Overlanding – Growth in the Popularity of Overlanding

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By Ferenc Elekes

Technology has been a primary driver in growing the accessibility of people to Overlanding. The ability to work remotely has given folks the flexibility to take their work on the road.

All you need is a laptop, some juice, and perhaps the odd internet connection, and still work while marvelling at the stunning vista you have discovered. Another reason is that overlanding can be quite cost-effective.

For example you do not have to spend thousands of dollars to stay at hotels or to eat at expensive restaurants. You can add a lot more fun by bringing everything you might need for the trip.

A great thing about overlanding is that you can go alone or with friends, family, but when you are in groups, it becomes easier to handle issues like a breakdown, and it also a lot safer.

If you like, you can bring a pet with you, just ensure you carry enough food for him or her. Besides that, ensure you get all of the legal permits required at international borders with pets.

Since you will probably not be staying at any hotels, you do not have to worry about being denied accommodation for your pet.

Classic and Modern Routes Used by Overlanders

The world is your oyster when it comes to where to go. If you’re wondering what overlanding is and where can you go, here are some of the best examples but the route ideas are endless:

​The Pan American Highway

Driving on the Pan American Highway that starts in Alaska all the way to Argentina is probably one of the most popular overland routes in the world. The best part of this route is that it is quite achievable for an ordinary person.

Amie, Matt and Jaeger are a good example how much this route has got to offer: The Traveling Together Journal.

They are travelling from California to Panama. They make regular video updates that can prove to be valuable lessons for anyone who plans on going on this overland route. There is not much paperwork needed if you plan to make this trip. Best of all, this route is quite affordable. 

The Rubicon Trail, California

The Rubicon Trail is a classic overlanding route that is located in California’s Sierra Nevada region. The route features a challenging mix of paved roads and dirt trails that take travellers past some of the most scenic areas in California.

Different trails along the route lead to popular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, El Dorado National Forest, Loon Lake, Buck Island Lake and the camp sites that surround Rubicon Springs.

The terrain is rife with obstacles such as Walker Hill, Thousand Dollar Hill, Silby Rock and Cadillac Hill, and the off-roading opportunities are so authentic that car manufacturers test out their 4×4 vehicles on parts of the route.

The Silk Road

The Silk Road is a famous road from medieval times that spans the Eurasian continent.

You can now go on a tour of this ancient trade route that goes all the way from China up to Paris or Rome, or in fact, any parts of Europe. You can traverse the entire path or only on sections of it.

Connecting to the Silk Road, the great Karakoram Highway (known as KKH among overlanders) crosses from Pakistan to China and it is one of the most spectacular roads in the world.

You definitely feel far away from home while driving the 800 miles of this mostly paved road that took 20 years to construct.

The Pamir Highway

Another route often on the bucket list of overlanders is the Pamir Highway. This 1000 year old route is a spectacular and challenging part of the old Silk Road. Going through the 15,270 ft high Ak-Baital Pass in Tajikistan is demanding, to say the least.

Australia

Australia is a vast country, with endless opportunities for overlanding. There is no shortage of wild marvels along the coast or, in fact, inland. One example would be the Canning Stock Route, which is a 1,150 miles long, challenging four-wheel drive trek typically taking two to three weeks to complete.

Australia has got so much to offer in vehicle assisted adventures, that it deserves a whole new article.

Cape Town to Cairo

The route is a great way to see Africa. It starts in Cape Town and goes all the way to the very north of the continent through Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, just to name a few.

The stage from Cape Town, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya is complete with the woodlands and grasslands of the famous big game reserves and national parks, Wildebeests, zebra, antelope, elephants and hippos are all likely to be stars of the show. 

Europe to Singapore

Whether you start in London or Budapest, it doesn’t really matter when you’re driving all the way to Singapore.

For Europeans, Singapore is often the finish line, given that travelling any further requires shipping. You can choose to travel through “the Stans” and include the Silk Road in your adventure, or discover nearly the whole length of Russia before usually driving south through Mongolia and China towards South East Asia.

Once overlanders arrive to their destination of Singapore, they either ship from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore itself. The shipping process can be overwhelming, but there are great resources online to educate yourself, such as LandCruising Adventure’s articles on the subject.

They’ve been on the road since 2003, so you can be sure they know what they’re talking about!

There are many other routes of course, but these are amongst the longest and most popular.