Most Famous Overlanding Routes

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The world is your oyster when it comes to where to plan your next overland trip. If you’re wondering what overlanding is and where can you go, here are some of the best examples but the route ideas are endless:

Classic and Modern Routes Used by Overlanders: Overland Trips

The Pan American Highway

Driving on the Pan American Highway that starts in Alaska all the way to Argentina is probably one of the most popular overland routes in the world. The best part of this overland route is that it is quite achievable for an ordinary person.

We are doing this overland trip right now and it may be one of the biggest adventures that we do in our lifetime. There are a number of people who have already done it, who gained immense knowledge on how to travel overland and how to tackle the number of issues one definitely comes across during a 40-thousand-mile trip. You can check out overlanding legends Ashley and Richard’s website, DeskToGlory, to get inspired.

The Rubicon Trail, California

The Rubicon Trail is a classic overlanding route that is located in California’s Sierra Nevada region. The route features a challenging mix of paved roads and dirt trails that take travelers past some of the most scenic areas in California.

Different trails along the route lead to popular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, El Dorado National Forest, Loon Lake, Buck Island Lake, and the campsites that surround Rubicon Springs.

The terrain is rife with obstacles such as Walker Hill, Thousand Dollar Hill, Silby Rock, and Cadillac Hill, and the off-roading opportunities are so authentic that car manufacturers test out their 4×4 vehicles on parts of the route.

Pamir highway itinerary guide

Pamir Highway

The Silk Road

The Silk Road is a famous road from medieval times that spans the Eurasian continent.

You can now go on an overland tour of this ancient trade route that goes all the way from China up to Paris or Rome, or in fact, any parts of Europe. You can traverse the entire path or only on sections of it.

Connecting to the Silk Road, the great Karakoram Highway (known as KKH among overlanders) crosses from Pakistan to China and it is one of the most spectacular roads in the world.

You definitely feel far away from home while traveling the 800 miles of this mostly paved road that took 20 years to construct.

Another route often on the bucket list of overlanders is the Pamir Highway. This 1000-year-old route is a spectacular and challenging part of the old Silk Road. Going through the 15,270 ft high Ak-Baital Pass in Tajikistan is demanding, to say the least.


Australia is a vast country, with endless opportunities for overlanding. There is no shortage of wild marvels along the coast or, in fact, inland. One example would be the Canning Stock Route, which is a 1,150 miles long, challenging four-wheel drive trek typically taking two to three weeks to complete.

Australia has got so much to offer in self-reliant vehicle-assisted adventures, that it deserves a whole new article.

Cape Town to Cairo

The route is a great way to see Africa. It starts in Cape Town and goes all the way to the very north of the continent through Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya, just to name a few.

The stage from Cape Town, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya is complete with the woodlands and grasslands of the famous big game reserves and national parks, Wildebeests, zebra, antelope, elephants, and hippos are all likely to be stars of the show.

define overlanding

Europe to Singapore

Whether you start in London or Budapest, it doesn’t really matter when you’re driving all the way to Singapore.

For Europeans, Singapore is often the finish line, given that travelling any further requires shipping. You can choose to travel through “the Stans” and include the Silk Road in your adventure, or discover nearly the whole length of Russia before usually crossing south through Mongolia and China towards South East Asia.

Read more:

The African Adventure Blog Series

The Budapest to Singapore Blog Series

Once overlanders arrive at their destination of Singapore, they either ship from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore itself.

The shipping process can be overwhelming, but there are great resources online to educate yourself, such as LandCruising Adventure’s articles on the subject.

what does overlanding mean

They’ve been on the road since 2003, so you can be sure they know what they’re talking about! What is overlanding? They’re the ones who really know the answer.

There are many other routes of course, but these are amongst the longest and most popular.

Read Part IV: How To Start Overlanding >>>

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Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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