You know we love all things overland travel here at DontFlyGo.com. So what better way to celebrate it than take a look at some of the world’s top overland travel journeys?
Whether an extended adventure-style holiday, or a short sortie in a converted bus or truck led by a tour leader, overland journeys are there to be enjoyed. The head start Marco Polo might have had thanks to his thirteenth century expedition from Italy to Khan’s court in China? Don’t worry. In exploring some of these greats routes you’ll be just as good as any old Venetian!
The Hippie Trail
A form of overland travel made famous in the 60s and the 70s, the Hippie trail took many young westerners from Nepal, through India, right on down to the Middle East.
Motivated to find a way to travel as inexpensively as possible, in the hopes of maximizing the amount of time they would spend away, travellers mainly hitchhiked this great trail, sparking up some fat spliffs on the way.
Definitely one to recreate with your mates for some new-era fun.
Cape Town to Cairo
Travelling across Africa might not be as in-vogue as the past, but one such route still remains fairly popular.
The Cape Town to Cairo route, covering an excess of 10,000km (6,200 miles), follows the route of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and finally ends in Sudan and Egypt.
First rising to fame after American manufacturers of trailers began to market their first batch of vehicles in 1959, these Wally Byam trailers could be spotted all the way from Egypt down to South Africa.
Today you might not get to experience what was then known as Rhodesia (which are now the modern states of Zambia and Zimbabwe), or the Belgian Congo (now known as the DRC or the Democratic Republic of Congo), yet Uganda and Kenya still remain some of the key destinations on this historic route.
Interestingly during the mid-80s, this route was made impossible by the breakdown of the Wadi Halfa to Aswan ferry service that took passengers between Sudan and Egypt. Nowadays however, the route is back with a bang. Emerging as a popular trek thanks to the increasing stability of the region (as well as the “commercial overland trucks” (which can carry more than twenty passengers) that take travellers), the route is also popular with independent motorcyclists and jeep nuts too!
The Trans Africa
Stretching from Cape Town, South Africa, or Nairobi, Kenya, to London, the Trans Africa is one of the most famous overland journeys of all time.
Coming into popularity in the 70s, the route was popularized by tour groups operating Bedford 4-wheel drive trucks. With smaller groups heading from London during the months of November, December, January and February, British Land Rovers became a key Trans Africa vehicle too.
The Trans Africa traditional route passed through Morocco, Algeria, the Sahara desert, Niger and West Africa, and ended in Nigeria. The final portion of the journey was usually in the forests of Zaire, reminiscent of Joseph Conrad’s famous novel The Heart of Darkness. With these forest now a part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the route has changed substantially due to recurring political instability in the nations it once charted a path through. A bit of a shame, but don’t let that stop you!
The Silk Road
A historical route that has recently found a new surge in popularity thanks to British travel writer Colin Thubron’s book, the Silk Road was an important trade route that helped to shape the ancient worlds of the past.
Connecting China and Persia with the Mediterranean, the northern part of this overland journey passes through Kazakhastan and Russia, while the southern route, the more popular route today, goes through Iran, Turkey, northern India and Pakistan.
The Trans Siberian Railway
The most popular railroad overland journey in existence, the Trans Siberian railway is known far and wide.
Operating between Vladivostok and Moscow, Russia, the route takes a full seven days to complete and covers more than 9,200 kilometers (5,700 miles). It is also known as the longest existing rail line in the world.
Inspiring a Fabargé egg, a groundbreaking Broadway musical (Fiddler on the Roof) and countless books and murder mysteries too, this is perhaps the greatest overland journey of all.
So while overland travel may have been a particularly hazardous pursuit in ages past, thank your lucky stars that some of these routes have now evolved into multi-million dollar industries while still being as true as possible to their original guises.
Oh and if you are hell bent on recreating old Marco’s journey? Make sure you enjoy a nice little bit of luxury with http://www.oh-venice.com first.
Are you ready? It’s time to hit the road!