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THE MOST FAMOUS OVERLAND CAMPSITES IN THE WORLD

THE MOST FAMOUS OVERLAND CAMPSITES IN THE WORLD

- March 16, 2024

We overland to see stunning faraway places, watch painting-like sunrises and sunsets, and experience different cultures and food. We’re like tortoises on the move; where we park our vehicle is our home for the night, week, or month, depending on how much we like where we are. ​

Sometimes, the weather, vehicle breakdowns, or other unforeseen realities of overland travel necessitate spending a night at a service station, border post, or less-than-ideal spot. However, for the most part, we get to decide where we want to camp. So many great apps, books, forums, and travel guides help us in this regard. We contacted some of the most well-known overlanders in the world to find out the location of their favorite campsites.   ​

© Pixel.Rover

Australia ​

Madigan Line Dunes ​

Crossing the Madigan Line in Australia is one of the remotest 4WD trips on Earth; you need an extremely well-geared-up rig and lots of 4WD experience to take on this track. Plus, you must carry more fuel and water than most other trips. ​

The Madigan Line is named after the geologist Cecil Thomas Madigan, who crossed this northern part of the Simpson Desert in 1939, filling in some of the blank spaces on the map of Australia. We asked Dean Mellor, the former Editor of Australia 4x4, what makes this a must-do trip of a lifetime: “I just loved camping in the red dunes when we did the crossing. I have done many overland trips worldwide, and in Australia, camping in those dunes ranks as my favorite overlanding experience. It makes you feel like you are the only person in Australia.”   

© Sidetracked.Australia

Mungerannie Hotel​

If you’re doing the famous 517km long Birdsville Track that traverses several deserts, then there is one legendary Australian Outback spot you must stay at: the Mungerannie Hotel. Don’t expect five-star service and fresh fish, but they have cold beers and a hot spring to wash off the dust. The bar is full of memorabilia from those who have passed through over the years, and it has been known to get lively during the tourist season. Locals say what happens at Mungerannie stays in Mungerannie, probably because they also like to call it the center of the universe!  

© Justin D Kauffman

Africa ​

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania​

The Serengeti National Park is the most famous wildlife park in the world, not only because it inspired Walt Disney’s hit film The Lion King but also because it’s the home to the most incredible wildlife show on earth, the Wildebeest Migration. There are many public campsites littered all around this vast park—research where the migration should be during your visit and book a campsite accordingly. Don’t expect too much from the camp regarding facilities, so make sure you are totally self-sufficient. Count yourself very lucky if your visit coincides with the wildebeest crossing the Grumeti or Mara Rivers, as this is where the crocs lie in wait for the Wildebeest buffet. Camping in the Serengeti can be pricey, but seeing over a million wildebeest all at once with the predators in tow certainly makes it worth it.  ​

© Pixel.Rover

Chefchouen, Morocco​

If you visit Morocco’s blue city of Chefchouen, the best place for overlanders to stay is Camping Azila, which is conveniently situated in the woods above the town. Graeme Bell from Expedition Portal, who has been on the road with his family for over a decade, tells us why he loves this place: “It’s the best place to hang out with all sorts of travelers. It’s also the perfect base from which to go and explore the unique blue city. If you are in a capable 4x4, there are many great routes to explore in the area.” ​

Europe

Cappadocia, Turkey ​

We’ve all seen the images, hundreds of hot air balloons flying over the fairytale rocky landscape of Cappadocia, the World Heritage Site. The Gods (or volcanoes) must’ve been in a very good mood when they sculpted this breathtaking landscape. There are few finer overland experiences than waking up in your Front Runner Roof Tent, unzipping the window to a rising sun, and  seeing hundreds of hot air balloons floating above this incredible landscape. Well, maybe there is, being in one of these hot air balloons and looking down on your overland vehicle parked in this unique landscape, would be better. Get yourself to Turkey. ​

© Paul-Conrade Delaere

United Kingdom

Isle of Skye Beach, Scotland ​

Scotland can get busy with tourists in the summer, but if do the research, you can find yourself camping on a beach with no-one else around you except the midges. If heading to the Isle of Skye, give yourself some days to explore the place properly. Avoid the crowds by heading southwest along the Sleat Peninsula and make a beeline for the sleepy town of Tarskavaig. The beach might be rocky, but there’s enough grass to park on and enjoy the incredible setting. Before leaving, take a walk to the nearby ruins of Dunscairth Castle. Often, you’ll have the place to yourself. 

© Greg White

North America 

Oaxaca, Mexico ​

When you first start researching this place, you think it’s only an RV park near Oaxaca in Mexico. Then, you begin to read the reviews. Gee Winkler calls it one of North America's best places he has ever stayed. Wayward Travelers stayed there for months because the owners treated them better than their families do. Graeme Bell from Expedition Portal and his family planned on staying there for two nights and ended up staying for a month. So, if you are road-tripping in Mexico, you might want to go and see the brothers Pepe and Paco, whose RV park has achieved legendary status amongst campers and overlanders in Mexico. ​

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South America 

Salt Pans of Bolivia ​

The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt pan and Bolivia’s most famous tourist attraction due to the incredible vistas found on this now-dry prehistoric lake. You first need to decide if you want to visit it during the rainy season (Dec to April) or the dry season. We suggest the latter because you can spend a night or two somewhere on the over 10,000 square kilometers of the impressive Salar. Obviously, during the height of the rainy season, access is restricted, but when the pans are covered in a shallow film of water, that’s when you get those dramatic mirror images. The only other place in the world that comes close to Salar is the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana. 

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