Where the Experts Holiday: Chris Wrede from Oasis Overland

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Chris Wrede - Tukuyu, Tanzania

Chris Wrede - Tukuyu, Tanzania

What do you like to do on holiday?

Stay in small locally owned hotels out of the tourist centers that are used by locals as much as travelers. Less luxury but loads more quirkiness and more interesting people. From this base I like to wonder the streets and sites, and visit small café’s, bars and restaurants.

Where did you last travel?

Kenya to Zimbabwe, Via Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi with my wife and two kids.

Do you know where you’re going next?


Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favourite and why?

This is a difficult question, but at the top of the list is Bolivia for its scenery and seemingly unchanged ways and quiet, helpful, honest people.

As far as cities go Cairo has to be up there. You either love it or hate it, and I have done both, but with 20million people 24 hr shops, restaurants, barbers and manic traffic as well as some fantastic historical sights and interesting and easy to meet people I look forward to Cairo each time I visit. Top tips there: don’t stay in a 5 star Tourist Hotel, find a nice 3 Star locally run place in one of the city centre suburbs within walking distance of the Nile so you are in the thick of local action and you will not attract all the hawkers that hang around near the tourist hotels. Take a boat trip on the Nile and enjoy great Egyptian food, visit Islamic Cairo with a guide and Cairo Tower for some fantastic views, and wander through Kahn al Kalili market.

Which destination do you wish to travel to but haven’t been there yet?


In your own area, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?

I live on the Dorset/Somerset Border and would recommend the Somerset Levels especially in October to January when the starlings settle an hour before dusk – there are great viewing areas near Westhay or Ham Wall (check the RSPB website for details). The historic town of Sherborne has some great pubs and shops. There are lots of local festivals, but one of my favorites is the Sturminster Cheese Festival every August in Sturminster Newton in the heart of the Blackmore Vale in the historic dairy producing area.

How do you plan a vacation? (guidebooks/website/agents/friends etc)

I usually book flights through a travel agent – better service and easier to get flights that are date changeable and refundable. Once I have chosen a place to visit I will always buy a guidebook and a map. A good city or country map often tells you a lot that a guide book doesn’t. I also visit the FCO website to help me plan for the country I am about to visit but I have learned to always look at what the FCO also say about perceived ‘safe’ destinations such as Australia and New Zealand and compare the advice to what they are saying about the country I am about to visit because the FCO advice can often scare you to the point of wanting to stay at home. There are often as many risks at home as there are overseas. I also visit a good travel clinic. Good planning and information as well as being flexible cannot be overrated.

Where do you see tourism in your destination/attraction in 10 years time?

Oasis Overland operate in Middle East, Africa and South America. I see the success of tourism in many developing countries – especially Middle East and Africa – being dependant to a huge extent on political stability or instability. I think there is the potential for a lot of political instability in the next decade in these two areas which makes predictions difficult.

From the top end 5 star exclusive breaks (whose clients are far more jittery and will stay away from a country with problems), right through to adventure travel and backpackers (who will return to destinations quickly after instability and lead the way) will be the most likely to succeed. I think that Zimbabwe will become a much bigger attraction in the next 10 years with Victoria Falls and some of the best Game Parks in Africa and if Israel/Palestine can achieve some sort of lasting peace, it will benefit Tourism in Jordan and Egypt as well. South America has so much but does not get huge volumes of tourists from Europe. Especially, Ecuador and Bolivia could and should see tourist numbers growing, but a lot will depend on flight prices and increased availability of flights to the western seaboard.

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