Solo Vehicle Dependent Exploration, Travel & Adventure

Archive for June, 2013

Overlanders Tips: Registering yourself in Atyrau, Kazakhstan (for free)

If you need to Register yourself in Atyrau, Western Kazakhstan you can do so here: N47.09347 E051.92116 (click link for map!).

Its an ominous back door in a wall of the main OVIR office. Let yourself in (or bang on the door) go up the steps into the room and hand them your passport explaining you need to register. They do most of the leg work, you just need to fill in your vehicle details with some of their help if you have no address to register at. We explained we were not staying in hotels or at any address expressing we were camping and they just put down our vehicle registration number.

It took a few hours but we did it and it was free. Others have reported needing to get copies. These can be obtained following the directions below:

‘…Left from the gate, right on the main street and 50 metres on the right (just before the big blue Eurasian bank on the left of the road) is a Police / Army kit shop with “APMEHCKNN” above the door in camo coloured letters. In there is an office on the right was a copy place. Needed 2 x copies of the vehicle ownership docs, 1 x copy of each of the passport ID page, Kazakh visa, and also a copy of the immigration slip we got at the border. Less than a £1 for the copies.’

Hope this information helps.


Overlanders Tips: How to get your vehicle into the Wakhan Valley, Afghanistan (Ishkashim Border)

Do as I say, not as I do…

Its official, we F^&$ed it up. But in saying that nobody told us otherwise and previously people did not have this problem. So what went wrong? We picked up our Visa’s from the Khorog Consulate in Tajikistan and went on our merry way to the border at Ishkashim. At the border we were asked for our vehicle documents so we presented our V5 (British registration document known as a Tech-Passport elsewhere) to which the response was ‘Not that, the other one’. So what is the other one?


South Russian Transit – Car dealers and Mini Mongolia

Russia: Bad police, bad drivers, bad service and bad food, right? Maybe these stereotypes were the reason Russia exceeded all our expectations. We had heard of Russian hospitality, but thought this would be limited to the rural areas of Siberia where there were sparser populations. We never expected our transit through southern Russia to be so warm and memorable.


Western Kazakhstan Transit | Star Trail Photography


Wild-camping on the Desert Steppe

Three nights across the western Kazakh Steppe wild-camping in glorious weather allowed me the time to try out a few ND Grad filters and test out the long exposures required for star trail photography. Our transit to Uzbekistan was quicker than anticipated as we passed by hundreds of kilometres of nothing. We stopped briefly in Atyrau to get some cash and food taking the opportunity to register while there.


Georgia – The High Caucasus, Svaneti, Ushguli, Tbilisi and the Military Highway

It’s all about the mountains…

Before leaving the UK Georgia was assured to be a highlight of our trip on our way to Central Asia. I would spend hours pouring over maps of the Caucasus, working out possible routes, likely snow fall on mountain passes, places to visit etc etc. The whole region is also steeped in history as it forms a geographical bottleneck of the overland routes between the far east, middle east, Persia and Europe. For centuries the country was ruled by the Ottomans, Persians, Mongols and most recently the Russians as it provided a gateway (and control) for trade along the old silk road.


Turkey – Ankara, Cappadocia and the Black Sea Coast


After the craziness of Istanbul roads, we welcomed the relative order that seemed to ensue in the Turkish capital of Ankara. Although Istanbul is the culture centre of the country, Ankara is the administrative centre and so the place we needed to go for most of our Central Asian visas. After driving all day, through blazing sun and random snow, we eventually found the Ulasan Hotel where we were allowed to camp (tucked away out the back of course!). It is one of the only places that allows camping and is a good spot overlooking the lake.  (more…)