Why travel overland?

Everybody has a different travel style. Some like flying everywhere and reaching their destinations in a very short time. Others, including me, prefer enjoying the scenery while mingling with locals and taking their time to go to most places overland (without flying).

Crossing the Tanzania Mozambique Border

Traveling overland is more time consuming and usually more expensive than air travel – that is if you are traveling long distance. In many countries, especially in the third world, roads may not be good or mountains may get on the way and make it hard to get through. Or, some border regions may not be very safe and crossing the borders can be a huge hassle. However, it may also get very rewarding, if you can put up with the challenges of longer and less comfortable travel and the hassle of crossing multiple borders. Overland travel enables a traveler to better explore and see the differences within a country and to have a smoother transition from one culture to another. It makes you see parts of the world, where many don’t bother seeing, and meet friendlier people, who are not used to seeing travelers that often.

Traveling overland requires patience and it may even turn out to be a self-growth opportunity. Often times, you may have to cross mountains, wait in crossing points and travel for days to come to a first town of a decent size. In 2000, it took me almost a week to reach a town that was bigger than a village and find someone, who can speak English, when I tried to travel from Tanzania to Mozambique overland. Upon leaving Dar-Es-Salam, it took me 25 hours to reach the border town of Mtwara, a town once used as a garrison town by the British. After crossing the Rovuma River by a dugout canoe and entering the Mozambique side, it took me several days of rough travel on back of several trucks to reach a town of a decent size. On the reward side, all that trouble I have gotten into paid it off with an experience of a lifetime.

So, if you have time and do not mind your comfort for a while, overland travel is highly recommended for a richer cultural experience and a smoother transition between cultures.


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