I’ve not driven off-road before, are your adventures suitable for me?
All of our adventures are graded from 1 to 5. Any adventure that has been graded as a 1 or 2 is suitable for clients who have not driven off road before.
I’ve been driving off-road for years in the UK. What will the difference be on your adventures?
When you drive off road in the UK you are never far from a main road, garage or habitation. Our adventures will take you deep into the landscape of the country visited so you will at times be driving off road for up to 7 days(Russia) or 3 days(Sahara) without driving on or crossing a tarmac road or visiting habitation.
What is convoying?
Convoying is where a group of cars follow each other closely behind a lead car. Convoys are by their nature restrictive as It is impossible for you to stop when you want to, because the lead car will determine the day’s stopping places. Dust is also an issue off road, because when 10 cars cross a landscape one behind the other, it creates a lot of dust which is intrusive to the group of cars and also can cause problems as the convoy passes through villages. In towns convoys often cause congestion as they move slowly and take up a lot of road space.
Why do you use roadbooks rather than convoying?
At Impala we do not convoy. This allows you to cross the landscapes and enjoy the culture of the country that you are travelling through without the restraints of a convoy system. We always open the route with a support car to make sure that all is well and if any problems are found the support car will stay at the problem to help and advise you as you pass by the support car. In the desert we often open a route with two support cars, especially when we know that a support car is needed at some dunes or escarpment. This system allows the second car to continue onto the campsite
What training will you provide on how to use roadbooks?
Before each adventure we run a training weekend so that you can meet all of the other clients, ask questions face to face about the adventure and also spend time understanding the workings of our roadbook system both in theory and practice. We also spend some time at an off road course so that my team can make sure that such basic off road skills as “failed climbs” is understood and practiced by our clients.
The roadbooks look complicated and I’d prefer to convoy, is this possible?
If you would prefer to convoy then we always offer that option. You will be attached to the opening support car. The only thing to consider is, as in a convoy system, you will have to follow the itinerary of our opening support car. For example you will have stops that are planned and it would not be possible to spend time taking photographs or exploring a market in a small village unless they were actually planned stops for the opening support team.
When customers don’t feel confident enough to navigate on their own we will usually work with them for the first days of the adventure to build their confidence until they feel comfortable with the roadbook and GPS and are ready to strike out on their own.
Do I need to be able to read maps?
You do not have to be able to read a map although it is a good idea to have this skill to beginner’s level. We will be spending some time during the training weekend on map reading so you will be able to enjoy this part of our adventures.
Do I need a GPS and if so what type should I get?
Yes you will need a GPS as GPS navigation is an integral part of an Impala roadbook. Using GPS allows us to give you the freedom to enjoy our routes at your own pace and to be able to stop to enjoy both the views and culture of the country that we are visiting. We do have recommendations for the type of GPS unit that you will need (price range from less than £100 to £500) and also offer training on the use of the GPS unit that you buy.
What happens if I get lost?
Our support teams are trained to find any client who gets lost, although if you follow the carefully researched roadbook the chances of you getting lost are extremely slim. The support teams know the area that we are travelling through and when reconnaissance’s are done we identify possible “getting lost” situations. We will have already explored the area around the roadbook to at least 5 km to either side, especially in a desert landscape.
There is a safety system that revolves around the way a roadbook is used and if you did get lost then you will have this safety procedure to follow, which basically means stay where you are and we will find you.
I’ve not got a 4x4 can I still go on an adventure?
Yes you can on all of our adventures with the exception of Russia. We are able to hire you a 4x4 for all of the other adventures either in the country that we are visiting or from SHB 4x4 Hire.
I’ve got a 4x4 what modifications should I make?
We tailor our adventures that are graded up to grade 3 so that our clients do not need to make any modifications to their car. Although we do have a list of suggested modifications as many clients do like to make their vehicle even more suitable for off road adventure driving.
What happens if I breakdown while on an adventure?
If your car breaks down we have the skills in the support team to get you going again. We do have a very important maintenance schedule both before and during an adventure so that breakdowns are rare. If your car has a serious breakdown and we cannot repair it “out in the bush” then a support car will assist you and get you and your car back to the port of entry and onto the boat. In Europe you are on your own although we do keep an eye on how you are getting on.
If your car breaks down on the way to the port of departure in Spain for a Moroccan adventure then we will leave your ticket at the ticket office and one of the support cars will wait for a maximum of 2 days at Tanger Port to meet you and get you to a point where you can join the group and continue the adventure.
What are the hotels like?
The hotels that we use vary from 5 to 2 stars. We tend to camp if a hotel of 2 star rating is not available.
I’d prefer to stay in hotels rather than camping is this possible?
It is possible to stay in hotels rather than camp if we are close to a town or village. The nature of our adventures often means that we are deep in the wilderness of a desert or mountain and the closest hotel is many miles away.
What are the camp sites like, compared to UK sites?
This very much depends on which country we are in: Norway, Sweden and Finland campsites are excellent, with showers, shops and restaurants, whilst in Morocco the sites can be basic with only toilets and showers.
Is it possible to camp rather than stay in hotels as I’d like to keep the cost down if possible?
If there is a campsite near the hotel where we are staying then it is possible to camp rather than take a hotel. Most adventures have a camping option.
What is wild camping?
Wild Camping is a term used to describe a campsite that is out in the wilderness along the route that we take across a landscape. They are not official campsites and as such have no toilets or showers.
How do you decide where to wild camp?
When we make a reconnaissance we search out areas suitable for wild camps. We look for level ground, great views, seclusion and an area for a toilet. The idea behind a wild camp is to get into the spirit of the landscape and there is no better way to do this, than to spend a night under the stars to sleep under the silent canopy of a forest or to sleep to the gentle murmur of the sea.
What are the toilet arrangements at wild camps?
You will need to walk off into the desert or forest and dig a hole as your toilet. Wild camp toilets have some of the best views that you will ever see from a loo!!. At first if you have never dug a hole for a toilet it will seem a little strange and exposed but camp etiquette dictates that everyone is respectful if they see one of us wandering off with a spade and loo paper.
In Namibia the wild camps are official and are run by the local tribes so have “long drop” toilets that are holes in the ground with a stone wall built around them.