You want to get around the world on your bike or in your car ? you miss precise (and mostly first-hand) information on the partical issues involved in such a trip ? these pages and maps are here to get you started and answer the questions all overlanders are asking during the planning stage.

Last updates

New routing tool
There is a new routing tool on the routes page, where you can now compute a route between two cities. The algorithm uses data from OpenstreetMap so the result may be a little off, but for a preliminary planning it does the job. It takes in account the various "no-go zones" and the main ferry lines, but not the transcontinental shipping routes. The computed route is displayed in orange for tar and yellow where it is unpaved, but this is based also on OpenstreetMap which is notoriously poor in describing road surfaces.
Situation update
What's changed between the publication of the book last year and today for the overlander? The details are here.
The Egypt - Sudan land border is open !
Finally, after years of waiting and enduring the mandatory and complicated ferry+barge trip across the Nasser Lake, the new border post between Sudan and Egypt is open. It is situated close to Abu Simbel, but across the lake. Yes, one still needs to cross the lake but this time across the width of it, which is done in about 90 minutes (compared to 1 1/2 days along the whole length from Asswan to Wadi Halfa), and in a proper ferry (no separate barge for vehicles). The old ferry still runs for passengers, but the vehicles must take the land border.
Unfortunately, it seems the Sudanese and the Egyptians haven't taken the opportunity to simplify the procedure, so it is still as complicated as before. But it much more flexible, much faster and somewhat less expensive although, in particular for bikers, most of the cost was in the paperwork, and still holds.
Ebola and border crossing
The last Ebola outbreak has killed thousands of people in Africa, but it's a known fact that it's almost impossible to catch the virus in western countries. On the other hand, the risks are very real in a handful of countries of Western Africa. It is obviously strongly advised to avoid the most affected countries: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Some neighbouring countries have also closed off their borders to try and contain the epidemic: Ivory Coast has closed its border with Liberia, despite the fact that they've never been able to fully control the movements between the two countries; Cameroon also had forbidden entry on his territory from Nigeria. The problem is, the main road across the west side of Africa crosses this border, and the detour through Chad is neither easy nor entirely safe. Fortunately, this restriction has been lifted since the virus has been eradicated from the Nigeria. It is therefore possible again to drown his bike or car in mud on the famous Ekok - Mamfé road.
It happened again recently: the Mauritanians closed the border with Mali for a few days after a case of Ebola was discovered in Kayes. This can happen again anytime without any prior notice so one should be prepared to be delayed and/or change itineraries.
Coup in Burkina Faso : consequences for the overlander ?
In Africa the politics are always a bit different than elsewhere, and democracy takes a somewhat different meaning. Witness is the recent coup in Burkina, when the army ousted Blaise Compaoré after his tenure of only 24 years.. This is not as dramatic as it sounds, and many coups in Africa take place without shedding blood (or almost). This cas was typical, in that it didn't really affect people outside the governemnt, except for the demonstrations that preceded it. Indeed, an overlander traveling outside of the capital during the coup may well not have heard of it at all. Only those that need to visit an embassy or an office in Ouagadougou would have to wait a few days until the dust settles.
The long-term consequences for the overlander are hard to figure out in advance. Most often nothing substantial changes, only in some cases will the new government pass some laws that change the rules for the traveller. E.g., when Sénégal elected (democratically) a new president, he changed the rule for the carnet de passage and reintroduced the visa for French and other nationals.
The coup in Mali a few months ago didn't prevent overlanders from getting there. On the other hand, the contested elections in Ivory Coast ended up in chaos and civil war, but that's more rare.
Panama - Colombia Ferry
The new ferry has made its first rotation between Colón and Cartagena. It's got even a facebook page.
The main advantage of this solution for the biker is its flexibility (it's a regular ro-ro ferry), its speed (18 hours) but also the price : less than 300$ (99$/passenger plus 180$/bike) instead of about 1000$ for the usual sailing cruise. The main drawback of course is that you miss a good excuse to indulge with a few days of R&R in the San Blas islands.
For car and camper drivers it's even more interesting : 425$ for a 4x4 instead of about 1500$ for a space in a container.
Chine crossing
There's a lot of discussion about China on the hubb. Apparently, a few bikers managed to round up all papers and authorizations needed to self-drive in China without any guide (except for Tibet and Xiniang, which still require a guide). Of course, the price to get all permits, number plates and temporary driver's license hasn't changed, it will still cost you around 1500$ per person. For the short transit between Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan via the KKH that doesn't change anything, since the road is entirely in Xiniang (although it lasts only 2 or 3 days). OTOH, if this is confirmed, that would open the possibility of crossing the whole China between Mongolia and Laos (for example) for the same price as the KKH road, but more importantly with the freedom of doing it at your own pace and freely.
We'll try and get some feedback from people who've managed to do that, and figure out if this can put China back on the overlander's map.
Kazakhstan visa free
Good news if you're headed to central Asia, and if you happen to come from the few select countries. Kazakhstan has lifted the requirement to get a visa for the nationals of the following countries : France, Germany, Italy, UK, Netherlands, USA, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and UAE. According to this trial program, valid until July 15th, 2015, if you're among the happy few you can therefore visit Kazakhstan without visa for a maximum of 15 days (which, to be honest, is usually plenty as there isn't much to do and see in this country anyway).
Official announcement.