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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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Oct 2013

Looking for Mrs Livingstone

Posted by / in Africa, Blog /

We’re delighted to have a guest blog post from journalist and author, Julie Davidson, on her return visit to the adrenalin capital of Africa, Livingstone in Zambia, and her research in to the explorer’s remarkable wife…

Statue of David Livingstone

“Blimey!” I mutter, as I step from the terminal building  into the brilliant light. ““They’ve put up another one.”  I pause before the new statue of David Livingstone in the little airport’s forecourt. It is flanked by the figures of Susi and Chuma, the followers who carried his preserved body 1500 miles to the Indian Ocean Coast after his death in northern Zambia in 1873. This is the fourth statue of the missionary-explorer to be raised since I was last here five years ago, when the civic authorities joined forces with the tourist industry to mark the 150th anniversary of his arrival at the Victoria Falls.

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Aug 2013

A Book Bus volunteer’s story…Crocodile attack!

Posted by / in Africa, Blog, Featured Posts, Traveller's Tales /

Joseph Dax, an A Level student at Tavistock College was so inspired by our article in the last Winter Issue of Moor Links about local charity Book Bus, that he duly volunteered and headed off for two weeks this summer to Zambia to play his part in encouraging local children to get reading. On his return he kindly put this article together to tell us of his memorable experience.

Have you ever been attacked by a crocodile? My trip to Livingstone, Zambia as a Book Bus volunteer left me with a very lasting impression!  Camping in the grounds of ‘Grubby’s Grotto’, an old colonial residence, myself and the other volunteers set off early each morning, trundling down winding dusty roads and tracks in the trusty (but rather bumpy) Book Bus.

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