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It is a question I have been dreaming about since I can remember. Could I for example drive to Argentina from Amsterdam, or can I drive all the way to South-africa? What are the extremities of a get-as-far-as-I-can-get road trip and what are the typical routes.

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Two famous men with motorbikes already answered this: They got to Cape Town, South Africa heading south, and Magadan in eastern Russia heading east. Neither of those trips were particularly easy, and they had a team of experts helping them. –  jozzas Jun 28 '11 at 22:29
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@Andra Welcome to travel.se! We need questions here to be much more specific than this. As it is, your question is way too broad. –  Michael Pryor Jun 28 '11 at 22:39
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@Michael I strongly disagree with you here. It is genuine question, with already a genuine answer. So you want questions the google can answer as well? –  andra Jun 28 '11 at 22:46
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@Andra The question as you asked it is what is the farthest road away from Amsterdam, which isn't really a question that is good for this site. If you are facing a particular problem of planning a journey by car from Amsterdam, then ask that question, but we'll need much more info (how much time do you have? how much money do you want to spend, etc etc). –  Michael Pryor Jun 28 '11 at 22:52
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I do think the question needs to be refined: Standard car? Taking on ships? What are your limits - you must have some for it to be a real question. –  hippietrail Jun 29 '11 at 7:50
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4 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I did a route like that last year with a friend of mine. We started in Belgium, went first to Ukraine, then down through Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan, where took the boat to Egypt, then went down to Sudan and Ethiopia.

We could easily have driven further down, but we ran out of time. (Planning to continue later on in my/our life.)

We avoided Israel as otherwise it can be difficult to enter other countries (especially Egypt and Sudan) when you have Israelian stamps in your passport. Although we've been also told that you can get stamps on a separate paper, so you can easily remove them after you left the country. But this is still no guarantee they will let you in as an attentive border control agent could see that there is a period of time missing between different stamps in your passport and still refuse to let you in.

Another point which might be interesting: most countries tell you you need a Carnet de Passage to be able to temporarily import a vehicle. We experienced that it is actually possible to do a trip like that without a Carnet. See this question for more information:

Overlanding without a Carnet de Passage?

Another tidbit of trivia worth mentioning: Did you know, once you get on to the European highway E40 (which doesn't run far from Amsterdam) driving East, you can actually travel more than 8000 kilometer up to Ridder in Kazakhstan near the Chinese border without actually leaving that road!

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+1 for the mention of the Carnet de Passage. –  Jacco Jun 29 '11 at 14:02
    
@fretje What an amazing journey you must have experienced :) –  Simon Jun 13 '13 at 10:56
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You can certainly go all over Asia. As for Africa, there's nothing in the way except politics, and the ruggedness of your vehicle. For other continents, you'll probably need a specialist vehicle to traverse the ice cap to get across from the top of Russia to the top of Canada. Once you're there, there's nothing physically stopping you driving down to Argentina!

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The Darien Gap will physically stop you driving from Panama to Colombia. –  hippietrail Jun 29 '11 at 7:47
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From 1995 to 2010 Italian Radio Television (RAI - Radio Televisione Italiana), conducted a series of road trips with a couple of trucks, usually starting in Italy, with the final destination on various continents including South America, (South) Africa and Asia.

So it would be possible to do, but you would need special trucks (not cars), a lot of money, crew...

All these trips were recorded and produced as a series of very nice documentaries.

List of their intercontinental trips from the Wikipedia page (in Italian only):

  • Overland 1: Rome - New York (via land), 1995-1996
  • Overland 2: New York - Tierra del Fuego - San Paolo, 1997
  • Overland 3: Cape Town - North Cape, Norway, 1998
  • Overland 6: Genoa - Sahara - Turin, 2002
  • Overland 12: Turin - South Africa - Rome, 2010
  • Overland 13: Milan - Shanghai (Expo), 2010
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You do not need special vehicles. A 4x4 is nice, but you would be surprised how far you would come with a normal car. In most areas of the world, the locals have cars and drive around. –  Jacco Jun 29 '11 at 13:27
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Yes, one could go with 4x4, but I remember these guys crossing some wild places (ice, swamps, canyons) with those trucks. They also had equipment in case of a engine failure, ice, floods, wars etc. So I guess you do not need special vehicles but it would be nice to have those.... –  Toni Frankola Jun 29 '11 at 13:55
    
A truck is big and heavy, both bring their own new problems. I think a 4x4 is the best option if you are not part of a big group. Just curious, what kind of equipment would prepare you for war? –  Jacco Jun 29 '11 at 14:07
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From Amsterdam you can drive to South Africa, it's not as unique as you might think. The hardest part is some of the African countries that have unstable political situations. It changes all the time, the best source of information is other travelers you meet neighbouring countries (The locals always think the next country is a dangerous place). The 'route-normale' nowadays is to take the eastern side of the continent.


If you accept ferries to ship you car from Europe to Africa, the answer to the 'as-far-as-you-can-get' question is: everywhere (except Antarctica). The Russia to Alaska route has been done, but it was an mayor-expedition type trip. This route is, however, no longer possible, due to the temperatures being high in winter.

The point is you need time and the continued motivation to just go.

Confucius once said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

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What route would be needed to get from North Africa south? I only know Morocco and the Sahara is not trivial to cross and not always open. Tunisia has some unrest and Libya has way too much. So which way? –  hippietrail Jun 29 '11 at 12:23
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If you listen to the news, everything is dangerous. The Marocco, West-Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mail, Burkina-Faso, Ghana route is quite easy and safe, I don't know the current situation in Nigeria, some say it is doable, some say it's not. Cameroon is ok but then you hit a dead end as you need to cross Congo, which is not safe enough to travel. That's why most people choose the eastern route. Check out the organised overland trips going from South Africa to Egypt and reverse their route. –  Jacco Jun 29 '11 at 13:04
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I'd totally go around the coast from Morocco. It's on my dream lists... :) A few tour companies that go the length of Africa (Oasis, Acacia etc) have their routes on their websites - this may be a good starting point for suggestions. –  Mark Mayo Jun 29 '11 at 13:30
    
West Africa is mostly safe, beautiful and sometimes even welcoming. Although most of the welcoming has to do with them expecting to receive money from you. –  Jacco Jun 29 '11 at 13:33
    
I did Senegal-Cameroon 18 months ago, and found all of the countries to be fine. There was trouble in Jos in Nigeria at that time, but we travelled along a central route from Ilara to Ikom via Ibadan and Enugu and had no problems (lots of checkpoints, but that's to be expected). We met a couple while we were in Burkina that were going down to South Africa along the west coast and then back up via the east coast in a Landrover (Their site - sandlover.org). I think anyone that limits themselves to the east coast is seriously missing out on some fascinating countries. :-) –  Gareth Jun 29 '11 at 15:42
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