Since retuning from our big overland trip across Africa, we’ve had so many questions about our experience with Oasis Overland, traveling 56-days Coast to Coast from Nairobi to Cape Town. It was an absolutely incredible experience that will go down as one of our favorite travel adventures during the past three years we’ve been roaming around the world. We were equally astonished at all the incredible African destinations we visited as we were with the amazing value this trip offered.
So, sure, it was a great trip and offered excellent value. But we realize you really want to know…
- How was the camping for two months straight?
- How much did it all cost?
- What was it like traveling in that big Oasis Overland truck?
- What did you eat?
- Was it safe?
We’re here to explain everything to you in painstaking detail in this Oasis Overland Coast to Coast review traveling from Nairobi to Cape Town. We had no idea what to expect going into the two-month overland journey across Africa. So we’re now happy to fill in these gaps from our first hand experience.
The Camping Experience on Oasis Overland Coast to Coast
In our travels, we do occasional camping trips, so we’re no strangers to tents. But prior to this trip, the longest consecutive nights we’ve camped out has been for about four nights in a row. We feared that camping for 56-days straight would be downright draining!
Turns out, it was okay. Overall we were quite content with the camping situation during the Oasis Overland, Nairobi to Cape Town, trip.
It Actually Wasn’t All Camping
First off, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it actually wasn’t 56-days of camping. Oasis Overland cites on their website that you’ll be camping for 90% of the trip. But we had beds included for over 25% of our trip from Nairobi to Cape Town! We even scored a private room for six of the 56 nights, which was included! Another nine nights, we had a bed in a hostel room that was shared only with our new friends that we were traveling with.
This was all a pleasant surprise for us since we had expected to be camping nearly the entire time. Having a bed one out of four nights really helped to break up the camping! (But each individual tour leader may do something slightly different for each journey, so other Oasis Overland Coast to Coast itinearies may not match up to this exactly.)
Yet for all those other nights, we were happy campers in our tent. The tents provided by Oasis Overland were good quality and super easy to set up.
All tents are individually named and you are assigned a tent for the entire trip. We had the “warthog” tent. You’re responsible for setting up and breaking down the tents yourself, which we found to be the quickest and easiest tent we’ve ever assembled. We got the set-up to about 2-3 minutes!
It rarely rained during our trip across Africa in the dry season. But the few times it did, the rain stayed out of our tent.
You bring-your-own sleeping bags and mats, so the comfort of your tent was really dependent on what you packed. (We’ll discuss that much further when we write a future post covering our travel tips and a pack list when overlanding across Africa.)
Who Would Have Thought Africa’s Campgrounds Could Be So Nice?
Another pleasant surprise was the campsites themselves. We had this stereotypical vision of camping in Africa in the middle of nowhere. While we did have a couple of bush camps that were away from it all, most nights we camped in some pretty posh campgrounds with great facilities.
The majority of campsites not only had hot water showers, but also had full cash bars, inviting pools, and even WiFi! Often the campgrounds shared the space with a nice hotel, in which we were always welcome to use their amenities too. We certainly weren’t roughing it most nights.
Meanwhile we did have the joys of two “bush camps” during our 56-day Coast to Coast Oasis Overland trip. Although we enjoyed the amenities of the campgrounds, the bush camps were really awesome to get away from it all. Oasis Overland is one of the few overland trucks that actually do bush camps. Other overland tours go strictly to campgrounds only.
It was amazing to camp out in the middle of Africa under the cloak of stars, with no noise or light pollution whatsoever.
There were also handful of rural camps that was somewhere in between bush camping and full campgrounds. In these rural camps, there were designated campsites but no amenities.
Oasis Overland Accommodation and Camping for Two Months
Really we never got too tired of the camping like we thought we would. It became routine and you grew accustomed to it. Most days we were so exhausted from a long day of adventuring that we never had any trouble falling asleep.
For anyone that wanted the luxury of a bed, most campsites had an option of upgrading to an onsite room with a bed. The upgrade charge was about $20-$25 per night on the low end and went in upwards of $100 per night on the high end at some of the nicer hotels we camped at. We never really found it to be worth it, as we preferred to spend funds on excursions. A few fellow passengers during our trip splurged for the upgrade when it was priced more towards the low end. They seemed happy with their beds as they gazed out the windows and watched us set up our tents.
Oasis Overland Coast to Coast Nairobi to Cape Town Itinerary Review
We loved the 56-day Nairobi to Cape Town itinerary of this trip. It’s a great journey that packs in so many different environments. The Coast to Coast trip takes you from serene island beaches to African savannah. You travel from scorching deserts to freezing cold mountaintops. You venture from swampy deltas into vast arid sand dunes. The variety of landscapes that this two-month itinerary covers is astonishing.
While there are more direct (less interesting) routes, Oasis racks up a total of 6,900 miles (11,100 kilometers) traveling from Nairobi to Cape Town.
We’ll be writing a separate post on the blog recounting all our “best of” highlights of the journey and will link to it here once it’s up. For now, you can visit the Oasis Overland website to see the complete itinerary.
During our journey, we noticed that there were a handful of other overland companies that also ran Africa trips from Nairobi to Cape Town (or some portion thereof). And while many aspects of their trip itinerary seemed similar, there are some notable differences in the Oasis Overland itinerary that we now feel compelled to point out in this review. We wish we had understood some of these differences in advance.
This 56-Day Journey Is Really Three Trips in One
Many people simply don’t have the time to take two full months off work to roam around Africa. We found out that this 56-day Coast to Coast itinerary actually forms the combination of three shorter Oasis Overland trips. Most passengers on our truck did these shorter segments and not the entire 56-days. (Only one other person during our trip did the entire Coast to Coast journey.) We picked up and dropped off travelers along the way in Harare and in Victoria Falls.
The first major segment is 22 days long, venturing from Nairobi to Harare. This journey, known as Savanna Dawn, covers Tanzania (Ngorogoro Crater, Serengeti, Kilimanjaro base, Zanzibar, etc.), Malawi, briefly transits through Mozambique, and then ends in Harare.
The middle segment of the 56-day journey is 12 days long traversing across Zimbabwe. The itinerary of this route goes to the Chimanimani Mountains, the Great Zimbabwe ruins, a renown wildlife park (Antelope Park), Matobo National Park (rhino trekking, and then concludes in Victoria Falls. This 12-day segment from Harare to Victoria Falls actually is not something you book by itself. Rather, this forms a longer 34-day version of the Savanna Dawn trip extending it to Victoria Falls. This 12-day portion through Zimbabwe also serves as an extension to the final segment, adding 12 days on the front end of the Victoria Falls to Cape Town itinerary.
The Victoria Falls to Cape Town trip, known as Deltas & Dunes, takes in Victoria Falls, Botswana (Chobe and Okavango Delta), and Namibia (Etosha, Cheetah Farm, Spitzkoppe, Swakopmund, Namib Desert, Fish River Canyon), before winding down in the wine region of Stellenbosch and concluding in Cape Town.
No Maasai Mara
While many other overland trips visit Kenya’s famed Maasai Mara, Oasis Overland does not. And it’s important to understand this because Maasai Mara should not be missed, particularly if during the Great Migration. But Oasis does offer Maasai Mara as an add-on before the 56-day Coast to Coast journey. It is easy to book this side-trip independently or directly through Oasis.
At first we were disappointed the Maassai Mara excursion wasn’t apart of our overland tour, but in retrospect we preferred experiencing Maasai Mara in a smaller safari vehicle. Maasai Mara is one of the few National Parks in Africa in which safari guides aren’t required to stay on the dirt roads. Therefore, you can often get nice and close to wildlife scenes that are unfolding. But the big overland trucks that include Maasai Mara aren’t able to get off the path like smaller safari vehicles can. Plus at $300 for an all-inclusive 3-day safari inside the game park, it’s one of the best safari values out there that you can manage to book on your own.
But whether part of an overland tour or not, we highly recommend going out to the Mara, as it amazed us with arguably the best wildlife viewing throughout our 3+ month long journey across Africa. Again, don’t miss it.
A Slower Pace
During our trip we noticed that Oasis Overland spent more time in the many locations visited compared to the other overland trucks on similar Nairobi to Cape Town itineraries. For example, we got four full days and four nights in the paradise that is Zanzibar while other Nairobi to Cape Town overland itineraries whiz by the island in three days or even a quick two-night stay.
With Oasis we stayed two nights on Lake Malawi’s Chitimba and were astonished to find another overland truck roll up at 10 pm at night, only to leave before we even ate breakfast the very next morning. I don’t think they even got a chance to see Lake Malawi while they were there. Meanwhile, since we spent two nights in Chitimba, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to go on a great all-day hike to the colonial hilltop town of Livinsgtonia and see the incredible waterfalls that surrounded it.
It seemed like many other overland itineraries are filled with one-night stays, which doesn’t give you a chance to do any full-day activities in these incredible places you’ve traveled so far to visit.
Only Dipping Into Zambia
Other than wandering over to Livingstone in Victoria Falls, Zambia is not a big part of the Oasis Overland itinerary, as it is included in some other Nairobi to Cape Town routes. Some overland trucks spend a few days in Zambia visiting South Luangwa or Lake Kariba.
Oasis Overland gives passengers a chance to dip into Zambia while in Victoria Falls but that’s about as much of the country you’ll see. Yet instead of driving through Zambia, Oasis Overland is the only Nairobi to Cape Town overland truck (we’re aware of) that ventures into Mozambique and then spends some significant time in Zimbabwe.
Extensive Time in Zimbabwe – Surprisingly Awesome!
Oasis Overland spends nearly two weeks exploring the fascinating country of Zimbabwe. Other overland companies skip Zimbabwe altogether, aside from Victoria Falls. Yet a few others may spend just a couple of days scooting into the northwestern corner of Zimbabwe to check out Matobo National Park.
Oasis Overland begins the 12-day Zimbabwe journey by visiting the country’s interesting capital, Harare. Then Oasis is also the only overland truck to our knowledge that ventures into the remote Chimanimani National Park in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands. Another highlight traveled to was the UNESCO-listed Great Zimbabwe Ruins, which is the greatest medieval city south of the Sahara. This Zimbabwe itinerary also included a 3-night stay at Antelope Park wildlife park to get up close with lions and later visited Matobo National Park where you can go on a trekking safari to track wild rhinos! The Zimbabwe adventure is all tied-together by ditching the Oasis Overland truck to take an overnight train ride to Victoria Falls where subsequent adventure ensues.
We hadn’t really considered spending much time in Zimbabwe during our overland trip across Africa, but we were so glad that Oasis showed us how awesome the country is. Now, we can’t imagine bypassing Zimbabwe during a trip across Africa. Just check out our Zimbabwe video highlights below and hopefully that will help to show why Zimbabwe was so incredible.
A Flexible Itinerary
With Oasis Overland, the tour leaders have some flexibility to alter the itinerary. Most overland trucks stick to a strict schedule that is set by corporate. This has its benefits, as you know exactly what you’re getting into. But it’s also nice to have the flexibility to alter plans based on seasonal events or passengers’ interest. We usually travel independently, and not on a tour, so we loved being able to have a say in altering the itinerary if we wanted to venture elsewhere along the way.
A tour leader told us that when she first took an Oasis trip as a passenger, her and her fellow passengers really wanted to explore Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. As a result, they changed the itinerary to do that. Our tour leader once made a slight detour to take passengers to local music festival she had learned about.
During our trip, we made an unscheduled stop at a tea plantation in Tanzania to help break apart a long stretch of driving that was caused by road construction. On another stretch, we made an unscheduled stop in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert where local San people showed us how they foraged for food. How cool!
Was Overlanding Across Africa Safe?
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about safety during our Oasis Overland Coast to Coast trip. Overall, we felt very safe the entire time and found Africa to generally be way safer than our preconceived notions.
People, Crime, Safety, and Annoyances
Locals across Africa were usually super friendly. As we drove across the African countryside, people usually greeted us with wide smiles and big waves. We felt like celebrities. In some more remote areas that we toured, people would come up to us asking to take pictures with us!
Touts were surprisingly at a minimum compared to other places in the world that we’ve traveled to. There were only a few harmless hawkers in Victoria Falls and also some persistent but very friendly woodworkers in Malawi.
The rural settings we frequented felt very safe. As for the cities, you simply needed to take the same precautions as you would in most other cities around the world. In the handful of capitals we stopped at, it seemed that petty crimes like pick pocketing were the only real, though minimal, threats. Thankfully that never occurred to anyone on our trip.
Camping was usually within private, fenced-off campsites and no one ever bothered us. While bush camping, we were usually the only people around for miles and miles, so there was never any threat from anyone there either.
Meanwhile in small villages across Africa, we always seemed to easily make friends.
Staying Safe from Dangerous Wildlife While Overlanding Across Africa
So how did we keep safe from being trampled by a stampede of elephants or mauled to death by a wild lion? First, you have to understand that many of the campsites we stayed in, there simply wasn’t any dangerous wildlife nearby. Not all of Africa is covered with hungry leopards on the hunt. These are rare sightings, usually within National Parks. So often there was no threat of wildlife any near where we camped.
In campsites where wildlife did pose a threat, the campgrounds use fencing to ensure camper’s safety. These campsites are completely enclosed by a fence so no big animals can find their way in.
Still, there were those few occasions bush camping in which there was a real (but very unlikely) threat that an unsuspecting guest could have paid us a visit. While camping in the Okavango Delta, we noticed some relatively fresh elephant dung on the island we set up camp and later saw one in the waters nearby. A guide kept watch here to ensure we were safe.
Usually the biggest wildlife threat were monkeys and baboons. And we did have a few visits from the occasional primate foraging for food, which made it important to keep anything edible locked up.
On game drives you’re in a secure vehicle, which really minimizes your threat from wildlife unless you have a desire to reach out the window to pet a lion (don’t do that). There are some rare opportunities to take a walking safari excursion, such as in Matobo National Park. In these instances, the ranger is armed should a wild rhino charge at you.
Valuables on the Oasis Overland Truck
There was a great system in place that kept passports, cash, and any small valuables totally safe. I feel that I’d be doing future Oasis passengers a disservice if I were to reveal the system in this post. So I’ll only say that we felt completely comfortable with how this was handled. Any valuables are kept completely safe and secure.
Safety on the Go: Road Conditions Across Africa
Road conditions varied across Africa but most of the time we traveled on paved two-lane highways. Roads were in mostly good condition and felt safe. In Namibia we began to hit rougher corrugated dirt roads, which just made for a slower and bumpier ride, rather than pose any danger.
There typically were few other vehicles and virtually no traffic on the road, aside from when traveling through Tanzania’s busy capital, Dar es Salaam.
The truck was equipped with seatbelts that were encouraged, but almost never used.
Riding On The Oasis Overland Truck
When overlanding across Africa it’s really important to have a good truck. You spend countless hours in these beasts. Overall we loved Josie. That was the name of our truck. Yes, she’s got a name. And we got to know Josie very well over the 56 days and we find that we even miss her today.
Oasis Overland uses these big custom-built yellow trucks:
Oasis Overland Truck Configuration Is Very Different
One of our biggest hesitations in booking with Oasis was the truck configuration. The inside of the Oasis truck is different from most overland trucks because the seats face inward running alongside the big side windows. We worried that we would get carsick. The configuration simply didn’t make sense to us because your back is facing the window. Most all other overland trucks are set-up in a typical bus fashion, with seats facing forward.
As it turns out, the sideways seats on the Oasis trucks was actually one of things we ultimately liked best. We now understand all the benefits to the Oasis truck configuration and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Although your back is facing one side window, you get the benefit of gazing out into the window across the truck. You’re essentially forced to be looking out the window in front of you. Just sit back and watch the sights of Africa pass you by. If there’s something interesting on your side of the truck, you can simply turn around. We loved waving to all the children greeting us on the side of the road just as much as the occasional wildlife sightings.
We found the side-facing seats to actually be better than the foreword facing seats we’ve been accustomed to when traveling on buses. We never got carsick even once during the journey, which is a testament to the trucks because Heather usually gets motion sickness very easily.
And with Oasis Overland trucks, everybody gets a window seat! So there’s never a need to fight for a coveted window seat to greet locals or spot wildlife.
But during long travel days and after a late night, sometimes you just want to lay down and take a nap. Given the fact that the Oasis truck seats are one big line down the side of the truck, you can easily lay across four seats and get some solid rest. Unlike other truck configurations, there’s no seat in front of you ever. So go ahead and stretch out your legs!
The Oasis Overland Truck Has a Bed With a Sunroof …and It’s Awesome!
But perhaps the best feature of the Oasis Overland truck was in the front, which was called “the beach.” This was an area of the truck that had a big sunroof that opened up and allowed people to tan if they wished, hence it being referred to as “the beach.” The beach also sported a comfy bed with pillows, making it a great place to nap during those early mornings.
Yet the beach was best used during game drives to get a birds-eye view to spot all the wildlife down below and towards the horizon. Stake out your spot on the beach early, because this is a piece of truck real estate that is always in high demand!
Storage on the Truck
Storage for your luggage was inside the truck and under a designated seat. We brought an absurd amount of luggage that we were able to fit with no problem. This also was convenient to have access to all your personal belongings while riding on the truck. Meanwhile tents, water jugs, cooking supplies, and other camp gear are stored in locked compartments on the outside.
The truck was equipped with a stereo that had four speakers so you could connect with to your smartphone or ipod to play your tunes. Each speaker could be manually turned off if you were trying to sleep or didn’t like the music. The truck also had a small library with travel books about Africa and a hodgepodge of other books.
A few features missing from the Oasis trucks that you can sometimes find on some other overland trucks were wifi, A/C, and a refrigerator. You can find some of these things on other overland safaris that are priced much higher than Oasis. We were happy to go without them and pay way less.
For Internet, we bought cheap SIM cards for our smartphone and also used the campsite wifi to stay connected along the way. So we didn’t miss having wifi on the truck. Besides, if you’ve traveled all the way to Africa, you should be using your time to enjoy the scenery your traveling through or bonding with your fellow travelers; not scrolling across your Facebook feed.
As for refrigeration, we had three coolers (or “eskies” for our UK friends) which were filled with ice that the tour leader occasionally purchased. These coolers kept our meat, and perhaps more importantly, our beers cold. They also made for makeshift tables on the truck to play games with the people in the seats across from you.
The truck isn’t equipped with air conditioning, as air conditioning was not at all needed. Throw away your preconceived notions of a sweltering Africa. The weather in most places from Nairobi to Cape Town was downright frigid. We actually wore jackets on the truck most days and would plead to keep the windows up during particularly cold mornings. The big windows on the truck do come up and down as you desire, but can only be adjusted while the truck is stopped.
Truck Condition and Maintenance
The truck was in great condition overall and never broke down or had any problems during the 56 day Coast to Coast trip from Nairobi to Cape Town. Whenever stopped, our driver was constantly working on the truck and doing a series of preventative maintenance to help ensure this. Meanwhile keeping the truck clean was mostly on responsibility of passengers. But it did get a thorough cleaning by a professional cleaning crew twice during the two month journey across Africa.
Passing Time on the Oasis Truck During Long Travel Days
Travel distances varied throughout the trip from as little as a few hours to perhaps the longest drive time being about a 12-hour drive. Most typically it was somewhere in between those two extremes.
So what do you do while riding on the truck all day? Looking out the windows and watching Africa go by was our favorite pastime. People often read books, napped, and chatted too.
We occasionally played games to help keep each other entertained. Perhaps the most fun was having a “truck party” a few times during the trip. Music was cranked up and booze was flowing. Good times!
Using the Bathroom During the Oasis Overland 56-Day Coast to Coast Trip
So what happens for all those times when you’ve got to go during this two-month trip across Africa? At all campsites that we stayed at there were toilets. Most campsites had proper flush toilets and a couple others had pit-toilets. Almost always, toilet paper was provided but it certainly never hurt to have a roll stashed on the truck for the few instances when there wasn’t any.
At bush camps during the 56-day journey, we used what we affectionately called the “bushy-bushy.” This involved digging a hole with a shovel, squatting down to do your business, and then covering it up.
During travel days, periodic stops were made at petrol stations, which usually had flush toilets, which were in varying conditions. Otherwise you could ring the bell on the truck to signal to the driver that you had to go, a very regular occasion for those with small bladders. In this case, the driver pulled over on the side of the road where you could then pursue a “bush wee.” Alternatively the “bushy-bushy” method was used if you had to go #2 during this time. But that was rarely pursued in favor of waiting for a petrol station. Hand-sanitizer was always available on the truck after these inevitable pit stops.
Eating Across Africa
Eating across Africa with Oasis Overland was quite fun! Sometimes we ate at local joints and occasionally the campgrounds would provide meals for us. But most of the time we shopped at local markets and cooked our meals across Africa!
African Cuisine and Dining Out Across the Continent
We really enjoyed eating at local places, which were often included as part of the trip. There were also opportunities, usually when in cities, to eat local meals in restaurants that were covered at our own expense.
The local cuisine across Africa was pretty good and varied from country to country. Stews were the most common dish, typically served with a thick cornmeal porridge known as pap, ugali, or sadza (depending on what country you’re in). Rice could often be substituted. The ubiquitous side items was cooked up greens of some sort.
As for mains, beef and chicken dishes were common. Fried chicken, in particular, seemed to make an appearance on just about every menu.
As we traveled through Botswana and Namibia, the presence of game meats became more frequent. Various types of antelopes were often available as stews, steaks, or German-style schnitzel. Neither of us typically care for the tastes of gamey meats but we found antelope such as kudu, oryx, and impalas to be very tasty and not carry that gamey taste. We found warthog to be a very delicious choice of meat that was tender, sweet, and didn’t taste like pork. (Sorry Pumba!)
Seafood became prevalent on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In Zanzibar seafood dishes were heavily spiced and influenced by traders passing through from India, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Some of the best meals we ate in Africa was this Zanzibar cuisine.
Meanwhile in Namibia on the Atlantic coast, the German influence on food was easily spotted with it’s many schnitzels, bakeries, and the presence of spatzle as a common side item.
Cooking Groups with Oasis Overland
There’s no chefs that come along this trip with you. It’s the passengers themselves who are responsible for accomplishing the task of cooking dinner while at camp. The challenge is to attempt to whip up a good tasting meal from a varying supply of African food and to collaborate on it with other fellow passengers. While it seems quite a daunting experience, most dinners turned out very good, and it was fun to put your culinary skills to the test in outdoor “kitchens” in the middle of Africa!
How it all works is an Oasis Overland tour leader randomly assigns “cooking groups” that usually consisted of about three people. They’re tasked to procure the food and then cook the night’s meal. Your group’s night to cook is scheduled on a rotating basis so that you will end up cooking about once a week. Dinner is covered on the other nights by other cook groups or going out to eat. During the entire 56-day trip we each were on cooking duty for a total of eight dinners.
The Oasis truck was fully stocked with so many cooking supplies containing basics like pots & pans to more obscure utensils like a big cast iron cauldron and rolling pin. Oasis even provided a healthy spice rack to really jazz things up.
Those assigned to cook dinner are also responsible for providing breakfast and lunch on the following day, unless a fast-food stop or supermarket visit is planned. And while cooking was done by the assigned cook group, cleaning was always an effort for everyone to chip in on.
Shopping at Local Markets
To gather supplies for your cooking night, the Oasis truck makes planned stops at both local markets and supermarkets so you can gather the belongings necessary for your meal. In Tanzania and into Malawi we shopped mostly at local markets, which provided for a fun cultural experience to procure cooking supplies. It was great to interact directly with the locals to pick up some fantastic and fresh produce.
Money is allocated to you, provided from the tour leader to do these shops. Usually you were given about $30 but this varied based upon the country, the number of people and number of meals. We never thought that $30 would be enough to gather enough food to feed over a dozen people. Yet during our first shop we were surprised to have only spent about $20.
Prices were usually very good but you could almost always stretch your budget further by negotiating the price down, which was typically easy to do considering you’re often buying in bulk.
As we got to Zimbabwe and beyond, traditional supermarkets were more of the norm for our food shopping rather than local markets. There were some surprisingly great supermarkets too! One chain we frequented called “Food Lovers” was essentially the African equivalent to Whole Foods. You could find ultra-high quality food here to allow you to get creative in the kitchen, and just to find some fun snacks for yourself.
Breakfast while Overlanding Across Africa
Breakfast was usually a no-fuss affair, given the many early morning starts. Most often we simply ate a bowl of cereal with coffee or tea.
Occasionally we’d make toast with toppings like tomato and avocado, or baked beans. Sometimes we’d have the foresight to make hard-boiled eggs the night prior, which would add some protein to the breakfast the next day. Every once in a while, when time permitted, we’d cook up a proper breakfast like French toast or scrambled eggs & fried potatoes.
Oasis Overland Lunches
Lunch time usually coincided with an excursion or traveling in truck. In these instances we pulled off on the side of the road to chow on something that was prepared the night before. Pasta salads and cold rice dishes proved most common. Other times, sandwich makings were a go-to.
Yet about half of the time we stopped for a fast food meal or a grocery store lunch, which was at our own expense. For supermarket lunches, common selections included a sandwich or grilled/fried chicken. Fast food options usually consisted of fried chicken, grilled chicken, pizza, or fish & chips.
Camp dinners were all over the board. It really depended on who was cooking and what supplies were stocked. Curries were popular meal to cook among our British friends, as were bangers & mash. Cheeseburgers on the grill became my go-to meal when it was my turn. Meanwhile chili was one of our favorite dishes made and was a big hit on those cold nights. Pasta dishes, rice stir-fries, chicken casserole, and hearty stews were other fairly easy camp meals that often made it onto our bowls and plates.
There were camp recipe books on the truck to browse through and get some culinary inspiration. But usually someone on the cook group had a meal idea to offer up. Most meals turned out great!
People Traveling With Oasis Overland
When on a long trip like this, it’s nice to know who you’re traveling with. This can make or break a trip. While every trip will undoubtedly have a different composition of passengers and crew, we wanted to give you some idea of what you could expect.
Oasis Overland Crew
There is a two person team on each Oasis Overland truck to help ensure everything goes smoothly: one driver and one tour leader. We really enjoyed the crew on our trip and thought they did a great job.
The driver does exactly what you’d expect. He’s responsible for getting you to all those incredible destinations while you sit back and enjoy the ride. But it doesn’t end there. The driver also doubles as a trained mechanic who is constantly doing preventative maintenance to the truck and is ready to fix any problems that may arise.
Meanwhile the tour leader takes care of all the day-to-day logistics by planning your itinerary, making all accommodation arrangements, and connecting you with the many excursions in each destination. The tour leader is not a tour guide that provides detailed information about the wildlife or filling you on on things like the politics in Zimbabwe. Our tour leader actually did provide us with some fascinating insight into the political climate of Zimbabwe’s, but really, that was just a bonus as this is not part of their job. The tour leader is there to coordinate, organize, and lead your trip.
As you might imagine, it takes a special person to drive and lead these overland trips. Our Oasis crew was great. They weren’t just drivers and tour leaders but were friends to have a beer and a laugh with at the end of the day.
Passengers Traveling With Oasis Overland Coast to Coast
One of the aspects that drew us towards Oasis Overland was that it seemed very inclusive of all ages. Other overlanding trucks cater exclusively to a young demographic. One of the trucks we had considered even states on their website that the trip is designed for 18-34 year olds. Heather and I actually both celebrated our 35th birthdays during this trip, so that left us feeling a little uneasy about partaking in such a trip.
But during our Oasis Overland trip ages ran from young twenty-somethings to sixties. During one segment of our trip there was literally at least one person representing each decade from (20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s). We loved that.
Still, ages on our trip did skew more towards the younger end, but everyone on the trip was completely young at heart.
Speaking of mix, we also had a nice mix of nationalities on our trip varying from us Americans to Turkish and Korean. Oasis Overland is based in the UK, hence Brits seemed to be the most common nationality of passengers. Aussies and Kiwis seem to be fairly frequent passengers too. Americans were actually a rare breed for Oasis Overland, as we were the only passengers from the US on our trip. The tour leader said we the first Americans that have joined her during two years of leading these Africa trips!
Despite varying ages and nationalities, there was one common trait that seemed to be shared by all Oasis Overland travelers: a passion for travel & adventure. This was the common ground that everyone could bond over.
And you most definitely do bond. You’re camping together, cooking together, traveling long distances in tight quarters together, and often drinking lots of alcohol together. This is a recipe connecting. We felt we made some lasting friendships during the trip with people that we most definitely hope to see again!
So What Does the Oasis Overland Coast to Coast Trip Cost?
There are a lot of different costs factored into this trip and we plan to cover it in detail later in a separate budgeting blog post. But here are the major costs in a nutshell:
First, these are the mandatory costs before your trip begins:
- £1,395 ($1,762 at today’s rate) paid by bank card or credit card before trip
- $725 paid to the tour leader upon arrival in Nairobi
= $2,481 trip cost for two months Nairobi to Cape Town
Considering that breaks down to about $44 per day to cover your entire transportation across Africa, most meals, camping, and even a handful of included excursions – we find this to be an absolutely amazing travel bargain.
But you’re still left with additional costs that you need to be aware of. You must cover about 40% of your meal expenses on your own. Additionally there were some pricey once-in-a-lifetime excursions to splurge on that we’re going to detail in a future post. Finally, you needed to budget for Visa expenses when crossing borders. This all broke down as followed, but would vary by passenger:
- Optional Excursions: $1,144
- Meals on our expense: $311
- Visa costs: $242
Combined with the upfront trip costs, this made for a grand total of $4,178 per person for the entire two-month trip.
There are some additional expenses to budget for too that we’ll delve into further in our budgeting post. But do know that you may incur additional expenses in the form of gear, medicine, alcohol, souvenirs, snacks, and wifi/data.
For what amounts to about $2,000 total per month, we found the Oasis Overland Coast to Coast trip to deliver exceptional value for all that is covered.
Oasis Overland Nairobi to Cape Town Review & Recommendation
If you haven’t already noticed, we loved our Oasis Overland Coast to Coast trip across Africa, so we most definitely recommend the journey! If you’re wanting to cover a lot of Africa but not spend a fortune doing it, this is the trip to take. The truck is great, we really liked our crew, the campgrounds were surprisingly nice, and we loved the Nairobi to Cape Town itinerary. We wholeheartedly give Oasis Overland a great review!
But make no mistake about it, Oasis Overland is unabashedly a budget travel trip. This is not a sit-back-and-relax vacation. It’s a rugged overland trip across Africa, not a luxury safari. Instead, you’ll be camping and cooking meals. This style of travel was not only fun, but it’s what helps tremendously at keeping the costs down to make this what we think to be one of the best travel values we’ve ever experienced. It’s just not for everyone. Be prepared to help out and get a little dirty.
It was all such an experience. From nervously watching a lion prowling around our safari jeep during one of our first game drives in Tanzania to sipping on bubbly in a South African vineyard, this trip really packed it all in. It’s this huge variety of experiences that really left us in awe. Every day is an entirely different adventure to embark on that delivers an endless assortment of surprises. It’s truly a trip of a lifetime!