Oasis Overland Trip Through Africa: What to Expect

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Overlanding through Africa is trending and extremely popular way to see the continent of Africa. Some people choose to rent their own vehicles and set off on their own adventures, while some enjoy the comforts of the group experience.

While we can’t talk about the renting side of things with you, we can talk to you about the Overlanding group experience with Oasis Overland. There are a lot of companies and routes on offer when it comes to choosing this type of African adventure but Oasis Overland offers some unique things that set them apart from the rest.

We are going to shed some light on these things but also stress why it is important that you evaluate your needs, wants and travel style before you start researching companies to travel within Africa. Each one will suit different people and it is crucial you understand that before you book. You have likely come to this article during your research phase and we want to make a case for why Oasis Overland is great, but also what you can expect should you book a trip with them.

Oasis Overland Malawi

Why We Chose Oasis Overland

There are a couple of main reasons why we chose Oasis Overland for our African expedition. Firstly, they offered the route we wanted to travel from Cape Town to Cairo within the dates we were looking at. Secondly, we wanted to have a true, rough, off the beaten path adventure in Africa.

We wanted to shop in local markets, visit remote villages, sleep under the stars in the bush and really become one with the continent. Of all the companies you can book with for an overland trip, there are only two that offer bush camping and Oasis Overland was one of them.

Combining our wants with the offers of each company just kept bringing us back to Oasis Overland. Plus, they have a really great price point when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck on a long-term trip.

We traveled with Oasis Overland for 17 weeks on their Nile-Trans, Cape Town to Cairo route.

Oasis Overland

The Truck

No matter which itinerary you choose, the day before you set off you will be introduced to your mode of transportation and what will essentially become your home for the duration of your trip. Each truck will have a name and everyone will refer to the truck by said name throughout your trip. Our Oasis Overland home for 17 weeks? Meet The Beast.

The truck houses everything you need during your overland adventure. Your luggage is stored in locker compartments under your seat and your necessities in the overhead storage area. Everything you need to camp, including dishes, tents, stools, tables, cooktops, propane, wood and all other supplies are housed in outside compartments around the truck base.

Back inside, under your feet, you will find compartments that house spare truck parts and enormous storage of dry food to supplement your daily shopping budget. There is also a variety of books, games, and information that resides in the front of the truck near the Beach.

Oasis Overland The Beach
Enjoying a sunny day on The Beach!

Yes, I said the beach. This is the chill-out area of the truck, a bed that allows you a chance to catch up on some sleep, relax, stretch out and sometimes catch a great view. The ceiling of the beach area can be removed on nice days for a clear view of the area you are driving through.

The seats on the oasis trucks run along the sides, meaning you face into the center of the truck. Being prone to motion sickness, I wasn’t sure how riding like this would affect me but I found it to actually be a relief from the motion. The side flaps on the truck roll up, leaving the whole side of the truck open. When riding around, I could always look out and see the landscape which helped with my motion sickness.

Plan your own overland trip through Africa: Oasis Overland Africa

Oasis Overland

Interactive Group Travel

Oasis Overland runs interactive group expeditions through Africa. What does this mean? This means you will be expected to take part in all aspects of your trip. You will set up and take down your own tent. You will clean the truck, start the fire, do the dishes, cook the food and clean up when it is all said and done.

You will be split up into cook groups and have a rotating schedule for various duties each day of your overland safari. This is a great way to get to know your truck mates and be a real part of your trip, not just along for the ride. However, if you think you will sign up for this trip and then not have to participate, consider another overland option.

Working with your truck mates and having the option to experience more local life with your group duties can be a rewarding experience but it doesn’t come without challenges. Trust me, sometimes the last thing you want to do when you’ve been in the truck all day arrives in a new campsite in the dark and then cook a meal for 16 people, but this is Overlanding in Africa. Knowing what you are getting into will help you to enjoy your time in Africa more.

Plan your own overland trip through Africa: Oasis Overland Africa

African Market Oasis Overland

Food Shopping & Cooking

One of the best parts about being on an interactive trip is grocery shopping. We got to see a side of Africa most people only see on TV. As cook groups, we found ourselves in crazy African markets bartering for vegetables and buying meat that was butchered hours before. We joked, laughed and haggled with locals and got a chance to really feel what Africa is like. If we weren’t cooking our own meals, we wouldn’t have had these experiences.

When we weren’t shopping in markets, we were checking out the inside of the grocery stores, which left us surprised at how developed some parts of the continent really are this day in age. It also gave us a chance to try local foods and experience cooking over a campfire. Yes, we prepared meals for 16+ people over campfires!

Oasis Overland camping

This is a Camping Trip

If you are booking a trip with Oasis Overland, you are basically signing up for a camping trip. While there are some nights you may sleep in group dorms (with everyone on the truck), I think it is safe to say that 98% of your trip will be camping. That means sleeping in a tent that you setup and take down every day on camping supplies you have brought from home.

Some campgrounds do offer the option to pay more to upgrade. This is not included in your trip price and there are no guarantees they will be available when you arrive. The biggest tip we can give you here is to:

A. Know what you are signing up for and

B. Invest in some quality camping equipment. Buy the quality sleeping bag and make sure you have a comfortable sleeping pad.

Related Article: Best Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather: From Africa to Greenland

Camping is a great way to experience Africa. It may take some adjusting at the start of your trip, and trust me, those 4 am mornings of tent tearing down are no fun, but you can’t beat it. Some of the campgrounds you will experience are awesome and places that most people don’t find when on their own.

Plan your own overland trip through Africa: Oasis Overland Africa

Bush Camping Oasis Overland
You won’t get views like this without bush camping!!

There Will Be Bush Camping

Oasis Overland bush camps. If you want to sign up for one of their trips and think there is a chance you will not bush camp, keep looking. One of the things that make Oasis Overland so great is the fact that they bush camp.

What does this mean exactly? This means you will spend some time camping in the middle of nowhere with no facilities and sometimes for multiple days at a time. You will be traveling into areas of Africa that are underdeveloped, meaning you can’t just find a campground. No facilities mean no toilet and no running water.

Many people we know expressed concern about this type of camping in Africa. They assumed it would be unsafe and risky and couldn’t understand why we would want to try it. I can tell you without a doubt that the days we spent bush camping were some of the best nights we had in Africa.

Oasis Overland Ethiopia

Drive Days

Overlanding in Africa can be an exhausting and slow process no matter what company you choose. The lack of infrastructure often means the roads are in poor condition, not paved and very bumpy. This makes it slow going at times and more often than not, extremely dusty. It is important to understand you are on an expedition, not a luxury tour.

There is going to be bumped. There is going to be dust. There is going to be some ridiculously long drive days, sometimes unexpectedly. It is all part of it. But on the other side, are the drive days that you come across giraffe or zebra on the side of the road and pull over for photos. Where you stop and race each other to the best bush toilet locales. Where you roll up in remote villages and go shopping in the markets. Experiencing Africa in this way is magical, even on the longest, most bumpy drive days.

Our post: Day in the Life of an Overland Trip Through Africa, talks about what those long drive days in Africa can be like.

Mountain Gorilla Rwanda Susa Group

African Adventure Opportunities

Oasis Overland is going to make sure you roll up in all the most iconic, popular and must-see places along your itinerary. They’re an experienced company that knows where all the good stuff is, how to get there and how best to experience it. For each place you stop off in, the crew will generally have a list of things organized for your participation.

This gives you maximum opportunity for adventure on the full spectrum. Village walks, extreme sports, wildlife safaris, scuba diving, tribes, you name it and it will be available. Of course, everyone has a different budget and needs on a trip of this scale. The best rule of thumb when it comes to choosing activities is that if it is multi-day, don’t miss it.

If you are looking for cultural interaction, there will be some opportunity along the lines of village tours in some places and the interaction you get cook group shopping. But if you want more people’s experiences, you’ll want to plan time to walk around the villages and towns you end up in on your own. This is one area there is a lack, however, it can be done if you are not afraid to be away from the group.

Plan your own overland trip through Africa: Oasis Overland Africa

Oasis Overland crew
Driver Mick and Tour Leader Mark buying charcoal from locals in Mozambique.

Oasis Overland Staff

Your trip will be run and organized by two members of Oasis Overland’s staff. You will have a truck driver and a tour leader. Your truck driver is responsible for driving the truck, getting you from point A to point B and for maintaining the integrity of the overland truck.

The tour leader is there to make sure you have a smooth trip. They will oversee the daily activities, be there for questions, help make arrangements for tours and activities, be available to assist you for border crossings and at times, act as a liaison within the group as needed.

These people are going to be working long hours and enduring the brunt of any problems that may arise on your trip. Treat them kindly! Remember, they are not babysitters, chaperons or referees. Treat them as friends because they are working damn hard to ensure you have a great adventure in Africa.

Oasis Overland Tanzania
Locals taking photos of The Beast

Still, Have Questions?

I am sure I didn’t cover everything that may arise from your questions about what it is like to travel with Oasis Overland. That said, I welcome your questions in the comments below. We spent 4 months traveling with this company through 14 countries in Africa. We can answer any questions you may have about the experience.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



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20 thoughts on “Oasis Overland Trip Through Africa: What to Expect”

  1. Your post has inspired my boyfriend and I to do a two month trip in Africa with Oasis. Thanks so much for all the details and posts. One thing I am curious about….. We got all of our immunizations but still have to get our malaria pills and are finding them to be fairly expensive. I didn’t see anything in your posts about it. Where did you get your malaria pills? Were you able to mostly avoid getting bitten while traveling? Thanks for any info!!

    Reply
    • Hi Delena, That’s awesome! You’re going to love it, Africa is so incredible. I would never attempt to travel through Africa without taking Malaria medication. It is rampant through the continent. Considering the amount of time you spend outside on an overland trip, it’s REALLY hard to avoid being bitten. I doused in repellent regularly and was bitten often. We got our Malaria pills from our travel doctor in the states prior to heading to Africa. Yes, Malarone is expensive but it is the best option for long term and has the least amount of side effects. Alternatively, you can take the broad spectrum doxycycline as a malaria preventive but it has a longer draw off time. I highly recommend talking with your doctor about your best options but heed my advice, don’t try to travel in Africa without malaria meds.

      Reply
  2. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for providing all this awesome information about Oasis and your overland experience! We’re actually about the embark on a portion of the journey you took and your posts have proved to be so helpful in our preparations. We’re really not sure what to expect but this helped to give us some idea. We’re now packing our bags and withdrawing some proper funds thanks to your budgeting estimates. Cheers guys!

    Reply
    • Awesome guys! So glad we could be of help. There seemed to be a gap in what to expect department, so we filled it! Have a fabulous time, Africa is amazing! Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Lina, My husband and I are really keen to do this trip however worried about all of the extra costs as we are on an extended trip (12 months) and on a tight budget, from your experience how much money should we allow to do the optional activities and what would be the highlights (do not miss). Also can you buy good camping gear (mattress and sleeping bag) in Cape Town? Look forward to hearing back from you.

    Reply
    • Hi Toni, you can email me directly from our contact page and I can get into this more in depth. We’re working on a post right now that breaks down the expenses of overlanding in Africa based on our trip and spending. You can spend as little or as much as you want, but there ae a lot of cool things available that you shouldn’t miss! Some of them are not cheap. AS I mentioned in the post, anything that is multi-day should be a not miss. There are several day things too that shouldn’t be missed. Happy to discuss more in length via email. Cheers!

      Reply
  4. This is a great post, really informative. I love Overlanding, it really is a unique experience. If you’ve not done it, I highly recommend Central Asia by overland truck. Fantastic experience. South America is next on my list. I hope it’s ok, but as its so informative I’d like to add a link to this article on my Overlanding resource site. Melanie.

    Reply
    • Hi Melanie, Overlanding is a great way to see places that lack infrastructure. We are also looking at overlanding through Central Asia and South America! Sure, you can include a link to our site on yours. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. Never knew doing this trip requires even cooking for 16+ people with limited fuel and amenities. But, the rewards are worth all the hardships. 🙂

    Reply
    • Not all the overland trips are like that, but the ones that Oasis runs it is. We enjoyed it, to be honest, but some people did not.

      Reply
  6. Good day,

    will it be possible for somebody to send all the info on the (1) different overland tours in the beast, (2) the cost of each and (3) the planned dates for 2016?

    Kind regards

    Reply
    • Hi Allison, please Oasis Overland’s site to see all their options, costs and departure dates. Tell them that we sent you! Cheers!

      Reply
  7. I’ve been looking at the Oasis Overland African packages and I was wondering if you could share your expenses during the trip so I could get a good idea of what to budget for the trip. Obviously there are differences in expenses depending on what add-ons you do, but what about day-to-day things like food and toiletries? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Leslie,
      Sure! Our group ran a kitty for everyone that we bought toilet paper and little necessities out of. We also kept fresh fruit on the truck with that money when it was available. In terms of meals, according to my budget tracking app, we spent $1093 on food during the tour out of pocket. This number is for 2 of us, so $550. This was for the 17 week trip. I have $243 in misc expenses and that would include the toiletries, group kitty and souvenirs. We spent around $100 on SIM cards and WIFI throughout our trip. We will be putting a more detailed post together on the expenses soon. Cheers!

      Reply
  8. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for your post. You had a great trip!

    This year I am planning to go for family vacations to Ethiopia. Did you have Ethiopia on your itinerary? If yes, what would be your top 5 recommendations to do and see?

    Reply
    • Yes, we spent a month in Ethiopia. I would recommend you visit Jinka for the Omr Valley, Addis Ababa, Gondar, Axum and Lalibela. From Gondar you can visit the Simien Mountains. Ethiopia is a beautiful country but lacks infrastructure, however there are a few tours that run visiting most of the places I mentioned.

      Reply
  9. Considering that I’ll be overlanding for 3 weeks through Southern Africa in just a couple of months, I’ve been eating up all your Africa content! Definitely another great post – though I’m not sure I could do 17 whole weeks of this!!

    Reply
    • That’s great Amanda! Glad you are enjoying the posts. Overlanding is a really great way to see Africa and have an adventure. 17 weeks wasn’t too bad, we certainly had our rough moments, but being able to look back on it makes it all worth it. We would do it again in a heart beat. Feel free to email me if you have any questions before you go!

      Reply

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