Category Archives: Join an Overland Voyage

News, booking information and updates about Overland Expeditions.

Weekly Charter

Introducing: Overland Yacht Voyages

Vegan Without Frontiers has put together the concepts of Overland Expeditions, Luxury Motorhomes and Ocean-Going Yachts to bring you the Overland Yacht: A self-contained, comfortable but go-anywhere base for up to 6 guests. Unique, and all-vegan. No worries about catering, and not tied to fixed locations and infrastructure.

Available to charter (with crew) for your personal adventure.

What can I see in a week?

From our experiences, we’ve put together some suggested itineraries that can be achieved in around a week. Depending on your preferences, these can be adapted. The all-inclusive cost of the whole Overland Yacht with crew, food and drink, and National Park fees for a group of up to 6 ( though we recommend a maximum of 4 for best comfort ) should be estimated at between £950 and £1250 a day. We plan to circulate around Namibia, Botswana and Zambia from Autumn 2021, Covid-permitting.

Here’s the first 4 suggestions. Another is on the way to take us back to Walvis Bay via the Caprivi Strip (including a second pass through Etosha).

All the photographs here have been taken by us on the suggested routes – not borrowed from the internet, so give you an idea of what you should see.


About a week in Northern Namibia…

There are three main segments to a week or so in Northern Namibia from a visitor point of view: The Skeleton Coast, The wild North West Kaokoland wilderness, and Etosha national Park.

Starting from the capital, Windhoek, the first night at the foot of the Brandberg mountain is straight into the wild. Brandberg Mountain is located in the northwestern Namib Desert. The name Brandberg is Afrikaans, Dutch and German for Burning Mountain, which comes from its glowing colour which is sometimes seen in the setting sun. From there, the Skeleton coast is a short drive. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region “The Land God Made in Anger”. Portuguese sailors once referred to it as “The Gates of Hell”. On the coast, the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rainfall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres annually and the climate is highly inhospitable. There is a constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days before engine-powered ships and boats, it was possible to get ashore through the surf but impossible to launch from the shore.

The far North West of Namibia is remote and populated only by semi-nomadic Himba people. Wide grasslands separated by jagged ridges of mountains make a dramatic backdrop. Crocodiles patrol the Kunene River on the border with Angola. Leaving this region to the East, the Etosha National Park provides the opportunity to see all the big African Wildlife you could wish for.

Link to Google route map:

A week in Northern Namibia
Northern Namibia
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About a week in Southern Namibia…

From Swakopmund and Walvis Bay the Namib Naukluft National Park is on the doorstep, where herds of various antelope and zebra can be followed across the plains. This is a desert landscape, ranging from rocky outcrops, gravel and grassy plains to huge sand dunes near the sea. Taking the time to absorb the vast landscapes and rugged beauty is well worth a few days. Further South, the giant red dunes around Sossusvlei are a globally renowned and much photographed site, though being there cannot be replaced by seeing images! This goes equally for the Fish River Canyon; and for sheer juxtaposition of heat and cold, the crossing of the Namib Desert to the Atlantic at Luderitz takes some beating. This can all be seen in a week, though a few extra days for more detailed local excursions might be advisable. Spending a week travelling through Southern Namibia to or from South Africa is a nice option too!

Southern Namibia
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Link to Google route map:

A week in Southern Namibia

About a week from Windhoek to Maun…

This is all about the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and a transit from Namibia to Botswana.

This is a route we did before in the reverse direction. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a vast area of largely unpopulated and inaccessible scrub forest. Underneath are the sands of the Kalahari Desert and a single sandy track runs from the North and West gates to the South. In the North there are more tourists, and a wider variety of habitats accessible for viewing wildlife. But the speciality of this park from our point of view is the completely isolated campsites in the South of the reserve. If you want to experience wild, semi-arid Africa without tourist or agricultural development, this is where to go. Katana wrote up our trip through the park here.

Windhoek to Maun
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About a week from Maun to the Victoria Falls…

There are various options here – to explore some of the less-travelled bits of Botswana as well as the famous Chobe National Park, before heading up to Livingstone on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls.

Maun is the centre of Botswana’s Wildlife Tourism – small planes fly guests to luxury camps out in the wilderness of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and other national Parks surrounding the town. Day-trips and scenic flights also set off from Maun. We however suggest taking our Overland Yacht to discover the less touristy parts of the region. The limestone caves at Gwichaba are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Camping in the bush – out there away from tended waterholes where wildlife sightings are frequent but not guaranteed.

Then to the East of Maun are the Makgadikgadi Pans – a landscape of mostly dry salt pans and open grasslands, with scrub forest and the occasional Baobab tree. Before crossing into Zambia at the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, a night in the area of Kasane allows for a stay at some very nice lodges near the Chobe National Park.

In the area of the Victoria Falls, we like to stay at the Maramba River Lodge outside Livingstone. It has a really nice camping area as well as a bar and restaurant that serve vegan options overlooking a creek full of crocodiles, hippos and elephants. Just be careful not to leave food lying around camp as the baboons will have it in no time!

Maun to the Victoria Falls
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    Morocco to Senegal 2020-21

    Join the Adventure!

    Atlas Mountains, Atlantic Coast and the Sahara Desert

    Our new Overland Yacht will be departing later this year – hitting the Sahara while Europe heads into midwinter, and following the sunshine South – you can join for a stay aboard!

    December and January will be spent in Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania – with a little extension into Senegal to complete the old Paris – Dakar rally route. These places, especially Morocco, are (usually!) really easy for you to get to so ideal to come and try out life aboard the Vegan Overland Yacht as we venture into Africa. Of course if you REALLY want to get away, how about taking some months off and joining in the whole expedition?

    Morocco

    Leaving Europe we will explore Morocco, winding South from the Mediterranean through the Atlas Mountains, exploring the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Coast. We will be climbing through the high folds of the Atlas mountains, and down through the spectacular gorges cut into them. Spending nights out under the stars in the desert. Making our way across the dunes of Erg Chegaga on the old route of the Paris-Dakar Rally. Staying at a trail-side auberge for some traditional Moroccan off-truck dining and hospitality.

    As well as the grand landscapes, we will visit the historic cities of Fez, Casablanca and Marrakech – with time to become immersed in the ancient medinas, and stock up on spices from market stalls for our on-board kitchen. There will even be a visit to a vegan restaurant or two!

    To the South we follow the Atlantic coast – literally on the beach for a 30km stretch of wet sand at low tide, between the dry dunes and the roaring ocean. Stopping over at a luxury camp with a swimming pool near a ruined fort, after walking under the cliffs and sea arches at Legzira.

    Western Sahara

    Then we head into Western Sahara and the long, empty expanse of desert and sea towards Dakhla. The desert has flattened into a wide plain here, ending as cliffs drop into the Atlantic, cut through by the occasional dry valley filled with dunes.

    A stopover by a dry salt lake on the way provides a quiet break from the journey before we reach Dakhla Lagoon – a kite-surfer’s paradise of smooth water, sheltered from the Atlantic to the West. Beyond Dakhla the road is even quieter as we head for Mauritania.

    Mauritania

    Ironically given our choice of name, Overland travel in Africa is sometimes all about borders. Each is an experience of its own, and the crossing from Western Sahara into Mauritania will no doubt be memorable and probably take most of the day. After negotiating the formalities, we’ll head into Nouadhibou to prepare for the next little adventure. Nouadhibou is the end of the line for one of the world’s more extreme railways. Every day 2km long trains of iron ore cross the desert from Zouerat to the coast, also carrying passengers. By all accounts the best way to take the trip is sitting on top of the loaded ore wagons, rather than the passenger coach tagged onto the train. The word ‘comfortable’ has not been used in relation to either option. Keeping the rail line to our North, we will be heading into 400km of desert on sandy tracks to make the crossing to Atar – passing by Mauritania’s answer to Uluru: Ben Amera.

    After exploring the Adrar region’s oases, this time we will head back to the coast to explore the Banc d’Arguin National Park on our way to Nouakchott – a last goodbye to the Sahara. If anyone is particularly adventurous, needs a break from the truck, or is keen on extreme trains, the ore-wagons are of course an option! Check out this blog post from the 2016 trip for more on this section of the route.

    Senegal

    Crossing into Senegal on the last leg towards Dakar, we’ll stop over in St Louis before heading down the coast to Africa’s most Westerly point and the end of our Poznan-Dakar rally. A short hop, but there’s lots more to experience, and some vegan friends to catch up with.

    Pickup and Dropoff Schedule

    We plan to be in the following places where it will be easiest to join or leave us for your stay on board. The schedule is of course subject to change – sometimes routes through the mountains are closed in winter even in Morocco, and if we have no guests to rendezvous with a little flexibility to detour can enhance the adventure. But we will make particular effort to stick to dates and places where guests have connecting travel. On the upside, budget and national airlines fly to lots of these places so there are many options.

    • 3rd October – 15th November :  UK / South of France / Spain / Morocco free-range (VERY Special Prices!).
    • 28th November -1st December: Fez
    • 6th -7th December: Casablanca
    • 14th-15th December – Marrakesh
    • 18th December: Agadir
    • 27th December – 1st January: Dakhla Lagoon
    • 2nd January: Nouadhibou
    • 7th-10th January: Atar
    • 17th January: Nouakchott
    • 18th January: St Louis
    • 20th – 22nd January: Dakar / Lac Rose
    • 23rd – 30th January: Senegalese Coast
    • 30th January – 28th February:  – TBC – Gambia/Guinea/Sierra Leone/Mali?

    Special Launch Deals Available Now!

    Be part of this new venture  – want to try out the Overland Yacht concept? Try it out on the maiden voyage and help us with trials for a reduced rate. Or check the schedule for where we plan to be, and book your stay aboard. There’s 2 parts to the deal – 1. You pay in Advance for your Accommodation (dates are freely changeable subject to availability) and become a member of Vegan Without Frontiers – this gives you the voting rights on which charities we support. 2. You agree to pay the specified daily charge to cover your costs in-country, and to donate any local surplus to local projects.

    • Pre-Season Truck Trials: October and November 2020 – join us to try out the new truck…no fixed plan of where and when at this point so just £25-£75 per night, depending on accommodation, no weekly charge.

    Or a taste of the Paris-Dakar Route?

    EXAMPLE: Joining for 2 weeks in Marrakesh and leaving in Dakhla would give you a taste of the historic city, the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert and Atlantic Coast (including a drive along the wet sand of La Plage Blanche at low tide), and ending in the kite-surfers’ paradise of Dakhla Lagoon. Pretty much the same experience as Yury captured in this video, though this time staying in comfort aboard our exclusive Overland Yacht! This all-inclusive stay including 4 nights in hotel accommodation ‘ashore’ would cost from £2990 per person.

    Booking

    Our contractor for building the ‘Overland Yacht’ at the last minute discovered they had vastly overspent the contracted budget, leaving us with an unfinished truck and no cash to finish the job.  Despite a contract being in place, we have little hope of recouping their overcharging without a lot of legal fees we can’t afford. With the added Covid pandemic making the future unpredictable, we are therefore looking at putting the truck up for sale and will not be able to launch. After 3 years hard work, this is extremely disappointing.

    Costs & Causes

    Vegan Without Frontiers is run on a not-for-profit basis – guest payments go directly to paying the costs of expeditions. All surplus income is directed to supported charities and projects. Nobody is paid a salary, and the company has no owners or shareholders to pay.