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May 2017

Self-driving Holidays

Posted by / in Africa, Blog, Featured Posts, frontpage, Horse Riding Holidays, South America, Tavistock Travel Agents, Traveller's Tales /

Imagine approaching watching the migration from your own 4X4!

4x4 car hire

4X4 with roof-tent and all camping equipment. This pic is from Malawi, but could be any country south of the Sahara

Hiring a 4X4 along with all the camping and off-road equipment is a fantastic way to explore. Recently Venture Co has broadened our offering to include just about every country in Africa, all of South America … but not India! Driving in India remains a hidden art! Much better to hire a car-and-driver combination.



A DIY safari in countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Namibia are brilliant: you have the independence to go at your own speed, the countries are safe and hospitable and the adventure really comes to life if you’re planning the route, shopping stops and overnight camps.

Camping holiday Africa

Enjoying the nightlife, camping in Africa

Multi-country self-driving holidays in Africa are now a reality too: a cross-border permit, allowing you to take a car from its home country into a neighbouring one are straight forward to arrange and add a modest $150 (give or take). The volume of traffic on the roads is a fraction of the UK’s and this is particularly so in rural areas and National Parks. Most vehicles come with a satellite connection so that if you do need to call the cavalry, they know where you are. Above all, people in rural Africa are really friendly and welcoming.


Self-driving in Africa is excellent value for families particularly if you combine some camping nights with a few lodge nights. We can provide detailed route notes, campsite and lodge reservations and reliable vehicles. But a word of warning: demand exceeds supply, so you need to plan about a year in advance.

4x4 hire Namibia

Dune 45 in the Namib Desert, Namibia. Easy to access by road in a hire car and fantastic to explore at your own pace.

South America

The roads are excellent, but the distances vast, so it makes sense to plan 2 or more centres into your itinerary, and fly in between. For example, if you begin in Buenos Aires and spend a few days exploring this absolutely fantastic city, then you don’t need a car at all: public transport is cheap, brisk and really efficient. Fly on to Patagonia and collect a hire car to explore the national parks and glacier parks; drive on to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost point of mainland planet Earth. Drop off the car and fly to Santiago to explore the winelands, or further north to the Atacama Desert and explore the desert’s wonderful, and unexpected, hidden gems.


But a word of warning: the lurking risk with driving in South America is vehicle theft. This is of course an insurable risk, but be aware of the excess, which can be onerous. Three are several major car hire companies in South America and we can guide you through the pros and cons.



What a wonderful country! Old India hands often say they feel slightly daunted as soon as their plane comes in to land; but as soon as you get on the plane home, you begin planning your next trip! India never quite finishes with you. I have tried both self-driving and the car-and-driver route. I do not hesitate to recommend the car-and-driver option. Indian roads, and the rules that apply, are as mysterious as the subcontinent itself. Much the best to let someone else interpret the mayhem while you sit back, plan the route and call the shots.

Driving holiday India

The shool run! You see it all on the roads in India!


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Aug 2013

How to be a tour guide in Mongolia

Posted by / in Blog, Featured Posts, frontpage, South America /

Jacqueline Wigglesworth is currently in Mongolia leading our horse riding trip with the British Horse Society but can most often be found leading VentureCo tours in South America. In the past she has led our 15 week Inca & Amazon Venture through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina as well as Inca Summer Venture in Peru and the 12 week Patagonia Venture. She helped set up The Book Bus and later worked on running it in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador.  Jackie is also the person behind our Inti World Yoga adventure trips. We caught up with her before her latest adventure to find out what life’s like on the move…

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Feb 2013

10 reasons to go to South America

Posted by / in Blog, South America /

Look at the back of all the travel guide books you can, and you’ll notice that the only one that says “the most exciting continent on the planet” is the one for South America. It goes on to say that if you’re jaded or bored with life, it’s the place to go.
Having been to 10 of the 13 South American countries, (and being half Venezuela so I’m a bit biased) I completely agree.
Here’s 10 reasons why:

1) It’s a super colourful continent: the people, their clothes, the food, the views, life itself there is in full colour.
2) The music: whether its Tango, Salsa, Merengue, pan pipes, drums or a mix, music fills the air wherever you go.
3) The Andes: the longest mountain range on earth; Stunning, high mountains to be looked at, trekked on, climbed, feared or admired.
4) Waterfalls: The Angel falls, Venezuela (world’s highest) and Iguassu falls, Argentina/Brazil border (huge.) Both very impressive.
5) The Amazon: The largest rain forest on earth; enormous, wild, the most diverse ecosystem there is, the Amazon river itself, anacondas, monkeys, morpho butterflies, tribal people, medicinal plants, canoe trips………
6) Islands: Los Roques, Venezuela is a Caribbean paradise. The Galapagos islands off Ecuador are renowned for the tame wildlife and Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Easter island in the remote Pacific off Chile is famous for its carved head statues with mysterious origins.
7)Beaches: Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic. Miles and miles of beaches for all tastes, from chilled and calm with thatched huts, to big wave surfing, to the much feared Cape horn at the end of the world!
8) Crazy politics; no continent has a more fascinating political history, filled with revolutions, wars for independence and larger than life characters like Che Guevara and Evita.
9) The vast diversity of landscape: You can experience coast, mountains, desert and jungle all within a few days. It’s got it all!
10) The X factor: South America just seems to put a spell on people; an undefinable, infectious magnetic pull which draws you back to it again and again, and may be incurable requiring several return visits!
11) One for luck: 2 new ‘wonders of the world’: Machu Picchu, Peru and Rio’s Christ statue, Brazil. In fact, when it comes to ancient cultures and sites to explore Indiana Jones style, nowhere comes close.

Tempted? Why not go and find out for yourself.

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