Welcome to Sahara Overland. Since 1982 I’ve travelled in the Sahara using motorcycles, 4x4s, regular cars, trucks, and with camels, adding up to some 40 trips. I’ve written books, presented talks, appeared on TV, organised and led tours, made films and offered advice and consultation to novelists, television, NGOs, nutters and scientists.
In the menu bar above you’ll find links to scores of travellers’ reports, map-, route– and country information, details about- or reports on my tours, book reviews and articles on whatever deserty subject happens to interests me, be it Arawan, Burials or the mysterious Merkala Tower. It’s a jumble of stuff dating back decades right up to recent news and features on the Sahara and my recent camel trekking ebook.
The last edition of my guidebook Sahara Overland II (left) was published in 2005 but is now hard to find new. In many respects it’s been superseded by this website or my subsequent books: Overlanders Handbook, (left) Adventure Motorcycling Handbook and Morocco Overland II. I also republished Desert Travels, a travelogue covering my early adventures in the Sahara when the desert was much more accessible and in 2016 extracted and expanded the camel section from Sahara Overland into an inexpensive ebook.
The Golden Age of Sahara travel
Today, following over a decade of kidnappings, much increased trafficking, rebellions, revolutions and the spread of weapons from Libya, independent tourism in the central Sahara has collapsed or is severely restricted. But it wasn’t always like that.
The 1980s were a Golden Age for desert tourism: post-colonial nations had yet to be beset by internal strife while the popularity of the Dakar Rally, as well as the emergence of desert-capable motorcycles and 4x4s, saw adventure tourism flourish in the central Sahara. Most winters the overlanders’ campsite in Tamanrasset was packed with VWs, Land Rovers, Ladas, BMWs and XTs.
The last time I stayed at Camping Dassine in Tam it was like an empty stadium. Only the old ‘airstream’ Transsaharienne bus (left) rested where it’s done by the entrance gate since time immemorial. Make no mistake: the good days of roaming free around the Sahara are well and truly over. It was great while it lasted but you could say the Sahara has returned to what it always was, a lawless wilderness into which outsiders ventured at thier peril.