Overland trips offer journeys of exploration and adventure like no other. Traverse continents and travel deep into the cultures and landscapes you encounter along the way.
What are overlanding trips?
They are off the beaten track journeys of exploration. What they are not, is package tours.
Living a nomadic lifestyle, travelling in custom-built trucks, you will cover many miles, crossing borders and delving into the heart of the countries you visit.
Rather than being the usual tourist dash to see too much in too little time, destinations are carefully chosen, with time allowed to explore, soak up your surroundings and immerse yourself in the culture.
You could find yourself:
- Travelling the fabled Silk Road from Turkey to China
- Exploring the Indian subcontinent from the high Himalayas to the beaches of Goa
- Journeying around South America for incredible landscapes and ancient cultures
- Experiencing the spirit of Africa visiting tribal villages and viewing wildlife on the route from Victoria Falls to Cape Town
If this is your idea of great adventures then read on as I’ve lots more to tell you.
Choosing a destination for your holiday
Overland trips can take you almost anywhere in the world, or at least, across any landmass that it is possible to traverse for many months without having to cross a major body of water.
Here are some of the major routes to give you an idea of what’s available.
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Overland in North America – experience and explore the rich array of stunning wilderness and wonders of nature on an epic trip from Alaska to Mexico City or take a shorter regional tour.
Overland Along The Silk Road – feel the deep sense of history along the iconic route from Istanbul to Beijing as you follow the footsteps of adventurers and traders across remote regions of central Asia.
Overland in South America – the continent that’s given birth to some of the greatest travel stories of all time. Write your own on a journey of discovery across it’s beautiful but diverse countries.
Overland in Southern Africa – vast landscapes, traditional cultures, unrivalled wildlife viewing and a host of adventure activities await those journeying through exciting Southern Africa.
Overland in West Africa – visit unusual destinations well off the tourist route as you experience the uniqueness of the fascinating countries of West Africa.
More to come soon…
Make your search with the Adventure Travel Companies listed below.
Things you might want to know
- Group size
- Vehicles & Crew
- Activities & Fitness
In essence, overland trips are extended journeys over many months. Many adventure travel companies retain the true ethos of overlanding with full tours of around six months in duration, sometimes longer.
However, if you have limited time or funds, it is often possible to do part of the trip.
For example, if you only have six weeks to spare, you could join a tour for the Ecuador to Chile section of its full South American itinerary.
In response to the market demand, some companies also offer shorter trips of a month or less. These can make wonderful family adventures where there is no lower age restriction.
Camping is an integral part of overland trips. Sometimes it will be on established campsites with basic amenities but wilderness camping is also an important part of the overlanding experience.
The number of nights spent camping varies from trip to trip.
Other accommodation might include standard hotels, B&B’s, lodges, traditional huts or whatever local accommodation is available.
This is small group travel and most overland trips restrict the group size to a maximum of 22 to 24. Expect your fellow travellers to come from all walks of life so there will be plenty of interesting people to get to know.
That they have chosen to embark on an extended journey of exploration and adventure will already have singled them out as a kindred spirits. This makes overlanding ideal for the single traveller as you will soon have many new like-minded friends.
Vehicles & Crew
The powerful custom-built trucks are designed for travel over challenging terrain and are equipped for self-sufficiency to enable them to head right off the beaten track.
There will be at least two crew members and they will have the skills to maintain and repair the truck, if necessary, as well as drive it and act as guides for the trip.
The truck will have plenty of room to comfortably carry the whole group plus all equipment and luggage.
Activities & Fitness
The majority of overland trips offer a wide range of adventure activities. These may be included in the trip or available as optional extras.
Here are some examples from a tour in West Africa:
- Big game viewing
- Walk with lion cubs
- Horse riding
- Bungee jumping
- Microlite flight
- Whitewater rafting
- Gorge swing
So, I guess that you need to be fit enough for the types of activities you’d like to participate in.
Having said that, you undoubtedly need a reasonable level of mental and physical stamina for an extended overland journey. Days will often be long, roads rough, weather conditions variable and home comforts lacking for a long period of time.
There will be camp chores to help with, sometimes when you are cold, wet or tired, maybe all three.
Whether you see these factors as hardships or just an integral part of a wonderful journey will influence your enjoyment of the trip.
But, if you have:
- A sense of adventure
- Reasonable fitness
- A willingness to muck in
you will have an amazing time.
Find your holiday
Adventure Travel Companies offering Overland Trips
Specialists in extended overland journeys and shorter trips following the true overlanding ethos:
- Absolute Africa
- Oasis Overland
- Odyssey Overland
- Overlanding West Africa
- Infinite Adventures
- Madventure Travel
- Endeavour Overland
- Africa in Focus
- Overlanding Africa
- African Overland Tours
- South America Overland
- Undiscovered Destinations
Other companies offering overland travel:
- Viva Expeditions
- World Expeditions
- Grand American Adventures
Limited for time?
If you can only get away for a week or two there are plenty of other active holidays to choose from.