Are you familiar with overland travel? It’s one of the earliest forms of adventure travel, dating back to the early 1960s. At that time, groups of ‘crazy adventurers’ would buy army surplus trucks and set off to explore Asia and Africa together, camping along the way.
Guess what? People decided that overlanding is actually a great way to get to some of the world’s most remote places. Places you won’t see other tourists…because they simply can’t get there!
Our trucks are all grown up.
The early smoke-belching trucks of the 1960s have been replaced with purpose-built 4- and 6-wheel-drive Mercedes trucks. These vehicles have a few more conveniences than the original Bedfords, and you won’t be sleeping in a tent and bathing in a creek every night. Accommodation depends on the area through which you’re traveling and can range from boutique hotels or guesthouses to local homestays, full-service campsites with pool and showers, and some wild camping in remote areas, wherever you and the truck decide to grind to a halt that night.
Since overland trucks carry all camping gear, water, chairs, tables, food and more in special compartments, it’s hardly privation. The challenge is still there though—try navigating hail at 12,000 feet or crossing streams that change from a trickle to a flood during the rainy season!
Short... and epic.
Overland trips can be short or long—from one week through 28. Like our epic Beijing to Istanbul voyage. Our longer trips are typically chopped up into sections, so if you go the whole way you might meet five sets of travellers, some climbing aboard for just one section and some for longer.
You’re part of the team, and the community.
There are no passengers in overlanding, just participants. Everyone gets involved with setting up camp, shopping for food, and sometimes cooking. Then there’s collecting firewood, fetching water and keeping the truck tidy. It’s a team experience, which in itself is rewarding. Not being the driver does have its benefits, however. You can set off on that 4-hour hike in the Andes while he or she stays behind to negotiate purchasing rack of lamb, tops up the tires and fine-tunes the route for the next day.
Naturally, overland trips are built to maximize interaction with the communities through which we travel. You might find yourself riding horses with Kyrgyz shepherds or taking a detour to drop some Kenyan schoolchildren off close to home. You might spend a night with an Uros family on a floating island in Lake Titicaca, or sitting around the campfire with shepherds that happened by.
Be where you want to be.
Sometimes you want to catch the sun rising just so. Other times you want to be first in line when the border crossing opens. Still others, it’s hot as blazes and you all decide to pull off by the river for a refreshing dip. With overlanding, you can. You don’t have to beat it back to the hotel, wait for the bus, or bypass the things that you really want to do at that particular moment. A quick show of hands will decide whether you go left or right, stop or keep going, and whether you want to pick up what’s on special at the market for dinner that night.
These are the little things that make overlanding what it is. As a genre of travel, it beats the others hands down when you want to really get to know a country intimately.
To see the overland trips that we have on offer, click here.