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Adventure Travel

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.



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.


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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  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!


    • 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!

      • 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

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour



Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica



The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations



Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. 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. 

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. 

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:

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.

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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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