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Discovering Africa with Oasis Overland

Today I embark on an incredible overland journey of discovering Africa with Oasis Overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. Find out how to follow along.

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Africa has been on my destination dream wishlist for a long time now, like most travellers. However I didn’t think there was any chance I was going to get there in the next few years until just recently.

Oasis Overland 75 Day Grand Adventurer Tour

Photo Credit: Mariana Matos

Discovering Africa with Oasis Overland

When Adela and I decided to take a break, because of my visa expiring and her not wanting to leave Edinburgh, I knew I needed to travel. But after nearly 4 years of travelling as a couple, solo travel terrified me. The only option in my mind was to join a group trip to alleviate some of those fears.

With a group trip to Africa I knew I could make friends while maintaining some independence, much easier than jumping from Hostel to Hostel through Europe. After a week of research I settled on booking with Oasis Overland, who we were actually meant to travel with through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt with last year before the Arab Spring uprising pulled the pin on that.

The trip I am booked on starts today and I couldn’t be more excited. For 75 days I will travel overland from Nairobi to Cape Town with approximately 20 other like-minded travellers in an expedition truck that is suited to the raw continent of Africa.

Oasis Overland Africa Truck

My new home away from home – Oasis Overland Africa Truck

On my journey we will pass through the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa. Each one unique with their own amazing experiences to discover including; trekking to see the mountain gorillas, swimming with sharks, walking with lions or just relaxing under the setting sun.

Not to mention a load of extra adventure activities right up my alley like white water rafting, bungee jumping (terrified but will attempt it), quad biking and of course the unforgettable Gameparks such as the Serengeti, Etosha and Ngorongoro Crater.

Oasis Overland 75 Day Grand Adventurer Route Map

Oasis Overland 75 Day Grand Adventurer Route Map

Life On The Road

Travel is unpredictable at the best of times. When that travel is 2.5 months overland across Africa, I really have no idea what to expect.

The Oasis Overland crew also made it quite clear that there are so many circumstances outside of their control. But that is what excites and appeals to me the most about this trip.

Day-to-Day

I have been told that driving days start around 8am and finish at about 5pm, with stops for lunch and buying food, seeing local sights etc. Luckily we won’t be driving every day, although there are times when we will drive for two, but will then stop for a few days with free time to explore, meet local people, do some of the many optional adventure activities.

Oasis Overland Truck in Africa

In my opinion, the best part is that I am expected to have an active involvement in the day to day running of our overland experience. Whether it’s cooking meals over open fires, pitching tents or keeping the truck clean and tidy, I will be getting my hands dirty.

Once we have stopped at a bushcamp or campsite, we will put up the tents and lend a hand with getting out the tables, stools, firewood and water containers. As some of us sit back and relax, the designated cook group for that day will prepare the evening meal.

This means we only have to demonstrate our prowess in the kitchen, or lack thereof, in a group of two or three people once every ten days or so.

But it is all meant to be fairly basic. For breakfasts, it is kept simple with cereal, toast, hot drinks and on occasion there will be a splurge with a cooked breakfast. While lunch, will be eaten usually on the road. So it’s likely to be eating sandwiches and anything else quick to assemble.

Oasis Overland African Gorillas

There is no doubt that this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Yet it is one that would not have come about without one negative change in my life which has created this amazing opportunity. And I plan to grab it with both hands, and share it with you.

So make sure you follow along with me on this Oasis Overland Grand Adventurer tour by following the Hashtag #fjAfrica on Twitter and Instagram where I will be updating my journey whenever we have Internet access. Not to mention right here on my travel blog and via Facebook.

Oasis Overland have provided me with a small discount off the price of the trip. However, as always, my thoughts on telling it how it is are never influenced by anyone. The photos in this post are also courtesy of Oasis Overland 😉

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. The World or Bust

    April 30, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    Holy crap, those lions are diesel! better do some extra push ups with all that driving time!

  2. Michael Hodson

    April 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    I did about 3 weeks with Oasis in Ethiopia, Sudan and part of Egypt. Really good company. Hope you have a good crew on the truck — you will have a blast.

  3. Geoff Billing

    April 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Awesome, I’ll be 2 months behind you on this exact same trip! So I’ll be following your updates closely 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      May 3, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      You will love it Geoff! First photos will be up next week too 😉

  4. Moss Burmester

    April 30, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Mega jealous of your trip! Can’t wait to get your updates!

  5. Alissa

    May 1, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    Excited to hear about your adventure, we choose Oasis Overland also for our trip in January, a very similar route to yours. Have a great time, can’t wait to read about your favorite stops!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Been absolutely amazing so far Alissa and only on day 5! Can’t recommend Oasis Overland enough 🙂

  6. Charli l Wanderlusters

    May 3, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    What a fantastic adventure! Food for the soul I’ve no doubt. We’re hoping to exploring Africa one day, until now I’ve your updates to feed my imagination! Thanks Cole!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 4, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      Really hope you cone one day as your photos will be amazing I bet!

  7. Sarah P | The Travel Spotlight

    May 5, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    That baby gorilla is adorable!! I dream of visiting Africa someday too! All the best and have a lovely trip, I’ll be following along! 😀

  8. Johan Horak

    May 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Really cool trip. Being in Cape Town this is one of my must do trips. I have been in the southern parts of Africa but never as far north as you were. Great to see you did Namibia. It’s one of my favourite places.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 8, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      Would love a personal tour guide in Cape Town Johan! Let me know if you guys are keen 🙂

      • Johan Horak

        May 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        Anytime. We take nothing serious. Or we try not to. And we don’t really care about time. If you are in a hurry then I need to find you another guide. Ha ha 😉

        • Cole Burmester

          May 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

          Sounds perfect for me haha. Will be there in mid-July 😉

      • Johan Horak

        May 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        Keep me posted. And ask any questions you may have. I would love to give you good advice 😉

  9. Kristy of Family Visa

    May 8, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Hi Cole, did you see the big five animals already? How’s your experience so far? Anyway, the baby gorillas is so cute!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 8, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      I spotted an Elephant on our Gorilla trekking actually so that finished it off 😉

  10. Ashely

    May 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Wow, great post! I would love to be on this trip with you right now. I have always wanted to travel but I have never even left the states (yet). I can’t wait to see more pictures! I hope you have an amazing trip!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 8, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Thanks Ashely 🙂 I hope you get to travel soon too and definitely recommend travelling with Oasis Overland!

  11. Lydia Patel

    May 10, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    Haha I love the photo of the lioness smacking the lion, you go girl!

  12. Aaron Douglas

    May 10, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    This looks like such an incredible trip!

  13. K.T.

    May 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    We did an overland from Cape Town to Nairobi – and threw a Kilimanjaro trek in there while we were at it. It is still our most favourite thing we have done so far – not to mention how CHEAP overlanding is compared to independent travel in Africa.

    Hope you enjoy your time- We weren’t able to blog for 2.5 months while in africa due to lack of wifi!!! Hopefully you find it easier than we did!

    cheers!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 17, 2013 at 5:45 AM

      So far the WiFi has been patchy at best but seem to get hold of it every few days. Not too worried though as quite enjoying being away from technology haha. Sounds like I am doing the trip in reverse to you too!

  14. Chelsea

    October 30, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Hi Cole, I just came across this post now when I was searching for other travel bloggers who have done over-landing trips in Africa. I’m taking one with Nomad Tours throughout South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho in December-January. I’m so excited, but a little nervous! How did you enjoy being with the tour group all the time? Another random question – did you happen to get a rabies vaccine before you went? Looks like you had a great time!

    • Cole Burmester

      November 3, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      Hey Chelsea,
      Thanks for your post! You definitely should be excited as it will be one of the best things you could ever do. It was great being with our group but it can be tough as it is 24/7. Luckily everyone in my group was amazing although there was times when people bickered. It happens when you have 24+ people travelling together 🙂 It is quite easy to have alone time on the overland trips by just chucking on your iPod or reading your book though. Everyone did it all the time.
      And nope I didn’t get a rabies shot although it was recommended. No one on my trip did. Basically it only gives you an additional 24 hours to seek medical attention. I won’t recommend whether you should or not, but they seem very expensive… 😀
      Enjoy it and safe travels!
      Cheers,
      Cole

      • Chelsea

        November 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        Thanks Cole! You’re right, I suppose it should be expected that people will bicker a bit on that long of a trip. I did some more research and it looks like the rabies shot isn’t even available near me – I was recommended to get Typhoid and Hepatitis A shots though.

  15. Dee

    June 9, 2015 at 9:31 PM

    That sounds like a wonderful and brave adventure to our side of the globe (South Africa).

    I really enjoy reading travel blogs featuring South Africa,and as for Wifi, turn off the phones and breathe in the African air!

    Thanks for a great blog, Im glad you found a nice group to travel with, my company offers the same services and it is always heartwarming to hear a story of an an enjoyed trip to SA.

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Adventure Travel

Your Top Destinations For No-Contact Water Sports

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While it can be hard to stay cooped up inside throughout a beautiful summer, there are plenty of other places you head to for some fun in the sun before colder temperatures set in. The best news? If you’re an American, you don’t have to leave the continental US or mess with self-quarantining.

Lake Tahoe, California

A classic vacation spot, Lake Tahoe has it all for visitors. Great climate, little rain, a background of mountains, and one of the largest, most serene lakes in the US. This makes Tahoe not just a great place for spring break partying, but also for some amount of isolation, or at least a bit of peace and quiet. You can find yourself reflected on the water and reflect upon the world around you while out on the lake. Because of the still waters there, it is also a wonderful place for paddle boarding. In case you are looking for quality gear for water sports, you can look into Gili Sports.

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are another classic vacation destination, especially for anyone who loves water sports. The weather remains mild in North Carolina all year round (with the notable exception of hurricane season), so it makes for an outstanding destination through any season. Kitty Hawk, famous for the Wright Brothers first flight, is an outstanding destination, as well as smaller towns like Currituck. You will find slightly rougher currents out in the Atlantic Ocean. However, paddle boarding is also popular here, as is windsurfing.

New Braunfels, Texas

The city of New Braunfels has a river entirely within its limits, the Comal River. This allows for many water sports activities, with tubing as one of the most popular choices. In these times, tubing is a popular choice, as it is a great activity for families that doesn’t involve a lot of contact with strangers. New Braunfels has a huge German influence, with its largest water park named the Schlitterbahn.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Although there is a city in Florida named Venice, the city of Fort Lauderdale is often referred to confusingly as the “Venice of Florida.” This nickname was won because Fort Lauderdale has nearly as many canals as its famous Italian counterpart. Fort Lauderdale boasts 23 miles of beach coastline, but if you add in all the city’s canals and lakes, that puts it at 300 miles of coastline. Fort Lauderdale is also a magnet for yachts, so you can paddle board or kayak past boats in the harbor you’ve only dreamed of. Summers in South Florida can swelter, but there’s also a reason that old folks go down in the winter.

Seattle, Washington

Although it is a huge metropolis, Seattle also offers some of the most pristine coastline in the country. Although it gets colder in the PNW than it might get anywhere in the southeast, the climate in Seattle stays relatively mild. One advantage of Seattle over more southern spots is its glacial lakes, which offer a beauty that few islands can replicate.

Even as the summer wanes, there are so many places in the continental US that you can get out and enjoy the water.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

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Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated and they are cities on our list to visit again once the Coronavirus allows. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy and we want to change that after Coronavirus. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them to learn about while stuck at home due to Coronavirus:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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