A few months ago we were lucky enough to be invited to attend a podcast recording with Andrew from The Overlanding Podcast. It was great to sit around his virtual campfire and chat about all of our overland travels from Morocco through to our big trip getting to Australia. I had to dig deep into the memory to recall some of the details but it was great to discuss all things overlanding. If you have a spare hour, pop the kettle on, plug in the headphones and give it a listen. Apologies for the sniffles, I was quite ill the day of recording.
It is that time of year again when the intrepid few venture into Central Asia. If you haven’t got your GBAO permit for Tajikistan sorted yet, fear not. It can be had in the capital for the cost of a beer.
We had picked up our Tajikistan Visas in Ankara, Turkey back in March but still needed to get the GBAO (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province) permit for the Pamirs. Some consulates will not issue these whilst others and some tour agency’s can charge up to $150 just for the permit!
I got wind that it was possible to obtain this permit, direct, in Dushanbe for next to nothing.
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If you picked up your visa on arrival you are only eligible for 30 days entry. You can extend this whilst in Indonesia but I would strongly recommend obtaining the 60 day visa in your home country before leaving, or if you have the money (and not the time) fly out of Indonesia and re-enter for another visa. At the time of writing you could only extend to a maximum of 60 days on a regular tourist visa. (more…)
Many seasoned overlanders would agree that the biggest immediate danger presented to them comes not from violent crime, assault, malaria or vehicle theft but from other road users sharing that thin ribbon of (hopefully) unobstructed land.
This clearly defined interactive map shows the number of deaths per 100,000 population for most of the world’s countries. Grim I know but I think it could be useful. Stats can often get skewed with these things so its best to draw comparisons from your own experiences. From my experience Mali was probably the worst for careless driving alongside Kazakhstan which both rank in the low 20’s. However does this translate to the statistics shown? Linked to the map are a number of accounts from developing nations that I can personally attest to from Bamako, Mali and Jakarta in Indonesia. Let us know what you think from the places you have visited and driven in the comments.
A list of important items we carried on ourselves for the 8 month overland trip through remote parts of the former USSR. The gear got a lot of heavy use everyday and never faultered so comes recommended. We liked it so much, we have it all on us now here in Indonesia.
What do you carry on long trips? Leave your comments below.
Despite what many may think, overland travel is not a holiday.
It gets tough when you have to wake up and exit your roof tent to an audience, eat local food without offending your hosts (or your stomach), and travel with the same companion day in, day out. Don’t get me wrong, life on the road is great, but it’s definitely not a break. When you have to wash your clothes by hand, and source your food every day or so from who-knows-where, it’s very, very time-consuming and tiring, even without the language barriers. But travelling isn’t an excuse to let yourself go and sprucing yourself up is no mean feat when all you have is a muddy wing mirror for assistance! So here are some of the things I have with me that have made being a lady on the road a little easier…
If you need to register yourself in Almaty, Kazakhstan you can do so here:
Open most of the time but closed for lunch. Its a long lunch so I suggest you arrive early.
Go through the main door and go to window 3. Fill out the blank form (in Cyrillic) with your name, passport details, duration of stay and address. Just put down any address from the Lonely Planet. We used the Almaty Hostel on Khan Tengry which was enough for them! Registration card returned in your passport 1 hour later. Free.
I hope this information is of use.
You have driven hundreds of kilometres all day on dirt tracks, corrugated and potholed tarmac roads, been stopped five times by the police for ‘documents’, then an unfamiliar noise emanates from the engine bay. Your still 10 km outside of an unfamiliar town looking for somewhere to stay that has secure parking and won’t blow your daily budget. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t need that damn (delete as appropriate) Visa/Registration Document/Permit/Customs Form/Flight Ticket/Spare Part. It’s the usual battle.
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.