledging the positive impact travel can have on supporting local communities and economies.

Overlanding, as a means of travel definitely allows you to make ‘your flight count’–  visit several countries on a more limited number of flights and, we tend to visit more of the ‘off the main tourist trail destinations ‘ – meaning the tourist dollar is spread more widely, benefitting communities that struggle to gain an income in other ways.

Make Your Flight Count – fly less often, travel overland when you’re there

  • Crossing the Equator in Kenya

    How about 29 countries across Africa – starting on a one way flight to Gibraltar and a one way flight back from Cairo. (Bearing in mind that you can also get to Gibraltar relatively easily by bus/train-but more of that later!)

  • 11 countries across South America , involving one return flight to Quito

 

 

Even better, join a trip that starts from the UK – great for our UK based travellers

 

But how about reaching other start destinations without taking a flight? We’ve looked at a few of our trips and alternative ways of getting to our start point and/or back again.

Container ship starts – it’s possible to get to many of our start destinations travelling by sea, on a container/freight ship. A quick online search will help you find routes and companies. You need to bear in mind that there are often very few cabins on a ship, so you generally need to book well in advance, and make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get to your start destination. Ships can be delayed, by days or weeks!

These are just a few ideas about reducing the carbon footprint of your travels. We’d love to hear if you’ve managed to travel to/from home on one of our trips in a more sustainable way. Let us know!

 

 

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New Trip- Exploratory Tbilisi to Bishkek (39 days)

Check out our new Exploratory Tbilisi to Bishkek 39 day Ultimate Asia Overland. From the natural wonders of mud volcanoes, colourful rock canyons, the fire and brimstone Darwaza Crater, vast deserts, yurts, yaks and crystal blue lakes to the historic, majestic cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand this trip packs a lot in to 39 days! Travelling by overland truck, 4X4 vehicles, ferries and, maybe even a train, this trip provides a great overview of Central Asia.

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Toilet Twinning

How much do you like your toilet? Perhaps you don’t care about what you clean your bottom with, or perhaps you’ve spoilt yourself with extra padded toilet paper. Maybe you’ve provided some reading material for longer visits; you might have even installed an air freshener. Whatever you prefer, most of us are lucky enough to enjoy the luxury of having our own toilet in our home.

Did you know that 844,00,000 people don’t have access to clean water? Or that less than half the population in 47 countries have access to a toilet? Imagine this in your life for a second. Can you? It’s pretty difficult to comprehend when having access to a toilet is something most of us take for granted.

Toilet Twinning are a charity determined to give everyone the opportunity to have a safe, clean toilet, and they work with communities all around the world in order to achieve this goal. Their projects help families to build a toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene measures such as hand washing.  This not only helps the family in terms of illness, it gives girls somewhere private to deal with their periods, it prevents the risk of being bitten by snakes at night, and importantly, it gives the entire family a feeling of dignity when they can use a private building instead of the bush.

Oasis Overland have supported Toilet Twinning for some years now: we’ve twinned our office toilets, some staff have their home toilet twinned, and all of our trucks are also twinned – they all carry shovels for digging your toilet! It’s such an important human right, and we believe that everyone deserves access to a clean toilet.

 

So I’ll ask again: how much do you like your toilet? It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

#WorldToiletDay

 

 

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Overlanding for the Under and Over Fifties

Life begins at 21! At 40! At 50! At 60! What is the latest age the media are trying to reinvent? Does life really begin again? The truth is, exclusive of ill health or injuries, life can start or continue being awesome at any age. But there does seem to be something about reaching 50 that makes people hesitate. Some people question whether they are now too old to do some things or take certain holidays. Is it our age that affects our sense of adventure?

Here at Oasis Overland HQ, we often have potential travellers phoning up, asking if they are ‘suitable’ to travel with us – for all sorts of reasons – and we love that. Overlanding is a specific type of travel and while we welcome anyone willing to embrace the participatory style of trip, we also want to be clear about what you’re getting yourself into – not everyone wants to put up their own tent or cook for the group over a fire. But whether you have a good time on a trip rarely depends on your age. Rather, it’s all about your attitude.

I’ve been lucky enough to run trips for Oasis in Africa, South America and Central Asia, and almost a decade and a half later, I still attest that my favourite groups and best times were had with a group of mixed ages – many of whom were over the age of 50. Having a group representative of various generations and age brackets brings a rich mix of experience and wisdom. Combined with the enthusiasm and hedonism inspired by new experiences and challenges, this creates a sure-fire template for a great adventure – for everyone involved. Some travellers may bring different stories or a more expansive knowledge of the world, but other travellers are brimming with questions, are eager to do anything and everything, and people at both ends of the spectrum can learn something from the other, as well as everyone in-between. It’s not always a question of how much beer you can drink (indeed, I’ve seen some 60-year olds drink people in their early twenties under the table!), or how you handle it the morning after (note – the older generation are way better at handling their booze), but about how you all work together.

In your life at home, most people choose not to hang out with people their parents’ age, or people who were in their kids’ year at school. Their social group is more often than not a bunch of like-minded and similar-aged individuals, who they’ve chosen to spend their free time with. Even at work, where perhaps you’re more likely to operate alongside people of different ages, meaningful relationships aren’t easily forged.

On an overland truck, things are a bit different. Yes, you might initially gravitate to your fellow travellers of the same ages, looking for commonalities, but as a group, you spend a lot of time together, and everyone on board that truck is up for a great adventure.  Those commonalities you’re searching for suddenly crop up in other travellers too – some of different ages to you, and any barriers that age may have thrown up are eroded. The group is a blend of individuals, each bringing something unique to them, and when everyone starts forming the bonds to create their “truck family”, often age becomes irrelevant. Yes, some people might need more help carrying their tent. Others may need a helping hand in the kitchen. But often, what people bring or don’t bring to the group isn’t age dependent.

The Oasis group in Kyrgyzstan

While you might think it’s the travellers over fifty who are a bit nervous about travelling on an overland adventure, the same hesitations crop up in enquiries from younger travellers too. Their friends think it might be a bit daring: what if you’re stuck with a bunch of rowdy twenty-somethings or boring grandparent types; why don’t you fancy a traditional package hotel break, and really, do you want to go on holiday where you have to dig your own hole to poop in?!

You can’t choose your group, but you can choose your attitude. Overland travel welcomes travellers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, as long as you bring your sense of fun and adventure with you.

For more information about any of our trips contact the team today – we love talking travel!

See you on the road! 😊

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Getting Off the Beaten Track

One of the biggest advantages of overland travel is being able to access places that many people only dream of. Not only will the trip take you to some of the most celebrated regions of the continent, we also try to include smaller, lesser known places that are special to us. Most travellers will think fondly of their time in the Serengeti or marvelling at Iguazu Falls, but sometimes the stories told around a campfire in Burkina Faso, or the laughs shared with locals trying to teach you to salsa in Ecuador are amongst the most treasured when you look back. Oasis Overland try to combine the tourist highlights of a continent while also including some unique out-of-the-way stops, to create incredible trips for everyone. I wanted to share a few places that have proved popular with our travellers, places that they often had previously never heard of. So please do come and join us, but ssssh, we don’t want to tell everyone!

Spitzkoppe

This special place in the Namibian Desert has stolen my heart on more than one occasion. Spitzkoppe is a group of huge granite rock formations that just call out to be explored and traversed. They are decorated with bushman paintings and look spectacular at sunrise and sunset. Whether you want to wander beneath the rock arches or scramble to the peaks, it truly is a beautiful place to be. My favourite part was lying back to watch the stars twinkle above you, the heat from the still-warm rocks radiating through me, feeling like I was one of the luckiest people in the world.

Cafayate

Pronounced “café-yah-tey” (or at least that’s how I managed it), this beautiful town in Northern Argentina remains one of my favourite spots. It’s small enough to retain its charm; it’s surrounded by mountains and there’s wineries everywhere! Most travellers here check out the local wineries by bicycle, tasting the local speciality Torrontes as well as the better-known Malbec. On the Oasis itinerary we also drive through the incredible Quebrada del Rio de las Conchas; a colourful valley of red rock with beautiful formations that leaves travellers spell bound. A must see!

Darwaza Gas Crater

Turkmenistan is not usually at the top of many travellers’ lists, but the country is slowly starting to open up to tourism – albeit on very strict terms. This crater, sometimes referred to as the “Door to Hell”, has been burning since the 1970s, and yet the heat it puts out remains outstanding. The ground collapsed to reveal the crater after an accident, and to stop the spread of methane gas, the Soviet geologists lit it in the hope it would burn out. It’s still burning today, and is one of, if not the strangest phenomenon in Central Asia! On your trip you’ll camp overnight here, which is when the fire looks most bewitching. A huge fire, in the middle of a desert, under a star lit sky. Perfect.

Pamir Highway

This winding, beautiful road takes you through some of the most incredible scenery worldwide, changing colours and textures within hours. You’ll navigate steep mountain passes and edge around huge boulders, only to later have an entire desert sprawling before you. Known more formally as the M41, we travel this lusted after highway between Dushanbe and Osh, and it really is one of the best road trips I’ve ever done. Remote, stunning and breath taking – put in on the list!

Chimanimani

Many tour operators no longer travel through Zimbabwe, and even those that do shoot through and only stop at a couple of places. Oasis Overland have an enjoyed a long-term love affair with this magical country, and Chimanimani holds a special place in our hearts. The National Park is located within the East Highlands, which form a natural boundary with neighbouring Mozambique – in fact these mountain passes played a significant role in the independence war in Zimbabwe. It’s wild, it’s dramatic and it’s raw – and makes for spectacular hiking. After the region was hit by Cyclone Idai, Oasis offered help and support to the local villages affected, and we have since returned on our trips to introduce more travellers to this lovely place.

Atlas Mountain Berber Migration

The magnificent Atlas Mountains are a draw card in themselves, but how about traversing the ancient migration paths with a local Berber family and their livestock? These families follow years of tradition by moving their animals twice a year through the mountain passes, and travellers will stay in remote homesteads and eat home cooked food. With picturesque valleys by day and star-studded night skies, this trip truly gets you off any kind of tourist path! Each journey is unique as your path is determined by the local shepherds who adjust routes according to present conditions, which makes it all the more enchanting.

Tayrona National Park

Much of Colombia remains “off the beaten track” simply because people are still nervous about travelling there. Imagine, then, attempting to visit a park without roads. Tayrona National Park is a delectable slice of coastline that is bound by the Caribbean on one side and lush rainforest on the other. You’ll trek to the coast and sleep in hammocks strung up between palm trees, with little more to do than swim, relax or, for the more active, hike further up the coast. A magical gem of a place that makes the journey there worth it.

 

Omo Valley

Travellers describe the Omo valley as somewhere where time feels as though it’s stood still, and this is largely due to the intriguing and interesting indigenous tribe groups that inhabit the area. The Mursi people traditionally have clay lip plates and stretched ear lobe decorations, while the friendly Hamar tribe are noted for their ornate hair styles stained with red clay, and the Bull Jumping ceremony. The National Park has wildlife viewing and the region is so unlike the rest of the Ethiopia, it’s definitely worth a visit. Oasis travels to the Omo valley between Kenya and Addis Ababa.

Lake Song Kul

This jewel of a lake is surrounded by rolling green hills, speckled with sheep and horses as they move in their herds. Sleeping in a yurt here makes you feel as if you too are living like the nomads who move up every year to graze their animals. There’s something breath-taking about the place, and everything moves at a calm, relaxed pace – until you watch the traditional horse games and goat polo; then all bets are off as competitive streaks take over!

These are some of the most enchanting places Oasis travellers’ have fallen in love with, but there’s many more. It’s often on our exploratory trips that we discover new gems, and we have two fantastic adventures departing in 2020:

London to Istanbul via Kathmandu (26 weeks) travelling from the flat lands of Europe to the peaks of the Himalayas.

Cape Town to Alexandria (21 weeks) taking you to many places that are off the regular Africa overland route including one of the lowest places on the planet – The Danakil Depression.

Numbers of travellers on both of  these trips have now exceeded the minimum required however places are limited to 24 on each trip so don’t leave it too late to book!

The really will be an adventure of a lifetime!

 

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Travelling with Benefits

Travel isn’t always about relaxing and switching off from it all – it can be a great opportunity to learn a new skill or give back through volunteering.  Here’s a few trips where you not only have a great time, but you’ll learn something new or help someone too!

Learning a New Skill

Spanish Lessons

Did you learn it at school but can only remember “Una cervaza, por favor?” Or perhaps you learnt French or German, and are realising that as great as those languages are, there aren’t many countries where it’s spoken! Spanish is a wonderful language and it’s so fun to learn in Quito – especially if you opt to live with a family who will only speak Spanish to you – you’ll be a pro in no time! It’s a really good option to do this before your trip with Oasis through South America; it means you can order what you want in a restaurant, bargain for souvenirs in the market, and impress your new travel buddies!

Quito to Rio (15 weeks) Kingdoms and Carnivals

 

Scuba-Diving in the Galapagos Islands

Life under the water really is like another world, and what better place to learn than in the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin conducted his important research. It’s not the easiest place to learn, but it’s one of the best – after learning to navigate the currents here anywhere else will seem tame! The instructors are patient and encouraging, and with the prospect of seeing manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles, as well as the sea lions who like to come and say hi, who wouldn’t want to dive in and see what other wonders these waters have to offer?!

Galapagos Islands Experience and Scuba Diving – 8 Days/7 Nights

 

Volunteering Projects

Wildlife projects with wild African animals or Great White Sharks

Learn more about what makes Africa so great, with these conservation projects on land or in the water. You’ll see what’s needed behind the scenes to keep a wildlife ranch going, heading out on drives around the park, learning about anti-poaching practices and assisting with educating the local community and school groups. If you prefer life at sea, you’ll want to be part of the marine project we offer. This eco-tourism operation are gathering as much information as possible on Great Whites Sharks and other marine life, in order to try and protect and prevent the dwindling numbers of sharks worldwide.

Community projects in Tanzania, Zambia or South Africa

If engaging with people is more your thing, there are various projects you might like. There’s a project that works with rural communities on South Africa’s Wild Coast like the soup kitchen in Cintsa; you might prefer the health and development project that works with rural communities around Livingstone in Zambia, or you could choose to work with various schools and education projects in Moshi, Tanzania.

Nairobi to Cape Town (56 days) Coast to Coast

 

All of these opportunities are available to view if you click here.

Happy Travels! 🙂

 

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Did you know you can charter one of our vehicles?

Whatever trip you are planning, wherever it may be in the world, Oasis is sure to be able to help so if you are thinking about organising a trip for friends, family, work colleagues, or a college or charity expedition then why not use one of our vehicles?!

The advantages of Oasis Overland arranging a private trip for you is that you can decide when and where you wish to travel. You can use the itineraries we have on our website for inspiration or we can tailor one to suit.

We will work out a cost, dependent on individual group needs and expectations, so whether you would like an all inclusive cost with food and meals thrown in, a hotel based trip or purely truck hire as a back-up role to a charity expedition, we will cost accordingly either on a week to week or total trip basis.

Here are some ideas of what you can hire the vehicles for;

Groups – if you are a club or a group of friends, why not take a completely different trip together.  Let us help to formulate the perfect itinerary for you.  Whether you prefer camping under the stars or something a little more comfortable, we can tailor it to you.

Schools – we have worked with several schools, whose students wanted something different from the trip.  We can offer activity based trips, trekking, cycling or something a little more cultural.

Logistics – if you just need a vehicle to move your gear and support your trip, we can help with anything from catering to arranging and helping with border crossings and visas.

Our trucks are custom built and fitted with 24 high back seats, you can be sure of plenty of leg room.  We’ve also designed our seats to encompass a locker below for your gear – no more pulling out everyone’s bag just to get at yours!

There are charge points for your gear and a music system so you can play your favourite tunes.

Each vehicle has a full kitchen and 13 x 3 man tents, which we use for just 2 people.
We can carry up to 320 litres of water, which we can treat when necessary.  This just means you can refill your bottle, rather than leaving a plastic trail everywhere we travel.

Basically all you’ll need is a sleeping bag and roll mat and you are good to go!

View more information on our Overland vehicles.

Our pricing structure is very flexible, and depending on what you want to include, we can tailor things to suit you.  A great deal depends on how far we need to drive a truck to your start or end points, but we do have several main bases around the world, as well as the UK, including; Cusco in Peru, Harare in Zimbabwe and Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.  We generally have trucks based at these points so it is easier for us to find a vehicle to suit your needs and timescale.

The cost will also depend on many things such as total mileage, borders, length of time, where you want to stay, inclusions etc.

To give you an idea, a 3 week trip in South Africa would cost from US$15,750 plus kitty.

Food and accommodation kitty – we prefer to run a kitty for these items, as we feel it gives flexibility.  We will set the amount working with you and judging what you want to include.  We will budget and keep accounts throughout the trip (or you can nominate a person in your group) and any unused money will be returned to the group.

Here are some of the expeditions we’ve arranged and been involved in:

Venture Force – Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe – trekking, bush camping and game watching expedition

“I am writing this brief testimonial to the hard work and dedication shown by our driver/guide 12th July – 12th August 2015.

It would be remis of Venture Force not to officially note the hard work shown by Steve during the time that he worked with us. As you will know these expeditions were far from the normal overland trips undertaken by Oasis and indeed any of your drivers. From the outset Steve approached what must have been an entirely different role from that that he was accustomed to, with enthusiasm. He took the time to liaise with me on several occasions prior to our expedition, not only to ensure that he fully understood what we required of him, but also to offer advice where he thought fit.

On our arrival at Victoria Falls and our first real occasion to meet, Steve impressed himself upon the team immediately. This was to continue through the forthcoming month. Steve was tireless in his efforts to ensure the students involved enjoyed the expedition and made the most of their opportunities. We wish to commend Steve for his absolute professionalism and thank him for his friendship during the trip and I know that to a person that the team miss his affable and friendly nature.  We all wish him well in his future work and travels. In addition to the praise given to Steve I would wish to thanks the entire Oasis team who made the entire process, easy and fun.  We very much hope that we can link service again in the future.”

Tom – Venture Force Leader

 

Philips Lighting – Cairo to Cape Town – Logistics and the movement of people and equipment to demonstrate solar lighting throughout Africa and bring together Philip’s workforce.

NPN – Tbilisi to Bishkek (Georgia to Kyrgyzstan).  A very wild adventure searching for the Nomadic tribes of Central Asia.  Some areas were even new for Oasis!

“OO has become a great partner for our non-profit enterprise. We needed a platform for a 10-week mobile training experience in Central Asia and they made it happen. Their knowledge and flexibility made for a top-notch experience for our riders. The trek went so well that we have signed on for another trek in Africa. We are highly impressed with all the staff we have dealt with, the drivers and the trucks.”

We appreciate you!

Ken – Nomadic Peoples Republic (NPR)

Discover Adventure – various trips for both adults and students in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.  We also adapt one of our trucks to carry bikes for some trips in Zambia.

 

RAW Foundation – Cairo to Cape Town – a very personal journey through Africa, looking at and recording plastic pollution.  We utilised our 4×4 Toyota Hilux for this expedition, providing a driver, logistics and help for the team.

Great Primate Handshake – studying the primates of Kenya and Southern Africa, we have provided transport, camping and logistics to teams making media productions whilst on the road!  We even bespoke built an area of our truck to carry a satellite dish so productions could be sent out right away!

 

Our trucks are built to get to those out of the way places, and we’re always up for a challenge so contact us now to chat about how we can arrange that trip of a lifetime for you!

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Mindfulness – on an Adventure Holiday?!

It’s the buzz word of the moment. Everyone wants to achieve inner peace, reach that oasis of calm within, and improve their mental health. There exists a vague assumption that quietening your mind can only be achieved on palm fringed beaches, or at a yoga retreat where you spend most of your days in silence. But could there also be a special grounding quality attached to packing a bag, joining a group of strangers and immersing yourself in “truck life”? Leaving real life behind for a few weeks can do wonders for your inner zen, and it doesn’t have to be led by a yogi.

Celebrating Life!

Mindfulness is described by the UK’s National Health Service as “paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you”, and supporters of the idea strongly believe that it can improve your mental health immeasurably. Adventure Travel, specifically overlanding, where the itinerary takes you off the beaten track and the sheer notion is to escort you out of your comfort zone can – I believe – nourish your soul just as well as a meditation retreat in the middle of a forest.

For one thing, you come as you, unfiltered, unadorned by make up or designer clothes (usually), and you’re judged on your ability to roast a marshmallow over the fire or haggle for a good price for carrots, instead of whether you’ve watched the latest Tarantino movie. Indeed, one of my favourite things about overlanding is that it acts as a great equaliser: it doesn’t matter what you do, where you’re from or how much money you have – you still need to use a shovel to bury your poop, muck in with cook group and put up your tent for the night.

Getting back to nature has long been lauded as a cure for the overloaded mind, but its balm comes in all forms. One of my favourite times of day whilst living “on the road” was rising early, clambering out of my tent and slowly stoking the fire embers so I could make a cup of tea to watch the sun rise from behind the trees. It’s getting back to basics. You start to notice simple things – a spider web that appeared overnight, a droplet of dew balancing on a leaf, and just the act of noticing calms you.

Apparently, an important part of mindfulness is connecting with our bodies. There are few people who return unmoved by the fact they’ve had to dig their own toilet, and whilst doing their business, often realise how awe inspiring it is to be surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature. It’s incredibly freeing, and in fact, some medics encourage the examination of your poop to make sure you’re healthy – that’s easy when you need to cover it with earth! Perhaps not quite what the health professionals had in mind, but you get my point.

Morning Routines Outside: Teeth Brushing

Within Oasis Overland trips, there are lots of opportunities for adrenaline activities within which you can lose or challenge yourself, but there’s also drive days where you’re left to contend with your own thoughts. Sitting there, looking out the window as the local environment goes about its daily business, is the perfect opportunity to reflect and just be. There’s plenty of thinking time, if you want it. You stop waking up wondering if you’re going to get those reports in before the deadline, or how many angry customers you have to serve before lunchtime, and realise that you can surrender yourself to the truck schedule and focus on other things; or nothing at all.

Life as a baby elephant

Safaris are a great way to bring everything back to basics – the circle of life is as raw and unedited as it gets. Watching a leopard stalk a gazelle, hippos languish in their pool keeping one eye on the crocodiles’ sun baking at the waters edge, or a baby elephant charge between its mother’s legs; I challenge anyone not to be “in the moment” when watching these incredible scenes. Or perhaps you’d prefer visiting the intoxicating vistas of Kyrgyzstan, gazing at the snow-covered mountains that form the backbone of the country, lying under blankets of stars each night and meeting nomads who continue to live the life of their ancestors.  There’s nothing more life affirming that leaving the detritus of the modern world behind; trekking into the mountains of Patagonia, with only the peaks as company (and some of your fellow travellers), is a magnificent way of getting some head space.

A Moment of Reflection

It’s hard to not notice the world around us when it pulls so sharply at our senses. My humble (not medically acclaimed) advice? Book a trip, embrace everything it throws at you, and enjoy your new healthy mind. And if you do need those palm-fringed beaches, make sure the trip includes Zanzibar.

Oasis Overland operates trips throughout Africa, Central Asia and South America. To check out all our trips, please visit www.oasisoverland.co.uk. For a sample of activities mentioned above, see the trips listed below (bush toilets included in all overland adventure trips).

Coast to Coast (56 days) Nairobi to Cape Town

Coast to Coast (51 days) Santiago to Rio

Kyrgyzstan Overland (16 days) Bishkek to Bishkek

Happy Travels! 🙂

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The W Trek – A Photo Blog

There are some places on earth where words, however powerful they are, cannot begin to evoke the beauty of the natural world. We think one of these such places in Torres del Paine National Park. The W Trek is a 4 day walk through the incredible mountainous landscape of the park and can be completed during any Oasis trip that travels down to Patagonia. Here’s the trek as a photo journey.

Whichever track you take, you’ll almost definitely be surrounded by jaw-dropping scenes

 

The weather is supremely powerful and unpredictable in Patagonia, and the strong winds sculpt the landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a great park for flower lovers!

 

The Towers, or Torres, are the most iconic image associated with the park. And involve possibly the most demanding hike to get to!

 

While the scrub land is muted in russet colours, the lakes are electric blue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Britannico look out is spectacular

 

360 degrees of amazing views – well worth the hike to get here!

 

 

Another Photo Stop…

 

 

 

 

And another…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful clean water to drink

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise here is worth getting up for

 

 

You’ve got mountains, you’ve got lakes, and you’ve got Grey’s Glacier

 

 

A moment of reflection

 

 

 

Upon completing the W Trek, you’ll feel on top of the world!

 

The W Trek can be booked as an Add On to the trips detailed below, or as a stand-alone Mini Adventure. Contact our team on southamerica@oasisoverland.co.uk to find out more!

Coast to Coast (51 Days) Santiago to Rio via Patagonia, or vice versa

Patagonian Adventures (31 days) Santiago to Buenos Aires, or vice versa

Kingdoms & Carnivals (15 weeks) Quito to Rio, or vice versa

 

Happy Travels! 🙂

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